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  • In Dragon Bones, the protagonist's father is known to have been violent against his wife, as well as their children. It is hinted that, when she began to take mind-altering herbs, he didn't "come to her bed as often", which encouraged her to continue the drug abuse.
  • A Deal With A Demon: The heroine of the first book, Briar Rose has an abusive husband who would beat her. She actually makes a deal with Azazel to kill him, as she knows he's escalating and will get her first if she doesn't do anything.
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  • Sybil Jester's husband in Fiona Buckley's Queen Of Ambition. Thanks to Deliberate Values Dissonance (it is the late sixteenth century, after all), Sybil (who ran away and got work as a companion) is sacked when her employer finds out that she ran away from her husband.
  • Daisy's husband Tom in F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby.
  • Ken Follett's The Pillars of the Earth: Alfred beats Aliena, crossing the Moral Event Horizon in the process.
  • In Kerry Greenwood's Death Before Wicket, Dolly Hart was frequently beaten up by her husband and sometimes put out on the street after a fight. The last time that happened, she left him and became a prostitute. She says that she didn't have to do anything for the money that he hadn't done to her, and by force.
  • Anne McCaffrey's Dragonriders of Pern: In the first novel, Dragonflight, F'lar and Lessa are effectively in an Arranged Marriage once their dragons pair off; their first sexual encounter, triggered by the dragons, was rougher than it should have been as a result. (F'lar, not being stupid, realized that this had driven a wedge between them but couldn't fix it.) He shakes her very hard sometimes when she frightens him.
    • This shaking is not when she is deliberately scaring him, but typically is when he is frightened for her.
  • John D. MacDonald's Travis McGee encountered this more than once.
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    • Bright Orange for the Shroud: Arthur Wilkinson's wife married him as part of an elaborate scam to defraud him of all his money; she helped her partners in the scam by verbal abuse combined with the Lysistrata Gambit in order to push him into the investments they wanted him to make.
    • Darker Than Amber: Immediately prior to the opening of the story, McGee had been helping a woman get back on her feet after escaping from an emotionally (though not physically) abusive marriage.
    • The Girl in the Plain Brown Wrapper: That the local doctor suffered terrible verbal abuse for many years in his marriage, and was being blackmailed because he had murdered her.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire:
    • The marriage of King Robert Baratheon and Cersei Lannister is a particularly hellish and complicated case. Robert overthrew the previous dynasty when its crown prince, Rhaegar, kidnapped (or perhaps secretly eloped with) his beloved fiancée Lyanna. Meanwhile, Cersei had her heart set on Rhaegar. Robert killed Rhaegar in battle and won the crown, but Lyanna died during the war. To ensure the loyalty of her powerful noble family, Robert married Cersei. As you might expect, the marriage of two strangers, one of whom is mourning his true love while the other is resentful of both the fact that her new husband killed her crush and that she had no say in the marriage doesn't go well. When the books start about 15 years into their marriage, they're both regularly cheating on the other, Cersei is a sociopath who verbally abuses Robert at every turn and threatens the lives of his bastard children, and Boisterous Bruiser Robert doesn't know any way to respond to Cersei except by either drinking himself unconscious or hitting her. (Robert fully and regretfully admits afterward that being physically abusive isn't right, but he honestly has no clue on other ways to deal with Cersei.) He also used to extort to his Marital Rape License once in a while in the early days of their marriage when he was drunk and pretended that 'it was all wine and he doesn't remember it anyway' in the mornings after. (Cersei recalls, however, Robert acting somewhat smug the morning after and suspects he was satisfied he'd ensured his dominance over her and was aware of what he was doing.) The happy marriage ends with Robert dying in a Hunting "Accident" that Cersei and a co-conspirator helped along by getting Robert enormously drunk right before he tried facing off with a wild boar.
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    • And that is nothing compared to the abuse of his predecessor King Aerys, who would not only verbally abuse his wife on a regular basis but would violently rape her whenever he was done burning people alive.
    • There's also Ramsay Bolton and Gregor Clegane, both of whom are widowers. Guess who killed their wives. Go on, guess.
    • Ramsay's father, Roose Bolton, could be one. He has been married twice already, and both women have died. Given the reputation of House Bolton's cruelty and Roose Bolton being nowhere as open about it as Ramsay is, it is possible and might not even have been completely physical. However, bizarrely, he is fond of his third wife, Fat Walda Frey. Apparently, he enjoys how she shudders and moans...
    • Joffrey Baratheon had all the hallmarks of becoming one. His treatment of Sansa Stark, a girl he was betrothed to, starts getting bad when he kills her father right in front of her and forces her to look at his mounted head. He has his Kingsguard beat her whenever her brother scores a victory against his grandfather's forces in a war he started, going so far as to have her stripped naked and beaten before the entire court at one point. Fear of this is what drove Olenna Tyrell to help kill him on the day he marries Margery Tyrell, her granddaughter. Her brother being a Kingsguard also helped convince Olenna.
  • Stephen King:
    • In the novel Dolores Claiborne, the title character is physically abused by her husband. She first accepts this because she grew up in a rural community in the '30s when this was socially acceptable, but she eventually decides to stand up to him, and she eventually kills him when she learns that he's trying to make moves on their eldest daughter.
    • Another novel by King, Rose Madder, deals with the protagonist, Rosie, escaping from her abusive husband, Norman, who brutally beat her many times, including when she was pregnant, causing her to miscarry.
    • Carrie, also by Stephen King. It's implied that one reason Carrie's mother is so messed up is that her husband abused and raped her.
    • Beverly from the Losers Club in IT has to get away from a husband who beats her so regularly that he has a belt reserved for it.
    • The novel Insomnia also had domestic abuse play a part, although this time it's at least partially because malignant spiritual forces have driven the husband insane so they can use him as a tool to kill a young boy with an important role to play later in life.
  • Dempsy towards Brina in Zane's "Addicted."
  • A short story dealt with a man who was a painter and was married to a woman who constantly verbally abused him, constantly belittling and insulting him. It ends with it being revealed that he has the power to trap anything he paints into the painting — and he has begun to paint his wife's picture.
  • It's heavily implied in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix that Snape's father was at the very least verbally abusive and likely physically abusive as well to Snape's mother, and that this was a large contributing factor in his anti-Muggle attitudes.
  • In Ben Aaronovitch's Rivers of London (known as Midnight Riot in the US, getting a warrant for a ghost who murdered his wife and child is complicated by the ghostly magistrate asking whether the woman was a shrew because no man hits his wife without reason. The quick-thinking narrator tells him that she was a terrible shrew but the baby was innocent, which gets the warrant.
  • In the O. Henry story A Harlem Tragedy, Mrs. Cassidy makes light of her husband's sporadic abuse because she knows he'll spend the rest of the week trying to make up for it. In a case of Values Dissonance, this actually makes her friend jealous. In Real Life, using the other partner's physical violence as a means of manipulation is unfortunately not unknown. One woman observed later that her part in her abusive marriage was a sick power game.
  • In The Red Tent, Laban beats the ever-living crap out of his second wife, Ruti. It gets so bad that she eventually kills herself.
  • In Lois McMaster Bujold's Komarr, the best Ekaterin can say about her husband is "he never beat me". His behavior—including belittling her constantly, turning anything she says that can possibly be interpreted as criticism into an attack on her by calling her "selfish", and wall-punching tantrums—is severe emotional abuse.
  • The film version of Revenge of the Sith has Anakin, at the end, choking his wife, though he'd been solicitous to her before. In the Novelization by Matt Stover, it has buildup. Throughout the novel, they're happy to see each other and in love... but when they first meet and Padme tries to tell him she's pregnant, he instantly assumes she has a lover and grabs her hard enough to hurt her. Over the course of the novel, she repeatedly tells him he's scaring her, and this starts mattering to him less and less. He even once looks down at her and thinks that he likes it when she's afraid. Any time she talks about the war or the Senate, he turns on her — doesn't she understand that she should only talk about them and the baby? — and he starts to resent her job and all that time she spends at it away from him, maybe traitorous time. For her part, Padme is largely in denial over this side of him but realizes at one point that there is one Jedi she does trust... and it's not him. The realization horrifies her, at least in part because if Anakin knew, he wouldn't be happy with her.
  • Beatrice from Purple Hibiscus loses at least two children because her husband beats her. Eventually, she's driven to murder.
  • Twilight:
    • 99.9% of Edward and Jacob's actions (especially Edward's) are blatantly fit the criteria for domestic abuse. Try sitting with the list of "red flags" while reading the books. It's frightening. And it's played as romantic. Unfortunate Implications abound.
    • Bella gets her own turn in Eclipse and the first part of Breaking Dawn when she repeatedly tries to force Edward to have sex with her, even though he states repeatedly that he doesn't want to. At one point, she actually tries to rip off his shirt, which would be seen as horrifying if a man did it to a woman but is Played for Laughs in that scene.
  • Similarly to Twilight, Patch's interactions with Nora in Hush, Hush are almost directly lifted from the Abuser's Handbook. He stalks her, he mocks her, he enjoys making her uncomfortable, he humiliates her in front of her Biology class, he repeatedly forces her to engage in activities she's not comfortable doing (riding a wild roller coaster, accepting a lift on his motorcycle, etc), corners her in dark, abandoned places, tells her things like "A guy like me could take advantage of a girl like you", lures her into a motel room, pins her on a bed and kisses her while she screams in protest, etc. We later find out that he had every intention of murdering her at several points in the story. None of this is portrayed as less than romantic.
  • In Gene Stratton-Porter's The Song of the Cardinal, the woodpeckers.
    the woodpecker had dressed his suit in finest style, and with dulcet tones and melting tenderness had gone acourting. Sweet as the dove's had been his wooing, and one more pang the lonely Cardinal had suffered at being forced to witness his felicity; yet scarcely had his plump, amiable little mate consented to his caresses and approved the sycamore, before he turned on her, pecked her severely, and pulled a tuft of plumage from her breast. There was not the least excuse for this tyrannical action; and the sight filled the Cardinal with rage. He fully expected to see Madam Woodpecker divorce herself and flee her new home, and he most earnestly hoped that she would; but she did no such thing. She meekly flattened her feathers, hurried work in a lively manner, and tried in every way to anticipate and avert her mate's displeasure. Under this treatment he grew more abusive, and now Madam Woodpecker dodged every time she came within his reach
  • Sherlock Holmes prefers the city to the countryside because this is more easily revealed.
    There is no lane so vile that the scream of a tortured child, or the thud of a drunkard's blow, does not beget sympathy and indignation among the neighbours, and then the whole machinery of justice is ever so close that a word of complaint can set it going, and there is but a step between the crime and the dock. But look at these lonely houses, each in its own fields, filled for the most part with poor ignorant folk who know little of the law. Think of the deeds of hellish cruelty, the hidden wickedness which may go on, year in, year out, in such places, and none the wiser.
  • The Dresden Files:
    • Storm Front: Harry's client turns out to be a victim. Her husband is a warlock with a drive to get more and more power. The client sought Harry when she caught her husband looking at their children not with love, but as tools and ingredients to his next projects.
    • Harry is a victim of this too. He is abused by his guardian Justin Dumorne by him trying to enthrall Harry (magically strip him of his free will).
  • Mercedes Lackey's works:
    • In Burning Water, there's a scene where a patrol cop is telling the waitress at a diner (who volunteers at a domestic abuse support group) about recent domestic violence cases he's responded to so that she can contact the victims and get them help before things get out of hand.
    • In Steadfast, dancer and acrobat Katie Langford runs away from the circus she works at to escape her abusive and brutish husband Dick, the circus strongman.
  • In the world of A Brother's Price men are so rare that many gender roles are reversed. It's commonly known that some wives abuse their husbands, but it's not a flat subversion of Double Standard: Abuse, Female on Male; there is one very high profile case where a man took advantage of his older wives' infatuation with him in order to abuse his younger wives without consequences.
  • In Anna Quindlen's novel Black and Blue, Fran is physically, emotionally, and sexually abused by her husband for years. Unable to go to the police for help, given that her husband is a police officer, she flees along with her son and attempts to hide from him by getting herself and her son fake identities. It doesn't work.
  • Marian Keyes' novel This Charming Man centers around four women who have had their lives changed because of their relationship to the abusive politician Paddy de Courcy, the titular "charming man".
  • Fault Line revolves around this and they focus on all the disturbing details.
  • The Tenant of Wildfell Hall is a thorough examination of it, to the horror and fascination of the Victorian reading public.
  • Occurs several times in the Beka Cooper trilogy of the Tortall Universe. Child Beka got her first taste of policing when she tracked down her mother's latest boyfriend, who beat and then robbed her. During her time as a trainee guardswomannote  she witnesses Yates Noll beating his sister Gemma. Beka also arrests a woman who was threatening her husband and kids with a knife; in court, multiple witnesses testify that she beat them regularly. It's treated very seriously, an aversion of Double Standard: Abuse, Female on Male.
  • Every one of the Dysfunctional Family groups in the novels of V. C. Andrews. In particular, the Dollanganger family from Flowers in the Attic and Petals on the Wind.
  • The Jack Reacher novel Echo Burning.
  • In Elena Ferrante's The Story of a New Name, Elena discovers that Stefano, Lila's new husband, is just as violent and abusive as his deceased loan shark father. She recalls the first time she saw Lila after her wedding, Lila had a massive black eye and her arms were bruised. No one dared to mention it because of Stefano's lineage and because every husband and father in their poor Naples village was violent and abusive towards their wives and their children. Elena herself ended up marrying and divorcing an emotionally abusive man.
  • Sara's first foster-father in Relativity. He never abused her or her sister but did beat and eventually killed her foster mother.
  • In The Anderssons by Solveig Olsson-Hultgren, Mandi ends up in an abusive marriage with Rutger Stjärnstedt, which she can only escape by signing herself into a mental asylum (and later on, she decides to commit suicide). And when her daughter Louise gets a Jewish boyfriend, she too is abused by Rutger.
  • In Queen of the Tearling, Andalie's husband abuses her and the children. She walks away from him, taking her children, when she's given the opportunity, but still protects him. She hints that she just suffers from irrational love, but since she also has some supernatural abilities, it is not clear in the first book whether she knows of some role her husband has yet to play. There's also Kelsea's uncle, who insists that he never beat any of his female slaves ... except the one he keeps on a leash like a dog. It is very clear that he is abusive, though perhaps not often physically so.
  • Ravensong:
    • Polly's father beats her mother.
    • Jake, the "old snake" beats his wife.
  • The Great Divorce depicts two not-very-good spouses in Hell. Robert's wife is a control freak who forced him into what she considered success, and Frank Smith emotionally manipulated his wife Sarah using pity. Both of them try their shtick with the Bright Ones, but it doesn't work.
  • In the Dreamblood Duology, Lord Sanfi basically creates a world of horror and pain for the women around him.
  • Occasionally, a subplot in a Danielle Steel novel. The one time it's the main plot, in the novel Journey, she opts to depict the emotional/verbal variety.
  • This is a reoccurring theme in The Color Purple. Domestic abuse is seen as the norm in Celie's family. Celie, in jealousy, even encourages her ex-husband to beat up his new girlfriend. He gets beat up the first time, which results in a cycle of abuse.
  • An emotional version of this happens in Leaving Poppy, as the titular Poppy controls her mother and sister's lives with her tantrums and aggression, throwing fits, and guilt-tripping when she doesn't have her way.
  • The Cold Moons: Eldon's wife Scylla dislikes angering him for fear of being chastised and either bitten by him or cuffed by his heavy paws. Due to Deliberate Values Dissonance, the other badgers don't see this as abusive and the narrative doesn't depict it as negative. Eldon does care for his wife to a degree but the two only ended up together because it was expected from them, not because of actual affection.
  • Miranda's relationship with her much-older boyfriend in Eighteen Days To Graduation counts. He mocks her and makes her feel completely worthless. Luckily, she breaks up with him at the end.
  • The Stormlight Archive:
    • Shallan's father, which gets explored in Words of Radiance, was physically and emotionally abusive to everyone in his household but Shallan, and left all of his children with varying degrees of psychological trauma, including Shallan's Stepford Smiler tendencies (which she developed to try and make her brothers feel better). It's also commonly believed that he killed his first wife, Shallan's mother, but got away with it when Shallan refused to testify against him. He didn't, Shallan did in self-defense, and he let everyone believe he was responsible to protect her. However, the stress of letting his country and children believe he was a murderer is what drove him to take out his anger on his remaining family, eventually killing his second wife for real, and forcing Shallan to kill him as well.
    • King Gavilar, loved by his brother, children, and nephews, turns out to be a terrible husband to Navani. He belittles his wife's scholarly pursuits and considers her a Gold Digger who can only leech fame from others. He doesn't even acknowledge the work she does for him; in the prologue to Rhythm of War, he expects her to do all the work running a diplomatic feast and party without bothering to consult with her and mocks her insistence that he show up and do his duty as king as nagging. When he is assassinated at the end of the party, Navani is unable to feel sad and instead regrets that their last conversation was an argument.
  • Eleanor & Park: Eleanor’s stepfather Richie yells at, throws things, and hits her mother Sabrina frequently. Eleanor usually finds herself comforting her siblings regularly when their fights break out when they're not sleeping through the noise.
  • There There: Blue suffers from an abusive partner, whom she eventually leaves.
  • Big Little Lies: In both the book and the miniseries, Perry Wright/White is a Wolf in Sheep's Clothing with wife Celeste. From the outside looking in, they have the perfect marriage, perfect family, and the fact that their sex life is so passionate is the envy of many characters. However, even those who've known them for years are unaware of this, the only exception being Celeste's therapist who first brought this up to her in private. The abuse gets gradually worse and worse, but that passionate sex life everyone is jealous of? Is the result of it.
  • Brown Girl in the Ring: Rudy is depicted to have hit his wife, Gros-Jeanne.
  • The Reluctant King: Vanora tells Jorian her lover Boso hits her sometimes, though she says it's partly her fault as she deliberately provokes him. Jorian sympathizes with Boso since she also provoked him (this all just seems pretty... unfortunate now).
  • Warrior Cats:
    • In the Dawn of the Clans arc, Tom is violent to the she-cat he lives with, Bumble, because he blames her for his mate Turtle Tail leaving. He later is emotionally abusive to his ex-mate, tormenting her and trying to hurt her by kidnapping their kits.
    • In The Broken Code arc, Ashfur desperately and pathetically wants to be Squirrelflight's mate, but he's not above hurting her when she doesn't go along with it: throwing her off a ledge in anger when she speaks out against him, and mind-controlling her mate Bramblestar into attacking her.
  • Where the Crawdads Sing: Pa used to get drunk and beat Ma and all the kids. After the rest of the family leaves, Kya learns to stay out of his way so he won't beat her.
  • In Daystar and Shadow, Robin's father hits his mother for disobeying or arguing with him.
  • The Cat Who... Series: In book #20 (The Cat Who Sang for the Birds), this results in the death of the second victim, who fled to escape it, along with evidence that her boyfriend was up to something else dirty. But when she returned to retrieve her personal belongings, he was waiting there and killed her.
  • Chocoholic Mysteries:
    • Emotionally controlling version in the form of Richard Godfrey, Lee's ex-husband. Among other things, he actively tried to obstruct her efforts to get a degree and was furious when she not only succeeded, she made the dean's list in the process; in Cat Caper, when he finds out she's in some trouble in Warner Pier, he tries to worm his way back into her life via paying her legal bills, but she recognizes this as another attempt to control her and rejects him again. Bear Burglary reveals that he was actually shocked out of his previous behavior by her blow-up at him, and changes for the better as a result.
    • In Bear Burglary, Nettie mentions a former employee of hers who ultimately had to move all the way across the country to get away from an abusive husband.
    • Snowman Murders reveals that Nettie, along with Sarajane Harding and George Jenkins, is involved in a sort of Underground Railroad that helps battered women escape from worst-case situations of this.
  • In A Cry in the Night, Erich's behavior towards Jenny after they're married is textbook emotional/psychological abuse. He's not blatantly cruel to her but he's incredibly manipulative and controlling, and uses passive aggressive tactics to undermine her confidence or make her doubt herself.
  • The Silerian Trilogy: Ronall is a terrible husband to Elelar, beating or raping her multiple times when he's not cheating with other women. Unsurprisingly, she prefers he do that and ignore her most of the time.
  • Peta Lyre's Rating Normal: Peta's dad used to beat his mom, until a few years ago when the neighbors called the cops. She refused to press charges, but the incident apparently spooked him enough that he never beats his wife anymore, only his kids.
  • The Inheritance Games: Drake is Libby's on-again-off-again boyfriend who only just stayed on this line of being physically abusive at the start of the story. When he finds out Libby's ward/sister Avery inherited billions he, in this order: acts like an Entitled Bastard making plans to spend the fortune, hits Libby when she explains the money is not theirs i.e. his to spend, then goes to the press and implies Avery had an inappropriate relationship with Tobias Hawthorne. Then there's the matter of him trying to kill Avery (twice) on Skye Hawthorne's orders for money, only to be caught, arrested, and tries to pin the blame on Libby. Luckily plenty of evidence, including his own felony record, easily disproves this.
  • The Love and Lies of Rukhsana Ali: Rukhsana finds out that her grandmother suffered frequent beatings and once a burned hand by her mother-in-law or husband.
  • Forbidden Sea: Shadow in the Sea has former Alpha Bitch Cora as an adult married to the bully Marcus Stebbs, now a poor fisherman who beats her. Cora blames Adrianne for her awful life because Adrianne "stole" Cora's previous love from her.
  • Haze: At night, Guzzle listens to his stepdad Angus beat his mum, who won't leave him because she "loves" him. Sometimes the noise keeps Guzzle up so late that he can't concentrate in school the next day.

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