Abuse Doesn’t Always Leave A Mark.

Once upon a time, there was a fairytale wedding. The bride wore a beautiful long white dress, with a veil over face. She walked down the aisle of a quaint blue-stone church and was married by a man of God.  The wedding was celebrated with a grand reception in a heritage listed building, filled with candles and fairy lights. And the happy couple lived happily ever after.

Except they didn’t. The bride had married a man who had emotionally and verbally abused her for many years. She married him because she thought that he was right; and that she was worthless and deserved to be treated the way she was. She believed that no one else would ever ‘put up’ with her and that she should be grateful that anyone wanted to be with her at all.

She left him ten months after the wedding when she realised that no matter how badly she thought of herself, she could never bring a child into this environment, with this man.

And eventually she did live happily ever after.


I have mentioned before my ‘first marriage’. I have never written about it because I guess I am scared. Scared that my ex husband will read it. Scared of the ramifications. Obviously it was a massive part of my life though, so it feels strange not to talk about it, when I talk about so much else.

I don’t know how to write about my first husband, so instead I will tell you all that is different about my husband now, my soul mate, the father of my daughter.

He does not tell me that I am stupid.

He does not tell me that I am too fat or too skinny.

He does not tell me that I am useless, that I can’t do anything.

He does not tell me what television shows I am allowed to watch. He does not say I can’t watch Sex and The City, because the women are too slutty. He does not tell me I’m not allowed to watch hospital dramas because his ex used to love them. He does not tell me I have to choose, either Home and Away or Neighbours.

I don’t have to ask his permission if I want to buy something. I am allowed to buy more than two magazines a month, if I want to.

I don’t have to check with him before I buy clothes, in case they are too ‘slutty’.

He has never called me a bitch, a slut, a scrag, a fucking cunt.

He doesn’t tell me what I must cook for him and how I must cook it. He doesn’t care if I put the milk in mashed potato before the butter.

He doesn’t stop liking his friends if they like me, because ‘what kind of person are they if they like someone like you?’

He doesn’t lose his temper in the supermarket if they are out of stock of something he likes. He doesn’t kick products off the shelves, yelling and swearing at the staff.

He doesn’t put me down in public. I don’t have to warn people before we go out, ‘Please don’t be offended, it’s just the way he is’.

He doesn’t hate all my friends and get angry when I spend time with them or talk to them on the phone.

He doesn’t scream in my face, throw things at me, punch holes in walls, up-end couches, coffee tables, heaters. He doesn’t smash things.

He doesn’t physically restrain me and keep me locked in the bathroom whilst his brother bangs on the door, telling him to let me out.

He doesn’t have secret bank accounts where he hides thousands of dollars from me.

One of the first things he said to me after our wedding was not “Shut the fuck up”.

I am not scared of him.

I do not wish that he would just hit me. I don’t scream in my head ‘JUST HIT ME. HIT ME AND THEN I CAN LEAVE.’ Because if he hit me, well that is abuse. It’s OK to leave someone if they abuse you.

It’s OK to leave them if they leave a mark on your body. Because no one can see the marks they leave on your soul. No one can see how tiny and worthless and nothing they make you feel. How tiny and worthless and nothing HE made ME feel.


We went to marriage counselling once, my ex husband and I. We never went back as at the end of the first session, the counsellor handed me a leaflet about a support group for abused women. He was furious and naturally thought she was an idiot. I was confused. I wasn’t an abused woman? Was I?

The man I am married to now, loves me. Adores me. He has never called me a name. Never put me down. He respects me. I don’t have to ask his permission to do anything. We are equals. I am not afraid of him.

I am not afraid of him. Maybe abuse doesn’t have to leave a mark? A bruise, a cut, evidence. I was in a relationship with my ex husband for seven years and I can’t remember ever not being afraid of him. I am still afraid of him.

On the 26th of November 2011, I married my soul mate, my best friend and the best father of our child I could ever ask for.

And we lived happily ever after.


34 comments on “Abuse Doesn’t Always Leave A Mark.

  • Jess , Direct link to comment

    Power to you!

    Good on you for recognizing that it was abuse and not allowing him to continue making you feel that way. There is something so very confusing about emotional abuse!

    So glad to read all those things about your soul mate! What a wonderful man x

  • Dorothy , Direct link to comment

    I’m sorry about all the pain you’ve been through. I was in an abusive relationship for 18 years before I saw it for what it was. Good on you for leaving…

  • Elephant's Child , Direct link to comment

    The most skilled abusers don’t leave marks. Where they will show anyway.
    I hope your emotional bruises and scars are diminishing – and admire your strength in leaving. So very much.

  • Prudence O'Sullivan , Direct link to comment

    I too was in a relationship where I suffered emotional and verbal abuse and on the rare occasion physical too, but quite to the extent of which you did tough. I can totally relate to how you feel. 9Years I fought to keep the family together, in the end I decided this isn’t how I want my 3 boys to turn out, thinking that’s how you treat women or behave towards the people you are meant to love. My boys were just 6mths old, 23mths old and almost 4years old.
    Move forward 2 & 1/2 years and I’m in a much better place, I’ve met a lovely man recently who makes me feel like a princess and I also have a much better relationship with my ex but only have to talk and see him on a fortnightly bafis in regards to the care/custody arrangements of our boys.

  • heather , Direct link to comment

    I am so sorry for what you went through & understand completely, as my first marriage was exactly the same. It was amazing to me to discover that love actually meant kindness, support & encouragement, not control & abuse. Congratulations on your happy marriage & beautiful family xx

  • Deb @ home life simplified , Direct link to comment

    Thank you so much for sharing Jane. You are amazing. I am so happy you chose to leave and love yourself. You deserve all the love and respect you soul mate is giving you xxxx

  • Emma , Direct link to comment

    This speaks to my soul of a life I too have lived, and the life I live now a million miles from there. Thank you for sharing xx

  • Annie , Direct link to comment

    How lucky to come out of such a relationship before it was too late, and to get your happy ending.

  • Pink Ronnie , Direct link to comment

    Jane, I can’t fathom the courage it took for you to write and share this. Thank you for opening up your heart and for sharing your wounds with us.
    So much love,
    Ronnie xo
    p.s. Visiting from Maxabella’s Rewind…

  • Natasha Andrews , Direct link to comment

    Thanks for sharing your story – I think it is so important that people hear stories of emotional abuse to help understand that just because someone doesn’t hit you doesn’t mean it isn’t abuse.

    I am so glad you have found a partner who is everything your ex was not!

  • Jodie @FreshHomeCook , Direct link to comment

    What an incredible story Jane. It takes an enormous amount of courage to leave such a bad situation & then to take the risk on a new relationship is huge.
    Well done for moving on & finding much deserved happiness.
    Thanks for sharing! :)

  • Becky from BeckyandJames.com , Direct link to comment

    Thank you for being brave enough to share this very private and so often not discussed story. Sorry for your pain and I am so very glad you were able to see the truth and get out and build a better life.

  • rah , Direct link to comment

    emotional abuse is SO underrated, isn’t it? So thrilled that you’ve got your happy ending now though :))

  • Lila Wolff , Direct link to comment

    Glad to hear you were able to leave so early on. I’ve dealt with the physical abuse too and the mental abuse is actually what sticks with you longer.
    Not sure if the hitting makes it more acceptable to leave, at least in my experience some people still judge you then.

  • Maxabella , Direct link to comment

    Jane you deserve your happiness, every last bit of it. I’m sorry you had to go through all of that to find your true love. There are marks and then there are scars… x

  • Sonia Life Love Hiccups , Direct link to comment

    Oh sweet girl, I am speechless. I had NO idea what you had been through. I am so so sorry you went through all of that, but I am so pleased that the horrible path you were on eventually led you to your Prince Charming. You deserve that Happy Ever After more than anyone. xxx

  • Emily , Direct link to comment

    Powerful post. Wow. Thank you for sharing. I hope it felt good. And I’m glad you found the right one after all. x

  • Nic , Direct link to comment

    Wow you are an amazing woman to have come out of that. Thank you so much for sharing, I’m sure this will speak to others out there currently or previously in a similar situation. Visiting from DP blog Carnival. Nic @ Mums Take Five

  • jeanie , Direct link to comment

    Congratulations on being safe here on the other side! Here by way of the DPBlogging Carnival

  • Lydia c lee , Direct link to comment

    Wow. I really don’t know what to say. That’s very personal & very, very powerful. It was generous to share.

  • Lisa , Direct link to comment

    Thank you so much for the courage to share this post. Something I have not had the courage to do but I saw myself in so many of your comments. Funny it wasn’t until someone close told me I was in a abusive relationship did I realize it was true. Initially I was very angry at being told that and it took another 6 months to understand it was true. I am so happy you ended it and found a real loving husband and family instead. :)

  • Emily , Direct link to comment

    Oh, hon, you definitely had scars and bruises – it breaks my heart that you felt they weren’t legit enough to act on for so long – but I am so proud of you for finding the strength to realise how amazing you really are, and how much more you deserve! I’m so honoured you shared your story with me and I hope it brings some strength to others in a similar situation.

  • Ally , Direct link to comment

    Thank you so much for sharing your story. I was in a very similar relationship for 7 years. I was constantly put down and told I wasnt good enough. I suffered with bouts of depression. After we married we moved from NSW to Cairns where I had no friends or support. I was told I was f**ing fat and hideous while pregnant with our daughter. I was told what to wear. He handled the finances and if I spent any money I was verbally abused and asked what I bought. I finally left after 2 children and 5 years of marriage. That was almost 7 years ago. He still tries to control and abuse me. Last weekend I was called a dirty tramp. I do my best time shrug it off. I’ve had a few failed relationships since then. Men seem to think it’s perfectly ok to walk all over women and not respect them. I hope I find someone as wonderful and caring as you have. Stay safe. Xx

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  • The Truth Hurts. - Almost Jane , Direct link to comment

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  • Kelly , Direct link to comment

    Thank you for sharing your story. Im living this right now and it’s scary how similar my situation is, I honestly thought I was the only one with a partner like this!

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