through the mill, to go/to be put

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go through the mill

To be abused or treated very harshly; to suffer intense anguish, stress, or grief. I went through the mill as a kid in high school. I couldn't get out of there fast enough. The coach was renowned for his strict practice regimen, and his players went through the mill to become the toughest in the state.
See also: go, mill, through

put someone through the wringer

Fig. to give someone a difficult time; to interrogate someone thoroughly. (Alludes to putting something through an old-fashioned clothes wringer.) The lawyer really put the witness through the wringer! The teacher put the students through the wringer.
See also: put, through, wringer

go through the mill

If you go through the mill, you experience a very difficult period in your life with many problems. She's been through the mill these last few years — the collapse of her marriage and her career and a serious illness on top of that. It's been an incredibly tough tour and we have all been through the mill. Note: You can also say that something or someone puts someone through the mill. Following the England side over the years, I have been put through the mill emotionally. Note: The reference here is to grain passing through a mill and being made into flour.
See also: go, mill, through

go (or put someone) through the mill

undergo (or cause someone to undergo) an unpleasant experience.
See also: go, mill, through

put (someone) through the wringer

Slang
To subject to a severe trial or ordeal.
See also: put, through, wringer

through the mill, to go/to be put

To undergo hardship or rough treatment. The analogy here is to being ground down like grain. The figurative use of the term dates from the nineteenth century. “We’ve all passed through that mill,” wrote Rolf Bolderwood (A Colonial Reformer, 1890). A newer synonymous phrase, dating from the mid-1900s, is to put someone through the wringer, alluding to a wringer that squeezes moisture out of something. For example, “When they suspect child abuse, the police really put parents through the wringer.”
See also: go, put, through