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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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EmpowHER Guest

Help.I am so glad that I found this page. I have been with my husband 10 years and I have never felt so mistreated and so low in my life.I have become a shadow of who I once was but am still holding onto a very tiny piece of myself with all of my might. I have been through infidelity, physical abuse only twice(breaking my ribs one time) but that was 6 years ago, and a severe mental breakdown that put me on disability and kept me in the hospital (mental) 12 times in 2 years. I haven't been in the hospital since 2012 but I feel myself on the brink of a breakdown again all whilst really trying to hang on to myself and not completely lose me in it all. He is a very controlling husband in a passive aggressive way. He has allowed me to pay all of our bills for all of these years and since 2009 it has been a disability check....but not because he doesn't make any money. He makes almost 700.00 a week and I am not allowed to ask for money...he used to give me a small allowance a week(under 100) and that was supposed to buy any and everything for the household, gas,groceries,medicine,anything....but only gave when he wanted and never if I needed, even if I need groceries, he will eat somewhere else and take his clothes somewhere else to wash and all so he can say these are my bills not his(my house).If I ever ever ask for anything then that makes my wait period longer if he decides to give.If I leave home even to go to see my grown children for an hour he will leave home to control me into coming home, he snatches my wedding ring off my finger for weeks at a time because he says I don't deserve it, he gives me silent treatment for days on end and I never even know the reason why. He has pushed my family away,I have no friends as anytime I would speak to or meet up for lunch with one he would leave me...so I was always making excuses as to why I couldn't go somewhere until no one talks to me anymore. I can't use my phone or laptop even just for researching because I always have to be doing something wrong and we have to argue about it so Ive learned to never pull them out when he is home. I have 3 dogs 2 I have had the entire time we have been together and 1 he gave me and brought in the house 3 years ago.And now all of a sudden the past 6 months or so he has argued with me Everyday about how he cant stand the dogs and they are nasty(and which is a lie I am OCD and my house is spotless) and he wants me to get rid of or euthanize them. As a matter of fact the past 3 nights he has slept in the living room and not spoken to me and when I tried to tell him how hurt and could he just come to bed he tells me he cant stand my dogs anymore(EXCUSES and control) and those dogs are the only happiness I have in this house and seem to love me more than him anyway so I refuse to budge on this issue but it keeps me confined as I'm even scared to go to the store or leave with the threat of him harming or taking my animals, because he did take one of them before to be cruel(remember, he hates them)I am struggling so hard with this as I am trying to live a life pleasing to God and I don't know what to do. I know God is against divorce and I made vows...I have prayed for him, for me, for us and have been the best wife and step mother to his kids that I know how to be. I cannot say anything indisagreement to him or he leaves or threatens to leave me and when he does it stresses me so and he even takes my clothes(that he did not buy). But everyone he knows loves him and thinks he is the best thing since sliced bread. He is very charming, nice to others and lies and tells everyone that he has such a hard time because I refuse to help him and that he pays all the bills and that is much untruth. I thought a husband was supposed to be a partner, a best friend but I feel like he is my complete enemy as I hear him talking about how not good of a wife I am to other people. I am in such turmoil. I am a good wife, I do get a disability check but he makes me feel worthless.I keep a very clean house and cook a 5 course dinner everyday, mind you if I don't fix his plate he will not even eat. If we have sex one time a day he talks bad to me about it about how he is so displeased that is all he gets that he don't want it one time,he wants it 4 times. I am completely worn out emotionally and physically by this man and he has beaten me down so that I don't even know how to leave or make him leave, the confrontation is something I fear deeply.. I pray everyday that IF this is not what God has for me that he will take it away in whatever form he sees fit, I truly don't know how much longer I can take this. As I am writing this he is packing things and leaving me, again(although he wont really leave or he will be back and I will feel threatened to open the door for him. I know theres probably no one that can help me but I had to get this off my chest...so I am daily believing that God will help me just because I believe and have hope in a better life for me. This somehow made me feel better just to release this to you all in conversation if even just for a moment.Thank you for taking the time to read.

January 1, 2016 - 1:20pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

There is so much you have shared that are obvious signs of emotional abuse. What you are going through is NOT OK. I just left a 16 year marriage and was held there because I believed God called me to be a good wife and leaving was not an option. I started to believe God hated women. I then started to read, read a lot. I did the stop walking on eggshells workbook and really understood what was happening was NOT OK. I read about narcissist and BCD and understood I needed to get out. It was very hard ( he burned all my clothes, had me arrested for trespassing into the home we shared) told everyone I was mentally Ill, used our daughters as pawns against me. Want I found was a new faith in God that he loves me very much and delivered me out of bondage. I am so so much better. God loves you way more than the institiution of marriage. I promise

January 20, 2016 - 8:01am

Hi everyone I've been feeling really alone till I found this article.
I'm at my wits end with my husband I don't think I can take anymore!
Everything is my fault and the whole world revolves around him and money! If I ask him if he bought me anything the answer would be I've not bought myself anything or if we are out shopping and I say I'm hungry can I get some food he will say I haven't had anything! He
controls everything I spend and if I ask for anything at all even if we can afford it he throws a fit and finds some way to embarrass me and start an argument to the point if we are out he will start whispering nasty comments to me calling me names!
I get called lots of names on a daily basis and he has a very bad anger problem where he will kick punch hit things scream shout and say the most awful things like he hates me more than he has ever hated anyone, he is going to divorce me, he will take the kids because a court wouldn't let me have them because I'm disabled, he can't stand me and many many more but it's the looks he gives me when he says them like he has reached inside and crushed my heart! I have been married to him for 6 years we have 2 beautiful children a boy and a girl who often here the nastiness he gives to me as the kids often say why is daddy so nasty to you or say to him to stop being nasty to mummy but then he shouts at them! He was so different in the beginning he has got worse and worse as times gone on he used to say he loved me and that I am beautiful every day but not anymore plus of I get dressed up I used to get complimented but now nothing all I get is off the kids saying I look lovely which then upsets me even more that my 4 year old can say it but he can't! He is so so horrible to me both my mum and dad have passed recently and I'm only in my twenties it has been so hard for me and he has barely been there he never comforts me or thinks about what he's saying I've also lost the rest of my family because of him but I think he uses the fact I have no1 and that I am disabled to his advantage and he is all I have and thinks I'll never leave him! Being christmas I like to do little things with the kids that I had as a child and each year he complains more about them he just started a big argument on my stupid traditions and how he hopes the is the last Christmas he has to spend with me! He's always threatening to leave me but then acts like he's said nothing the next day and when I say we need to talk about what's happened and work things out he says no let's just leave it I don't want to talk about it just forget it and get on with it but am I right to think we should talk about it as nothing is getting resolved! I've tried to tell him how he is making me feel on so many occasions but isn't bothered in the slightest and doesn't even say sorry for things he says and does anymore I'm so sad down depressed and lonely I would love any advice going I'm stuck in a miserable life please help thank you in advance x

December 20, 2015 - 4:30pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to thedaynevercomes89)

I am deeply sorry that you are going through this in your life. If you think that by staying with this man you are doing your children a favor you are are in the wrong path. I grew up with my father verbally abusing my mother I will tell you something that might help you encourage you to pack you stuff and leave. You are doing a great harm to your children. When they get older they will either marry an abuser or become one. Please seek help a person who abuse you verbally doesn't love you or values you in any way. Ask your self a question do you really deserve this? Do you think that your children deserve this type of infancy life? I don't know what exactly your situation is and why your are disable are you completely disabled or partially? Maybe if you are partially disable you can find a partime. Even though my father apologize to me when he was devastated when my mom decided to file for divorce the harm that was done to me is irreversible even though I did forgive him. My mom didn't want to leave because of me and trust me if she had left while I was still a kid she would have done both a favor. Thanks to her decision of not leaving the marriage before I am the person I am today. I don't believe that love actually exist it fades away with the years that's one . Two is no matter how many years you are married for you will never know who your partner is, it takes a lifetime to know somebody that most like you will never know. there are in the world more abusers than normal people. The chances of meeting someone kind and loving are very odd. I had the greatest luck of meeting two men who I considered to be the best men I have ever met and that is my grandfathers from both side. I have never ever seen them upset in my life not disrespect their wife. Three thanks to the childhood I lived I refuse to have children, I have decided to end this generation without any children what so ever. I can't find a man I can trust that I can have children with I don't think I will be so lucky to be able to find those that are the 1%. I rather save my self from disappointment than to experience being a mother. and my past has made reflect about not having kids is the best choice I can make for myself after seeing the lives of some friends and the hardship they went through I'm ok without having kids. You'll be surprise how many people today think like this. It's really terrifying this that you have said and you are so young. I am in my 30's already and I still maintain the same position about not having kids. Kids deserve to live in a happy environment so that they grow strong and healthy without any problems what so ever. I am very sorry if sound very pessimistic with my decisions and thoughts but this is what I have decided and we become and form ourselves based on our experiences. That's why I suggest you to look for a solution donnot stay in this marriage you will ruin your children leave now that they are young they need to be in a better environment. What examples are they getting. Do NOT!listen to him threatening you to remove the custody. An abuser will tell you this so that you don't pack and leave him. Listen to your inner voice you donnot want to stay and you know this is wrong and unhealthy find profesional help if you have to help you leave. Do it for your children at the end they will thank you for leaving. The sooner the better.

December 28, 2015 - 4:02pm
EmpowHER Guest

Sigh, so maybe my story is different. But I feel psychologically drained by my relationship. I feel like my husband withholds sex as punishment, tries to distort my reality by creating a scenario I'm uncomfortable with then when I react, goes on to make me feel guilty saying he thought "I'd be happy, but he guesses he won't be doing it again" he does this so on a later date when he excludes me in that particular activity he can use the, 'well remember how you acted last time' thing. He loves being the center of attention, so if anyone starts to give me a little more attention he will try his best to get me ignored. When I say this guy will use anything to unsettle my emotions, for disrespectful remarks that he says are jokes, watch movies that he can make certain remarks and claim he is speaking about the movie, not me, or downright treat me disrespectfully in front of ppl to the extent that I'm left looking like I deserved it. He always gets his way somehow, by making me feel bad, or by complaining so much so that i just give in and do whatever it is he wants to do. I feel like I've lost my identity trying to love this man, and the sad part is, not only do I love him, I'm still in love with him.

November 26, 2015 - 10:53am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

I think You have a low self esteem. I'll give you an advice. Learn to love and respect yourself first. Donnot allow anyone to disrespect you. When respect is lost within a relationship everything is lost. Boundaries has been crossed and everyone should have their limits . Find help tell a friend or a family member what you are going through and make a decision for your own good. Breakups are hard but there are probably plenty of men out there waiting to to treat you with respect.

December 29, 2015 - 11:55am
EmpowHER Guest

My husband cheated on me the whole marriage physically mentally and talks. He degrades me lies about me and blames everything on me. He gets away with it. He let her degrade me and don't stand up for me. I have no self esteem anymore. I dream of leaving and going back home but he controls everything . with him its always me me me. I have cf and no consideration for me. He won't let me go anywhere then blames me for it. I have thought about suicide but have no one to talk to or friends.

November 23, 2015 - 11:17pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

Do You have family? If You do Tell them what is happening. Or You need to seek professional help And leave the relationship ASAP.

December 29, 2015 - 12:30am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

Hi. I wanted to let you know that I understand everything your going thru. You can communicate with me if you'd like. My husband is constantly belittling me and yelling. I can't take it any longer. Hope to hear froM you soon

December 10, 2015 - 12:56pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

Have You comunícated to your partner that his attitude towards you is wrong and unacceptable?

December 29, 2015 - 12:36am
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