Home Life 15 Painfully Accurate Songs About Abuse in Relationships

15 Painfully Accurate Songs About Abuse in Relationships


There’s no easy way to approach the topic of abuse. And yet it’s such an alarmingly common theme in some relationships. Abuse doesn’t always have to mean physical abuse where the victim is left bruised and bloody. In fact, the more insidious and less noticed abuse is the emotional and mental kind. It’s so easy to let that kind of abuse slip by because there usually aren’t any physical signs.

Below are some songs that tackle the topic of abusive relationships. Some of these songs were inspired by true events that the artists have experienced. However, some of these songs tackle the issue in a more general sense, perhaps to let the public know that abuse doesn’t have to be as obvious as a bloody nose at the end of the day.

Katy Perry – Hot N Cold

Let’s start off with a more lighthearted song by pop singer Katy Perry. Hot n Cold is a song about her lover’s mood swings, which affects their relationships. He frequently changes his mind for no apparent reason, thus leaving her confused about what he wants and where the relationship is going. While not explicitly abusive, it’s this type of behavior that can leave a partner emotionally exhausted.

Lyrics about abuse: ‘Cause you’re hot then you’re cold

You’re yes then you’re no

You’re in then you’re out

You’re up then you’re down

You’re wrong when it’s right

It’s black and it’s white

We fight, we break up

We kiss, we make up

James Morrison feat. Nelly Furtado – Broken Strings

Sometimes love is such a powerful force that we’re willing to go through so much pain just to be with the one we love. Broken Strings captures this sentiment as the two characters in the song admit that their love is far from perfect. Their relationship is filled with deceit and lies, and yet they can’t seem to let each other go. So they go on playing on “broken strings” because they’re two broken people who can’t seem to be apart from each other.

Lyrics about abuse: You can’t play on broken strings

You can’t feel anything that your heart don’t want to feel

I can’t tell you something that ain’t real

Oh the truth hurts

And lies worse

How can I give anymore

When I love you a little less than before


Ellie Goulding – Something in the Way You Move

This catchy, electropop song might be blasting away at your favorite club, but its lyrics aren’t as fun. In the narrator sings about a guy she can’t help but be attracted to. Unfortunately, the guy she’s into is sure to leave her feeling broken and in tears. And yet there’s something about him that draws her in. It might not be an abusive relationship per se, but it’s more of knowing that the relationship isn’t headed in a good direction before it has even begun.

Lyrics about abuse: There’s something in the way you

Push me closer, further

Break me just enough

Your lies always seem so true

There’s nothing left for me to lose

There’s not one thing I can do to change your ways

But I can’t sit back and take the lonely days

When our eyes meet, I can only see the end

And tonight the rain pours again

Bon Jovi – You Give Love a Bad Name

Bon Jovi dated actress Diane Lane in the mid-80s, so there were bound to be rumors that the song is about her. Well, whether she inspired the song or not, there’s no doubt that the song is about a relationship you would never want to be in. In the song, Bon Jovi sings about a woman he loves who is really bad for him. He doesn’t really go into specifics, but you can tell how toxic their relationship is when he starts comparing her to a loaded gun!

Abusive lyrics: An angel’s smile is what you sell

You promise me heaven, then put me through hell

Chains of love got a hold on me

When passion’s a prison, you can’t break free


Beyonce – Jealous

Being taken for granted over and over again can sometimes be considered as abuse. Why? Because it corrodes your relationship and leaves you feeling like you don’t matter to the person who means the world to you. In Jealous, Beyonce describes her relationship with a man who always seems to break her trust. She comes up with creative ways to make him feel loved, and he repays her with betrayal and broken promises.

Abusive lyrics: I wish that you were me

So you could feel this feeling

I never broke one promise,

And I know when you’re not honest

Now you got me yelling

That’s because I’m jealous


The Police – Every Breath You Take

We were all once duped into thinking this song is super romantic, but it’s actually about an ex who turns into a stalker. If you really listen to the lyrics, you’ll see that the singer isn’t actually in a relationship with the woman he loves. And yet he dreams of her every night and watches her every move. This might just be the first song on the list that can legally be considered abusive!

Abusive lyrics: Since you’ve gone I been lost without a trace

I dream at night I can only see your face

I look around but it’s you I can’t replace

I feel so cold and I long for your embrace

I keep crying baby, baby, please

Oh can’t you see

You belong to me

My poor heart aches

With every step you take


Pearl Jam – Better Man

Better Man is a haunting song about a woman who’s trapped in an abusive relationship with her husband. Every night, she dreams of the days when he used to be a better man. And even though she considers finally leaving him, she believes that she can’t find anyone better than the man she has married. And so she comes back to continue the cycle.

Abusive lyrics: She lies and says she’s in love with him, can’t find a better man

She dreams in color, she dreams in red, can’t find a better man


Hozier – Cherry Wine

This song is best listened to with the music video featuring the talented Saoirse Ronan. The song is about an abusive relationship where the woman is the abuser, and the man is the victim who can’t find it in himself to leave her. The song was also released to promote awareness of domestic violence, with its sales going to anti-domestic violence charities.

Abusive lyrics: The way she shows me I’m hers and she is mine

Open hand or closed fist would be fine

The blood is rare and sweet as cherry wine

Red Jumpsuit Apparatus – Face Down

This song is about a woman in an abusive relationship, and the singer is speaking to both the abuser and the victim. The singer talks about how she covers up her bruises with makeup as her boyfriend swears that he’s sorry and that she loves her.

Abusive lyrics: Do you feel like a man when you push her around?

Do you feel better now as she falls to the ground?

Well, I’ll tell you, my friend, one day this world’s gonna end

As your lies crumble down, a new life she has found


Green Day – Pulling Teeth

Here’s another less conventional song about abuse where the victim is the man. He’s stuck in a relationship where he always needs to reassure the girl of his love for her before she starts beating him again. However, despite wishing he could get out of the situation, he still believes she takes good care of him.

Abusive lyrics: I’m all busted up

Broken bones and nasty cuts

Accidents will happen

But this time I can’t get up

She comes to check on me

Making sure I’m on my knees

After all she’s the one

Who put me in this state


Christina Perri – Jar of Hearts

Possibly one of the most heartfelt songs in this list because of its autobiographical nature, Jar of Hearts tells the story of an ex flame looking to rekindle a failed relationship. Christina Perri recalls the toxic nature of their relationship as she rebuffs his advances.

Abusive lyrics: And who do you think you are?

Runnin’ ’round leaving scars

Collecting your jar of hearts

And tearing love apart

You’re gonna catch a cold

From the ice inside your soul

So don’t come back for me

Who do you think you are?


Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Jordan – Stone Cold Dead in the Market

Catchy and morbid at the same time, Stone Cold Dead in the Market is a cautionary tale about what a woman might do when she gets fed up with abuse. The lyrics are told from the abusive husband who lies stone cold dead in the market because his wife bashed his head in with a rolling pin, a pot, or a frying pan – the dead man’s not quite sure on account of his bashed-in head.

Abusive lyrics: Last night I went out drinking

When I came home, I gave her a beating

So she catch up the rolling pin and went to work on my head

Till she bash it in


Tracy Chapman – Behind the Wall

This haunting song is performed with no instrumentation to really highlight the lyrics. The singer in this song hears the screaming of a woman behind the wall as she is beaten by her husband. She tells of how the police refuse to interfere with domestic affairs as the woman cries helplessly. In the last verse, the ambulance arrives to take the woman away as the police tell everyone to go back to sleep.

Abusive lyrics: Last night I heard the screaming

Then a silence that chilled my soul

I prayed that I was dreaming

When I saw the ambulance in the road

And the policeman said

“I’m here to keep the peace

Will the crowd disperse

I think we all could use some sleep”


Carrie Underwood – Church Bells

This song of revenge might deter potential abusers not to push their partner’s buttons. Church Bells tells the story of a poor young woman name Jenny who marries a rich gentleman. It turns out that her husband is an abusive drunk. So she slips some poison into his drink and makes sure he never beats her again.

Abusive lyrics: No law man was ever gonna find

And how he died is still a mystery

But he hit a woman for the very last time


Eminem feat. Rihanna – Love the Way You Lie

While violent and abusive, Love the Way You Lie is a song that reflects many abusive relationships. Unlike some songs on the list where the victim either gets revenge, escapes, or stays helpless, the victim in this song admittedly forms a love-hate relationship with her abuser. Both Eminem and Rihanna have had their fair share of abusive or toxic relationships, which is what lends an authentic feel to this song.

Abusive lyrics: I can’t tell you what it really is

I can only tell you what it feels like

And right now there’s a steel knife in my windpipe

I can’t breathe but I still fight while I can fight

As long as the wrong feels right it’s like I’m in flight

High off her love, drunk from her hate,

It’s like I’m huffing paint and I love her the more I suffer, I suffocate

And right before I’m about to drown, she resuscitates me

She fucking hates me and I love it

There is no excuse for abuse in any relationship. If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship, make a call to an organization that handles these issues before it’s too late.


    • He abuses you. His actions may become more violent. Your life may be in danger. He is not treating you with respect or love. End this relationship as soon as you are able to do so. Take this time to strengthen your relationship with your family and friends. Call the authorities if you are able to do so. Best of luck, Linthontho!

    • I was too i had was abused by a friend i was 8 i know your thinking no way this girl is telling the truth her friends were like 8 no my friends were all older then me and the guy that did this to me moved away and he threaten my life many times when i was 12 and i never told anyone but my sisters and best friends. He moved back near me and so when i am out i wear a hoodie and a hat i am scared he will find me. He hurt my sister once because she was with me. I am now 16. U can leave him but its going to be scary as hell.

      • Thank you for sharing your insights and experiences. Your support will certainly help people make rational decisions. Please feel free to share more of your thoughts and feelings in the future. Have a great day, Natalie!

    • Let go and let God love doesn’t hurt like that only in your heart he will give you the strength to do it. I’m anout to leave mine I’ll pray for you

      • Thank you for sharing your supportive comment. Please feel free to share more of your thoughts and feelings in the future. Have a great day, Stephanie!

      • Its unbelievable how a girl, like me, can do every single thing within my power in every aspect of life from rubbing his back and shoulders every night to spending every dime i have to cleaning up after him purposely leaving his trash, dirty clothes and dishes everywhere taking advantage of me trying to b a good wife/mommy and all i get in return is insults, blamed for everything like he’ll lose something and start slamming everything saying i must have done something with it then find it in his coat pocket or whatever, not so much of a decent look my way let alone an apology.. This is completely a 1 way street for me and a totally different 1 way street for him.. Can’t do anything right, he’ll contradict himself to say im wrong somehow, calls me really bad names over nothing.. Tells me to shut the f up and when i say don’t tell me to shut the f uo he’ll scream “shut the f up!! Shut the f up!! Shut the f up!!” its unreal.. Ii never knew a person could feel 110% beat down while they’re giving 110%..i know its head games and that its because he has issues of his own and nothing he says is true, i know the person i am and he’ll never have me believing in his brain f_ _ _ks but it still hurts so much so bad for the fact that he wants to make me feel bad and i don’t deserve it.. He doesn’t deserve me.. I know that for sure.. He treats me the exact opposite that i treat him.. Why am i still with him ur wondering, because it didn’t start like this and we have a child together which makes it all worse because she sees it, but i can’t make it by myself etc however i might tear up every other part of life to get away from him because he’s tromping my heart and soul to pieces and changing me as a person and i feel it..im also very depressed, already on medication. .. I could go on forever.. Wishing for some kind of help.. 😢

        • Your partner is both neglectful and abusive. Unless he gives you reason to believe that he will change his behaviors for the better, you can assume that his behaviors will worsen. Determine what you want for the future of this relationship. Decide what type of relationship you want to maintain. Nourish your relationships with your friends and family at this time. If he does not begin to treat you with respect, then you need to have a discussion with him about his behaviors and your requirements. Have a great day, Marie!

        • I just came across this, & I know it’s a few months pass the post date. Here’s a little advice from someone that has been through the same exact thing as you, plus I was also being abused physically. You can’t stay in a relationship like this, all because you have a child with this person. It’s not healthy for you or your daughter, & you need to break the cycle. Your daughter is seeing everything you’re going through. As she gets older she’s going to think that’s the way a man is supposed to treat a woman. You need to leave this man!! Yes, I do know it can be scary & it can be hard, but I know you can do it. If I can do it, & raise 5 boys on my own, you can do it. I worked & went to school to have a better education to take care of my boys. This person has your self esteem so low at this moment, & he has you believing that you can’t make it without him, but that’s not true. Your stronger then what you think you are!!! Don’t let this person tell you any other way! Like I said, you need to break the cycle, & you can do it on your own!! No woman should ever be treated the way you are being treated. No person will ever physically, mentally, emotionally abuse me again. It’s a long road to get through, but you can do it!!!

          • Thank you for sharing your insights and experiences. It is certain that your supportive comment will help many members of our community. We love when members of our community share their positive comments. Please share more of your thoughts and feelings in the future. Have a great day, Mel!

  1. You don’t love him, you need him, it’s not the same thing. When someone is in the right frame of mind love can be lost so quickly, if my boyfriend hit me my feelings would change completely towards him because I know how that ends I was in an abusive relationship before and people say people can’t change but this guy did, he stopped hitting me, because I said I was finished with him after he hit me in the face at his sisters wedding in front of my children and all the guests & I always try to see a positive because before I was hiding it now I couldn’t hide it he had forced my hand, so I said ok me and you are done. He begged and pledged over a matter of a few weeks and I said I don’t forgive you and never will so if I give you one more chance the minute you go that way again you have to agree on paper that you can’t make a fuss because I stated I don’t forgive you your the one asking for the chance not me I want to end it, I’m manipulative too I’m just don’t abuse people, so anyway he did that we gave it another go and lasted quite a few years and he never raised his hand to me once, until we split up years later because of his lies around other stuff like stealing my money and lying about it or saying he had a job but didn’t. What you have to understand is simple, if someone is made that way they can only change themselves if they want to and if you make it easy for them by saying this is ok behaviour they will continue, you have to be brave, even if you want to stay in this relationship you have to be brave and decide do I want to waste my life on solving this guys issues because clearly he doesn’t know how to respect you and allows anger to take over and normally that’s not something you’ve done it is something that’s alreasy in place years before and you can’t change him all you can do is change yourself. Please I’d erstand when I say get brave I don’t mean fight him back etc I mean make tough decisions and be willing to stand by them, he will say stuff like ok leave me I will kill myself and you have to say if I stay you or I will kill me so this isn’t my mess it’s yours don’t talk to me about it, and expect me to solve it that’s for you to undo. Anyway I think you got one life it goes fast your nobody’s counseller or mother let him sort himself out, if not I advise you to leave and don’t look back you will leave eventually why put up with a life of misery either that or he will kill you. So I’m sorry that’s a tough one for you but the quicker you realise the quicker you can start thinking why you need him in your life, does he bring a certain lifestyle or is it cos he is funny or do you feel safe with him because he is a strong character, all questions you can be asking yourself… I had a few bfs after my abusive bf and now I have a lovely man in my life and funny enough he is very similar to the first guy who was abusive he likes the same things into cars and football and he is funny and quite a few things are very similar but where it counts he is very different he don’t hit me lie to me or steal from me. So why waste your time when your perfect partner could be out there looking for you and your there wasting your time with this guy? And he could bring all the things to your life that this guy does but without the abuse. Think about it!! Good luck.

    • Thank you for sharing your story. Please feel free to share more of your insights and experiences in the future. It is certain that you will help members of our community because you shared your experiences. Have a great day, Fiona!

    • Thank you for sharing your comment. If you are abused, then it would be beneficial for you to do whatever you can. If you are able to call the police and get support, then do so. If not, then make whatever you decisions you feel are appropriate and viable. Best of luck, Just!

    • Exactly.. When it doesn’t start like that and u are settled and have kids etc its so hard to imagine busting it all up having so many things to fix or establish again.. But im to the point of where he’s really destroying my soul and any amount of sparkle i had left.. And that’s not me.. He’s changing the person i am and its not good.. I have to fo something soon. hoping, wishing, praying for some kind of help from somewhere..

      • Thank you for sharing your supportive comments. It is certain that your situation needs to be addressed. You may find that his behaviors will become more abusive in the future. Strengthen your relationships with your friends and family. Make the decision to protect your children from his behaviors. Ensure that you are safe from his abuse and neglect. Have a great day, Marie!

  2. You should put 30 minute break by the Luka state. It’s about a man in a abusive relationship with his girlfriend and in the video it shows that he’s been beaten before and when ever he wants to leave she cuts herself to guilt him into staying.

    Abusive lyrics

    And he’s walking home
    He’s thinking of what she’s done.]

    Half and hour later
    Kiss and cuddle she’s fine
    She f***ed him over
    Did him big time
    It’s a shame, it’s a shame
    That you have to treat him that way
    But you blame, you blame him for everythin

    • Thank you for sharing your thoughts and lyrics. We always support members of our community sharing songs that nourish them. Please feel free to share more of your positive comments in the future. Have a great day, Eren!

    • Other members of our community may be aware of such a song. If you are in such a relationship, then ensure that you get away from this person, as they are dangerous and their actions may become more violent or aggressive. Please share more of your thoughts and feelings in the future. Have a great day, Panda!

  3. I just recently got out of a relationship, actually today makes 4 weeks since I left my daughters father. I was with Brian for over 2 years and I regret wasting as much time as I did but it was so good in the beginning and we clicked so well. I had just left a relationship that was bad and the person I previously was with was so unintelligent so when I met Brian it was so great to meet someone who could hold an intelligent conversation. Well that intelligence was narcissism in disguise. After only being together about a month and half his mother passed and it was kinda hard on him. A few days later he came home high on something and we started arguing and he ended up choking me out. I blacked out and he took off that night. I packed his stuff and we broke up fro a week or so. I hated it because even though he did that I actually missed him. The incident was so out of character and I really did have strong feelings for him. So needless to say I let him come back. He said he was just under a lot of stress with his mom dying and some new meds hes was on was the reason he did it and that it would never happen again. Although I was kinda scared of him, or well that “side” of him we had a good relationship. We bickered alot but he started to show his arrogance more and more. He would never admit when he was wrong or would always turn it on me. After one real bad argument he cornered me and took my phone from me, i thought he was going to hurt me so i crawled out of a ground floor window and ended up getting an EPO against him. While he was still in jail I found out I was pregnant. I ended up dropping the EPO and he was the best to me ever all through my pregnancy. I mean we argued but nothing physical. The first few months after having my lil girl was hard but we got through it. My lil girl will be a year old this saturday and for the last 6 months me and him have done nothing but bicker and just argue and ive tried to get away from him. It wasnt until i pretty much told him he had to leave the house for a few days so i could have some space and he pretty much knew i was done with him that he lost his sh*t. That night he spit in my face twice and I lost it, smacking him as hard as i could on the side of his face/head. He got ahold of me and beat me like I never thought he would. Luckily my daughter was downstairs and only heard the abuse, which was bad enough. Once he was done he took off downstairs and was gone before i could even find my phone. I dont have full custody of my lil girl and I thought that if i put him in jail he and his family would just keep my daughter from me so I regrettingly didnt press charges. Now he has went around and told everyone that I made all of it up. I didnt go around him or my daughter for almost a week. Since then though he has been coming around and acts like normal. He wont even admit he put his hands on me but apologizes for his part. I was completely financially dependent on him as well as for a ride anywhere. Im having a hard time getting a job right now. My family is not wealthy or even close to it. I have had to ask him for help with a couple bills and a ride. Its hard to get distance from him because of this. While we were together I had really stopped hanging out with my friends and besides my mom and my sister i didnt keep in touch with hardly anyone. Im writing this for anyone who is or has been in my position who might have advice. He still says he loves me but the minute he hit me I could no longer love him the same. Although its hard.

    • It sounds as though you have made positive decisions to remove yourself from an abusive and neglectful relationship. It is healthy that you have made this decision. You should continue to avoid him and remove him from your life. You should no longer communicate with him, as it is certain that his behaviors will continue if you were to nourish this relationship again. Have a great day, Nina!

  4. I have been there. Am kinda in and out of there now. He is in jail. It’s too long of a story to tell here, but let me suggest this thought: Think about what this person is putting you through. What if it was your daughter that was being treated the way you are? What would you want her to do, or what would you do for her?

    That puts things into a serious perspective. I always wish my dad was alive or that I had brothers or a mom or friends who stuck up for me. But it’s me for me so I have learned to be strong during the abuse, but what we all need to do is be strong enough to leave when we first see the red flags. It’s such a waste of out lives to allow someone to make us feel like we arent worth anything or to steal even a moment of smiles from us. Forget that!!!

    • Thank you for sharing your experiences and insights. We always appreciate when members of our community share their supportive comments. Please share more of your thoughts and feelings in the future. Have a great day, Jem!

  5. I’ve been in this relationship for two years now. It has always been a little abusive. He always told me I’m crazy which led to us fighting and us pushing each other around. Well that was probably a year ago when that started. Now it’s gotten worse he has left bruises and cuts on my face so many times. I love him with my whole heart and I just feel like I’m to blame here. He is always nice/sweet to me when I don’t make stupid jokes about the past or his friends. I just can’t deal with the stress and anxiety he causes me. I just don’t know what to do. I can’t leave him because I love him but I also can’t stay in the current situation I am in now. I just need a way to push him to change for me.

    • He is abusive. You are not to blame for his actions. End this relationship immediately. His behaviors will continue to worse and become more frequent with time. The longer that you maintain this relationship, the more likely you are to come to serious harm. Determine what you want for your future without him, and nourish your relationships with your friends and family. Have a great day, Hannah!


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