Abuse Hides in the Dark. Turn on Your Light.

Crazymaking Rules for Abusive Relationships

Some crazymaking rules along with a doodle of a confused woman

There are SO MANY crazymaking rules for abusive relationships that I can’t help but forget 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. There really isn’t “peace” in these relationships. Here are some of the “I Can” and “I Can’t” rules.

‘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, Will reserves the right to angrily abuse me because I obviously don’t know what I’m doing. (Financial abuse creates crazymaking rules for abusive relationships.)
  • I can wear low-cut dresses when we go out. But my abuser can complain after we’ve left the house because those are his boobies (Possessiveness creates rules in abusive relationships.)
  • I can cause Will’s 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.
  • 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.

‘I Cannot’ Crazymaking Rules

  • 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 they truly are. 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 abilities is verbal abuse.)
  • 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 crazymaking 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.


Crazymaking is a huge part of domestic abuse and it can drastically affect your life and wellbeing. All of the above rules are examples of crazymaking! What are the rules you live by in your abusive relationship?