About Kellie Holly, Author of Verbal Abuse in Relationships Blog

January 18, 2011 Kellie Jo Holly

Kellie Holly was in an 18 year verbally abusive marriage. Her verbal abuse blog, Verbal Abuse in Relationships, details her experiences and what she learned.

I am Kellie Jo Holly, and I participated in the cycle of verbal abuse with my soon to be ex-husband for almost 18 years. I retain the relationship with him because we have two sons together who are now teens. Leaving the marriage did not end the abuse. Stopping verbal abuse has more to do with my reaction to it than convincing him to stop!
I spent years trying to anticipate and thereby control his moods (especially his angry moods) with no success. Even though my intentions were good, the outcome was very bad.

Verbal Abuse and How I Lost Myself

Kellie Jo HollyDuring the course of my marriage, I let go of myself and my own reality in the effort to understand his way of looking at things, his perception of the world, his reactions to events. With so much concentration on him, is it any wonder how I ceased being myself? Under extreme pressure to control my environment (him), I let my own soul fall by the wayside.

Now, a short time from leaving the relationship as it was, I struggle to separate my own identity from the person I came to be while living in the battleground of our marriage. Some days are easier than others, but I see dramatic progress in my ability to detach from and accept the role I played in our abusive cycle; I am healing, and I want to share that journey with you.

The Point of the Verbal Abuse in Relationships Blog

You can also find Kellie on her website at Verbal Abuse Journals, Google+, Facebook Page, Twitter and Amazon Authors.

APA Reference
Jo, K. (2011, January 18). About Kellie Holly, Author of Verbal Abuse in Relationships Blog, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 24 from

Author: Kellie Jo Holly

Kimberley Barr
December, 24 2019 at 9:07 am

Hi Kelle,
I hope you are well!
I have previously had two experiences with coersive control and I am writing my own research into the prevention and recovery of domestic abuse.
The thing is, I am able to find a number of blog articles such as your own but very little in the way of evidence backed research.
Firstly, please could I quote your article to back up my experience which was that the begining of an abusive relationship begins like a fairytale?
Secondly, as someone else who is clearly interested in the subject, might you be able to point me in the direction of some useful research?
Thank you for your time and have a lovely day!
Kind Regards,

March, 16 2019 at 10:07 am

I keep looking for a “like” or “love” option. Kellie Jo it’s like you’re speaking directly to me! Keep writing because your words are powerful and giving me the strength I desperately need.

September, 23 2017 at 6:45 pm

I love you and your blogs Kellie. Thank you for everything!!! Fresh out of an abusive relationship without a money, car, or a job, and hes also keeping my 7th months old child from me and going to bury me in custody court. I thought leaving him would end the abuse and turmoil, but it looks like it will be a life long issue now that we share a child. Anyways, your blogs and the info. you have provided here are very helpful. Send me an email if you still check this site or your responses please. I'd love to know how you are today and keep in touch. Thank you so much -Emma.

June, 29 2017 at 8:03 am

Hello, Kellie
I finally realized I'm in a abusive relationship but still hard to believe it because I've been manipulated over many years of, "I'm sorry, won't happens again, things will be different". I am still scared, can't sleep, hear his voice in my head and scared to leave the house I'm staying with family. It does still come to my mind that I'm the wrong one and doing things wrong and should go back to make everything better. But I don't know if I should do that. He wants to meet to speak to me and ask for forgiveness but I am a lol nervous and don't want to be brainwash again. It's a horrific feeling. What should I do? Should I stay away until I seek help?

June, 29 2017 at 7:46 am

Thanks for sharing, I needed this now!

Judy K. Leek
May, 27 2017 at 2:29 am

I've been told for over 4 years now when my husband gets upset because we are not on the same page that he's done with us, and or to get out of HIS house. You don't know how many times I got a real estate agent and went looking for a place of my own. On May 3rd it happened again only this time I signed paperwork on my own house. So when I told him he asked me when I was filing for divorce. He later told me that I needed to make my mind up what I am going to do because he is tired of this lifestyle. I am so used to him being the victim, never taking responsibility for his actions or behavoir. I believe that I need to move forward with my plan and go for it. This is never ever going to change. Now we are doing the dance again of playing nice like nothing ever happened. I am mentally and physically being destroyed. He takes care of all of our financial and handyman projects but this is not a healthy lifestyle. Please help me stay to my plan to move out in June. Having peace and learning who I am once again is more vital than anything else! Thank you♡♡

Concerned Friend
May, 5 2017 at 10:49 am

Kellie Jo, I am learning a lot about this from your blog so thanks for providing this. I have a dear friend whom I think is in an abusive [non-physical] relationship. She won't open up about it because she doesn't want to "smear" him. And, by all outward standards, he is a fine, upstanding man. But, I do know he is very controlling, demeaning, and xxxx. Their family is very involved in their church and her father is a Methodist minister, so there is the very strong conviction there that the marriage vows should not be broken. She is also hanging onto the marriage for the sake of not disrupting their two teenage children [1 boy/1 girl]. I have been telling her that the vows are already broken; and that she is teaching her children the wrong lesson by staying in the marriage. I know that this has to be one's own decision and that the severity of the abuse is a great variable, but what would you say to someone in that situation?? Hope to hear from you soon.

July, 12 2016 at 8:11 pm

Hi Kelly, just a follow up to my previous post in January. I built up a head of steam to finally confront my Mrs about an issue involving my family. It didn't go well at all. At first she looked at me like I was crazy, like she couldn't believe what I was saying but when I held my ground it escalated - it went from solicitors, to kicking me out. When I showed a willingness to leave she dragged our 7 year old into it, shouting 'take him with you'. This obviously upset him greatly and I backed down about leaving. She kept at it wanting me to change my mind about the issue involving my family but I wouldn't. She then threatened to stab herself with a kitchen knife. I stayed calm. Then she wanted to talk to my sister (who she blames for a lot of things) and she came over even though I warned her about the knife. Long story short - my wife and sister butted heads and my sister called her bluff 'If you want to hurt yourself go ahead' and she did. She cut her wrist several times and we had to restrain her. The Police and Ambulance came etc. After the hospital she again went back to the issue and threatened to do it again if I followed through. In the end I backed down and promised I wouldn't. This caused a lot of problems with my family although I think they mostly understand I am being blackmailed. My wife went to a counsellor as part of her healing but I was disappointed to hear that he said my wife was fine, that she was obviously under a lot of pressure and maybe she should seek the advice of a solicitor!! I couldn't believe this. I went from feeling relief that the Police and Ambulance came and finally I wasn't alone and would get help to My God what was it all for. The Police were gone and the Counsellor saw no problems and now I was back to square one. I went to a group called AMEN but they are more about the legal side of things and are not counsellors. I have decided that I will stick it out for my son. There is no way I am leaving him with her as his sole influence and reference point. I made contact with a newly set up counselling service in my job and hope to have an appointment any day now. The hope is I can get advice on how to cope. I could see a day, when my son is older and able to understand better that I (maybe even we) will leave but that is probably only a dream.

May, 26 2016 at 4:13 am

Kellie Jo, I wanted to thank you for writing this blog. They have been so helpful to me, more helpful than the books I've read because they are more relatable and thus easier for me to understand. I got out of an abusive relationship 3 years ago and have been in a good one for 2, but have been struggling so much with anxiety, distrust, depression, the works. I saw a therapist but that only helped me with immediate anxiety issues. I was put on Lexapro for anxiety and also given a bottle of tranquilizers for "really bad days". I thought I was going crazy and was beginning to believe that I am simply bad person with bad personality traits, but after reading all of your articles I now realize that trauma triggers and PTSD are the problem. Now that I can identify what is wrong, I know how to get better and move on.
Thanks again so much!

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Kellie Jo Holly
May, 26 2016 at 9:20 am

Thank you for that, JC. Sometimes, the meds help me get over a hump, but I find that if I don't do "the work" then I don't get better. But to do "the work" I have to know what the problem is. Not knowing what "the problem" was kept me in my marriage for 17+ years. After I read something that made sense, I was able to move through it. I've learned that I am rarely "the problem" - circumstances are. I try to not blame others or myself because that keeps me tired and distressed, unable to move through.
I truly appreciate your comment. In answering it, I realized that I'm flatlining right now because I've blamed myself for something I couldn't control. Life truly works in a cycle, doesn't it? In reading your thank you to me, I find that you're the one to thank. <3

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

April, 24 2021 at 11:42 pm

This really resonates - thank you

BB Doe
April, 28 2016 at 5:39 am

This is the second time I've had to type this out as my computer crashed, so I may not sound as desperate/raw in the re-type, but believe me I am.*
I really need help on this one as I am isolated, severely depressed & physically ill.
I have a chronic medical condition that has become a disability over the years. I have never been able to work full time or continue studying. I say this so you know I am financially & physically in bad shape.
I'm in my late twenties now, and have always struggled with depression & agoraphobia on & off my whole life as a result of invalidating & emotionally abusive family.
As well as that the agoraphobia was created from being sick in the bed & house often. I have become so used to staying inside, as well as finding it overwhelming & physically draining to get out & about alone.
I have issues with my immune system, and extreme fatigue. I get sick all the time.
Through study when had better health, I made friends here & there, but never been able to keep up with them & never had a lot of people in my life. In the last five years my family has completely cut me out of their life, and always washed their hands of any responsibility towards me.
When I became physically ill, even with infection, they are the invalidating type to pretend I'm being dramatic. That's how that always has been, so I can't rely on them. It also leaves me feeling insecure, because I've never had the family safety net.
I met a man who seemed to be a huge help to me, I didn't doubt him as I met him during an "up" streak for me (I didn't look pathetic!), some relief in physical symptoms I was studying part time & started making friends. People consider me intelligent & attractive, many don't realize how much I struggle.
Going back to study was a good idea at first, but soon became taxing on my body, and I had aimed for too much too soon. I ended up bed bound & reliant on my partner as my carer.
At first I thought he was the most sweet & patient man, but as time went on he started taking advantage of my isolation when we fought. Even though sometimes he may have good reason to be angry, I know he is under a lot of pressure- he always goes too far, being disrespectful, humiliating, loud & smashes things. He does not hit me, but sometimes he self-harms.
Sometimes he is just being crazy, other times I have said/done things that would make anyone mad/under pressure as I'm also very sensitive & emotional--however what I kept trying to tell him is nothing justify the extent of his reaction. He will apologize, but it means nothing as the behavior doesn't change.
The worse "loophole" when I've tried to get help for us at councilors both together or him alone, is that I AM depressed, and needy sometimes.
He points at the burden I am as an excuse, and is very adept at having people understand where he is coming from. They still tell him breaking things is inappropriate, but mostly they feel sorry for him or even demonize me. It's so hard as he can be very controlled, whereas I'm very honest & emotional so it can make me look like the mess of the two. I do get mad & frustrated at the constant disrespect & onslaught of bad treatment. This came out in therapy as I was so relived to be able to tell the truth without an explosion. However I could never do that at home without him yelling, cutting himself or twisting the conversation to make him into a victim somehow.
I did not know he self harmed or even had an angry side until I was debilitated again and relying solely on him as the only person to bother in my life as one thing having a chronic illness teaches you is it's very hard to keep friends if you can't come out to play & they have to visit you.
I often want to leave, but I both can't & won't because I physically rely on him to get out & about. Whenever I think of leaving I wonder "who will help me cook?" "who will take me to the doctor?" "who will hold me when am all alone?" as I'm often stuck in bed & have no friends or family to call.
It's essentially a huge choice between stuck in my bed, house & illness (mental & physical) or tolerate being yelled at, things broken and mood swings. Even though he is terrible, from experience trying to care for myself alone has been all consuming & overwhelming. So staying with him has been the better of two horrible life paths.
It's easy for people on crisis lines, or who don't know me well to say I need to leave, but then when I ask about my options, they don't really give me anything feasible. I feel so trapped & miserable.
We both know if I were healthy I would leave, sadly & with hope of staying friends in time, but I would have to leave as he is far too disrespectful & taxing on my energy that is already drained.
I just don't know what to do & just think my self into anxious circles. I just feel so lonely & helpless. It's truly embarrassing that my life ended up where I'm in a spot where I feel like my only help is this man. It's sad in every way.

January, 25 2016 at 8:33 am

How do I get through to my daughter a help her to see she married a narcissist, that has emotionally compromised her, and has her believing he is smarter, and that it is her duty to stand by him no matter what he does. (She is currently be held on 4 charges of child porn because of him (he emailed her pics), he is also be held on over 20 charges of making distributing etc. of child porn). They are allowing them to communicate, via letters. His parents, both her lawyers, and anyone else you talk to says he is going away for a long time, he has her thinking he may get out'
She thinks she was a spoiled wife,
He cheated, then convinced her to have an open relationship.
He pressured her into having two abortions, by telling her he would leave, she had to choose.
She gave him most of her pay checks and he would send her to the store almost every night, to get him dinner (mostly steak and shrimp) and then give her a hard time for using the credit card to buy it. This is off the top of my head, and I am praying for some way to help her...

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Kellie Jo Holly
January, 25 2016 at 2:45 pm

There isn't much you can do. Communicate with her attorneys if you can - go in person. I've not heard of battered woman syndrome used to defend against child pornography charges, but that's what attorneys get paid to do - figure out a defense.

January, 7 2016 at 9:27 pm

Thanks Kelly for a fantastic blog. Came across it while looking for info to help my spouse who I thought may have a problem, i.e. bi-polar. Thought if I could just understand maybe I could help her. Somewhere along the line and reading your blog made a light bulb go off and I realised I was in an abusive relationship and it was me that needed the help. That there was probably nothing I could do to help or change her. It was such a relief to know I wasn't crazy and this wasn't normal in a healthy relationship. I loved the blog about the cycle through honeymoon, tension building. Amazing. I had only being trying to explain to her how confused I was about her outbreaks when they appeared to come from no-where. Now I know that it's not really based on just having a bad day, but occurs when she feels she is losing control. I have spoken to family and friends as you advised in your talk about being Isolated. I will now go see some group that help men in abusive relationships and see how that goes but already I am feeling much more positive and strong. Thank you very much for an amazing blog with info that just resonates so much with me.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Kellie Jo Holly
January, 10 2016 at 12:07 pm

John, I am so glad my experience reached through to you. I hope you do find a group that lets you join them - those can be tough for men to find. If you can't find a group, don't let that disillusion you. Call the NDVH when you need to do so (or a hotline in your state if you prefer). Consider attending individual therapy to help you remain clear as to what's happening and receive guidance as to how you can deal with the abuse while you're still living in it.
There's a website that you may find useful. Here's one page from it:…

November, 13 2015 at 2:18 am

Hi Kellie,
I first started learning about verbal abuse from you in 2012. I read Patricia Evans' excellent book "The Verbally Abusive Man: Can He Change?" more than once. It was so helpful!I am so glad to have found and to see you are still committed to your goal of helping others understand verbal abuse.
You said that some women will choose not to leave. Well, that is me. I have worked on it with my husband. He has changed a little, I believe mainly because I set boundaries, but he likes to think there is nothing wrong in the way he relates to me. He wants to be free to be "himself".
It's hard to be in a marriage like this, but I have my own interests and activities, and my self-worth comes from God, my creator. I draw strength from Him daily. And I keep my boundaries in place. My greatest regret is that my son has seen this behavior modeled by his father his whole life. He is 34. He doesn't seem to act like his father, thank God.
I recently went to FL to see my nephew get married. For a whole week, there was no verbal abuse of any kind in my life. How refreshing! But I came home and my husband did it without even realizing it, just being "himself". I refuse to let it shape me anymore.
Keep up your good work, Kellie, and be assured it it valuable.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Kellie Jo Holly
November, 16 2015 at 7:58 am

Thank you so much, Cindy. It is great to hear from you again! I am happy that you have found peace; I hope you continue with the good work you're doing for yourself, too. <3

June, 13 2015 at 1:53 pm

Hi kellie
The past couple months where very tough in my house with an outside stress that did not release my husband was in a bad place. He blamed me for the whole ordeal called me names and raged at me .there where so many ups and downs he never apologies even when I approach him I could be met with anger or he doesn't want to talk about it finally after two months was able to talk to him and he realizes he was wrong but won't get help . I think this has been ongoing in our relationship but this opened my eyes . Now he is acting normal but I don't trust him. He has raged at me in the past and has said hurtful things then we go long periods with nothing . Is that normal? Is that still abuse? I find I forget alot of things from the past but I do remember feeling sad and wanting to leave . Is it normal to forget that stuff and just remember feeling sad. I'm at a cross roads as wether to stay or leave . I have to children 9 and 13 . It's not always bad . Did you find long periods where things were so called normal in your relationship? If he was always his bad self my answer would be so clear but he isn't and that confuses me because he does have good qualities . Any advice appreciated kellie . You are dry inspiring and things that you say connect with me

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Kellie Jo Holly
June, 16 2015 at 3:55 pm

Jenn, your comment is familiar to one I spoke to on my blog the other day.
He realizes it is wrong, but he won't get help. That is a sign that the abuse will continue.
There are sometimes long periods between abusive episodes. Over time, those "honeymoons" get shorter and the abuse gets worse.
Many people DO have very long periods of "quiet time." The problem is that the quiet time is only for the abuser. YOU are just waiting for the next abusive episode to come along. This walking on eggshells and waiting creates anxiety and depression.
I think it would be great for you to talk to your family doctor about depression and anxiety. And although difficult, open up to the doctor about the abuse in your marriage. You never know when you'll need documentation that you sought help for abuse. PLUS, the doctor will be able to better understand your health needs if s/he knows you're living with abuse.
I also think it would be a good idea for you to see a therapist on your own. I don't think there is anything "wrong" with you! Therapy offers an environment for healing and seeing things clearly. (No marriage counseling! It won't work with an abusive partner.)
Before all of that, call the NDVH ( The volunteers are very good about getting to the heart of the matter and can tell you where to find local DV organizations.
Your doubt that this is abuse is natural, too. No one wants to believe it. No one wants to say it out loud. But you have to, as you said, open your eyes to it. Once you accept abuse is there, it is much easier to decide what to do about it.
<3 Be careful.

May, 7 2015 at 3:46 am

I am so grateful I found your site. I am currently in an abusive marriage and have a 2 month old baby with him. I am working on getting an order of protection, a safety plan and a divorce lawyer lined up...all behind his back. Everything is "fine" in his eyes, like we are doing just I have to keep up this attitude like I love him...but love doesn't hurt, love doesn't respect you....

July, 29 2014 at 3:31 pm

Hi Kellie. I was excited to see your blog. I went looking in continued preparation of a support group I will begin next month for abused & battered women. I was married for 31 years. It wasn't until I left & began counseling that I was aware that I had lived all those years in verbal abuse. I left the evening he tried to take my life. I am not one to stay around for the physical abuse. I have an awesome testimony to share. I left on that Friday & filed for divorce on Monday. That has been 18 months ago. I immediately placed myself in counseling. Getting your self esteem back I believe is the greatest hurdle. I have been so blessed to have awesome women in my life the last 18 months to encourage & support me as I have walked through this. I want others to know that verbal abuse is real and it is so crippling and damaging to ones self esteem. It also leads to physical violence. I would never have believed that had I not experienced it first hand. But I always said a man would only get one time to put his hands on me that way but never would he have that opportunity again. I walked and I haven't looked back! I hope to maybe get to speak one on one with you at some time. I believe it would be beneficial to the path of ministry I am going. I too don't mind speaking out and letting others know that you do not have to remain that there is a way out. There are people who care like us!!!

July, 7 2014 at 11:08 am

I'm a student in high school researching about the cultural and social norms affecting wife battering. I've gone through your website and I can't imagine the hardship you've been through. You're an amazing women, having gone through all that abuse and yet still having the strength to share your story and insight. Thank you for that! I was just wondering if you could possibly help me out with my research assignment and complete a survey relating to cultural and social norms affecting wife battering?
-Thank you!

March, 4 2014 at 1:43 pm

I think this K Holly person has lost a sense of healthy self.

January, 25 2014 at 5:02 am

I need some help. I have no family/friends and am very ill. I can't leave and need to. No social worker will help me, the womans shelter only says "Call the Police" and wont house me as I am sick so no shelter for me and I'm stuck where I live. I want to leave the state. 20yr relationship, very codependent, very good looking and smart, in wheelchair now, most of my organs are not functioningwell, no money or car left. still love him, fighting 24 hours a day for 3 yrs, can lose my vision if continues, no help here from community, not even church, people don't want involvement in, need someone to talk to, to help me, guide me, 3 years of daily hell, please talk to me and help. I just feel like dying everyday. I am scared.

December, 20 2013 at 10:30 am

Thank you for sharing your story in this blog. My wife got involved in a very emotionally abusive affair which we are both recovering from (slowly). I still can't believe she got caught up in a situation like this, and allowed herself to do things she would never do under normal circumstances.

November, 3 2013 at 12:07 pm

Hi Kellie,
My name is Melody and i was in a brief verbally abusive relationship when i was younger. (4 years) i have found your blog and information very helpful. I am writing a fiction book about an abusive relationship geared for young adults and was wondering if i could cite your blog or website for information. Just let me know and thank you for your blog. Reading through it, i see how paralleled my own experience was. i had no idea that what i went through was as intense as it really was until i started doing research. i have come to see how things that i do or say or how my life is now, years later, are a result of my own experience with an abusive relationship. your blog and info has been therapeutic for me. Thank you,

May, 30 2013 at 2:38 pm

It was like I was reading about my life. I try to pre set up life so that nothing will set him off. We have been married 9 years. Anything that ever goes wrong is always my fault. I have been told everything from I'm the worst mistake he has ever made to he wish I was someone else's problem. Then the next day he will be fine like nothing happened. He has refused going to therapy. We do have children. I just shut down every time b/c if I cry I will get cussed out. Am I right to finally understand that although I do have my issues, people still don't deserve to be treated like this...

Old Junior High Friend
May, 27 2013 at 8:16 am

Sorry to read about your struggles. I remember the kittens on Shelbourne. Best regards. I wish you well.

December, 7 2012 at 10:46 am

You made me cry! My name is Casi (pronounced Cassie) by the way. I'm not haughty when I say that I'm proud that I'm a strong person (I think that anyone who survives these things is superhuman) and I have a pretty good head on my shoulders, but in those moments I felt like the lowest and weakest person in the world. Trust me, when I sobbed to my husband about how my ex husband was treating me, I was mad at myself for even letting mt ex make me feel that way and to give him the notion of his control and ultimately his satisfaction. I'm a debater by nature. I don't know how to simply hang up but the more I read of your blog, the more inclined I am to seek outside opinions and all of the words I read and hear remind me that I can do this. Sometimes, however, isolation sneeks up on you. I didn't know I was even doing it until now. I'm blessed to have been led in the path of finding this site.
Thank you so much for wanting to help others. God has blessed you with a heart of compassion and the ability to help others in such an amazing way. I know I'm not the only one who has said this or thinks this about your blog but you (and anyone who comments on here with words of encouragement or who shares their stories) allows for healing on so many levels. As someone equally interested in Psychology and counseling and pursuing post-secondary education pertaining to it, I know how truly beneficial it is to become educated and find people who will support you and remind you of the truth. I suppose being the person in the "mess" makes it a little harder to see the roads I need to take in order to navigate through all of the chaos. Thank you for reminding me of that...because I definitely needed it.

December, 7 2012 at 7:19 am

Hi kellie,
Found you on pinterest and haven't stopped reading your blog. It's like I have woken up after a long long hibernation. Everything in my life seems so good, good job, wonderful 2 kids. But stil there is something amiss. Me and my husband don't get along so well all along till now I felt I am not what he expected after marraige and somehow it's not his fault for the ugly spats we have. Last 10 yrs I have been reacting to everything and now I am tired. Nothing I ever do can make things better. If only I could change myself we could be happy, is what used to go on in my head. After I read your blogs I actually went back to one of the draft email I had in my email box. These are things I had put in the list over the years which I thought if I changed things could get better.
1. Do not raise voice and talk
2. Do not get irritated and talk
3. Do not get angry
4. Do not disagree in public
5. Do not make fun in public
6. Do not chew food with open mouth
7. Do not talk when mouth is full of food
8. Avoid BO or bad breath
9. Do not tell any work, do as much as possible yourself
10. if you get angry or irritated, calmly tell cannot talk right now and walk away
11. When in a group, be a courteous host and do things for yourself last
12. Keep things in house at designated places. Avoid too much clutter
But thank you for everything you are doing, I am so relieved to know its not me, I am not sure what my next steps are, my case is not as extreme to the ones I read here, I am hoping I can salvage something out of it. But for now I don't want to think about all that. I am just relived when I say, hi I am a verbally abused wife and now I know it.
Once again thank you for all the good work which has helped me and thousands others.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Kellie Holly
December, 7 2012 at 4:04 pm

Dear Sherley, thank you for sharing your list. To have earned a spot on the list, I imagine that "something bad" happened that caused you to want to remember "your" transgression. It feels so liberating to know that it's not you! There is a sense of calm after figuring it out, and I hope you enjoy the bit of peace. Learn to recognize the types of verbal abuse so when you hear them you do not spend one second considering if they're true or not. Patricia Evans writes wonderful books on the subject of verbal abuse. Because you mentioned salvaging your relationship, I recommend you read "The Verbally Abusive Man: Can He Change?" as soon as possible. That book will point you in the right direction.
Sherley, please don't compare experiences with others and judge yours "not as bad". All abuse causes the victim to doubt themselves, become weakened versions of who they were (at least for awhile) and suffer feelings of depression, anxiety, and all kinds of horrible thoughts. Underneath it all, our experiences are the same in more ways than they're different. Don't ever punish yourself because you "don't have it as bad" as someone else. It's ALL bad.

December, 6 2012 at 5:08 am

Kelly - I found your site because although I have been abused by my ex husband for several years and have known it, I've never really noticed how much he continuously abuses. The last year that we were married, it was at it's climax and got to the point where he was continuously being physically abusive as well as verbally, especially since he began to be unfaithful. Catching him in the act gave me the courage to leave but I still consistently put up with his verbal abuse because we have two children together. How do you do it?
Currently, he is with the woman that he was cheating on me with and insists that I bring her into our co-parenting relationship and I will not yield to his (or her) wishes. He sees the children every other weekend with limited time in between and blames his strained relationship with the children on me, stating that I'm the reason that they don't respect him and his girlfriend when they are with him. Whenever I try to communicate with him about things, big or small, I try to be as cordial and polite as possible but he always manages to end conversations with me in hostility. He spews out all of his nonsense and then hangs up and leaves me feeling defenseless. I'm just so tired of feeling like I have to explain myself to him, that I have to defend myself against him, and worrying that everytime we talk that he's going to just bring me down.
Because dealing with your ex husband is something that you are going to have to do because of your children together, I want to know how you do it. How do you combat his attacks? My life is affected by all of the stuff that my ex husband says. I feel like it strains my relationship with my husband, my children, and it distorts my perception of myself. I, too, feel as though I am completely lost. I don't even know where to start. Do you have an suggestions? I just want to heal and feel good about myself again.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Kellie Holly
December, 6 2012 at 6:58 pm

C, you hang up first. As soon as he starts, hang up the phone. Better yet, text him and tell him you will no longer speak to him on the phone. Tell him to communicate through either text or email. Let his calls go to voicemail. Be forewarned, this will really tick him off. He relies on his verbal attacks to get what he wants from you. Verbal abusers can't control the conversation if they cannot talk to you.
Send him emails about concerns for the children, schedules, or anything else. Expect his responses to be nasty, especially at first, if he is a true idiot. If he is smart, he'll realize that all electronic communication can be introduced as evidence for things like restraining orders and custody hearings, and your communications should become less drama filled.
He will always blame you for every problem ... you are his enemy because you got away and decided to make decisions for "HIS" kids without him. He has not changed. You made the right choice in leaving him. Now you must sever the cord between the two of you. Yes, you have children together and he will always be on the periphery of your life, but he no longer has the right to live in your head. Being polite doesn't work. Being rude doesn't work. It doesn't work because he is setting the "rules of engagement" and gets to change them at will. Set some boundaries for yourself. Protect yourself from him in every way you can.
The feeling that you must explain yourself to him is a common one. I mean, you spent so long trying to get him to understand you that "explaining yourself" is second nature. This habit may have rolled over into other relationships, too. Don't worry, the habit will disappear if you consistently remind yourself that it is no longer his (or anyone else's) business WHY you do anything. He is no longer entitled to the inner workings of your mind. He blew it. You are entitled to make your own decisions; it is his job to deal with them.
I wrote a post tonight dedicated to you at…. It doesn't address your comment specifically, but I hope you find some value in it. Hang in there, C. It gets easier in time.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

April, 11 2017 at 9:02 am

"Being polite doesn’t work. Being rude doesn’t work. It doesn’t work because he is setting the “rules of engagement” and gets to change them at will. Set some boundaries for yourself. Protect yourself from him in every way you can" I am going to read this over and over again & send it in an email to myself. You sum things up in a nutshell in the most astute way ever. Being polite doesn't work. And this goes for any abusive person. It just doesn't. Thank you for this wisdom. I needed to read exactly this just now. Somehow it's lifted a weight off me so that I can stop trying that method. I wish to God there was a guidebook they would give you when you are about 8 years old. And you'd get an updated one each year. Can you imagine if they trained us in protecting ourselves from abusive/aggressive/jealous people from our childhood? OMG we'd be so much more on guard and checking that our selves, our psyches are protected yet flourishing. I'm email myself ALL of your articles, they are astounding me. THANK YOU.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

April, 11 2017 at 9:04 am

emailing* :)

Ginger Bychoice
November, 14 2012 at 6:27 am

Just want to say thank-you. I am reading this site and just shaking my head. How does an intelligent, confident, outgoing person end up in this? I have been beating myself with that question for the last 11 months. I am finding answers and validation. My relationship was only for a year and a half, but the damage that was caused is HUGE! I managed to get to a women's shelter and have started on the road to healing. I am blessed to have supportive friends who have helped. Again, thank you for this site and telling it like it is, and validation that it happens. I lost a home, a job and my son through this process, however, my son is back and a home and job will work themselves out in time. The most important thing right now is healing and moving forward.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Kellie Holly
November, 16 2012 at 6:35 pm

Ginger, you're asking the wrong question. Abuse can grab up anyone, anytime. It starts so small, then grows so strong BY DESIGN. Do you think that your abuser could have fooled you if he started off acting like he did near the end of your relationship? Heck no. They move slowly, stealthily, sneakily until you are hooked into them one way or another - then they turn.
There is a great book that answers your question more in depth called "Women Who Love Psychopaths" by Sandra Brown M.A. (Site at or purchase it from Ms. Brown looks at the traits that draw us to abusers (and they're not what you think!). As you heal, work on letting go of the self blame, Ginger. It will not serve you well, and it could point you toward another disastrous relationship. I don't want that for you, and I know you don't want it either!
Resume your confident, outgoing personality and remember that through it all, you WERE and ARE intelligent. <3

Cindy Burgess
October, 19 2012 at 2:12 pm

Kellie Jo,
Thank you for sharing. I have been trying to share my struggle with a best friend who also lives with a verbal abuser. She's not so helpful.I'm pretty discouraged right now. I've been enduring verbal abuse my whole married life,36 years.
i don't know what to do next. I sent you a request for a phone call but i had to go out of town for a few days and my email has gone a bit wild! I haven't gotten
any current, so no idea if you tried to contact me. Love to hear from u!!!!

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Kellie Holly
October, 27 2012 at 9:04 am

Cindy, I briefly knew a woman whose husband beat her. I'm afraid we weren't much help to one another either. At the time, I considered her "abused", but not me. I had no idea how to help her other than be a shoulder to cry on, and cry WE did! That's about it. We cried together. Our friendship ended when her husband found out she was spending time at my house. He whisked her away from me. In hindsight, I don't know if we could have helped one another or not because we were not educated on abuse and had no idea what to do. Also, it is no fun to have a friend who only cries with you, so our relationship may have ended naturally anyway.
I got your email - I'll be in touch!

Olga Cordeiro
June, 24 2012 at 11:18 am

Like many of the others, I am also happy to have found this blog. I was married 18 years ago, and have been separated for over one year. During that one year, my true self has been emerging. I have stopped hating myself that I cannot be the image that he has created for me. I used to think there was something wrong with the way I was, but through supportive friends, have found out that I should revel in my uniqueness and not despise it. My children are slowly starting to respect me more, as they learn not to despise me for who I am. It is a long process, but will get better with time. Thank you, Kelly, for sharing your journey.

Leaving An Abusive Relationship | Radio Show Blog
June, 9 2012 at 3:18 pm

[...] Mental Health Radio Show BlogLeaving An Abusive RelationshipPosted on May 28, 2012 by Kellie HollyKellie Jo Holly believes leaving her abusive relationship was the best thing she ever did for [...]

May, 14 2012 at 7:34 am

Hi, I'm so glad I found your blog! It has helped me feel less so alone since I finally left. It's the first blogpost I look for in my favorite feeds everyday. I thought maybe you had quit posting for, since the RSS feed hadn't updated since April 29th, but I clicked on the title and it brought me here, where I saw new posts, and so much great archived info. Thanks for doing this Kellie!

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Kellie Holly
May, 14 2012 at 12:29 pm

Thank you for finding me, blondie! I am happy to do anything I can.

April, 28 2012 at 12:32 am

This support is so comforting to me. It helps to know I am not alone. I relate to so many of your blogs and your insights. Thank you for your courage to help.
Being married to a narcissist verbal/emotional abuser who goes from a good mood to enragement without warning, your experience and sincerity is exactly what I need to survive and try to stay intact. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

January, 26 2011 at 1:51 am

wow--been there, done that. and i can completely relate to what you say about having "lost yourself" out of trying to somehow "become" him--after all, he's never mad at himself (or so it would appear). and the abuse doesn't end with the relationship, it's ongoing. which is why i put as much distance as possible (physical and otherwise) between me and the idiot. not so easy when we still have a 9-year-old child together, but somewhat easier since i've been awarded sole legal custody (meaning i don't need his approval to make decisions for our son).

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Cynthia Marine
March, 14 2019 at 11:24 pm

How did you manage to be awarded sole custody? That’s remarkable and more of us could use your advice!

January, 20 2011 at 12:56 pm

Wow! You just described my last relationship...I read 6 0r 7 books on verbal abuse that couldn't even do that. Except one, read it by myself and then a second time along with my therapist. The second I made notes in it and highlighted so I would remember when we discussed the book ( I even bought her a copy). It is called "The Emotionally Abusive Relationship: How to Stop Being Abused and How to Stop Abusing" by Beverly Engel.

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