Having to deal with a verbally abusive husband is very depressive and difficult. Especially when there are children included (not that it is any easier when they’re not included.) According to “The National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey,” a study done by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 2010, one in seven women in America have experienced abuse by their partners in the last 12 months. And while you can’t do anything to change your husband’s behavior (unless they want to), you can at least find ways to help you deal with an abusive partner and take control of your life.
Interestingly, only women are victims of verbal abuse, says Laura Doyle. While you may find it hard to believe, she says women are more likely to identify as verbal abuse victims, whereas men hardly use the term. This does not mean that women aren’t verbally abusive, it’s just that when Doyle asked men whether they’ve dealt with verbal abuse, their answer was, “Naww, she’s just being mean.” This indicates that usually, men are the abusers or they don’t want to admit they’re being abused. Or, there might be another explanation, according to Doyle. She says, maybe “our harsh words land less painfully on their thick skins.” Either way, verbal abuse is painful and leaves the victim confused and worn out.
Patricia Evans, an Interpersonal Communications Specialist, claims that she has spoken to more than 45,000 people, and 97% of them were women abused by their partners and adds that “It’s still a male-dominated society.”
Even when the abuse is not physical, it’s quite difficult to live with it. Abuse is abuse, whether it’s physical, emotional, or verbal – the one we’re dealing with. And like we pointed out, you can’t change an abuser, but you can choose to help yourself by following a few steps, as told by LiveStrong.
1. Take care of yourself
Dealing with verbal abuse is emotionally exhausting and can affect your well-being. Therefore, you should take great care of yourself, be it by eating healthy, getting enough rest, reading books or finding a new hobby. Always remember your value and don’t let anyone make you feel inferior. Keep in touch with your family and friends, and if your husband tries to interfere, tell them what is happening, so they can be more understanding of the situation. Your husband might also criticize your parenting skills, but try to ignore the negative comments and remember that this behavior has more to do with him than you, according to theBump.
2. Learn more about abusive relationships
Reading can help you better understand the situation you’re in and make you realize abuse is not something to blame yourself for, it’s just something your husband chooses to do. More importantly, don’t lose perspective of the situation thinking the abuse is all part of your imagination, as claimed by LiveStrong. By no means, you should start believing all the horrible things your husband says to you. That’s why you should be more informed on verbal abuse and, if it helps, contact a domestic violence advocate and seek professional help. Don’t ever let it get to you!
3. Have a safety plan
The National Domestic Violence Hotline, emphasizes the importance of having a safety plan when you are in an abusive relationship/marriage. You might say I don’t need one because my husband is verbally abusive, not physically. Well, we really hope it doesn’t happen, but plenty of times, verbal abuse has spiraled into physical, thus, making the situation go from bad to worse. So, even if your husband hasn’t physically harmed you, think of a plan and don’t live your life fearing for your safety or your children’s safety (if there are children involved in this.)
Patricia Evans claims that some of the verbal abusers don’t use physical violence only because they know they’ll end up in jail. And while physical abuse results in physical harm, verbal abuse is just as painful because of all the threating, name-calling and constant criticism women usually endure.
When it comes to abusers, and whether they can or cannot change, well, we can’t say anything for sure. There might be several factors to why they behave in such a way. The abuse might be ingrained in them, or they simply, won’t accept they are the problem and not you. Regardless, it’s not preferable to stay around to find out whether they’ll change or not.
See also: Signs You’re Experiencing Verbal Abuse