Domestic Abuse – Shame On You!

Annette Young

by Annette Young

I was talking to some friends the other day and unlike myself, they had managed to fall in love and sustain marriages that were nurturing and kind, they hadn’t fallen foul to the potential risk of domestic abuse.  Of course, there were times when their marriages became a little frayed at the edges and the stresses of life tested their relationships somewhat, but my friends admitted, they could not even begin to fathom how anyone could fall foul of an abusive relationship, let alone stay in one. 

If you read the posts on this website frequently, you will know that I am a staunch supporter of all who have suffered from unhealthy and damaging relationships but I am only too aware that not everyone can really understand what it is like to love someone and yet be in the midst of a relationship which seeks to destroy from the inside out.  It’s madness right? I mean, who would choose that?

The problem is, abuse of any kind is rarely talked about and so, there’s a layer of secrecy surrounding the act and people on the outside speculate. What outsiders do not usually consider is that an abuser does not wear the word tattooed on his or her forehead, there is no noted marker that makes them stand out in the crowd, the opposite is true. Sadly, abusers are often absolutely charming , they smile, they say all the right things, they are helpful and kind and demonstrate their love and affection willingly…for all to see. But behind closed doors, this pretence is very quickly laid to one side and the reality soon becomes very ugly indeed. 

I was very quick to point out to my friends that if you fall in love with the wrong person, you are often so deeply involved that you don’t notice the little changes. In fact,  change can be very subtle until you are trapped within and suddenly wake up and realise that you have lost your sense of self, that you’ve  become someone you no longer recognise and it seems impossible to get up and leave.  Outsiders may also fail to fully understand that abusive relationships can even be addictive.  I could see my friends gradually understanding that it’s not a matter of saying ‘yes, that abusive relationship is for me please!’ They realised I think that even the strongest individuals can fall foul to toxic relationships because they don’t suspect that the ones they love could betray them in this manner. 

It’s not surprising at all that my friends were so innocent of the types of abusive relationships that exist, as it’s not something that you see, but it really does go on all around you. Domestic abuse in any form is not uncommon, in fact, far more people suffer from some aspect of it than you might imagine. It’s not all the about the woman with the black eye (although this is horrendous) it’s about the man or woman who is talked down to constantly, or even subjected to sarcasm and barbed comments in front of others so that their shame and humiliation becomes entertainment. Words become weapons in the same way as do fists. 

If you have suffered from abuse yourself, or know others who have, don’t bury your head in the sand, talk about it, discuss it with anyone who will listen, because the more people know, the more they will be able to recognise it and to protect against it.   

When victims stay quiet about their experiences, they do so from a sense of vulnerability and through deep feelings of shame but, make no mistake, the only people who should feel shame are the abusers. These are people who take pleasure in hurting others. They pick on those who are vulnerable – those with a less than nurtured background, those who feel isolated from friends and family, or, who already lack a little self-belief. They can spot weakness at fifty paces in the same way that a wild animal will sniff out a raw wound on its next victim. Abusers do not deserve to act in secrecy. Let’s send that message out into the world!

If you have suffered from emotional abuse, take a look at my book: Emotional Abuse – Get Out of My Head and Out of My Bed! It’s available on or

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Keep Your Heart Open

Loveby Annette Young

I was talking to an ex-partner today about affairs of the heart and our conversation was quite in-depth and perhaps more intimate in many ways than when we were together. Although our relationship had been a positive one  – the timing had just been all wrong, it had at least given me hope at the time that I was capable of choosing someone genuine after all my other failed attempts.

I am pretty sure I had never actually confided in him about my past experiences or if I had, it was discussed in a casual way. Our time together had been very comfortable and heart-warming, he made me laugh and I knew he was genuine but it was not really the type of relationship for the mutual sharing of past experiences.

Today however, a good 3 years on, it was nice to talk to him and our conversation was open and we discussed the difficulties of moving on emotionally.  He had been incredibly hurt by his wife and it had taken years to get past feelings of betrayal while for me, I had struggled to regain my sense of self and move past my experiences of toxic relationships. As regards the timing of our connection, we were mismatched. 

During our conversation today, he stated that he felt that ‘life was just too short to live in the past’ and he was absolutely right, of course. There’s no doubt that if we remain trapped emotionally, then we’ll never move on and find the kind of relationship we truly deserve. No-one deserves to suffer at the hands of a controlling, abusive or cheating partner but it’s one thing that we know this, it’s another thing altogether when it comes to believing it.

When you’ve been hurt, that bitterness can so easily get locked deep inside. Forgetting betrayals, violence or manipulative behaviour all carried out in the name of love, is, well, it seems an impossible task. But when we hold onto those feelings, we become scared to move on. At the back of our minds, the niggling thought that we could make the same mistake again gnaws away.

The solution is this.

We have to face up to the fact that we were once in a less than healthy relationship and that somehow, we have risen from the remnants of those relationships, like the phoenix from the flame and we’ve repaired the old tatters of life and created an existence which is much preferable.  I don’t know about you but I never again want to live with an individual who utilises cruel behaviour as a sport.

We may have experienced loneliness, fear and anxieties about being alone, but, guess what, we’ve survived.  

My conversation this morning reminded me to let go of past hurts. My progression over the years had been pretty good but sometimes, we all need to hear the truth about a situation. We need to know that others believe in us and that we’ve already gained so much. My conversation this morning simply reinforced my belief that in time, we can and  must gradually lower those barriers if we are going to let good people into our lives.

If you are in this position and teetering on the edge of what appears to be an emotional void, do so with a brave heart, a layer of caution and, with more than a pinch of awareness. This way, as you step forward, you’ll choose new friends or partners wisely. You’ll never forget the past emotional pain or, the physical bruises but you can create and enrich healthier new experiences going forward if you give yourself permission.

There’s no guarantees that you’ll find the person of your dreams or that a new lover might not be at the right stage of their own development to truly appreciate you but, there is no hope of a happy ever after if you don’t try.

After all, if we shut everyone out, we limit our own potential for happiness.

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Abuse – Write From the Heart

Annette Young

by Annette Young

I was asked the other day why I focus my intent on helping women to recover from abusive relationships rather than reaching out to men who may have suffered similar, and the answer is simple, I write for the majority. Research indicates that more women are victims of abuse – both physically and emotionally than are men. I do not favour either sex in respect of recovery, abuse is abuse in my eyes and it’s a vile act. My heart goes out to anyone who has suffered from or is suffering a controlling or manipulative relationship.

I do know men who have endured manipulative relationships and have lost their confidence, identity and self-worth as a result. In addition, they have plummeted into the gloomy depths of depression and some no doubt, will have contemplated how to even carry on. So while men do suffer, notably, more women come forward than men.

I write as a direct result of my own personal experiences. Initially for me, it was therapeutic. Following on from this, I realised that I was on a mission to stand up for and to help others. I write about this subject with conviction and empathy and, I write from the heart.  I am not exaggerating when I say that I hear from so many women who have suffered similar experiences to me and I’m not just talking about a few locally, but on a worldwide basis. Around the globe, there are women almost driven to the depths of suicide, they are so unhappy and lost and damaged.

In this world, there are far more destructive relationships in existence than is possible to calculate, if you look around at your neighbours and friends and peek behind closed doors, you might notice the signs of a toxic relationship but in public, the abuser paints the picture of a loving connection, the abuser is often charming and gracious but, when no-one is there to see, the mask of love comes off.

Seriously, take a good look around. When you see beneath the mask, you see an ugly and evil soul.

I write with women in mind because as kindred spirits, sharing the same emotional viewpoints, my words probably resonate with them more. But abuse is abuse. Whether these acts are carried out by men or women, it is terribly wrong. I often wonder what pleasure these vile people can possibly gain through the belittling of others but bullies are bullies and control I guess is intoxicating. Unless we can stand up to them in the face of adversity, they win.

I’ve been through it, I’m living proof that there is a way out of the darkness and your first step has to be to accept it is happening and to then make a vow to yourself to get out.

Need a little help? Take a look at my book: Emotional Abuse – Get Out of My Head and Out of My Bed!

Just remember, you are not alone!

Relationships – Watch Out for the Red Flag of Change

Relationships and red flag

by Annette Young

We all want to feel fulfilled and cherished in our relationships and when we meet someone new, it should be one of the most exciting times of life. There’s nothing like the dizzy sensation of romance, sexual chemistry and a new-found connection. You should feel wonderful, beautiful and so appreciated and valued, but what if you don’t?

Here’s an example of a potential red flag.

What if your new partner doesn’t gel with your long-standing friends? It’s an awkward but not unusual scenario. It’s true to say that we don’t all see people in the same way so, disharmony or discord is possible even if unwarranted, sometimes, it is a mixture of resentment between the people who profess to love you the most. Often, this naturally settles in time.

Initially, you may be so madly in love that you are tempted to spend all your time with this new love interest. It’s not a deliberate act of dropping your friends, but the new romantic liaison is intoxicating. However, if your new partner is nudging you to spend less time with your friends, compelling you to move away from them, to start believing that they are not as good a friend as you may think or that they  hold you back in life, this is a real danger sign.

Okay, it may not be spelled out in so many words, but there may be little signs of disapproval that gnaw away at your sub-conscious mind, you may not want to listen, but you should. But there are other red flags to consider too. Your partner doesn’t like how you look, how you dress or, where you live. In fact, there’s an underlying criticism about pretty much everything. There’s a sense of urgency for change, you are almost perfect…but that ‘not quite’ hangs in the air creating self-doubt. Some slight changes here and there and you’ll be a whole new person and deserving of that all-important happy ever after.

Hmmm. Sound familiar?

Watch out for red flags such as these. No relationship is perfect and it may be necessary to adapt some aspects of self – with both participating in these changes so to create the foundations of a strong relationship but, you should never feel belittled, be made to doubt yourself or, be dictated to drop friends or change key aspects of your life. If you find yourself in this situation, don’t settle for less than the best, find someone who really appreciates you for who you are. 

Worried that you are in a manipulative relationship? Take a look here: