This article explores the emotional abuses some husbands experience and grapple with in an intimate relationship.
The information provided is intended to help abused husbands validate some of their suspicions and feelings of being emotionally abused by their spouses. Its aim is to also bring greater social awareness to what behaviours constitute husband abuse.
In cases of emotional husband abuse, the abusive spouse often attempts to strain the husband’s relationships with others – including sabotaging special functions and friendships with loved ones.
The ultimate goals of the emotionally abusive spouse are to isolate the husband from his social support systems, achieve control and assert their power position in the intimate relationship.
Some common strategies employed by abusive wives:
Negatively affecting the husband’s ability to enjoy a social engagement (for example, creating an argument right before the social gathering).
Making snide remarks to the husband during the event to make him feel self-conscious and/or to undermine his confidence.
Saying something inappropriate to embarrass him in front of others.
Being curt to his friends, family, colleagues or business clients.
It is not unusual for abusive and hurtful comments to often be said in jest. The objective is not to appear amusing. Rather it is to negate deliberate intent and to make it harder for the injured party to defend himself.
Aside from being verbally or emotionally abusive in public, many abusive females can also be caustic to their intimate partners at home. Often, abused husbands find themselves subject to growing and repeated criticisms – despite successfully meeting their partner’s expressed expectations.
Some abused husbands eventually start to feel as if they are not only endlessly hopping through a barrage of hoops but they also feel that no matter what they do or accomplish nothing is ever good enough for their spouse. Frequently, their successes are attributed to good luck rather than their ability or skill. Simultaneously, any setbacks or failures encountered by the husband are quickly attributed to his incompetence.
Other types of harmful emotional husband abuses:
Being incessantly jealous/casting unsubstantiated accusations of infidelity.
Using emotional blackmail, affection and/or sex as a weapon.
Irresponsible spending of household income – spending beyond her means.
Not sharing in joint responsibility of household expenses or chores.
Uttering verbal threats, yelling and/or swearing at the husband.
This list of emotional abuses is by no means exhaustive. However, one way to best recognize emotional abuse is to evaluate the negative emotional response someone’s behaviour evokes in another. Key indicators for emotional abuse typically leave the victim feeling:
Ashamed and withdrawn
Anxious – especially in the presence of the abuser
Fearful about the future
To bring forth positive change in an emotionally abusive relationship it is suggested victims establish a personalized list of new boundaries – including identifying abusive behaviours they will no longer tolerate from their partner.
There also needs to be an action plan in place in the event the abusive spouse disregards such expressed boundaries and expectation of mutual respect in the relationship.
While a separation might seem an unfavourable solution, it might be warranted as it can provide the necessary wake-up call for the abusive partner and motivate her to change her abusive tendencies to salvage the relationship.