Whether it’s emotional abuse or physical confrontations, it’s never good when someone puts you down. So in this article, we unearth the best songs about abusive men that you’ll can enjoy the next time you’re feeling down and need a little pick me up.
The Best Songs About Abusive Men
Mansion by NF
In his song Mansion, NF uses beautifully articulated metaphor to give listeners a front row seat to his mind.
The song begins with NF referring to his mind as a house, within which are a handful of rooms representing different types of negative memories.
Throughout the tour of his mental mansion, NF takes us to the basement of the home where he tells listeners about the abuse he received from his step father. He describes this room as an “uncut version” of life, painting it as an angry place that people usually don’t want to see.
As the song continues, NF moves from the foundational level of the home into the upper levels, elaborating on rooms of trust issues and life regrets – all built upon the foundation of abuse he received growing up.
Known for his raw and real emotions in his music, NF lives up to his reputation with his song Mansion.
Thanks to his talents and willingness to be vulnerable, others who may suffer from a similar at-home situation now have a song that puts words to what they’re feeling.
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Say It Ain’t So by Weezer
Post traumatic reactions can plague the lives of anyone who as had a parent leave them. In Say It Ain’t So by Weezer, we see the lingering effects of abusive fathers, even after they’re no longer a part of the family.
In the song, Rivers Cuomo tells a story of seeing a bottle of beer (“Heine” aka Heineken) in the fridge belonging to his step father. Upon this discovery, Rivers is triggered into a defensive state, suddenly terrified his step father is going to do what his alcoholic biological father did, and leave him.
Throughout the song, Rivers struggles with whether or not he should speak on his concerns to his step father, afraid he’s going to make him leave faster.
Say It Ain’t So is an often overlooked song about the lasting impression abusive fathers can have on their children’s life.
Abandonment is a form of abuse and neglect, one that disregards a child’s need for parental consistency in their life. Weezer did a great job articulating this difficult mental process, giving those who have suffered similar events an outlet of comfort through their music.
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You Should Be Sad by Halsey
It’s not easy when you find yourself in an emotionally abusive relationship with a broken man, but if you do accidentally end up there, at least you have Halsey to help bring you out of the darkness.
In You Should Be Sad, Halsey takes a situation that should have broken her heart and gives it an epic victorious twist by turning it around on the man who used her.
In the start of the song, she explains that she’s not angry or resentful, she just regrets wasting her precious time. The use of Halsey’s lyrics creates a strong sense of integrity that is demonstrated throughout the rest of the song.
Through verses of sly digs and witty insults, Halsey reminds survivors that at the end of the day, it’s his loss.
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The Last To Say by Atmosphere
A physically abusive husband does significantly more damage than just marks on the body. In The Last To Say, Atmosphere tells of how he grew up watching his father physically beat his mother.
In the first verse, a quick summary of the first 24 years of his life is explained. As the song continues, we hear as he tries to make sense of it all from a son’s perspective, wondering why his mom always made excuses to stay.
Towards the end of the song, he’s begging her to run away before he kills her. He knows he’s not the first one to tell her to run, but he hopes he can be the last one and she’ll finally listen.
The Last To Say is a soulful depiction of the impacts domestic abuse can have on the kids who are forced to grow up in it.
This song is a double hitter as it brings heart wrenching attention to a harsh reality so many kids have to survive within, as well as the brutal commonality of husbands who have no problem beating their wives.
Praying by Kesha
Abuse in the music industry is not uncommon, and yet, it’s not often we hear of what musicians actually endure within their contracts to give us the music we love.
In her song Praying, Kesha sings of her independent musical redemption, as well as her personal resurrection after breaking free from her ex producer and rapist, Dr Luke.
While she has every right to do so, Kesha doesn’t use this song to air out the gruesome details pertaining to the slimy pervert that Dr Luke is. Instead, she focuses on highlighting the strength and resilience she has in the face of such awful mistreatment.
With unwavering confidence, she states how proud of herself she is, she recognizes her personal strength, and how the best is yet to come despite this douche bag’s best efforts to suppress and dominate her.
Praying is an empowering survivor’s song, one that is absolutely necessary for individuals who have experienced abusive men, specifically in terms of rape and control.
Through writing and releasing this song, Kesha provides a great reminder that who you are is not defined by your abuser, and you’re capable of taking the tragedy and turning into an even more potent power than ever before.
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Stranger by Emery
Abuse by someone you’ve been taught to entrust not only with your body, but with your everlasting soul, is a form of betrayal with deep lasting impact.
In their song Stranger, the band Emery creates an intense musical experience narrating the journey of a victim of sexual abuse by a clergyman.
The song starts melancholic, with a single guitar accompaniment as lead singer Toby Morrell tells listeners of a man who has taken advantage of his trust, grooming him into being sexually assaulted on a repeated basis.
While the songs starts off slow, we begin to hear as Morrell’s vocals gradually grow stronger throughout the piece. A trumpet and a snare drum are introduced to the instrumental accompaniment, and the song begins to pick up pace.
After a brief instrumental interlude, the composition explodes with energy as Morrell sings “we are not the victims now,” with full force, courageously exposing the man he once trusted as a called leader in Christ.
Stranger is a journey of a song. The slow start represents the confusion and helplessness felt by Morrell during the time spent with the abuser, while the gradual build up of vocal power, instrumentals, and lyrics signifies how Morrell begins to understand that what’s happening to him is not right.
Such an incredible piece, birthed from such a grievous experience. Emery created a song that can now console anyone who may have suffered a similar situation.
I Miss The Misery by Halestorm
Sometimes mentally abusive relationships can create an altered psychological state where the victim feels like they not only deserve the pain of the situation, but actually get a sense of enjoyment out of it.
In their song I Miss The Misery by Halestorm, Lizzy Hale sings of a protagonist who doesn’t miss her abusive ex boyfriend at all, but rather misses the mental misery of their relationship.
The song narrates multiple things that would qualify as a red flag in a healthy partnership. However, in her lyrics, Hale describes them as the thing she misses the most. While it might seem completely ass backwards to people outside the situation, it usually makes complete sense to those feeling the after affects of the mental abuse.
I Miss The Misery can serve as a relatable song for someone who may find themselves healing from an abusive relationship, reminding them it’s not abnormal to miss the one who hurt you.
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Too Bad by Nickelback
In terms of using abusive experiences with men for musical inspiration, Too Bad by Nickelback is a prime example of just that.
Too Bad is a song about a father who walks out on his family, and how it impacts the son in the long run.
In the third verse, lead singer Chad Krueger talks about his father’s apparent regrets, signifying he and his family turned out fine without him regardless, giving credit to the fact they are now able to sing hit songs about it.
Too Bad is a great song to listen to for a good reminder that through the pain comes the opportunity to overcome the adversity, and use it to propel yourself forward.
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What’s The Matter Here by 10,000 Maniacs
We’ve talked a lot about individuals at the receiving end of abuse, but what about those who witness an abusive man?
What’s The Matter Here by 10,000 Maniacs is a heart wrenching song about a woman who witnesses the little neighbor boy being abused by his father next door.
This song depicts inner conflict of the witness. While she wants to say something, and hates that it’s happening to the child, she remains silent, and continues to watch without interfering.
While we all like to think we’d speak out and intervene at the sight of child abuse, the reality is, some people either don’t know how or can’t muster the courage.
As a victim of male abuse, there’s nothing worse than knowing someone is watching you suffer and choosing to keep it to themselves. This song serves as a good reminder that if you can’t get yourself to intervene, you need to go find someone who can.
If you see something, say something.
Burning House by Cam
Despite not being directly written about an abusive relationship, Burning House by Cam has a lot of lyrical relevance in which many people within abusive relationships tap into.
Through the use of imagery, Cam sings of a dream she had where her ex boyfriend is stuck in a burning house. Despite her best efforts, Cam is unable to help him escape so she decides to lay down and burn up with the house alongside him.
The depiction of both martyrdom and helplessness is part of what makes this song so significant to those struggling with abusive male partners as it aligns with what is typically felt in the situation.
There’s a mental struggle of knowing they can’t be saved while simultaneously being willing to sacrifice yourself for them, and I think Burning House depicts that beautifully.
Possession by Sarah McLachlan
Abuse doesn’t always happen physically or at the hands of someone you know. Sometimes abusive behaviors, such as stalking and obsession, happen with a complete stranger.
In the song Possession, Sarah McLachlan sings a song from the perspective of a man who is obsessed with a woman, painting a picture of the unhinged thoughts behind stalkers and what goes on in their minds.
The song narrates deranged fantasies towards the woman, including holding her down and kissing her and claiming she teases him by speaking to him in riddles, as if she’s playing a messed up game with him out of passion. All of which he’s made up in his head as she has no idea who he is.
Stalking is a very under acknowledged form of abuse, one which doesn’t have a whole lot of resources for self defense.
Other than a restraining order and a personal body guard, victims of stalkers are hard pressed for proactive actions, and can only wait until their predator acts on their fantasies before an arrest can be made.
With the release of Possessions, McLachlan brings attention to this terrifying realty for many people, herself included.
For The Love of a Daughter by Demi Lovato
The role of a father in a daughter’s life is a significant one, which is what makes fathers who abandon their daughters particularly painful.
Through intense lyrical narrative, Demi Lovato tells of her abusive alcoholic father through the perspective of a child in her song For The Love of a Daughter.
This song covers a lot of ground with very little description. With each verse Demi tells listeners of the physical abuse, the alcoholism, the manipulation, the mental abuse, and finally the abandonment.
This song is a particularly heavy hitter because it confesses the painful truth of despite being abused for so long, she’s still not able to let him go.
While a lot of storylines regarding abusive men eventually lead to a conclusion of healing, the reality before the healing is pure and simple pain. Regardless, it is still important to have songs that portray the inconclusive end because for many, that’s the section of the journey they’re still on.
Demi Lovato shared a very personal story with the world and because of it, many people who hear it don’t have to feel so alone in their pain.
Prison Sex by Tool
Hurt people hurt people. An unfortunate reality that’s been proven time and time again, and is examined once more in the song Prison Sex by Tool.
Prison Sex is a song about a young boy who survives consistent sexual abuse by an older man. The first half of the song narrates it from the boy’s perspective and by the start of the second half, we see as the boy is now a man who is repeating the cycle.
This song had a significant impact when it hit the airwaves. MTV even went so far as to ban the music video Tool created for the song, despite it not having any violent content in it, deeming it too unsettling for viewers.
Prison Sex is an important song for a lot of reasons. Not only does it brings awareness to the violent cycle of sexual abuse, but it also brought to light how the general public would rather stick it’s head in the sand than give attention to the root cause behind why sexual abuse happens.
Bloom by Raveena
With the use of soulful and dreamy rhythms, Reveena shows us how to move past abusive relationships with strength and beauty in her song Bloom.
With nods to rebound sex and therapy, Reveena sings to her abusive ex, telling him that even though it took a little while, he doesn’t own her anymore.
This song is such a sweet sounding victory cry that really resonates with someone who might have recently escaped from a mentally abusive partner.
With simple yet strong statements like “don’t touch me” Reveena shows us what hard and clear boundaries look like – a concept that can be challenging to accomplish in the wake of a mentally abusive relationship.
Bloom is a healing song of survival and perseverance, with soothing qualities that are sure the aid in the path to recovery for anyone who just got out of a harmful relationship.
Labour by Paris Paloma
To end this article, I picked the song Labour by Paris Paloma.
In this song, Paris is a wife in a traditional patriarchal marriage. Right away in the song, we’re introduced to the physical labor she must endure for the sake of her marriage, along with the emotional torture from the head of the household.
With each verse, Paris takes us deeper and deeper into the role she’s been assigned since uniting with this man, slowly bringing more attention to the abusive confines she lives within.
Towards the end of the song, Paris lists off all the different contradictory titles she’s expected to constantly uphold: therapist, mother, maid, nymph, virgin, and so on.
The symbolism of this storyline brings vital and clear attention to the impossible expectations and dehumanization of women in both society and traditional marriage.
In fact, Labour was released in March 2023, and quickly gained popularity shortly after through it’s audio clip that circulated social media platforms – specifically TikTok.
It has become an anthem for the feminist movement of gender equality, a counter movement against the abusive patriarchal system women are forced to survive within.
What makes this song such a relevant one to the list is that is points out the ultimate male abuser; the patriarchy.
Reflecting on this song and the reality it brings attention to, one can help but ask the question: Would we have so many songs about abusive men to write about if the system wasn’t based on patriarchal beliefs and practices?
Since I’m at the end of my list, I guess that’s another article for another day.
Wrapping It Up
From pain, beauty in the form of musical expression can bloom, and when it comes to relatable and soothing songs about these harsh realities, the options seem limitless.
Whether you’re a artist writing about your abuse experiences, or a listener tuning in for some creative release, one thing can be sure: there can be comfort and healing in music.
This article was written by Paige and edited by Michael.