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What Is Verbal Abuse in Marriage?

You haven’t felt good about your marriage in a long time. You know, or suspect, that your spouse is verbally abusive, and a part of you wants out STAT.

But the other part of you is afraid. What if your spouse gets angry at your decision to leave, and decides to make things worse for you or your loved ones? 

What if there’s a chance your spouse will revert to the loving, kind person they used to be, and you regret leaving them behind? 

What if everything you’ve been through is all in your head, and you just need to sit it out until the storm blows over? 

Know this: Regardless of the reason, no one deserves to be abused, verbally or emotionally. It’s one thing to anger people every now and then. It’s another for them to take it out on you on a regular basis for no apparent reason — other than they can. 

So what is verbal abuse in marriage? Here are some of the signs you should watch out for:

  • You get shouted at on a regular basis. 
  • You don’t feel free to talk about certain things with your spouse, because they either blow up at you, or shoot you down with invalidating remarks and backhanded insults. 
  • You’re consistently on the receiving end of derogatory comments about your gender/religion/social status/etc. When you call them out on those comments, they respond with, “It’s just a joke!” or “Geez, you’re so sensitive about these things.”
  • You’re blamed for all their problems, even the ones they bring down on themselves, and expect you to take 100 percent responsibility for those problems. 
  • You’re given the silent treatment. There’s a “Cold War” in the house more often than not. 
  • You never hear from them when you do something good. But when you make the tiniest mistake, they can talk all day about what a pathetic wretch you are. 
  • You feel guilty when you’re out with people who are not your spouse, because you feel like you’re neglecting them somehow.
  • You always feel like they need to have the last word. 
  • When you threaten to leave them, they apologize over and over, only to go back to their old ways once they “earn” your forgiveness. 
  • You’re beginning to question your sanity and intelligence, because they somehow manage to make you look and feel like the “villain” all the time. 

Even after reading those signs and symptoms of verbal abuse, you may still be reluctant to do anything. Maybe there’s a perfectly rational explanation for your spouse’s behavior. Maybe your spouse didn’t get the love they needed when they were children, so it’s up to you to fill up that hole in their heart. Maybe, just maybe, they’re also trying their hardest to make your marriage work, but can’t express themselves properly. Continue reading