This book chronicles the sorrows and joys that Kellie experienced when she left her abusive marriage. Did she heal herself in the end? Or had the abuse changed her forever?Book Excerpt

I’ve been told that I don’t admit my faults, that I am verbally abusive, that I am physically abusive. These are ideas I’ve struggled with myself. … More than once. Will says that I’m not honest because I do not tell the other side of the story; I do not tell of how I’ve hurt anyone else and him in particular.

The problem with listing all my faults at this point is that I am only now realizing how my actions contributed to the abuse in my marriage. So the following list is not intended to list every single time I was wrong in my marriage, nor give an example of every single WAY in which I was wrong. I am trying very hard to face up to my actions, and I am working very hard to not make the same mistakes I made in the past. I am trying to change, and I am changing.

I did the best I could with what I knew at the time, and now that I know a better way, I’ll do it differently. The point is that I have faults, and I know it. This list is my admission of some of my “wrongs” as a survivor of domestic violence and abuse.

I was wrong. How many times do I have to say it?Anyway, here we go:

  • Recently Will reminded of the time I threw keys. I did throw the keys and fortunately I missed because if I’d hit the target someone may have gotten a bump on the back of his head. And I don’t mean that lightly; if you’ve ever caught a set of keys that you wished you’d let fall, you know the pain. I was wrong for throwing the keys whether they hit him or not.
  • I was wrong for throwing the dish towels, too. Not because they hurt anyone but because I was throwing a childish fit and allowed my anger to spill out into physical action. I was also wrong for slamming doors in anger.
  • I was wrong for slapping him last year. It doesn’t matter why he said it or even what he said. I was wrong for slapping his face.
  • I was wrong for calling him a bastard and an asshole, and labeling him in other ways. It’s not my place to tell him who he is or to expect him to accept it.
  • I was wrong for saying things just to hurt him. And for many other times I tried to hurt him. These things make me feel worse than others, and I wonder why I don’t feel as badly about slapping his face as I do about intentionally hurting him emotionally. If physical abuse is punishable by law, then why do I not feel worse about putting my hands on him than anything else?
  • I was wrong for telling him that I hated him.
  • I was wrong for nagging and for not being able to forget anything.
  • I was wrong for partying when I should have been a better mom and wife.
  • I was wrong for being angry and bitter.
  • I was wrong for being arrogant.
  • I was wrong for yelling at people who were trying to help.
  • I was wrong for communicating in passive-aggressive ways.
  • I was wrong for many other things that I haven’t given examples of on this page because I haven’t (yet) found examples of them included on this site. I made the list to illustrate the point that I am not trying to glorify myself as compared to Will.
  • I am very sorry for all the bad things I did, all the times I knew I was wrong soon after committing the offense and all the times when I look back and see where I was wrong but didn’t know it then. I am very sorry for the ways I contributed to this nightmare, and the ways in which I hurt Will.

I know this blog also hurts Will; I feel conflicted over whether to continue writing it, whether to erase it from the web. I also know this blog helps many other people. You tell me so. This blog is validation for others experiencing abuse, and a peek into the abusive cycle for people who are not a part of one. For the latter group, I think THEY would more easily recognize my faults and what I’ve “done” more clearly than I can.

I know writing this blog, chronicling my experience, has been my saving grace through the past year and a half. Without it, I would be more likely to gloss over and try to ignore the events and pain I’ve experienced. I may not have had the strength to leave the night I left if I didn’t have a record of my truth to check.

I’m torn. If you were to ask Will, erasing this blog and all memory of it is the right thing to do. I’m not so certain – it would certainly be right to him but would deleting it be right?

I went to the court-house today and registered two business names, “Kellie Real-Surname” doing business as “Kellie Jo Holly” and “Verbal Abuse Journals.” I figure between the two DBA’s,  I can completely eradicate my given name from any Internet searches including Whois so far as this website. It will take some time, but any online hint of who I am will disappear.

I am also going to go back and comb over the site looking for pictures and removing them or making the people in them unrecognizable. I thought I had done them all already, but while looking through to complete my list, I found a couple that need to disappear. I’ll be doing that promptly.

Doing those things is, I know, an unacceptable compromise for Will. But I am not sure that deleting everything is an acceptable compromise for me.

Please don’t respond to this blog saying, “But Kellie, you were justified” or “You were in the middle of a horrible situation!” or any such platitude. I did what I did. I want to feel ashamed so I can remember to never do those things again; I want feel ashamed so I can begin to put this horrible situation behind me, and so I can move on in strength and in harmony with my true nature.

Admitting wrong-doing doesn’t suck. I think if I sat in denial of my own wrongs, then that would suck the life out of me, eventually sculpting me into a bitter, lonely, mean-spirited blamer. And I didn’t try to bring change to my marriage to become THAT.


Notes from 7/25/2014, about four years after writing this post: Some of my “wrongs” were not technically wrongs. For example, apologizing for partying when I should have been a better wife and mother is a response to his charge of such. I am a “good mother” and have always been so. A definition of a “bad wife” is in the eye of the beholder. I would not apologize for being a “bad wife” today. I acted and reacted in ways I felt preserved both my sanity and my soul.

I was very bitter. I was turning into someone I didn’t like and didn’t recognize. I am sorry that I regressed to acting like him thinking I could fight fire with fire. I am sorry I acted in ways I would no longer accept from myself (or my significant other).

I now try very hard to be loving and soft, and I choose to calm myself before arguments get out of hand. I control my anger now instead of merely reacting to someone else’s anger. I am sorry I acted in most of the ways I described four years ago. At the same time, I beg you to understand that abuse victims lose their sense of self and begin reacting to the abuser and others in uncharacteristic ways – partly because a passionate reaction protects us in some instances and partly because it’s what we’ve become accustomed to doing.

Despite the pain endured during my marriage, I am no longer angry with my ex-husband. More importantly, I am no longer angry with myself.

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About Kellie Jo Holly

Kellie Jo Holly passionately advocates against domestic violence through her writing and mentoring service. She loves helping women cope with abuse while in the relationship and supporting them as they leave the relationship and begin to heal. You can also find Kellie on Google+, Facebook and Twitter. You can buy her books from Amazon.


  1. I understand what you are doing. (The 12 step relation.) HOWEVER – don’t let this get too far in your mind.

    You asked that we not comment things like “But Kellie, you were justified” or “You were in the middle of a horrible situation!”. You said that for a reason. You know they are true; but you are also trying to figure out exactly where you stand in the whole situation.

    Please don’t deny yourself the courtesy of realizing you were ultimately REACTING. EVEN if you were the one to start the offense.

    About your blog. I swear. Don’t let Will (or anybody else) convince you to take it down. That blows me away. You are speaking the truth on here. You are using it to work your way through a horrible life situation. You DESERVE this; and so does anybody else who reads it in order to have realizations in their own lives. If it “embarrasses” him – he shouldn’t acted in the way that he has.

    By Will telling you that it is an embarrassment – it is another form of manipulation. If HE were actually working through this problem, he would realize that he has to own up to his actions. He is not doing that. He wants them gone.

    If YOU don’t want to continue on, I will. I will write about being the sister of a woman who endures this abuse and manipulation. Your story MUST be told. It will be much, much better coming from you. You are on a life path here, Kellie. Keep it up, and don’t feel the least bit guilty. After all, you are just presenting the truth.

    (Good job on registering those business names BTW!)

    In the spirit of the first half of your post… I am biting my tongue, or tying my fingers, when I say the following. Just remember:


    I love you. You are a wonderful person; and you are doing the right thing here.

  2. keepsmiling says:

    I think yourself and will are both very strong characters, and have strong differences of opinions and could both be seen as stubborn and wanting to be right, you are like chalk and cheese, bring this together in a marriage then kaboom you will have problems of control within the dynamics of the marriage.

    When two people in a marriage are very head strong, one of them has to lay down the sword and admit to some of the wrongs they may have contributed to the build up of problems within the marriage, well done you have admitted you have made mistakes now maybe will can admit some of his.

    Also nobody in the world is perfect, we all make mistakes because we are human with human emotions and sometimes say things we dont mean, words said in the heat of the moment are not always meant it is a defence mechanism, or born from frustration to get a reaction, so dont over analyse things said in arguments.

    • Um, I admitted these things from the beginning of this website. If you follow the links, you will see that the faults I mentioned were posted back in late December of 2008 when the site went “live”.

      One of the problems in an abusive relationship is that when the “victim” admits fault, the “abuser” uses that intimate information against her (or him, whichever). For example, when I told my husband I was depressed and sought help back in 1998(?), he used my depression as a point of entry for attacks. Recently, when I told him I was learning about codependency and trying to change, he started telling me all of my problems were because there was “something wrong” with me and “you admit it”. My apologies are accepted and used as ammo later; he does not apologize to me.

      You see, it is very easy for me to admit fault (when I see it!). It is easy for me to apologize when I know I’ve been wrong. There is no “NEW” laying down of the sword in this post. I’ve done this type of thing consistently throughout my marriage and the other facets of my life, too.

      There is no way that this post will somehow cause Will to magically change and stop attacking me. He will use this post as he’s used all of my other apologies; maybe he will pause briefly to grab a bigger sword because I’m weakened (in his eyes) and he can take the opportunity to arm himself more fully.

      Keepsmiling, are you involved in an abusive relationship or do you know someone who is?

  3. I have to agree with Erin…on all that she said.

    May I also add that in reflecting in my own situation, being it is what it is, that I am finding in being immersed in such a life that this insideous “disease” leaks into all aspects of life. I find that many of my “wrong-doings” are due to reacting to the life I have been living, reacting to the reactions of those around me, and hence, my children are beginning to do the same. I can admit to many of the same wrongs you have, and possibly thousands more. No, we in these situations are not innocent, but it is important to note that we do wrong and to figure out why. For me, I was not always this person that I am now. I know what because I have spoken with several people who knew me way before I was sucked into this life. And I’ve been reminded that these “wrongs” are not ME; I’m still me deep down inside. I’m sure you are finding the same.

    And the blog, keep it Kellie. This has become bigger than you and Will. It is a living breathing thing that inspires, validates, and is truly helping hundreds of women…if not more.

  4. quietone says:

    kellie – you are very right that the abuser will use the victims acknowledgment of responsibility / fault agains them. I have experienced that time and time again.
    I urge you to NOT take down this blog.
    You discuss and demonstrate the varied and twisted paths of an abusive relationship so well. There is much for other abuse “victims” to learn here.
    I am sorry Will feels threatened by this site. But you can not allow his feelings on the matter to sway you.
    I seem to recall the need to always fix and please as a contributing factor to the abuse in your marriage.
    I believe if you allow Will to persuade you to take down the blog it will be for these reasons.
    You are not intentionally out to hurt him.
    Your blog is not directly tied to him. If he is hurt by your blog, he should stop reading it.

  5. Familiar feelings. Guilt, shame, regret, beating oneself up about lashing out in anger, even when that anger was provoked and even enjoyed (it served to prove the abuser’s false point).

  6. Thank you! Reading this (and the rest of your blog) is helping me sooo much. Im in an abusive relationship. We seem to have the same “faults “. My husband also uses my faults to his advantage… Especially if I admit to them. One is yelling. He has been yelling at me for years until I yelled back and admitted it was wrong. Now he will push me to the point I get frustrated and yell. Then sit calmly calling me hysterical…

What do you think? Tell us!