Marriage Missions International

Quotes on “Abuse in Marriage”

The following are quotes that center around the subject of abuse in Marriage. We pray you will find them helpful.

• All marriages are sacred, but not all are safe. (Rob Jackson)

Most people think “abuse” is just physical attacks such as hitting, punching, kicking, pulling hair, twisting limbs, pinching, slapping, biting, etc. There are many other type of abusive behavior which hurt just as much or more than physical abuse. Just because an abuser stops hitting his spouse doesn’t mean he has stopped being abusive. (Brenda Branson, from article titled, “All Abuse Hurts”)

• Bottom line: Outbursts of anger —including screaming, throwing things, banging inanimate objects, slamming doors, squealing tires, stomping around, making threats, shoving, restraining, cornering, or yelling down, all carry the threat of physical harm —even if that threat is not intended. All these things are abusive, and completely unacceptable. Nothing a woman [or man] does (including any of the above) justifies doing any of these. If you are doing any of these, you have a problem —PLEASE deal with it before it escalates. (Paul, from The-generous-husband.com)

You have heard that it was said to those of ancient times, “You shall not murder,” and “Whoever murders shall be liable to judgment.” But I say to you that if you are angry with a brother or sister, you will be liable of judgment; and if you insult a brother or sister, you will be liable to the council; and if you say, “You fool” you will be liable to the hell of fire. (Matthew 5:21-23)

• Just because you aren’t being physically punched, slapped, or kicked doesn’t mean you aren’t in an abusive marriage. Here are some questions to ask yourself, which will help you determine whether or not you are in an abusive relationship: • Does my spouse ever try to physically stop me from leaving the room? • Does my spouse ever push me, grab me or my clothing, or hold me against my will? • Does my spouse ever tell me to kill myself? • Does my spouse ever threaten to hurt me for any reason? • Does my spouse ever point a weapon of any kind toward me, our children, or him or herself? • Does my spouse ever use language that suggests he or she will “solve” our marriage problems forever through death? • Am I afraid of my spouse?

These questions are not gender exclusive. If you answered yes to any of them, your marriage is fear based and you are in danger of being a victim of domestic violence. Put a plan together now to get the help you need. (Joe and Michelle Williams, from the book “Yes, Your Marriage Can Be Saved”)

• Anger that’s used to control, manipulate, and hold another emotionally hostage is out of control and abusive. It typically starts with name-calling, emotional jabs at a person’s self-worth, painful teasing, public insults. It progresses from there. Eventually the abuser is yelling, grabbing, pushing, slapping, and becoming increasingly aggressive and violent. Remorse follows. So too does more abuse. Even just one of these tactics is abuse, and it won’t stop without serious intervention. If you or your children are being treated in this fashion, please seek help. (Meg Wilson, “Hope After Betrayal”)

Simply being an eyewitness to family violence has a great effect upon a youngster. “A child witnessing his mother being battered is equivalent to the child being battered,” notes therapist John Bradshaw. One youth named Ed hated seeing his father beat his mother. Nevertheless, although he may not have realized it, he was being conditioned to believe that men must control women and that in order to do so, men must scare, hurt, and demean them. When he became an adult, Ed used these abusive, violent tactics on his wife.

Some parents cautiously forbid their children to watch violence on television, and that is a good thing. But parents should be even more cautious when it comes to monitoring their own behavior as role models for their impressionable children. (Frankie Goh, from article, “What Causes Domestic Violence” posted on ezinearticles.com)

Studies show that one third of children who witness the battering of their mothers demonstrate significant behavioral and/or emotional problems. Children may experience such problems as depression, anger and hostility, isolation, school problems (low achievement), drug and/or alcohol use, and more. They may attempt to get attention through violent behavior, such as lashing out or treating pets cruelly, or by threatening siblings or mother with violence.

Boys who witness their father’s abuse of their mothers are more likely to inflict severe violence when they become adults. Data suggest that girls who witness maternal abuse are more likely to tolerate abuse as adults. Children from abused homes often have relationship and marital problems as adults. (From the booklet the booklet “A Way of Hope”, which was once available on the web site for Family Life Today)

Husbands, love your wives, and never treat them harshly. (Colossians 3:19)

Though prevalent in our culture, verbal abuse often goes unrecognized because it leaves invisible scars. The abusers often come across as nice, even charming, people when they interact with the general public. But behind closed doors, they use cutting words to exert control over those closest to them. And they do it by sending a two-sided message: “I love you… but I don’t.”

The twisted expression of their “love” creates confusion and a sense of helplessness in their victims. This form of abuse includes humiliating, threatening, insulting, or intimidating one’s partner. It also is characterized by withdrawal of approval or affection. The abuser may try to control what his partner wears or who she spends time with. He may even isolate her from family and friends. This constant belittling can cut to the core of a person’s being. (Holly Hudson, from the article, “Recognizing Abuse; Both Seen and Unseen”)

It is not enemies who taunt me —I could bear that; it is not adversaries who deal insolently with me —I could hide from them. But it is you, my equal, my companion, my familiar friend, with who I kept pleasant company; we walked in the house of God with the throng… My companion laid hands on a friend and violated a covenant with me. With speech smoother than butter, but with a heart set on war; with words that were softer than oil, but in fact were drawn swords. (Psalm 55:12-14; Psalm 55:20-21)

A person can be so verbally abused that they don’t know what’s true anymore. This abuse is designed to put a person in a numb state so they are unable to make clear, concise decisions. The path of verbal abuse leads a person from what they know as truth into a confused state. This confused state arises because the abuser consistently interjects lies as truth until the abused no longer knows what to believe. For example, we can see this happen when the abuser uses truths from the Bible to justify a lie, or the abuser twists the Bible’s true intent to satisfy his own selfish motive.

The sad part comes when the abused embraces the lies from the abuser as truth, thereby disregarding the real truth. At this point the abused feels like they are in chains of bondage with no way out. A trusted godly person is like a life preserver to the abused at this point. For the mouth of the righteous is a well of life (Proverbs 10:11). (From an article titled, “Verbal Abuse in Marriage” as posted on the web site, DivorceHope.com)

What makes verbal abuse particularly threatening is the fact that verbal abuse always precedes physical abuse. The progression to this level of attack may take years —or months. (Holly Hudson, from the article, “Recognizing Abuse; Both Seen and Unseen”)

All forms of abuse follow a pattern that, left unchecked, will only increase over time. Injuries from verbal and emotional abuse can run deep and leave lasting scars. Many emotionally and verbally abused people reason that, because there are no bruises or broken bones, their abuse must not be serious. But it is. …If pain motivates you to act against emotional and verbal abuse, then listen and act. You may be saving more than your life. (Beth J. Lueders, from article titled, “Emotional and Verbal Abuse”)

While the optimum situation is for both parties in an abusive situation to seek help, Dr. Tim Clinton, President of the American Association of Christian Counselors, insists one person can change the relationship. “Change a person; change a relationship,” he says. On the other hand, if the abuse is severe and occurring within the marriage relationship, it’s time to take bold steps and assert biblical, healthy boundaries. (Mary J. Yerkes, from the article “Healing the Wounds of Emotional Abuse” posted on family.org)

• “The anatomy of an abusive relationship is really very simple. There’s a cycle of violence that takes place. “The cycle has three stages: • Tension Building Stage • Acute Battering Stage • Honeymoon Stage. Dr. Phil McGraw says of the honeymoon stage, “This is where, ‘Oh, I’m sorry. I’m so sorry. I will never do this again. I hate that this happened. I’ll make it up to you. I’m so sorry. I’m so sorry,’ but then the cycle starts over again.”

Dr Phil notes that nearly half of abusers re-offend, most within the first six months. “And then you’ve got what’s called traumatic bonding, and it’s because there’s an imbalance of power, and there’s an intermittent reinforcement schedule. You never know whether you’re going to get hugged or hit. And so psychologically that’s a very strong tendency to stay involved in that relationship.” (Dr Phil McGraw, “The Cycle of Violence“)

Sometimes separation can be a powerful attention-getting boundary if you’re fully ready to use it. The purpose of the separation can be to physically or emotionally protect you and your children or to convince your husband (or wife) that you’ll not continue to live the same way. Separation can also be by mutual agreement for each to work on your own problems separately with the goal of reconciling your marriage. (Karla Downing, from book “10 Principles for Women in Difficult Marriages”)

Keep in mind that if you decide to leave your home to protect yourself from physical harm, your husband may view your leaving as betrayal or rejection. He may become even more violent as a result. That is why you need to develop your safety plan with outside counsel and guidance. You may even need the help and protection of the police. Do not make your plans alone!

If you are staying in your home out of fear, or if your husband’s words or behavior becomes more and more threatening, you need to work out an immediate safety plan. With the help of friends and counselors, you will need to plan where to keep keys, clothes, medications, and important documents; what to do with your children’ where you will go if you have to leave suddenly, and much more. You may need to choose a safe, protected environment where you can be kept hidden from your husband. (From the booklet “A Way of Hope”)

• The hallmarks of an abuser —both verbal and physical —include jealousy, a need to control, efforts to isolate their partner or relative, attempts to rush a romantic relationship and disrespect for privacy and personal boundaries. Drug and alcohol abuse are often present in the situation. (Holly Hudson, from article titled, “Recognizing Abuse; Both Seen and Unseen”)

Minna Schulman, director of a domestic violence and law enforcement agency, stated that violence is a tool that men use to maintain control and to demonstrate power and authority over a woman. She added: “We see domestic violence as a misuse of power and control.” Some wife beaters suffer from low self-esteem, the same trait they induce in their victims. If they can do that, then their ego will have been fed, and they will feel a measure of superiority and control over another human. They feel that they prove their masculinity in this way. Yet, do they? Since they perpetrate their violence on physically weaker women, does it prove that they are truly men of strength, or does it prove, instead, that they are unreasonable? Is it really manly for a stronger male to beat up a weaker, more defenseless female? A man of strong moral character would show consideration and compassion for weaker and more defenseless ones, not take advantage of them.

Another demonstration of the unreasonable thinking of the abuser is the fact that he often blames his wife for provoking the beatings. He may imply, or even say to her, such things as: ‘You didn’t do this right. That’s why I’m beating you.’ Or: ‘Dinner was late, so you’re just getting what you deserve.’ In the abuser’s mind, it is her fault. However, no shortcoming of the other mate justifies battering. (Frankie Goh, from article, “What Causes Domestic Violence” posted on ezinearticles.com)

• Don’t blame yourself. Realize that the abuse is not your fault, no matter what your abuser says. Understand that abuse can happen to anyone, of any faith, age, economic status, race, or neighborhood. Know that you are not alone. Know that you are not stupid or worthless; to the contrary, God loves you deeply and values you highly.

Realize that God does not condone abuse of any kind. Believe that His will for you is to break free of the abuse you’re suffering. Recognize your need for help, and decide to pursue it. (From Crosswalk.com article “Heal from Abuse”)

The Lord examines both the righteous and the wicked. He hates everyone who loves violence. (Psalms 11:5)

“…and I hate a man’s covering himself with violence as well as with his garment” says the Lord Almighty. (Malachi 2:16)

He who brings trouble on his family will inherit only wind. And the fool will be a servant to the wise. The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, and he who wins souls is wise. (Proverbs 11:29-30)

Instead of following Christ’s model of servant leadership in the home, an abusive man views it as his God-given right to have power and control over his wife, and rewrites the scripture to give himself the right to punish her whenever she falls short of his expectations. Jesus would remind us that He, as head of the church, is the role model for the husband. Has he ever been controlling and abusive toward the church? Or does He, as a servant leader, lovingly guide and nurture His church?

… Although churches should offer unconditional love, far too often families are only accepted by the congregation if they seem to fit in with the status quo. …Jesus offers unconditional love and acceptance, and does not value a person for how he looks or what he owns. He said, You are like whitewashed tombs—beautiful on the outside, but filled on the inside with dead people’s bones and all sorts of impurity. You try to look like upright people outwardly, but inside your hearts are filled with hypocrisy and lawlessness. (Matthew 23:27-28 NLT)

… Although some churches are guilty of perpetuating family violence, many other church communities and pastors are actively involved in stopping the cycle of abuse, providing safety for the victim and help for the abuser. Does your church offer hope or perpetuate the pain? (From the article, “Abuse and The Church’s Role”)

Church leaders need to realize batterers can be manipulative. I know a woman in my community who went to her pastor for help because she was afraid of her husband. The pastor called her husband and asked that he and the wife come in for counseling. The poor woman was absolutely terrified to sit in a joint counseling session with her husband and said nothing while the husband smoothed things over.

Shortly after this, the woman made a decision to leave her husband. One night when she thought he was away, she returned home to get some of her things. The husband was there hiding and beat the woman so severely that parts of her brain were exposed.

Leaders also need to work to dismiss misinterpretations of Scripture such as 1 Peter 3:1-6, which abusers often use to defend their actions. It’s unbelievable how many Christian men think they’re entitled by God to discipline and control their wives. As 1 Peter 3:7 reminds us, no man has a God-given right to punish or retaliate against his wife under any condition. And a woman shouldn’t be led to think that through her submission and suffering she’ll become a better person. To allow someone to abuse you does not bring glory to God. (Corrie Cutrer, from Kyria.com article titled, “The Silent Epidemic”)

Marriage is for committed lovers, not hostages. Marriage is a sacred relationship created for two people who complete each other spiritually. While it requires sacrificial service, it is not a call to martyrdom. In many cases of domestic violence, a therapeutic separation is necessary to gain safety and direct attention to the gravity of the need for change. (Rob Jackson, from chapter “What If My Spouse Abuses Me?” from the book, “The First Five Years of Marriage”)

Break your silence. Reflect on how much pain you’ve suffered, and remember your abuser’s broken promises. Consider the fear you feel and how your children are being affected. Gather your courage to take action. Realize that God offers you real hope for a life free of abuse. Take stock of trustworthy people with whom you may safely share your story. Start by telling one person as soon as you can. Then reach out to others so you’re not relying just one person to meet all your needs.

Don’t let the person abusing you know who you have told so he or she won’t try to harm the people who are trying to help you. Understand that it’s critical for you to break your silence, however. Know that many people are willing and able to help you if you let them know what’s going on. (From Crosswalk.com article “Heal from Abuse”)

Abuse is always wrong. Some try to excuse it. Most perpetrators have a sense of entitlement, thinking their actions are justified. Ironically, their victims may also believe they deserve to be mistreated. Some will even defend their abuser, citing his or her earnest apologies afterward. But abuse in any form, for any reason, wounds both spouses. It’s always sinful, and few things destroy trust in a marriage as quickly. Regardless of childhood pain or marital conflict, mature spouses learn to set limits so anger doesn’t become abuse by frequency, degree, or duration. (Rob Jackson, from chapter, “What If My Spouse Abuses Me?” from the book, “The First Five Years of Marriage”)

Most people assume that men are almost always more violent, and men are sometimes seen as the only ones who need help with anger and the sources of anger. In reality, both genders need help. Spousal abuse from the wife to husband is currently an underreported problem in homes of passive men. Domestic-violence research overwhelmingly shows that women are as likely as men to initiate and engage in domestic violence, and that much of female domestic violence is not committed in self-defense. Studies show that women often compensate for smaller size by greater use of weapons and the element of surprise. (Paul and Sandy Coughlin, from the book Married But Not Engaged, pg. 145)

No one, under any circumstance, deserves to feel disregarded, insulted, controlled, coerced, intimidated, hurt, hit, pushed, grabbed, or touched in any undesired way. Nothing that anyone in a family says or does justifies abuse. One act of abuse never justifies another. Everyone has the right and the responsibility to heal suffering. Whenever we hurt a loved one we bleed a little inside. That internal injury, unhealed, becomes the source of still more anger, aggression, diminished sense of self, and enduring misery. (Dr Steven Stosny, Compassionpower.com)

Angry and controlling husbands are very anxious by temperament. From the time they were young children, they’ve had a more or less constant sense of dread that things will go badly and they will fail to cope. So they try to control their environment to avoid that terrible feeling of failure and inadequacy. But the cause of their anxiety is with them, not in their environment. The sole purpose of your husband’s anger and abusive behavior is to defend himself from feeling like a failure, especially as a: • Protector Provider • Lover • Parent. In truth, most men feel inadequate about relationships. We learn to feel adequate by providing what all relationships require: support and compassion. (Steven Stosny, from Compassionpower.com article, “You Are Not the Cause of His Anger or Abuse”)

What All Forms of Abuse Have in Common: Whether overt or silent, all forms of abuse are failures of compassion; he stops caring about how you feel. Compassion is the lifeblood of marriage and failure of compassion is the heart disease. It actually would be less hurtful if your husband never cared about how you felt. But when you were falling in love, he cared a great deal. So now it feels like betrayal when he doesn’t care or try to understand. It feels like he’s not the person you married.

Unlike love, which masks the differences between people, compassion makes us sensitive to the individual strengths and vulnerabilities of other people. It lets us appreciate our differences. Love without the sensitivity of compassion is: • Rejecting (who you really are as a person) • Possessive • Controlling • Dangerous. (Steven Stosny, from Compassionpower.com article, “Emotional Abuse, Verbal Abuse”)

• In abusive relationships, violence usually occurs in cycles. The cycle of violence begins with increased tension, anger, blaming and arguing. Then the cycle progresses to a violent stage where the abuser begins to afflict physical violence such as hitting, kicking, slapping, etc. After the storm of violence blows over, he may experience remorse and swear he will never resort to such behavior again. This is called the calm stage or honeymoon stage.

There are several tactics a man might use to sweet talk his way back into his victim’s life —or to convince her to return to the home if she has left. These include showering her with love and gifts; telling her he will be a great dad; starting to attend church services; halting his drinking; and starting to receive outside counseling. Often the cycle begins again, however, and continues under his control until the battered woman learns to break free. (From the booklet “A Way of Hope”)

How to Know If Your Husband Has Truly Changed: If you are in an emotionally abusive relationship, you have no doubt experienced “honeymoon” periods in the past when, driven by remorse, he seemed to change and everything was fine. The following will help you know that your partner is in the process of permanent change. You will feel that he consistently (every day): • Values and appreciates you —you are important to him; • Listens to you; Shows compassion —cares how you feel, even when you disagree with him; • Respects you as an equal and doesn’t try to control you or dismiss your opinions; Shows affection without always expecting sex; Regulates his guilt, shame, anxiety, resentment or anger, without blaming them on you. (Dr Steven Stosny, Compassionpower.com)

• Seek wisdom when deciding whether or not to reconcile with the one who abused you. Make sure that your abuser has demonstrated strong accountability and thorough change before you consider restoring your relationship with him or her. Understand that, if you are to reconcile, you should feel stronger, safe to voice your own opinions, and able to live without fear or the threat of violence. You need to be valued for who you are and have your skills and talents appreciated and respected. Ask the Holy Spirit to give you wisdom about whether to reconcile, and if so, when. (From Crosswalk.com article “Heal from Abuse”)

If you have been abused and are hurt deeply inside, there is hope, healing, and full restoration. If you will yield your heart to the Holy Spirit sent from God to be our helper, He will lead you through every traumatic situation that you have been through into wholeness. The process is painful. However, on the other side of each “door of pain” is a place of joy, peace and rest.

The Holy Spirit works through the Word of God (the Bible). Which means, you must diligently give yourself to study of the Bible daily, surround yourself with godly people, turn your ears and eyes away from the secular media including TV, radio, movies, books and the like, and turn all of your heart over to Jesus, He will tenderly minister life to you instead of death. Share the pain of your heart with Him while searching the Scriptures for the answers. As you’re doing that, turn your eyes and ears to godly Christian books, tapes, videos, TV, radio stations and music that God can use to administer healing to your heart. (From an article titled, Abuse in Marriage, as posted on DivorceHope.com)

• Use the many resources that can help you. Spiritually, bring all your painful feelings and hard questions to God in prayer. Invite Him to minister to you through His Spirit and His Word —especially passages such as the Psalms in which biblical characters pour out their own pain and doubts to Him and find deliverance. (From Crosswalk.com article “Heal from Abuse”)

Your life is not futile because God has not forgotten you. Although it may seem you are on an endless treadmill of despair and tragic circumstances, God is working behind the scenes, in spite of your pain, to bring you out of bondage and give you a future and a hope. (Jeremiah 29:11) (From article, “Because He Loves You” posted on Focusministries1.org web site)

You hear, O Lord, the desire of the afflicted; you encourage them and you listen to their cry, defending the fatherless and the oppressed, in order that man, who is of the earth, may terrify no more. (Psalm 10:17-18)

To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul; in you I trust, O my God. Do not let me be put to shame, nor let my enemies triumph over me. No one whose hope is in you will ever be put to shame, but they will be put to shame who are treacherous without excuse. Show me your ways, O Lord, teach me your paths; guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long. (Psalm 25:1-5)

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168 Responses to “Quotes on “Abuse in Marriage””
  1. Kate says:

    (USA) 37 years of marriage that has been full of turmoil since the second week. I have endured the bullying, threats, slaps, punches, kicks, spit on, and, many other insane things. I have taken the blame because I was told it was “my fault” or “If only you would change, I would be different”. Then, when I turned 55, I realized I didn’t need to explain myself or have to take the crap being dished out to me. Many, many counselling sessions with pastors, counsellors, friends, etc. Never to be truly dealt with. Living the lie in public, not wanting to embarrass “him” or the kids… taking the abuse.

    Not anymore, I am done. However, I am “stuck” as though my feet were in cement. I’m terrified. Please someone help me to take the step I NEED to take to get out of here. A long time to stay in a terrible marriage. Please guide me. Thank you very much. I do have several close friends that are encouraging me to leave and have offered their homes… etc. I want to go, I just can’t get my feet to move… as silly as that sounds… help me… please.

    • Kay says:

      (USA) I understand your terror. But you are a brave, strong woman. Do you have a plan? Written or verbal? If not, tap into the counsellors, friends, etc. or the local abuse shelter, and put your head together with someone else who can think clearly, and knows your situation well enough to help you formulate “step by step” how, and when to go. Most importantly of all, ask your loving Heavenly Father to show you the way, and I believe He will. Prayers for your safety and courage. You are never alone!!

  2. Maria says:

    (USA) Hello. I have seen your website months ago but didn’t know if it’s worth contacting anyone here, if people will respond. I have a question. I’m disabled, in my 30s, with a rare and severe illness, I can’t work and my husband (we’ve been married for over 4 years) earns very little so we could never afford medical care for me, only medication to sustain me (keep me alive, but not better) which is expensive.

    I am explaining this to make clear that we are both stressed. We met when I was already ill but was feeling better, and then extreme poverty made us move in with my husbands parents recently. The problem is, we are facing a divorce because we cannot co-exist together. For two years, my husband has been losing his temper and whenever we had a verbal argument he would attack me, shake me, throw me against the wall or on the floor, crush me with his body (I am 105 and he is 200 lbs), body-slammed me and often would wring my arms, pull my mouth open, threaten me and scream.

    It started with holding me tight when I was sad about my illness, then progressed to shaking, then became violence when and if we argued or had a disagreement. At first I didn’t leave because I love him, later I couldn’t because I had nowhere to go. I have no money, I am not a citizen yet (green card) and not allowed to have SSI, I have no place to go to and can’t live without my medication. After two years of this he came out about it to his parents and went to Anger Management class. It helped temporarily but now he is verbally abusive all the time, he doesn’t help me, he just started working but he didn’t for almost two years and I had to apply for jobs for him, beg him to look for work, even design his resumes, etc.

    It’s horrible and sometimes I would rather he hit me than insult. Now, we live with his parents and I have nowhere to go. I still want a divorce badly. We live in Arkansas and it’s a “no-fault” state. I told him I would file a divorce under “abuse” clause, and he became very angry. He demands me to agree to “seal” this information or annul -otherwise he threatens to lie about me in court that I abused him. I have only touched him once after two years of physical attacks and slapped him on the head when he was lunging at me and calling me crazy. I was scared and I was crying at the moment, but he says he will also come up with other things that never happened –I guess he believes everything was in reverse. He also keeps threatening me that if I disagree to “seal” the divorce records he will tell everyone that I have been in a mental institution (I have, well before I met him, for depression-I already had a debilitating physical illness) and that I’m mentally ill/crazy and that I am making up his abuse.

    I don’t know what to do. I’m afraid of him. He basically tells me that he will make sure I come out looking unstable and mentally disturbed and a “liar” and he will do it because he doesn’t want a reputation of an abuser on his record. He says he will say anything it takes to make sure of it. he even tells his parents without blinking how I “abused” him. I’m really scared.

    • Maria says:

      (USA) I’m sorry, made a mistake. I meant a “fault” state, it means you are required to have a “fault” to divorce someone, for example, physical or emotional abuse, or infidelity, stuff like that.

  3. Amanda says:

    (TURKS AND CAICOS ISLANDS) I am entering the 3rd year of marriage to an abusive husband. Before I met him, I had a good high paying job and was confident in every aspect of my life. A few months into the marriage, I became incompetent -or so I thought -in my job. I began to feel dumb and second guess myself with everything. I was reduced to a cowering, fearful shell of myself. My self condience and self worth are non existent as well.

    My husband punches, kicks, slaps, pinches, bites and shoves me. He has held knives to me and constantly threatens to kill me. He tells me I’m fat, ugly, uneducated, dumb, stupid. Because I’m from another country, he belittles my birth country and says we’re all hungry that’s why I came to his country. He calls me a harlot along with choice expletives. All this while I’m singing on the praise team and serving as assistant protocol coordinator at church.

    He likes to think that I only married him because I wanted to be legal in the country and he uses that as the reason he is abusive to me. He never admits that he is abusive though, instead he says that it’s because of something I did or said. He recently bought me a car but he took away the keys because I didn’t jump up immediately to make him a sandwich when he demanded. He’s now threatening to take the house keys away and put me out of our marriage bed.

    I was close to suicide and was on anti-depressants for 1 year. The suicidal tendancies are back. We don’t have any children and although I deeply desire them, I don’t want to bring them into this world to grow up in this environment. I’m now unemployed and totally dependent on my husband and I have no one or no where to move and go to. One time the beating was so bad, the police locked him up and his family threatened to come and burn down the house while I was asleep. I’m scared for my life and very confused, and all alone. He threatens to kill me if I file for divorce, because then it will prove that I only married him to get legal in the counry. What can I do to get out safely?

    • Cindy Wright says:

      Dear Amanda, How I cry for you –to feel so trapped within a situation where your husband has you cornered in so many horrible, abusive ways. I can only imagine your confusion and the cries of your heart for help. With all of this, I wish I knew where you could go for help. I don’t know the legal system where you are located. I know that in the U.S. there are domestic violence centers, where you can call and go to for advice and help. Many other countries have this too. But I’m not sure if this is true where you are located. If there are any abuse centers, I would encourage you to reach out for help (without telling your husband). I don’t know your church either. Some can be helpful in these types of situations and others aren’t. If you can find a church, which is helpful, it would be worth the search, if that is possible.

      Also, please read through everything we have posted on our web site (with links to other web sites), on the area of Abuse, to see if you can glean some information to better help you. You need to put into place a plan of escape from this abusive behavior –even if it takes a while. You are not your husband’s punching bag –someone to take aggression out on just because you are there. You are not an object; you are a person with feelings. Ask God and keep asking God for “the way of escape” from this horror, and then look for the windows of opportunities He will open up for you –even momentary, light ones… and certainly healthy ones. NO ONE deserves abuse. NO ONE should be subjected to these types of actions at the hands of anyone –let alone a spouse. Please keep looking for those pin points of light, which God can bring to poke holes in the darkness. God can make a way where there seems to be no way. Look for them. I hope and pray you are able to find them and that you will be able to find a way to live a life in peace. I pray God opens your husband’s eyes to the horror of what he is doing and that he responds in a healthy way. I pray love and peace for you in some way, shape and form. I wish I could do more, but I believe you will find a way. My prayers are with you.

  4. Kari from United States says:

    Well, today the usual mental and emotional abuse wrought by spoken word of my husband turned physical. Seems that after 3-1/2 years of it I had had enough and hit him. It was not without warning… repeated warning …to just be quiet and drop the whole conversation. Yet he kept harping along about my 16 year old son who is, well, 16. By all standards, he is kind and easy going. His grades are decent and he helps out when asked. He is an only child and somewhat keeps to himself although it is likely that he just wants to stay out of the way in an awkward marriage.

    His dad (my ex-husband) did a year in jail and now is in his second year of house arrest, so I am the go-to parent who is remarried to a loose canon. Yikes! So when my husband get can’t under my skin by insulting me, he starts in on my son. He knows better than to say or do anything face to face with him, but he makes insulting comments about my son, his half-brother from their father’s side, and his father (my ex). I guess it’s not good enough that my first marriage ended 10+ years ago and that my ex and I can be amicable in discussing our son despite our difference in core beliefs. It’s not good enough that my stepson is now 30 years old and has a Master’s Degree despite all of the childhood dysfunction that he experienced. It’s not good enough that I let my son grow his hair long and that I don’t demand he take the personal initiative to do things around the house. Why would any 16 year old want to take the role of an adult when there are two adults in the house? In my current husband’s mind, that translates into me still having feelings for the ex-husband who happened to be raised Jewish so that ends up being an easy target for horrible comments too.

    You know that saying, “If you can’t beat them, join them”? That seems to be what happens when you let your guard down. Slowly but surely, little by little, something negative sneaks into your life and takes control. Neither patience nor forgiveness nor all the wishful thinking in the world change someone who is possessed with negativity and destruction. The more you allow yourself to be around it, the more of a foothold it gets on you.

    So today when my spoken requests were ignored and I had had enough mental and emotional abuse, I physically hit my husband. It happened so quick that it was done before I knew what happened. He did shut up for about 3 seconds until the true mark of a coward presented itself, “Oh, you hit me. I’m going to call the cops.” OK by me. They would probably be the same cops who showed up two weeks ago when he couldn’t control his choice of thoughts and words then, as well. I find it amazing how quiet he can be around other people or the cops, but how outspoken he is behind closed doors. I am told to keep our personal problems at home, but in my opinion that privilege ended when he repeatedly refused to change his actions or ignored my requests to reach out for help with counseling or therapy.

    He is out of the house again tonight… this is about the 5th time we have separated in 3-1/2 years. We were apart for our second anniversary as it all went bad that fast.

    I do feel that if I were stronger spiritually in my faith that I would not allow myself to react by getting drawn into his game playing mode or to feel hurt. Then again, I’m only human and human’s truly were not designed for abuse. God designed us to exist in His presence.

    About a month ago I signed up for Divorce Care support group figuring this would all get worse before it got better, and that I had to start with myself. The support group starts next month. I feel like I will just be treading water and barely existing until then.

    I thank God for my amazing Christian parents who have been married for 60 years. They are being supportive without being judgmental, holding us both up in prayer. I am also thankful for my amazing Christian backyard neighbor who will pick up the phone or jump the fence to offer support, also without being judgmental. And I am truly humbled by my 16 year old son and ask you to pray that he realizes sooner rather than later that committing your life to God and li ing the commitment is the only way to be fulfilled. He has plenty to learn from my mistakes.

    Thank you for your website. It has helped me get back on track, own who I am and who God created me to be, and set boundaries and goals for myself.

  5. Kate from United States says:

    My husband and I have been married for just over seven years, and have three children. Though generally my husband is not currently physically abusive, he has been in the past. He has kicked me, hit me, torn my clothes off me, dragged me, spit on me, pulled a knife on me, etc. The last major time he was abusive, I barely was able to grab my phone and call the police. I yelled our address, then he grabbed the phone and broke it. Thankfully, they made it and arrested him. Before the police arrived, he sobered up and began vacuuming and tried to say we were just having an argument. It was then I learned to stand up for myself.

    Also during this time, and still occurring, my husband will yell at me and say terrible things in the middle of the night, calling me a whore, saying he hates me, saying I’m garbage, and more. He had a horrible childhood, but at some point he needs to take responsibility, right? I told him I’m sorry his childhood was so horrible, but that was not my fault, and he cannot take all his anger and resentment and bitterness out on me.

    Currently, he’s verbally, emotionally, abusive and manipulative. I don’t like to be home much. He calls me a whore quite frequently. He’s accused me of sleeping with all kinds of people, even family. It’s disgusting. He also lies to me often and smokes pot. I hate this because it’s wrong and illegal, but he think it helps his “pain”. He uses his back, neck, gout pain as an excuse to be mean.

    He is very controlling. He is always worried about everything, especially the kids. The kids are almost afraid to do anything because he’s so scared they might get hurt. My oldest daughter is becoming almost paralyzed with fear. He also tells me what a horrible mother I am and how I don’t care about anyone.

    Writing all this I almost feel numb. Its been happening for so long now… I just don’t care about his feelings anymore. I’m tired of putting out fires and taking care of him. He has me run the household, run our business, do his work (when he’s hurt) and still do the shopping and many household chores. I feel like I’m just here to work for him.

    We are not a loving couple. He doesn’t not love me; I’m not sure he even can. He never hugs me, unless I hug him and then he pushes me away quickly. He doesn’t kiss me, unless I kiss him, which he often hates. He always thinks the worst of me.

    For a few years, after he’d be abusive we’d have the “honeymoon” phase, where things would be nice again. Now, we don’t even have that. Most of the time it’s just cold and dreary.

    We recently had a miscarriage, and I told him I wanted to try again. He told me I’d better go find another man because he wasn’t going to get with me again. He sometimes withholds sex from me. He’s been doing this for years. Then he accuses me of only wanting sex with him to have children, when this is very far from the truth. This is manipulation right? Very numb.

    • Skye from United States says:

      I really need some clarification on this one. How does God look at this type of marriage, clearly this type of physical, mental, verbal and emotional abuse was not part of his marriage design? The logical part of me says this is completely unacceptable and should not continue. Please Cindy, shed some light on this one from your perspective.

      • Cindy Wright from United States says:

        Skye, This is something I’m praying about –how to answer Kate and now, how to answer you. Thank you for the added prompt. I’m also praying for words to write to Anita (whose plea is a recent comment posted in “Dealing With the Unlovable Husband”). I’m not sure if God will give me insight today or not, but please be assured that I am praying for wisdom and insight –something to say to Kate (and Anita). This is such a sad, sad situation. I know this moves God’s heart. I’m not all-knowing, as God is, but I’m praying that God will give me at least a little bit of insight that I can pass along, which perhaps can minister in some way. I’m also praying that God will prompt others to pray for these dear gals and if God gives them insight, that they will share it with us.

    • Cindy Wright from United States says:

      Dear Kate, How very, very sorry I am to read of the abusive behavior you’ve had to suffer through for so long. How tremendously sad. As the old saying goes, “I feel your pain” and truly I do. I’ve been praying for you and praying for wisdom in how to respond to your questions. From this wife and mother to you, as a wife and mother, my heart goes out to you.

      At the end of your comment you ask, “This is manipulation, right?” My answer is, most likely. I can’t say for sure because only God can truly look into the heart of man. But from all outward appearances and from what you told of your side of the issues you are living through… I can’t think of any other reason your husband would do and say such things. He is obviously someone who doesn’t want to be out of control, which probably started with his “out of control” beginning to life. You mention that he “had a horrible childhood.” I can only imagine how “horrible” it was –probably the stuff that can make the most negative imprint on a person that is possible –one that can point a child towards a horrible adult life as he tries to construct a “normal” life that started off very warped. But even so, it’s like what you wrote, “at some point he needs to take responsibility” for how he conducts his life today. And yes, that is true.

      No matter what your husband went through in his imprint years, and no matter how obsessive his need is to stay in control (while being a bully along the way), he NEVER has a right to abuse you or anyone –physically or verbally. The names he is calling you, his actions, and his coldness towards you may be ways of his acting out what happened to him when he was younger, but he now has choices to make. He can stay stuck and essentially, keep the abusive cycle going that he learned while he was young –which will cause him to lose his marriage and his family, or he can make the choice to work on his issues, owning up to the fact that his behavior is abusive and totally unacceptable and change the direction in a healthy way, of his downward spiraling life. Whatever his choice is, he needs to make it now. He is running out of time… you all are.

      Seven years ago, when he married you, he should have made the choice when he first started to see things going in a bad direction by his own hand, to get help. But it’s amazing how differently we can spin things away from reality. His boyhood imprints probably helped him to rationalize his actions, as wrong and warped as they were.

      As for the “honeymoon phase” that you referred to after the abuse, it’s not surprising that this “phase” has disappeared. It’s all part of the downward cycle of rationalizing that happens when we get caught up in sinful behavior. We have to somehow color things in a way so that we can live with it. So most abusers eventually get to the point where they no longer listen to the promptings that they could be wrong or that they have to pay any type of price for their hurtful behavior. They somehow color the situation so it’s the other person’s fault (“if she wouldn’t push my button” or, “if she wouldn’t do this or would do that” or, “couldn’t she see that I was in pain… why did she do that? It’s her fault; she should have known better” or, “at least I didn’t hit her” and the rationalizing goes on and on). And then to top it off, old wrongful imprints keep nagging at him. It’s all very complex.

      So what do you do? As “Skye” wrote, in response to your comment, “The logical part of me says this is completely unacceptable and should not continue.” And she’s right. No matter what happened to your husband as a child, he needs to be brave enough to come to the point where he sees that his thinking has been warped in some way to think this behavior is even a little bit acceptable. He needs to get help and you need help to know how to put boundaries down that will not keep exposing you to verbal and emotional abuse. There needs to come a time when you both sit down and talk seriously about this. It shouldn’t be a H.A.L.T. time when either of you is hungry, angry, lonely, or tired. And it shouldn’t be when the kids are around or other disruptions can get in the way.

      Before you do this, I HIGHLY recommend you read through the “Abuse in Marriage” topic. Prayerfully glean through the information you can use. And then there are three books I’d recommend you get to read so you can come up with a plan, first to better protect yourself and also so that you can know how to best talk to your husband. A line has to be drawn in the sand, so to speak –for your sake, and your kids sakes (who are picking up and are being hit by the emotional shrapnel from all that is exploding around them), and also for your husband. He seriously needs help. Please go into the “Abuse in Marriage Links and Resource Descriptions” and go into the Resource list. The first 2 books listed, I would HIGHLY recommend you get and read (aside from your husband seeing them). Also, the book How We Love written by Milan and Kay Yerkovich is one I highly recommend too because it could also explain a lot. “In How We Love, relationship Milan and Kay Yerkovich draw on the powerful tool of attachment theory to show how your early life experiences created an ‘intimacy imprint’ –an underlying blueprint that shapes your behavior, beliefs, and expectations of all relationships, especially your marriage. They identify four types of injured imprints that combine in marriage to trap couples in a repetitive dance of pain.” I’ve heard them speak on this and it’s outstanding. But you can read more in the link that is provided here, and the links provided in the Abuse in Marriage list.

      As you will read in the articles, you need to have a plan, rather than just plow into it. There is a lot at stake here for EVERYONE involved. Kate, I could say a lot more, but I’ll close with this. Your numbness is not surprising. Your wanting all this to stop is right. It HAS to stop –one way or another. But please know that there is “a way that seems right unto a man, but the end leads to death.” I believe there are many different types of deaths that could happen in this case. You want to make sure you proceed as wisely as possible so that there is more life on the other end of the tunnel that can be gained, rather than causing a whole lot of unnecessary and additional hurt and dying. Please prayerfully proceed. And PLEASE don’t intentionally get pregnant at this point. This is not a situation in which to bring another child. Some serious changes need to take place first and above all.

      I sense you are so very tired of all of this and just want it to end. I sure get that, and I sure would want the same. But please pray for additional strength and insight, discernment, and wisdom that you can gain if you go the way I recommend. And don’t wait… do what is needed to stop this sick situation. I’m praying the Holy Spirit will be your “Wonderful Counselor” through this –and even though you still have painful and tiring times ahead, I encourage you not to give up in finding the best way out of or through this situation. The best way may not be the one that is most apparent. Pray for guidance and take it. “May the Lord direct your heart into God’s love and Christ’s perseverance.” (2 Thessalonians 3:5) This is my prayer for you: “that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ –to the glory and praise of God.” (Philippians 1:9-11)

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