I remember my ODTBX saying this more than once when reading articles in newspapers, magazines or websites about abuse. I remember myself agreeing with him at the time. After all, almost everything on the lists was applicable to our relationship at the time. Rather than being a clue that something was horribly off, it was dismissed as malarky. We loved each other, it couldn’t possibly be an abusive relationship, right?

Even though there were put-downs and name-calling. Even though I felt obligated and pressured to stay with him the multiple times I was done and wanted to break up. Even though he’d put his hands around my neck and squeezed, and I was terrified in those moments.

Even though all those things happened and were real, I still denied.

I was helped, of course, in my denial. Voices in my own head, nudged by words that made me doubt reality and continue to deny.

After all, he wouldn’t need to call me names if I just quit being so stupid and if I stopped doing things that pissed him off. And he really didn’t mean to choke me but he was so mad and so drunk. He would never do that sober, so I had to know that it didn’t mean anything. He couldn’t help it, but he didn’t mean it.

Denial is a powerful force in the life of an abused person. It’s also a powerful force in the life of addicts, codependents and abusers.  It is far easier, psychologically, to deny that the faults exist.  To deny reality is common. It’s easier to pretend everything is okay.

But here’s the thing, you can’t begin to heal and work towards a healthier relationship and a better life until you begin to break through the denial. Life can’t change until you do.


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