When your husband constantly stoops to playing mind games to get the upper hand or elects to verbally and viciously berate you, making your feel worthless, then something needs to change.
I say, something needs to change pronto if you want him to stop hurting you.
Let’s call it what it is….emotional abuse.
When your husband says ugly and hurtful things to you on what seems like a daily basis, then what we have is a clear-cut story of emotional abuse.
One can sweep it under the carpet and pretend that such an environment is just part of the rough and tumble of being married.
But I warn you, emotional abuse that occurs with any frequency is poison to a relationship.
I often am contacted by women who tell me things like, “my husband often hurts my feelings and doesn’t care” or “he is a monster inside and just seems to get his kicks hurting me and tearing down our marriage“.
I even have had men admit to me, “I know I hurt my wife emotionally but I don’t know how to stop myself”.
These abusive husbands have also complained to me, “my wife but doesn’t respect me and I don’t know what to do”.
I usually give them a straight dose of truth. It actually helps to shake some guys out of their ignorance or delusion.
“Really“, I will tell them, “You expect your wife to show you respect and love and obey after what you said and did?”
First of all, forget this notion of “obey”. A wife should not simply obey her husband just because it was in the marriage vow.
We no longer live in the dark ages or in a world where it seems only appropriate for the dutiful wife to obey her husband.
“No wonder your wife shows you disrespect“, I will explain to some select clients. “You don’t deserve it and you don’t deserve her if you keep behaving this way.”
As I said, sometimes I turn to “shock and awe” to get their attention!
Possibly, they will learn to change.
Which raises another question, can you make your husband change the way he has been treating you?
Well, guess what! I recently wrote about this in the post to follow…..
Sometimes though, you have to wonder how certain men come to believe they are entitled to “putting their wife in her place or dumping on her when things are not going so well for themselves”.
Is it an old-fashioned sentiment that some men secretly cling to?
You know….like the notion they are the “master of the house”.
Or does it reflect the reality that some husbands are simply rotten guys?
OK, so maybe it isn’t always quite that bad.
Though I once spoke to a very confused husband who told me that he felt it was his right to take out his anger on his wife if she dared talked back to him.
Yup, this guy was a lot of fun.
He believed that all of the personal power in the marriage should belong to him and that his wife was there to love and respect.
He spoke of her mission to honor him and if he needed to unload or vent a lot of emotion because he was having a rough day, then she needed to deal with it and be his “pillar of rock”.
Yes that is how he described it.
In reality he wanted his wife to be his door mat.
Then in the same breath he told me he could not understand why his wife would not go along with his wishes and why she was so combative.
He said, “she looks at me with this cold stare and I swear she wants to tear my eyes out.”
He seemed shocked when I told him I would feel the same way.
Unfortunately, sometimes I get clients whose beliefs about marriage are so warped and different from my own, I find myself running up against a wall of stupidity and ignorance.
Perhaps some of these men also have a good dose of narcissism.
Certainly, some of these husbands have a cruel streak in them.
I know that for sure.
Bad to the bone you might say.
I cannot know which of these things might be true of your husband.
But with this guy I was trying to help, it was clear to me that his lack of tolerance and kindness would be the undoing of the marriage.
What I really wanted to do was help his wife escape the grip this guy had on her life.
So as you can see, not every guy out there is wired in the same way.
Every husband brings into the marriage a certain set of beliefs or attitudes which form the basis of how he sees his role in the marriage and how he should treat his wife.
What can I say. Some guys are keepers.
And some guys you should just cast away.
Hopefully, you married a guy who is a keeper.
I am also sad to report that abuse in marriage is not unusual.
Verbal or emotional abuse is more common. Physical abuse is less so, but is a deal breaker in a marriage.
Emotional abuse can take on many forms.
And it when it becomes pervasive and an everyday part of how the couple interacts, then the marriage is headed nowhere good.
That of course, is putting it mildly.
So what are the things an abusive husband might say?
What are the things husbands do to destroy marriages and ruin their chances of reconciliation?
Is there a list of behaviors a guy acts out that might warn you that he is shaping up to be a bad husband?
More often than not it is when your husband is showing a pattern of using emotional abuse to deal with his own demons.
When you lose count of the number of times he hurts you for essentially no good reason at all, then the warning bells should be sounding.
So what should you do about it?
Well, let’s pull back a few layers to this problem.
What Are The Ways In Which An Abusive Husband Operates
There are some men out there who are devoted husbands.
They wish to please you and make your life happy and full of joy.
But even these well-intentioned husbands can fall off the wagon now and again and stoop to their worse selves.
Their lesser selves. A version of themselves that you might not even recognize and when you see it, you are repulsed by it.
Do you sometimes fear the way your husband might act?
Are you disgusted by certain behaviors your husband chooses to exhibit during tough times?
Have you come to resent your husband for his treatment of you?
Anger can rise up inside your husband and temporarily turn him into a monster.
You can stand there, perfectly innocent and not knowing that an abusive verbal attack is about to come over you like waves sloshing on a beach. Then out of no where, your husband can lose his cool, get red in the face, and start attacking everything near and around him.
If that happens to be you, look out. His abuse and unfiltered waves of ugliness might just wash all over you.
I call this kind of abuse “Temporary Mad Man“.
Does Your Husband Show Signs of Being a Temporary Mad Man?
OK, so I am not saying that your husband is bat sh#t crazy.
I am not suggesting the man you married is insane.
But I am telling you there are a lot of men who, given the right circumstances, can become unglued and start throwing anger darts in every which direction.
Does you husband sometimes suddenly morph into the most unreasonable, nasty acting man in the room?
Does your husband sometimes just lose it and resorts to dishing out a massive dose of hateful words and gestures?
Well, if you have witnessed any of these things, it is probably because your husband was seized by emotions and feelings that he could not bring under control at that moment and you happened to be right there with him when this transformation unfolded.
Men who behave like this don’t usually act this way toward you often. It may be a rare thing. Or it could happen more frequently than you like, but it has not developed into a routine.
And when your husband starts doing or saying things that are terrible and hurtful and painful to hear and experience, you can tell he is acting way out of character.
What is often the case is that when his outburst is all over, he will almost literally crawl back to you to ask for forgiveness, telling you things like “I don’t know what got into me” or “I am so sorry for what I did and said. I was cruel and insensitive and I hope you can find it within you to give me another chance.”
This is why I characterize your husband’s mania as temporary madness.
It is like in one moment he is this lovely, caring man you married, who sincerely desires to work with you on problems of life; then in the next moment your husband is transformed into this hate monster who spews out awful words and contorts and screws up his face in the most hateful manner
There is no excuse for his behavior.
Later, your husband might try to offer one telling you something like, “Honey, you know me, I am just a passionate guy and sometimes I just need to let it all hang out“.
Well, of course, this is all bull shit.
If your husband turns into a temporary monster, he needs to acknowledge it fully.
It is not healthy or constructive for the marriage if your guy just excuses himself as having a bad day or being a really passionate husband.
Those kind of replies are forms of denial.
You Can Reason With Most Men
The good news is that when the storm of his temporary madness has passed, you can reason with your husband again.
It is like what he once was in those unforgettable moments (i.e. a vicious, mean husband) never happened. Whatever angry spirit possessed him, is gone and your husband is back.
Naturally you will feel relieved that the chaos has subsided and your real husband is back, standing there before you acting normal and nice.
And that is all good.
It is good to know your husband is not going to be permanently possessed or routinely possessed by this angry spirit that causes him to be hateful and mean-spirited towards you.
It is understandable you feel this way.
You don’t want him hurting you anymore.
Emotionally you have had enough of his abuse that seemed to come out of nowhere. And with things returning to normal, it is easy for one to want to put it all behind them just as soon as possible.
After all, who wants to dredge up any more talk about the awful things that just happened.
It was most likely just a one-off type of episode and will never happen again, you might tell yourself.
We often delude ourselves into thinking everything that appears normal on the surface means that things are OK deeper under the surface.
Psychologically it is a lot easier not to confront the genesis of what caused the ugly scene.
It is easier to just avoid thinking about it anymore. Many wives are far too eager to embrace the normalcy that has returned, convincing themselves that what happened didn’t really happened or that it will never ever happen again.
But I would suggest that don’t leave it at that.
Don’t just accept whatever feeble apology or excuse your husband may offer up.
Even if you believe in all your heart that his apology and regrets is completely sincere, then forgive, but don’t forget.
The fact is that if such an outburst happens even just that one time, it could occur again, then again, even with more frequency.
This is how unattractive habits and routines can form and gain traction in our relationship.
Protecting Yourself From Your Husband’s Hateful Outbursts
So you need to take action to inoculate and protect yourself and your marriage from this sort of thing happening again.
I am not saying there is a surefire way to ensure your husband will never become unglued again and dump all over you.
But unless you address his behavior, the chances are greater that when the right circumstances all align, he may yet again resort to hurting you.
He might not set out to do such a thing, but given his previous patterns of behavior, you may find yourself in a situation where your husband is once again abusive and nasty to the core.
So how do you stop such a wave of hate?
The last thing you want is to get your feelings hurt again and again. I think of it as being slimed by your husband.
Emotional abuse is like waves of verbal nastiness that comes crashing down around you.
So what on earth do you do to stop it?
Consider doing two things.
First, acting proactively, make sure you get from your husband a heartfelt apology.
If he doesn’t apologize, well, we will talk about that a bit later.
Now, when he offers his apology, ask him to explain what he is apologizing for.
You want to make sure he understands the extent of his undesirable behavior. It is not unusual for a guy to emotionally go into denial and try to conveniently forget just how cruel and abusive he acted toward you.
So ask him to describe what he said that was so inappropriate. This helps get it all out in the open.
People have a way of forgetting things they care not to remember.
Your guy might downplay it to try and minimize his own inappropriate behavior.
What Was My Husband Thinking When He Said Those Awful Things To Me?
When your husband completely lost it and started saying cruel things to you, he literally suspended that part of him that is empathetic to your needs.
When a guy is in such an angry state…..when he dishes out hurt upon hurt, he is often not cognizant of how he is making you feel.
He is inside of himself, internalizing his own feelings. He is not thinking of yours.
All he knows is he wants to get the ugly emotions off his chest. He may even try to purposely say things that are hurtful to you to satisfy some dark force inside him.
We all have that in us. The dark side of our heart wants someone else to suffer, much like we are suffering inside.
We lash out because we ourselves are in pain.
You have heard of the saying, “misery loves company, right?”
Well, it is never more true than when a mean acting husband decides to pull down his wife into his world of misery.
So get your apology.
But also get your husband to acknowledge the awful things he said to you.
Then ask your husband (and this is important) to describe to you what he thinks “you” were feeling at the time he unloaded on you.
I think of this method as opening up your husband’ mind to expressing empathy.
Getting him to connect with the pain he has caused you might help persuade him to avoid this behavior in the future.
Empathy in marriage is a wonderful thing and when husband and wife can practice it frequently, it helps with keeping the relationship strong and healthy.
What is the second thing you want to accomplish if your husband hurts you with an abusive tirade?
I would argue that you need to insulate yourself from this sort of spontaneous or careless hateful act.
How do you do that?
Consider telling your husband a truth.
Tell him that you never, ever wish to see him like that again.
Explain to him that you have zero tolerance for any man who is abusive and who for whatever reason, loses control and hurts you.
Simply tell him that if he cannot control himself and resorts to abusive behavior, you will leave.
Explain to him, without any sense of it being an ultimatum, that you will walk out.
Do not subject yourself to abuse.
Of course, I am not advocating you leave the marriage.
But you don’t need to be present if your husband becomes temporarily possessed and decides he is going to turn his ugliness and fury in your direction.
There is nothing for you to gain by being around.
When he is in this temporary madman state, your presence enables him to potentially turn his vicious emotions at you. So take away that opportunity. Just leave.
Take a long walk. Go for a drive. Go shopping. Go visit a friend.
It is not your job to save your husband from himself. He needs to learn to save himself.
The best way you can support him is to give him room.
Your departure will allow the ugly emotions that might be rising up within him to fall back again as he hopefully gains perspective around how he is damaging his marriage.
What Should I Do If My Husband Always Lashes Out and Hurts Me?
It certainly is far easier to deal with a husband that comes under the spell of temporary madness.
If he rarely mistreats you in a hurtful way, that is a much better circumstance than if you live with someone who seems to take some kind of perverse joy in making you miserable.
But how do you handle a husband who is always lashing out and actively seeks to bring hurt, pain, and sadness into your life?
I will be honest with you. Using a baseball parlance, this kind of problem is a “tough out”.
And just perhaps the solution is doing just that.
Possibly getting out of your husband’s life forever.
Yes, sometimes a couple is so poorly suited for each other and the best solution is ending the marriage.
It is not usually the first option you turn to, but more often than not, it may be the best solution in the end if your husband doesn’t learn that ongoing emotional abuse is poison to the marriage.
I can’t begin to tell you how many times I have heard from wives who have complained about the poor treatment they receive from their husband on an everyday basis.
When I encounter these women, some of which have terribly sad stories, I tend to get more philosophical with my advice to them.
I try to get them to see the big picture of who and what their husband has become.
I try to help these emotionally abused women understand the unhealthy attachment or “pull” a marriage can have on them, causing them to feel trapped.
I know, it sounds idiotic to think that a person who is being abused and feels trapped in their marriage is also attracted and unable to pull away from the orbit of the relationship.
But it happens everyday and psychologically it is easy for any of to become addicted to behaviors that are not healthy for us.
As we stayed married, a certain traction takes hold. The familiarity of our lives helps us feel secure. Routines become regular and comfortable in their own way. It’s like inertia takes a grip of you moving you along. If the marriage is full of love and stability, then this kind of traction is good.
But if the marriage is unhealthy, such traction can make it difficult to break away, even when we realize intellectually that what we are experiencing in the relationship is far from optimum.
I get these inquires from women who suffer every day, telling me horrible stories of a loveless marriage.
The want to know….
How can they make their husband stop lashing out at them in anger?
Wives will reach out to me and ask me “if someone lashes out at you on an everyday basis, should you leave or stay?
Some women will tell me about their sorrows and the disappointment they have in their husband, but then will seek to rationalize their husband’s behavior by saying he is lashing out only when stressed or he has nowhere else to put all his anger, so he comes to me.
My feeling is that when lashing out at someone you love becomes the norm, the marriage is flawed.
Occasionally I have had husbands ask me, “why do I lash out at my loved ones. Am I a bad person. Do I need help?”
My answer is “No, you are not a bad or evil husband. But you are behaving in a cruel and evil way which will utterly destroy your marriage if you don’t get help and learn to control and change your behavior”.
When it comes to marriage emotional abuse, there is no beating around the bush.
If the abuser is thinking that they for one moment are entitled to lash out, then the game is lost.
Sometimes shock and awe pays off when I consult to some of these men.
If you find yourself immersed in a marriage and despite your many efforts (e.g. talks, counseling, intervention by friends, books, etc) your husband still stoops to often being the worst version of himself….being abusive and lashing out over a long period of time, then you may be best served by breaking away.
By that I mean you should leave your husband or ask him to leave the house for some period of time. Depending on the severity of the situation, we could be talking days, or weeks.
You should also consider not having any contact with him for some period time as you explore whether you wish to be with this man.
I refer to it as the No Contact Principle. You can read about it below. There is no guarantee that it will solve all your problems, but it may very well do a lot of good for you and your partner.
So if you are up to your eyeballs in marriage muck, you need to pull yourself out of the situation.
And the no contact principle gives you an option to make an intervention in the marriage in such a way that it can potentially reset the relationship.