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Dealing With a Verbally Abusive Spouse

Verbal abuse can be very damaging in a relationship. This is a guide about dealing with a verbally abusive spouse.
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Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

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January 2, 2012 Flag

I have been married for one year and I have a son, not by him. I have moved into my husband's house with his son and daughter. It started three weeks after we got married. He just starts yelling at me if he does not like what I ask him. He has gotten in my face and chased me into the bathroom and raised his hand to me, but did not hit me.

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Whatever the kids do, I am wrong and they are right. His son who is 21, wrote me a note and called me a dumb ass in the note. His son told his dad to divorce me. His son and my son had a fight with words and ever since then his son won't have anything to do with my son or me. I don't know what to do? I do not want to be treated like this, when he is nice he is really nice, but when he is mean I can not take it.

By Ann

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January 9, 20120 found this helpful
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Avoid further attachment to this complicated Dr. Jekyl and Dr. Hyde syndrome this man has formed. Get out quickly and don't let on you're leaving. Verbal abuse can lead into hitting on you and your son too especially if he tries to defend you. You can raise your son on your own without his help and being subjected to this type of abuse long term is damaging. He's good at what he's doing and is playing on your emotions and his son is doing the same with you and your son.

It's a copycat syndrome; both of you leave. As far as feeling sorry for that man's son, he does need help from his father's damaging behavior toward his wife. Let the law take care of that, but don't you stay in this mess. It's only going to tear you down and you won't be much use for you or your son who needs an outlet if you remain involved.

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March 13, 2010

I'm a 27 year old, stay at home mom. I have three young girls that I love very much. I spend all day, everyday cleaning and taking care of my kids, but I also have a husband that can act like a child himself.

He has a good paying job and with it he also has control issues. My husband is not the sensitive type, he does not like it when I express my opinion, if he does not agree. If I am upset about something it usually starts a fight where I get called some pretty horrible things.

I'm not a bad person. I have tried for a very long time to make this work and keep my mouth closed, but it's so hard to not stand up for myself. Yet when I do he turns my phone off. He once even broke my finger trying to get keys out of my hand. I know I should leave, but that's just not a option right now with having nowhere to go. I don't want to be anyone's burden.

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By Melissa from Phoenix, AZ

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November 11, 20110 found this helpful

I have been married for 11 years now. I have a very sweet daughter who just turned 8 this year. My husband got blind 7 years ago. He's very responsible and even now that his blind he is still our breadwinner. He's a very good father, solid provider and very helpful to others. He is generally a good person.

I am not really sure if he's alcoholic since he can seem to stop drinking whenever he wants. He says that he only choose to drink every night until early morning (with friends at our place) because he has nothing else to do. Being blind he has very limited activity options. I also observed that when he doesn't drink he could barely sleep so he just keeps working until he falls asleep on his chair.

Though, he is generally very kind to other people including to our daughter he's treatment to me is very different. Whenever he is upset or if I fail to do tasks that he asked me to do he would call me names like "stupid, idiot, good for nothing bitch" and would even include my very supportive family with the insults. He would even say that whenever we fight he gets so fucking frustrated that he would imagine killing me over and over again.

I would always plead him to stop but he just keeps going with the insults. Everyday he tells me that I am nothing without him. One time I got really fed up and decided to talk back which caused him to hit me and even spit in face. He wanted us to separate after. I had bruises under my chin and on my arm. Despite of that I still couldn't leave him and even pleaded to reconcile.

We got back together and he still do the insults. I believe the reason why I still chose to stay is because after we fight and whenever I cry because of the insults he would apologize. He even admits that he is verbally abusive. Last night after he insulted me he cried and apologized and said that he knows that I'd been suffering long enough with how he treats me and even promised to do his best to stop all the verbal abuse and love me the way a good wife deserves to be loved.

I love my husband so much. I always tell him to remember that his not the only one who got blind when he did - I also got blind - my better half did.

Sometimes when I's so down and depressed with how he treats me I would ask God to just take all the love that I feel for him so I can finally have the strength to leave and stop my heart from hurting.

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January 9, 2012 Flag

I am in this position right now that is horrible and very sad. I am 26 years old with one two year old and am a stay home mom, as well. My husband is a nice guy, but when we disagree on a topic, it is just not a pretty picture. It is also a problem even that I have questions to ask. It can never be about anything that I have a doubt about or, "hey what time you did you leave work?", because he gets mad. Then the insults start right away. He expects me to either answer my own questions and keep my mouth shut or as soon as he says the answer to just leave it alone there and that's it.

I have literally broken in pieces and cried my lungs out so many times because I don't know how to deal with his insults. All I get from him is, "You cry because you want to; you're like this because you made this argument; you see the things you do; you can never keep your mouth shut; or you always have to be bitching about everything." This makes me feel even worse.

How would I make myself feel this way? If he could only argue without insults. If he could only tell me things without getting mad right away. This has totally confused me. I don't understand how he can say he loves me, but still talk to me like that and call me all kinds of names.

I am sure I can't stay here. I know this is not healthy and even worse for my baby that hears everything. I just don't find the guts to leave. I feel that leaving would be the only way for him to be happy and not have a bitch like he says living with him since everything is my fault. I sometimes do think is my fault, but I should know better not to feel or think this way, but is too hard.

I just wish I had learned a way to control, to block all the bad he has to say and eventually he will learn to not talk to me that way. We have recently started seeing a therapist, but it's really hard to explain our full arguments in just one hour. I feel as if he is not even working at a solution. He doesn't seem to care to try what she said. Even though he had promised to stop talking to me that way he hasn't at all and it happens every time. What should I do about this ? I know I love this guy so much, but it hurts to be here.

By Jess

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February 3, 20120 found this helpful

Seriously consider calling a abused women hot line (Of course when he is not around). They can really help. This is one small step that could change you and your child's life. Phone numbers are in the book, look them up on line or call information. Best wishes.

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February 23, 2014 Flag

Yesterday my husband and I got into an argument because my son left the lights on in his room. When I defended my son he then said that "my marriage was in danger". He always threatens me with divorce and end of the marriage. This has been going on for about 8 years now and slowly I don't care anymore.

I get a knot in my stomach when I come from a friend's house and have to go home. My son feels the same way. We feel as if we have to walk on egg shells. As I said, I don't care anymore, financially I am dependent on him. What do you think my action should be?

By Corrie V.

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February 23, 20140 found this helpful
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Whenever I hear a young woman now talk about getting into any type of relationship I urge them to make sure they have their own checking account or a fair sum of cash put away, in case they have to leave. Start at the beginning of the relationship or even before, even if it means putting a couple dollars away out of the grocery money each week. By now you would have a fair amount stashed away.

I know a young woman who, when she was about 30 was my employer, and she had an infant, one day when work was slow we got to talking about things like that. She said she had her own credit card, checking account, and a fair amount of cash hidden away with her parents. There wasn't one thing her husband, an attorney, could get his hands on other than his private checking account, credit card, and the household account. You don't have to be well to do, in order to put a little away here and there.

However, you don't have to be financially independent to leave. You can always take your son and go to a domestic abuse shelter. They help women get on their feet, with job training, finding a job, etc. Also you don't need to take a lot of personal belongings(clothing, etc. with you) because they have donated things that the clients can have.

When you are in one of these shelters your husband is supposed to be able to get hold of you. That being said, you also shouldn't call him and ask him to come and get you. It is entirely possible that once he sees you are brave enough to leave and not depending on you, that he will straighten out.

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September 14, 2013 Flag

I have been married for 9 months. My husband is often leaving his job. He in the teaching profession. I am also in the teaching profession. I have been working at a university for more than 5 years, but he is not able to stick with a job for more than 6 months. He does not take my words. He often abuses me. He has a male ego and is a male chauvinist. His upbringing is not proper.
He is not frank in his plans. He does not care for me. He wants sex for 24 hrs and he talks on it rather than our future. He changes for a certain period after discussing my issues, but only for a short period
My question is, how can he be moulded in career and family life and how to make him avoid his male ego and male chauvenism?
How to make him understand about married life?

By Pavithra from Chennai, India

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September 17, 20130 found this helpful

Hi - most responders are from other countries and of course, we have no idea as to what is available to you as far as help or even what your laws may dictate, but you should try to seek counsel from someone near you that can help you find a way to move on as possible.

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December 12, 2014 Flag

I have been married for 25 years. Three months into our marriage my husband accused me of cheating on him, that never happened. Then he would say little things while we were out at footballs games, the mall, etc. like "Are you looking for your boyfriend?" On the night of my mother's wake I was asked if I was "doing" a co worker. He would call me crazy and stupid, several times a week. During the last three years he has mellowed out, but, I will mention I confronted him about texting another woman. Is this abuse, to be honest I really don't know, my counselor says it is.

By not for sure

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December 12, 20140 found this helpful
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This is called verbal abuse. Your therapist is right.

"Verbal abuse is the consistent demeaning of another. It may in fact take the form of angry outbursts. On the other hand it may take the form of cold, calculating, consistent put-downs. It may even take the form of disparaging humor.

The key to verbal abuse is the word demeaning. And the abuser may be a man or a woman."

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August 12, 2015 Flag

My life has been a very confusing mess. Since I have known my husband he's been very moody, but accuses me of being very moody. I have always been liked, can hold down a job, I am college educated, and can support myself. One of the biggest pain points in our marriage is that we decided to start a business together. I came up with the name, logo, and helped to land the first major contract. I developed all of the training materials for our staff and was the client liaison. Out of the blue my husband says I am difficult to work with, everyone says I am impossible and that I am not to ever come back. Just like that. I was devastated.

Since then, we get into little arguments that always start off with me getting aggravated over something silly like him talking to his business partner on a Sunday morning for 30 minutes, and complaining about his ex-wife. When I say that this was annoying, I am accused of having the worst temper in the world, being horribly mean, overreacting, and being completely irrational. Then I get the cold shoulder, he looks off into space, and then when he does talk only refers to me as a child or will whisper because "he doesn't want to fight anymore." I literally feel crazy. Am I? Am I this monster and I don't know it, is that possible?

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August 14, 20150 found this helpful

Sounds to me like your husband's mood swings are all stemmed from his emotions of how he feels about whatever it is that irritates him about you or your work ethics. He knows what things also bother you and doesn't mind inflicting you by doing them, so he gets a reaction out of you that shows irritation; the same as he feels at the time. Together, you're both doing a "dance" and you need to stop this repetitional pattern by recognizing it when it happens and then deterring its progress by changing your response. This will throw him off and each time he goes into his sarcastic mood you walk away and go elsewhere and don't be around him even if it means getting outdoors for awhile. If he doesn't have a pair of ears to hear him complain, then you are the better for it as your ears haven't listened and you're not annoyed as much either for having been bored with it. His type of conversation is not stimulating your brain, so go visit a friend.

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June 14, 2013 Flag

I'm a 41 year old male. I have a good job, I start work everyday at 4:30 am and get home around 5:30 pm. My wife is a stay at home mom that doesn't clean, cook anymore, etc.

She had shoulder surgery a few weeks ago and has had a sitter watch the kids most of the time. I give her baths and help her change clothes, I cook for the kids, I wash the clothes, clean the house, and do all other chores. By the time I'm done I get to bed around 12 am. Since she sleeps most of the day she stays up at night.

My father was just put into a nursing home yesterday because he has Parkinson's and has been making poor decisions. My mother asked if I could visit him and bring his laptop, a pillow and $10 for the nurse to use for a haircut and drinks. My wife was supportive of this before I left to go bring him these things so things were pleasant. Oh by the way my wife is abusing her pain meds that the doctor gives her by taking too much at a time. She is also diabetic and taking Lexapro.

I went to the nursing home to take the items and talk to my dad and after about 45 minutes there she starts calling me on my cell phone telling me it's time to come home. She called repeatly over the next 15 minutes until I finally left. On my way home which is only 3.3 miles away she starts texting me, cursing me, calling me names, telling me to eat s%#t, and don't come home etc. She is accusing me of giving my dad more than $10 which is a joke and cursing me and telling me she hopes I die.

When I got home and she just goes off with the cuts and the threats in front of our 8 year old and 4 year old girls upsetting them. Saying how her and her mother think I'm a worthless piece of crap and that I am giving all our money away to him. She doesn't stop cutting me down and this goes on until around midnight. I attempted to take children to their grandmother's house to get away from her screaming and crazy talk but their grandmother must have not been home since we rang the doorbell, beat on door, called her house, and cell phone. We had to go back home then. I came in and went to sleep in the kids' room with them. My wife stayed up watching TV and smoking and fussing. I woke up for work and she started on me again this morning with the threats and cursing and the hoping that I will die on the way to work, calling me worthless and telling me how much her family hates me and thinks I'm worthless also.

She may be sweet when I get home, I don't know, but she does this in spurts and I don't know what to do. She will not go to counseling because she is in denial, I don't want to get a divorce because I don't want that for my children. My parents are divorced, her brother is divorced, and her other brother is married but has a girlfriend that he says is his soul mate. Her dad works in another state and has been cheating on her mom for years, but her mom doesn't seem to care as long as he is getting paid. She also was married for 6 weeks before we were married. I have known her since she was 16, but it's like she is getting meaner as the years go by. What should I do?

By Michael

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May 28, 20150 found this helpful

Sounds just like my husband. Same threats, same name calling. Same accusations. Except instead of medication, he's an alcoholic.

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August 17, 2013 Flag

My sister had an affair three years ago and her marriage has not been good since her daughter's birth 6 yrs ago due to him yelling, calling her names, and saying he wouldn't feed her. It just got worse when the affair came about. He constantly calls her names, threatens anyone that goes against him, goes into my sister's accounts and deletes things, and calls her names daily in front of kids. She has gone to counseling cause he tells her she's the crazy one because she cries from his words. She tried leaving a year ago, but he told her not to, so she didn't because he said she would never hear of the affair or be called names anymore. Well 9 months later with a new baby it's still happening. He tells her she isn't his wife, kicked her out the bed (but still wants sex), makes fun of her, and says she is nasty. She tries to defend herself, but makes him angrier. Now if she has contact with men business wise he doesn't believe it and says it's another affair and he will make them all pay. This isn't half of what is really happening, but we tell her to get away and it goes right back to being able to support the kids.

By Cc

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August 19, 20130 found this helpful

My husband was (and sometimes still is) verbally abusive too. I tried everything and my last resort was simply writing in a journal all the things he said. I separated from him but didn't divorce, kept in constant contact via e-mail, and we eventually got back together. With three sons it is hard to get away.

One time I wrote down all the insults I had written in one of my journals - he compared me to just about every animal in the encyclopedia, called me a whore, a bitch, etc, etc in three languages... when I showed the list to him he felt bad and changed.

He has been better for about ten years now, but we don't spend the whole year together. He has never contributed much to our marriage financially, and although I have always been faithful, he is always imagining that I will betray him with some other man.

I feel stuck and don't have the courage to just leave him and start a new life. I wish I had done so even with a baby or two in tow. My advice to you is to DIVORCE! You shouldn't have had an affair and now your husband really has something he can keep a grudge on you about.

Don't feel stuck, you will always have something to eat. Looks like you might even get some alimony, that is better than my situation since my husband is unemployed and not looking for work. There are plenty of nice fish in the sea who won't verbally abuse you. The words your husband calls you are better labels for him, not you.

Turn your back, take the jump of faith. Don't waste your whole life on a person who is so seriously clueless. You deserve to love yourself, and how can you if all you hear is negativity? Go for it. Good luck.

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December 8, 2014 Flag

I have been married for 7 years. He has always been abusive. I have had 2 trips to the hospital, and 1 broken finger while he was trying to take my keys. He finally stopped the physical abuse, but started mentally abusing me.

I finally got the courage to take our 2 kids, move out and file for divorce. A month into our divorce he talked me into staying all night with him, and things where great for a couple weeks. Then he slowly started screaming at me again and calling me babes in front of our kids. So I left again. Now he's texting and calling; saying he's sorry it won't happen again. Do you think people ever really change?

By Needhelp

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December 10, 20140 found this helpful

I believe you already knew the advice Thrifty readers would give you but maybe you need encouragement to do the "right" thing and go through with not only the divorce but a complete separation from this abusive person.

Be sure to get visitation rights down pat before the divorce is final or you will have a new "ordeal" at every child "pick-up" and drop-off time. Your attorney needs to know your real problems or they cannot help you with the judge.

Many of us have been through the same type of problems (or wish we had made different choices) so the advice will be genuine and sincere. You have probably already been reading the advice given when others in similar situations have ask for advice.

Sometimes it is difficult to address your own feelings of loneliness, desire, fear and financial problems and these feelings may prompt you to want to believe what he is telling you could be true. There are probably very few cases where an abusive person truly changed even if they go through counseling.

Perhaps you have a church or community center that can guide you to counseling as this is vital for you AND your children.

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August 13, 2015 Flag

I have been with my husband for 10 years and married for 8 years. After the kids I got really depressed, but my husband didn't help either. He would always point out how hot these other girls were and how he would have sex with them. Then it got to the point he started to ask me, for years, to add people to our marriage. Not one day went by where I didn't felt helpess and worthless with him. I don't feel like his wife, just a maid or slave to him. I have told him this, at first he didn't understand, but now he is saying he is going to do better, but I don't believe him. It happens so often, over and over again, he wants to work it out, but I'm afraid it's too late. I dont want to do anymore, I'm so confused, any advice?

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August 18, 20150 found this helpful

Start with counseling for yourself, as this will help immensely. You can find help from a local women's shelter, or perhaps your church, if you have one. I think you should leave this man immediately, but I know it is not an easy thing to do. Make a plan; see a lawyer so you will know your legal rights. If possible, enlist a friend or relative to help you to leave.

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January 14, 2015 Flag

I have been married for one and a half years and I just gave birth to a beautiful baby girl a month ago.

Previously, my ex husband (5 years) cheated on me with so many other women that it almost lead me towards suicide, despite my Christian upbringing I attempted this. I could not bear to face my family's great disappointment. Finally, it ended up in a divorce, as things would not improve between us.

About a year later, I met this young gentlemen, who showed so much love, respect, and hope that I decided to get married again. But sadly, it turns out to be a nightmare worse than ever before. As I found out later, that this man is so incorrigible that when he gets mad even for the slightest thing, he screams such utter filth that I can't believe my ears. Not only that he has hit me and hammered me many times which I have kept to myself as I am ashamed to tell my parents that my second marriage is also a disaster. He starts saying evil things about my parents and say the dirtiest things about them, which hurt me the most. My mother passed away a few months ago, and even while she was hospitalized he was calling my mom a whore and wanted her to die soon. Even at the funeral he was not supportive at all. I am from a respected family and I have been brought up in a spiritual way, as my dad is a pastor you could imagine the rest. I don't know what to do. Please advise me.

I am confused as I am a mother of a child now, secondly I don't want to be in divorced state again and thirdly when he cools down he comes and apologizes and always makes it up to me.

I wish my mother was there to guide me as she is the only one who I could open up to.

By Maya

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January 16, 20150 found this helpful

I am so sorry you are in this painful situation. Many of us have been. I am happy to hear you have a beautiful daughter, one of lifes' greatest blessings. I know you want a peaceful home for her to grow up in, so she can become all she is meant to be.

Your husband has many tough lessons ahead of him. His apologies do mean nothing. When one apologizes sincerely they change the behavior that caused the problem, they do not turn around an do it again. He is taking advantage of you because you are a caring person. He will not change.

I know it is hard to understand that some men will just throw away a relationship and a family rather than change their behavior. But there are so many that have. They are not capable of being half of a relationship. You are capable, and you are the one who will provide the home your daughter needs. For those who will judge you because you are divorced, just know you have chosen the right path for you and your daughter, and some people are just dense.

Begin to put your new life together now. Get some advice from a battered womens' shelter, so you and your daughter stay safe. Don't forget you are doing the right thing for you and your daughter. That is never anything to be ashamed of. Bless you.

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June 7, 2015 Flag

I have been with this man for 14 yrs, When he gets angry he's really mean and calls me all kind of names. He has hit me before. We have got 2 boys 15 & 7. He hasn't hit me in a while, but always threatens me that he is gonna hit me.

Last night he asked me about my job. I work 10 hrs a day. He's disabled and stays at home and sleeps all day. Most of the time my oldest takes more care of my youngest than he does. I'm an account manager at a rent to own furniture store and one of the guys used to help me when I had to pick merchandise. Yesterday he asked me who was helping now that he left and I told him the manager is. Then he said does mean he's picking up your stuff now? I told him no, he sent the delivery guy. He got so mad because I didn't say the delivery driver helps me too. He thinks I like him and I don't even talk to the guy. He called me all kinds of names, cursed me out and got in my face yelling. His hand was all in front of my face. I told him he needed to move his hand away from my face and he got angrier and started to say if I didn't stop telling him that, he would hit me, saying I was being sneaky and trying to lie because I like the guy.

I tried to talk to him again today, no luck. There were more insults and name calling. It was so loud that my kids could hear everything. I don't know what to do any more. I feel so sad, I cry all night and when I think about it I want to cry more. I'm so tired and unhappy. He always tells me it is my fault because I don't know how to communicate or have conversations and that's why he gets so angry. He doesn't have patience for stupidity. He says it is my fault because I didn't tell him that my manager was helping me by sending the delivery guy to pickup my merchandise? Instead I told him my manager was helping me?

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June 9, 20150 found this helpful

You are in an abusive relationship. The constant threat of physical abuse IS abuse. Verbal abuse is also abuse.

You say he doesn't work and doesn't really care for your children, so you don't have a lot to lose by leaving him. If you choose to stay, the tension and stress of your household will affect your kids as they get older. They may become depressed, turn to drugs, or have bad grades and not be able to continue schooling.

The man is also their role model for their future relationships.

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July 16, 2013 Flag

After 42 years of dealing with my husband's verbal abuse and bullying; should I stay? My husband was bossy and a bit of a bully before we got married. Since then he has found every reason to blame everything that goes wrong in his world on me. When we were first dating, he refused to bring me to my high school prom, (he went to both of his), then later on he let his family walk all over me. When I wanted to get married, he said not in my church because I was Catholic, and his family wouldn't approve, although they really didn't attend church and he was not even baptized. When we finally did get married, we eloped at his convenience, and we went where he wanted to go, to a Methodist church.

When our first child was born, he was disappointed and even let his obnoxious mother comment that she would have to wait on his brother to get them the boy. This she said in front of my mother. My husband would not let me raise the baby as I saw fit. If I held her down to get medicine in her, as the doctor had instructed me to do, he would yell at me, and one day he actually shoved me. Once our daughter got old enough to not need diapers or bottles, he would take her and do things that made me look like the mean one. Once his father was riding a horse through our yard, and he placed my 4 month old baby up on the horse with his father, even though I said, "No, it's dangerous" he did it anyway, and then the horse reared up and the baby was almost dropped. My husband got mad at me because I said I told him it was dangerous, and then he threw apples at me and his sister.

I could go on and on, but the bottom line is that every 6 weeks or so, my husband picks a fight about something and has done it for 42 yrs. and if I fight him back, lt gets nasty for me and the kids.

He is not like this with anyone else, he puts on a goody goody act, but can snap right back into his troll act at will. He has criticized me for biting a cold sore. He said it looked like I wanted to tell his aunt something. l was just biting it because it hurt. He fought with my daughter because she wanted to have a 16th birthday party outside on our lawn (we lived on 12 acres in the country). He has never taken me on a real honeymoon. We went fishing at his family's primitive cabin (it had no bathroom facilities, just an outhouse and old wash tub, no hot water).

The bullying started before we got married. He got angry with me the day we got married because I went to Montgomery Ward and bought a dress to get married in with money my parents gave me! We don't go on vacations. Our kids are grown and I work and he's retired. We could go on nice vacations, for birthdays or anniversaries, but we never go. If I suggest it, he sighs a sigh of disgust and we end up doing nothing. If I'll pay for dinner or bills or groceries, or use my car and gas...he lets me. I could go on and on. I just would like your thoughts. By the way I have a masters degree and am a certified school principal. I have patience, but it is wearing thin. Please tell me what you think.

By C.C.

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July 18, 20130 found this helpful

Yes, you have my permission to leave that poor excuse of a man. But you already knew that. You are a smart lady.

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May 7, 2013

I'm 27 and I have 3 kids with my husband, who is 25. I been with him for 13 years now, but for the last 3 years it's been on and off. We were separated for almost a year. I was moving on with my kids and we were happy. I despise of my status here.

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June 19, 20130 found this helpful

My husband and I have been married for 11 years and together for 13. We both came from bad marriages and we have 7 children between us with the youngest being ours. My daughter who is 16 recently accused him of sexual abuse.

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Better Living Self Help Domestic ViolenceFebruary 23, 2013
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