The abusive marriage

Allison Stevens —  July 6, 2010 — 33 Comments

Many marriages have normal conflict. The spouses get along mostly, but there are times when they argue or disagree. And it can get pretty heated. Some may not speak to each other for days because they’re so upset.

But there is another kind of marriage that is really no marriage at all. It’s the abusive marriage. It’s wives living in fear of their angry, cruel husbands. It’s husbands fearing the tirade and abuse of their wives. It’s a living nightmare for the children.

It is a marriage where one person consistently uses a variety of means to control and instill fear in his or her spouse. The abuser hits, calls names, belittles, ignores, withholds affection or money, isolates, and is honestly a tyrant to live with. The abuser will use any means to bring down the other spouse. And the other spouse is truly afraid.

It’s so far removed from what God intended in the union between a man and a woman. There is no freedom, therefore no love. There is no respect, therefore no joy, peace; no feeling of being safe. The injured spouses feel trapped, alone, and terrified.  The shame for an oppressed spouse often is too much to bear, so he or she does everything to hide. His pain goes unnoticed. She suffers alone, silently.

Followers of Jesus can come along side and give comfort to the abused spouse.  We can help them get to safety. We can pray for the abuser to come to his or her senses. Abuse assaults our dignity and no one can tolerate it, nor should we.

Allison Stevens

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33 responses to The abusive marriage

  1. I have been told by a counsellor that my husband is abusive (verbal/emotional). The part that makes me crazy is that his actions and his words speak two different things. He can be nice pretty often and then he just ignores me/us (lives in his own world). He keeps himself distant from real discipline of the kids. If there is a conflict he sits silently and watches. It’s sort of hard to describe. I often feel like I’m lousy, that he thinks he is the “perfect” one and I am the one who makes all the mistakes. Even when we went to counseling it was about my problems It’s not even always what he says, I guess it’s more what he doesn’t do, than what he does do.

    I asked him one time about why he let our son verbally attack me while he just sat there and watched it happen. He said he didn’t like being involved in it. I asked him why he didn’t help with helping the kids do chores, he admitted (in a weak moment) that it was hard.

    My heart has grown hardened in many ways. I try to love him, but the pain is SO great that it is hard to any more. I don’t want to continue to hurt. We are friendly to one another most of the time but I don’t feel very close any more.

    You mentioned feeling trapped. I remember going to a marriage conference one time and we were supposed to repeat our vows to one another and I started crying because I felt as though it was like proclaiming a death sentence over myself. That is sad.

    We are still together and perhaps, by God’s grace, we will make it to the end. But this is not what dreams are made of. At this point I’m not even sure what to do.

  2. For over 20 years I have denied that my marraige is abusive. I have had numerous friends and professionals tell me it is so. To me I felt that I just couldn’t do anything right and that he had reason to despise me.I’m stupid, forgetful and just don’t listen to him. On four occasions I have tried to get him to enter counseling with me. One visit each time, and then the counselor would make the mistake of pointing out an issue that they saw in him. As long as it was about me, we were good, just do not confront him and we’ll be fine. They would never agree to abide by this and so it has never worked.
    I don’t want to fail in life again by divorcing. I don’t want my children to be hurt. Already their cry is that dad is just stressed, that’s why things have gotten bad again. Please don’t leave, don’t break us up. My heart is anching beyond what I can bear. I don’t want to hurt them, or my husband. I have failed in so many ways and am trying to change, but feel more and more that I will never be good enough, that something has got to give with him as well. I do not want a divorce and have told him so. I just want a marraige that can honor both of us. I still feel like a failure for even thinking of separating. He is no longer physically abusive. I left a couple of years ago because it had gotten so bad. After three days I was told with no room for talk that the children and I were to be back by the time he returned from work or I would really find out what fear is. I came but got him to commit to no physical violence at all. He did but I was never to bring up leaving again. He has not touched anyone in anger since that time. He kept that commitment, yet I’m not keeping my side of the agreement because I feel as though I am drowning in fear ever day. Not physically. I’ve told my husband that we can’t go on like this. That we need to talk, hear each others hearts. There’s just so much and I feel like I’m dying inside. He has nothing to change which has been his defense for over twenty years. “If I’m not happy I can get the xxxx out.” I can take nothing with me. He says he will make sure I do not get the children. He told the kids that he does not want me to leave, that he wants to be together as a family and that it is their mother who is hurting him and them. If he has kept his word and never been physically violent again then I feel that I’m wrong and will just never be happy. I feel that I am tearing this family apart. I just do not know which way to turn. I do not know what I should be willing to take and accept. I have spent so long running in denial and yet it felt so much better than feeling like I am betraying my entire family. And Jesus, betraying him as well. I’m not looking for advice. I am already in counseling, yet because of my husbands reaction to the counselor I do not feel I can discuss it with him. Again, I’m not looking for advice but maybe prayer. I cannot pray. Maybe someone could for me and my family.

    My heart is breaking for him, for our children and for the the hopes and dreams of a future that appears
    to be one sided. He says he doesn’t want to separate, but he’s not changing because there’s nothing to change, except me.
    No more words.

  3. Cynthia Kauffman July 7, 2010 at 10:10 am

    WOW!!! This is exactly what I’ve been going through for the past 31 years. I am currently seeking help from my new church to cope. I’ve become very angry and have not been able to keep myself from “returning evil for evil and insult for insult (1 Peter 3)” I don’t even like myself because I can’t function well as a housekeeper under these circumstances. The main reason I am sooooooo angry is that my two teenage boys are turning out just like my husband and it’s heartbreaking. I’ve been thinking that I should help a ministry write a book about this, as I have been through alot and might be able to help someone else some day. For now, I am looking for a person or resources to help me deal with this trial in a Godly way. I’ve been through lots of councelling, but not with someone who’s been there/done that, so it makes you wonder if these other Godly councellors can really help when they have no idea of the oppression/depression/despair/exhaustion you go through every day.

  4. Cynthia, I’m saddened to hear what you’ve endured and now what you are seeing replicated in your sons. That’s heartbreaking. Check out our booklet on domestic violence at http://www.helpformylife.org/Products/When-Violence-Comes-Home–Help-For-Victims-Of-Spouse-Abuse-%28Booklet%29__CB951.aspx and
    Also, our DVD on domestic violence, When Love Hurts, is also one that I think you’ll find encouraging. You’ll find it at: http://www.helpformylife.org/Products/When-Love-Hurts–Understanding-And-Healing-Domestic-Abuse-%28DVD%29-%28Day-of-Discovery%29__DV736.aspx

  5. i thought i knew excatly what i was going to do. and i cant because you wll make things worse always. if your here god say something so i knopw. do something please.

  6. I, too, have been married for 31 years and, up until this spring, have lived a secret life of fear and abuse at the hands of my husband. Mostly it was a lot of emotional and verbal abuse, but it was escalating and becoming more physical when I left for the safety of myself and our child, a young teen.

    I have always taken my vows at the altar very seriously and thought God wouldn’t give me something I couldn’t handle. I thought maybe if I could do just one more right thing or read the right book or talk to the right counselor, maybe I could fix my husband so he would treat us right. It’s supposed to be “’til death do you part,” right?

    In March, when he put matches in his hand and went after the gas can in the garage threatening to light fire to the house with all of us in it, I knew enough was enough.

    I got an attorney, filed for a Victim’s Protection Order, and filed for divorce. I was granted a three year VPO. My child and I are in the house and he has moved out. We haven’t seen him since March. He has broken the VPO by calling and coming by, but got to experience ramifications for that by going to jail for a few days for doing so. He is now in a daytime psychiatric treatment center getting help that he has always needed and never would get before.

    As far as the divorce is concerned, it is not finalized yet, but my pastor has finally helped me see that God would never desire for anyone to be in a marriage that is filled with abuse. My husband is mentally ill-they are saying he is probably bipolar and has borderline personality- and my pastor says he has probably been incapable of maintaining a healthy relationship all these years because of his illness and I just didn’t know what the problem was. He always manipulated and controlled me to think it was a problem with me. (Watch the movie “Gaslight” for a good example of this!)

    I will pray for those of you who are going through domestic violence situations of your own that you will find your way to peace. I know I had to do it for my child’s sake, if not for my own. We are so much happier now. God is watching over us each day and he will watch over you too.

  7. i know how you feel. my husband has verbally and emotionally abused me big time. he denies it all but knows what he has done and is doing. we are separated for the third time now and a divorce is in the works but on hold. he knows what he is doing.he knows these scars show on the inside and is hard to prove. i have had many witnesses though. it has gotten better but has done so much damage to me. im afraid to let him back in again. we are working it out though.

  8. heidi, i didn’t know anyone else felt this way. yes the scars inside are so much worse than hitting me. I would rather he knocked my teeth out than do what its doing to me inside. there are times that i’ve purposely pushed him knowing that he would hurt me physically because then its over.the pain goes away and the marks disappear. of course then its my fault that he did this, and he reminds of that, but at least ic an get it over with. it doesnt work anymore heidi. He wont lay a hand on me in the past years.I’m relieved on one hand and feel trapped on the other. I told him that I would bring charges once when he threatened to really hurt me and since then he reminds me all the tiome that hes never hit me. so its not abuse. Grabbing me, holding me down until i turn black and blue, throwing me threw a door is not the same as hitting someone. So I have no grounds to stand on. What hurts is that he’s right. i hate myself dor wishing sometimes that he’d just haul off and punch me square in the face. Then it would be seen. maybe then we could get help. he’s way to smart for that and I’m way to stupid . Thank you for sharing your own pain it makes me feel that someone really understands.

  9. loretta beavis July 13, 2010 at 10:00 am

    Dear People
    It is not your fault. God hears our cries and I am praying for all of you that God will strengthen you as you wait. He does for me. I have an abusive husband and your words reflect what I’m also going through. Phrases like “get over it,” “let go,” “move on,” are used to transfer guilt and shame, avoid responsibility-by the abuser. The abuser hasn’t gotten over or past anything,,,that’s why the behavior and the phrases are repeated. Abusers say and do things to arouse our emotions, our “hot buttons” and show anger or silence and again comes the questions like “what’s wrong?” “what’s bothering you?” and the blaming starts again.

    When the abuser starts pushing the emotions, ask the Lord to give your the strength to respond correctly. I don’t know what the words or things you do will be, but they will be pleasing to God because they are from Him.

    I’m praying that abusers each get the miracle in their lives that they need to understand our loving God.

    Psalm 1:1-3 has strengthened me: “Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful;
    But his delight is in the law of the Lord and in His law he meditates day and night.
    He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither; and whatever he does shall prosper.” (NKJ)

    God also knows the difference between real and false fruit.
    I emphasize the abused need to get out of the way of sinners…
    leave if you’re hurting, even if temporarily. You will get stronger.

    I love you all.

  10. I found your blog on google and read a few of your other posts. I just added you to my Google News Reader. Keep up the good work Look forward to reading more from you in the future.

  11. I am getting marry this Dec.

    The reason why I browse this Blog is that I wish to get some help from experts. As recently I am getting lots of conflicts, a little bit scary getting into marriage, and feeling quite negative about living with my Fiance……

    But I would like to still comment on some of the response. I would like to encourage you all by praying for all of you who have problems in marriage. I know (maybe I dun really know) why some man response in such a way…

    After reading the sharing, I am more mentally prepared for a long term commitment in marriage and preparedness for a marriage with “happy” as well as”tough” times. Marriage is not an easy relationship, as i have read from all of you, but I still trust that God is our hope. Just like what Isiah records, Those who wait for God will be strengthened…..

    Cheers!

  12. I would like to respond to “Invisible.” I grieve for you and the helplessness you feel. I can make you a promise that you will likely doubt at first, but will find fruitful if you trust: You have to hide yourself in Christ. You are being tortured in a slow and painful manner. Because you are so mindful of your children, your husband can make the pain worse. You need to hide yourself in Christ. Find out who you are to Christ – read Search For Significance and you will find yourself in there. You need to realize that you need boundaries to separate your husband from your heart and mind. Hiding in Christ allows that quite naturally. Read Psalm 91. Find yourself under His wings. I understand that you are angry with God. But he promises a way out that can be even better than living apart from your husband! You can live in the same home, yet he won’t be able to hurt you emotionally or mentally again if you are hidden. (And yes, holding you down and throwing you through a door IS physical abuse!) Please, just check it out… There is a way.

  13. I needed to come some where to let my heart cry out and this place is safe. Some words are from a song that speaks to the deepest part of me. The rest is what I would say if my husband could see and hear me. If he would listen and not just yell and walk away…

    Because of you
    I learned to play on the safe side
    So I don’t get hurt
    Because of you
    I find it hard to trust
    Not only me, but everyone around me
    Because of you
    I am afraid

    I lose my way
    And it’s not too long before you point it out
    I cannot cry
    Because I know that’s weakness in your eyes
    I’m forced to fake, a smile, a laugh
    Every day of my life
    My heart can’t possibly break
    When it wasn’t even whole to start with
    Because of you
    I try my hardest just to forget everything

    What you do not know is that I am dying inside, because you will not hear me. Because I’m not really here, at least not in your eyes. What you do not know is that if you would open your heart and hear my heart, I would forgive you and I would love you.

    Today was supposed to be filled with joy but instead it is filled with heartache. Because of you I am afraid instead of feeling protected and safe.

  14. Sadly, there are many folks who identify with the words of that song…fear and mistrust is a tough place to be.

    Lord, give those of us who have made people feel afraid the consideration and the courage to own it and make it right.

  15. I don’t really feel abused by my husband. maybe ignored alot. My concern is that my boys will grow up just like him and his father. So WWJD?

  16. I need help and counseling because of fear and mistrust to my husband, now I am the abusive wife, i am killing my husband slowly emotionally. Is there a way for me to get myself assured that I am also loved and trusted by my husband? I am confused now. I don’t know if I’m doing the right thing. I need help about trusting myself and others so that I will not be emotionally torturing my husband when ever I feel lonely.

  17. Hi all,

    I have been in an abusive marriage for the last 14 years. I have filed for divorce and he has moved out for the fourth time. Statistics show that a person will return or get back with their abuser as many as 7 to 10 times before they are ready to make the break, that’s if they don’t end of dead first. There are many reasons for this including, fear, children, financial reasons, you truly feel you love them, hope for a better future, loss of a dream and low or no self-esteem. I feel that I am an intelligent, beautiful woman, but have felt trapped for so long because of all of these reasons and more. I never thought I would ever let a man treat me this way and put up with it. But it can happen so fast and so suttley. I am in counseling with a man that was worked with men that are abusive for over 30 years. I wanted a counseler that really knew the minds and workings of an abuser to better help me to understand the ins and outs of the relationship and why it was so hard for me to make the break. When we are abused we try and try to make sense of it, we blame ourselves. We break our backs trying to be perfect and keep the peace as not to upset him/her. But nothing seems to work. They will always find something. I spent many years trying to figure out the crazy making (that is what it is called)- what was wrong with me. But I with help finally came to realize that it wasn’t me, the problem lied within him and that is not something that I could ever fix. It has to come from within them. But he was so good at manipulating and turning everything around. Blaming me for his actions. That is one thing that abusers will never accept responsibility for is their actions and if they do it’s only short lived or when they think they are going to lose you. My husband is an abusive, narcissistic, bi-polar alcoholic. But he does not think he has a problem. I am the problem always! He has been abusive to me in every way possible – emotionaly, mentaly, sexualy, financialy, verbaly and physicaly. Although the mental, verbal and emotional has been far more hurtful and distructive. Like others have said the bruises disappear after a while, but the bruises to your hearts take forever to heal. But back to my counselor he has given me so much advice and put things in a way so I can really wrap my head around things. Everything he has said about my husbands action and how he will act are right on the money, not one exception. I have been told by many people that a tiger does not change his stripes at least not after so many years or if they have a life changing experience, but often times that doesn’t even help. But what ever it could be it has to come from them and they have to really want it. My husband drinks to medicate himself so he does not have to deal with the pain he has caused and I know if he stays sober – he cannot handle the pain, because I believe deep down that he knows what he has done and is doing and he cannot deal with it. I do believe that anyone can change if they really truly want to but I believe that they have to do it thru God. I am blessed with good friends, family and children (six of them). And I spend many hours on my knees praying for help to heal my broken heart and for strength to make it thru this divorce. It is still hard and he has been out for 4 months and sometimes I miss him. But I do not miss the meaness and cruelty that was reflected on me on a daily basis. I know now that I cannot go back to that. He still tells me he loves me and wants his family back, but in reality he is still out drinking, running around and having affairs behind my back. He has not made one change. He can talk the talk, but cannot walk the walk. My advice from my counselor at this time is to have not contact with him at all, no texting and no talking. He uses the kids to get me to talk to him. But I know that when I am not talking to him. I have more peace and more strength to move on. So I am making a new commitment to myself to follow his advice no matter what. I have lost faith in myself after so many years of abuse. I turned of my intutions because he made me feel like I was crazy. He had me so mixed up and confused most of the time. That I only had enough energy to get from one day to the next let alone to try to leave him. I am a good mom, but I could have been so much more of a better mom if I had the energy that he drained from me. Everything was always about him or for him. The selfishness was unreal. He even locked up our freezer so I could not get meat out of it without his permission. Four of my children are from a previous marriage and he would get angry if they ate “our food” even though I am the one that paid for all the food. He has tried to control everything I do, from my hair to how I dress, to how much water I can pour for my tub. He refers to my other children as my old family and wants me to have them go live with their Dad. But I have put my foot down on that. For these men it is all about the control. They may say that they love you and you so want to believe them. But their love is not a healthy love, it’s their own version, but not the kind of love that one deserve. They may cry and seem so sincere, but it’s like they took a class on manipulation, because they are so good at it. They will make you all kinds of promises, but in 14 years he has yet to keep one single promise to me, ever. He has never been there to support me or back me up on anything. I have never had any access to any of his money and he make 80,000 a year and I make 1/4 of that. Has never purchased one thing for our home, not a piece of furniture. Not even food. If I do not have any money I have had to resort to using credit cards I cannot pay back. I have driven on tires that should have never been on the road, because I did not have the money to replace them. He does not care about our saftey. I thank God for wonderful beautiful children and my oldest son just put new tires on my van, so I could drive his younger sisters around safely. He has called me a liar, disgusting, irresponsible and that I have nothing about me as a woman that he would want. He tells me to go f— myself and puts his bird finger in my face and touches me in ways that hurt me and that are inappropriate for young children to see. But he does this infront of his children and tells me that he likes it so get use to it. That his girlfriend likes it 24/7 etc…. Another good piece of advice that my counselor has told me over and over again is that LOVE NEVER JUSTIFIES INSANITY! NEVER! The forms of abuse come in so many ways some to very suttle and some very overt. The crazy thing is that he can put on such a show for other people. I have so many people that don’t know us that well tell my that my husband is the nicest guy. And he is to everyone, but me and his family. He is a jekell and hyde. When he walks thru our door – he is a different man. And that is so frustrating to know that he can be this great guy to everyone else but you. You witness it but you do not get any of it. And it hurts to the biggest degree. That is how they keep us trapped and keep us thinking that the problem lies within us and not them. He has fooled alot of people, but my friends and family who know us can see the truth and they are the ones who really count. I guess my point to all this, is to let others know that they are not alone. That you are not crazy. That you can gain help and strength from friends, family, a good counselor and the Lord. Do not give up on yourselves. I am not promoting divorce at all, because I do believe that family is the most important thing. But after many years of trying and nothing changes, it got to the point that I felt fearful for my life. I just knew if I did not take the chance to move on something more terrible was going to happen then had happened in the past. Like I said, I have 6 children ranging in age from 25 to 1. They 9 year old and 1 year old are his little girls and I could not honestly live wondering if I would be around to raise them and leave him to raise them would be my hell. I had to make a choice which was hard and is still hard. But I believe it will be the best in the long run. God does not expect us to live our lives in a hell on earth. He loves us and wants us to be happy. We have a responsibility to God as a parent to raise our children in love and harmony and to protect them from the evil of this world and the evil should not be going on in their own home. It should be there safe place from the world. And even though it is hard sometimes especially after being beaten down for so many years to find the strength to stand up for ourselves and our children. But we have to do it. I do not want my girls growing up thinking that is how men treat women and I do not want my boys thinking that it is ok to treat women and their families that way. We do not want that for our children so why have we allowed and settled for that ourselves? We are worthy of love and respect. I have always said it is better to be alone then to be with someone and be alone. I have been married for 14 years, but I have felt like I have been a single parent all of that time, so I know I can do this. My goal is to get healthy, not only physically but mentally – in body mind and spirit. To become and find the person I was meant to be. Become healthy as a person before you jump into another relationship, so you can be the person you were truly meant to be and can find a person that can enhance you as that person, not tear you down. Stay close to the Lord, your family and good friends. There are many good books and resources on the internet with good information and helpful steps to help you overcome the stress, depression and doubt that you may feel. Like I said I am still in the mist of this, but this are some things I have learned. I still struggle every day, but I am fighting for a better future for me and my children. I just hope that something I have said can help another person and let you know that you are not alone. God bless!

  18. PS. Don’t be afraid to get help!

  19. This is to Invisible. Its nice to know you arent the only one out there. Sometimes I wish he would just hit me and be done with it. He has thrown things at me many times and I know God interceded and stop it from hitting me.He has also put a knife to my face then threw it across the room just to name a few things. I have also been forced to have sex.Well that dont happen much now!! I said a few things and I guess he took me serious. I wont be raped by the person Im suppose to trust and all.I have been grabbed by the arm many times and pushed up against the wall and all. Scared me the first time.Then I got mad and decided this isnt gonna happen so I stood up stronger and stronger.

    I hope you are doing well this new year!!! Please dont stay in the abusive relationship. Its not worth it. We need to not let this destroy us. Its hard let me tell you but God is greater than anything and anyone else.God can open any door he wants and close any door he wants. I often watch Fireproof and Facing the Giants and this one really hits home. You know sometimes I really hate myself then realize theres not reason to.He says Im nothing and will grow old and lonely.No I wont.I can handle being single.I belong to God!!! I have gotten stronger at standing up to him and not letting myself get knocked down. I know I will succeed and move on and be who and what God wants me to be. No abuser can take God from you.

  20. I have been married for 26 years and lived with the abuse. I wish I could get away. The most recent tatic is he says I am bipolar and he doesnt want the kids around me. I have become just what he wanted and believed everything that he accussed me of. But I am not bipolar. I feel the longer I stay with him in this house the more I hurt my children.

  21. Thank you all for sharing your stories. I have also been in an abusive marriage for the last 14 years. Your stories are so familiar that it brings tears to my eyes to hear someone else suffer like this too.
    The abuse in my marriage is mostly verbal and mental. He tells me everything is my fault, he doesn’t even consider what the counselors have told him. If we have an issue to discuss, I’m just starting a fight which leads to his verbal attacks, including making me feel like I’m not submitting to his authority or to God. He acts like God is on his side and as if God would yell at me and call me names just like he does. So, I’m having to fight feelings of anger against him and sometimes toward God, even though I know that God isn’t like him at all, God is good and loving, not vicious and mean and demanding.
    I know this is not what God has in mind for a Christian marriage but it’s “the role” I am forced to play, even at church. I’m supposed to be the good wife who goes along with him no matter what, even if he’s wrong and in sin. I’ve had it with his hatred and unforgiveness, he leaves me feeling worse than an animal. I know I am worthy of respect too, even if he acts like my respect for him is the only thing that matters. Forget that he doesn’t love me most of the time, that really doesn’t seem to matter to him. He even tells my kids that their mother is a terrible person and I’m to blame for everything that goes wrong, but thank God my kids tell me otherwise when they are alone with me, they see how angry their father really is. Anyway, I am at the breaking point and I am being forced to make a decision I haven’t wanted to make, but need to make. I don’t want my kids growing up in this environment any longer. They need to know that their mother is worhty of love and respect and that men shouldn’t treat their wives this way. Please pray for me, I need a job and God’s strength and direction as I make a positive step forward to “choose life and not death”.

  22. Yes, IR’s post is encouraging. I’ve read it three times in order to try and really take it in and start believing it is true for me as well. Thank you to the person who sent me the Link and encouraged me to read it. I know you’ll see the post and want to thank you. I know there are times I’ve been such a pain on this site and I am so sorry. would ask for anyone to pray for my sons and I as I am looking this afternoon into availability at a shelter in our area. things are violent again and we need to get out. please pray for my boys protection. Thank you, Cynthia

  23. and… i’m sorry that you’re going through this as well, I.R.

  24. Cynthia, we’ll certainly be praying for God’s provision for you and your sons. This is where the people of God get to be “like God” in caring for those around them who are hurting and in harm’s way. We pray that your church family will surround you with their arms of love and make provisions for you and your son’s safety. King David reminds us, “Be strong, and take heart (i.e take courage), all you who hope in (i.e. wait for) the Lord!” (Psalm 31:24).

  25. I came across this thread while searching how to get out of an abusive marraige. We’ve only been married 6 months, lead a house church together, are figures in our church community, and seem so happy. I am laying here with a black left eye, skin abrasions on my wrists from being held down, a bruise on my head, and a swollen jaw. After all that happened we made up. We sat to watch a movie and try to forget, and I reached to use his iPhone. He was watching porn last time h used his browser, earlier today. This was our date night, before the fight happened. I got upset over the porn… An ongoing problem that as of last weekend he said would never happen again. His response was ” well, YOU don’t put out and I was horny” like it was my fault. He called me disgusting and told me to go away. He’s never done this. He’s never hurt me like this. Is this it? Do I leave him? How? I don’t feel like I am strong enough and I’m embarrassed to talk to God. I’m lost I guess. Please give me your input.

  26. Allison Stevens March 5, 2011 at 11:49 am

    I’m so sorry that this is happening in your marriage. It feels so shameful, even though it is not your fault. Remember, he will probably try to convince you that it is somehow your responsibility that he hit you and looks at porn. But it is NOT your fault. Nothing can justify his cruelty towards you.

    I’m glad that you’re able to push through some of that shame to reach out for help. You’ve contacted us, which tells me that you have courage and strength. And you desperately want help.

    I’m just going to be very direct here. There are a couple of things I think you should seriously consider doing:
    1. Report this abuse to the police. Or go to the hospital to get checked out and they can call for you, if you don’t feel that you can do that on your own. Your injuries need to be documented and your husband needs to be held accountable.
    2. Tell someone you trust and take this person with you to the police or hospital. Please don’t try and face this all alone. Your husband may become enraged when he finds out, so you need to have someone there to help protect you.
    3. With this friend, develop a plan of safety for yourself. Your husband will abuse you again most likely. Get out now; get to safety.
    4. And above all, if you don’t have children with him, get out before you do. An abusive home is no place to live, much less raise children.

    I hope these thoughts help you and give you the courage to do the right thing, which is to protect yourself from further abuse and to hold your husband accountable for what he’s done. We shouldn’t let someone continue in sin. Confronting his sin (which you shouldn’t do alone) is the only way he has any chance of changing.

  27. dear strong women,
    I am 28 years old and have been married for three years now with one child.
    I was at the shop to get a phone card and my husband told me I had gotten so lonely I needed to look for men to take rendez vous and meet with them later.When I tried to explain he told me I could fxxx the whole street if I wanted.
    My sisters,I was so devastated because I had done nothing to deserve such words.I told him so,I said no one has ever hurt me like you have.I went to the mall cos I realised I was sinking in depression at home by myself.
    When I got home he told me I was HIV positive,told me I am of less value than his shirt,he twisted his wedding ring,called me the terrible names and even packed his bags and threatened to leave because I went to the mall.
    I now know the marriage is getting nowhere I am aware of my wake up call.
    I dont work or go to school,thats the most painful part knowing myself for being ambitious and intelligent.he wont let me.
    I am not in a hurry to leave because I want to figure out what next to do with my life and most important get through to him and let him know I know hes playing me emotionally because he cant love himself.
    Its really scary I had never imagined emotional abuse had a name,was this serious and was a whole master plan to destroy what God took so much time and care to create.
    I want to tell him the truth I want hm to know I can play his game too,I am quitting but not without facing him eye to eye.I want to touch him in a place so deep he can feel the pain too.

  28. Maria,
    I’m grieved by your husband’s cruelty towards you. It is extremely difficult for an abused woman to grasp the diabolical nature of the actions of her man who at one time pledge to “love, honor, and cherish you till death do we part.” This is destructive and needs to stop. You must take steps to get help before things escalate further. Please reach out and tell supportive friends and family. I’d recommend that you seek help from a competent professional counselor who has been trained to deal with abusive spouses. Safety it paramount for you and your child. And, your husband need help too. His outlandish and unreasonable demands on you demonstrate a man who is out of control and needs to have someone who knows how to work with abusive men to help him take an honest look at the damage that he is causing to you, his child and himself.

    Please be very careful about confronting him directly (if that’s what you meant by “telling him the truth”). Doing that alone is not wise. You need support from others and a safety plan so that you can safely escape with your child should he begin to escalate things. If your pastor and elders are supportive, confide in them about what’s happening and ask for their help. If they are unsupportive or ill equipped to handle an abusive situation, get a referral to a good counselor in your area to help you map out a plan that has the best potential for success and safety for you, your baby, and your husband as well.

    Check the HelpForMyLife resources to help those struggling in abusive relationships at: http://www.helpformylife.org/Departments/Abuse/Marital.aspx?sortorder=1&page=1

    Also, Mending the Soul is a ministry devoted to help victims of domestic violence. Check out their excellent resources at: http://www.mendingthesoul.org/

    Our prayers for wisdom, discernment, courage and strength are with you, Maria.

  29. my words are very few.i have prayed.i have cried,i have even tried to die , is it at least one thing left for me to try.may be just one more pray- just one more try it,s too much to explain

  30. Reading all this makes me sick & sooo sad. Iam in process of divorce,after 23 yrs of mental,verbal,emotional,escalating to physical abuse. He is not special. Just typical,by the books abuser. I am educated-registered nurse who worked in variety of areas. I thought I was too smart to ever be a battered woman. After years of his controlling tactics& overt cussing,name callin,screaming outbursts…..always my fault-went to 2 marriage. counselors-neither called him on his abuse. It. escalated to physica-pushing,shoveing,shaking me. He left bruises on my arms, neck,mouth-drew back to hit me in the face,then laughed when I cowered & cried. At the end of last year,it all escalated to point that he began telling me he wanted to beat the s—- out of me & kick you right in the mouth. Constantly called me a b—- of all kinds of horrible descriptions. Finally after he had grabbed,pushed & bruised me in several attacks I called 911. The deputies knew him,didn’t even check me for injuries-I had bruises on upper arms,old & new-under my sleeves.they arrested us both! After being pushed around ,threatened& bruised almost monthly-I finally reach out for help & the deputies arrest me too! I was not screaming or out of control when deputies came. But I knew immediately I was. In trouble because they greeted him by name & went directly to him for a explanation. How do you like that? I finally get the courage to break the silence,reach out to law enforcement- the good ole boys network sticks. together! We both went to jail. I had cash,bailed out of jail. He didn5 have money & so had to spend night in jail. He was having an affair with a woman 32 yrs younger. He also before affair developed errectile dysfunction. It is all so predictable-now I have found out he is getting testosterone injections plus cialis for ed. I guess the 33 yr old slut wasn’t stimulating enough for him. The divorce. Has been going on for nearly a year.he still hasn’t turned in the complete discovery-we own a business.and has filed no income taxes for 3 yrs. I wonder when I will be free of his abuse. I need major surgery-can’t walk well or without severe pain due to fall from ladder( I was painting walls in his business ) now have arthritis in that hip. I worked in business for last 13 yrs. I am an rn. But need hip fixed before I can go back to nursing. We have a lot of property to divide& he is being true to his abusive nature in divorce as well. I am 58 yrs old & stayed in this situation trying to make it work,only in last 3 yrs. I finally woke up & saw him to be the monster he is! It took his lying & adultery to make me see. My advice to young women…don’t waste 23 yrs on a narcisstist liar who cusses & calls you names. It will escalate! It starts with verbal abuse. Don’t believe them when they deny it all happened,never apoligize,blame you with everything that goes wrong and remember. Its all about control. Don’t stay as long as I did. He won’t change! Older & wiser……terri

  31. I speechless after reading all this,We really don’t deserve this kind of abuse.

  32. I have been reading all of the posts and I am amazed that so many women have been emotionally abused. I have been married for a little over a year. My husband and I had known eachother for a few years before we got married. He did not show any sign of being abusive until after a few months of marriage. He began to get overly upset and fly off the handle and become enraged, throw things and yell. He was acting a child having a tantrum. He then started belittling me, and became very controlling. He would ask me what was wrong when I was crying and would tell me that I needed to grow a back bone and that he was the one that was hurt and that I had no reason to be upset. I wanted to go to counseling and asked him to come with me, he said that I had the problems and that there was no need for him to go. During the second session, the counselor told me that he was being emotionally abusive. I told her that I had grown afraid of him and couldn’t open up to him. I was advised to move out before things got worse. I ended up getting an apartment and moved out. He was crushed. He begged me to come home and I felt terrible for what I had done. I moved back in and things seemed to be getting better, but I felt unsafe and I began having panic attacks. I moved out again and told him that we needed to go to counseling together. He agreed and he went with me. He was told that he needed to see a counselor by himeself and I needed to continue with mine. I moved out again, but he convinced me to move back in again. He has been seeing his counselor for a few weeks now, He seems to be getting better, but he is still being controling. He wanted to get a gym membership for both of us, but I didn’t want him to tie me to a gym membership and I told him that I did not want to get involved with a membership, but he did it anyway. He has been pushing me to go and says that he got the membership for both of us and we both needed to use it and why would he spend money on a membership if we both were not going to use it. When I moved out the first time I felt horrible, the second time I felt lonley and now that I am living with him, I am trying to be happy and trying to move on from his abuse, but I am becoming depressed, I can’t forget how he has treated me in the past and I feel trapped. I still have my apartment, I have thought about moving out again, but I keep thinking about our marriage and how I don’t want to end it if things can get better. He tells me that we got married for better or worse and we need to work through this. I don’t know what to do. I love him, but I don’t want to live a life where I am afraid of my husband. He has told me he is sorry for what he has done, but the emotional scars are still there and I don’t know if I can get over it.

  33. Marie,

    I’m saddened to hear of your struggles in your marriage. You are not alone, although at times I’m sure you feel very alone. Abuse isolates. It pushes us into the shadows, raises doubts (“Am I doing the right thing?”), fears (“When will it happen all over again?”), and lots of questions (“Is it really me, like he says?” or “Is it really him?”).

    I agree with your counselors, that you both need to be dealing with your individual issues before moving forward in any kind of couples counseling. He needs to understand that he has severely broken your trust –a trust he promised to keep. Power and control were used as weapons against you, leaving wounds that will take a long time to heal. How long? That depends on the work and the consistent progress that each of you make in your counseling.

    I only know of one formula (if you can even call it that) to rebuilding trust that’s been shattered by abuse: consistency over time. And usually it’s a long time. Substantial change is never quick or easy. It takes tons of work and a lot longer than we’d ever expect.

    One things for sure: he can’t make any demands on you. Period. None. He needs to be patient with your lack of trust in him because he’s provoked it. If he can’t live with that, then he’s not ready to be your husband again. He needs to understand that the lack of safety that you feel was his doing. He caused it. This is the result of his betrayal of your trust. Things will never progress until he is willing to pitch a tent and camp there for a long time.

    But, if you both are committed to making the journey, with good counseling and with Christ as the source of your strength individually, then you can rebuild the trust that’s been lost. But if you can’t, there does come a point that you have to both honestly face that truth too.

    No matter where you end, please remember that Jesus will always be with you on your journey through this valley. Trust Him and His indwelling Spirit to guide you along the way.

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