People don’t understand why the victim can’t leave or didn’t leave sooner.

They don’t understand the ‘invisible chains’ and what it is like to live in fear and confusion, constantly questioning everything and doing everything in their power to keep the peace, not rock the boat and to ensure the abuser is happy and not triggered into a rage.

Emotional abuse or toxic relationships are cruel… And the problem is, the abuse (which in my opinion is worse than physical abuse – yes I have experienced both) is so insidious. 

Each story is different, but I began to see a pattern and started asking my clients what relationship their abuser had with their father.  In every case they said it wasn’t close and it seemed to be they didn’t feel good enough or they weren’t living up to their fathers’ expectations. 

Power and control are at the centre of these relationships and there is a cycle of three stages of abuse that take place, IDEALISATION • DEVALUATION • DISCARD…

You have been fed lie after lie, because these relationships are manufactured, and there is the promise of a fake future: you stayed in this relationship waiting. You bonded on a level you had never experienced before, you didn’t realise you were being trapped and conditioned, no one does; you are not alone, but you do feel empty and very very lonely. 

Every time you were discarded, you found it so difficult to let go, and this was part of the game you had no idea you were playing; you found yourself back on the pedestal, you were idealised again and felt safer (so you thought), everything was OK you were back feeling secure again, and each time this happened your focus turned to protecting the relationship at any price… The bonding that took place was so powerful, it’s the same bonding that a baby should experience with his or her mother, father and caregivers, this bonding is a connection of love and trust with the person or persons you turn to when your safety is threatened.

On average it takes 7-8 times to leave this type of relationship. 

You bonded to the abuser, they positioned themselves as your protector and yet they were your abuser; you turned to them when you were being attacked, by them. 

You invested everything in to this relationship, your love, your time, your money, you did everything and this was one of the reasons you stayed so long. You saw the signs, you knew some of their behaviour wasn’t right, but those INVISIBLE CHAINS, held you in place. The manufactured relationship gave you false hope. The bonding made sure you couldn’t break free. The chemicals kept you hooked. 

Have you ever played a slot machine or a penny fall game? With the penny fall or 2p fall game, you drop your coin and it it lands on a metal plate which moves backwards and forwards, it then gets pushed towards the drop, where another metal plate is doing the same. You watch the coins hanging over the edge, you strategically place each coin you put in, and you watch fall and then push other coins towards the first edge, you see the coins building up, ready to fall… You wait.

This is what was happening in your relationship. 

Just like the penny fall game, it is hard to walk away. Every now and then you get a few coins that drop down and they give you hope as you watch your coins hover and hanging on to the edge… 

The next one, JUST ONE MORE COIN… and you are going to get the payment, the win, the future you had planned together. 

You have to remember you didn’t know this was going on.

You thought the plans you were creating were real. You forgave them for a lot. And now you are waiting, just like waiting for the coins to drop from the edge, just one more time, this time it will be different. If only and maybe…

And then you run out of coins.Desperate you run round searching other machines in case someone didn’t pick all their winnings up, your check all of your pockets, the bottom of your bag. You have nothing left to to feed the machine, just like your relationship, you are empty and broke… 

If you have experienced an emotionally abusive relationship, be gentle with yourself. Give yourself time to heal and DO NOT LISTEN to anyone who thinks this is easy to get over and please do not set yourself a time limit!

If you have never experienced this, but you know people who have, be gentle with them, DO NOT JUDGE, instead help them find a tribe who have been through this and can support them. 

Sending you lots of love 


  • Elizabeth Goddard

    Author of the A-Z of Emotional Abuse and Finding Lily I help people break the invisible bonds that keep them trapped after a relationship

    Through my own healing journey, I know the damage emotional abuse leaves both in your internal life and your external, physical, and financial life because I’ve been there.

    This was a game and I didn’t have the rules. After an unhealthy relationship, I was left a shell of my former self and I’d lost everything; I was broke and I was broken… 

    I was stuck in a debilitating cycle of questioning and doubting myself- 

    “If only I had said… If only I hadn’t said… Maybe if I had done… Maybe if I hadn’t done… “ I thought it was all my fault.

    The very first part of healing was dealing with the invisible bonds the Trauma Bonding, which kept me trapped unable to move on.  I eventually realised it really wouldn’t have made any difference if I had said or done anything differently I would still be here, I might have been granted more time but I also might have been even more traumatised. 

    I believe the emotions we feel are trapped trauma and we experience over and over again until we remove it completely from our system. 

    And that we need to get to the root cause, and much like a verruca, if a tiny part of the root is left it will lay dormant until it is triggered again. 

    The problem with a lot of methods is they only scratch the surface of the problem and act more like a bandaid rather than a full solution…

    Every step I have taken over the last 20 years has brought me to this point to be able to spot the hallmarks of abuse and transform the grit into gold

    Each new level of understanding has expanded my toolbox.

    I am so passionate about the work I do with clients, seeing them gain the clarity and the inner healing is magical and to see their faces change physically after just one session inspires me. 

    And I love having a business that allows me to travel, for travel was something that saved me when I was going through my own healing journey. 

    When I’m not working on Revive Your Soul, you will probably find me in my garden tending to my vegetables, might find me walking along the canals, writing, or meeting friends for coffee. Or you might spot me at the airport…

    Elizabeth Goddard

     Author - Finding Lily & A-Z of Emotional Abuse and Emotional Abuse Specialist