Rules for Abusive Relationships Suck

There are rules for abusive relationships - for the victims anyway. It's hard to keep up with them all. Read some rules for abusive relationships here.There are SO MANY rules for abusive relationships. I can’t help but forget them and screw up sometimes. It doesn’t help that my abuser changes the rules without telling me. It’s impossible to keep up with all the abusive relationship rules, but here are some of them that I live by to keep the peace. Kind of.

‘I Can’ Rules for Abusive Relationships

  • I can pay the bills. However, if the amount due varies by more than $5.00 from the previous month, he reserves the right to tell me I don’t know what I’m doing. (Financial abuse creates incomprehensible rules for abusive relationships.)
  • I can wear low-cut dresses when we go out. But he can complain after we’ve left the house because those are his boobies (Possessiveness creates rules in abusive relationships.)
  • I can cause his unhappiness. To that end, his happiness will return when I give up this stupid idea that what he does and says is abusive. The opinions of doctors and authors and counselors can sway my opinion too easily. Besides, They only want his money anyway. (Accusing and blaming anyone but him or herself for abusing you is one abusive relationship rule you’ll have to accept.)
  • I can say that he is a chauvinist. He is that way because it’s how his mother raised him. Plus, I knew it when I married him. (Nevermind that he pretended to be someone else until after we married.)
  • I can say I’m a great mother. You see, he trained me to act like his mother. Oh wait – no, I can’t always say I’m a great mother because sometimes I ruin his training with my screwed up thinking.

Rules for Abusive Relationships

‘I Cannot’ Rules for Abusive Relationships

  • I cannot disassemble any appliance to fix it or to assemble a prefabricated piece of furniture because he is the man and only he can do those things correctly. (Telling you what you can and can’t do is the basis of abusive relationship rules.)
  • I cannot complain about his drinking. I’m a hypocrite if I complain about his chosen vice because I take prescription pills for depression and PTSD. Additionally, my medication clouds my perception of reality, and he is tired of dealing with it. (Alcoholism or drug abuse is never the cause of abuse, but it does free inhibitions, allowing the abuser to act like more of whom he or she truly is. And remember that prescription medication taken properly is NEVER a vice.)
  • I cannot choose kitchen appliances because only he knows if the store is ripping us off or not. (Trivializing my ability is a sign of verbal abuse in abusive relationships.)
  • I cannot touch any guy except for his best friend, his father, and our children. If I talk to another man, he’d better be a service person, store clerk, or one of the boys’ teachers. (Jealousy underlies many rules for abusive relationships)
  • I cannot decide what is in the best interests of our children. We may not attend counseling or therapy. And we cannot share with strangers the goings-on of our family. (Secrecy is the rule for abusive relationships.) I cannot make any more decisions before checking with him, especially when my irrational thinking affects our boys. Therefore, if I make any more decisions without him, he is going to risk his career for early R&R leave. That way, he can come home and straighten things out before I make them worse.


Crazy making is a huge part of domestic abuse. All of the above rules are examples of crazy making! What are the rules you live by in your abusive relationships?

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  1. Lisette Johnson says:

    I was not allowed to initiate sex. If I initiated sex, I was a slut or whore and he would refuse. ONLY HE COULD INITIATE SEX. If I commented on a friend’s nice dress or that she looked really good I was a lesbian and wanted to have sex with her.

  2. I think the one that annoys me the most is that I am allowed so little input on what goes on in our house because according to him…it’s his GD house and he says so. Not my house, even though we’re married and I’ve been with him over 20 years. Other rules : Crying doesn’t help anything, do something else for him no matter how tired I am, if he says so that’s the way it is.

  3. You’re not the only idiot in the world, my dear. I can’t IMAGINE how I manage to even cross a street without his telling me when, where, and how.

    Every thought I express, explanation I offer, and / or observation I make is WRONG.

    Sometimes I get reckless, or maybe it’s brave or just foolish, and in the middle of being harangued about yet another whatever-it-was about which I don’t know Jack, I look at him and say,

    “(His name), the sky is blue.”

    So far he hasn’t argued about that, but I am always surprised when he doesn’t.

    Every time I do a thing like that, the song “Flirtin’ With Disaster” runs through my head.I don’t know what it’s like in other places, but where I come from, the police won’t even show up for “just” verbal abuse. If I had a black eye, I could get help all day long from dozens of places.

    Any mistreatment of, or rudeness toward, me by others is, variously and / or severally:

    1. Their right to act how they want and not have to conform to my stupid manners thing;
    2. My over-sensitivity and / or Rich-Girl Expectations;

    OR — and THIS one is his perpetual go-to —

    3. ALL IN MY MIND.

    I regularly get reminded of painful and stupid mistakes I made in my life, usually ones that took place before he and I even met! It doesn’t matter whether a thing happened twenty-five years ago or twenty-five minutes ago: If there’s a way to abase, hurt, or — his favourite — HUMILIATE me by throwing it in my face, he will find and exploit it to the bitter end.

    I only just recently saw “Gaslight” for the first time ever. It was so painful that I really thought I wouldn’t get through it, but I did. I had to keep pausing it and taking breaks, though. In the end, it actually made me feel better, because it gave me some OMG VALIDATION!

    Remember that?

    • You know, you kinda have to laugh when they try to debase you for “having manners”! I’ve never heard the rich-girl expectations thing, but it does play nicely with “you’re too sensitive!” and, OMG, everything was always “all in your head, Kellie! You make shit up all the time!” I asked my ex to be polite – that’s all I wanted from him. A certain level of dignity to our discussions. But he wouldn’t allow it – he had to win. Silly me, I didn’t know we were competing until the last year we were together!

      Validation for our suffering is so RELIEVING! It hurts, but then it feels so much better because we know we are not the crazy psycho bitches they want us to think we are. The nerve.

      You know, every service I’ve spoken with in NC recognizes verbal abuse and emotional manipulation as domestic abuse. No, the cops may not give a flying f about it, but you can go to support group meetings and find some options and counseling. The stories you hear in the group will sound similar to yours. Many of them have escalated to physical violence. Don’t let the cops be the judge of whether you’re in danger. You get to decide when enough is enough.

  4. I have always heard him wrong, he didn’t mean it *that* way, everything is MY fault (he once accused me of making it rain!!).

    When he walks through the door at 14:30 every day I must:

    Not be on the phone.
    Come out to greet him in a cheery manner no matter what I am doing (God forbid I am not home!)
    His food must be cooked, served and cool enough so he can eat it immediately! God forbid it is still in the pot with a few minutes of cooking to go.
    He must always take a nap because he “works hard”. I am not allowed to nap while he is home.
    When he is sick he is SICK and about to die. He takes time off work and expects me to be his nurse.
    When I am sick, I should take a cold and flu pill and stop whining because I have work to do.
    I must buy him everything he asks of me and also give him pocket money even though he works two jobs “to support us”. We never see a dime from “his” money.
    What is his, is his only. What is mine, it is ours and he has free reign over it.

  5. This is such a comforting find!

    I’m four months out of my abusive relationship. I moved to Australia to be with him and he had me completely isolated. I had no friends outside of who we knew mutually. I worked in low-paying, demeaning jobs and was studying part-time and expected to keep the house spotless. He did nothing.

    He came home, cracked a beer and sat on the playstation playing Ashes cricket or WII sports, because the little dear needed his “wind down” time. It’s not like I ever worked hard enough to be tired.. And he would put away at least 12 beers a night. And he smoked like a chimney. And he felt after a day of driving a truck and smoking all night, a shower could be optional. Even if I asked him, nicely, to shower before getting into bed with me, he’d go sleep in the spare room. After I cooked and cleaned up.

    He always told me how fat and ugly I was. I picked up 30kg out of sheer misery. I was always unfavourably compared to other women. His impotence was the result of how ugly I was and how unnattracted he was to me. I was at fault because he couldn’t get it up.

    Oh, and I’m an intellectual cripple, despite having a degree, 2 teaching qualifiactions and being a qualified journalist. Thank goodness I had him around to lecture me on South African politics – all my life in the country and growing up during apartheid didn’t teach me anything at all. Thank goodness for an opinionated Australian who’d been to Cape Town on a holiday once.

    I snapped when he started getting physically agressive. I’d had enough of waking up with bruises on my upper arms where he’d grabbed me in a drunken stupor. Í was over throwing away clothing he had ripped. I couldn’t keep waiting for the inevitable evey time he threw his iphone or a remote across the room. Or shoved me in irritation.

    I got tired of looking at him, a 42 year old in a 60 year old’s body, and thinking Ï can do better.” My mother told me I deserved a prince and that the Australian was merely kitchen staff and she was right.”He brought nothing to table in our relationship but he was sucking the life out of me and I couldn’t be his crutch any longer.

    After the fight to end all fights, on Saturday the 16th of March 2013, I called my mother and told her I was coming home. She told me to be careful and I promised I would. I booked my ticked for Tuesday the 19th. On Monday I packed my books into a box and shipped them home. OnTuesday I packed my bags and walked out the door at about 13:00.

    My flight via Singapore was at 17:00. I chose that flight so when he got home, I would be in the air. I could have flown direct to Johannesburg, but that flight only left at 22:45. I couldn’t risk him trying to find me.

    He came home to an empty house and I was gone. I wiped my phone – a Samsung Galaxy II – clean and left it with its box and charger on the kitchen counter. It was in his name so it wasn’t right for me to take it. I left it in pristine condition for him (as opposed to smashing or selling it).

    [It has sincve come out that he’s telling our friends he found photos of another man on it and photos of me that I probably sent to him. I guess he’s got to do what he can to cover up his own bad behaviour.]

    I touched down on South African soil on Wednesday the 20th of March 2013. I knew I looked as haggard as I felt when my own mother just looked right past me.

    I’m slowly coming right. Some days I wonder if I’ll ever be whole enough again to trust another man with my heart – if I’ll ever feel the love, comfort, joy and companionship I worked so hard towards in Australia. I want to be able to share my hopes and dreams and fears with someone. I want him to hold me when I cry and tell me everything will be ok and that he loves me and is there for me (as opposed to “Oh you’re not fucking crying again?”) and I want him to scream with laughter with me. I want the intimacy and the great sex and the affection. I want all of it and I make no apologies for it.

    My heart still races when I hear a key in the door and I still have to tell myself that it’s ok to watch movies that I like (which he forbade) and it’s ok to eat early and sleep early (he always made us eat after 9pm) and I enjoy not having to be glued to my phone in case he rings.

    I know the road ahead is pretty long. 6 years on a downward spiral doesn’t just heal over night. My biggest challenge is forgiving myself for stubbornly sticking it out for so long but also for being brave to give it an honest try and for having the courage to cut and run.

    Thank you for reading!

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