Facebook Pixel

Emotional Abuse: The Invisible Marriage Killer

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

Physical and verbal abuse are forms of “visible” abuse. Scars and bruises, raised voices and demeaning and hurtful words are signals to others that something is not quite right in the relationship. It’s also easier for a wife to see and recognize that’s she’s being abused.

Emotional abuse, however, is much more insidious and not quite as visible. Certainly, a wife’s self-esteem and spirit are battered along with her body in the case of physical and verbal abuse, but a husband can kill his wife’s spirit without even raising a hand or voice against her. For this reason, many women don’t even know they’re being abused, or if they do it’s a long and difficult battle not only to work to repair the damage done themselves, but to get the abuser to recognize the harm that he’s done.

What are the signs of mental abuse?

“Emotional abuse is any nonphysical behavior or attitude that controls, intimidates, subjugates, demeans, punishes or isolates another person by using degradation, humiliation or fear” (www.focusonthefamily.com).

“Nonphysical behavior or attitude” can safely be interpreted to mean neglect, invalidating another’s thoughts and feelings, and refusing to acknowledge the needs of the other (whether intentionally or not). Over a period of time, this kind of emotional climate in a marriage can squeeze the life out of a marriage and out of a wife.

There is a difference between experiencing or inflicting emotional hurt and being emotionally abusive—it is important to make this distinction. Abuse is a cycle. It is not a once-in-a-while event that happens and hurts someone else. In many “ordinary” hurtful cases, apologies can be offered if truly sincere and heal the rift that the hurt has caused. Many hurts are unintentional, and if they were, there is (hopefully) remorse on the part of the person who inflicted that hurt, once the anger, frustration, etc., calms down and cooler heads prevail. With emotional abuse there is none of this.

Add a Comment366 Comments

(reply to Anonymous)

My situation is so much like yours, I'm just gonna continue to Pray and give it to God, Sorry what you're going through but it's gonna be ok,

September 18, 2017 - 8:35am
(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
Image CAPTCHA
Enter the characters shown in the image.
By submitting this form, you agree to EmpowHER's terms of service and privacy policy
Add a Comment

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.