Husband abuse is no different than wife abuse. Whether the abuse is in the form of physical, verbal, mental or emotional abuse, abuse is abuse is abuse and not to be tolerated. It is a myth that very few men experience domestic violence, and when we hear or read stories of spousal abuse victims, it is often thought that mental, emotional and/or physical abuse is only perpetrated by men against women.
It is a fact that men who are abused by the women they love are often silent victims of abuse at the hands of their wives, girlfriends or partners. Men typically don’t call the police or make a police report. Family members, close friends and even co-workers sometimes recognize the tell-tale signs of abuse, even without any visible bruises, scratches or marks on the male victim, but feel they don’t know how to help.
Emotionally abused men and husbands who are abused by wives are in an unhealthy relationship, hoping upon hope that their abusive spouse or partner will change and the bad relationship will become a healthy, happy marriage that will last a lifetime. The chances that women abusers will change their abusive behaviors and attitudes towards the men in their lives are slim to none. Just like abusive men or husbands who abuse their wives or girlfriends.
Men in abusive relationships need to realize and come to terms with the fact that abuse is a learned characteristic and is deeply ingrained in their wife or girlfriend’s personality, and you can’t just wish it away. Mentally and emotionally abused men, who haven’t yet experienced physical abuse or battery, must not downplay or minimize the abuse in their hearts and minds. Domestic violence or physical abuse towards men often go hand in hand with mental and emotional abuse.
Just because your wife or girlfriend may not have hit, slapped, punched, kicked or stabbed you (yet) doesn’t mean the abuse won’t escalate to the point of physical violence. Abusive partners do not change. The abuse only gets worse as time goes by.
Are You In An Abusive Relationship?
Mental and emotional abuse destroys a person’s self-esteem and self-worth from the inside out, and the negative effects run so deep that it can take years to recover. Domestic violence and abuse of all kinds is an absolute deal breaker for marriages, and children who grow up in abusive homes learn what they live, increasing their chances of becoming abusers or abuse victims themselves.
Greg Enns and Jan Black, authors of the book entitled It’s Not Okay Anymore suggest abuse victims ask themselves the following questions to help identify the signs of abuse in their relationship. See if you can recognize potential problem areas in your relationship or marriage with your spouse or partner. Ask yourself:
- Does she criticize, embarrass or humiliate you in front of other people, including your friends or family?
- Does she insist that things you want for yourself are selfish and/or wrong?
- Does your wife, girlfriend or partner withhold affection or sex to “punish” you for violating her rules?
- Does she intimidate you or make you feel afraid in some way? How? Do you feel like you have to “walk on eggshells” around her to keep the peace?
- Does your wife threaten to harm you, threaten to harm herself or anyone else, if/when you decide to leave and divorce her?
- Does she require or force you to ask her for money, or take your money away from you? How much access do you personally have to the checking account, savings account, bank statements and bills?
- Does your wife or partner control all of the family finances (financial abuse), where you don’t even know what money there is or how, when or where money is being spent?
- Has your wife prevented you from taking a job you want, or kept you from going to school/college? Has your wife forced you through manipulation, coercion or intimidation to quit a job you had?
- Does your wife minimize or deny her abusive treatment of you, or make “jokes” about how she treats you? Does she blame you for her abusive behaviors?
- Does your girlfriend, wife or partner treat you as if you are her personal servant or slave?
- Does she make you do things you feel are ethically or morally wrong or illegal?
- Does your wife or partner criticize or belittle your Christian/religious beliefs, or tell you that your faith or beliefs are wrong?
- Does your wife restrict or limit your contact with your family or friends, or make you leave social gatherings because she says so?
- If you have children together, does your girlfriend or wife threaten you’ll never be able to see your children if you leave or divorce her?
- Has your partner or spouse hit, slapped, punched, kicked, or threatened to cause you physical bodily harm?
Borderline Personality Disorder
Men, you have to decide for yourselves how many “yes” answers it takes to determine if you are in an abusive relationship. Men abused by women need help, support and encouragement from friends, family and society, to give husbands and abused men the strength and courage needed to get away from their abusers once and for all. Are you being battered or abused by your spouse?
Are you married to or in a relationship with a person with borderline personality disorder, also referred to as BPD? Stop Walking on Eggshells is a book written by Paul T Mason and Randi Kregor, with an extensive checklist for abuse victims to determine if they are (unfortunately) involved with or married to someone with BPD and advice on how to break free.
Another excellent resource for abused men and husbands is the book entitled Abused Men: The Hidden Side of Domestic Violence by Philip W. Cook. The authors shine a bright light on studies, statistics, actual percentages of abused men, along with personal stories of men who have been mentally, physically, verbally and/or emotionally abused by women.
There are a lot of battered and abused guys who are experiencing various types of domestic violence in their own homes and relationships, and it’s about time we as a society show our support for male victims and rally around them as they develop the courage and strength to seek help. Men, you are not alone. Read these books, seek out help from local support groups in your area or online, but reach out and get the help you need to live your life free of abuse.