Although I am a divorce coach and mediator I am a big advocate for marriage counseling / coaching and therapy to help improve and salvage a marriage.

Yet when it comes to certain cases I am quite adamant about my feelings, and don’t hide them.  When clients come in and there is a real sign of abuse, I strongly stress the importance to work on an exit strategy and walk away from the relationship.

Why? Because I have seen what abusive relationships can do to people and let’s just say it’s really not pretty.

I have lost some people that crossed my paths; because they were unable to remove themselves and break free from the abuse they experienced and sadly got swept away into a dark troublesome world. What I mean by lost, that they are either no longer themselves and have lost their spark, or their spouses have successfully managed to take them away and cut them off from the people they were once close to.  It’s a terrible tragedy, one that can last many years and often ends in devastating results.

So when do I tell someone to leave?


The painful truth is that in spite all of the awareness, domestic violence is spreading and is destroying the lives of millions of people. The center for Disease Control and Prevention states that on average 24 people per minute are victims of rape, physical violence, or stalking by an intimate partner.  Note that these statistics are only based on survivors of abuse who were willing to share their stories. Sadly, not everyone is a survivor and many people remain silent.

So what constitutes an abusive relationship?

Domestic violence is often more than just physical abuse. It encompasses, sexual, emotional, economic and psychological violence.  Some people have a really hard time identifying the signs of an abusive relationship, especially since the abusers usually use subtle tactics at first to gain power and control. Most of my clients who have been in abusive relationship only recognized the abuse once the abusers hit them, not realizing that the cycle of violence most likely started early on in their relationships.

These victims often beat themselves up for not seeing the signs till they are deeply trapped in the relationship. However, perpetrators tend to be really charming, manipulative and convincing when exerting power and control over their victims, making it difficult for the victim to have proper clarity over what is actually going on.

Last week, after working with one of my clients for a couple of weeks, and trying to get her through the process of getting clarity over why she wanted to leave her husband she said: “but maybe it is ME that is the problem, I mean I must be doing something to trigger his violent outbursts!” After delving deeply into their dynamics and how she feels herself, she was able to slowly start seeing that her husband is indeed a manipulative narcissist who is brilliant at manipulating her and putting her down all the time, all while making her feel that he is in the right and a great husband for putting up with her.  He was so successful in convincing that he successfully managed to control her mind and beliefs about herself.  It will take her some time to heal and truly understand who her husband is a person and what it has done to her, but she will get there.

So how can one protect themselves from falling into an abusive relationship? Here are some common signs of an abusive relationship:

  • Prevents contact and communication with friends and family
  • Controls money and important identification, such as driver’s licenses and passports
  • Causes embarrassment with bad names and put-downs
  • Critical about survivors appearance and/or behavior
  • Attempts to control what partner wears
  • Has unrealistic expectations, like partner being available at all times
  • Threatens to take away or hurt the children
  • Acts like abuse is not a big deal, or denies it’s happening
  • Plays mind games to place blame on the survivor
  • Destroys property or threatens to kill pets
  • Intimidates with guns, knives or other weapons
  • Shoves, slaps, chokes, hits or forces sexual acts
  • Threatens to commit suicide

Often, it can be difficult to identify what types of abuse are and what constitutes each type of abuse. These are some telltale signs of physical, sexual, emotional, economic and psychological abuse:

  • Physical: any use of force that causes pain or injury such as, hitting, slapping, shoving, grabbing, pinching, biting, hair pulling, etc.. This type of abuse also includes the use of weapons, denying a partner medical care or forcing alcohol and/or drug use upon him or her.
  • Sexual: Coercing or attempting to coerce any sexual contact or behavior without consent. Sexual abuse includes, but is certainly not limited to, marital rape, attacks on sexual parts of the body, forcing sex after physical violence has occurred, or treating one in a sexually demeaning manner.
  • Emotional: Any pattern of behavior that causes emotional pain that can include, but is not limited to constant criticism, diminishing one’s abilities, name-calling, being unfaithful, or damaging one’s relationship with his or her children.  Perpetrators may also be emotionally neglectful, such as not expressing feelings or respecting the survivor’s feelings and opinions.
  • Economic: Making or attempting to make an individual financially dependent by maintaining total control over financial resources, withholding one’s access to money, or forbidding one’s attendance at school or employment. Forcing a survivor to use his or her credit to rack up debt is also very common and can present problems in the future when attempting to obtain credit.
  • Psychological: Elements include—but are not limited to—causing fear by intimidation; threatening physical harm to self, partner, children, or partner’s family or friends; destruction of pets and property; and forcing isolation from family, friends, or school and/or work.

This video is truly frightening and a real wake up call to what abused women do in order to cover up abuse. MUST WATCH!

If you or someone you know, is being abused there is help. Please don’t keep silent and reach out to someone.

The Domestic Abuse Hotline: 1800-799-SAFE (7233)  Website:

Don’t hesitate to reach out for support and get a PRIVATE (and free) consultation session with me.

Here is a bonus gift for you, don’t forget to download your free guide on how to avoid the top 10 mistakes you want to avoid during your divorce.



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