The Emotional Abuse Survivor Behaviours That Never Really Go Away

I’ve been divorced ten years this month: I’m ready to talk

Matt Mason
4 min readMay 18, 2023


After another bout of therapy, 2022 was the year I finally admitted to myself that I was in an abusive relationship. Previously I’d described her behaviour as manipulative, controlling, and “borderline abusive.” But I didn’t go far enough.

Photo by Gabriel on Unsplash

Most of her issues concerned her need to be in control of everything. Here are some examples of her behaviour. This is not an exhaustive list:

  • She didn’t like it when I met up with the new friends I made at university
  • She always had an excuse not to spend Christmas with my family
  • After her dad died, she decided to travel home from university every weekend — a round trip of 400 miles. I occasionally stayed behind because I felt I needed breathing space. She would sulk or shout on those rare occasions that I stayed
  • She gave me the cold shoulder for a whole day once because I got back from the pub five minutes after her instructed time (she was invited and refused to go — see above point about university friends)
  • If I invited her to the student bar with friends, that was me forcing her to go. If I said it was up to her whether she came to the student…



Matt Mason

Creatively curious lifelong writer. I use Medium to discuss asexuality, childfree living, Doctor Who, and sometimes even politics - not all of it serious.