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In celebrating National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, I have been sharing key behaviors that show up not only  in abusive intimate relationships but which can also manifest in just about any relationship where there are two human beings.

I grew up pretty naively thinking everyone was nice, honest, trustworthy, replete with integrity, and kindness.  Well, if you’re like me, you’ve experienced probably on too many occasions unpleasant, aggressive and toxic behavior by others.

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 at 10:00 a.m. Pacific/ 1:00 p.m. Eastern

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I don’t want you to get confused or mislead by the words “domestic violence.” Domestic violence doesn’t mean only physical or sexual violence. I’ll be sharing more on this later in a separate blog.

Nor do I want you to think that the majority of people are controlling, narcissistic, or abusive.

However, I do want you to become aware.

Only with awareness, and learning the deeper signs and skills can you live your life fully expressed and joyful.

As I describe the tactics people use to diminish you, reflect on all your relationships.

Look for these behavior patterns in others.

Notice how you FEEL, and don’t ignore that feeling.

Don’t accept when others tell you that “You’re too sensitive.” This is just another way to put you down so they can control and overpower you.

→ Be sure to join me for live Facebook training every Tuesday

 at 10:00 a.m. Pacific/ 1:00 p.m. Eastern

in the Love is Kind Group

Signs of Domestic Violence/Domestic Abuse/Family Terrorism/Bullying/Harassment

#1 Using Male Privilege—It didn’t matter that I had an MBA in finance or that I was rising the corporate ladder in corporate finance in Silicon Valley before I got married.

  • After marriage, my ex-husband made all the major decisions in my life. I had to ask for money; suddenly I became completely dependent on him. For some reason, (of course, it was for controI, but I wasn’t aware of that at the time) I was no longer capable in his eyes to manage money although I had managed a $1B budget. I had to ask for spending money to buy groceries. He could buy whatever he wanted but my purchases including clothes and shoes were always questioned  by him.
  • When we went on vacation, he decided where we would go, where we’d stay and for how long. After a few years of marriage, I noticed a pattern that if I showed an interest in any place, he would sabotage our going there, so I learned to stop indicating my preferences.
  • It didn’t matter if I were tired or sick, I had to get up and serve him, literally. I’d be resting on the sofa downstairs and he’d call me to bring him coffee or fruit upstairs. If I complained, he’d just get angrier. So I sucked it up. It was better to drag myself to get him what he wanted rather than, be the target of his wrath.
  • My ex told me to call him “Master.” When I refused, then he would say he was kidding. But I knew the way he was saying it and how often he was saying it to me that he meant he really wanted me to call him that! Even some of my friends glimpsed this behavior and thought it bizarre.

If you experience or feel like the following, then you are experiencing an abusive, toxic and unhealthy relationship where he’s exerting Male Privilege:

  • He’s treating you like a servant,
  • Making all the big decisions, like buying a house, a car, making investments, where to go on vacation,
  • Acting like the “master of the house,” and
  • Dictates the roles for the man and the woman, meaning he decides who does what.

#2 Using Coercion and Threats

  • Threaten Divorce—From the very beginning of our marriage, my ex-husband wouldn’t exactly threaten to divorce me, but would turn it around (passive aggressive behavior), and tell me, “If you’re so unhappy, divorce me,” which is what I eventually did after my escape from him. He would “teasingly” say he was going to divorce me in front of his mother, which would drive her crazy, but he ignored her pleas to stop and just laughed. (Notice they don’t care how their behavior impacts others. It’s how they feel that’s most important.)
  • Threatening to leave you—One summer when we were with our daughter in a foreign country, my ex suddenly got upset after I asked him a question, stormed out of the park we were visiting, and threatened never to come back. My daughter and I were stunned and sat on the bench crying, wondering how we were going to get back home. He eventually came back, but I was shook up I could not relax the rest of the trip.
  • Threaten to destroy your property—My ex threatened my daughter on many occasions, including threatening to throw her computer out the window. Sadly, I didn’t know about those threats to her until after our escape.
  • Coercion—Four days before I was to sell the house that I owned before my marriage to my ex, he coerced me into putting his name on the deed, and then he took half the money after the sale. Coercion of any sort, including forcing you into doing anything you don’t want to do—sex, drugs, or any illegal activity—is wrong. They’ll often coerce/threaten you to drop charges against them.
  • Threatens that he’s dying, or going to commit suicide—this is manipulative behavior. They want to make you feel bad/sad/guilty so they can then control you.

Notice if you have ever experienced any of these behaviors, or if you notice them happening to a relative or friend of yours. (In case of the latter, just show the person this article. Don’t try to tell them they are in an abusive relationship.)

If you experienced any of these behaviors in the past, note that unless you have done work on yourself to clear and process these feelings, they are still affecting your current behaviors without you being fully aware of it—including effects from parental abuse.

Reflect on your current relationships.

Are you repeating patterns of the kind of men you attract?

Are you afraid to meet men? (That was me for years. Now, I’m in a beautiful and kind relationship.)

Are you wondering why you can’t make the money you want or cannot advance in your  work like you’d like to, then note that the past trauma you experienced is playing a role.

When you learn the proper skills and manage your triggers, you can move forward with grace and ease.

Get started by taking a 4 minute quiz:


Go HERE to catch prior blog articles.

Remember these offsetting strategies:

  • Listen to your body. Your body is going to know what feels uncomfortable.
  • Don’t doubt yourself. Believe what you are thinking and feeling.
  • Talk to someone you trust, and who will support you to validate your experiences.
  • Get help. Join The Love is Kind Movement Group[hyperlink]

→ Watch yourself making excuses for their behavior, where you justify their behavior not only to others, but to yourself.  If you have to constantly make excuses for their behavior, then this is a sign that you have difficulty accepting that his behavior is abusive.

I made excuses for years for my ex-husband’s horrible behavior because I didn’t know the signs of abusive, controlling, toxic behavior and I didn’t want to accept that this was truly the situation I was in.

Making excuses for another’s behavior is a huge red flag.

Reach out to someone supportive instead of feeling you need to figure it out by yourself, or that you have to “tough it out.” This is not a way to live a life.

I experienced every single one of these tactics during my relationship.

This your life! You can create what you want. Yes, it takes work. It takes knowing certain skills and practicing, but isn’t it better to practice improving yourself rather than practice defending and drowning in a toxic relationship?

You can create a great life. After a 25 year abusive relationship where I had to execute an international escape, I created an amazing life, and I am now with the most loving, thoughtful and kind man.

You matter. Your life matters.  It’s your time to take the steps to create the freedom that you deserve.

If you are ready to move forward in your life, even if you feel scared, (I get it) and don’t have a clue (that’s where I can help), then get started by taking this BONUS quiz:


In just 4 minutes you’ll discover clarity of where you’re at, and where you want to be. Then let’s chat. I’m here to guide and support you on your journey to creating a joyful life that you deserve.


You deserve to be treated with kindness.

Rosie Aiello

Women’s Transformational Leader

Contact: www.TheLoveisKindNetwork.com

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