How Do I Respond to Physical Abuse?

sad abused woman sitting -Dollar PhotoLet me begin by saying that I cannot think of a circumstance in a marriage or family that could justify abuse of any kind —emotional, mental, physical, or sexual. Abusive behavior was never and can never be a part of God’s plan for a marriage or a family.

For the sake of clarity, I’m going to limit this answer to physical abuse. And by this I mean assaulting, threatening, or restraining a person through force. It would include hitting, slapping, punching, beating, grabbing, shoving, biting, kicking, pulling hair, burning, using or threatening the use of weapons, blocking you from leaving a room or the house during an argument, driving recklessly, or intimidating you with threatening gestures…

That’s the first few paragraphs of an article written by Dennis Rainey and Leslie Barner, posted on We recommend you read it by clicking onto the link web site link below to learn:


— ALSO —

The following are two blogs written by Leslie Vernick. They approach physical violence in different ways. We believe you will find the information to be insightful as she poses questions, and then gives her responses.

This first blog gives you scriptural references to read and then prayerfully consider as you look at:


And then this next blog, written by Leslie Vernick, is a bit different. In it, she shares the advice, which was given to her by a former abuser on this matter of how to respond to physical abuse. Again, please pray, read, glean, and use what you believe God would have you pertaining to:


If you have additional tips you can share to help others, please “Join the Discussion” by adding your comments below.

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Filed under: Abuse in Marriage

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208 responses to “How Do I Respond to Physical Abuse?

  1. My husband is a wonderful father and most of the time a great husband. However, when he gets angry, he hits me, and punches me like a punching bag. I don’t like it. It hurts me more emotionally than it does physically. I don’t know if it’s ok to hit someone that angers you because apparently his reasons for hitting me is because I anger him. Now, I may not be an expert at understanding people but I feel like when he hits me, he doesn’t love me. Countless times he angers me but not once have I ever raised my hands to him.

    Now tell me, someone please, at what point do I say, “enough is enough” to his hits? This probably happens at least 1-2 times a month. So apparently I “mess up” and get a fist to my arms, slaps to my face, and verbal abuse that consists of throwing me out of the house, divorce, and just nasty, disgusting remarks that include my side of the family. He has cheated on me and I don’t know if he still does. I do care to know but I choose to brush it off just to prevent further problems in our marriage. I have never cheated on him, never cussed at him, and have always been a faithful wife. He is an amazing husband and father, but when he’s angry, he’s a whole different kind of man, and I AM SO TIRED OF HIS HITS and verbal abuse to me!!!

    1. Dear MicroWoman, One hit is too much. That is more than enough. You are not his punching bag and you need to let him know that you will not keep staying around for another round and another one and another one. They will get worse if you enable him to keep doing this to you. He is not an “amazing husband and father” if he treats you –the mother of his children in this horrific way. Please read through the articles posted in the “Abuse in Marriage” topic to learn of some ways to better protect yourself and come up with a plan so you are not used as his verbal or physical punching bag. I hope you will. You have tolerated WAY too much already. He has to stop this. You are his marriage partner, not a thing to be punched!

  2. I never understand my husband. He keeps telling me that I never let him talk; I always talk over him and that’s when he starts screaming at me and getting more physical. When I try to stand up for myself he’s always trying to say that I never appreciate him ever. I don’t know what to do anymore because I do everything. Is there something really wrong with me? Everybody I’ve ever been with has always told me that they know the reason why men beat me was because I can’t keep my mouth shut and I was fat and lazy and no good. I just want to know what is wrong with me? How can I fix it because every man that I’ve ever been with has physically, and mentally abused me? What’s wrong with me? Please somebody help me find out.

    1. HI Shellie, I could not help but repsond to your message. I am a husband married for 37 years with two adult children. Our daughter was in an abusive relationship for 8 years so I do know something about this from the point of view of a parent.

      You do not provide many details, but it’s interesting that you say, “He keeps telling me I never let him (your husband) talk,” and “I always talk over him.” For both of these habits of yours, you are getting an immediate reaction. It seems that your response is to try and stand up for yourself. You say later that “Everybody I’ve ever been with has always told me that they know the reason why men beat me was because I can’t keep my mouth shut and I was fat and lazy and no good.” I would tend to doubt the last three items, but the first seems to agree with your earlier statements, doesn’t it?

      All your husband needs and wants is to be understood and valued. All you have to do is listen with your full attention. Just listen and let him talk while NOT giving the impression that you are just waiting for him to finish speaking so that you can have your turn. No…listen to him and place yourself in his shoes – make the effort to do this.

      Do NOT interrupt, do NOT fidget, or look away, or play with your mobile phone or do anything else which tells him your mind is somewhere else. Ask him clarification questions… “Do you mean…..?” or… “What I am hearing you say is..” etc. Let him know by your body language, your general attitude, and your attentiveness, that you are genuinely interested in what he has to say.

      Encourage him, confirm him, express your appreciatioin for his good qualities and the things he does around the house for you. Write him a love card. Simple, but these things go a long way :)))

      As to why you have been abused by every man you have been with…perhaps as a reaction to, in your words, “because I can’t keep my mouth shut?” Of course there is no excuse for abuse in any form. Your excessive use of words can be bringing out the worst in your husband, but also, abuse is not something that you should allow either. That is another subject which is too lengthy to go into right now…but in general, if you simply listen more and talk less, as I have tried to describe above, you may see a dramatic turn around in a short time!

      No… there is nothing wrong with you, I really doubt that. See how this works to start with…and I hope we hear from you again…WP (Work in Progress)

  3. It is with a really tortured heart that I am writing this. My husband gets really angry for the silliest of reasons and beats me up cruelly. Everything is okay if we follow an epicurean style of life with just fun and fun and more fun. But the moment the slightest of opinion difference arises, he would get really angry and beat me up. There were a couple of occasions in which I even fell down unconscious. I had to be taken to the hospital more than twice because of intense back pain due to his beating and another time because of a sagging elbow. My family knows about the first time he hit me, which was 4 years ago and they had warned him for it. But they know nothing about the other times after that (which would come to about more than 20 times after that).

    I hesitate in telling about this to my parents because I know that it would create a rift between his family and mine. (It happened in the first place and it was patched up). Our marriage itself was a lie because his parents had told my parents that he was a born again, no drinking, no smoking person, which turned out to be a big lie. But I’ve tried to adjust to all his mood swings. But sometimes I feel that I can’t take it any more. I feel that this abuse towards me is mentally torturing my kid too who watches it all with a terrified face. Today also he hit me and kicked me and my whole body is throbbing in pain. My lips are bleeding from the way he slammed his fist across my face..Please advise me on what I should do.I really long for a happy Christ centered married life.

    1. Dear “Female” …This is truly horrible. I cry for you and for your child. There is absolutely no way you can allow this to continue or eventually, he will either kill or permanently maim you. He is allowing himself to treat you like a detestable object, instead of a marriage partner. Please tell your family. They need to know so they can help you figure out what to do. You can’t keep quiet about this. It HAS to stop… not only for your sake, but for the sake of your child who is watching the horrible way this child’s mom is being treated by his or her dad. This negatively writes on the slate of who your child will become someday.

      Find a way to protect yourself and your child (we have articles in the “Abuse in Marriage” topic on this web site that can help you with that) and come up with a plan as to how you can make this stop. Even if you have to leave for a while, or beyond, you just can’t live with a man who brutalizes you this way. This is animalistic and hateful. I hope you will and pray for wisdom and discernment, plus a way of escape to safety away from this violence.

  4. My husband and I have been married 8 years together for 10. He has ADHD and is easily distracted and very forgetful. It angers me a lot of the times because he can’t do simple things around the house without being reminded over and over. It gets to the point that I feel like I am talking to a child, which I hate having to remind and talk this way. He then finds me to be a nuisance.

    I will admit that I yell at him, called him lazy because he always has an excuse, and drill him until it is done. I guess this is verbal /emotional abuse? Anyway, he blows up to the point that he throws things at me, punches the wall, chokes me by the neck, pulls my hair, punches me repeatedly in the head or side. Then when I fall he tells me to get up or he will punch me some more. A couple of times I lay there paralyzed in shock and he would deliver more blows to my head. He tells me to repeat what he is saying and that I must say “I understand” or else he will strike me again.

    I always forgive him because I think of how far we have come together and I can’t live without him. Plus I can’t stay mad at him for long. He easily makes me laugh. Did I deserve it? What should I do. I know I am at fault.

  5. Hi I have married for 5yrs. My husband started hitting me since 1 yr for silly reasons. Most of the time when I get angry with him. He decided and planned this to hit me, whenever he thinks I’m getting angry. Now I changed my behavior too. But for small, silly anger also, he started to hit me with his legs too. And now he does this in front of his family. I then said back to him telling him I will not allow you to hit me. So he got angry and disconnected with me since 1 week. I don’t know if I am wrong or right. But I can’t stay away from him a single day what am I to do?

  6. My only thought is to everyone if someone, anyone lays a hand on you. Get out go to a friend, family member, leave right away never go back. God wants us to be loved and respect each other and neighbors’ people. The more I think about it is these sins can create Rage, Hate, I’m wishing and terror. I lived through it. I can’t even begin to tell you all. Remember it’s not your fault.

    No one deserves to have another being hit or name called or anything. If your a man woman or child or even your friends or family or neighbors or a stranger, no one should go thru this. I can’t bring a horse to water and make him drink. We cant change anyone but ourself. We can pray and forgive. But the hitting and things like these never got better for me. Watching him never ever understand these sins pile up and cause more sins. Many people will lie to protect the abuser which is not good; it just puts us in more sin. I know I lived it. All I know is they lay hands on you or calls you names, just find a way to leave to a friend or family member.

    My relationship got to the point after 23 years all we built up got torn down to ground because of pure hate, rage, ill wishing and blaming me. It first started through his childhood; his father beat him. He needed to get help and not repeat the pattern, so one day when he got a wife he would not do the same. So, I say don’t get to the point I did. Get out. God knows everything. I feel he dosen’t want his people – all of us to go through these things.