Her Story Series: Stages of Abuse

Welcome to Right-On with HFG Happy Families Support Network Inc. (HFG)

HFG is a not-for-profit support group that provides ongoing support to women and children who have experienced abuse

HFG is a free support group for women and children who have experienced abuse, run by women who have experienced abuse

The topic for today is – Stages of Abuse

Today’s conversation is about the stages of abuse from initially meeting someone to the end of the relationship

  • The Courtship (securing the catch)


You meet the greatest guy ever! He is so awesome he makes all your friends jealous

He treats you like a queen. He wants to spend every waking moment with you. He texts, emails and calls you constantly every day

His calls always start with – where are you? What are you doing? Who are you with?

He shows up places & times when not expected, he missed you, wanted to see you, your smile, give you a hug, bring you flowers

1st week – he says he loves you. You’re his soul mate, you should move in together so you’ll never have to say goodbye

He’s never met anyone like you. All other women had baggage, didn’t appreciate his romantic side, took him for granted

All the other women in his life used him and pretended to be someone they weren’t

They used him & hurt him emotionally, physically & financially. He broke up with them. Had to leave everything behind

You are the person he’s been looking for his whole life. Until he met you he had given up on women. But now…let’s get married

You feel happy, lucky, and a bit overwhelmed by the speed at which this very new relationship is moving

You like him. You like the way he worships you. You like the flowers, and think he is so spontaneous

You think too fast, but everyone likes him. He is so charming, does & says all the right things, everyone says you’re so lucky

So you move in together…he moves in with you…

  • The Calm (making sure he’s got you, reeling in the catch)


Everything is so wonderful. He rushes home from work just to make you dinner

He’s so smart. He can talk for hours on so many topics and he’s got such a great sense of humor

He gives you a foot rub when you get home from work just because he knows you are tired

He helps with the chores because you make such a great team

He tells you repeatedly that he doesn’t know what he would do without you

He loves your style, your choice of clothes etc… you look gorgeous

  • The Isolation (first sign of discomfort in the relationship)


Let’s not visit your parents tonight, I didn’t like how they spoke to you last week

Nobody appreciates you the way I do. We need to spend more us time together

I love you. Stay home with me and let’s have a special evening

Your friends are saying mean things about you when you are not there. They don’t really like you

Your friend made a pass at me…I told her I love you. She told me we didn’t have to tell you

He quit his job or got fired. They were all stupid anyway. It was painful working with such stupid people

They are just afraid I would get their jobs so they had to get rid of me. I’m smarter than them

I could tell you all the evil things your friends and family say about you but I don’t want to hurt you like they are doing

I love you so much and I don’t like how your friends and family treat you. You must stop letting people walk all over you

I love you. Let’s move to a different state, province, country, so you can be happy & we can be together

This will be our very special adventure & we can get to know each other better

You don’t really want to move away from your family and friends…and your job…

Your family & friends don’t love you, they think you’re stupid, fat, have an eating disorder, ugly, don’t deserve anything good

They are all just using you. Can’t you see that? I love you

They don’t even call you anymore. Don’t you see if you don’t call them they don’t call you?

You start to feel confused…he’s right, you haven’t gotten any calls in the last 2 months

You start to feel angry with your friends and family. How could they treat you like that?

Maybe you just won’t talk to them…see how they like that

  • First Reveal (first sign of discomfort in the relationship)


You make excuses for things he does and says…that’s just not him. He’s depressed because he can’t find a job

He says mean things to you…for a smart person you have a lot of stupid ideas

Don’t wear that dress, it shows that you are fat…miss Big Lady

The meals after work stops…the foot rubs stop…he no longer helps with chores…that’s your job

He hits super highs and lows and whenever he’s low he’s mean…and it’s always your fault

You try to be invisible and placate to prevent the angry outbursts

He gives you mean pet names…Miss fatty, Big Lady…

When you are out together he tells everyone stories that appear to be intimate but are untrue

You are constantly on PMS, there is no good day of the month. You can’t cook it seems you are trying to poison him

You clean, do laundry, do dishes, and he needs to redo them because you did such a bad job

What would you do without him????? If he doesn’t do everything nothing is done right

You feel uncomfortable, but you smile and pretend all is OK

When you tell him the things he says hurts your feelings…he replies you can’t take a joke…where is your sense of humor

He belittles you in public…don’t you think Miss Fatty over there should stop eating? She’s gained so much weight

You feel hurt but you still make excuses…

  • The Abuse


Then one day…he holds you by the neck and pushes you into a wall. He wakes you up every night to fight…until 5 am

1 hour sleep is all you get every night, even though he knows you have to be at work the next day

He tells you, you can get sleep when you learn how to communicate

He blames you for everything…everything he does to you that’s mean…is your fault

Everything he does that hurts you is also your fault

He tells you that if you knew how to communicate none of this would happen

A line from my past…”we have a lot of uncommunicated communications”…

You hide the bruises…you lose confidence…you try to make it better…you try to do better. Nothing works

You change the way you dress, speak, keep your eyes low, don’t upset him

He takes control of the finances…your pay cheque that is…he’s the man and he knows everything about money

The bills are not paid but the money is finished. He blames you for not having enough money

You get your first eviction notice…the phone gets cut off…the electricity gets cut off…

He goes into a rage…he paid the bills they are all liars…and it is all your fault

  • Making up/Blaming


He tells you how sorry he is for hitting you, for saying mean things…it will never happen again. I love you

But also tells you that if his dinner was on time he wouldn’t get angry, or if the house was clean he wouldn’t get angry

You walk on egg shells when he is around not wanting to do or say something to make him angry

  • Questioning the relationship and wanting change, finding your courage


Years pass with you on this roller coaster. Now you’re only a shell of the person you were when you started this relationship

You decide one day that you would like a different life…one without the fear and hurt…

You want to be the person you remember being before this relationship

You decide to leave…you leave…with many threats and name calling

He tells the children you don’t love them anymore and want to break up the family

He says – if this is your behaviour going forward you will lose the children

CAS will remove you from the house and you will never see them again

He calls CAS. He calls the Police…tells them you are violent and abusive and they need to remove you from the house

Tells you – you better get yourself a good lawyer because I’m going to destroy you

You are afraid but you leave….this should make things better…

  •  Digging deep to stay strong


But there is abuse after you leave…he shows up at your work…you see him outside your new apartment

He tells the children the meanest things about you…not true of course

He tells the children you destroyed the family and if you behave yourself and come back to him things will be better

He tells the children that you tried to hurt them when they were babies and he had to stop you…

You try to keep it together, but you worry that the children may believe what their dad tells them

You cry a lot! You need help! Where to turn!

Possibilities…Open doors! But doors close one after the other. No help. What to do now?

You need money, a lawyer, someone to talk to, a good cry, can’t give up! Where to go for help?

You feel isolated, depressed, what to do? Where to go? Can’t give up!

  • One step at a time. Keep your eyes on your prize…


There is light at the end of the tunnel…there are services and support groups that are there to help you

Don’t give up…you can do this. You are strong and beautiful and resourceful

Allow yourself to cry…then dust yourself off and hold your head up and take one step at a time to repair your life

Join the conversation. Email your stories, comments and questions to right-on@hfgfamilies.com

Thanks for joining Right-On with HFG

We look forward to seeing you on Wednesday January 21, 2015 for our weekly Right-On conversation

The topic for next week is – Her Story Series – featuring the stories of women who’ve left abusive relationships

If you would like your story featured in the Her Story Series please email your story to Leonie Segall at right-on@hfgfamilies.com

If you would like more information on the HFG support group please email info@hfgfamilies.com

Have a great day! HFG Hugs!!

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