When domestic abuse is brought up, it’s understandable to think of abusive men and suffering women. While we don’t want to downplay the absolute horror that many women go through in these relationships, it’s important to acknowledge situations where the roles are reversed.
Here are some stories that brave Redditors shared about how they got out of their abusive relationships. If you or a loved one seems to be in a similar situation to those in this article, please seek help. Abuse, emotional or physical, should never be tolerated no matter what your situation is.
Source at the end of the article. Comments edited for clarity.
I dated this girl for over a year because I just couldn’t figure out how to get rid of her. She was insanely jealous and any discussion of my unhappiness in our relationship just brought accusations of cheating. These inevitably let to punching and kicking. I never really felt like I could fight back. Any action to defend myself would probably have ended with me getting arrested. She was much smaller than me, so most police would most likely take her side. I was trapped.
Eventually her father came to visit. The first time he and I were alone together, he immediately asked if I was “OK”. He said he knew how she could be. This confused me at first. I barely knew him and didn’t know if I could trust him. Just told him everything was fine (it had been for a few weeks). He stayed a few days and by the end of his visit I could see he was just a cool dude who knew his daughter had issues.
A couple months later I reached my breaking point. I was miserable. I just wanted her out of my life. I looked in her address book for his number and called. I told him I couldn’t take it anymore and was trapped unless I defended myself with physical force. He sighed and said “Can you hang on till Thursday?”. He told me he’d make the 8 hour drive to my house if I could wait a few days.
On Thursday afternoon we were standing in the kitchen when there was a knock on the door. She answered, surprised to see her dad.
“What are you doing here dad?”
He just shrugged and stared at me. I blurted it out.
“I’m breaking up with you! We’re done!”
She charged at me with clenched fists, but he was ready. He grabbed her from behind and put her in a “full-nelson” hold. She was dragged like this across my driveway and thrown into the backseat of his car. The last time I saw her she was trying to kick out his rear window as he drove away.
There’s a good possibility I may owe my life to that dude. I feel really bad for him. She was otherwise a wonderful person, but if she lost her temper…look out. Hopefully she found help.
She pushed me to the point where I just stopped doing anything that made me happy. I was beyond depressed. Still kind of bounces back and forth depending on the day but it was bad. One day she started an argument and “jokingly” asked when I would move out. I told her by the end of the week. There it is.
I would classify my ex as an emotionally abusive and manipulative person. This culminated in her cheating on me, denying it when I found out, and then trickle-truthing me and our group therapist for months.
I eventually decided that I had gained everything I could from our group sessions and ended all contact with her. I blocked her everywhere.
Months later, she contacted me through Gchat of all things, saying that she had information that affected my health and that I would “suffer the consequences” if I did not reply. I did, and was told a few things
-She allegedly had Hepatitis C (doubtful, really, since it is so rare to get from hospitals)
-She had seen our therapist, who now totally agreed that I was at fault (a lie, since I had seen her only a week before for an individual session and she mentioned having not seen my ex in months)
-She was now seeing two (!?) other therapists that both agreed that I was a villain (whatever)
After our conversation, during which I told her that I thought she was a dangerous person for me to be around, she contacted many mutual friends on Facebook and told them that I was “unsupportive during her time of need”. Several of them, mostly those who only knew me as her boyfriend, unfriended me. No big loss.
I got tested for STDs just in case, was found clean, and haven’t heard from her since.
More on the next page.
She told me she wanted a divorce on Christmas day 1999. She threw me out NYE 1999. Her new lover stayed the night and she slept with him in my bed.
I was a Y2K engineer, and had to work the next day. I couldn’t skip work so I just sucked it up.
Ex was a ‘fighter’. In other words, her emotional response to pretty much anything was to get pissed off and pick an argument.
All of the following happened, some several times… Had a bad day at work, pick a fight about dinner. Flight was delayed, here comes an argument over text. Didn’t like the music playing in the gym, started an argument with me.
Let that sink in. She didn’t like the music in a public place so she dragged me into an argument. She loved to debate and would pick apart not just every word I said but the inflection in every word. The arguments could be about anything. She was a master at finding a single minor detail and then picking at the edges of it until she worked herself into a rage and blew up.
It finally got too much when I was having anxiety attacks and developing hand tremors. I was trying to think all the way through conversations before they happened so that I wouldn’t say anything to set her off. It was like a switch flipping when it went.
One minute I was grovelling and trying to talk my way out of another argument, the next I just calmly said, “Enough is enough. I can’t do this anymore.” and hung up the phone. Haven’t spoken to her since.
My sister’s partner was abused by his girlfriend for 10 years, the only reason he left was because two of his friends literally kidnapped him to save his life. She nearly killed him twice, once by breaking a marble chopping board in his head. She also tried to castrate him with a knife once.
His friends took him out to the country and while he didn’t get over it, he realised he could survive on his own.
He has PTSD, depression and his epilepsy had gotten worse over the years (probably because of the head injuries he sustained from her). We’ve been slowly supporting him to break the conditioning she left him with, he will apologise for anything even if it isn’t his doing. He has improved over the years I’ve known him and he has supported my sister greatly after she lost her husband. She cherishes him for his utter selflessness, loving nature & the joy he takes in being loved without cruelty.
Be happy and loved by someone who truly deserves you.
I went to jail for it. She bit my face and clawed my arms (both drawing blood), and the cops were called. She was taken away, but I ended up being charged a few days later because she was smaller than me. I got an awful lawyer and had to take a plea. Spent 5 days in jail after a tour in Afghanistan.
After that I moved home with my parents, restarted at a community college, ended up with my B.A., and later on, an M.Ed., and moved to a new state.
My life is great now. Wish I’d known how to get out of that sooner…and with less damage.
More on the next page.
I asked her to stop. She told me she has the right to beat me. I said that was it.
Next morning, she started again. She was arrested and took a plea deal. I never looked back.
My first girlfriend was wicked abusive. I tried to break up with her after a few weeks and she cut herself in front of me to prove how much she loved me. I was 15 and terrified. We ended up dating 2 years because she would threaten suicide and I was not in a good place financially. I was homeless for a few months and she tried to make me depend on her non-stop. When I finally broke it off I just cut all contact. She had moved schools the week prior.
She stalked me for years after and told people I had raped her even though we never did anything but kiss. I lost a lot of friends because of her lies. The last time I had “contact” with her was when I was in Iraq and my mother just died. She sent me a message on FaceBook saying condolences for my mom. I didn’t even know she passed yet. She even sent flowers to her funeral. She terrifies me.
I lucked out, she broke into my house and attempted to steal my dogs, smashing a bunch of family heirlooms.
Cops were called, and since her mailing address was still at my residence, they couldn’t compel her to leave and it wasn’t technically breaking and entering.
The cop had his floodlight on us, and she (like many times before) lost it and began punching me in the face. They then gave me an order of no trespass, meaning she was barred from the property for 1 year.
I insisted on divorce after years of attempted couples therapy. We were together for 15 years and unhappy for at least half of it off and on like a rollercoaster. I tried way too hard to make it work-out of pride and embarrassment. She was abusive, unfaithful, emotionally unstable, a financial burden, and just the worst. I filed everything pro se, gave her 40k, and absorbed 9k of her debt in exchange for my freedom. No kids involved, but I lost the dog. The latter is what hurt me the most when all was done.
It was so worth it, and I only wish I had abandoned the sinking ship years earlier. Life is too short. 3 years later, I’m happier now than ever with a great dog, financial freedom, supportive friends and a wonderful family.
More on the next page.
After ten years, I started setting and holding boundaries and gave myself a bottom line for what kind of treatment I would and would not accept. Largely thanks to advice from my therapist and some really good friends.
She started sensing that she no longer had control over me and made a big show about moving out to try and get me back under her thumb.
I just continued holding my boundaries and bottom line, which further enraged her. She caused a huge dramatic scene by coming over in the middle of the night demanding to take the dog.
I changed the locks, the garage code, the Netflix password, kicked her off the google play family plan, made a therapy appointment and scheduled a meeting with a lawyer to get my options.
Armed with this new information I told her I was done and that she could lawyer up if she wanted to but that I was willing to pay as much as it took to make sure I was out.
That was a month ago and I’ve never felt better.
If you hear a little voice inside you saying to get out, let it take over. Become your own advocate, get your life back.
Luckily she moved three hours away. I broke up with her right before she was leaving for the weekend to look at apartments in her new city.
I was told to break up with her in a public place but I caved when she insisted on coming in. That was, of course, a huge mistake. She wouldn’t accept that I was serious about dumping her and wouldn’t leave, saying that she had a headache and it wasn’t safe for her to drive home. She spent the rest of the night trying every manipulative trick she had to win me back, even telling me that she loved me for the first time. I gave her a noncommittal “We’ll see…” which was enough to get her out of my apartment the next morning.
Once she left, I went no-contact and stopped replying to her messages.
My epiphany involved a 5lb bag of carrots that I knew would go bad before I could use them all. I realized I couldn’t save the carrots, I couldn’t save my partner, but I could still save myself if I left right then. Followed by a long, messy breakup and chills every time I see someone with similar physical traits as my ex.
I was with the mother of my kids for 6 years.
She slapped me, threatened me and slapped many of her friends. She got into a fight with my much larger brother and messed up his nose. She was mentally abusive. I just stayed because of my kids (which I know is wrong).
I was always thinking she was cheating on me and caught her a few times lying about who she was with and whether she was at work or not (out of 6 years, she worked maybe 3 while I supported her and our kids). Turns out I was right, she had been cheating for almost the entire time.
I have to get a DNA test for my daughter. She also gave me two STIs that I had to clear up. What broke the last straw was the second STI. She admitted to sleeping with 8 people, but I found out 2 more she didn’t admit to.
Unfortunately I have to deal with her for the rest of my life because kids.
More on the next page.
She was mentally unwell (depression, anxiety, panic disorder) and started getting very verbally and emotionally abusive and manipulative. I tried being understanding, supportive, logical, calm-every rational response you could think of, because I knew most or all of this was her illness manifesting itself against the only target she had. (She was depressed enough that she hardly left the apartment. I was the only other person she’d see for weeks at a time.)
Anyways, the stress got to me eventually and we started getting into screaming matches basically every night. We were miserable. So I suggested a trial separation. She refused for another month or so before she agreed that it was a good idea and that maybe we needed time away from each other. So she left the apartment and went to stay with her friend.
A week or two later she sent me a text telling me that she was going to be sending me some papers to sign.
Left my job, home, and her on the same day and moved at least a few hundred miles away.
She gently and quietly shook me awake at 3am.
As my eyes slowly opened they were greeted with a full blast of pepper spray.
What?!?! I threw her off of me and stumbled to the bathroom. I stood under the shower with my eyelids held open until dawn.
This was the straw that broke the camel’s back. The culmination of 6 years of progressively worse abuse. I knew at that moment if I didn’t do something I would end up dead or in prison. I tried to make it work but her mental issues were progressing. She claimed that night that I was dreaming of being with another woman. Was I talking in my sleep? Nope. She could tell by the look on my sleeping face.
I was moved out by noon that day. Never looked back. There was nothing I could do to help her as I was the “enemy” in her mind. I still remember feeling defeated as I loaded the truck, I felt like I was giving up on something I could correct. It took quite some time to realize there was nothing I could do.
A divorce, no visitation rights (me), a stab wound(me), $100K alimony (me to her), and 15 years of child support to my abuser. Oh and an arrest record (me).
More on the next page.
She was an active alcoholic/addict with un-diagnosed Borderline Personality Disorder. We had been together about 10 years in a toxic relationship. She was manipulative and emotionally abusive. I was no saint, either. Then she started getting physical, and that was when I had a moment of clarity. She was trying to wrestle my debit card away from me so she could go buy more liquor and I realized if I kept going on with her, things would get worse physically and I would be the one going to jail.
So, I threw some stuff in a bag and left for my dad’s house. I ended up staying there for about a month while she spiralled further out of control. Eventually, she agreed to get help and spent a week in a detox and I was able to move back home.
I got sober as a result, and with a lot of help from family, friends, and things I don’t understand, have stayed sober since. After detox she spent about 3 months in a recovery house. Sadly, it didn’t take and she continued to drink and use, but I couldn’t let her go. We dated off an on during the times she could stay sober.
She moved back in with me about 2 years after I first left. History repeated itself and about 18 months later I had to head back over to my dad’s house because she was getting worse and more physical than ever. Just over a month later, she went away to a recovery community for around 9 months. She managed to get to a year of sobriety, and we went out a few times, but she was still manipulative and started playing me off other guys. The she relapsed. I cut it off and went no contact. She would ping me ever 6 months or so, but we never engaged again.
Overall, the relationship devoured over 17 years of my life, and I’m still not completely over it. She died of a heroin overdose about 6 months ago.
She ended up cheating on me after 2.5 years of dating and got pregnant. Found out via paternity test…it doesn’t bother me anymore/as much as it did.
My husband’s first wife was emotionally and physically abusive, but he never knew until he and I became friends. I went to pop him on the shoulder once, he has a thing for dad jokes- annoys me to no end, but I love him- and he flinched like I was ready to go freakin’ Rocky on him. Later, he said something insignificant and kinda ticked me off; he told me if I wanted to slap him, I could.
I dragged her out of his own house; packed a quick bag for him and put him in a hotel until she was COMPLETELY moved out of the house. We then changed the locks and brought over my 80+ pound dog.
It’s so heartbreaking when you didn’t even notice something was wrong.