Things You Shouldn't Say to Someone Whose Been In An Abusive Relationship.

17 Oct 2020

2020 isn't even over yet and already it's been a year that none of us will forget in a hurry. From Billy Joe Saunders teaching people how to properly punch their girlfriends in the face back in March, prank abuse videos on Tiktok to the worldwide pandemic that sparked a high rise in domestic violence cases - it's easy to say that we never know what is happening behind closed doors.

October is Domestic Violence Awareness month and I wanted to raise awareness in my own way by writing this post and to highlight in the picture taken that there is more than one type of abuse so when someone speaks about being in an abusive relationship to consider that there are so many different factors involved and you may not know what abuse they've suffered or are suffering from. 

Both Coronation Street and Eastenders in recent months hit headlines with their storylines involving Domestic Violence and it's not the first time these soaps have embraced such hard-hitting topics. From Tyrone Dobbs Corrie abuse story in 2006 and dating right back to Little Mo and Trevor in Eastenders in 2001, these soaps have once again brought us to the edge of our seats and behind the doors into Chantelle and Grey Atkins relationship and Yasmeen and Geoff Metcalfes. 

I recently got into a new relationship and ofcourse I made a joke about making it "Facebook Official" like the young ones! Sitting in Tim Hortons my phone buzzed, he'd put it up whilst sitting beside me. Laughing whilst I read the "in a relationship with" status, my smile couldn't have gotten any bigger. That was that or so I thought it would be. I didn't tell family or friends as being honest I was in a little happy bubble, I sent a quick text to my sister telling her to check Facebook and I thought that would be it. This is the first relationship since the other one and I was going at my own pace and thought I'll tell my bestie and mum that night.

I didn't send out an SOS, I didn't text or ring my family and friends because let's be honest I'm an adult, we all have so much more going on in the world, does anyone actually care? But.. it shocked me as there were those close to me who felt the need to remind me I'd been in an abusive relationship and point out "hopefully this one treats you better" or "you'll not allow this one to treat you badly" as if it is something we "allow" to happen to ourselves. There was also the fact a member of my family decided to click onto my new boyfriends Facebook and search through everything on it to make sure "this one doesn't seem like the other" Because.. abusers are so open with their actions and intentions. 

It's for this reason I've decided to write Things You Shouldn't Say to Someone Whose Been In An Abusive Relationship. 

1) "Why didn't you just leave?" 

It is so insensitive and rude to imagine someone just freely being able to walk out the door and leave but there are so many aspects and struggles you may not know or think about. The abuser could have threatened family, friends and even children. It can take years to build the courage to leave or to build the strength to even contemplate looking forward to a future without abuse. 

2) "It can't have been THAT bad" 

Not everyone talks openly about the abuse they suffered, it is all down to the individual. Whatever information someone trusts you with? Remember it's taken a lot for them to open up and tell you even a small part of what they've been through and if they never tell you? Don't assume it wasn't bad.

3)  "They seemed so nice"

They did! We know they did,  on the outside, in public, and with others especially those closest to us. Saying this almost makes it sounds like you disbelieve someone was abusive. Listen and support. They may have been a well-respected part of the community, had a well-paid job. It means nothing. 

4) "Hopefully the next will treat you better"

When my relationship ended, the last thing on my mind was meeting a new partner. I was too busy trying to build my life back up and grow my confidence back to even mull over the "next one" I didn't want a next one, I wanted to feel safe going to the shop or into town.

5) "It's normal to fight"

When it's not a two-way fight or disagreement then it is not okay. Whilst we're on the topic what is normal? 

6) "Did that really happen?" 

Whether you say this in disbelief or not, yes it really happened. Don't question if it did, we've probably overthought it into different scenarios putting ourselves down that perhaps if we'd said something different, or waiting longer to speak then what really happened.. wouldn't have.
7) "They took you away though" 

Gifts, treats and even nights away are often signs of a guilty conscience. It's their way of glueing over the cracks, making their victim believe they'll get better, until the next time where the cycle repeats..  

8) "I always sensed there was something about them" / "Name always knew they were off" 

If you did, good for you! I'm sorry I wasn't as quick as you to work it out even though you'd only met them twice and we're so nice to our faces. Remember if you've met someone a couple of times at a wedding or family gathering, you don't know them. Not really, especially if you're not close to the victim to recognise the signs of behaviour changing. 

Those 8 things have all been said to me and there's not a day that goes by I don't think about that abusive relationship with anger or sadness but repeatedly bringing up someones past to them when they are healing and trying to forward with their life doesn't help. It drags them back to a place they're fighting to get away from. 

If you are suffering and need someone to talk to, please use one of the helplines or websites below. 

Women's Aid


0808 808 8000


Helpful Information: 

Abuse Talk: 

Abuse talk have a podcast, forum and also host a weekly talk on Twitter every Wednesday from 8-9pm. Use the hashtag #AbuseTalk to join in with others and check out their Twitter HERE.

What do you think of this post? Have you been in an abusive relationship and had some negative things said to you? Let me know in the comments below. 


  1. I had no idea it was domestic abuse awareness month, I would have done something for it if I'd have known. Good advice on what not to say to someone who has experienced it. Do they have support services for male victims in Northern Ireland?

    1. Aw I would have loved to have read something. Thank you so much! Yes, Nexus NI support both male and female victims of sexual violence.

  2. Wow what an amazing woman you are to use your experience to help others and encourage others to be more sensitive and aware of the words they are using. Nowadays people still victim blame or just make people feel worse after being in an abusive relationship. This has been extremely helpful thank you. Emma from ECBC x

    1. Thank you so much! That means alot. I agree, there is alot of victim blaming that happens as many believe it's easy to leave. I'm so glad to hear. Thanks for commenting. x

  3. This post is so so important and really hit home a little. Thank you for being brave enough to share this and try and help others xx

    1. Thank you so much, your words really mean alot to me. I just want to let others some words may be innocent but effect us so much. x

  4. Such an important post, thank you for sharing this. I had no idea it was domestic abuse awareness month.

    Tash // A Girl with a View

    1. Thanks so much for commenting! It's something I recently found out when searching through awareness days and knew I had to feature it in some way. :)


  5. what am important message i love this !! thanks for sharing

  6. Useful to read this, it's so easy to overlook how small comments can come across to the other person.