Written by Rhonda Sosebee Neely
How do you know if your husband is verbally abusive? He tells you your arms are fat, you’re not attractive anymore, he says you’re always doing things the wrong way, you’re a lousy mother, your cooking tastes horrible, no one else will want you, you aren’t smart enough to hold down a job, my friends think you’re a witch, you’re ugly, you’re fat, you’re stupid, or you’re selfish.
You’ve endured name calling, you’re afraid to speak your mind in fear of how he might respond, you watch him throw a temper tantrum like a 2 year old, or he gives you the silent treatment.
Verbal abuse will destroy you if you allow it to! You’ll start to believe his comments, you’ll lose your self-esteem, you’ll lose your happiness, and you’ll also lose your love for him. You’ll lose your inner self and that’s exactly what he wants. Depression will become the nature of your life. That’s not what you want is it?
Why is he like this?
Men are often verbally abusive by saying derogatory remarks, insults, name calling, and playing mind games, because they feel inadequate about themselves. This behavior is an attempt to exercise control and dominance in your marriage. Truth be known, he believes he‘s not good enough for you. He’s afraid you are going to leave him so he acts in this manner so he’s not the one left standing alone. What he doesn’t realize is he’s pushing you right out the door.
What can you do?
We’ve determined your husband is controlling and verbally abusive from the paragraphs above. So now what do you do?
- He is looking to provoke you into getting angry, sad, or upset. Don’t let this happen! Remember, this is exactly what he wants and it is exactly what gives him the control. At first he’s not going to know how to react when you don’t give him the control. Many times, he’ll get even angrier because he isn’t able to gain the control. Make sense? Do not get into an argument with him; do not defend yourself (you don’t need to prove to him how great you are you just need to know that you are great).
- You might try phrases like “Stop” or “Back Off” or “This is not healthy” even “I’m not going to participate in this type of behavior with you”. A wholesome tongue is a tree of life” (Proverbs 15:4).
- Focus on your self-esteem. Find the wonderful person you were when the two of you met. Don’t let go of that person ever, for anyone. Know you are created perfectly in God’s image, know that you are loved, and love yourself. Don’t ever let anyone steel that away from you, ever.
- Do not point out his faults. This only takes you down to his level and that’s not the way God intended your marriage to be, belittling each other. That’s not the way you want to be either is it? A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger” (Proverbs 15:1).
- Do all that you can do to get your husband to believe in himself. For whatever reason, someone in his life failed to boost his self-esteem, and maybe even damaged his beliefs about himself by telling him he is no good. The way to get your husband to believe in himself and to boost his self-esteem is to encourage him every day, at the least…every day!! Tell him what he does well. Tell him he looks nice (if he does); tell him over and over and over again the great qualities about him. This is not a process that can be turned around overnight, it will take some time. You must continue to praise and compliment your husband, even when he can’t compliment you. Eventually, in return he will mock your behavior and begin to compliment you. The more he loves himself, the more he can love you. He may not admit his faults, but your words may be remembered the next time he finds himself speaking abusively to you.
- Evaluate your relationship with the Lord. Are you living your life according to the guidelines of His word? When a husband and wife are truly living “in Christ” they don’t want to hurt each other, instead they are continuously praising, encouraging, and supporting each other.
The bible tells us the wife is her husband’s help (Genesis 2:18). You are his helper, and rest assured, your husband will not be able to function and walk the straight and narrow path if it were not for you. He needs you! He is broken! Will you help him?
If you find your abuse is more than verbal, or if it becomes physically abusive, seek help immediately.
Contact the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence at
1.800.799.SAFE (7233) or 1.800.787.3224 (TTY).
Keep your local law enforcement involved.