Emotional and Verbal Abuse Within Marriage

Verbal Abuse AdobeStock_71944068How do you deal with the situation, where you feel that verbal abuse is being thrown at you within your marriage? And how do you know if this isn’t just a “normal” matter of one spouse disagreeing with the other? Plus, there is also the matter of emotional abuse. There’s no doubt that both of these are destructive for you and your marriage relationship.

One thing we do here at Marriage Missions is to hunt for information that will best help spouses to understand the different aspects of marriage. This way each marital situation can be approached prayerfully, carefully, and better educated. The goal is to be led by our Wonderful Counselor, the Holy Spirit, to do what He shows is best.

Clarification Concerning Verbal Abuse And Emotional Abuse

With that in mind, we want to first deal with the topic of emotional abuse. It’s important to clarify what it is and what can be done about it. And then we’ll go on to the topic of verbal abuse. You can have one directed at you without the other, and yet, they often overlap.

First of all, we encourage you to pray before reading —that the eyes of your heart and mind will humbly be open to 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)

Secondly, it’s important to recognize emotional abuse for what it is. 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:


More on Emotional Abuse

Next, it’s important to know even more about this type of abuse. Counselor, and author Leslie Vernick explains much more about emotional abuse in her book, The Emotionally Destructive Marriage: How to Find Your Voice and Reclaim Your Hope. (You can obtain it in the link provided in the title.) In the meantime, below is a video where Leslie explains some important things for you to know:

Verbal Abuse

And that takes us to the issue of verbal abuse. Most often it overlaps with emotional abuse. But here’s a little peak into the way relationship expert, Leslie Vernick, explains it:

“Cursing someone out is bigger than just using four-letter words. Cursing someone is condemning him or her as if you’re their judge or even their god. When someone does that he (or she) believes they’re the superior one; and as such have the right to cast “judgment” on another’s character, personhood, or even actions in a demeaning or derogatory way. The Bible speaks to this kind of person. Jesus says, ‘If you are even angry with someone, you are subject to judgment! If you call someone an idiot, you are in danger of being brought before the court. And if you curse someone, you are in danger of the fires of hell(Matthew 5:22).

First, Concerning Verbal Abuse:

“It’s helpful to make a distinction between an abusive incident and an abusive relationship. Since we are all sinners, we are all capable of some verbal abuse. (James 3:2). James also cautions believers that our tongue can be misused as a weapon to hurt other people. (Yes, the Bible speaks of emotional and verbal abuse). James describes it this way. He says the tongue is ‘restless and evil full of deadly poison. Sometimes it praises our Lord and Father; and sometimes it curses those who have been made in the image of God. And so blessing and cursing come pouring out of the same mouth. Surely, my brothers and sisters, this is not right!‘ (James 3:8-10). He also warns that if we ‘claim to be a believer and don’t control our tongue, we are lying to ourselves and to others‘ (James 1:26).

“Therefore, when someone who claims to be a Christian sins and verbally curses someone out, or just says something hurtful, he or she should immediately recognize that he has crossed a line and used his tongue as a weapon for harm. James clearly says this is not right. As does Paul in Romans 13:10 when he says, ‘Love does no harm.

“Once that line has been crossed, a sincere apology should be given; repentance before the Lord should occur and a strong effort to never repeat that kind of abusive speech should be made. However, when abusive behavior/speech happens again and again and again, then it’s not just simply crossing the line and being a sinner. It is being an unrepentant sinner who refuses to submit himself under the authority of God.” (To learn more read Leslie’s article, Emotional and Verbal Abuse)

Verbal Abuse: Intimidation and Bullying

So, what do you do when there is verbal abuse, intimidation, and bullying in your marriage? And what exactly 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. She does this 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?”

That’s an important question to consider. To help you with this issue, Dr Slattery recommends reading the following books. We also recommend them:

Love Must Be Tough

Boundaries in Marriage

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.”

Additional Information to Help You

To discover what Mary lived through and learned about this form of abuse, we direct you to a posted article for Focus on the Family. After reading the article, also read the additional articles they suggest in the series. We believe they will help you gain a fuller picture of this type of abuse:


Christian counselor, Dr Barbara Shaffer writes the following concerning emotional abuse. (It comes from the article, “Emotional Abuse: The Abuse Beneath Abuse.”)

Dr Shaffer writes:

“Abuse in the context of an intimate relationship involves a persistent pattern of behaviors. It is not simply a mistake. Nor is it an isolated incident or a sudden loss of control. The goal that motivates all forms of abuse is to exercise power and to control…

“Physical abuse can leave bruises, and break bones. It can cause various permanent, structurally based impairments, like hearing and memory loss. These observable signs of impact signal the need for healing, assistance, protection, and safety. In contrast, emotional abuse is characterized by invisibility and great subtlety. It leaves no obvious mark that would call attention to injury, danger or the need for intervention. Although abuse comes in varied shapes, intensities, and every forms, it has an emotional component.


What exactly is emotional abuse?

“Emotional abuse is foundationally an attitude of entitlement and profound disrespect. It discounts at every turn the inherent right of the other person to dignity, separateness and autonomy. The other person is seen as only a contemptible object. Out of entitlement and disrespect spring the various behaviors that use anger, violence and/or contempt to induce fear, guilt and shame. The other person is thereby controlled, punished, or demeaned.”

Additionally, here’s something Kerby Anderson points out that is important to note:

Verbal Abuse Doesn’t Leave Evidence

“Almost everyone 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. It 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, tackle this very important issue in an effort to understand this phenomenon and provide answers.”

To learn what Kerby Anderson goes on to explain, read this Probe Ministries article:


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

Dealing with Verbal Abuse

If you do want to know how to deal with and defuse verbal abuse we recommend that you prayerfully read the following articles. We need to tell you that they are not Christian articles per se. But they are very good ones. So, if you read something within them that you feel God would object to, please disregard that particular piece of advice. But overall, most of the advice can be very valuable. As you will see, one article will lead to links to others to read. Please read all you can. It’s important to glean through what you read to decide what will work for you in your marriage.

The articles we recommend you read are:



Also, the ministry of All About Life Challenges can help you to better recognize verbal abuse. They also show you ways to avoid depression and find hope. This is important when you feel beaten up verbally. To learn more, please read:


Lastly, the following scripture is something you may find helpful to pray:

“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)

Cindy Wright of Marriage Missions International compiled this article.

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

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177 responses to “Emotional and Verbal Abuse Within Marriage

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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. 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… please consider that she may right. Sadly, that’s what we often do within marriage. Sometimes 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?

      3. All I can say is wow! You just lectured Frank on the sanctity of marriage and were very insensitive. I too was in an abusive marriage for 22 years and also was a missionary. The guilt and shame a person feels is overwhelming especially when you can’t make the marriage work. You feel like a failure and hypocrite as your heart desires to serve God and yet your marriage is in trouble… please don’t lecture people and place yourself as an authority on marriage especially when Frank is clearly in pain! Frank, thank you for sharing your heart…marriage can only work if both of you are willing to change… how can two walk unless they agree? Stay gentle and continue to ask God what to do… He will guide you and give you strength… thank you for sacrificing the comforts of home for the gospels sake.. blessings to you!!

  4. 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!!

  5. 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?

  6. 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!

  7. 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.

  8. 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!!

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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.