Emotional abuse in a marriage or committed relationship
After taking a deep breath, Sharon asked: “Am I being emotionally abused by my husband?” As a professional marriage and family therapist, I am often asked this question.
She continued, “My husband blames his yelling on me; my husband blames me for everything! Often, he gives me the silent treatment and doesn’t speak to me for days. My husband has destroyed me emotionally, and I want to know if he is an abuser.”
As Sharon left my office, I directed her to my online emotional abuse test to find out if she was an emotionally abused woman and at risk of serious emotional and perhaps even physical harm.
At our next appointment, after taking my emotional abuse test, Sharon confirmed that her husband was an abuser.
We discussed the many characteristics of emotionally abusive relationships.
As Sharon was leaving my office, I encouraged her to learn more about emotionally abusive marriages and how staying in one destroys a person’s self-esteem and puts them at risk for many types of abuse, such as sexual abuse, financial abuse, and domestic violence.
It is not only in marriages where emotional abuse occurs. Sometimes I am asked, “Is my boyfriend emotionally abusive? My boyfriend blames me for his problems and our problems.”
Sadly, abuse can happen in any relationship!
If you are being abused, it is very easy to be confused about what is causing the relationship stress. This is why it is often easy for the abuser to blame the victim for their abuse. They will take advantage of the abuse victims’ confusion. In fact, this is one of the telltale signs of abuse — the distortion of the truth (gaslighting)!
An abusive home is a place of conflict, fear, anger, and mistrust — no one deserves such a life. You and your loved ones are entitled to kindness, respect, understanding, and love.
If you are being abused, it is your responsibility to either change the relationship dynamics in your home or to separate yourself from the abusive person.
Many are emotionally destroyed within a marriage or committed relationship
Did you know that close to half of the women in the United States have experienced psychological abuse and other forms of abuse?
According to the American Psychological Association, physical abuse results in three women a day being murdered by their male partners, and many more are injured physically and emotionally.
These above statistics do not imply that only men are the only abusers. Women also contribute to the overall levels of abuse in marriages and other forms of committed relationships.
Abuse is abuse, and anyone who is exposed to abuse is harmed! Just like being exposed to fire causes serious injury, so too abuse will damage you and all those who witness it!
Likely, there is far more abuse than the statistics show. Because of the shame and the nature of abuse, which keeps it hidden, many people suffer emotional abuse injuries that will handicap them and pain them for the rest of their lives. This is one of the many reasons abuse must not be accepted — the injuries from abuse remain forever.
Your marriage or committed relationship is abusive
When you know you are in an abusive relationship — now what?
What you do next will make the difference between a life of loneliness, degradation, and emotional pain or one of love, respect, and peace.
To start: Know as a fact that your emotionally abusive husband or emotionally abusive wife can stop their bad behavior… but only if he or she wants to!
If your partner acknowledges that he or she is behaving abusively toward you and regrets it, this is a major step forward in transforming unacceptable behavior into proper behavior.
You want a good marriage, and so does your partner! However, your abusive partner doesn’t know how to make a healthy relationship or can’t control himself or herself and instead abuses you.
Typically, the emotionally abusive husband or emotionally abusive wife blames his or her partner for their own ‘abusive behavior.’
For example, the husband or wife excuses and justifications their abuse:
- He or she bullies because you don’t cooperate.
- He or she demands because you don’t give him or her what he or she deserves.
- He or she is angry because you don’t do what you should.
- He or she is critical because you are wrong.
- He or she is unbending because, as the ‘man,’ he is entitled to have everything his way, or as the ‘woman,’ she deserves to be served and given the best of everything.
When your partner blames you for the abuse, saying, — “it is all your fault,” this is code for the abuse is going to continue.
Thus, the very first step to stopping the abuse in your marriage or family is for the abusive individual to acknowledge that they are an abuser and then commit to eliminating their bad ways.
The abuser must take the responsibility for becoming a good family citizen behaving with kindness, tolerance, caring behavior, and respect when interacting with others.
The abuser must transform his or her character to become a person that everyone is comfortable being around, feeling safe and respected.
Take my FREE Emotional Abuse Test and learn if you are being emotionally abused. No email required and immediate results. ONE MILLION INDIVIDUALS have already taken this scientific-based Emotional Abuse Test!
Here are the 3 do's when an abusive husband or wife blames you and won't take responsibility for his or her bad behavior:
1. Don’t accept blame. Know for certain that you are NOT TO BLAME for your abusive partner’s behavior—he or she is!
For example, no one can cause a person to eat in a certain way. If someone does not want to eat meat, they don’t… and no one can force them to do so.
So too, no one can cause a person to behave in a certain way. Your verbally abusive husband or wife is abusive because he or she chooses to be that way or doesn’t know how to behave differently. Regardless of the reason for the abuse, it is not your fault.
2. Get outside help if needed. Lay people are not experts on how to stop the abuse. Neither are lawyers, medical doctors, or clergy.
Fully trained and specialized relationship experts are the only ones you should turn to when you are in an abusive relationship. If your physical safety is under threat, you should contact the police.
The police, social service agencies, hospitals, and trained therapists in private practice are there to assist you in changing your daily experience from being abused to being respected.
3. Don’t compromise. You are responsible for caring for yourself and not putting yourself in harm’s way.
Just like you take care not to put yourself in danger when you cross a busy street, so too take care not to be around people who hurt you.
If you remain in an abusive relationship, your self-esteem, dignity, freedom, and physical well-being will all be compromised. Sadly, some people who remain in abusive relationships lose their lives.
Do not accept abuse in any form. It is not a way to live for you or for anyone else.
You need to know it is not your fault if your husband or boyfriend is emotionally abusing you. No one deserves to be abused, and no one has the right to abuse another. These are non-negotiable human rights!
At the same time, you also need to know that abusers can change!
Some abusers don’t recognize that what they are doing is wrong! It may be because this is what they saw growing up or because they don’t have better life or relationship tools to solve their frustrations and disappointments.
A healthy relationship is based on respect, equality, and genuine care for one another. And when such attitudes and behaviors are the substance of the relationship, love will naturally develop.
If your partner is abusing you, the first thing you need to do is confront them and let them know that what they are doing is wrong. You need to stay safe, and therefore when you confront them, it may be wise to have a friend or family member with you.
During this intervention, let your abusive partner know that he or she has a choice. Either they will learn how to be kind, respectful, and caring, or likely, the relationship will end. Tell them you are determined to live in a healthy relationship and that you are unwilling to have it any other way!