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How To Deal With Abusive Relationships

Good for you for being here! Abusive relationships don't just fix themselves, and you're smart enough to know that. Instead of just putting up with it and "waiting until it gets bad enough," you're here to get help and make things better.

No matter how bad things are, you've got what it takes to make it better. You are smarter, stronger and healthier than you realize. Believe in yourself, and never, ever give up on you!

couple in conflict

Whether you are victim, abuser or both, the problems go south real fast when somebody gives up. You just can't afford to do that.

Relationships are supposed to feel good and make your life better. Don't settle for anything less than that. You are worthy of loving relationships, even if you're the one who's been causing the problems.

You are worthwhile, valuable and good, no matter how you're feeling right now. And that's the key to beginning the process of breaking free from abusive relationships. 

What Do You Need To Know Right Now?

  • You are a good person, and you deserve to be treated with respect--no matter what. This doesn't mean you're perfect, it just means you are human, and worthy of respect.
  • Regardless of who you are or what you've done, I have some relationship advice for you--you do not deserve to be abused.
  • You must be willing to take responsibility. That's where your freedom comes from. It doesn't mean you're responsible for the abusive relationship, it just means you are responsible for taking action to protect yourself and others who are being hurt.
taking steps to healing
  • Assuming you are an adult, you are capable of taking action to improve your situation--you already have! You're here reading this web page, aren't you?. One step at a time, and you'll get there.
  • You are not alone! There are people on this web site that will help you deal with abusive relationships. You can tell your story here and get support and professional advice about what to do. You can also read other visitors' stories and learn from their experience. Remember, one step at a time!

Leave Abusive Relationships Or Keep Trying?

One option is to get out of the relationship. The other is to stay and try to work things out. But first, we have to figure out which is the best option!

Here are some things to consider in making your decision:

  • Are you or anyone being hurt physically?
  • Are you or anyone being sexually abused?
  • Are you or anyone being threatened physically or sexually? Do you or anyone feel your life is in danger?
  • If you are not sure what qualifies as abuse or domestic violence, you will find a full description here.

These are "worse case scenarios," and if you answered "yes" to any or all of the above, you need to find a safe place to go immediately. If you end up getting a divorce, you will need some divorce advice on letting go of a relationship.

There is also emotional or mental abuse. This type of abuse, although it may not seem as extreme as the above, can be just as devastating. Here are some questions to help you decide if you're being emotionally abused:

abused woman
  • Do you find yourself afraid of your partner and don't really know why?
  • Do you feel worse about yourself after or while being with your partner?
  • Does it seem like your partner does not respect your ability to make your own decisions?
  • Does it seem like your partner does not respect you in general?

This type of situation can make start to doubt yourself, and actually interfere with your decision making ability. This can start a downward spiral that just keeps going until you feel that you are not competent to take care of yourself. You do not want this to happen!

Then, if you are actually being abused, you become more and more dependent on the abuser. Not a good thing.

Is It Time For You To Help Yourself?

In order to survive abusive relationships, you must educate yourself. Understanding abusive relationships is a first step, and it will also help you to learn to respect yourself and develop healthy anger.

Healthy anger is based on self-love, and it does not harm anyone. Healthy anger is for the purpose of protecting you and keeping you safe.

Healthy anger fuels effective action.

Here are some thoughts for you to consider:

  • You are a person of value, and you are worthy of kindness and fair treatment.
  • No one has the right to hurt you physically, sexually, emotionally or mentally. Of course we all get hurt somewhat in our love relationships--however, if the harm is being done intentionally and it keeps happening, that's another thing. That means you are one of the many good souls caught in abusive relationships.
  • You are not alone. There are thousands of people all over the country devoted to helping people just like you to get yourself and your children out of abusive relationships.
  • If you are having anger management problems of your own, you probably need to learn anger management techniques yourself--especially if you are sometimes abusive to your partner yourself!

Are You Ready To Take Effective Action?

If you know you're in an abusive relationship, but you're afraid to do anything, here is the help you need:

  • It all starts with you. Focusing on the other person will only keep you stuck.
  • This self-focus needs to be positive, because you certainly don't need anything to make you feel bad about yourself.
  • Our CD program entitled, Nurturing Your Inner Child is specially designed to help you heal emotionally and truly love yourself--because you are your best resource for healing.
  • If you're married or planning to marry, this is your best beginning point for creating a healthy relationship with your spouse. It really is true that you have to love yourself before you can truly love another...or let them love you.

Never, ever give up on yourself! It is never hopeless, no matter how bad it may seem. You have the courage and the good heart to do what must be done to keep yourself and your children safe, and it all starts with self love.


Does The Abuse Come From Too Much Attachment?


Attachment is not what you want. You want loving, respectful connection...and there's a huge difference. When you're attached, you'll stay too long, try too hard, and stay out of fear of leaving. 

If you think you're attached to your relationship, and not feeling a loving respectful connection, then you are in an abusive relationship...even if it's just neglect. Neglect is yet another form of abuse.

Take action now...you're worth it!



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Have A Question Or Story?



Here's your chance to ask Dr. DeFoore about your situation. It can be about your anger, somebody else's anger, or about grief, road rage, anxiety or depression. Tell your story with as much detail as possible, and he will give you some free counseling.

Feel free to also review our FAQ page (frequently asked questions), to see if your question has already been answered.

Then, if selected, the results will be a web page on this site that will help others! So, there you go--help and be helped! By the way, you can be anonymous if you choose, but if you include your first name, it's better.

What Other Visitors Have Said

Click below to see contributions from other visitors to this page...

Do I Stay, Go, Or Help Him Through It? 
I am 32 and have been with my husband for about 10 years (dated for 7, married for 3). We just had our first child a year ago and that's when his anger/rage …

In Sickness And In Health 
I love my husband and family more than anything. My husband and I have not been married a year yet, but we have been in a relationship for almost 13 years. …

Can I Ever Change And Fix My Abusive Attitude For Good? 
I can be an angry person and abusive toward the people I love the most. My wife is fantastic and my children are amazing but I criticized them and hurt …

He's Threatened To Kill Himself If I Leave Him 
I've only been with my partner for three months. I can be quite clingy and overbearing sometimes, as I've been told in past relationships, so when I …

Any Chance For My Marriage To My Physically Abusive Husband? 
I met my husband in January 2015, we became engaged later that year in December, had about year and half engagement from Dec 2015 to April 2017, married …

Is It Worth Hoping For Change In A New Relationship? 
I have been with my boyfriend for 5 months almost on the dot and a few days ago there was a massive blow up on his end that was scary and something I …

Trying And Failing Miserably  
My husband and I have been married for almost two years, and have been together for ten. Ugh. I don't even know where to start right now. I am upset, …

My Wife Wants All Of My Attention & Hates My Family 
I live in Australia. My sister introduced me to a girl in Europe who became my wife after a year or so. As we were preparing for our wedding, I realised …

My Husband Has A Marijuana Problem And Rages Over Trivial Things 
I am an intelligent, professional woman. I find myself in a situation that I desperately need advice about. My husband and I have been married 4 years. …

There's A Good Man Inside Me 
My wife and I recently got into another heated argument. She grabbed me and I acted out of rage and threw her back. After I tried to call and text her …

Disappointed And Tired  
Hi, my name is Anna. I am almost 40 with a 19 year old and an 11 year old. I met my partner a year and a half ago. I have led a hard life to say the …

Battle Between Leaving And Staying  
In the beginning it was very fun and nice having him. He is a very thoughtful and sweet person although I always knew he was sensitive. His sensitivity …

Setting Bounaries With An Emotionally Abusive Older Brother 
My brother is 60 and I am 52 & female - the youngest of 4 kids and he the oldest. When I was very young he was wonderful - like a father figure. My parents …

I'm Concerned I May Be In Danger 
I am attractive, not old, fit, financially in the top 5%. Self-made. Yet if you look in my eyes I'm carrying around this almost constant sadness. It's …

Leaning On God But Not Sure When To Walk Away 
First, thank you for affording me the opportunity to seek free counsel. I'm currently married to my high school sweetheart since 2010. We met in 2002 …

Abusive Relationship And A Newborn 
I have been with my boyfriend for two years, and we recently had a beautiful baby boy two months ago who we both adore. I had noticed that my boyfriend …

Feeling Confused About Intuition And Emotional Communication 
Feeling like I have to translate my partner's emotions for the world, because most people we know see an angry side of him that I see as an emotionally …

Seven Months In An Abusive Relationship 
Hello. To be honest, I'm finally relieved to be able to share my story with you. I dated this guy once for seven months but since we broke up (he …

I Realize That I am Verbally Abusive Towards My Husband 
This last week has been rough - at first I thought for me only, but tonight after two days of fighting I realize it's likely been harder on my husband. …

I Am Invisible To My Husband 
Hello. I am a 27 year old female with two beautiful children. I have been with the same man for 6 years. At first he was sweet and would make me feel …

Why Did My Husband Change After Becoming Ill? 
My husband and I have been married 26 years. The past 4 years have been a roller coaster ride of emotions and emotional abuse. He had pancreatitis …

I Had No Idea I Was Being Abusive! 
My name is Alex. I was in a relationship for 2 years with Stéphanie which ended 6 weeks ago. Stéphanie fell madly in love with me the very 1st time …

I Have To Have Hope That Things Will Be Better 
My story is so similar to the others I've read...but here goes anyway. My fiancé and I have been together for almost 4 years now. Like so many other …

My Husband Is A Bully 
Hello. I just recently got married in August, 2017. I moved 550 miles away from home to be with my new husband, who is active duty in the military. …

Click here to write your own.

Over It 
I've been married 18 years to someone 12 years older than me. He was such a charmer at first, it was hard to be away from him. He changed when I …

Unsure Of Myself & Blaming Myself For My Husband's Anger 
This is hard for me because I love my husband very much. But I feel like all I do is make him angry with me. Every time I say something to him he takes …

I'm In Limbo About My Marriage After My Husband Getting Help 
I was in an abusive relationship for 22 years. My husband would rage for hours, blame me, and trivialize me in his arguments. He would throw things …

Stuck In A Bad Loop 
I am with a partner who has resorted to verbal, emotional and even physical abuse to express that he feels hurt (he says that's his reason). I told …

Feeling Empty And At A Loss 
My girlfriend and I (I am female, too) have been together for about 3 years, and our relationship has been very tumultuous at times. A running theme …

Abusive Brother Living With My Parents And Me 
My brother has always had anger problems. His choice to fix his problems is to yell, scream, throw things and blame everyone else for what is wrong. …

Is My Relationship Doomed? 
I first met my fiancé in 2014. He seemed so charming & we feel head over heels almost immediately. But it changed fast. I noticed how he would get …

My Fiancé Is Irritable, Closed Off, And Critical - But Is It Abuse? 
It is hard to know what is normal fighting or bad times in a relationship, and what constitutes emotional abuse. It is even harder to know what to do …

My Angry Husband Blames Me For Everything 
My husband works long hours and I'm a stay at home mom of 3. My children and I are so happy when he's not home, but as soon as he walks in the door …

My Stomach Is In A Knot & I Don't Really Know What To Believe 
I have been with the same man for 6 years. There are really fun parts to our relationship - gardening together, having a dog, owning a house, going on …

I Beat Him With Carelessness 
We have been married almost 12 years and have two children, 3 and 5. I was recently diagnosed with ADHD and possible bipolar disorder. I am not currently …

Relationship With A Younger Man Turned Out Abusive 
I'm 33 years old and have two children (8 and 11). I was married for 12 years and had a divorce. I didn't let myself heal. I wanted to end the pain, …

I'm Acting Just Like My Mother 
First off, I would like to say how grateful I am to see websites like these that are offering help. That alone brings me hope. So my relationship …

I Have Become Mrs. Anger 
I have become a bully in some ways. I get angry a lot and take it out on my family and boys with name calling. I’m verbally abusive now and just can't …

We Both Want To Still Be Together And We Both Want To Change 
We met in university and were 18 years old. We've been together for 5 years now. We can't go a day without being with each other, but if we do we …

Does He Say These Things Because He Loves Me? 
My boyfriend and I have been together on/off for a little over a year. The first time we broke up, he did it, and it left me confused, lonely, and depressed. …

How Do I Know If I Need To Walk Away From This? 
Hello. My name is Jennifer and I have been with my boyfriend for almost 5 years now. The struggle we are currently going through is when we get into …

I'm Not Sure If The Emotional Abuse Is Intentional 
Thank you for taking your time to help me. My name is Elizabeth. I've been in a 2 year relationship that involves two emotionally scarred people already. …

Incidents Of Abuse Are Few And Far Between 
The abuse started when I was a teenager. I've been with my husband since I was 17 and I am now 40. I identified early that I would not accept the abuse …

Is He Abusive With Anger Issues Or Emotionally Closed Off? 
My boyfriend and I are about to hit the year mark in our relationship, but it is far from how it once was. When we first started dating we were inseparable, …

He Lies To Me And Says He Wants To Marry Me 
I have been with my boyfriend for over 3 years now. We have broken up a few times when he suddenly decides he doesn't want me anymore but then regrets …

Should We Get Married Despite The Emotional Abuse?  
I am desperate for some real advice. My boyfriend and I have been together 18 months. I have 4 kids and he has 2 kids that visit on the weekends. …

It Only Hurts When He's Mad 
How can I fix a relationship if I feel it has been contaminated beyond repair? I moved a significant distance, away from family and support, to be with …

I Feel Abusive And I Don't Want To Lose What I Have 
Both my fiancé and I are in our very early 20's and have already gone through a lot. He much more than me from anyone's perspective. We've been together …

Wife Harbors Hate And Resentment Toward My Parents 
My wife and I have been married for twenty years, we have three children between the ages of 8-13. Over the course of our marriage my wife has tolerated …

Click here to write your own.

My Husband Locked Me Out On Mothers Day 
I married my husband of 13 years (2nd marriage), after my daughter graduated from college. I was 48 he was 51. Before I knew it I had lost all my …

The Victim Has Become The Abuser? 
I was abused (in all ways except sexually) by my parents. My father was also an alcoholic. My mother has a long history of co-dependency, denial, depression, …

Should I Give Him A Third Chance? 
My husband and I have been married for 6 years, I always knew that he had a very bad temper and it got worse over time. I did not realize he was verbally …

Feel Confused, Selfish And Unhappy And I Don't Know What To Do 
Hi. I am basically looking for some guidance. My situation's pretty messed up right now and I don't know what to do. I will try and make this as short …

Can't Handle Reality And Everything is Everyone Else's Fault 
A person with extreme anger is often set off by the smallest thing. My boyfriend expriences fits of rage over everything. If the light at an intersection …

Mental Abuse Is Painful Not rated yet
I met a man on Christian Mingle. He was a non-practicing Catholic and I'm a practicing Christian. We dated for 14 months. He recently broke up with me …

Why Do I Find It So Hard To Have Faith In Myself That I Can Live Without The Abusive Person?  Not rated yet
I have lived in an abusive marriage for 11 years. The abuse was both physical and verbal. I have 3 children aged 10, 8 and 3 years and yes they have seen …

Breaking Communication Barriers From Past Abusive Relationships Not rated yet
Dr. DeFoore, I just read your paper “The Power of Intimacy: Overcoming Barriers to Deep and Lasting Closeness.” I thank you for writing it as after …

Click here to write your own.

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