About Kellie Jo Holly

Kellie, once an abused wife, now advocates against domestic violence full-time. Her passion is helping women cope with abuse while in the relationship and supporting them as they leave and heal.

In 2012, Kellie wrote a book called My Abusive Marriage…and what i’m doing in it to spread the word about domestic violence and abuse in relationships. The book is based on the blog she wrote when she began to think that maybe, just maybe, the problem was that her husband abused her.

She read through her old journals in hope of finding no evidence for her suspicion. Instead, she found he abused her from the beginning. She even found instances of physical abuse that she’d forgotten! She’s written more books since her first one. You can view Kellie Holly’s author page on Amazon.com for a full list.

Kellie reached out to others and shared her abusive experience on her blog. The support of her readers helped her find the courage to leave the marriage. Two years later, Kellie graduated with a bachelor’s of science in psychology from Fayetteville State University in North Carolina and advocates against domestic violence full-time.

The remainder of this page tells why Kellie chose to go public and some background on her experience with coming to terms with the abuse in her marriage. She wrote it in October 2009, about 15 months before she left her husband.

Why I Went Public

I am dying in the shadows. I don’t want to die. So, I’m taking my story public to save my Self.

The proper thing to say would be that I’m doing this for you. In the older version of this site, I wrote “I lived half my life not knowing “the problem” was abuse. I don’t want you to do the same,” at the top of every page. And that is true. I do NOT want anyone else to live my life. Hell, sometimes I don’t want to live my life! And the idea that I COULD help you keeps me writing like nothing ever has.

The idea that I am not saving myself but instead saving YOU compels me to share every convoluted or healthy thought I have. Maybe something will strike a chord with you, because I sure as heck haven’t bought into any of it.

But a voice that probably isn’t mine keeps urging me forward. Keep writing. Don’t be afraid of the day “he” takes his next step. Don’t be afraid of the day I am forced to choose, once and for all, if I am going to live or slip back into the shadow – the day I choose to live or die. Don’t be afraid.

Maybe when the day comes to choose to live or die, I will look at this site and realize that SOMEONE had to write these things. SOMEONE existed on these days beyond who I think I am. SOMEONE who has the energy to fight for life.

And, if I’m lucky, I will realize that the SOMEONE who wrote these pages is ME.

But, until that day, YOU are the reason I’m writing these journals. If I can validate  thoughts and experiences, then hopefully you will choose to live, but not to live with it like I have. Abuse kills you.

My Experience

My biggest qualification for creating this site is my experience. If you want to know about the verbally abusive experience honestly and as it progresses, then I’m your girl.

I’ve only recently learned the vocabulary for my experience, but I’ve been married to an abuser for seventeen years. Who knew? I didn’t, and you may not realize you are living with one either.

I promise that I’ll always be honest with you because I know how hard it is to have someone you trust lie to you. I won’t use my family members’ real names, but my name is Kellie Jo, and this site reflects my story as clearly and accurately as possible.

How I Found Out I Am Sane

One day I went to the library to check out a paranormal book. Shelved among the ghosts and goblins, I found a book called The Verbally Abusive Man: Can He Change? by Patricia Evans. It was obviously on the wrong shelf, yet I reached for it. “Maybe I need to see this for some reason…” I thought.

I started flipping through the pages. I noticed headings like [He Says] “It’s All Your Fault” and“Sometimes Counselors Just Don’t Know.” But the section that got my attention was in the appendix –Verbally Abusive Statements.

The list of words and phrases on those pages perfectly summed up almost every conversation I had shared with him for as long as I could remember. I remember my heart stopping and my knees buckling.

In an instant I knew the truth. It took about five minutes of reading the book there on the library aisle floor before my brain caught up with what my soul had known all along…I AM NOT CRAZY.

How I Found Out He Is Crazy

Short answer: I read Patricia Evan’s book, “The Verbally Abusive Man: Can He Change?

The research says that my husband is probably not crazy, in the clinical sense of the word. Only 10% of abusers suffer from some sort of mental illness, and that’s the same as in the general population. (See “Are Abusers Mentally Ill?“)

However, as a layperson, I believe he is crazy. I am defining crazy as exhibiting behavior that causes you to act against traditional good character, and the behavior you chose hurts someone else AND YOU DON’T CARE.

Working with that definition, my husband, in my opinion, is crazy. I can’t call it anything else at this point because I’m still emerging from the fog 17 years of verbal abuse created. I am untrusting and skeptical, and I have a LOT of questions for him, but even if he answered, I’m not sure I could believe him.

I’m just now sorting through thoughts such as:

  • …does this mean that when he told me I was lying (when I wasn’t!) that he was lying?
  • …what about all those times he told me I said something when I didn’t remember saying any such thing?
  • …does he really think I am all the terrible things he says I am, or does he just say those things to humiliate me? To make me question my own intentions?
  • …how long am I willing to battle with these questions before I can accept the fact that I accidentally married a verbal abuser?
  • …why is it so hard for me to say that I deserve better

So, you see, he seems crazy to me. He defies logic (at least MY logic) and I can’t get a grip on the slippery word-play and strange behaviors he exhibits. I don’t even know if I want to understand it. I may just want to get out from under it. I may just leave.

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  1. I love you for doing this site. Wow–Linked to it from mine. Patricia Evans also saved my life. I took it further and with the help of my brother, Dr. Mike Marshall, created the Respect me Rules.

  2. God bless what you do!!

  3. Frances Mirren says:

    Hi Kellie Jo,

    After reading through most of your site and relating to your stories, I’m dumbfounded because I’ve been in such denial about my own relationship and that my boyfriend is emotionally abusing me. I think I’m in denial still that he knows what he’s doing. I still see him as an immature boy at times who doesn’t think before he speaks or acts and cannot find a way to control his anger. But then, if he really wanted to, he would control it wouldn’t he?

    Anyway, three and a half years and today I’ve reached my limit. I’m devastated that I am at the point where I have to break things up. I despise him for pushing my buttons all of these years. I’m ashamed that I allowed it all to happen that I forgave every time just to be set up again. It has definitely escalated to a weekly emotional beating where I’m left to wonder what I did that was so wrong to deserve it?

    Everything you write hits home and I really wanted to help him because that 75% of the time, he’s a wonderful man. It hurts terribly to ask him to go. I hate that our family will be broken up (fur-family but still, the 6 pets are our kids), but I hate more that I’m only realizing now that he gave up after 6 months of being together and that he doesn’t think I’m worth the effort. He doesn’t value me, he just wants to be the victor, nothing I do is right. I thought he really loved me, that’s the worst feeling of all, that obvious rejection, gosh it’s hard to handle. It’s eye-opening and like I said, I’m kind of inconsolable right now even though I knew this day would come sooner or later.

    Thanks for being so honest. Please pray that I don’t give in again, I need to detach physically so that I detach emotionally. I’m so terribly sad, but I know that my life will be better soon.

    • It will be better! It won’t be a piece of cake at first, but by only reading your words, I can tell you’ll get to a much better place. Our mentors can help you through this, if you think you’d like support. Visit this page to get one: Sign-Up Form

  4. After 42 years of marriage … Plus 7 years dating from age 15 ! What a life story of abuse have I Kelly Jo.
    Here I sit again! After my hubby exploded over my turning on a nightlight in the pitch dark to see. But his way of punishment would take a few paragraphs. He loves baiting and setting traps for the arguments that are the outcome of most verbal attacks. I have every asset and gift to leave and be well off at age 60 something. Both of us professionals and successful and retired now with grown children. Yet I still stay.
    We now have two homes in different states … North and south and I encourage his going to the “other ” southern home without me. It worked for a short while and now he has succeeded in coercing me into less time away from him. I hate it. I am currently stuck. Any suggestions for a senior lady . I am already aware and using the techniques you suggest to diffuse his escalation during an attack . Boy does he hate that. I will enter some more soon. Very happy to have found this site. Happy for your success.

  5. I want to cry just reading these stories.I Also am A survivor of Domestic Violence.My DIvorce was final. This year 10/12/2016. It took me 7 years to get away and put it behind me. I,m in GReat recovery.I work in Healthcare and give back compassion everyday to my Patients,but I really want to MEntor and help Women and children. I want my voice heard.There’s hope,in a hopeless situation!

  6. My brothers wife constantly verbally chided him for things she said he did wrong. They have been married 30 + or – ? They have to children adults now, a MD and a JD. I don’t live close to them so I didn’t know how bad it was. They visited us for a weekend and it seemed to her everything he did was wrong. I told her nobodys perfect, we love as he is and have confidence in his behavior and personality etc. I said our family is proud of him. She got mad, they left and went to a hotel. I did tell him and her that the constant criticizing amounted to spouceal abuse. She never forgave me for that. I think my observation may have caused them to break up. I don’t have much contact with them, they live 2000 miles away. She works and lives about 300 miles from there home. He is living by his self. They are very stable money wise.
    Fast forward 2-16-2017.
    He calls me. His personality has changed. He is speaking with constant profanity. He said he is doing drugs casually. I told him, stop appreciate who you really are. You have a lot to be thankful for and a lot loose if you continue behaving like this. He said from now he will live his life his way f— everyone. Then he said I want to visit you and the wife when I come to town for a convention.

  7. Kelly Jo,

    It’s another night when I woke up wondering about our future and mourning the marriage with my verbal abuser.

    Tonight I looked for information online to help me with my sadness, worry and guilt. I found your articles and videos. I cannot thank you enough for the help you’ve given me this one night at the beginning of my long journey through divorce. I admire your courage and have found peace for now through your stories and insights. You touched on many points and experiences that directly spoke to me, my situation, and my feelings. Thank you.

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