Author Topic: How do you know you're being emotionally abused?  (Read 2987 times)


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How do you know you're being emotionally abused?
« on: June 10, 2006, 06:22:44 PM »
Has anyone ever been in a situation where it's all so confusing and it's hard to tell if there is emotional abuse or not?  I know this is vague, but I'm actually at a loss as to how to explain without writing an epic.  Basically, DH is very difficult for me to get along with most of the time.  Friends of mine who have known him for a while and are close to me, say that "yes, he is difficult" and that it's not just me. In his opinion, he's always justified  in his reason or anger.  I don't walk on egg shells as much as I used to, but just when I think things are better, I realize they are not.  He has never been physically abusive, although there have been times that I knew that if I didn't back down that it would become physical.  DH can be quite obnoxious and arguing with him about anything is hopeless, it's a losing battle.  If I make one solid point in an argument then he immediately shifts to something else.  There have been a few times that I have actually thought he was crazy.  I should add that he's highly educated, is a professional, has lots of book sense and common sense, but really lacks in the loving/supportive department----of course that later part is always my fault or the kids fault.

Just feeling frustrated and wondering how I'm gonna stay in the marriage.  We've been married 20 years and it has been hard as hell. I'll write more later.



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Re: How do you know you're being emotionally abused?
« Reply #1 on: June 10, 2006, 09:26:53 PM »
Hello Adrift,

This will be my first post to the Board, although I signed up a while ago, but I wanted to express that I can relate to your situation. My Divorce will be final soon, after 28 years of Marriage to a Rageaholic, and Narcissistic spouse. The abuse did not become physical until after our daughter left home to go to college, but the emotional abuse started the first year we were married, I was a non-entity from the moment I said “I do”. Everything was always my fault, if he did not like the dinner I cooked, it ended up on the dining room wall, I had no say on anything in our house, including finances, major purchases, even where the furniture was placed. He usually baited me into a situation, which was really confusing..asking me my opinion, even on a simple matter, like going out to dinner, or a movie, or taking the car in for repair, all became situations where he pressed me to make the decision, only so he could tear it apart and me along with it, demean me, and/or blame me for any negative outcome. Eventually I lost any desire or ability to make decisions in our Marriage, knowing that it they would lead to an overblown angry encounter that could become violent. I would ask permission for the most minor of things, because if I did anything on my own, it would result in conflict, but in the end, nothing mattered, even when it was his error, it was my fault, and when I stopped talking, it only made him angrier, he would scream at me to say something..why..only so  that anything that came out of my mouth could validate his Rage attack..saying things like you made me do it..oh well..spilt milk...

You touched my heart when I read the statement about walking on eggshells, it rang so familiar. To be honest, as much as the physical abuse hurt me, and I have residual nerve damage in one arm from a blow, the emotional trauma crippled me even more so, and I have a very hard time with my daughter who is 27, who wants nothing to do with her father, while he never touched her, she was always afraid he would. I should have left him years ago, but I grew up with much worse, and that clouded any judgment I should have had, if not for my own safety, that of my Childs.

It is very hard to admit that I am a Professional that has worked in the Healthcare Industry for many years, and I would go to work and interact with other Medical Professionals, knowing what I was living with at home, I am not a stupid person by any means, but My God, how could I of  put up with it for so long, I cant tell you how hard it is for me now, to get used to being able to make my bed in the morning without fear that someone will come behind me and start screaming because the bed corners are not turned a certain way, or even hanging a picture on a wall, I still go to sleep locking my bedroom door… in my own Apartment…I struggle to understand that I have something called a “Choice” when it comes to my personal life.. and my biggest midlife hurdle is not what I endured physically but what was done to me emotionally…..

I hope that you find an advocate that can help you along your journey. Sorry for being so wordy, and I don’t know if  you can relate to anything I just stated about my Marriage, but I just wanted to let you know that I could relate to your post and the way your spouse is taking your ability to have a voice in your relationship, and why it touched me so…


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Re: How do you know you're being emotionally abused?
« Reply #2 on: June 11, 2006, 07:52:10 AM »

Your husband sounds almost like mine, other than the "highly educated" part.
My husband and I now own a small restaurant in the Food Court of a mall.  He is finally somewhat tolerant of me and we don't fight much, because he's too exhausted to, most of the time.

When we first got married, the first 5 years, it was AWFUL!  He was physically abusive toward my 2 yr old daughter (not his child too).  I was also abusive toward him, because I am Italian Catholic and we don't take crap from people for very long without snappin on em!  It was a mess!

Then we moved in with his "supposedly mourning" mother, after her 3rd husband died, because I had a heart and wanted to be the "shoulder she could cry on"  She would smack my daughter in the face, tell us "I'm having the ladies over for Bible study so you need to keep your daughter downstairs!"  (my husband, daughter and I lived in the basement of her house...YES A LITERAL BASEMENT, damp, spiders, cold, wet, nasty!)  I HATED IT AND I HATED HER AT THE TIME...I finally took my daughters (had a baby plus my eldest at the time) and went to stay at a shelter for almost 3 months.  He took his mother's side against me and just didn't care where the heck we were.  His comment as I left, "Don't let the door hit ya on the way out!"

Eventually, I came back to him, we went to a Lutheran minister for counseling, and began uncovering some issues.  I was told to submit to him and he was told to love me and that was the end of counselling.  Just a few weeks or so.

People began telling his mother that I was only living with her to steal her money and take her house, so things got much worse.  She became cold and mean, but eventually I helped hook her up with a guy and she married him (I used to run a dating service).  THANK GOD FOR THAT! END OF NIGHTMARE!

FInally, my husband and, now 3 daughters moved to another state where I live now.  We fought a lot over discipline issues (he was wanting to still hit the children, etc, I wanted to raise them with minimal spanking)  I finally told him an ultimatum, "I can't do this anymore!  We are either goin to counseling or I AM OUT OF HERE!")  He agreed to more counseling, so we went through some inner healing stuff and he began to admit to some inner issues he had buried, and finally admitted that his father ABUSED HIM and the other children (he had/has BAD STOCKHOLM SYNDROME!)  We started communicating better.

  He denied sleeping with his cute lil Vietnamese boss, however, sex all of a sudden changed totally to where he seemed to know what he was doing a lot more than ever before...and this was like OVERNIGHT!  Soon after, I was diagnosed with an STD, called trichomoniasis.  He REFUSED TO GO GET TESTED, saying "you are the one with the disease! how do I know YOU weren't sleeping around?  You are more likely to, based on your past!"  I knew he was dodging and I had a decision to make on it.  I sought counsel.  I decided to stay after much much prayer.  I told him "If you EVER DO THIS AGAIN, I AM GONE AND I MEAN IT!"  I think he believed me and saw how it hurt me or something, cause I'm pretty sure the behavior stopped.  Well, the lady got real controlling of him too, right after that...calling my voice mail and demanding to know where he was and yelling about how she couldn't get ahold of him and if he didn't call her, she was firing him.  I think his traditional beliefs took over and he decided to re-commit to me and his family (children)

From there, I went to college and now we both own this restaurant.  Things are better.

As a person, my husband is non-emotional, other than anger (used to be RAGE).  He is very cruel to animals!  He scored VERY HIGH on the Narcissist test along with BPD and OCD.  The man has deep issues.  Thankfully he isn't home much with me anymore and work goes well, cause we BOTH OWN THE PLACE so he cannot control me!  Do we have a marriage?  In WORD only maybe, but I am totally OPPOSED TO DIVORCE personally, unless there is RAPE, SEVERE PHYSICAL ABUSE OR EVEN EMOTIONAL ABUSE THAT I CANNOT HANDLE.  I am a strong person, and, when I first came to this list, I'm sure you saw that I can stand my ground rather firmly.  That is what keeps me in this, I am not one who chooses to make it on my own.  I have it too good and I know it...I am choosing the familiar (my house, my church, security financially, our restaurant) vs, starting over with nothing, HAVING TO WORK, HAVING TO RAISE CHILDREN BY MYSELF.  No thanks...been there, done that, admire those of you who are still doing that, but it's not for me.  I like the comfort zone.


Certain Hope

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Re: How do you know you're being emotionally abused?
« Reply #3 on: June 11, 2006, 10:37:56 AM »
Dear Adrift,

It was only 3 years of "N" marriage for me, so I hate to even imagine the effects of 20 years of that sort of non-relationship. I am sorry you've had to endure this, because to me, that's exactly what it is ~ a NON relationship. Being the very center of the universe and absolute "god" in his own mind doesn't leave room for N to have a partner. During the (brief) times when he had me exalted to the throne of adoration, I was still nothing more than a beloved pet to him... his "puppy" as he'd refer to me on occasion. After a couple years of his disjointed, non-sensical behavior, I thought he was crazy, too... the way he'd make a statement and then in the next breath claim that he hadn't said that, or tell me that I was the one who'd said it. Insane. That sort of behavior is what sent me to searching mental illnesses online, where I found the description of NPD and discovered that was indeed this "type" of personality that I'd never even imagined existed. And here I'd thought he was just eccentric...

Anyhow, you know in your gut if you are the target of emotional abuse. What I realized is that somebody can target me all they want, but I don't have to receive their spewing. Receiving it is what makes us victims, I think. When I stopped absorbing his garbage like a sponge and incorporating it into my very being, I gained strength. He hated that. I was determined to grow and thrive in spite of him, to honor my marriage vows and to cling to the truth at any cost. I simply stopped responding and reacting to his nonsense, and that incensed him. Above all, he had no tolerance for the truth, so even though I wasn't correcting him or arguing with him one bit, he got quite dangerous and finally had to be removed from our home. So... I'd say that it's wise to continue gaining strength by communicating with people who will offer understanding and encouragement (like here on the board) and practice just "being", with a firm foothold on the truth which, as I'd communicate it from my own perspective is... God loves you dearly and will bring about justice in His perfect timing. There is no doubt in my mind that abusers do eventually fall into the pit which they've dug for others.
Keeping you in prayers, Adrift.

With love, Hope


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Re: How do you know you're being emotionally abused?
« Reply #4 on: June 11, 2006, 04:35:19 PM »
Hi Adrift…  This is what I think emotional abuse is...

When your feelings are laughed at or scoffed at, you’re being emotionally abused.

When your goals are made fun of, you’re being emotionally abused.

When your accomplishments are belittled, you’re being emotionally abused.

When you try to resolve a conflict and you are told you are too sensitive and shouldn't feel that way, that’s emotional abuse.

When someone is more interested in maintaining the conflict instead of working toward a solution, that’s emotional abuse.

When you are shamed for who you are, that’s emotional abuse.

When someone knows your vulnerabilities and uses them against you, that’s emotional abuse.

When you think a conflict is resolved and its thrown in your face out of the blue, that’s emotional abuse.

When you feel like you have to act like or be something you’re not to please another person, you’re likely being emotionally abused.

When you are treated like an object instead of a separate human being, you're being emotionally abuse.

And when it happens if it feels really yucky and sometimes you can't pinpoint exactly what the problem is but you're walking on eggshells and know something isn't right, chances are its emotional abuse.   (((((adrift))))