Emotional and Verbal Abuse Within Marriage


How do you deal with a situation in marriage, where you’re being verbally and emotionally abused? And how do you even know this is what’s happening in your marriage —that it isn’t “just” a matter of one spouse disagreeing with the other and persistently trying to make him or her see things differently?

One thing we try to do here at Marriage Missions is to persevere in hunting for whatever information we can find that will best help you to understand the different aspects of marriage that you are dealing with. This way you can approach each marital situation prayerfully and carefully, and well educated, led by our Wonderful Counselor, the Holy Spirit, to do what He shows you is best.

With that in mind, we want to first deal with the topic of emotional abuse —what is it and what can be done. And then we’ll go on to the topic of verbal abuse, although they often overlap in how they are carried out.

We encourage you to pray before reading what we’ll put before you that the eyes of your heart and mind will be open to see and comprehend what God wants for you to know.

“Good and upright is the LORD;
therefore He instructs sinners in his ways.
He guides the humble in what is right
and teaches them His way.”

(Psalm 25:8-9)

Dr Barbara Shaffer asks the questions:

“Can you identify a symptom of emotional abuse? More importantly can you define emotional abuse or identify any of its forms?”

To obtain some answers, please click onto the link below to read:


Counselor, social worker and author Leslie Vernick explains much, much more about emotional abuse in her book, The Emotionally Destructive Marriage: How to Find Your Voice and Reclaim Your Hope (which you can obtain in the link provided in the title). Here is a video that explains some important things that you may find helpful to listen to:

What do you do when emotional and/or verbal abuse and intimidation shows up in the form of bullying in your marriage? What IS bullying? Dr Juli Slattery says the following:

“Intentionally or not, a bully uses intimidation and coercion to get his or her way. Yes, women can be bullies too. A wife can skillfully use emotional coercion like humiliation and cynicism to ‘punish’ a husband who isn’t ‘behaving’ according to her desires. I’ve met powerful, competent men who panic at the thought of crossing their wives. Is this normal conflict or bullying?”

Read what Dr Slattery writes as she addresses the matter of “what to do when your spouse is your bully”:


As far as emotional abuse (including bullying), author Mary Yerkes describes it this way:

“Emotional abuse leaves few physical scars. Its victims suffer no broken bones, torn flesh or spilled blood. Still, those wounded might describe it as the most painful and destructive form of domestic violence.”

To discover what Mary lived through and learned about verbal abuse, we direct you something posted on the web site of Focus on the Family. After reading the initial article, please read the additional articles they suggest in the series so you’ll understand a fuller picture of this type of abuse. To do so, please click onto the article below to read:


Dr Barbara Shaffer writes the following concerning emotional abuse:

“Abuse in the context of an intimate relationship involves a persistent pattern of behaviors. It is not simply a mistake, an isolated incident or a sudden loss of control.”

That’s what we’ve seen in this type of abuse —there is a pattern, a trail of persistence in this type of behavior, which distinguishes it apart from one spouse “just” trying to get the other to better understand the point he or she is trying to get across as they are disagreeing over a matter.

To learn more of what Dr Shaffer explains in the article posted at the More Than Coping web site, please click onto the link below to read:

EMOTIONAL ABUSE: The Abuse Beneath the Abuse


“Almost everyone has heard of, or knows of, someone who has been verbally abused. Perhaps you are involved in a verbally abusive relationship. It is also possible that no one even knows your circumstances. Verbal abuse is a kind of battering which doesn’t leave evidence comparable to the bruises of physical battering. You (or your friend) may be suffering in silence and isolation. In this article, I want to tackle this very important issue in an effort to understand this phenomenon and provide answers.”

To learn what Kerby Anderson goes on to explain, please click onto the Probe Ministries link to read:


“Harsh words can destroy your marriage. Here’s how to defuse verbal abuse.”


The ministry of All About Life Challenges, approaches this subject by helping you to better recognize verbal abuse, avoid depression and find hope, which is so important when you feel verbally beaten up. To learn more, please read:


“Guard my life and rescue me:
let me not be put to shame,
for I take refuge in you.

“May integrity and uprightness
protect me,
because my hope is in you.”

(Psalm 25:20-21)

This article was compiled by Cindy Wright of Marriage Missions International.

If you have additional tips you can share to help others in this area of marriage, or you want to share requests for prayer and/or ask others for advice, please “Join the Discussion” by adding your comments below.


Filed under: Abuse in Marriage

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167 responses to “Emotional and Verbal Abuse Within Marriage

  1. (USA) My husband and I been married for 1 yr and 6 mos, but we have been dating for 7-8 yrs and he has never displayed this type of behavior. I am in a similar problem with my marriage and I started noticing the signs with my health and behavior. For example, I’m depressed, feel worthless, headaches, and short menstrual cycles due to stress. My husband uses my family a lot against me and blows up at me when they or myself do something he disapproves of e.g. paying for someone else’s meal, having my nephew or god daughter spend the night, when my mom calls his phone and asks for me (she don’t let him what she wants), my parents were about the run out of gas and I lent them $20 to get the gas station, my brother, sis in-law, and nephew showed up to the house unannounced just one time. He questions my ability of being a mom (we don’t have kids). He stated that he doesn’t care about my family, blames me for not being happy, threatens to divorce me repeatedly, and says that his mom said she disapproves of our marriage, etc. He has gotten MAD at me for these things.

    I feel like he tries to make his family appear to be “better” than mine because they are more financially stable and make me feel guilty because my family is not as privileged. When he feels that I do something against him, he runs and tells people (family and friends) about what I’m not doing as a wife. As long as I do things accordingly, or my family doesn’t do something to upset him, he is happy go lucky. I feel like I have to walk on eggshells. I feel like my house is mine. I have no room to “be human” and that hurts so much because I know that he has flaws and I forgive him of things but I don’t get the same treatment.

    My heart is sooooooooo heavy that I don’t know what to do. If I bring it up to him it will be denied and he will say you “play the victim; quit victimizing yourself, that’s all you know how to do”. I honestly feel like since his mom disapproves of our marriage he takes it out on me because in his “fantasy world” we’re supposed to be close. I’m on the edge! [FYI he makes it worse every time he runs and tells his parents stuff about me and gets mad at me because the in-law status isn’t where it should be for him.]

  2. (USA) I’m an abusive husband. Depression, anxiety, moderate addiction has characterized much of my life. Verbal abuse has been part of how I have treated my wife. I’ve read much of what’s been written in this blog. My form of abuse doesn’t include insults, name-calling, criticism, selfishness, physical voilence, etc. About 1-5 times a year, I get suddenly really mad at her or, on occasion, one of my adult kids. When this happens, I’m very agressive, profanity, finger pointing, accusing, loudly yelling, crowding their personal space as I kind of bully them. It can be pretty bad. Lasts about 5 minutes.

    Then I feel horrible about it. I don’t defend what I’ve done. I seek the other party out quite quickly and make sure they know that I don’t believe that my behavior was OK and I apologize. But those apologies do tend to lose their validity after so many years. Whatever caused me to have that outburst ceases to become a matter to discuss because I’ve changed the issue and it’s become me and how I was abusive. As much as I hate this trait of mine, it’s been a problem for 35 years. I haven’t fixed it. Feels like I can’t fix it. I never know when it is going to happen again. I don’t know if this level of abuse seems somewhat “tame” to some readers compared to other stories above. But, I can tell you that it really hurts the other party.

  3. (SOUTH AFRICA) Hey you all, I have been experiencing the same hurt for the last 21 years and was totally oblivious to what or why I am so unhappy the moment my husband would come home. I am a total wreck days when we are together. I’m afraid to open my mouth.

  4. (UNITED KINGDOM) Hi, I have not been in one of these before. I have been in a relationship for 10 years and have been married for the last 3 years due to abuse from my family since I was little. I was beat up when I was 17 when I was 22 weeks pregnant by my family. I feel that I am being blamed for this by my husband and I am now being called fat every day; go and lose weight; you’re ugly. It’s making me feel I don’t want to be in this relationship anymore. I don’t know what to do as I feel really down. I tried to commit suicide the other day when he went out but he came home earlier than expected. I am so sick of him and the abuse I get from him. I don’t know what to do as I am only 24.

    1. Kassandra, Please know that even though others have been treating you as if you have no value, that is not true. God loves you and you are of GREAT worth. I hope you will talk to someone who can help you to realize this. It’s difficult in this type of forum to “talk” with you much, but I highly encourage you to visit another web site, where the founder is based in the United Kingdom. I believe you would find some type of help there to sort all of this out by going to the web site found at http://www.hiddenhurt.co.uk and contacting them. I encourage you to do so. You have some very important decisions to make in the days and weeks ahead and suicide is not one of the options you should consider. Please reach out to the ministry of Hidden Hurt. I pray for you and for them –that you will find the help you need. My prayers and concern are with you.

  5. (USA) Hello, I don’t know what to do anymore… my husband keeps calling me every name in the book and now he is lately starting to call names my dead mother that he has never met … It’s just never ending. Does anyone else have the problem with their husbands calling them their dead mom and dad names? This is just breaking in me inside.

    You would say why don’t you leave? The thing is that I’m new in USA and I have no one and no where to go. I feel like I’m trapped. He never treated me like this in my country. He even takes his anger out on our dog. Instead of hitting me he hurts my dog. He knows I love my dog to death. What am I to do? Is this ever going to end?

    1. Dear “New to the US” -We have women’s shelters in the US where you can go and receive the assistance that you need to either return home or live apart from your abusive mate. I was alarmed when I read that he is taking his frustrations out on your dog and you should be alarmed too. The dog is quite helpless to defend itself so his crime is much worse than if he were trying to physically abuse you. It tells me he has no conscience or control and I fear it won’t be long before he starts to enjoy beating you or worse.

      Please call 911 and tell the operator that you need to be escorted to the nearest women’s shelter that will allow you to take your pet with you. I believe most accommodate pets and children. When you’re there ask to be connected to legal services. They will ensure that your mate does not retaliate against you or the dog for leaving. Seek immediate counseling because he will surely try to lure you back with promises he will break and apologies he doesn’t mean. Run while you can.

  6. I have been with my husband since 2000. Right before we met he was in a treatment program for alcoholics. He has had a drinking problem all his life; it runs in his family. He was sober for almost 7 years; then he got a job out of town for a few weeks. He was working with men whom after work went out for a drink. He tried to hide it from me but I could tell. When he came home we were out to dinner one night he ordered a beer. From that night till now he has been drinking.

    Before the drinking people would look at us and could see the love we shared so deeply for each other. His family was so happy and proud of us. Finally he was happy. But after 7 years of having what he called a fairy tale I was living in, he has turned into the devil. The abuse started when he got layed off from his job, which at the time he was 59 years old about to turn 60. Feeling sorry for himself he started drinking more and more while I was at work. Then I would get home and all I had to do was look the wrong way or say the wrong thing it would set him off like a rocket. At first it begin with name calling, how sorry I was; I was a worthless piece of Sh** I’m a B***h you name it. Then it got physical. I had to go to the med stop. He beat me up pretty bad one night. I did not file charges but a report was made.

    Since then we have had a lot of fusses but nothing bad enough to go to ER. Just the verbal abuse is getting to where I cannot take it. I’m beginning to think I deserve all the abuse he gives me. No, I’m not perfect cause I’ve done some things since he started drinking like keeping money hidden from him, helping my daughter out, I would go shopping just cause I felt if he could drink I could do what I wanted to do.

    I used to laugh smile a lot but now when I think we are going to be okay, which we have been on and off two weeks at a time the most; when I feel like I can take my gaurd down all H*** will break out. I feel as if I have to beg him to say things I know he wants me to say just to keep him for pushing me over the edge. I have come so close to just trying to hurt him, to beat him up, but I’m not that kind of person. I love my husband but he is not the man I fell in love with any longer. But I know in my heart that man is still there and that is why I fight so hard to keep my marriage and my love for him. But my emotional state of mind is getting really weak.

    I no longer want to be around my family. I have not been home in over a year, which that is another thing. My dad died in 2011. I did not want him with me because he got drunk going down to family’s house, got mad, and showed his butt at the hotel. I did not even get to go be with my family cause he was showing his butt. For 12 years I put his family (mom/dad) ahead of my family till they died (they lived next door to us) but he could not even give what I needed when my dad died. I feel as if my whole life since he started drinking has been h*** that he has finally showed his true colors as all the other family members told me this is why is was divorced from his wife of 26 years. Now his bother is divorced also cause he drinks also.

    Both his children and brother’s children have a drug problem and drinking problem but my husband does not think he is the problem; everyone else is. I’ve taken to recording the outbursts, the abuse he has given me. I’ve let him listen. The first few times he cried and promised he would not do it again. But guess what? That did not last long. He told me I was the cause of the problems.

    This past weekend we were with his brother. The first thing he did when we got down to our vacation house was get a beer (11:00 am), did not slow up till he finally passed out about 2:30 am. For about 3 hours he was fussing at me calling me every name in the book, threatened to beat me to death and kill me. Then when he woke up the next morning for another 4 hours I caught heck. He started drinking again till that afternoon when he finally went to bed. Since Monday, things have been better.

    He is so loving sorry for what he did to me now. Sugar would melt. Before I had to beg and plead for my life. He is putting me through so much abuse and pain. I’m so confused. I pray to God to please give me guidance, which I know without God I could not make it. I just pray one day I will have my husband, the man I met, fell in love with, come back to me. I love him so much but I don’t think my love for him is going to be strong enough to hold our marriage together. We purchased a home last year. But it has not been a home cause he blames me for having to spend all his money on things I want not; yes, it’s all my fault. The house has my name on the mortgage but both names on the deed. This weekend he told me he was making sure I never got anything; if I left him I would be paying him. I just don’t know how much more I can take of this kind of abuse from a man I love so much. My family/friends say I need to leave him but I love him so much I just don’t know what to do any more. I just keep praying to God to help me show me.

  7. Me and my husband have been married for 3-4 years. Have been separated several times; I have divorced him once. We both have been to marriage counselors 2X and have been prayed over by an entire church. We have 5 children together. 4 of them are his sister’s children, the youngest is my daughter from a previous relationship. We both have been emotionally abusive to each other and I’ve pushed him out of anger.

    When we were together in the first marriage the end was horrible. He and the 16 year old girl set me up and had me put in jail saying that I pushed him with my hand in his face when I did not even touch him. He had all 4 of the children go to court against me in court and was actually going to file charges against me. When I told the lawyer to give him the house the lawyer used this to convince him to drop the charges. He didn’t work for me or the children the whole time and he had 2 months to get the house. He didn’t stay and all the 4 children went with a friend in foster care whose marriage was a blessing for children. They kept the children for about 6 months.

    Then he got child support for the kids and rented a house. The Lord told me to go back when I did go back he was planning on doing something bad, I’m not sure what it was, but he said he was scared what would happen to him if he didn’t marry me. We started off strong and his jealousy started up again. He started charging me 600.00 dollars to be at the house with him. I have the old house that I was renting out. When the man left he told me to keep it empty. Then he wanted to move back and he still did not apologize for anything he did. He acknowledged that he was wrong but he couldn’t tell it straight out to any of the kids, me, or anyone else.

    I moved back in with my parents with my 7 year old daughter because it’s headed down the same road we went down before and I refuse to do it again! I feel guilty for leaving the other children but they’re following his lead and I know they won’t stop until they get the age where they grow up themselves. I’m not trying to make him look bad but would like him to lay at Christ’s foundation for us to build something on. The way it seems that will never happen. I left my parents for him. My best friend’s husband thought it would be best if we’re not friends anymore because I chose to marry him and am still ending up no where good. I just want victory over this craziness in my life. I want to be able to focus on being a Godly mother and pay off my debt and make a life for me and my daughter. We are still married but I can’t live in that abuse anymore.

  8. My wife and I are missionaries in a remote location. We have been married for more than 20 years now. Both of us come from unbelieving families. There have always been tensions simmering in our relationship. Recently the stresses and strains of unmet needs (not just in marriage but in many other areas as well), compounded by our social isolation, has been wearing us out. Both of us have realized that we have not given priority to our relationship. However any attempt at rectifying the issues now keeps getting stalled because of her continual negativism and bitterness.

    If anything goes wrong, she starts a blame game and I am usually the easiest target around. And with all the suppressed anger, she is getting more and more verbally abusive, exploding frequently with insults and put-downs all the time.
    And she keeps blaming me for them, saying I bring out the worst in her. But I am often clueless as to how to avoid such outbursts, since the “provocations” are mostly either my forgetting something or failing to understand exactly what she means, or handling some situation in a way that she judges to be dysfunctional. I often feel that there is no room for dialogue or debate. She insists that I (and everyone else) see the world exactly from her perspective, and scorns any judgment or preference that differs from her own.

    Every now and then, she comes up with some resolution (such as spending more time together, worshiping together, or something else) that gives me hope that things are changing, but these times are short-lived. As soon as the next “provocation” comes, the outbursts begin again, and all the good intentions are thrown aside. She is extremely creative and full of ideas and often despises me for being starved of ideas and imagination and being so dull! But I know I am a technically oriented person and feel that I am faced with a mountain of expectations that I cannot realistically meet.

    I’m not sure how to resolve this impasse. The main problem is that we almost never agree with each other, and that includes even the way each of us sees this problem and figures out how to deal with it. Every time I think of a solution, she exercises her “veto” power to sabotage it. I feel I just can’t go on any more, I can’t put on a facade of being a missionary, when my family is falling apart like this. Any suggestions?

    1. Frank, How sorry I am that you and your wife are in this place in your marriage. Truly, this is heart-breaking on so many levels –especially for God. How this must break His heart! And how important it is that you and your wife “get it” as far as the the sacredness of marriage. We, who claim to love Him, can be a “resounding gong and a clanging cymbal” when we do not “have love” and express love for one another –especially within marriage. As marriage partners and as God’s ambassadors, how we treat each other, both behind closed doors and out where others see us, represents Christ’s “love for the church.” The way in which we treat each other matters. We may think we are not projecting tension between each other by putting on a good face, but somehow it comes through, in some way –the enemy of our faith works to make that happen. If we think otherwise, we’re fooling only ourselves. It’s a sad face indeed that we show forth, when we don’t reveal and reflect the heart of Christ with each other and to those that witness how we live our lives. We communicate the gospel with and without words.

      Frank, I don’t want to chastise you. That’s not why you poured your heart out here. I also realize that you are not alone in this. You are reaching out for help for you and for your wife (to the degree that you can without her coming forth too). But I urge you as your Christian sister to look at the entire picture –not just a dysfunctional marriage, but your parts as ambassadors for Christ. This is a matter of deep, deep prayer and soul-searching… asking God for help and wisdom as you proceed through each day. I don’t know if you can find a way to obtain the book, Sacred Marriage: What If God Designed Marriage to Make Us Holy More Than to Make Us Happy written by Gary Thomas, but if you can, I HIGHLY recommend your reading it and for your wife to read it too, if she will. It has sure changed our approach to marriage. We never saw it in quite that light before.

      When your wife said that you “bring out the worse” in her… she’s right. Sadly, that’s what we often do within marriage. Some times (and often, many times) we’re not even aware that we’re doing it. Part of it is the nature of marriage –we bump into each other in uncomfortable ways. I wrote a blog on this recently, that I encourage you to read (and your wife, if she will). You can find it at http://host.agencysrvr.com/~marriage/triggered-anger/. Also, (at the risk of making this a long post) I’m reminded of something Edie Wadsworth wrote in an article titled, “Why Marriage Is So Hard.” Within that article she said something that I believe is so true. She wrote: “You’re sitting smack dab in the middle of the hardest thing in your life—your marriage. How do I know? Because I am too and I know how the days can seem dark. You’re probably not gonna like my answer, but I think I know why being married is so hard. It’s not because women are from Venus and men are from Mars. It’s not because Scripture is old-fashioned and marriage is passé. I don’t even think it’s because modern times are so much more volatile to marriage than previous ages, though they may be.

      “The reason marriage is so hard is because you’re more sinful than you think you are. You don’t yet grasp the depths of your own depravity. You want your own way. You think your faults are less offensive than his. You justify yourself in a thousand ways and give yourself every benefit of the doubt. But, his faults and sins are magnified to you. You’re convinced that you give more in the relationship. You are always the hero in your mind. Or maybe it’s just me.” I don’t believe it’s just her. I believe it’s all of us. It’s a Kaleidoscope thing where we subconsciously turn things around in our own minds so we look better than we truly are. It’s also something the enemy of our faith “helps” us with, because if we are fighting against each other, we aren’t fighting against the powers of darkness to the same degree –we’re helping to spread darkness further –the “roaring lion” is victorious and we have helped.

      Frank, when we marry, we take on a mission within our homes –to “be imitators of God, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God” (Ephesians 5:1-2). Also, we’re to live out what we’re told in 1 Peter 3:8-9, “Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble. Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing, because to this YOU WERE CALLED so that you may inherit a blessing.” As a whole, the scriptures for loving each other as husband and wife are the scriptures for living, as told to us throughout the Bible. We are to be Bible-believing AND to be ‘doers of the Word.” We can’t compartmentalize one away from the other. Please prayerfully look around this web site to see what God would have you learn and apply to learn HOW to “live in harmony with one another.” I hope you will and am praying for you and for your wife. I’m sure not throwing stones at her. I’ve “been there and have done that” — a LOT of what you describe your wife is doing. But when I finally “got it” –when God finally got through, I’ve become a student of God, a student of the Word, a student of marriage, and a student of my husband Steve, so our marriage can be the best it can be. I hope that you can both come together to reveal and reflect the heart of Christ within your marriage. In doing so, it’s possible that others will want to know your God better. That is my hope. Please know that we care and have and will pray for you and your wife.

      1. Yes, all you say is true. I’m willing to work thru the process until we “get it”; and both of us have to get it together. In a normal situation, that would work well. But we are supposed to be together in this project, and there are practical issues like mutual cooperation and making decisions together which is very difficult in the face of this continual hostility. As the Lord rightly said, “A house divided against itself cannot stand.” Thank you for your prayers.

      2. Disgraceful that you told him his wife DOES bring out the worst in her. He has taken enough of her blame. This sounds more like her refusing to take responsibility for her vile abuse. Blame the victim?

  9. Hi! I have been in a relationship with my fiancé for 6 years. We have 2 beautiful daughters together and up until about two years ago our relationship was so strong. But here recently all we do is fight about every little thing and every chance he gets he puts me down in some really cruel ways. I’ve always been in emotionally abusive relationships and when I was little I was raped by my step father for years so I’m a very emotional person. But when I met my fiancé he did so much to try to make me feel good about myself. I don’t know what changed in him but lately he seems to enjoy emotionally beating me up if he doesn’t get what he wants when he wants or if he’s having issues at work or with his family. I’m the one he takes it out on.

    I always get told that I’m a waste of a human being and that I’m a piece of crap. We have issues in an intimate way but he has gone as far as making me feel like a whore by telling me that if I get intimate with him he’ll pay me for it. He won’t let me do anything to try and make myself feel better. I’m not allowed to work and he made me cut all ties with my friends and moved me 500 miles away from my family.

    I’m so lost in life right now. It’s affecting me as a mother because I’m always depressed so all I want to do is sit around. I love this man with all I have and have done a lot to try to fix our relationship for us and our children but I am starting to feel like things will never change. I want us to work and have tried to just suck it up and deal with things but now because of the fact that it’s affecting how I am as a mother I want to say when enough is enough and when to move on. But I want that to be completely my last resort and make sure I’ve exhausted every other option. Does anyone know any suggestions or advice? I could really use it. We’ve tried marriage counseling and have spent money on programs that are supposed to help build a relationship and nothing has worked. I’ve tried to sit him down and talk to him. I know he has his own set of issues in life but I don’t feel it’s right for him to put me down and make me feel so alone and low!!

  10. Using the term abusive or abused is poisoning the well. Defrauding is sexual abuse, not covered by the vernacular use of the term abuse. It’s a term that is used almost exclusivly as a charge against men and a term that assumes and reinforces the feelings of female victimization. When speaking of anger call it anger, wrath or violent out bursts. When speaking of intimidating language and threats, volume is not as abusive as the threat. Women now initiate 80% of divorces, the threat to destroy a family is also abuse, but not part of the “abuser” meme. In fact it may be abusive to write about abuse without a encompassing definition up-front.

    1. The threat to save a family – by divorce? You write as if 80% of women divorce willy-nilly on a whim with no real reason. Maybe there IS some abuse?

  11. Hi, My husband and I will be married for 12 years on Nov. 9 this year. It hasn’t always been bad. He yells at me, is very negative, he blames me for everything, and complains about everything. I am afraid of his temper. He has threatened to hit me 3 times but hasn’t. I tell him I WILL call 911.

    I was laid off July 10, 2010 and still don’t have a job and no where to go. I cannot take it anymore. This is a 2nd marriage for both of us. He had a 5 bypass surgery back on Oct. 30, 2008. No, he has always had a bad temper. From complications he is partially blind with other disabilities. I am the ONLY 24/7 caregiver.

    Even his kids don’t like me. I emailed his oldest son to see if he would take him just for a few days, to give me a break. He called his father and told him and he also thought I was leaving him at the time. All I wanted was a break. I cannot take it anymore. No where to go and no job. What can I do? Please help!

  12. There appears to be many comments about men verbally, emotionally and physically abusing their wives, but very little about wives doing these things to their husbands. I speak from personal experience. I have been verbally abused often in front of my children and physically hit by my wife on many occasions over a number of years. i get laughed at when I say how wrong it is and I am told I am weak.

    I know I have made mistakes in our marriage and haven’t been the best husband I could be but I don’t believe this gives another person the right to do this. I am a Christian as is my wife. I can’t find anywhere in the Bible that justifies this. My wife is desperate for me to leave and has told me that she doesn’t love me and the years married to me have been the most miserable and unhappiest of her life. She has said she has regretted getting married to me. I don’t know what to do anymore. None of her family speaks to me and she has made sure that I have become isolated from her family as well as my 22 year old son, and 18 year old daughter.

  13. My husband and I have been married for 4 years, and I can say the marriage is really driving me nuts. I was brought up in a godly home. I just don’t understand how a man can afford not to talk to his spouse for days, weeks and they live together in the same home. He treats me and the children like next room neighbours, no attachment at all. He will only talk to us when he’s happy, and ignores us when he isn’t.

    He has a very hot temper, gets angry at almost anything; pleasing him is the hardest task ever. He doesn’t provide for us either feeding, clothing, or any needs. I honestly don’t mind providing for me and my children, but I’m constantly at edge with the anger and daily fights, and I feel it’s not safe for our child to be.

    I’m more scared of leaving the marriage, not because I don’t think it’s right to leave, as God hates neglect as much as divorce, but because of the fear of the unknown of what will happen when he has to see my children when I’m not there, having to share time between them. He has refused to child proof the home, and doesn’t care that our little one is falling off the stairs. I even offered to do this, but he refused. He doesn’t know how to do anything with our children, and this fears me, which makes me stay more in this emotional abusive relationship.

    I’m praying to God for direction, as he says when he gives us joy, he adds no sorrows to it. I’m praying for peace to forgive all the hurts.

    1. At this point of time all I can say is to seek domestic violence counseling as I have done. It is the only counseling service that truly understands what is happening to us, and finally you must leave!!

  14. Truth is I don’t know if what I have done to my wonderful wife and kids would fall under the title of emotional abuse, but I consider myself guilty and of verbal abuse as well. Long story short, married 18 yrs would have occasional outbursts, yelling mainly but did put hole in wall. Never yelled directly at family, mainly God for whatever stupid thing wasn’t going right. Fast forward: bought a business which struggled for last 7 yrs, lost my father & brother within 8 mos of each other, each time sank me into dark place. As biz continued to spiral my wife took more and more on herself and I let her.

    I became more withdrawn, playing video games, etc. as distraction, yelling became more and more frequent, not every day but enough. My wife says I muttered some hurtful things, which I don’t totally disagree with, but in response to her pulling away too, didn’t feel she was supporting me, losing intimate time, etc. Missed signs she & kids getting hurt by me, blaming it on age, stress, etc. Point is I realized probably too late what I was doing. Last yr she told me she didn’t love and moved out with the kids this yr, despite me completely turning my back on all that behavior.

    The financial stresses also played a part in her breaking. My question is this: I really truly did not see the damage I was doing, I absolutely don’t condone it, have stopped it and in no way will allow it back in. I love my wife and children. I have recently started counseling to learn the causes so I can make sure to keep my promise. Does anyone think there is hope for an abuser like me to prove to his family he has changed and get them to come back?

    1. I always believe in hope, and I do believe if you are sincere in your words and actions, God will move as God hates divorce and he does whatever he needs to do to bring your marriage back to reconciliation. But remember, God does not work by our time, only his time, so be patient and true to God, as God is Faithful. xx

      1. Thank you, it’s what I need to hear. I truly am sincere, the man I was these last few yrs is not the man I am. I am committed to the changes I am making bc I realized how truly far I have fallen from who God intended me to be, and how awful it must have been for my wife and children to bear. Please pray that I do strengthen my trust in God, bc, unfortunately that lack of trust in Him is what I am struggling with most and maybe if I stopped blaming Him, I might have been still enough to hear him trying to help me.

  15. I am a mormon wife. Recently I found out my husband has been addicted to pornography for our two year marriage. He tells me I’m crazy when I confront him on the emotional abuse, pressured me sexually, and tells me if my hair was a little longer, I dressed more like a cowgirl, and lost 20 pounds I’d be more attractive to him. He lies but doesn’t say sorry and recently thinks I’m keeping “secrets” from him so he is checking my Facebook account and getting mad when I confide in my close friends.

    His dad said it takes “a lifetime to work out these problems” and to be patient. Our Bishop is kind and offered to pay for counseling since we can’t afford it but it hasn’t happened. Our church is very judgmental when it comes to divorce.

  16. I have been in a verbal emotional abusive marriage for 13 years. I have just now separated from my husband (4 weeks), after I found him watching porn and masturbating, and then him abusing me for making him do it. I am just in a place in my life where I feel numb. I can’t even explain my pain. I’ve been pleading with God to change him, and help me to be strong to cope. Now I’m here, just trying to get through one day at a time.

    What I can say is that the last 4 months I’ve sought domestic violence counseling and they have changed my life. I’m so grateful for their support and wise advice. I’ve also opened up honestly to my family, which I couldn’t do before because I was so ashamed of myself for staying in such an abusive marriage. But I’m free now and am totally relying on God to provide for my every need.

  17. My husband is constantly blaming me for his outbursts, says it’s me who’s not understanding and that I could do things differently. We’ve been married for 14 years and within those years he had degraded me, disrespected me, spit on me, and then turns around and gets upset with me for being upset at him for it. He blames me for these actions and I always find myself apologizing to win him back. I can’t seem to let go of him, why? I feel lost and hopelessly empty and worthless if I do end our marriage.

    1. Myrna, I’m so sorry that your husband treats you that way, it shouldn’t be. I also don’t know the extent of his “outbursts.” I was thinking and praying about your situation, and then came across the following article, posted in the Today’s Christian Woman web site. Please prayerfully read it. It may or may not help, but it’s sure worth reading, and gleaning through to see if there’s anything within the article that you can use: http://www.todayschristianwoman.com/articles/2014/october/when-your-spouse-criticizes-you.html?utm_source=marriage-html&utm_medium=Newsletter&utm_term=12278944&utm_content=306790545&utm_campaign=2013&start=1.

      Also, go into the “Recommended Resources” part of the “Abuse in Marriage” topic to see what we have there that you may want to pick up to help you in your situation. Leslie Vernick has some great things written on this issue, as well as other authors, who may have some advice that can help you figure out what you should do about your husband’s outbursts. I pray this will help in some way.

  18. I’m in one and it hurts so bad; we would love help. I am sick and broken but God is healing me, it’s just always a fight. To repay with love and not enable? Not sure what to do. Thank you for being obedient to your gift in helping us. Just need wisdom. I am seeking God.

  19. I have been in a relationship with my boyfriend for 3 years. Recently he experienced some trauma that has really affected him and stressed him and made him extremely sad. I think he is suffering from Post traumatic stress.

    He has now become verbally abusive to me, verbally attacking me rather than communicating if there are any disagreements. He calls we names, puts me down, says I’m a selfish disgusting person, yells, screams, goes into a violent rage and becomes irrational in any discussion he doesn’t agree with. It doesn’t matter how gently I try handle the situation, he responds in a temper tantrum. He threatens me with ending our relationship when we argue, blames me for all arguments, dismisses my feelings and says I’m selfish to even have emotions and feelings about something petty and self-absorbed when he has gone through so much. He won’t discuss things that upset me because they’re insignificant compared to what he’s going through.

    I feel I have to constantly apologize for being a bad person to try end the fights and keep the peace. I feel I can’t get him to understand me; he just sees me as someone trying to start an argument. My self-esteem is taking a knock, my spirit is being broken and my confidence shattered. If I ask him not to be rude and shout and scream at me, he shouts and screams even more, again saying what a selfish person I am. Nothing is ever his fault and he never apologizes for anything he does as I’m always the one at fault. When I ask him not to call me names he comes up with another adjectives to describe me and says that I have a misguided belief that everything is about me when there are far more important things going on in this world.

    I am at a loss as to what to do? This is really a difficult time because I know he’s a good person on the one hand who I do love, but he doesn’t see what he is doing to me and wont allow me to bring up the topic.

    1. Kirty, I just have two sentences for you. Please LEAVE HIM ASAP. You have been with this dude 3 years. Imagine being with him 30 years! Leopards don’t change spots, this guy has anger issues.

      1. Kirty, you do what is on your heart to do. Your boyfriend needs help, and no you don’t have to take that, or any kind, of abuse if he refuses to get that help. As for blue robin, you are right – leopards can’t change their spots, but people CAN and DO change!!! Sometimes, they just need a strong nudge (or more) in the right direction. God is good, keep seeking Him.

  20. Hello, I am from the USA and I have enjoyed the website. I have a question I would love to get some insight for.

    I have been married for 28 years. My husband is extremely self-centered. Everything in our relationship is about him. We had to move where he wanted to live when we got married, we watched only movies he wanted to watch, we were friends with only who he approved of, we spent practically every holiday and vacation somehow involved with his friends or family. He left me sitting alone at parties where I didn’t know anyone and he told me I was emotionally handicapped and didn’t know how to interact with people.

    Every Thanksgiving morning he jogs over to his friend’s house and has breakfast with them leaving me home for years with three small children. His traditions and memories are front and foremost in his life. He constantly lies to me and tells me half of the story and manipulates everything to look like he is right or to get what he wants. We went to marriage counselling, he only came twice and yelled at the counselor when she suggested that maybe he should listen to what I might need or want. He has been sleeping in the basement for 15 years and he tells me that a lot of couples do that. He didn’t talk to my daughter for two years because he was mad about something that he actually caused and he repeatedly told me that he knows many people that do not talk to their older children.

    He has an answer for everything and he truly believes he is right. He is always shaking his head in disapproval about everything. I could paint a room, or change light fixtures and he will always find something wrong with what I do. Yet in public he sings my praises and tells everyone what a great mother I am and how smart I am.

    He has messed up our finances over the years and would never listen to anything I would say to try to help. He does what he wants to do whenever he wants to do it – no matter how upset I get. 10 years ago I shut down and got angry because I caught him in yet another lie. He is a people pleaser and does everything in his power to make everyone around him happy and comfortable except me. I feel unloved, unappreciated, I feel like I am just in his way – an after thought in his life. I think that he has a disorder called Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder. One of the counselors we went to recommended a book called Too Perfect and it was him through and through.

    I could go on for pages but the problem I deal with the most is that I feel like this marriage is the consequence of my sins. We got married because I was pregnant. I feel guilty and condemned every day of my life. I feel that if I leave him it will just be the next big mistake I make and God will disapprove and not help me. I feel like I will really hurt my children, but I feel so sick inside and frustrated. I started having severe panic attacks 8 years ago – they are pretty much gone now thank God but I feel the tension rising again. He is more obstinate as he is getting older.

    Would I be wrong if I started planning to leave. My youngest daughter, just turned 20 and got engaged last weekend and my other daughter is looking for a house to buy. The thought of living here alone with him upsets me to the point where all I do is cry. I am miserable and moody. My children, who are my love and joy, have to think I am crazy. They love their father and I want them to have a good relationship with him; he has been good to them he just hasn’t been good to me. Every Christian person, pastor or counselor have told me to pray and stay. I just can’t seem to do it anymore. Is there any direction you could send me? Would divorcing separate me from God or disappoint Him in anyway? Thank you for listening.

  21. Hello, I am too tired and drained to go into detail about all of the problems in my marriage. I am reaching out for prayer. I am married to a man who thinks marriage is about “keeping score”‘, intimidation and bullying. I am completely worn out from this marriage and really need prayer. Thank you.

  22. Honest question. ..being the Spirit filled stalwart Christian tough guy…able to stand tall and take the 70 times 7 “slaps” in the face appears to me to be enabling her behavior. Perhaps causing a fuss by a separation would allow her to confront her dysfunctional coping strategies? The complete lack of the Christian church to hold abusive women to account is a terrible misstep. I get preached at to continue to keep my hands tied behind my back and take it. This is out of balance in my estimation.

    1. Gary, we agree with you. There are many, many husbands who are being abused by their wives. It is an area of abuse that is being silenced by the press. Abuse is wrong, whether it is the wife being abused or the husband. But sadly, it’s close to impossible to find many articles that give voice to both wives that are being abused, as well as husbands who are being abused. They most always address wife victimization.

      We have a few articles that address husband abuse posted on this web site that you may want to read. One can be found at: http://host.agencysrvr.com/~marriage/husband-abuse-can-a-wife-abuse-her-husband/ and another can be found at: http://host.agencysrvr.com/~marriage/breaking-the-cycle-of-violence/. I also changed our part of this article being posted. I apologize that I hadn’t done that before now (I thought I had). We can’t change another author’s info… and with the ones that we’ve posted, we don’t want the info to be ignored because it’s good stuff, whether it includes abused husbands or not. We hope and pray that abused husbands will still read them and change the pronouns. Thanks for your input. We appreciate it.

  23. My boyfriend of 15 years constantly abuses me verbally. If we argue, and he happens to be driving, he tells me that if we get into a wreck, it will be my fault. He’s hit me in the past and says I was asking for it. He has since stopped the physical abuse because I told him I would call the police and he would lose his job. He constantly blames me for his anger issues. He says if only I didn’t aggravate him, he wouldn’t have punched holes in my walls. I dont know what to do. I go to counseling for me because he says he’s not the crazy one, I am.

  24. My husband told me this morning he was a centimeter from bashing me in the face. His mother visited at Christmas. She tormented me and harassed me, calling me fat, shamed me, and talked behind my back to my husband. I jumped on both of them for being so mean.

  25. I have been married over 30 years. I am 10 years older than my husband. We went years and years without ever lifting our voices to each other. Then, in 2008 I got stage 3 colon cancer and had to have surgery/chemo. I got hooked on narcotics at that time. I am still given narcotics by my doctor because I have severe chronic back pain issues. My husband hates that I take narcotics and finds fault with me in every way because I take them. I continue to have cancer crop up and just a little over a month ago had to have part of my lung removed because the colon cancer spread to my right lung.

    Not even a week after I returned from the hospital we got into a terrible fight. I don’t even know what it was over now. But, we fight so much anymore that it is pretty hard to keep up with the reasons. I was supposed to get a shot in my hip yesterday (I thought anyway) for my bursitis. My doctor told me he would have to do it in the minor surgery area, not his office and made me an appointment for that to be taken care of. My husband went ballistic when I told him I didn’t get the shot. He started accusing me of being a liar, saying all I ever do is lie everytime I open my mouth, etc. etc. It was the dumbest argument I have ever been a part of. He is constantly calling me a liar (although he has always been a liar).

    The problem is, I am retired now, sickly (and will find out this month if I have cancer elsewhere going on) and totally incapable of taking care of myself financially. He is all the time blowing up and telling me to get out, to go live with my aunt (that he hates) and her husband. This is my home too. Everything in it was my mothers practically. We have 2 dogs that are my dogs too. I’m not going anywhere. My aunt doesn’t want me. Why would she? Anyway, because I am unable to work and take care of myself financially, I am so trapped. I never dreamed in a million years that my retirement years would be like this.

    He hates me taking prescription medication for my ailments but it is okay for him to come home and drink a couple of beers every night after work and a boat load of beers or whatever on the weekends. What can I do? He would certainly not go to any counseling, I am already positive of that. I wouldn’t even suggest it or he would blow up…again. Thanks for your help. By the way, I am a born again Christian. He went to church with me many years ago, but he doesn’t even mention the Lord in conversations anymore.

  26. Me and my husband have been married 8 yrs now… have 2 beautiful children. While we had troubles from the start from Child Services because of my mother and unknown marks on my son before we married, at first it was good. I made a few mistakes, and now he seems to want to throw them at my face, call me names, such as fat and cuss at me. I try hard not to act back but sometimes I cannot help it. All the time when he’s mad he says he hates me and the kids. He is very verbally abusive at times and says words like “whore” to me. It does get worse but as per rules I am trying my best to keep it as clean as I can.

    I live in a camper with him in marriage. He did buy me things I wanted and needed. My question is if I go, are these things mine if he gave to me? What should I do? We have kids school age. I am an Alabama (US) lady who just feels like nothing I do is right any more. I beg and cry for God’s mercy.

  27. I don’t know where to start. My husband is very, very emotionally and physically abusive. I just don’t know what to do anymore. I feel so helpless and worthless sometimes I don’t even want to live anymore. He calls me horrible names and in front of the children and tells the 2 small kids we have together that I don’t love and care about them. And that I’m a horrible mother and person. He controls all the money, has the bank account with his name on it only, I don’t have any friends or anyone to talk to. I can’t hang out with anyone or do anything. I’m a stay at home mom and I started going to counseling once a week and now he wants me to stop going because he wonders if I have a crush on the counselor. My husband and I have been together for 11 years and married for 4. It hurts me so much to know how much he hates and dispises me. I’m scared to ever say anything to him about how much I’m hurting because he gets so angry and mean. Please pray for me and our relationship and our kids.

  28. My husband did not like something that I wore and he questioned me about it asking what do I have going on the reason I’m dressing in all those kind of outfits and I responded by saying “what outfits? I don’t have anything going on.” Then he responding cursing at me saying you wearing all that see through stuff (not the word he used) so I asked him why was he cursing and he said because he was angry that his wife is “showing off” her body dressing like a cheap (garden utensil) and that it was okay I could go naked if I wanted to because it’s in me to dress like that.

    All I could think of was a long sleeve lace blouse that I wore 3 days prior to that, with a tank top under it that showed nothing but my arms and some shorts that I wore to one of my family gatherings, which I have never worn because I am so self conscious about my body and my legs so I made sure they came to my knees so I just knew he wasn’t talking about those because he is always telling me that there is nothing wrong with my body. I asked him why wouldn’t he just answer me and tell me what outfits he was talking about instead of being verbally abusive because he was hurting my feelings with the words he was using? And he responded with “you are not retarded.” What do I say to him? How can I make him see how he is really tearing me apart inside?

  29. In an abusive marriage? Try praying daily for your husband. Be patient (in a safe place if needed), It may take years but God can work in your spouses life. Stay close to Him in the process. Find your value through Him. You are a precious and unique human being loved by a King! Grab God’s Word and fill yourself with it. Keep it in your heart…it is your weapon.