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Emotional Abuse: The Invisible Marriage Killer

By HERWriter
 
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Emotional Abuse: The Invisible Marriage Killer Photo: Photospin - Auremar

Unlike a man, who typically finds his identity through work, and academic or athletic achievement, “[a] woman’s identity is often based on her relationships” (White) this makes her vulnerable to abusive relationships.

One of the most common characteristics of an emotionally abused woman is that she is unable to enjoy sexual experiences with her husband. This is due to the deterioration of the trust and the lack of friendship and intimacy over the time of the relationship. Add on top of this societies’, her husbands’ and the church’s views that she’s not a good wife if she doesn’t meet her husband’s sexual needs and she may feel perpetually trapped in her marriage. What many people (including counselors and pastors) fail to realize is that “[t]he wife in these situations experiences intercourse as an indignity, almost as rape, because the physical and the deeply personal, loving aspects of sex…[i]ntimacy and trust, which lay the necessary foundation for a woman to respond sexually, have been removed from the relationship” (White) and she is left to emotionally detach herself from the situation just to survive—at the cost of her soul and spirit.

Call to Action

It’s time to lift the veil from these situations and recognize how much a person’s soul and spirit can be damaged without physical and verbal abuse. Abuse doesn’t have to come in the form of acting out a form of punishment, or lashing out with temper and words. Abuse can also be withholding affection, or never saying a kind word. It takes a strong woman to stand up against what everyone is telling her is her duty and recognize that this kind of situation is not okay, and to talk about it until somebody listens.

If you believe you are in an emotionally abusive marriage—which can take many forms to keep a wife dependant on a husband (a virtual prisoner in her own house)—or you’re not even sure if what you’re experiencing is emotional abuse, please join us in the Marital Discovery and Recovery group and share your story.

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EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

i have been with my husband for 8 years. we have had our fair share of good times but in between is so many bad. my husband every day accuses me of cheating on him every single day. with people at work people at the store anyone who comes in contact with me he even stoops to women. he has been physically abusive towards me not going to lie i try to fight back. he is just so much stronger.i have had to hide bruises on my face at work before feeling very ashamed. he is very controlling he needs to know where i am and what i am doing at all times if i dont answer him when i am at work as a nurse aide he will call my work. he breaks my things when he is mad all the time straightners movies things from my parents pours my perfume out breaks my lotion bottles. he controls all the money i have to tell him when i spending money and ask him to buy stuff even tampons i bought them because i needed them and i was screamed at because it was not on my list.. he disrespects me in public and private and even in front of the kids he calls me fat stupid ugly all kinds of things and now they talk to me so bad. and he says its my fault because i dont discipline them and i try but how can i when they are so young and they are only doing what they are taught. i cant have any friends at all i had best friends when i was younger and i have to cut them off because they know my ex. but all his friends he can have including one who cheats on his girlfriend and one who slaps his girlfriend to the floor mind you he is like 6"5 and she is like 5 ft .i cant go see my family with out asking and he usually tells me no i cant go see them anyways so i just give up on making plans with anyone and just make excuses. i am so depressed and i feel like i cant go on like this in life anymore. i dont know what to do. i am a christian and in the bible the only reason god permits you to leave your husband is infidelity. so its making it hard for me to leave but i cant help but feel God didnt plan this horrible life for me. i am a good person and i havent done anything so bad in life to deserve this and i cant help but feel itsmy fault for all of this. and as crazy as it sounds i do love my husband i couldnt picture my life with out him or another man with me. i dont know if its like stockholm syndrome or what but i hate this so bad and i am so tired of being miserable.

July 18, 2017 - 3:49am
(reply to Anonymous)

The best note in your email is the last sentence, because getting tired of being miserable means you are ready to take back your power. I can't speak for God, but I can tell you that he (no one!) wants you to suffer. There is no gain in letting abusers 'do their thing' while you crawl along, holding onto your sanity and trying to get by day by day. Help is out there but you have to ask. For me, the pain of staying became worse than the pain of leaving. I knew that since others had figured it out and gained independence from abuse, that I could too. Find the Social Services groups in your area, call the National Abuse Hotline, 800-856-4673 and know that as you move forward, you are changing the tide. We are all right with you, and many of us have walked your path, you are not alone. Life is short and your soul is precious, please keep safe, take care of you and those kids and get some help. Hugs to you.

August 15, 2017 - 7:23am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

Hi, Anonymous. First, I am so sorry you and your children are subjected to the mistreatment by a man that should love all of you. The Bible also says in Proverbs 22:24 not to associate with someone that is easily angered. Also, in Ephesians 5:25, a husband is supposed to love his wife as Christ loves the church; He sacrificed himself, died for the church and continues to unconditionally love us. Also, study the Bible's definition of "marriage." You do not have a marriage, you have an abusive contractual relationship. Abuse of any kind is not to be tolerated. If you have an issue with getting a divorce, that doesn't mean you have to continue to live with a man that is abusing you and your children. You and your children are precious and speaking from someone with the same experience...20 years (married) later my husband left me and our daughter destitute the year of her high school graduation, in a house in foreclosure and cut off all the utilities to be with another woman and start a new family. I pray that will not be you and your children or worse if you decide to continue to stay. God bless.

July 26, 2017 - 2:38pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

I'm not sure I'm in a mentally abusive situation either, and if I am, there isn't much I can do about it...honestly...and he knows it. My husband admits that he controls certain situations for the good of our marriage and 5 children. I mean there is so much through the last 10 yrs. that seems off or unfair and I could probably write pages about it all. There again, he is a great provider. And he's not always mean or rude...everything is usually fine as long as he gets what he wants when he wants it and how he wants it. I never know what kind of mood he's going to be in and I feel like there is a lot of "do as I say do not as I do." Anyway, we split up once and he was so sweet. Cards and flowers everyday, he looked miserable. Of course I went back and it was months of mental and emotional torture. Now, I have no family to back me up or take me in, no smart phone, no internet in the house, 5 kids and a lot of mutual debt, living in rural redneck USA where everyone knows everyone. I work but not for much money...what can I really do?

June 26, 2017 - 6:41pm
(reply to Anonymous)

You can know that you have a voice and you can go to marriage counseling (even if it is by yourself, I did this, it still helps) and you can take notice of the fact that you have been isolated with no phone, internet or family. Read up on the cycle of abuse and learn about the honeymoon period - which is like a seductive pull that brings us back in because we want so badly to believe that 'they have changed' or 'they need help' or 'no one understands them like I do' - it's all a journey and if you left once, you can do it again. There are numerous options, I hope you reach out to get some help, being controlled is a tormented way to live. Hugs to you.

August 15, 2017 - 7:32am

Nice Information ..

June 22, 2017 - 10:44pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

My husband and I have been married for 11 years, we have two children at home. I am at my wits end with him, all we is fight. Everything is my fault....I can not do anything right. I don't know how to cook,I don't know how to clean. Aside from our children that have chores, I am the only one that cleans, I do all the shopping, pay the bills, work full time, I am in school full time. He doesn't take part in taking care of the kids. If we are having a disagreement he will start yelling at me, I ask.. why are you yelling. His response is your p&**$#@ me off. He never says he is sorry, he refuses to admit when he wrong. I just do not know how much more I can take.

June 20, 2017 - 11:50am
(reply to Anonymous)

So you know that everything cannot be your fault right? So it sure seems that now is the time for you to take back your power and figure this out - find a therapist and focus on what you can do to better manage your life & your world. It can be super hard to find your voice, but you can do it - look at all you are doing now! Your soul is crying for some help, as Oprah says 'listen to the whispers' and find your path. Therapy will give you tools and insights that will help with next steps....Sending hugs:))

June 22, 2017 - 1:12pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to kimromancorle)

You are right, I have been doing a lot of reading about emotional abuse and how it can sneak up on you. My marriage fits the criteria, we have been together for so long and it just became normal, but now that our daughter is older and he is doing the same thing to her and it effects her. My eyes are wide open now.

June 23, 2017 - 5:42am
(reply to Anonymous)

You are brave. Step by step, bit by bit, moment by moment, thought by thought you will change your life...We are all with you:))

June 23, 2017 - 6:53am
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.