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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

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.

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(reply to Anonymous)

The funny thing about being controlled is that you never know what is coming next - you didn't clean well enough or you shopped at the wrong store or you can't talk to other people because they are bad or whatever......so know that it will always (!) be something b/c people who need to control others have fear and insecurities. They have their path and you have yours. You are in a tricky situation b/c of the car and distance issues but there is help out there. This is unhealthy for all of you (including him b/c it continues his illness) and the hard reality is that you will have to take back your power and begin to make changes. I had such a hard time realizing that my ex didn't 'make me feel guilty' but that I was buying into his craziness. So step by step I got help and figured this out. It takes great bravery to move forward, find some counseling or social services that offer some help and stop the madness. Reach out to family members when you have some privacy and see if they can help. Let us know how you are, we have all been there and you aren't alone and you aren't a bad person and you aren't a bad Mom. You are tangled in a controlling and abusive relationship and need to untangle this cycle. If you want some additional articles and info, email me at kimromancorle@me.com Don't give up, you can do this, sending you a big hug. Stay strong.

April 20, 2017 - 7:05am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

have you sat down with your husband and told him exactly how he is making you feel.. this is not just abuse hun hes controlling you. no one should have to live like this,
you might be his wife but he doesn't own your life hun.. you should be doing things you like to do. not what he wants you to do.. this control has to stop hun put your cards on the table and tell him straight,. as for the camera watching you.. I cant believe it. tell him this is not happening . I sure feel for you , infact I could cry

April 18, 2017 - 6:20am
EmpowHER Guest

i've be married 8 years to my husband. It started out a little rocky but we were young and figuring things out. I can't even begin to tell you when the control started but I noticed he started using words like "don't cry your just being emotional " or "well that's not smart". then nothing was good enough. i wasn't working enough, i worked too much, i shared too much, i don't talk enough, i dont make enough, i spend to much (when he actually spends more than me). the list goes on. and then the demeaning stuff. how i'm not as successful, i'm not capable of doing things on my own. i am too sheltered. I asked my husband for romance once and he said "he's too busy and too tired and i could never understand because i have it's it easier".
i am 29 year old and stuck in loveless marriage with a very emotionally abusive husband and I will end up the bad guy if i leave.

March 1, 2017 - 1:15pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

Did I write this?? Also 29.. turning 30 in a couple weeks in a pretty sad and lonely marriage. Hoping to leave this world sooner than later. Good luck to you.

April 9, 2017 - 8:27pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

"Hope to leave this world sooner than later". Don't allow another person to influence you so deeply, please. You are worth more than you believe - allow yourself the chance and time to realize this. Please keep us posted. If you have nothing else, you've got some anonymous people rooting for you - that's a lot more than nothing. Hang in there...

April 11, 2017 - 11:03pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

'I will end up the bad guy' are words that keep you in place and being judged is what you are used to - sounds like you are married to my ex-husband, there was never 'enough' of me to do anything right. And then one day I realized that it didn't matter what I did, it would never be enough and he wasn't changing. More importantly, it wasn't my job to change him, that was his journey. So I got busy. I learned about verbal and emotional abuse and I stopped trying to please. The better I became, the worse things got and that was b/c he couldn't manipulate me anymore. Get some education (go to verbalabuse.com for starters), go to a therapist and get moving. You are young and your soul knows you are hurting which is why you are seeking help. I also have some tips to share. Stay strong, we are warriors and this takes bravery. Hugs.

March 29, 2017 - 10:38am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

I know its really hard to just up and leave. This can also potentionally put you in alot of danger. First off, realize "I am being abused." accepting it is hard, feeling valid is hard as your abuser makes you feel like its not bad or you're not supposed to be suffering from this, but take my word that you are valid. This is allowed to hurt you. I'd say to go to a friend's or relative's house, and there, talk to them about it, then discuss with them the options you have. If they invalidate your abuse, find someone else.
You are not the bad guy. You never are when being abused, its not your fault. This will be hard, but its better than staying there right? I believe in you, and best of luck in your healing process. Love, a abuse victim, we're strong, we're not the bad guys.

March 29, 2017 - 9:57am
EmpowHER Guest

Someone help. I am a lady.... I am hurting...unshed tears seem to chock me all the time. I cover up my unhappiness with telling jokes at work and generally. I have done all I can to get work..good paying work but have not succeeded yet...I left a good job thinking I will get a better one 8 yrs ago but that has not happened. Then I fell in love. O I fell in love. I have done all in my power to support my family..including venturing into business that have failed...I have hawked soap on the streets to get us a meal, sold my clothes in the same vein so that my unemployed husband survives...borrowed left and right to pay our rent after our house was bought...my husband used most of the money by the way to pay his debts...after all that my husband has stated that I am the cause of our present problems. I am crushed beyond what I can say...everytime he's unhappy he goes silent and even refuses to sleep in our bed...then when he is happy he expects you to respond to his happiness like nothing ever happened. I understand pain and I feel for him, but what do I do after I am drained myself. Even when he had a job, he still threw these silent tantrums, then I would throw the loud tantrums..I remember one loud one specificall, a sign that I too I'm broken ...now I have prayed and I find myself silent but unhappy...so unhappy. What do I do?

February 25, 2017 - 6:58am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

LEAVE this SPOILT CHILD CONTROL FREAK. Is IT really a man OR A DRAG QUEEN? They behave like that!! Rotten parenting - mum and dad must have been selfish too, just like him, to raise this dog.

March 16, 2017 - 2:41pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

Leave. This sounds like my life. Leave, and the sooner you leave, the sooner you can eventually begin to heal. Leave.

February 26, 2017 - 8:09pm
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