Friday, February 25, 2005

The Silent Killer of Christian Marriages by Amy Wildman White from Healing the Hurting

Posted by Hannah at 12:38 PM

This article from Safe Place Ministries was one of the first I found when I start to search the net for article on 'Emotional Abuse' and faith! I couldn't believe how hard it was to find articles with the domestic violence within the church, or verbal abuse within the faith.

I was so thankful to finally find something, and wanted to share with everyone!


"The Silent Killer of Christian Marriages"
by Amy Wildman White
from Healing the Hurting, Catherine Clark Kroeger & James R. Beck, Editors
Used by permission of Baker Book House Company, copyright Ó1998
All rights to this material are reserved. Materials are not to be distributed to other web locations for retrieval, published in other media, or mirrored at other sites without written permission from Baker Book House Company.

Emotional abuse, as well as all other forms of abuse, is on the rise in our society, and the Christian community is not exempt. 'Emotional abuse' in the marital relationship is often undetected or misdiagnosed. It is hoped that this text will be an informative tool to aid those who are in an abusive relationship or those in ministerial capacities to better counsel victims and their abusers. Effecting change is essential, as emotional abuse over time will destroy a marriage.

This text provides a diagnostic framework to help identify the victim and the abuser, includes a theological statement responding to the question of whether abuse is legitimate grounds for divorce, and offers a case study of emotional abuse. It is hoped that this material will be used to promote the growth of successful, fulfilling marriages and to provide the stimulus for further study and research. It is in no way intended to promote divorce.

Erica desperately wanted out of her marriage with Jack, but she could not connect her feelings of despair and an almost overpowering desire to escape with anything overtly destructive Jack was doing. Jack was a good father, had no problem with alcohol or drugs, did not chase other women, was a good provider, and had never harmed her physically. By contrast, Erica was aware of her own shortcomings as a wife and mother. She experienced guilt, feelings of inaquacy, and embarrassment over her inability to respond sexually to her husband.

Frequently, this is the presenting picture of a woman in an emotionally abusive marriage. In the absence of physical abuse, neither the woman nor the pastor she seeks out for help is likely to recognize that the emotional climate of the marriage is squeezing the life out of her.

There is little room for disagreement over what constitutes physical abuse, and its damaging or even lethal potential is recognized by almost everyone. The nature and impact of emotional abuse, however, is not so easily nor widely recognized. Although the signs of emotional abuse are not always clear, the abuser's behavior is not obvious, and the immediate results are not dramatic as in physical abuse, emotional abuse represents an oppressive and insidious process that strikes deeply at the hearts of its victims.

Even in cases of physical abuse, the most damaging element is not the violence that is done to the body but the violence that is done to the human spirit--a violence that is dehumanizing and leaves its victims feeling confused, vulnerable, trapped, and worthless. How then do we define emotional abuse?

It is fair to assume that in one relationship or another each of us has been emotionally hurtful but not necessarily abusive. That is, by something we have said or done, or by withholding love, we have caused emotional pain to someone. The frequency of these patterns varies among individuals. At what point do we identify a person as an emotionally abusive individual?

The Characteristics of Emotional Abuse

Emotional abuse cannot be reduced to a single list of negative behaviors. One must look deeper to identify and understand the motivational factors beneath the behaviors that create the oppressive, controlling climate a woman feels destined to live in.

The Traits of an Abusive Husband

The key motivational factor that defines an emotionally abusive person is a deep-seated need to be in control. Because of the abuser's insecurities, feelings of inadequacy, and distorted beliefs about women and marriage, he feels he must control his wife or lose her. The abuser will use manipulative and heavy-handed tactics to keep his wife off balance. For example, the abuser may resort to intimidation, eliciting fear, guilt, pity, or anger making a person feel vulnerable, in danger, unprotected, or helpless put-downs, criticism, or verbal abuse causing shame or humiliation controlling another's schedule keeping another ignorant regarding herself, the world, finances, or others keeping a person in crisis, and thus occupied and off balance conspiracy and turning others away from aiding the person creating situations in which there is no way to win lying or gossip threatening self-harm or suicide possessiveness and jealousy. Although the behaviors in and of themselves are forms of abuse, it is the constant climate of destruction that leaves a woman believing she is trapped, with no confidence or hope that there is a way out. A woman in an emotionally abusive marriage does not believe she has any choices. She believes she carries the responsibility for the bad marriage and that if only she could change, her marriage would improve. No matter what she does differently, however, the marriage never gets better.

The abuser has a typical profile. Like his wife, the abusive husband has low self-esteem, and his worth is often tied to his performance, image, or personal charm. He has a strong sense of insecurity that includes a fear of losing the love and esteem of others. He is generally distrustful of others and believes he does not have a secure place in important relationships.

The abusive person is self-referenced, meaning he sees things from his own frame of reference rather than empathically looking at things from another's perspective. This is not the same as being selfish. It can be said that the self-referenced person would give you the shirt off his back, but he doesn't know you need it. The self-referenced person frequently violates the marriage partnership by acting without thoughtfully considering his partner's point of view and needs.

The abusive individual is also emotionally dependent, feeling that he is less than complete, of diminished worth, inadequate, or unable to live without the other person. The dependent person tends to assume responsibility for another, taking on the role of rescuer, enabler, or controller (e.g., "I know what is best for you."). The intent of the abuser is to prevent the loss of the partner because he is emotionally dependent on her. It is understandable, then, why possessiveness is another characteristic of the abuser. He tries to monopolize the time and attention of his wife, or claims exclusivity in areas when others move close to the object of his love.

For anyone who works with abusive men, the most frustrating characteristic is their lack of insight. When interacting with this type of individual, one is often left feeling as if he or she has just gone in circles. Issues presented are minimized, denied, or turned around to make someone else responsible, or a host of other topics are brought in to sidetrack the conversation. The process of change is most often slow or nonexistent.

The Traits of an Emotionally Abused Wife

Every woman in an emotionally abusive relationship can be characterized as having low self-esteem. Although low self-esteem is always characteristic of an abused woman, it is not always obvious. Many women with low self-esteem appear confident and in control, and many seem to "really have their act together."

Low self-esteem makes a woman vulnerable to the controlling tactics of the abuser. Because she feels she has little value, she looks to her husband's acceptance of her as the measure of her worth. Instead of mirroring to her the truth about her value and dignity, he pulls her down even further by his critical and nonaffirming posture toward her. He exercises a form of mind control that results in the victim's taking on the frame of reference of the abuser, developing feelings of guilt and inadequacy for not meeting his standards and needs. This is complicated even more by her need for the marital relationship.

A woman's identity is often based on her relationships. This is generally not true for a man. Men need relationships, but they tend to draw their identity from vocational expression, academic achievement, athletic success, or material gain. Because a woman's identity is often based on relationships, she is vulnerable to being involved in an abusive relationship. A strong part of her identity is being a wife, and she will do anything she can to maintain that identity. As a result, she forms a false sense of dependency, believing that she cannot stand emotionally without her partner. The husband reinforces this with statements such as "No one will ever love you like I do," "All you are to men is a sex object," or "You can't make it on your own financially." A victim of emotional abuse believes her husband is right, or at the least she has strong doubts about herself.

One of the most consistent characteristics of an emotionally abused woman is her inability to sexually respond to her husband. Loss of sexual desire for her partner is an inevitable consequence of the deterioration of trust and the lack of friendship and intimacy that result from long-term abuse. This loss is not voluntary on the woman's part. She hears messages from her own upbringing, her husband, or the church that accuse her of not being a good wife if she does not meet her husband's sexual needs. This causes her to experience feelings of guilt.

The wife in these situations experiences intercourse as an indignity, almost as rape, because the physical and the deeply personal, loving aspects of sex have been torn asunder. Intimacy and trust, which lay the necessary foundation for a woman to respond sexually, have been removed from the relationship. Yet, she is still expected to meet her husband's sexual needs.

In order to manage her emotions, the woman will often detach herself emotionally from what is going on, becoming more of an observer than a participant. The guilt over not being able to be more responsive can be overwhelming. Yet, no matter how hard she tries, she cannot respond. Her partner adds to her dilemma with statements such as "If you really loved me, you would do this for me," "A good wife is supposed to satisfy her husband," or "If I just wanted sex, I could get that anywhere, but I'm a faithful husband. You should take care of me or maybe I'll have to get my needs met elsewhere." She is left feeling guilty, inadequate, afraid, and helpless.

These feelings commonly result in depressive episodes alternating with reactive behavior. If a woman has no effective means for handling feelings of hurt, helplessness, fear, guilt, and anger, she may engage in self-mutilation or self-deprecating behavior, or she may find expression of her strong emotions in organic disease. At the extreme end of the continuum, a woman may plan, attempt, or commit suicide.

It cannot be emphasized enough that even if individual controlling and hurtful acts of the abuser are not extreme, the cumulative effect of his tactics is oppressive and destructive to the woman experiencing them.

Responses to Emotionally Abusive Marriages

What is the prognosis for an abusive marriage and what options are open to a woman who is a victim? When a woman begins to recognize manipulation and control and finds the resources to grow toward increasing independence, the marriage is brought to a crisis point. Most likely when the woman is no longer able to be manipulated, the husband will escalate in his abusive patterns.

It may be extremely difficult for the wife to convey what she has experienced. The community will probably be unable to see past the charming ways of the husband. People will often respond in a scrutinizing or critical manner toward the wife or reject her altogether. Many may give the husband a supportive ear instead of holding him accountable. This behavior inadvertently encourages him to continue his abuse. Abusive men draw energy and self-justification from people who listen in silence. When the crowds disappear, the wife becomes the target of his increased anger.

With the escalation of abuse and/or the response of unsupportive friends, the wife may either sink back into a depressed, helpless state or move toward separation and divorce. At this point a husband may become desperate and be willing to work toward change because he knows he will no longer be able to sustain the marriage through control. If the husband is truly broken regarding his behavior, intensive individual and marital counseling are vital for the restoration of the marriage. Some men, however, refuse to change. If a man does refuse to change, what option remains for a woman who is the victim of emotional abuse? What about separation and divorce?

These questions can be answered properly by first understanding the biblical view of marriage. Marriage is, primarily, a covenant with God to love and honor one another, to participate in partnership and mutual submission. Submission is often greatly misunderstood.

Both men and women are called to submit to God first and then to each other (Eph. 5:21; James 4:7). This submission to God and one another constitutes the biblical basis of the marriage covenant. In evangelical circles, the neglect of this teaching, or the misinterpretation of it, has led to an erroneous view of submission. The submissive role is assigned to the wife, while the husband fails to submit to Christ in his role as the head of the home. Headship is then defined as the man being in a higher position in the home, apart from the teaching of Christ, and in practice gives him the authority to rule as he desires. When a woman is not seen as being equal to her husband in dignity and is not treated with love and respect, people have distorted the scriptural view of marriage.

Biblical submission, by contrast, symbolizes the relationship between Christ and his church. We are always to look to Christ as our role model. Christ submitted willingly, in a place of strength, and for a purpose. A victim of emotional abuse submits involuntarily, out of weakness, and such submission does not glorify God. Therefore, a woman is not submitting and suffering for the sake of righteousness. She suffers because an abusive man cannot control himself and victimizes her in order to elevate his own self-esteem and sense of security.

Some people respond by saying that in Christ all things are possible and the woman should trust God to bring healing and restoration. All things are possible with God, but God, while willing, able, and wanting to do his part, leaves man to do his. God can bring healing, but both persons must be willing to do what God has called them to do or healing will not take place. No matter what a woman is willing to do or does, the marriage cannot be healed unless an abusive man changes his beliefs and his behavior, brings significant resolution to emotional pain from his own life, and grows in character.

The marriage relationship is intended to be a permanent one in which both partners are to have mutual respect, love, and knowledge of one another. This kind of relationship and abuse are mutually exclusive. When abuse occurs in marriage, the relationship becomes a setting for oppression, personal disintegration, and pain rather than a context for promoting the well-being of the partners.

To suggest that women who are being abused remain in the relationship rejects Scripture on several counts. First, God places great value on those whom he has called (1 Chron. 16:34; Pss. 6:4; 139:13-18; John 3:16; Rom. 5:8). Abuse, therefore, is in direct contradiction to how God's children should be treated. Second, by allowing an abuser to continue in his destructive patterns, a woman is not loving him. She enables him, permits him, to continue in sin. Finally, abuse places a woman in a relationship in which she is unequal to her husband. She becomes an object to satisfy the abuser's dependency and his need to continually act out unresolved hurt and pain. The victim is a means to an end.

What constitutes grounds for divorce has been an issue of debate within the Christian community. The Westminster Confession of Faith acknowledges two grounds for divorce: adultery and abandonment. Abandonment is sometimes limited to physical desertion, but this interpretation holds to the letter of the law and neglects the spirit of the law. Let us pursue this concept by way of hypothetical examples.

What if a husband chains his wife to a basement wall, freeing her only to do household chores? Has he not abandoned her as his wife? Or, suppose a man moves away physically and sends his wife enough money to live on but has no emotional or physical contact with her. Has he not abandoned her as his wife? If, then, a man is emotionally abusive, creating a new definition of marriage quite inconsistent with what Christ intended, has he not abandoned a woman as his wife?

When abuse exists, and the abuser refuses to change his attitudes and behavior, he has in fact abandoned his wife. He has chosen to serve himself instead of carrying out his marital obligations to love, honor, and cherish her. When this occurs, the marriage covenant has been broken. He has in effect chosen divorce by defiantly neglecting his marriage vows, giving the woman the right to file a legal suit.

Some people appeal to 1 Corinthians 7, saying a woman has grounds for divorce in the case of abandonment only if her husband is an unbeliever. This forces the question, Can anyone secure protection by claiming to be a believer? If a person continues in sinful patterns, the church is to treat the person as an unbeliever and send him or her out of the community. If the person discontinues the sin, then he or she may return. If someone continues in destructive patterns, it is reasonable to question whether that person is a believer. If a husband is destroying his wife by his words and behavior and refuses to change, is his heart right with God? "For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks" (Matt. 12:34 NRSV).

Although we cannot know a man's heart for certain, 1 John does give us a framework for discerning if someone is a Christian. One criterion is whether a person loves others according to the definition found in 1 Corinthians 13. A second criterion is whether he obeys God's commandments. In ongoing abusive relationships, neither love nor obedience is carried out. There is reason to doubt that an abusive person who refuses to change is a Christian.

It seems that an emotionally abusive marriage can survive only if the woman breaks free from manipulative control and moves to a place of strength, thereby forcing the husband either to change or to lose the relationship. The husband is unlikely to change unless the cost of staying the same is too great.

Unless pastors and counselors can recognize the often subtle and always complex dynamics of emotional abuse, women will continue to be victimized first by their husbands and then by the church or the community. An abusive man who is not held accountable is indirectly supported and given license to continue his destructive patterns, and those around him become enablers. Women are not treated with dignity and respect, as God intended, and so God is not honored.

If the church is committed to saving marriages, understanding emotional abuse and applying proper counseling strategies are necessary conditions to make this happen. There is hope for victims and their abusers if the right steps are taken. If they are not, emotional abuse will continue to kill Christian marriages.


Since that article was written, and I first posted this 2/25/05 to date of 7/2/08 I have seen more information about emotional abuse within the church. I have seen more articles about abusive christian marriages as well. Sermons on Domestic Abuse are starting to pop up here and there as well! I hope that pastors continue to preach Domestic Violence Sermons, and people get more educated. Its still the silent killer of christian marriages, and my prayer is that the light of truth be shinning brightly on it so that others may be saved the pain and agony!

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Anonymous said...

Thank you to the author of this article. I can't believe I did a search and didn't mention Christian words but have found such a clear definitive article on Christian marriage. I'm a woman dealing with some of these things and needed just the word you've given....definitely from the Lord Himself today....MAY HE BLESS YOU!

Anonymous said...

Thank-you so much Amy. When I read your article, my whole marriage came into focus for the first time. I was emotionally abused by my husband for our entire marraige [15 years] and I wasn't even aware of it until this year!! Yes I knew he was controlling - and that he had a fierce temper - but it wasn't until I went into full-time ministry earlier this year that the relationship was thrown into crisis. He quickly became suicidal, lost over 14 pounds in two weeks, cut up my credit cards - saying he didn't want to carry me any more, took steps to divorce me - verbally attacked and publically discredited me - all in an attempt to get me back into the home so that he could regain control. Although we are both in Christian counselling - and he is clearly repentant - I am finding it hard to recover from the trauma of - not only this year - but the past 15. When I'm not at the office, I'm in tears. Any suggestions welcome.

Hannah on 10:49 AM said...

Hello! The author of this article is named Amy Wildman. LOL That is not me tho! I wanted to share the article!

If you look to the side of the blog there are alot of different resources that could help you! I guess my biggest concern for you as that your counseling is with someone that clearly understands the dynamics of an abusive relationship. I found that most think they are, but clearly are not. I don't think that is there fault - it just is what it is! I think they try to help, but not knowing what they are clearly dealing with can almost make things worse instead of better!

I hope your husband finds those roots of rage within him during counseling, and finds a way of putting them to bed so to speak for your future! It won't be an easy for him! In the meanwhile I hope you also find the help that you need to regain your true sense of self!

Prayers going up for you!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your kind words "h". Thankfully my counsellor is excellent. It was he who identified the emotional abuse - but I know exactly what you mean; I had never even heard of it until this year. [How incredible that I have been living in the same environment described so clearly in the article - but didn't know what it was!] As both my husband and I are moving through the healing process I have found - as you said - that emotional abuse is very poorly understood. In fact - had it not been exposed in counselling - I doubt whether anyone would have believed me, as my husband is charismatic and very well respected. But yes - he has faced the roots of his rage. And he is making restitution. It's me who is now reeling from the year. I am experiencing a post tramatic reaction. But I have a deep faith. I know God is faithful and that even though what is happening to me now is uncomfortable - I know, in time it will pass. Thanks for your support. It's good to be able to share. Bless you.

Anonymous said...

This is a blessing to find this article on the internet, I have wondered if it was just me feeling or going through this emotional abuse and no one understood. I tried to make changes with me thinking it's all me. Wanting to know if my heart is right cause of the hurt deep down and if I'm in Gods will concerning my marriage. I have thoughts at times about leaving my marriage, but I stand because I want to be in Gods perfect will and trusting Him in my marriage. It seems like you seen my life, being married 33 years. I just wish I knew what to do. Please keep me in yopur prayer.Again thanks

Anonymous said...

I, too, have been in a marriage with a manipulator/controller for 14 years and not until last November did I realize what it truly was. I had been journaling and the word "manipulation" kept resurfacing and then I felt led to look it up on the internet. Immediately, I found Amy's article listed at the top! It was my life explained so succinctly, that it moved me to get help. I'm sad to say that I'm still struggling--manipulators are masters at their craft and I struggle with the personal disintigration mentioned in the article. It's much deeper an issue than most realize.

Hannah on 2:23 PM said...

Its very hard to wrap your mind around - I agree!

MUCH harder when alot of people won't even acknowledge its presense!

soularray on 4:30 AM said...

Thank you so much for sharing this article. It has been most helpful, although, I do have one issue with it. I am a woman, a wife, and have been in an emotionally abusive marriage without realizing it until recently, when my husband said he no longer wanted to be in our relationship. It was he who said this because I have been the emotional abuser in our relationship. So the issue I have with the article is its one-sidedness toward the husband being the abuser. I think that is another issue that needs to be raised within the realm of addressing emotional abuse within marriages. Husbands can be the victims of emotional abuse as well, if not just as often, as wives. Now I am just hoping and praying that my husband can find the healing and peace that he needs to even want to work on healing our marriage. I am truly blessed to have been given this "wake-up call" and the opportunity to change myself so that I may have the opportunity to love my husband the way I've intended to all this time.
The other comments were very helpful to read also. May peace be with you all and thank you all for sharing.

Hannah on 9:25 AM said...

I do agree men and women both can be emotionally abusive, but we can't always place 'he/she' in every article. I know plenty of men that have been abused, and can place prospective in these articles. They realise they are talking pattern and dynamics here...not just gender!

Everyone can be a down right dirty dog at times to others they love. I have learned you need to see if it a pattern in their lifes. It is a regular tool they use? To me that is what qualifies as abuse.

I have also seen and heard of people turning abusive themselves after becoming victims of this. In most cases their abuser doesn't just instantly STOP. Both parties can be helped, and healed from this brokenness. There is choose involved as well, and one big choice is to STOP abusing anyone even if they feel they are attacked.

Good luck in your journey, and blessings to you both!

Anonymous said...

thank you so much for this excellent and truthful writing and for educating on a subject that is so very complex and not really understood in the church.

have a JOYful day!

Anonymous said...

I stayed with an emotional abuser for 36 years, and then i "got" it when I found the book that saved my sanity and life: The Verbally Abusive Relationship by Patricia Evans; I believe this should be required reading for everyone on the planet. happened to me in my church of 31 years...voted out of membership....spiritual abuse...even after 7 years it is a wound that will not go away. I am the moderator of an abused survivors' group, and a student at age 63, because I won a scholarship, because of what I have endured and overcome in my life....poverty, molestation and abuse.

I must disagree that every woman who is being abused has low self-esteen, I did NOT have low self-esteem while being abused, I fought like a tiger, and then realized it was of no use. I educated myself and then got a divorce, and then facced spiritual abuse. I was voted out of membership, with my name up on a big screen, followed by the words, "Conduct Unbecoming a Child of God." i fought the system for 18 months to try and stop the p[astor (of disaster) from counseling any more women going thru divorce, because 2 of them were suicida (because of his "counseling" methods).

If a woman has low self esteem it is more likely BECAUSE she is being abused, and abuse is literally brainwashing.

I was fortunate. I educated myself and got out. 1 in 3 women are being abused and every 19 seconds a woman is assaulted.

i wrote a 25 page paper for my class: Society's Hidden "Pandemic", Verbal Abuse, Precursor to Physical Violence and a Form of Biochemical Assault. It is in the process of review in a journal.

i believe we are all here to make a difference, and I will never stop speaking up against this terrible tragedy: verbal abuse.

Unfortunately, my church mishandled the whole situation, but something positive came from the "ashes", with ver 17,871 hits. is my site for my book, Sanctuary of the Soul (poems of anguish, healing, hope, comfort and celebration) endorsements take my breath away: Elie Wiesel, Wayne Dyer, Nikki Giovanni, etc.

I lost my church family of 31 years but not my faith, Unfortunately, I haven't been back to church, and probably never will...because of spiritual abuse.

If anyone reading this is being abused, feel free to contact me:

Hugs, Alice (over comer and wounded healer)

Hannah on 4:16 PM said...

I have to agree with your statement: If a woman has low self esteem it is more likely BECAUSE she is being abused, and abuse is literally brainwashing.

Thank you for stopping by!

Anonymous said...

I have been a pastor for many years and find that this is the most well-written and insightful understanding of the true heart of God and emotional abuse that I have ever found. Extremely well done, good and faithful servant!

gabagool on 5:18 AM said...

And this is a big uhmmm (if i didn't miss it)

"traits of an abusive HUSBAND"

The Silent Killer of Christin Marriages
An article about emotional abuse...........and NO talk about abusive WOMEN??? That is soooo wrong.
You blew it BIGTIME.

Hannah on 10:17 AM said...


I didn't blow it big time due to one article. If you look around the blog you will find articles speaking about abusive women. They are also mentioned quite often.

One article dedicated to that subject is:

Which is only part one, and the series did continue.

I truly don't understand why people come to a blog, and just assume things without looking around. Its also hurtful, since I have made an effort to speak on the subject that you are accusing me of not addressing.

Its quite disheartening.

Anonymous said...

Don't be disheartened. You're doing a great job!! Keep it up :)

Anonymous said...

i'm young woman who just recently got married and i find it overwhelming that most of the behaviours mentioned in the article i can clearly see in my marriage. it's really scary and i know that something needs to change before both our lives damaged by this. as it is i don't know if i can go on like this

Hannah on 10:07 AM said...

I'm so sorry Anonymous 17 - there is HOPE!

Seek out help, and you need resources look above in the resource links - or online help.

Anonymous said...

Anyone had this experience but as being the abused husband? Thank you so much for this article. I have been looking for a framework in which I can evaluate where I am at and to figure out what I need to consider in order to make a decision what to do. My marriage of 4 years has stripped me of everything I had in my life (friends, church, practicing my talents, growth at my job-almost got fired!, health and most importantly any resemblance of PEACE in my life) in order to try to please my wife, but nothing ever works. II thought softening my boundaries would work, but it just gets worse. Your article is very, very helpful in getting me some perspective. I didn't want to disappoint God, but I realize now that I am actually doing that now! I need to get right with Him and do the right thing in His eyes. Thanks!

Hannah on 10:16 PM said...

Anonymous 19 - I don't believe you are disappointment to God!

The dynamics for men in loads of ways are the same for women or children. This truly is a human issue overall.

If you look towards the top of the blog I have a link section, and in there you will find some sources of help for everyone - and also geared towards men specifically. There are men's groups available for abused spouses.

My prayers of support are with you!

Anonymous said...

WOW amazing article ....I always had this in my mind but didn't know how to explain it . This article is word for word .... I'm amazed and Thankful to see this.

God Bless this Author

Hannah on 6:19 AM said...

I agree. It is an amazing article. The author's name is listed above.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this article. I am a survivor of not only emotional abuse that was becoming physical, but my husband of 20 years had become a gambler and our entire financial future was at stake. I mustered the courage to get a lawyer and start divorce proceedings for the sake of our children. I promise that I will prevent my children from being further traumatized by watching their mother be called the most vile names, bullied and belittled. If it wasn't for the gambling, I might still be living in the nightmare, forgiving his outbursts on depression and being off medication. God has put many angels in my life, and this author is one of many.

Hannah on 6:28 AM said...

That is awesome to hear.

People don't realize the power of words.

I'm happy to hear this article touched you in that way.

Anonymous said...

This article has been a much needed wakeup call to my husband, THANK YOU! We have been separated for a few months and were ready to file for divorce. I have been trying to explain this to him, but was unable to vocalize how I felt. The people in our lives have not been able to understand why our marriage is falling apart. I came across this article and felt like the whole thing was about my marriage. I gave it to my husband to read and it was the first and only time I have felt like he has understood my feelings. We are now in counseling with our pastor and on the path to restoring our marriage. It is really hard to find good solid examples of emotional abuse.

Hannah Thomas on 2:51 PM said...

I'm happy it helped. I hope he is true to himself, and heals himself - for himself first and foremost.

Blessings to you both.

Gail Anne Detweiler on 4:54 AM said...

A month ago I finally had the courage to leave my husband and file for divorce. I have been wounded emotionally for eighteen yrs and "woke up" about three yrs ago and now God is moving me on. My mental abusive husband told me that I am going against God's word. I attended a Calvary Chapel and was told that it isn't a "Biblical Divorce". Word's cannot express the deep wounds of mental abuse for all these yrs. Stonewalling, silent treatment, disconnect is not what I want from a narcissistic husband. So I left and have proceeded with divorce. My friend and her son took me in until I can find a place of my own.
Gail - used to live in Plumsteadville, Pa.

Hannah on 5:48 AM said...

I'm sorry your church shows such ignorance Gail. His behavior towards his wife wasn't biblical, and the damage it causes with habitual behavior shouldn't be minimized. I pray one day the church wakes up and smells that reality.

You are a strong person, and they don't realize how much strength it took for you to leave.

Gail Anne Detweiler on 2:23 AM said...

We were greeters at Calvary and he would only go when it was our turn to greet just to fulfill his obligation to attend. He now is going on a regular basis and is getting baptized this weekend. I suppose it took a crisis to get his act together? I feel angry that this sudden change could not have been while we were still together. Again, it's all about him. He knows I'm not attending there and I'm sure he's got their sympathy.

Hannah on 6:26 AM said...

Gail - Remember these are the people that told you that you had no true excuse for leaving, and your pain doesn't need to be dealt with.

Unless they truly deal with his sin - which I doubt - it will be a sick type of sympathy. They sadly will be feeding him instead of helping him down the path of healing. They are enabling the 'its all about him' and I doubt they grasp it.

That to me isn't getting his act together.

Gail Anne Detweiler on 9:18 PM said...

Someone at work today who goes to another Calvary Chapel asked me, "Don't you love him enough to just get past the emotional abuse"?
No more conversation with her to say the least.
No clue the lady has.

Hannah on 10:35 PM said...

Strange isn't it? The work is on you. lol can't get stop - doesn't he love HIMSELF enough?

I wouldn't have the conversation either.

Hannah on 10:36 PM said...

Strange isn't it? The work is on you. lol can he stop - doesn't he love HIMSELF enough?

I wouldn't have the conversation either.

Gail Anne Detweiler on 2:42 AM said...

Drastic change? He's getting baptized, going to two counselors, going on men's retreat and one of the counselors wants to meet with the two of us.
One of his comments was the counselor has been pointing out his "imperfections".
I'm very sceptical. How 'bout dealing with SINS!
I texted him and said I am not willing to meet with him and the counselor.
It's sad that narcissism blinds the eyes of their understanding.

Gail Anne Detweiler on 2:46 AM said...

Another friend from Calvary Chapel told me that this isn't biblical. She is concerned about me being out of God's will. I ended up telling her that all these years I've been emotionally wounded (abused) and now God is going to punish me on top of that because of being out of His will by divorcing him? She said, "No, you may miss out of a blessing if he changes".

Hannah on 8:25 PM said...

Sigh. So God's will is how they define it.

We don't wait for repentance of sinful behavior outside of what God would feel is acceptable under any circumstance. Nope. We worry we might miss some blessing that may happen some day....

It takes courage to leave an abusive environment especially when you deal with such ignorance and fear of dealing with the subject from those around you.

If you stay they tell you one day he may change and you will be blessed. If you leave they say he may change, and you will miss the blessing.

They know its him because they speak of his change. Yet they never address that part. That's called denial.

Hannah on 8:31 PM said...

'''I texted him and said I am not willing to meet with him and the counselor.'''

Good for you. People feel its rebellion, and yet it truly is for safety sake. It takes years of truly trying for an abusive person to deal with what causes them to be abusive in the first place.

His actions show motive. He does all these things NOW, and then asks you to go with him so a counselor can tell you what a great job he is doing. Abusers tend to use that as reference for the future. Then whine that they aren't given a chance, etc. What does that show? Its still all about them.

Its never recommended to go to counseling together when domestic violence is involved.

Gail Anne Detweiler on 9:03 PM said...

This evening a "friend" from Calvary Chapel called me and within a few min conversation she told me, "God isn't helping you, you're getting divorced".
Any thoughts?

Anonymous said...

I empathize with Gail - same story, different names, times and places. Today I was talking to a long-time Christian survivor who divorced her abusive husband many years ago. She said she never felt the pressure from conservative circles and was so determined to divorce she had a divorce party. She is still active in her church and never had any accusers.

Maybe it's her confidence. Somehow, the abusive types in churches can sniff someone they can prey on. So together we went through some come-backs to these ignorant do-gooders.

I like this one. "My decision to divorce is between God and I. If I do the wrong thing, God will forgive me anyway. You should also practise forgiveness and not let bitterness ruin you." I admit it's flawed logic, but I love putting the forgiveness card back on them!

But it's one thing to respond to so-called friends, what about your own brainwashed kid who tells you that God hates divorce and wants families together, so if you want to please God you need to get back??

Anonymous said...

This article is personally repulsive to me. As a horribly abused man, it is always one sided. Women are poor innocent people while men are horrible beasts (like shown on lifetime movie network). Women can be manipulative hurtful monsters who destroy homes. I spent years having to flee my home and take my children. I had to call crisis and the police over and over because of her rages. She racked up thousands of dollars on the credit card per month, and told me that I had to pay to make love with her. Insulted me and called me all kinds of names over and over. Attacked my children day and night. Attacked and ridiculed my faith in Christ. Made all kinds of threats and intimidations to me and the children. Compulsive lying. Hoarding to the point where I could barely walk into the home. I had to put her in jail for throwing things at me. I know a lot of men who are victims, but men are suppose to tough it out. I'm tired of the double standard. Let's have an honest evaluation of the whole situation. Women are not any less sinful than men, so let's have a balanced approach here.

Hannah on 5:06 PM said...

Anonymous 40 - abuse isn't a gender issue. Its a human one. I do have male resources linked under the links section of the blog for you.

I'm sorry for your hurt. Abuse effects everyone, and I do have articles on female on male abuse as well. They dynamics are similar.

Anonymous said...

I totally understand your situation - I previously separated my Christian husband due to abuse - had heard all of the promises to change - anger counseling - accountability groups - we reconciled and now the emotional abuse has taken its toll on me and he is now agreeing to change yet again a number of Years later - I'm breaking away from this now which is extremely difficult and most of the folks at our church are believing him and telling me divorce is wrong - thank you for all the posts here and the article - its nice to be understood

Anonymous said...

husbands initiate, wives respond ... just like Christ initiates, the "bride" (the church) responds...

so, if it appears that a woman is being abusive, 99% of the time, it is because SHE is RESPONDING to how she has been treated or neglected... Ephesians 5:25-33a tell a man how to treat his wife... and therein lies the answer - no wonder that in Deut the husbands are supposed to stay home the first year of marriage to MAKE THEIR WIFE HAPPY. great way of life to learn from the get-go.
My marriage has disintegrated, and yet the church leadership has sided with the abuser.. the husband. it is sick and spiritual abuse

check out "Why Does He Do That" by Lundy Bancroft and "Angry MEN and the Women Who Love THEM" by Paul Hegstrom

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this article, I stayed with my husband for 17 years, because I thought I could not leave. I left 4 months ago. I am finally free!

Anonymous said...

it has been a few years scince I called the police on my deacon, youth leader father, for the last time, after he had another "episode".

I fought tooth and nails to stop my mum going back to him, to not visiting him when he was in prision adn on bail.

Of course the minister and elders came to our house .. (only once my irate aunt had phoned them and asked them where they were) They, of course, helpfully advised that my mother reconcile with my father and that if I or my sister "didn't like it, we could just leave". As we were both just over 16 years old, that would seem like a logical suggestion except who would call for th ambulance when he strangles her again?

Anyways, to cut a long story short, not only is it nearly impossible to find any help for chritsian wifes of domestic violence, but for children there is nothing. Even more so once you pass a certian age and are just expected to leave home. Womans aid said they couldn't help me because wasn't a partner nor was I young enough to qualifiy for help as a child. But I was living with daily "christian" abuse.

I pray on day God will give me understanding for what I went through, and still go through. and that with time he will raise up people who will help children stuck in these situations.

Thank you for this blog.

Anonymous said...

pls pray 4 me can i email anyone in confidence pls?

Jonas Lee on 7:57 PM said...

How do we assess if a writer is a true Christian who knows the Word of God well ? By the fruits of his/her conclusion, which is, if I read it correctly, that divorce is sometimes justifiable if there is a hopeless case of emotional abuse that is defined as abandonment.Is this what the writer is finally alluding to?

There are only a few very profound and simple things that the Lord says and Paul affirms: that husbands are to love their wives as Jesus loved the church and wives are to submit to their husbands. Second, in every marriage, husbands and wives need to work out their differences with love and patience and bearing the cross for Jesus's sake. Third, the real enemy is NOT THE ABUSIVE HUSBAND OR THE ABUSIVE WIFE. The real enemy that has entered into the minds and hearts of struggling Christians and non-Christians is the one that has come to "kill, steal and destroy" our lives, families and children's lives.

Once you recognise the roots of rage, that it is has a spiritual as well as a physio-emotional cause, then you can address the problem properly instead of trying to dichotomise the relationship into abuser/abused. Of course there are certain circumstances that need special solutions: e.g. mental disorders, depressions, deliverance from spirit of anger etc. The Church should apply the full the force of discernment of the Holy Spirit in dealing with these issues. The secular world in contrast offers instant solutions that may not be the will of God. (In fact, some Christians are said to be seen in Hell because they divorced their spouses).

We should also know that our eternal bridegroom is Christ Himself and we are to allow ourselves to be molded and refined by the trials of this imperfect world to become His untainted, holy Bride. The Word of God also says that we are guilty of adultery if we divorce because the divorcee will invariably marry another spouse. American society may have become tolerant of divorce in these times, but the word of God, despite whatever a deacon, counselor or elder says, is the same yesterday, today and tommorow. God bless.

Hannah on 9:54 PM said...

How would you address the problem if you have an unrepentant person then? They are normally the ones that come to kill, steal and destroy lifes. True. In most cases the unrepentant person doesn't care what the church or secular world has to say. Sure, at times their words are sweet, but the follow up shows it was just that. Words. We find that concept in the bible as well. So what is your suggestion regarding how to handle the circumstance? I don't see anything in your post so far. Its vague to be honest. I don't see an issue with separating so they can no longer be allowed to kill, steal and destroy lifes.

How do people know others in hell over divorcing? They could could not 'seen' them there, because we can't visit of course. Don't buy into a scare tactic unless you firmly back it up with scripture. Human's tend to 'say' alot of things. According to scripture there is just one sin that is unforgivable by our Father in Heaven.

I think you need to research the scripture about if you divorce you are guilty of adultery. Someone else can't 'make us' guilty of anything. We have to do those things all by ourselves. As far as I know there is only ONE defination of adultery, unless people have invented a new one.

Sadly, people in general (within the world) don't take the abuses that God speaks against to seriously. He speaks very strongly against sins of the tongue. Scripture also tells us how to handle 'angry' people as well. We all can be molded and refined no matter what our circumstance. As you know some allow this to happen, and others do not.

How do you protect the family members from the unrepentant person? Sadly, we are speaking of broken people with major issues. Its habitual behavior, and it won't be easy to stop EVEN if they want to. Do we leave them unprotected?

The article was to help people recognize the sinful behavior they have had to put up with, because most people can't recognize it. They are scared, and have been beaten down emotionally. You won't help by scaring them to death with opinions, and telling them people are in hell for divorcing. We are help, encourage, and protect the best we can.

Anyone can make comments about if the person is Christian or not as well. The only one that knows is God. There are plenty of good people all over the globe, and sadly some truly 'out there' ones as well. The world in general tolerates all kinds of sin, and I'm sure we can find particular ones we are good at no matter where we live.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this article. It has been a blessing to me. I have been in an emotionally abusive relationship with a passive aggressive man for 10 years. We have been married for 7 years. Only recently did it start to escalate really bad. We are very low income household, and he is the sole provider. If I need anything (yes, tampons and all) I have to ask him for it. He keeps me at home where I take care of the kids, house, garden and animals myself. If I ask him to help me with anything, he says he will, but never does. When I finally ask again, he says I am b****** at him, and punishes me by staying gone more than usual and not helping with anything. He sleeps out in his shop at night, and keeps a padlock on it so I cannot get in it when he is gone. He has a history of substance abuse, and recently I caught him with some. He is a pathological liar. He lies straight to my face about everything. He says the problems in our marriage are my fault and if I was not such a b**** he would spend time with us. The kids are almost two and five and see him literally about 5 minutes a day, if at all. We are blessed to have a church within walking distance of our house, and I take the kids. He gives me gas money very rarely, and I always have to explain to him where I need to go. Usually he just goes to grocery store instead of giving me gas money. We live in a very rural area and town is about 20 minutes away. He went to church for a while, but then stopped going. I am thinking about divorce, but being a stay at home mom I have no money. I am also scared to death that he will take my kids away or really treat me even more cruelly if he found out that I was trying to get a divorce. My husband has never held a job very long and recently has stopped paying the bills. I have no one to watch my kids if I go to work and am torn about childcare. They have never really been away from me. We had an argument a couple months ago, and with me having a bad temper and finally reaching a breaking point, I am ashamed to admit that I hit him several times. He is a lot bigger than me and stronger than me ( I'm about 5'3 and 110 lbs), and he was not hurt. He was laughing the whole time and telling me to hit him again. When I stopped, he immediately called the cops and I was arrested and charged with domestic assault. I know I was in the wrong, but at the same time I felt victimized myself by his passive aggressive emotional abuse he subjects me to. They never considered what brought me to that point, and I was labeled as the abuser. I was not allowed to go back to my home for a month. He kept my kids from me for a week, but finally realizing he could not care for them, let them go with me. I am back home now, and wondering if I should have just stayed gone. I stayed with my parents while I was away, and my father is an alcoholic and a passive aggressive himself. Honestly, that was the main reason I went home. Neither place is much better. I am afraid if I file for divorce, he will tell the courts that I am crazy because I hit him and have yelled at him in front of my kids and am unfit to be a mother. He says he loves me and wants things to be better, but he doesn't make any effort to change. He says it is me who needs to change and we need to make it work for the kids. I could go on and on, but I won't. I feel abandoned, crushed and helpless. I am trying to get a job now so I will have more options. Did I mention my parents are not allowed to come to visit at my house no more according to him? I feel trapped. Knowing that divorce is frowned upon in the church, I am indecisive about what to do. Thank you for the article. God bless.

Liz said...

Yes. I dont know if this was

Anonymous said...

I am literally in tears at work reading this.... This is MY STORY!!!! How do I get out!! PLEASE GOD HELP ME!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Hannah on 11:28 AM said...

Anonymous 51:

Please go to for some real life help.

Anna said...

I dated a Minister in the church who verbally and emotionally abused me for years. The Lord showed me all these things mentioned in the article above and helped me to leave the relationship. I talked to his pastor and his pastor stated that he would talk to him but he advised me to 'not talk about my experience with others for SYMPHONY' and rushed me off the phone with a two min. prayer. I have decided to take a brake from church and watch church on T.V.

The first time I dated someone in church he tried to make-out with me in the church van and he bragged about the many church wives and women that called him wishing to have sexual relations with him. Now I date a 'minister' in the church and he abuse and victimize me and when I talk to the pastor and he comes with another form of victimizing behavior. If this is God's body I am sure He feels disgusted and dirty. 'I know I do' - and this is why I must stay away to feel clean again. Great Article!

Anonymous said...

This is the most insightful article I've read on the dynamics of what is happening in an abusive relationship. I don't think I've seen better information on the abuser. My husband has been mentally and physically abusive for years. He will tell me he loves me, and then act horribly. I've had him tagged as a liar and manipulator. How can you say you love someone and then abuse them. I convinced myself years ago he didn't love me and went through the cycle of guilt, feelings of being raped etc. described here, but never understood what was really going on until now. My husband is planning to move out, and says he is hurting too. I've been stuck in the cycle of how can you be in pain when you are the one that has hurt me for years. This article has begun to show me a little more of his point of view.

Anonymous said...

Sadly , he knows what he is doing by going to church, etc And playing on the members as well.. These mental abusers are great on playing mind games , they are master manipulators. I was married to one for 21 years The only relationship they know how to have is a manipulating one . .

Anonymous said...

Jeremiah (#47) - The article itself says "It is hoped that this material will be used to promote the growth of successful, fulfilling marriages and to provide the stimulus for further study and research. It is in no way intended to promote divorce." The conclusion restates this, saying, "If the church is committed to saving marriages, understanding emotional abuse and applying proper counseling strategies are necessary conditions to make this happen. There is hope for victims and their abusers if the right steps are taken. If they are not, emotional abuse will continue to kill Christian marriages."

Seems like the author wants marriages to be saved, not ended.

Anonymous said...

What resonates the most deeply with me is your use of the word "disintegration" in describing the emotionally abused woman. I had incredibly successful double careers, great friends, and was reasonably self-confident until I unwittingly married a charismatic, smart Christian abuser in my sixties. I separated quickly, but kept trying counseling together. We went through MANY counselors. He was abusive to the counselors, and stayed in denial. A year has passed, and I find myself unable to create, unable to do my life's work, struggling with post-traumatic stress from the abuse, insomnia, severe health problems, and depression. I am scared that I'll keep on disintegrating and never again be the person I was. All this in spite of having a very supportive church family, including the leadership. I was one of the lucky ones; my abuser's behavior became public enough that my community and church could, eventually, see it.

My heart goes out to all the struggling women out there who have no support.

By the way, I do think abused men are not quite as vulnerable, or as dependent
(in Christian marriage we are called the weaker vessel for good reason), as women, and usually sense that they can take care of themselves physically if their wives are abusive, and financially if they're wives leave) somewhat better than women. I'm close to a couple of abused men, who can see this. Still, the emotional trauma to them is just as devastating, from what they tell me. I can't know, really, because I'm a woman. I do know I was terrified of my husband, who was much stronger, much younger, and much louder than me! He scared the living daylights out of me. Several times I felt sure he was about to kill me.

Thanks for this site. It's a tremendous comfort and source of hope. Just reading
all these posts lifted my spirits.

Somebody Out Here

Ron Harnage on 9:53 PM said...

It's interesting to me that all the articles on this subject present the wife as the wronged and abused party and the husband is always the villain. I suppose that it is unilaterally agreed that a husband is never the subject of emotional abuse in marriage. This entire blind double standard is rather naive and immature,and certainly not becoming of true Christianity.

Hannah on 4:16 PM said...

I'm sorry you are reading the article that way Ron. Its kind of a no brainer that abuse isn't gender related, but much of what is written above - principal wise - could apply to anyone. There are also articles on this blog directed towards male victims of abuse.

Also if you think about it - there is even literature that speaks about abuse towards males that that have been around for years. Charles Dickens for example. You can't tell me people don't think some of his female characters in those stories - which are taken from his personal experience - aren't abusive. They most certainly were.

There are plenty of characteristics mentioned in that article that would apply to any abusive personality. Gender has nothing to do with it.

CrimsonLocs on 12:33 PM said...

This article confirmed what was in my heart all along. There's an article on Got that implies that women should look to the Lord to get peace, and once they do that, they will focus less on their abuse. That article made me so upset. I know that the Lord is the source of peace, yet I also know that I can't experience peace if I'm constantly belittled and told I'm worthless.

My husband has put his hands on me, lied, cheated, berated, cursed, etc. He even tried to scare our dog. I've had to call the police on him and he cursed them out. He has never apologized and told me he would "rather apologize to the police than to me." I've been dealing with this but enough is enough. The pain of staying the same is greater than the pain it will take to walk away. So I'm done.

Anonymous said...

Dear author,
I had this article shown to me and was convinced by my now ex wife that I was emotionally abusive. I was devastated and begged for forgiveness and changed my life completely. I confessed my sins to the Pastors of her church (my pride kept me from the Lord), to my wife, to the congregation and to her family and friends as well as my family and friends. I went into counselling for my issues and was told that I was suffering from major depressive disorder. My wife refused to forgive me and told me that since I was emotionally abusive that she had biblical grounds to divorce me. I was convicted and turned everything over to her in the divorce settlement in hopes of making some sort of restitution. She then filed a false protective order against me and refused to let me see our daughter. Unbeknownst to me at the time (due to the protective disorder) she moved in with her married (filed for divorce from his wife of 28 years 2 weeks after my ex wife filed using the same attorney) boyfriend/coworker. In the two years since I have been refused fellowship from the church. I have kept to my wedding vows and have remained in counselling. 6 months after our divorce was final she married her boyfriend. Her new husband then beat, raped and stabbed her when she found out he had been molesting our daughter, but she refuses to divorce him even though he is in jail. To this day she points to this article telling me that I was the real monster, and that if I hadn't been abusive none of this would have ever happened. For the record, I did yell and was not the best husband in the world, and did not always live up to my christian duties, but I have never been in trouble with the law, have always been employed, never physically abused my wife or daugther, never threatened my wife or daughter, and never cheated on my wife. The point of all of this is that I feel you need to be reall careful not to give "biblical" sanctification to a divorce that is not neccessary and you need to understand (much like those who verbally and emotionally abuse others) that words can be devastating. Emotional abuse should not be a means to commit "sanctified adultery". Take care and I pray that you understand that you (while not to blame) did contribute to the destruction of at least 3 lives. I will pray for you.

Anonymous said...

Thank You, I understand now that my wife is an Emotional Abuser thanks to your article. She always points out how inadequate everyone is and she will go off if she is wrong. I am praying and asking others for prayer. The kids and I love her we just are so tired of being emotionally brow beaten with our imperfections.

Hannah on 7:39 AM said...

I pray that your family finds some peace Anonymous 61! We all deserve that.

Angelica said...

I want to thank you for this article. Just this past month, I have seen this side of my husband of 2 years. I could never put my finger on what it was that was going on until the Lord brought me revelation on my situation approximately 1 week ago.
The silent treatments when I have a different viewpoint, the lack of empathy for me as a human being, the charm simply to get more out of me & push his agenda, the mean jokes, the sarcastic comments, the turning the situation around so he's always the victim, the way he evades answering direct questions, the increasing controlling behavior; I'm not even supposed to have a thought that differs from his anymore.
In the past month, I have started to put up healthy boundaries and started to tell him no. As I've been putting up boundaries so that I won't be mistreated, his manipulations & control have increased.
He began by calling me crazy and called me demon-possessed. He recently decided to take our money & not let me have access to it. He said that I didn't ask permission to use it one time & therefore now can't trust me. Never had to ask before. He said it was HIS money & I would have to ask permission to use it. I gave in & told him that I would respect his wishes.
We sat down to talk about some issues last night & after some discussion, he started to tell me that since he was the head of the household, that he was going to make changes in the house & this was the way it was going to be from now on. I would have no say.
I didn’t like the way the conversation was going already so I told him that I would not sit at this meeting any longer. That the next time I wanted to talk to him would be in a counselor’s office. He said he was not going to go to a counselor. He demanded that I sit down; said that I WAS going to sit down and listen to him or else.
I refused & told him I would be happy to hear the rest of what he had to say then. I went upstairs to my home office. He followed me, slammed the door shut behind him. He told me that I was going to sit down & listen to him whether I liked it or not. He grabbed me by my shoulders & shoved me down onto my office chair & he put his body weight to hold me there.
I told him that I was going to call the police. He took his hands off. I reached for the phone, he took it & slammed it on the floor. I started walking towards the door & he blocked it. I told him that I was going to call 911. He said he was sorry. I told him that putting his hands on me was not okay; that he would never put his hands on me again.
I attempted to get to other phones, he prevented that. I started walking towards the door & told him that I was going to go to the neighbor’s house & call from there. He blocked the door.. I told him that no matter what he did, I was going to eventually call 911.
At some point he finally got away from the door & he told me that he was going to leave for the night. He said that when he returns, I better be out of HIS house. I was able to call the police. They came out & interviewed us. I told them the entire story. They let him go with a warning. He left for the evening and he stayed with our marriage mentors for the night.
I called this morning to update the report that I thought they had made because I woke up with bruises. Come to find out, they reported that no physical attack had occurred. I made them correct it.
An officer came to my house today to correct the discrepancy. This may have consequences for me later but if I am going to expect him to be honest with me, I have to be proactive about correcting a lie when I see one, even if it will potentially be at my expense later.
I’m thoroughly thankful for this article. It has given me a voice when I couldn’t articulate my inner pain & confusion. I can say that I am not crazy & that God doesn’t just want me to suffer every single day for the rest of my life. There’s steps I could take and that gives me hope. Thank you again.

Anonymous said...

I bookmarked this page several months ago when I finally identified what was going on within my marriage. However I was not strong enough to confront my husband and continued to be suppressed. However in the last 12 months he has admitted to a long-standing affair, left the home, physically abused me and is now fighting me through divorce courts to "leave me penniless" in his words. I would urge anybody else reading this to do something about it, God has been ever closer to me over the last year and he is a loving God. Being alone is not as scary as it sounds when you are free from abuse!!

Hannah on 10:35 AM said...

Thank you for your encouragement Anonymous 64!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for writing this. As a man who is being emotionally abused by his wife it was a good read. It is hard to get help because no one really believes me or the kids when they have asked for help. I do admit my fault for not telling her she was out of line when she would crush the kids for forgetting to walk the dog or unload the dishwasher. I was to scared and so I confronted her months ago and it has not gone well. Again so frustrating that when a man is emotionally abused or pushed around the church is sexist and disregards it and even disregards the children.

Anonymous said...

This article is great however there should be some changes, abuse goes both ways in a relationship. While most people assume that it is the husband who is the abuser and the wife who is the abused, I can say from experience that this is not always the case. I have suffered physical and emotional abuse from my wife and called for separation now she sends me this article this morning. I don't know where she is coming from in this but I ask only for prayer that the Lord restores our marriage!

Hannah on 3:14 PM said...

I'm so sorry for your circumstance Anonymous 67! Of course women aren't the only ones. I started a section under resources for men if you need that. Abusive dynamics tend not to be gender specific.

Anonymous said...

I couldn't help but cry in torrents, recognizing the exact issues surrounding the near death of our marriage. I feels like our marriage is horribly unhealthy and the circle of abuse never ends. Is this how God planned it... absolutely not! Depression looms with each day I'm with a desperately dominating Christian man who hammers the submission-obedience Ruling. Molding and shaping a woman to look East Indian with the veil and down grade me as no matter how much serving I do, I'm not good enough. Trapped in a daily ritual of judgement and excessive preaching and demeaning talk, is more than I can bear. After leaving 4 times before and always going back, I recognized that I have to stop the guilt and stop believing I can't make it without him. Now that he is losing his control he is angry, threatening and desperate. This time I realize that I Must leave indefinitely and stop believing he will change. God is all about love and understanding and not this horrible treatment. As hard as it is, as Christians, we still have to wake up to the insidious effects of Emotional and Spiritual Abuse. Our children are watching, as my son is, and they will be affected as well. I'm going to do the right thing even though I hate Divorce and separation!

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