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Warning Signs of an Abusive Husband


Warning Signs of Emotionally Abusive HusbandsEver wonder why your marriage doesn't seem normal?  Maybe it's because you're married to an abusive husband. 

Here are some warning signs of an abusive husband to look for from Dr. Phil's article Are You In an Emotionally Abusive Relationship?:

Does your partner continuously degrade or belittle you? If you think that just because you aren't being physically abused nothing is wrong, think again.

Emotional abuse can have devastating consequences on both physical and mental health. While emotional or psychological abuse may be difficult to pinpoint, examples abound. Here are some characteristics:

  • Using economic power to control you
  • Threatening to leave
  • Making you afraid by using looks, gestures or actions
  • Smashing things
  • Controlling you through minimizing, denying and blaming
  • Making light of the abuse and not taking your concerns about it seriously
  • Continually criticizing you, calling you names, shouting at you
  • Emotionally degrading you in private, but acting charming in public
  • Humiliating you in private or public
  • Withholding approval, appreciation or affection as punishment

Results of Verbal and Emotional Abuse, from the Center for Relationship Abuse Awareness:

  •  A distrust of her spontaneity
  • A loss of enthusiasm
  • An uncertainty about how she is coming across
  • A concern that something is wrong with her
  • An inclination to reviewing incidents with the hopes of determining what went wrong
  • A loss of self-confidence
  • A growing self-doubt
  • An internalized critical voice
  • A concern that she isn't happier and ought to be
  • An anxiety or fear of being crazy
  • A sense that time is passing and she's missing something
  • A desire not to be the way she is, e.g. "too sensitive," etc.
  • A hesitancy to accept her perceptions
  • A reluctance to come to conclusions
  • A tendency to live in the future, e.g. "Everything will be great when/after ..."
  • A desire to escape or run away
  • A distrust of future relationships

Can you see yourself or your husband in any of these descriptions? 

If you think you might be in an abusive relationship, get some professional marriage counseling help.  Being confused is a natural outcome of abuse, and abusive men take advantage of it, so you need an expert to help understand you what's really going on and what you can do about it.

Husband Rater QuizHow to Get the Husband of Your Dreams

Learn how your husband rates compared to other husbands and help him get back to being the man you fell in love with. Take our Free Husband Rater Quiz (quizzes for both wives and husbands).


I'm male. Right now I don't know what to do. I realize my wife emotionaly abuses me. Somedays I try to keep my mouth shut. Today I was mentallt hurt by her. I was feeling sad. I should have not told her I was sad because all the sudden she screamed at me and told me she wasn't staying at home. Saying how sick of it she is, slamming stuff around. I'm affraid of this behavior. I don't want to be separated from my kids. I feel like she might be rubbing off on the kids and maybe someday they will be abussive. That is my biggest fear, for my kids
Posted @ Sunday, August 15, 2010 1:08 AM by Tom
I am married to a man who physically, mentally, financially and emotionally abused me. Do I have to stay with him? To make matters worst, somethimes, he would treat my life by looking for his gun and usiing it as props on our arguments. do you think he will still change? he seems doing some effort trying to send my kids to school and fetching them, teching them on the violin and piano but asidw from them , everything is my concern from food to schooling. I got sick and tired of carrying for him.
Posted @ Friday, September 30, 2011 8:26 PM by opilg aerdna
my marriage is falling apart,my husband too talkative and the very sad part is when he starts reserching about my past and come and shout at me about it,he will make me stand the whole night while he is lying on bed talking about it .he keeps on accusing me of my past,threatening to leave and mostly now he started being physical on me .Im afraid of the out comes of his behaviour.
Posted @ Tuesday, October 11, 2011 4:29 AM by sethunya
I'm male. Right now I don't know what to do. I realize my wife emotionaly abuses me. Somedays I try to keep my mouth shut. Today I was mentallt hurt by her. I was feeling sad. I should have not told her I was sad because all the sudden she screamed at me and told me she wasn't staying at home. Saying how sick of it she is, slamming stuff around. I'm affraid of this behavior. I don't want to be separated from my kids. I feel like she might be rubbing off on the kids and maybe someday they will be abussive. That is my biggest fear, for my kids
Posted @ Friday, July 20, 2012 5:10 PM by Riano
Riano, It will rub off on your kids; your may have grown up around this and it's part of the reason she is abusive. Contact a professional counselor to learn what you can do to protect your kids. -Kurt
Posted @ Monday, August 13, 2012 8:08 PM by Kurt Smith, MFT, AFC
I am married to the white man for 5 years who is abusived. Controlling to what I wear, forced me to drink to make me laxitive, took a photos of me that he made me smile. He also abusive to our kid, he hit her and sexual abused. This is my first experienced of my life in first married with abusive man.
Posted @ Monday, August 13, 2012 11:45 PM by Genny
Genny, I'm very sorry to hear about your situation. Physical and sexual abuse of you or your daughter is wrong and has to stop. You may not know how to do it and so guidance from someone who's been there will really help. Please find a professional counselor to talk to or contact my office for help (see Contact page on this website). -Kurt
Posted @ Tuesday, August 14, 2012 8:07 AM by Kurt Smith, MFT, AFC
My husband does not seem happy anymore. I always ask him why he is upset. He never wants to leave to go anywhere. He sits around all day and wants to play his computer. He ignores me when I engage in conversation with him. He gets mad at me for not wanting play world of war craft (Computer game with him. He corrects me constantly. He tells me that I am a nag and bitch at him all the time. He gets mad at me when I like things to be my way in my own car when we are driving. He never helps me with any house hold chores. He only relies on me to do all the work. I work full time, and have 3 children. I am afraid. My husband stays up till 1:30pm or 2:00pm most nights up on his computer and leaves me alone in my room. He threatens to leave when we have an argument. Please help me to know if this is abuse. Thank you,  
Posted @ Saturday, September 29, 2012 11:07 PM by Erin
Erin, Yes, this is abuse. Now what steps are you going to start to take to stop accepting it. Read all the posts on this website about abusive relationships for help. -Kurt
Posted @ Wednesday, October 03, 2012 7:16 AM by Kurt Smith, MFT, AFC
I'm a retired grandmother. My husband & I have been together for 5 yrs. I have always felt like he was a little selfish & controlling. But in just the last couple of weeks it's gotten so much worse. I'm on psychotropic meds for depression. I've been taking them for about 10 years. My Dr. is trying to get them to balance me out. Have had to try a lot of different combinations. I know my husband resents that I'm no longer working even though he makes good money. Lately he tells me I am very argumentative. I know it's because of the change in meds. But it's like a vail has been lifted. I see just how controlling he's become. But I have been so depressed that I didn't care before. Because I am feeling a little better I want him to stop treating me like a second class citizen. When I bring to his attention that he controls all the money & gives literally none he says I don't need any money. So I have to ask him for his credit card just to see the doctor & purchase my meds. I have to ask him to give me money to put gas in my car when I run out. Then he tells me I should stop using my car. I only use the car to see my family who lives close by, go to the doctor & drug store. I have stopped going to see my family very much because he says I spend to much on gas. Every time I need my meds refilled & says I'm killing him financially.  
He does most of the grocery shopping because he doesn't want to spend the money to buy thing I like. So he buys mostly thinks I don't like so I want eat so much. In the last year I have lost 30lbs and he says that I needed to lose it anyway that he's helping me lost weight. We only eat out where & when he wants to go. And if I don't like the restaurant he picks I can stay home & he goes without me. Lately when I ask him to explain any choices he has made about anything. He immediately gets angry & says I am not capable of understanding so he's not going to try to explain anything to me.  
So what do you think? Is my husband abusive. My doctor wants me to see a talk therapist, but my husband says it will cost to much. What should I do? 
Posted @ Wednesday, October 03, 2012 11:24 PM by Sam
At times we are so happy. Then I always spoil it. Minor things - to me, seem to get blown out of proportion. We run out of something. I speak with a tone or have a negative response to an idea or suggestion. It takes very little to shift the balance. I try to keep things even but always slip up. He says its because I am unloving and ungiving in our relationship. I don't support him. It's driving me mad. I feel such a terrible person. I want to make him happy but always fail.he gets very depressed with me. I just want to die if it weren't for my kids. What can I do to be a better person. Even when I feel right his arguements show me I am wrong. Please help me
Posted @ Monday, January 21, 2013 5:29 PM by Lynne
Lynne, You've been brain washed by his verbal and psychological abuse. I'm sure you're not a "terrible person." That sounds like his definition of you and shouldn't be yours. You need to stop listening and believing what he says about you. -Kurt
Posted @ Wednesday, January 30, 2013 12:04 PM by Kurt Smith, MFT, AFC
I finally ended my abusive relationship when my husband was caught cheating on me. For years he had verbally battered me and hit me a few times to which I fought back at him once and he used it as leverage to pretend to be a victim like he would literally anytime I got a bit upset say "Don't hit me" and use it as a means to control me. His whole family is convinced he is a God and everyone outside of our relationship thinks he is great too. 
He even tried to sucker me into staying with him while he is currently livin with his girlfriend in Virginia LOL about 30 miles from where our apartment was. 
He cheated, got caught, kicked me out and then had the nerve to keep all my stuff. So I'm paying thousands to have it all sent to me and he is sleeping with her and tryna get me to believe this shit of  
"I STILL LOVE YOU WE CAN WORK ON IT" because now he has lost control. Now that other woman can suffer all of his abuse.  
But I am free. 
You don't want your kids being abusive too GET OUT!  
Once you are gone it's ten times easier to cut the cord. 
Get over whatever emotional crap that is holding you back and LEAVE. 
I am so blessed that he kicked me out or I'd have never been where I am now. 
and he's ended up the damn fool along with her he got no job no nothing just a girlfriend who is blindly supporting him. 
Boy is she in for some shit. 
And that is just the little bit of abuse I care to share. He's done much worse. 
Posted @ Sunday, February 03, 2013 6:56 PM by Carla
Hello. I feel like it is difficult to leave my relationship. my husband told me and always reminds me that he would never hit me yet he is very controlling in the bedroom. He places me is a very painful position with one of my legs between his and his between mine as i lay on my back n he is on top of me like a scissors like something and he has extremely rough sex with me slamming his penis against the walls of my vagina and the pain is horrible and i can't orgasm if i want to. He also bites my nipples really hard until them bleed ad by this time im usually in tears. then he chokes me if i make a sound or breathe to heavily n he gets angry wen i twist my face in pain. once i was choked to hard the white in my eyes get blood clots and my face had blood clots all over. it looked like freckles and he didn't allow me to see a doctor. Sometimes he will apologize but not all the time. He will also have rough anal sex with me changing from anal to vaginal and oral and i have to give him or he will bite my nipples or choke me or pull my hair really hard. anal hurts alot and he has started doing it without any lubricant and it bruises me badly. i am afraid to leave him. we have no kids together but i love him dearly. I just want him to change. he told me i can never refuse him sex because i belong to him. after sex no matter how horrible i must lie down with him and hug him until he sleeps then i can go shower and clean myself up. When i ask him if he loves me he says yes and if he cares he says yes and he always threatens to leave me if im not submissive enough. I must also give him sex everyday sometimes twice a day and its always very similar to what i described above each time. how can he change? i just want him to change and if i can i am willing to help him change
Posted @ Wednesday, March 20, 2013 5:30 PM by shallene
Shallene, He may never change, so you're the one who has to. You need to stop asking if he loves you and start looking for ways he shows it. Your description above doesn't show he loves you. It shows that you're in an abusive relationship and you need to get some help. Please contact a counselor, women's shelter, or mental health clinic to get some guidance on what to do. -Kurt
Posted @ Wednesday, March 27, 2013 2:54 PM by Kurt Smith, MFT, AFC
I just told husband I'm separating from him, he's trying everything to convince me to stay..telling me I can't afford to live on my own, what's wrong with me. He's guilting me, I'm destroying the family, I haven't tried hard enough, etc..now he wants counseling.
Posted @ Monday, April 14, 2014 2:05 PM by Jklein
Ladies its me again for an update. You really need to leave these abusive men. They are so damaging to ur life in so many different ways and ways you wont realise. I am currently out of the relationship with my ex abuser and yes leaving was hard. But now i feel so free so rejuvanated so much more like me again. I felt alone and depressed for weeks after leaving the monster. But the key is to eliminate all forms for contact with him and its only then ur healin begins. And it is goin to start off tough but it is worth it. And it only gets easier. Get out ladies get out. If u think u risking ur lives leaving maybe because he is threatenin wake up and realise you are also risking ur life just as much staying in the relationship. Its ur choice pick the right one and leave. Get professional help and leave im tellin u its worth it. U dont want it get rid of it. I know how tough it can be but it is worth it. I dont regret leaving one bit. There were times i became scared and was ready to run back but distance urself from negativity and stay away from the old surroundings. Go pamper urself wen ur tempted to go back. Take a massage go on a vacation it help. U worth so much more than any man can make u feel ur worth. And he is not a man he is a monster. 
Ive have met a man now who actually loves me and adores me and we are madly in love and he does anything for me. Its such a wonderful feelin. And now i can appreciate him for all that he is to me when u move on ull realise the life ur missing out on for a monster
Posted @ Monday, April 14, 2014 3:08 PM by Carla
Not sure this will post. I finally made the decision to tell his family about his years of abuse. They won't speak to me now although they reported amazement when we first started dating that he didn't throw a fit and stalk off mad b/c he was losing a board game like he used to. They also fight/argue among themselves. I thought I'd picked the most compassionate member of his family to disclose this to after 8 years of marriage, but she got mad. 
My family is gone as I'm the youngest. All I have are my children. They just avoid the topic when I bring it up, and/or are unbelievable b/c he puts up such a good front when he's around others. He's got a Jekly and Hyde personality. 
Is this usual for families to avoid this subject?
Posted @ Wednesday, June 25, 2014 6:22 AM by Eva
I just separated from 16 yrs of controlling, angry husband. All of a sudden he shows interest in the kids, where he would rarely interact with them he tells me I'm beautiful , I look great, he took me n kids for granted. We've made agreements for just about 50/50 time with kids. It's all based on his needs,. For now I'm complying but will have to renegotiate. I've been told I'm worthless, I dress how he wants me to dress, and there's a ex girlfriend he loaned large sum to get a house who is 5 years behind payoff, he comes up with excuses for her yet won't give me money for foods n clothes for kids,, slanders my decision to live where I live, that the amount I spend for rent could go to a lot of counseling sessions. He sees me as an object not human, gets mad at me for having a solid relationship with the kids now trying to intrude that
Posted @ Wednesday, June 25, 2014 4:47 PM by Jackie
Eva, No, it's not unusual at all for families to avoid the subject, nor is it unusual for people to side along blood lines. So I wouldn't expect support or understanding from his side of the family. Abusers typically are able to fool a lot of people. It's good that you're no longer one of them. -Kurt
Posted @ Wednesday, June 25, 2014 5:09 PM by Kurt Smith, LMFT, LPCC, AFC
Jackie, Be careful about getting manipulated and used. Abusive husbands don't change "all of a sudden." -Kurt
Posted @ Wednesday, June 25, 2014 5:11 PM by Kurt Smith, LMFT, LPCC, AFC
I droppef off kid at their dads..said goodbye to him i shouldntve but we hugged he then force kissed n groped me n talked trashy. I left after that. Is this manipulative abuse?
Posted @ Saturday, June 28, 2014 10:21 PM by j
J, Yes, it is abuse if it's not what you wanted. You're right that you shouldn't have let it start with a hug, but that still doesn't make the rest of it okay. Keep firm boundaries with him going forward around physical touch. My recommendation would be there should be no touching. -Kurt
Posted @ Tuesday, July 01, 2014 6:48 AM by Kurt Smith, LMFT, LPCC, AFC
I have been married for almost five years. We have no kids due to difficulty conceiving. There are days when our marriage is smooth sailing, almost normal. It seems there is always yelling, always something to argue about. I have gotten to where I avoid telling him things just to not get screamed at. The funny part is, some anger trips have nothing to due with me, it could be from something someone else did. He resorts to breaking thing, candle burners, pictures, faucets (purifier on the sink),dog water bowl, trash can, cups, plates, throwing whatever is closest. On his anger trips he has thrown stuff at me, one time a full cup of soda. I have extreme anxiety when he gets angry. Our pit bull fears him because of his tones. When he is sick or injured he will cuss me out if I get in his way. I tried leaving two years ago because it got physical, but I got manipulated to coming back. 
It took one year for him to trust I wasn't leaving again. Now he gets to where he will call me a bum, loser, and will scream and cuss me. This weekend he got mad at me because I asked him to help me with house work or something along that line. (he doesn't do a thing but work) he got mad screamed so I mocked him which I shouldn't have, he came running toward me and shoved my head then hit the sink purifier which flew at me, he then smacked my face grabbed my head and threw me into the fridge, (I have a bad back two surgeries) I fell on the trash he yelled telling me to get off the trash and dragged me off of it, I couldn't move I thought my arm was broke (it was bruised and hurt so bad: he called me a chump, said I was a wimp, and weak. then got his gun and said I know I messed up minus well shoot myself. then he said no Im not, anytime he goes thru rages he blames me, if I had shut up or I push him to do it. I am scared of him this weekend really made my fears jump. he acted nice all week to make up for it but now the cussing me started again with the yelling. I fear to leave because of before. I need advice . We went on vaca few weeks ago the whole time he is angry complaining etc. except the way home it was aweful.
Posted @ Friday, July 11, 2014 12:32 AM by jess
How is it that even after I moved out, he thinks he can get huffy with me when things I say don't pertain to him! Why does he think interrogating me about my job is ok? What steps do I take to debrief of his negative emotional abuse? It's like he still is controlling my head. I am looking for pointers to get me detoxified
Posted @ Friday, July 11, 2014 8:54 PM by J
Hi Jess, your story sounds exactly what I am going thru with my circumstances!! Email me if u would like and maybe we can help one another!
Posted @ Saturday, July 12, 2014 9:16 PM by Nik
Jess, Fear is what keeps people stuck in abusive relationships. Find a professional counselor to talk to and get advice on how to change things. You can talk to me if you like (look for more info under "Services" in the header above. But please get some help from a professional. -Kurt
Posted @ Saturday, July 19, 2014 8:12 AM by Kurt Smith, LMFT, LPCC, AFC
J, Good idea to develop a routine to debrief and detoxify yourself. I could teach you how to do this. But keep in mind that the real solution is changing your circumstances so you don't need to detoxify in the first place. Toxic relationships are something we should not be in, not trying to find a way to cope with. -Kurt
Posted @ Saturday, July 19, 2014 8:15 AM by Kurt Smith, LMFT, LPCC, AFC
I have been married for 32 years. My husband was a child that was brought up in a abusive family. I love my husband, but he always talks negatively to me. When we are around other people he always corrects me or contradicts me. I worked out of town for a while and really enjoyed it, but missed my family. While out of town I began to feel better about myself. But I had to quit my job to move home. My husband if a wonderful person around other people. He has a great personality. Everyone loves him.... but with me he is mean. He calls me demeaning names. Lately he's became physically abusive. Slapping me across the face with a wet washcloth and throwing a tomato at me, both times leaving marks. He blames me, because he says I am mean to him, or I made him made. I admit that I have low self esteem however I think I'm just scared to leave after all these years. I feel bad for him because of the way he was raised, but at the same time I'm tired of living like this. I hate myself and constantly question that maybe it is my fault. I have started taking pictures of the marks left on my body. I don't know why I'm keeping pictures. I really don't think I will ever leave but I'm tired of not having any friends because he makes me feel like I don't deserve to have friends. I really don't know what to do. I know that I'm not easy to live with. I take medication for depression and anxiety. But I feel like I'm walking on eggshells. Today he throw a tomato at me and left a welt. I was crying in my room and he came in and asked angrily why I was crying when it happened 5 mins. ago? He asked to see the welt and then he said you stated it. You squirted me with the hose, which I did, but he was already wet from swimming. I didn't expect him to react the way he did. But I felt guilty. He's is very good at making me feel guilty. He is a semi recovering addict/alcoholic and having a tough time of it, but I can't help him. I don't know what to do. I am so unhappy and lonely I hate myself.
Posted @ Saturday, July 26, 2014 7:17 PM by D.J.G.
D.J. G., You're in an abusive marriage and have the signs - "I felt guilty", "question that maybe it is my fault", etc. Get some professional help from a counselor, domestic abuse shelter, or contact me if you want my help. -Kurt
Posted @ Tuesday, July 29, 2014 7:53 AM by Kurt Smith, LMFT, LPCC, AFC
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