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The When Love Hurts blog

Connections between abuse, anxiety and depression

It is normal for a woman to experience some level of anxiety or depression if she is experiencing abuse from her partner. Often times women are seen to have some form of mental illness when they are actually just having a normal human reaction to oppression, hurt and crazy-making behaviour. One woman reported that she […]

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“All sorrows can be borne if put into a story”

In our support groups, stories are central. The group is a safe place for women to talk about what is happening or has happened in their lives. For many women, the group is the only place they can talk about these things. We see how, by getting to tell the stories of their lives, women […]

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How abusive men use texts to continue the abuse

Many women report that their ex-partners will continue to verbally and emotionally abuse them, after separation, using texts. Sometimes a woman will come in to an appointment with me and hand me her cell phone. We will scroll through the texts together and the pattern of abuse is clear. Sometimes the abuser may do what […]

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When helping professionals mirror controlling behaviour

Sometimes ‘helping professionals’ do harm to women. This is not their intention but it does happen. How is this possible? Well, let’s think about the dynamics of abuse. Men who are abusive are motivated by a desire to have power and control over their partner. They have a need to feel superior. Men who are […]

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First do no harm

As helping professional we all have good intentions when it comes to supporting women who have experienced abuse. But if we don’t have specific training in this area, we can unintentionally end up harming a woman. Let me share one example of what I mean by this.  One counsellor advised a woman that she needed […]

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When a marriage is over because of abuse

I’ve been working with women impacted by abuse for over 18 years. I have never met a woman who wanted her marriage to be over. I have met lots of women who wanted – needed – the abuse to end and came to the painful realization that the only way the abuse was going to […]

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The Blame Game vs. the Consequences of His Actions

Abusive men blame their partners for everything. This is one of the hallmarks of abusiveness. They will blame their partners because their kids don’t want to see them. They will blame their partners for abandoning them. They will blame their partners for “destroying the family”. But really, the abusive man is just facing the consequences […]

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“It takes two to tango”

I am sure you’ve heard it before. “It takes two to tango.” It’s a lie. If a person is actually talking about dancing, it may be true, but if they are talking about relationship problems, it is not true. It takes two people to make a healthy and happy relationship. It takes two people to be mature […]

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Don’t “should” on a woman!

When a woman has experienced abuse from an intimate partner, friends, family and helping professionals tend to be very free with their advice. Women get told they should try harder to make the relationship work. They should have better better boundaries. They should love their partners more or they should be patient and wait for […]

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Why I don’t ask people, “how are you?”

I avoid greeting people with, “how are you?” I work as a counsellor and so most of the people I am meeting cannot answer that question quickly or positively. How are they doing? It would take a full hour to say how they are doing and lots of what they have to say is painful […]

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The moment I realized the abuse was not my fault

A woman from one of our groups shared this feedback with us. We want to share it with you: I loved being in the When Love Hurts Support Group. It was so helpful for me. One moment that stands out for me is the moment that I understood that it wasn’t my fault. The abuse […]

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Did you know that sometimes “professional help” is not helpful?

Helping professional are well intentioned but sometimes for women experiencing abuse, that help is not helpful. In fact, sadly, sometimes the ‘help’ is harmful to women. How is this possible? Well, let’s think about the dynamics of abuse. Men who are abusive are motivated by a desire to have power and control over their partner. […]

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