Abusive Relationships/abusive x


QUESTION: Hi Ive been going around and around with my x for 4.5 years now. He was great in the beginning until he lost his job and started drink after year two. He started to get violent, angry, verbally and physically abusive. He attacked me one night and ended up in jail. He went to counseling and everything. We got back together and his drinking never stopped. He wasnt working or trying to  help with bills in any way. I would leave him and he started hacking my accounts, stalking me through the internet and physically and through family members. He used his mother, brothers, aunt and sister in law to get through to me and convince me to be with him again. He blamed me for all the problems we had and all his issues while denying his drinking problems. After getting pregnant with our second child I left him after he caused a scene drunk on Easter. Throughout this time he would harass me calling me a whore, saying he didnt want the baby and refusing to pay child support. He later found out I was seeing another man and showed up at my house and begged me back. He then staged a heart attack and went to the hospital. I had to go get him and care for him after. When i had our second baby he showed up at the hospital and wouldnt leave. He ended up "leaving me" in January and since then I have refused to communicate with him. He will still text me every 2 weeks, asking about the kids and then changing the subject to random topics to start conversations. When I ignore him he causes a scene. He still refuses to pay child support. When hes around me hes very creepy and looms over me. He recently told his mother that he "respects my space and my decisions, that he also hopes I respect his." To which I laughed and told his mother that I dont communicate with him. My concern is that I am moving here in a month and I am dating someone. Today he found out that I am moving, he does not know that I am dating. He always freaks about about it. Claiming that we are his and no one else will have us. Should I be concerned about him coming back and playing his games again? I find that I always get comfortable and feel safe and thats when he shows up. Im worried about him finding my house and breaking in again or freaking out about my boyfriend again.Since he left if it normal for them to continue the game?

ANSWER: Hi Katie,

Thank you for writing and asking these very good questions. Being concerned for your safety is important because of not knowing what he will do next and yes to answer your question he will most likely come back to play games. I am glad to hear that you recognize the games he plays which will help you stay strong. Calling the police EVERY time he comes around uninvited is also important to do so he truly understands what the boundaries are. Restricting conversations that only involve the kids is also important for him to understand these firm boundaries. Any other contact will only keep him hanging around even if he was the one who left you in January—this most likely is another game or he may believe that since he left, he has the right to come back at any time.

Keeping firm boundaries is the goal such as calling the police if he comes around and keeping conversations limited to the kids is the only way for him to understand that he does NOT “own” you or have the right to control your life. Always remain calm and firm which shows you are in control which will help reinforce those boundaries. He will most likely give up when he truly believes that you are not taking him back.   

Please write again with any more questions.

Much peace to you,

Coach Cathy
Cathy Backlund, Life Coach, Specializing in Abusive Relationships and Domestic Violence Education

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QUESTION: Coach Cathy,

I appreciate it. I have created a plan and I am slowly but surely acting it out. His parents play a huge role because they dont know or understand how abusive he is. So I feel constant pressure to "make things work." His mother asked me to try one more time for the children's sake, but I cant endure the abuse or allow my children to experience that either. She told me that he said "he respects your space and choices and wants you to respect his." So I felt a sense of comfort there believing he was truly done with the situation. I feel like Ive convinced myself that I ma free of him and safe. Is this also part of the game? Saying things like that while simultaneously cussing and yelling at me and refusing to pay child support? What signs should I look for this time around?

ANSWER: Hi Katie,

Having and working with a “safety plan” is GREAT and effective to help you keep strong when confronted with the “game playing.”  Use this same safety plan with ALL of his contacts including his mother if they are not respecting your decisions and choices. When someone tells you to try one more time for the children’s sake which is nothing more than a “guilt trip” and is something they want to see happen which may or may not be in the best interest for you or the children.  Being firm and keeping your conversations with his mother only about the children will help you not fall into the trap of guilt trips as well as hearing what he is telling his mother which only creates confusion and pulls on your heartstrings.

Keeping your focus on your life and the needs of your children is your goal of making things work. Being polite and civil to the mother when she is around and only talking about the children is also making things work. Listening to her talk about him is NOT making things work and NOT part of a safety plan and firm boundaries. Excusing yourself when she attempts to talk about him is making things work.

Also, people as such usually never change which is why he continues to cuss and yell at you and refuse to pay child support. Sticking to firm boundaries will be the only way to feel free of him and safe which may include contacting the child support office and reporting no payments. Leaving when he starts cussing at you is also another way to support your firm boundaries as well as meeting in a public place when he is seeing/picking up the kids which helps keep you safe.

The only sign to look for is when he tries to talk about anything other than the kids. That is it! Let him know that talking about other issues besides the kids is off limits or you can calmly excuse yourself and walk away—do whatever you feel comfortable for your safety. Always have a cell phone with you and call the police if he follows you or comes around uninvited. That is it!

Sounds like you are doing a great job of establishing firm boundaries—keep up the good work and remember to keep moving forward calmly with your goals and keep asking questions as you go along as you are doing to help rebuild and maintain control of your life.


Coach Cathy
Cathy Backlund, Life Coach, Specializing in Abusive Relationships and Domestic Violence Education

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Coach Cathy,

I wrote you about a month ago concerning my x who left. I have blocked him and have no spoken  to him in over a month. Im moving this weekend and getting him out of every aspect of my life. The problem I face now is that he saw me at the bar with my x and three days later decided he wanted to split custody, had his mom flip out when I denied it because of their financial issues and then had his mother ask is he could come paint my new house. Meanwhile he is telling his aunt he will leave me alone, wants me to move on and knows im dating another man, but that he wants to change for himself and has started going to church, stopped drinking and is changing. On top of that his aunt is asking me if I would take him back if he changed. Am I crazy or does this all sound fishy even though hes claiming he will leave me alone?

Hi Katie,

The question you need to ask is are you happier not being around his abusive ways? If the answer is yes, then you are making the correct choices for you and your kids.

Also, people as such usually NEVER change even if they start taking the steps to do so. Change is very, very difficult and painful for these folks and usually takes at least a year to see if they can maintain this type of change. Most regress back to abusive ways because it is too hard for them to change.

I would recommend that you keep the NO contact rule in place--which includes not having him paint your home and not talking about him with his mother or aunt--this only keeps the attachment alive when you are hearing such things from them. In addition, his aunt is out of line with asking you to take him back if he changes along with his mother asking if he can paint your house. Walking away from such conversation or gently remind them that these subjects are off-topic is necessary to stop these comments which only tugs on your heart strings.

His claiming to leave you alone needs to be just that: leaving you alone--end of story with no strings attached. Any attempt to do otherwise is part of the game to test you to see if you are still a player or may come back. Check back with him in a year or so to see if his change is permanent if you really want to know how he is doing but just remember most can not maintain permanent change--many show temporary change to make themselves look like they are changing but really are not.

Staying strong and keeping focus on your life plan will help you get where you want to go! Living a more enjoyable, loving life is the goal! Please keep asking questions as you go along like you are doing!

Much peace to you,

Coach Cathy

Abusive Relationships

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Cathy Backlund, Life Coach in Abuse & Domestic Violence


Are you unsure if you are living in an abusive relationship? Are you feeling confused, angry or hurt and don't know what to do? I can help you determine if you are in an abusive or unhealthy relationship and provide suggestions on how to create a plan for your happiness, health and well-being! Please ask questions to find out answers today! Everyone deserves to live life with happiness and joy, and I am here to help you. Are you ready to find out how you can live a better and happier life? If you are, please ask your questions today!! Asking and finding the answers you are looking for is the first step to improve you joy and happiness!


I am a Certified Life Coach Specializing in Prevention and Education of Domestic Abuse and Violence.

•SPARCC (Safe Place And Rape Crisis Center), Sarasota, FL •CAT (Sarasota Violence Prevention Community Action Team) •Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence •Guardian Ad Litem 12th Judicial Circuit of Florida

Please visit my webpage for more information and articles about abusive relationships and domestic violence at www.LifeCoachCathy.com or www.DomesticViolence-Education.com. I am here with you, while you find answers that help you!

•B.S. from Evergreen State College, Olympia, WA •Core Competency Course from the Shelter for Abused Women and Children, Naples, FL •Life Coach Training from Changepoint Coaching & Consulting Association •Advanced Training from The Institute for Relational Harm Reduction & Public Pathology •Sexual Violence Core Training from Florida Council Against Sexual Violence •High Risk Domestic Violence Training by Lundy Bancroft and Sarasota Police Dept, FL •Court Assistance Training from SPARCC (Safe Place and Rape Crisis Center, Sarasota, FL •Principles of Prevention by The Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) •Guardian Ad Litem 12th Judicial Circuit of Florida

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