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.

Filed under: Abuse in Marriage

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

  1. My boyfriend grabbed my wrist and squeezed them so hard and pushed me and left bruises on my wrists. This is the first time he has done this. We’ve been together a year now. I don’t know what to do. He apologized.

    1. Hi. I went through a similar thing at the beginning of my relationship with my ex partner and I forgave him after the first incident. But it got worse, we broke up now and I even have a protection order against him.

    2. I’ve now been married for 36 years and I am married to a Mauritius man. From the day I met him he hit me but I thought I just made him angry; from then to now, 6 years later, he’s still hitting me. My heart is broken without sex. We don’t have sex. He doesn’t love me or talk to me the way I am in front of me. I had a heart attack and he did not even come to the hospital. I felt he didn’t care. Now I go to see my daughters and he screams at me because I’m not there to cook for him. We have not had sex in about six years. AM I a slave or his wife? Help me please. I have now got a black eye. Thank you.

  2. I wrote my situation on July 18 here. I saw my writing after I posted it. Why could not I find it now?

  3. I’m really struggling in my marriage. It’s tough enough we have all odds against us, as we are a very blended family. I was a happy, independent, single mother of a son who was 5 at the time I met my current husband. Never been married, never co-pareented before this. My sons bio dad isn’t really in the picture but my husband recently legally adopted him. We also have a son of 20 months together and he brought in 2 girls who are now 3 and 6. My son now is 8.

    Once we were married after being best friends and co workers for about 2 years, we got married and I saw his temper for the first time. He is a marine vet with 2 year tours in Iraq. He was also beaten by a stepfather as a child… I know, red flags but his good qualities are very, very good. He’s a wonderful provider, involved with kids, he’s an electronics and computer engineer, serves now in the air guard and he’s a local scout master. He takes on everything 110% except our marriage. I love these children. I love his girls. They all prefer me probably because I’m the less serious one and have grown up around children my whole life and I know kids well. I can translate for my husband as he tries to explain things to them. I can do it in a perfect way for their minds to wrap around it.

    However.. There are times he is extremely defensive when he doesn’t need to be. He takes small things I do and assumes or blows them up into big things. Many times it can be over our daughter who is 6 and was with his first wife. He has 2 mothers for his two girls… I know, I’m crazy and brave to take all this on but it’s not the children that stresses me -it’s his temper. He’s loud, yells at me, the kids, especially my eldest son he is particularly hard on and yes, my boy probably tests waters more but still his style isn’t healthy and he disagrees.

    I finally got so tired of his yelling and cursing in my face the other night I felt so disrespected and so small and I needed to stick up for myself. I went to slap him. Not harm him but I had pleaded numerous times before to please stop yelling, please keep your voice down so the kids don’t get scared, please stop. If you don’t stop taking to me like that I will slap you. I didn’t succeed of course and what I got was shoved against the railing, then he got on top and held my hands and arms. I struggled and was angry and said get off me, get off, I tried to kick him off so he grabbed me by my ankles, flipped me around and dropped me on my neck.

    I was not injured in a way that caused damage but I took my kids in the van so fast and was shaking and left. I dropped them where they were safe for the night and went to the ER because my neck got stiffer by the min and I could hardly drive. I got a shot, a prescription of Valium and ibuprofen. I take the ibuprofen but only took the Valium the first two nights just before bed and I wore a neck brace for 3 days.

    Am I crazy to consider separation till he gets help and counseling? Or do I just go straight for divorce?

  4. I’m a mom and pregnent now. My husband is very loving but sometimes he hurts me emotionally and in some case beats me up (even in front of his parents). An hour before, after the whole day job at home I was talking to him, he didn’t pay attention, was sooo much facebooking. I took his phone and asked him to listen to what I am saying. He instead pulled out my hair, bit me on both the hands and took a cloth and immersed in my mouth for I was loud! He doesn’t even care that I am pregnant. I have not eaten so far.. Feeling like ending my life. But how can I? I’ve two babies. Tell me a solution.

    1. Please leave him. My husband has beaten me up 5 times in less than 5 weeks. He punched me in the head, pulled my arm out the socket. Next, he kicked me in a martial arts kind of way because he is trained. He also keeps wrestling me so I finally grabbed him “where it hurts the most.” I wanted to just rip them away but he screamed for mercy. I also fell – both of us and have a big bruise.

      So I drink yesterday in sorrow. I got a job and will be getting my own home, and divorce. He said he is sorry and I can either take that or leave it.

      Also, he never hits me in public and let a man beat him up before without defending himself. He actually bragged about blocking the hits that’s his. His excuse was he was bigger than me. And I said you are bigger than me and I’m a woman. I realized I’m with a punk.

  5. Hi. We have just moved to a new country and he was always like this and is still the same. He abuses and hits me. He abuses my family too. He is very money minded and always compares himself with others and gets irritated. It’s frustrating because he hits because he gets frustrated. We have a 5 and a half year old daughter. Last night he hit her because she was trying to have a conversation with him that don’t scream on my mother. But my daughter doesn’t want us to stay away. She always tells me I want to live with both of you. What do I do? There is no intimacy left. I just dont like him at all anymore.

  6. Hi, I’m in a similar situation. I’m married to my husband for 7 years and since the beginning he has been aggressive towards me. In the first few months of marriage, I bought a jacket worth 90 dollars and I asked him for his consent before I bought it. That time he said ok. But once we got into the car he started shouting and abusing me for spending money. I was in a shock that if he didn’t want me to buy it then why didn’t he refuse politely in the first place. That was my first shock. Then he started to use his hands on me for trivial issues. For example, he took my head and banged it on the car dashboard because he didn’t like something I said in a party. And I kept asking what I did and he said you are a fool. You don’t know how to talk in a very aggressive way.

    So he hit my head on dashboard when I kept saying that I did nothing wrong. And then it became a habit. He blames me for his anger. When I cry, he comes to say sorry, a step me not to make him angry as a woman should be submissive and stay quiet when her husband is angry. Recently, he hit me on my ribs because he had bad day at work and I asked for sex because of my ovulation and he said he’s not in a mood. I have been trying for the baby and he doesn’t even do sex wth me. One time he did it do anything with me for 2 years and all my relatives kept asking for the baby. How should I explain that I too want a baby but I can’t do it. When I talk to him he says I will take care of everything . I will make everything alright but then nothing happens. He has telling me the same story since last 7 years.

    So, sometimes I too get angry and that day I got angry too and in return he hit me for arguing with him.I have this big bruise and had hard time breathing for a day. When he got over, he came to me and held me responsible for his action. When he saw my bruise he said, I didn’t hit that hard. It broke me down from inside that this guy has no sense has no remorse. I don’t know what to do. Everytime I think of leaving him, he comes to me saying sorry or try to throw me out of the house with no money and anything in a fit of rage. I’m so helpless

    1. Sharon, You need to empower yourself and look for ways NOT to be “helpless.” I’m not talking about being more aggressive with your husband. He is NOT someone you should try to combat. You need to read through this topic Read everything you can in it. You need to pro-actively come up with a plan to protect yourself and also have a back up plan to get out and away. You are in danger. Please don’t underestimate what your husband is capable of doing to hurt you.

      If you think he won’t someday seriously hurt you, you are wrong. The reason I am telling you to read what we have posted and go through other web sites we link to, is that you will see that your husband is in a “typical” pattern of an abuser. They go from rage to sorrow to making excuses, blaming and shaming, raging, on and on… over and over again. As you said, this is “the same story for the last 7 years.” You will see this as you read and also will find out how to better protect yourself.

      Sharon, one of these days he will almost assuredly lose all control and will either maim you or worse. He obviously does not have respect for you… he instead views you as a punching bag and someone to control. We hear this same story over and over and over and over again. This feels unique to you, understandably so. It’s sad and tragic and wrong on so many levels. But this is not unique as far as the M.O. of an abuser. And please, please, please, don’t “try for a baby.” Please don’t bring a baby into that toxicity. It would not be fair to him or her to see their dad knocking around their mom, and maybe them too. It also will GREATLY complicate matters for you. This guy (I won’t call him a man, because real men don’t act like this) is not a good roll model for a child. And he certainly isn’t safe for a child to be around, nor for you to be exposed to his non-sensical fits of rage.

      Please don’t focus on how “helpless” you are, but instead focus on what you can do to get out of that helpless place. Pray, read, pray, and plan. I hope you will. Your life may depend upon it; please know that. You haven’t seen anything yet in the harm he can and probably will cause to you, which is horribly disturbing. I pray wisdom for you and discernment on knowing what to do. Don’t close your eyes thinking this will just go away. It won’t. As you seek the Lord, He will talk to you and give you wisdom. Please don’t ignore that wisdom, or look the other way. Again, your life may depend upon it.

  7. I’m married to my husband for 5 yrs. He abuses me and his family just keeps quiet. In every possible way he hurts me. I tried millions of times to get counseling; church elders came and spoke but it didn’t do much; he just continued to hurt me. It came to the point now were I want to take legal action but I’m living in his home and I don’t have anywhere to go, so were must I go or what should I do. He hit me and my head is sore, etc. Please give me advice. Our 3 year old is seeing this and crying.

    1. Jeana, You need to take action now rather than tomorrow. The fact that your 3 year old sees this is very grave. I am a husband married now 36 years… I remember confrontations between my parents when I was extremely young, and I can recall the place where I was standing, the things which took place, and the helpless, very frightened, very defenseless feeling I had. Such things change a child.. changes who they are. I know this for myself. Psychologists say the same.

      If this is not enough, you need to look after your own safety and take care of your child’s mother. Our daughter was in an abusive relationship for 8 years. She was in a place similar to yours. She finally had the chance to relocate (God’s work, not ours). Thank GOd she is in a much better situation now…..

      There are shelters and help for women in your position…. find them, talk to friends, your family, whoever you can. I am frankly shocked that your husband’s family says nothing. Have they no regard for their grandchild or their grandchild’s mother?? Talk to police, take action NOW. I sincerely hope you read this reply, Take care Jeana

  8. We were dating for almost 4 years and got married recently. He loves me so much that he would do anything to make me smile. Taking a step ahead with marrige was the only dream he had about us. However things got quite nasty after two months. He started hitting me. Almost for all the petty reasons I will be punished. Though I fight back, things tend to get worse. It’s just too hard to predict him. There are times where he will be extremely nice, so it’s hard for me to conclude his personality. After hitting, he would say sorry and regret for his actions. When he gets angry he would turn into monster. Feeling depressed and just need answers.

    1. Hi Depressed1, Please read my reply to Jeana above….. You are describing a classic pattern. Take action NOW…. for sure. This will likely only get worse. Your are NOT a doormat!! There IS help for women in your situation!!

  9. Jeana and Depressed1,

    Please read Cindy Wright’s comment from August 6, at 7.27 am. She states it better than I can.

    WP (Work in Progress)

  10. Hi, I’ve been married now for 4 years. Everything had been swell until we picked up my husband’s niece. She is texting guys on my phone. I grabbed my phone and her messages were there. I read it and laughed at what it said. My husband out of no where kicked me and started saying rude stuff to me. So I went for him. We ended up fighting. He never punched me; he jus threw me around like a rag doll, and held me down. Now I have bruises on my arms, shoulders, my back, and my neck; my body is sore. He told me to go home but it’s not that easy because I moved to another country to be with him. I really love him. That fight came out of no where. I would have never seen it coming. Idk what to do. I’m stuck. I really love the man.

  11. Okay, so let me start off by saying, that I love my husband dearly and we have have 3 kids together 4, 5 & 1month. We’ve been married for going into the 7th year… And I’ve been fooled by this man for this long. It all started when we very first got together, maybe a month after we got together, got married, then found out we were pregnant with our first daughter. And the abuse begins. We are new into the relationship so I believe him when he says he won’t do it again. So 6 going on 7 years down the road, I am still getting abused. He’s punched me, kicked me, pointed guns at me, threatened to kill me (many times), stomped on my face, drug me across the yard (by my hair), and just literally have abused me as much as he could these past years. Last night he choked me by picking me up by my neck against the wall, slapped me in my face, and hit me in the side of my head with the butt of his shotgun and now I have a big gash behind my ear, nevertheless my black eye is just now healing from last week . But he only does this when he gets drunk, and he drinks a lot by the way. I’ve never called the cops on him and got him arrested for this abuse, because he always did take and hide 1. all the phones in the house so I couldn’t and 2. I never wanted to get the father of my children put away because of me. And because I always believe him when he says he’s so sorry and he will never ever do it again. I’m a weak hearted woman, and this man is the only many I’ve ever lived with or even been in a long term relationship with. I’m a sucker for love, and it hurts me every time. I told him that I wanted to leave him and I was taking my kids, but he won’t let me take my kids. So what should I do about that? I don’t want to put him in prison, which I know I can if I wanted to. But I just want to get away from him and be strong enough to stay away from him. I don’t tell my family about this so they don’t know, and I don’t want them to know. I just need help… I know if he stopped drinking things could possibly get better. But I cannot for the life of me get him to stop drinking. What to do? I don’t even think I’ve given all the details, but I’ve given most, please help. P.S. my email is linked to his phone, so please try not to send too many things or he will know I’m doing this.

  12. My husband and I get into physical altercations. Usually it begins with an argument, then I cross this imaginary line when I try to explain my point. The last altercation left me with a black eye. He doesn’t acknowledge any of these incidents or even apologize. Every day I think about a lot of these incidents and it crushes my heart. I feel we were once in love but he simply doesn’t love me anymore. I cringe when he leans in the kids me, it scares me when he gets too close. I cry myself to sleep most nights. I feel as though my marriage is a lie. We have 2 wonderful kids together whom we would both do anything for. He is a good father but a terrible husband. I do not want to leave him, because I did love him at some point, so I know I will again. He notices that I am instinctively withdrawn from him. When I try to explain my reactions it angers him. Like a cycle. Another incident.

  13. My husband beats me and I don’t know what to do. He says it’s my fault because I need to respect and obey him. He says he hits me because I talk back to him. Or when I defend myself from his verbal abuse. I’m scared he’s gonna kill me. This just gets worse and worse. He takes my phone and won’t let me leave the room. He throws buckets of cold water at me and puts my head in the water with his hands around my neck; he hits me with belts and punches me. I am so sore right now I can’t even get out of bed.

    1. Bo, this is very, very, very, very, very serious. I can almost guarantee you that he WILL kill you someday or at the very least, seriously maim you. Please don’t take this lightly, nor close your eyes to the seriousness of this situation. He does not have a moral filter within him to stop this behavior. It WILL escalate; I can tell you this for certain. You have every reason to be scared. He has no respect for you. I’ve seen people pay more respect to a filthy garbage can than he is to you. I’m so very sorry to say this to you. You are being victimized with no end in sight. You don’t deserve this, no matter what he tells you or what excuse he gives you. You need to wake up and find a way of escape. Even a homeless shelter or an abuse center is temporarily better to live in than this.

      Please read through the other articles that are in the “Abuse in Marriage” topic at to find ways to better protect yourself until you can find a way of escape. You need to come up with a plan. But please do this sooner, rather than later. The way this is going, it won’t be long before he takes away any on line use you could have, or any means of communication. If you don’t have someone to help you, or a place to escape, please go to the Recommended Resources and Links part of the Abuse topic. There are hotlines available that may be able to locate a place for you. Please, Bo… please find a way to get away from this monster… he is dangerous and your life is in serious jeopardy. Please know that we’re praying for you.

  14. I am traveling with my husband to his native country. It has been 3 days. I am staying at his parents house. His mom has been racial and descriminatory to me but I stayed quiet. After I complained to my husband he grabbed my throat in front of my 9 years old daughter. I am in a different country at his parents house and don’t speak the language and also am scared of his parents.

    I tried calling 911, but it didn’t work. I am from the US and my husband is from France but we both are American citizens. How do I handle this and what are my options? Thanks.

  15. My boyfriend at the time started being abusive when we were maybe a few months into the relationship! He would kick me or rip my shirt if I had found out he was talking to other women on social media! He would turn it around and get angry at me! He’s jumped on me in front of his family numerous times. Over Facebook or by me saying I want out of the relationship. He’s threatend me and has also set fire to my old apartment because I kicked him out for being cold and Heartless and disrespectful. He refers to women as b***** all the time. He talks to his mom any kind of way and she allows it. He has pushed me, threw toys in my face, choked me, slammed me on the floor so many times! Sprained my knee earlier this year because I was on fb connected to one of me exes and he felt like I was cheating on him! He doesn’t admit that he is abusive and acts like he isn’t.

    He curses at me all the time and our kids. He doesn’t know how to talk without saying a curse word. He gets frustrated and hangs up on me or appears to be in a bad mood and we all just get out of his way. He hasn’t hit me like he used to since he twisted my knee earlier this year around February. But during our 6 years of being together he has had his share of hurting me physically – a lot! We are married now and I want out! I’m so hurt from the past abuse I just can’t get over it. He will never change. I’m so depressed and mentally I feel like I’m worthless! I am bitter and have so many trust issues and I don’t think I will ever trust a man again! He has cheated on me and lied to me all while abusing me! I’ve never felt like this in my life! I’m scared that if we really break up for good he will kill me.

    1. Marie,if you really think your husband will kill you if you leave him, then you need to separate yourself from him. Remember, God doesn’t want you to go through abuse and disrespect. He definitely doesn’t respect you. It may be hard to leave but you need to. Be safe, take your time, pray to God to guide you in the direction you need go. He will lead you.