10 Signs You're the Husband of an Abusive Wife
Domestic abuse is an allegation that is commonly raised within the family law setting, however, what defines domestic abuse is often confusingly limited to physical violence. It’s more common to see emotional abuse in marriages ending in divorce, and the abuser is less likely to be the husband as some may believe. Some studies suggest that up to 40% of domestic abuse is carried out against the husband, but that number is hard to specify because men are less likely to report abuse or claim abuse out of embarrassment, fear, or uncertainty of being believed.
It’s also not clear to most men what defines abuse and when they are being subjected to it. They may just believe “that’s just part of marriage” when they are in fact subjected to emotionally abusive behaviors. In order to address the issue, husbands should know what to look for. Here are 10 indicators you may be the victim of an abusive marriage.
Being verbally abusive, belittling, humiliating, or name-calling in front of your friends or family
Verbal put-downs or attacks in front of friends or family is the first sign that your spouse doesn’t respect you and is willing to let others know that she doesn’t by verbally attacking or jabbing at you in front of them. This goes hand in hand with an attempt to isolate you from your friends and family in order to prevent those closest to you from recognizing the changes that are likely occurring in you.
Possessive, jealous, harassing with accusations of unfaithfulness
The abusive wife is likely going to be very possessive of your time and attention and will accuse you of neglecting your family as a restful of your time with friends or family. That possessiveness goes to the next identifier, so be on the lookout too for accusations of unfaithfulness. Be aware that when someone turns the table on you and accuses you of something, it’s because they are most likely guilty. Honest people tend to think others are honest too, while guilty people tend to think everyone around them is also guilty. “Methinks the lady doth protest too much.”
Controlling where you go and who you see, Isolating you from friends and family
“I need you home because I have a headache.” This may be true and it may be a reason why you shouldn’t meet a friend on your way home from work, but if it consistently happens it may be a sign of an attempt to isolate and control your time and attention. When you’re a working husband, there are few opportunities to connect and spend time with friends, so that often happens over coffee in the morning, lunch during the day, happy hour after work, or maybe on the golf course. If your wife seems to consistently create reasons for you to forego those times or makes you feel guilty when you get home because of those visits, you’ve probably got an abusive spouse on your hands.
Controlling of how you spend money or deliberately defaulting on joint obligations
t’s not unusual for one spouse to maintain the checkbook and pay the bills, but in an abusive home, this can be an opportunity for the abusive wife to maintain control as opposed to maintaining a budget. If you’re not minding the store you don’t know what the employees are doing, and the same goes for your home. The abusive spouse may be blaming you for not providing enough when at the same time they’re spending is anything but budget-minded putting more and more pressure on your to produce. And when you can’t produce enough to keep up, refer to #1 above to see what’s coming next.
Making false allegations about you to her friends or yours, or employers, police, or finding ways to isolate and manipulate you
Girlfriends will be girlfriends. The abusive wife will likely make you feel that she’s putting her girls before you and that’s probably the case. At the same time, she’s limiting your ability to see your own friends, and expecting you to accommodate her own social agenda. She may be speaking poorly of you to her friends who care little about you and are affirming her narrative of life being terrible in the home she’s in, all the while leaving you to care for the kids as she pursues her own life outside the home.
Threatening to leave you and keep you from seeing your kids
This is quite common in households where emotional abuse is prevalent. Mothers have developed an expectation that they have the upper hand when it comes to their children. They know that regardless of how progressive our society has become, or how much time fathers are spending caring for children today, the mother still has the upper hand in a family law court. The abusive wife is one who is quick to use this as a weapon with her husband. “Leave me and I’ll take the kids and you’ll be lucky to see them.” That’s a powerful statement to a husband dealing with the trauma of an emotionally abusive marriage and works well to keep a husband tied to the marriage because fo the kids.
Treating the man like a child or servant
“You never do anything right.” “You’re such a slob.” “I have to check your work or it may not be done right.” These may be regular comments you hear in your marriage and they may be signs of an abusive relationship. If the husband told the wife “You can’t do anything right,” it would clearly be used as evidence of abuse, why is that different when coming from the wife? Treating a spouse with such disrespect is a sign of abuse. As is expecting the working spouse to clean the house when the non-working spouse has been home all day. A non-working spouse attacking a working spouse for not doing the dishes that day, or not doing enough around the house as soon as he’s home from a workday, is emotional abuse. Recognize it for what it is.
Making the man feel like he’s crazy
Wives gaslight husbands just as easily as husbands do the same to wives. There are a few more powerful manipulation tactics like convincing something they are crazy and that the issues the marriage is facing are all their fault. Emotionally sensitive husbands are subject to attack in this way and may succumb to it by believing they are the reason for the problems in the marriage or are not doing enough, or may have a mental health issue. Be observant of what is being said to you by your wife and recognize it for what it may be. Abuse.
Making the man feel guilty
This goes hand-in-hand with the above trait because attacking someone and saying they are crazy, inept, or incapable is also making the man feel that he’s guilty of all of the problems in the world of the wife. In fact, if your spouse has ever told you you’re the reason for her problems, she’s being emotionally abusive.
The easiest thing for an abusive wife to do is to withhold affection. If she’s unjustifiably withholding affection as a punishment to the man, she’s exhibiting emotionally abusive behavior.
These traits are signs of abuse and are applicable to men just as much as women when they are identified within a domestic relationship. When husbands are subjected to these behaviors, it is traumatic in ways not quickly recognized and can contribute to insecurities, self-doubt, and depression in men as they try to navigate lives in which these are daily obstacles to overcome.
If you are a victim of domestic violence, there’s help. Call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-799-7233, or seek counsel in order to discuss the options available to you.
Tracy, N. (2021, December 17). Emotional Abuse of Men: Men Victims of Emotional Abuse Too, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2022, March 26 from https://www.healthyplace.com/abuse/emotional-psychological-abuse/emotional-abuse-of-men-men-victims-of-emotional-abuse-too