Breaking Free of an Abusive Relationship

Posted by in breaking up with grace, dating a dangerous man, dating after divorce | 0 comments

abusive relationshipHi Sandy,

Your article on Dating a Narcissist is spot on.  It’s exactly what I have dealt with 10 years ago with my daughter’s father and in a more recent relationship.  We’ve dated for a year-and-a-half. At first, he was charming and in hot pursuit. But that didn’t last long.  He soon tried to control everything – when I saw him, when we talked.  He would promise to take me to all these wonderful places, but rarely followed through.  I’m embarrassed to say the only consistent part of the relationship was sex.  But, as soon as I start to share feelings, he gets upset and reminds me the “deal” was to not have a serious relationship right now.  Everything is always my fault; I push him away when I talk about serious things, my needs, or share my feelings.  He wants to have fun and “enjoy” what we have. I think I’m in an abusive relationship.

He’s never there for me.  I shared some tough things I am going through, and I got the silent treatment. I’m not sure if he is permanently done with me or if he is backing off only to come back a couple of weeks later as if nothing is wrong.

I know that he is a mess, so why I do feel so hurt, used, and sad?  I’m 50 and should know better.  I want a relationship with a man who will give and not just take.  I am fully aware that I need to move on and ignore him if he comes back.  I’m just tired of wasting my energy on him by feeling hurt and by looking at my phone all the time to see if he has texted. 

Any advice is appreciated! 


Dear Mary,

Your gut tells you that you’re in an abusive relationship. Your head knows what to do about it, but your heart can’t let go so easily. When you’ve been in an emotionally abusive relationship  with a man like your boyfriend, it’s very hard to break free. But you must move on and heal from this pattern of abuse. Otherwise, you’ll be in this cycle for the rest of your life. I’d hate to see you miss out on a relationship with a healthy, loving, wonderful man.

This man treats you like crap, tries to control your every move, and wants to hang onto you as a booty call at his convenience. What would you tell your daughter if you saw her dating a man like this?

I don’t know what your parents’ relationship was like, but women who date abusers often come from homes where ‘normal’ healthy relationships were not modeled. You don’t learn healthy behaviors at home, and what you DO learn is how to sweep abusive comments and behaviors under the rug. You learn to blame yourself for a man’s bad behavior. This is unacceptable, and the abuse needs to end NOW.

How to end an abusive relationship?

Your power is rooted in your self-esteem. Your inner strength is what sets the boundaries for how others treat you.

To reclaim your power, write your boyfriend one last text. Tell him you are done and don’t want him to contact you again. And then unfriend him on Facebook, and delete him from any place where he’s connected to you. No more texting, waiting by the phone, or having him on your radar in any way.

You need to walk away, Mary. Because that’s how you get back your dignity.

Then, take time away from dating and focus on your self. Do things that you love. Get support from your friends and family. Hire a good therapist who can help you build boundaries around abusers and learn to say no to anyone who treats you poorly.

If you’d like to learn how I can support you, please contact me at I’d love to help you believe in your highest self to eventually attract a high quality man who will cherish you as you so deserve.







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