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Living with Emotionally Abusive Men


Emotionally Abusive MenWhat’s it like to live with emotionally abusive men?  Let’s ask Emily.

In many ways Emily and Jason’s relationship looks picture perfect.  In fact, she says that it’s better than any relationship she’s ever had.

But there’s a problem.  Even though from the outside Jason looks like the perfect guy, Emily wonders if he’s really just another version of the emotionally abusive men she’s been with before.

Jason has this habit of denying Emily’s experience of events.  Recently they had a fight over going out with friends.  Since then every time they talk about that night Jason insists that Emily is not remembering correctly what happened, specifically what he said and did, nor does she remember correctly what she said and did.

Jason can be very persuasive and convincing, and he has the ability to describe events in such a way that make it look like he’s done everything possible to resolve a problem and is just the victim of another person’s wrong behavior – i.e. Emily.  As a result, Emily frequently questions herself about her recall of the facts and if in fact Jason is really correct and she is wrong (Tip – when you find yourself routinely thinking this way this can be a sign of emotionally abusive men).

What makes this such a problem is that this happens all the time, over big things and little things.  

  • Jason is right; Emily is wrong.
  • Jason acted correctly; Emily acted wrongly.
  • Jason doesn’t have anything to change; Emily needs to change.

See the pattern?  Abusive relationships have patterns like this.  Additionally, it’s always Emily who considers that maybe she doesn’t remember things correctly and was in the wrong – never Jason.

One way to spot abusive men is that they don’t take responsibility for their actions.  But they don’t have to because in their mind they’re never wrong.  Abusive men also don’t use self-reflection to evaluate their behavior like Emily does above.  They blame.

Unfortunately, relationships with emotionally abusive men are difficult to see.  Abusive men are skilled at controlling the relationship in very subtle ways.  In couples counseling Jason has refused to continue to talk to Emily because she wouldn’t accept HIS version of the truth, and has even ended the meeting to further make his point.

Through couples counseling Emily has learned about abusive relationships and now recognizes she’s in another one again.  Now we’re working together to help her learn how to change it.  If you’ve got emotionally abusive man in your life, you should too.


WOW,,, OMG! That is the same thing i go through all the time. I never thought or knew that thats a sighn of abuse. I do know that my husband of 9 years is just the same as discribed above. I always tell myself that he just sees and feels things in/at a diffrent way then i do. I call it INDENIAL. to me i guess thats how most men are. lol i showed him this message and he smerked and told me " yea watever thats not true it's just that i and most men have a better prospective and memory then woman, and i know detail after detail what happened 3 years ago when we were out celebriting and you were outside the bar with someone else and left me in there for more then a half hour. i know thats how long you were out there." OK,, realy i was outside smoking and talking to someone and I KNOW it was'nt no half hour or more. lol he had more to drink then me that night,so yea i see you're pont here. awsome to just learned that maybe he is right and im wrong! but nope i knew he was wrong.
Posted @ Sunday, January 01, 2012 9:11 PM by I2sweet4you
I think this might be me. We've recently had the talk after he told me, He doesn't like my effort lately (over not putting garlic salt on the toast) about how I'm always walking on eggshells, he's always critiquing everything I say and do. Nothing is to his perfection. I can't even cut carrots rite. Now, he never calls me names, never physically hurts me or the kids, but I'm always thinking and rethinking what I'm going to say around him. I've even told him it's too much work talking to him sometimes. You know what he told me? He told me he would have to get after me or give me "Constructive Critisism" if I'd just do the things his way. We've been married twelve years and he still claims our money is really his money because he makes it. He goes snowmachineing every weekend and I get in trouble for buying a 99cent app for my phone. He refuses to go to counseling with me and I'm at my whits end. He doesn't believe we have a problem, I just need to step up my game.
Posted @ Tuesday, January 17, 2012 2:29 PM by Christy
Christy, Wow your husband can sure spin things to make himself look pretty good. This is a sign of abuse too.  
Get some support as you step up your game. You're in a tough spot -- like many of the women who visit this blog. Take a look at the posts on Controlling Men in the list on right side of this page for more help.
Posted @ Wednesday, February 08, 2012 6:28 PM by Kurt Smith, MFT, AFC
Wow! This is exactly what happened to me at college! A group of girls would chase around campus and call me b****! I go to the dean of students then she did the same exact thing. Then she had a talk...that i dont want to talk about here. My father went to her and she denied everything and made it look like I was a freak and deserved it. I'll never be the same.
Posted @ Friday, November 30, 2012 8:57 AM by Aal
i resemble this- or should I say my husband does. he recently told me he walks on pins and needles around me because he doesn't know what to expect from me. this was after a conversation where he suggested he never wants to have sex with me again.additionally, in the last month, whenever we make plans to do something, if i seem excited at all, he finds a way to screw it up. As an example, I suggested we go to a car show (he;s a car guy) and we made the lans, the eve before he says :we can do something else" i said fine, i was looking forward to the car show but if he doesn't want to go, he wouldn't have any fun which means i wouldn't either" this started an argument and the end result was we didn't do anything.this happens every weekend regardless of who made the plans or suggested them, If he thinks I want to go, he finds a way to screw it up. To add to my frustration, he also shows no interest in me sexually, never says I love you. He says he "shows his love" by doing things like planning things to do (that he finds a way to screw up) or working on my motorcycle etc. Suspicious that he s having an affair but he doesn't have any of the classic signs but I also travel for work every other week, think he may be a narcissist or passive aggressive and definitely emotionally abusive.
Posted @ Saturday, August 02, 2014 1:54 AM by sherry
Sherry, Men can lose interest in their partners for a number of reasons. It could be one of the reasons you list or something else. Get some help from a professional counselor to figure it out. -Kurt
Posted @ Saturday, August 09, 2014 6:51 PM by Kurt Smith, LMFT, LPCC, AFC
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