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Verbal Abuse of Men - You are NOT alone!

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Hi, my name is Terry and I started this Web site because I wanted you to know that you are not alone. There are many men who are victims of verbal abuse. By coming together, we can provide each other support in helping transform ourselves from victims to survivors.

I am a victim of over 9 years of verbal abuse and have finally found the courage to escape from my verbally abusive wife. I must tell you that this was the most difficult decision of my life, to leave someone that I love to protect myself. This was especially difficult for me, as a victim of verbal abuse, who was conditioned for all those years to be controlled rather than to take control. When you make a decision like this, you question your love, but then you realize it is your love that kept you together for all those years. It was because of my love for her that I continued to turn the other cheek, and return love with the belief that love can conquer all. Slowly, though, my feelings progressed from blaming myself every time she got angry or upset, thinking it was all my fault, to feelings of failure at not being able to create a better relationship, to doubts about myself and my own identity, to an empty and lonely desperation, and finally to a debilitating fear, continually triggered by her death threats toward me. Often she accused me of having a girlfriend and told me she would kill me if she found out that I had one (which I do not). After she told family members and friends that she thought I had a girlfriend, I was unable to sleep at night without thinking about the potential violence. I began to feel like a prisoner in a POW camp, always fearful of the master.

Like many verbal abuse victims, I had no awareness of what was happening to me until I was in over my head and did not know how to get out. I was like the frog in the biology experiment that is boiled to death by not realizing that the water is being gradually turned up higher and higher. I would have never believed that I, a retired Air Force officer and motivational speaker, the eternal optimist who was always in control, could ever be manipulated, intimidated, and controlled the way I had been over the past several years. It was like a slow brainwashing, not really knowing what was happening to me until I was experiencing physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual problems that I could not explain. As I found help, and learned more about being a victim of verbal abuse, I realized that I had been slowly changed from a strong, positive, happy man to an intimidated, tired, and worn husband who feared his wife like a child fears an abusive parent. It was a bitter pill to swallow. How could this happen to ME? I always thought I was so strong! It took awhile to admit my weakness and accept the cold, stark reality.

When I first became aware of the abuse a few years ago, I searched the Web for help. While I found a lot of Web sites for abused women, I could only find a few references to abused men, acknowledging the fact that we did exist but stating that there was not as much information available about us. I did manage to find a checklist of verbal abuse symptoms from Kansas State University http://www.oznet.ksu.edu/library/famlf2/gt346d.pdf (Note: If a sign in window pops up, click the Cancel button), printed it out, and approached my wife to ask that we discuss this and do something to work through it. As you might have guessed, that just got her angry, nothing was accomplished, and the verbal abuse got worse. From what I read later, verbal abusers seldom admit the abuse.

The more research I continued to do on verbal abuse, the more I realized the hopelessness of my situation. I could answer YES to virtually all of the questions on the Home page of this Web site, plus many more that are not listed. To be honest, it was difficult, as a man who wanted to believe he was spiritually, emotionally and mentally strong, to accept that I had become a victim who lived in fear of his wife. Personally, I found it very humbling, humiliating, and painful to admit that I was a weak victim. I felt like a failure.

When I tried to seek support from people close to me, who did their best to be supportive and kind, I felt that they could not really understand the gravity of the situation. While most acknowledged my wife's abusive behavior, I knew they could not comprehend the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual toll that it took on me. I was near my breaking point but nobody could see the scars. I really felt a kinship with those who wrote all of the desperate letters that I read in books, and on various Web sites, about verbal abuse. Until now, I could not really relate to the desperation, the time when you know your health, and your very life, have been threatened but nobody seems to really understand. I felt very alone.

I guess I couldn't blame others for not relating to me. I was viewed by many as the happy guy who always knew how to handle stress. Up to now, I thought that as well. When my breaking point was reached, the roof caved in on me. I managed to find some supportive Web sites, helpful books (which I have listed on the Helpful Info page of this Web site), and learn the necessity of finding a good counselor with experience in helping verbal abuse victims. I am now in the beginning of my journey to escape the verbal abuse. While I am getting better, I must admit I do have a long way to go to totally recover from so many years of being a victim. I still shudder every time my phone rings, thinking it might be my wife. I still hear her abusive comments and commands in my head as I go about my daily life, finding it difficult to regain control of my own thoughts and actions. I still have nightmares about her being back in my life. In short, I have rather severe symptoms of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), referred to on the Home page of this Web site.

While I am not certain of what the future might bring, I am certain that I made the right decision. The water was near the boiling point and, through the encouragement of family and friends, I was able to jump out before it was too late. I pray that you too will find the courage, and encouragement, to take a positive step toward your own recovery.

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Recovery - Seven months later: It has now been seven months since I wrote the above description of my situation. While my wife is still the same abusive person she ever was, and is doing everything possible to "make things ugly" during the divorce proceedings, I have managed to get my physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual life back in order. One resource that really helped me understand my situation, and the mind of my abusive wife, was Patricia Evan's book, "The Verbally Abusive Relationship," which is listed on the Helpful Info page of this Web site. In her book, Patricia speaks of two realities. The first is the reality in which most normal people exist, where love can pretty much conquer all, where people kiss and make up and all parties in a disagreement wish to resolve it and go on enjoying life. The second reality is one in which the abuser lives, where there is no desire to resolve anything, because that would give away the abuser's power. I cannot encourage you enough to read this book. When I read it, I felt like Patricia knew my wife, as everything she said in the book seemed to apply to my situation. The book is very well written and, if you are anything like me, will open up your understanding of abusers and help you understand why nothing you ever did seemed to work to help fix your relationship. While my journey through the divorce proceedings is not yet over, I can assure you that you can heal and become the strong person you were before being abused. The key seems to be to completely severe the energy between you by having no contact whatsoever with the abuser.

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Recovery - Twelve more months have passed: Six months after the above posting, my divorce was final. The best thing that came out of the divorce was a lifetime "no contact" clause that legally prevents my ex-wife from ever contacting me or any members of my family. I encourage you to seriously consider having this written into your divorce decree if you decide to divorce. This completely cuts the energy and allows you to truly begin a new life. My divorce was very costly financially. The legal system in Kentucky seems to still favor the woman, no matter what the circumstances of the divorce. She received a large cash settlement plus 5 years of maintenance (alimony), primarily due to the fact that she feigned a disability during the divorce proceedings. Miraculously, though, according to many of her family and close friends, once I was out of her life, she immediately became well and began dating several men, apparently looking for another victim to abuse. I was blessed with a wonderful lawyer and a supportive family, on both sides of the divorce. During all of the turmoil of the divorce proceedings, at the urging of a very dear friend, I enrolled in a massage therapy program at a local nursing school. After 18 months of intensive study (anatomy, physiology, myology, kinesiology, pathology, medical terminology, and several courses in Western and Eastern massage modalities and energy work), I passed the National Certification Exam. Being focused on this intensive program was very therapeutic in helping me get myself grounded again and begin a new life. I encourage you to seriously think about doing something similar in adding something new to your life.

Looking back, my ex-wife was the perfect wife for about the first six months, and that is the woman I fell in love with. Her change from Dr. Jekyl to Mr. Hyde was dramatic, occurring without warning at around the six month point. I can tell you the day and time of the dramatic change. I first thought it might be something medical, but during the divorce discovery period found out that her abusive behaviors began very early in her life. Since the divorce, I have had people close to her remind me that the person I fell in love with never existed. It was all an act! Once I was completely hooked, her true colors began to show. Many people who knew her for years said they did not recognize the person she was during the first six months of our marriage and knew that I was in for a big surprise. As I became more familiar with abusive personalities, it appeared that this is a pattern, to be extremely nice and loving initially and later let the true colors show. Fortunately, we had no children together, although this was something she really wanted to make happen, which would have dramatically affected the long-term hold she would have on me. During the divorce discovery process, I found out that, during the time I was warned by people close to her that my life was in danger, she had a page on a singles site where she posted some very suggestive photos. I was presented a copy of this site with the photos. I also found that a trip to see a girlfriend months earlier was much more than just seeing a girlfriend. Looking back at the ten years with my ex-wife, I now see so many signs that should have alerted me to her abusive nature, which continues at this time towards members of her own family. I encourage you look for signs of potential violence in your abusive relationship, read Patricia Evan's book, mentioned above, seek out an abuse counselor (most communities have a center for abuse with free counseling), and learn as much as you can about the world the abuser lives in so you can better understand your situation. If you have children, be sure to read the letter immediately below, which talks about the terrible affect abuse has on the children, even to the extent of a child committing suicide. Then, please e-mail your stories (details are on this Web site at the Sharing Your Story page) so I can post them on this page for others to read so we can all learn from each other. I pray that all of you find the strength, understanding, and guidance you need to get you through this challenging time in your life. I can assure you that there is light at the end of the tunnel. I now live in that light and it is wonderful!

It is important to understand that you must forgive your wife for the abuse if you wish to go on with your life. I have no ill feelings toward my ex-wife. All I feel is compassion toward her. While I have a life filled with happiness and love for all living beings, being surrounded by wonderfully positive people, I have been told that she continues to be abusive to even her own family and continues to experience a life of strife. I pray that one day she will acknowledge her abusive behavior, seek help, and find a life of peace and love.

There is an old saying that the finest golden objects are beaten into shape. I think it is important to be thankful for the lessons we have learned because of the abuse, for they have helped polish off our own rough edges. It is also important to learn from our experiences and go on to create a better life for ourselves, and our children, if you have been blessed with them. I pray that you will find the strength, knowledge, and clarity you require to make the best decision for your particular situation. God speed!

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Many of you have written asking how you could become victims. It seems like many time we get signs and answers from some of the strangest places. As I was contemplating this question, and considering my own experience, the following song from Percy Sledge came on the radio and I realized that when a man loves a woman, he sets himself up for the abuse. I have reprinted the words below for you to judge for yourself.

When a man loves a woman

Can't keep his mind on nothing else

He'll trade the world

For the good thing he's found

If she's bad he can't see it

She can do no wrong

Turn his back on his best friend

If he put her down
When a man loves a woman

Spend his very last dime

Tryin' to hold on to what he needs

He'd give up all his comfort

Sleep out in the rain

If she said that's the way it ought to be
Well, this man loves a woman

I gave you everything I had

Tryin' to hold on to your precious love

Baby, please don't treat me bad
When a man loves a woman

Down deep in his soul

She can bring him such misery

If she plays him for a fool

He's the last one to know

Lovin' eyes can't ever see
When a man loves a woman

He can do no wrong

He can never own some other girl

Yes when a man loves a woman

I know exactly how he feels

'Cause baby, baby, baby, you're my world
When a man loves a woman.....

That, my friends, seems to sum up why we became the enablers for abusive wives and significant others in our lives because, as men, we truly love(d) the women who abused us, and were willing to give up our very last dime, give up all of our comforts, sleep out in the rain, give everything we had, if she said that's the way it ought to be. Thanks, Percy, for the enlightenment.

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A reader of this Web site writes:

I just found this website and could relate closely to the developer. I had an epiphany a couple of months ago. I have been living with an emotionally/verbally abusive wife for 25 years and I am ready to pull the pin. I have had a great career and consider myself incredibly blessed. I have been known forever as an encourager and a person with a positive attitude. I have tried to share this information with my wife for years and she would ignore or dismiss my wanting to share. She would always point out my inadequacies, yet enjoy the money from my success in business. She always spent more than I was able to make. I didn't worry, because I felt I could always make more. She was always unhappy and never able to be content. When I tried hard to make her happy, she would move the bar. She would tell me that I needed to do it this way or I should have said it that way. The bottom line message is that it was always my fault. Sexually it was all about control and I was without often because I didn't do or say something right. She needed control and always decided when and where. Abusers don't love necessarily love, but they do want control.

My son and daughter both experienced the wrath. They both grew up thinking that they couldn't get it right. I continued to encourage and build them up in a positive light, but there was always the put downs and the finding of flaws. I always encouraged my children to respect their mother and insisted that they apologize when they were rude or disrespectful. I thought I was doing the right thing. She would get upset often and complain that she was never understood. You see, she was verbally abused by her dad and she passed it on to the next generation. Our children felt rebuffed frequently by her. She was the biological mother and she could still not bond. Apologies from arguments would end with the children apologizing and her standing rigid and refusing to hug and forgive their errors. My adolescent son, later committed suicide and I fear it was partly due to a well hidden lack of self esteem related to an abusive mother.

She appeared as a pained and angry lady often. She threatened to leave the house frequently and this really upset my children. The threats to leave were a result of their interaction with each other and she always yelled at them. I tried to make peace as best as I was able, but she never relented. I thought all was part of a normal relationship until I started reading about the effects of verbally abused daughters. It clearly articulated how the daughters of verbally abusive fathers were emotionally damaged during their childhood and how it left deep scars and often the adult children were unable to cope. When I read about these types of situations, I realized that I was not alone. I continually felt like I was walking on eggshells and was never able to please my spouse. Once the realization happened, I started to understand what I had been through and what I needed to do. I am in a truly, well disguised, abusive situation and will be exiting in a short while. I am making my plans as this is being typed. As my wife senses this, she is being really nice and trying to pretend like there is absolutely nothing wrong. She sets this stage often, then degrades, or abuses me subtly by pointing out the lack of vacations, or work done around the house. I have spent the bulk of my time tending to my wife's needs since the death of our son. She continues to point out how we never do anything together, yet we have taken several weekend trips to various locations and dine out at least four times a week. When we eat at home, I do a majority of the cooking. She sleeps till noon on the weekends and I do yard work outside in the summer while she rests. As this is occurring, she will put me down for the things that aren't being done around the house. Not necessarily a direct put down though it will be something like the grass needs to be cut or the walls need to be painted. No thought is given to the expense as we have spent all of our spare money and time traveling on weekends. Well it is because I am spending all of my time trying to take care of her. You see, the abused adult has an unfillable void and I am going to stop trying now because I am exhausted and need to take some time to take care of myself.

Advice to others includes, having enough self-respect to recognize abuse and get out of the situation. No one deserves that kind of treatment and by staying, you are enabling. I honestly don't know what took me so long to realize this. When you leave don't look back. You are actually doing both of the parties a favor. Don't stay for the sake of the kids. My daughter tells me I needed to leave and my son used to tell me how sad he was because he felt his mother didn't love him. My daughter is working through the trauma of being verbally abused by her mother. We talk frequently and my wife has shunned my daughter. My wife's only link of understanding is to her abusive father whom she continually still tries to please. This seems to be the only relationship in her life that is important to her. So get out and take the children. The abuser will not change. They appear loving, but it is a trap and they need a victim. Walk and don't look back. Counseling is not the answer unless the counselor knows about verbal abuse and is a specialist. Reconciliation is not recommended. If you are in an abusive situation, it will not get better. My advice is to get out and get out early. It is extremely hard as you get older and it is unbelievable what many people put up with before the light comes on and they leave. This advice is not gender specific because my research tells me that this happens far more often where men abuse their wives than it does where wives abuse their men. Respectfully submitted as a wise but incredibly late leaving enabler.

A reader of this Web site writes:

I haven’t been able to find many sites for abused men, so I felt very relieved to find this one. In fact, it appears to me that most people do not even think men can be victims.

I have a very passive nature but it has eroded into one that is angry and sometimes violent from ten years of constant criticism, control, degradation, and worry. Unfortunately, I have not sought help until now and have participated in the abuse myself. My self-worth has been so diminished that I now suffer from depression, and I am in constant worry of getting into an argument. This makes me angry and I cannot constructively deal with my anger because I am not allowed to share that with my wife. In fact, most of my emotions are deemed either petty or invalid.

I am under constant criticism, either overt or subtle (disguised as a joke) and can never meet expectations. My wife is often angry and it takes very little to invoke rage-like screams and cursing. I have been conditioned to question myself and have been told my dreams are unrealistic, selfish, or petty. I’ve been pushed, hit, kicked, had things thrown at me, deprived of sleep, suffered cruel indifference, spying, and much more. My wife screams at our children scaring one so bad he was shaking.

My friends who’ve stayed with us have all complained she made them feel unwelcome. I am isolated and rarely allowed to go and visit them without a confrontation. She controls the money, our children, our time, where we live and who we associate with. I am then blamed for the fact that she controls things but I am not allowed to have any control. I am constantly degraded and put down in front of her friends.

I always feel tension in the house. I never know what will set her off. She is supposed to take medication but took herself off it saying I was the real source of her anxiety (though she has elevated adrenaline levels). What I wear, do, eat is constantly made to appear negative.

Don’t let it eat at you like I did. Get help. I’ve retaliated and am now a participant in the abuse cycle and am trapped now by guilt more than ever. I am on medication and seeking counseling for depression. I now have sleep issues and stomach problems as well. I have tried every thing I can think of: appeasing, avoiding, reasoning, pleading, and now even physical confrontation. Please learn from me.

Editor of this Web site writes:

On the Helpful Info page of this Web site (http://verbalabuseofmen.com/HelpfulResources.htm) you will find Patricia Evan's book titled, "The Verbally Abusive Relationship"? I found chapters 3 and 4 of this book to be incredibly helpful in understanding the differences in realities that the abuser and the victim live in on a daily basis. It cleared up a lot of things for me and helped me understand why everything I tried to do to help never worked. If you haven't read this yet, I would highly recommend it. I found Patricia Evans to be the best author out there on the subject.

A reader of this Web site writes:

I was in an abusive relationship with my wife for 25 years and did not even know what was happening. We were together for 25 years and married for 22. At first, I just thought she was in a bad mood. She also has many great qualities. The problem is that she would dump on me daily. We had two children who are almost grown up now. She would undermine any authority that I had with the children, would question anything I would say to the children, accused me of cheating on her and occasionally physically assault me. I never cheated on her and never could.

My mind was racing so much that I demanded that we go to couples therapy only to find out that she was more concerned with what I would bring up in therapy than healing any problems in the relationship. What a bummer. When the couple’s therapist found out about the occasional physical assaults, he told me I had to physically remove myself from the house any time I felt she was “escalating.” I had to do this about 55 times including staying at a motel a few times.

I filed for divorce and moved out 4 years ago, went to trauma therapy for two years, and I finally feel better about the decision. She of course was able to manipulate the children into not speaking to me. We both have joint custody; the children only live 20 minutes away and will not contact me. I have sent gifts, cards, letters, money, subscriptions, e mails, and voice messages. After 3 going on 4 years, not one word. Because I am not around, the only verbally abusive thing she can hurt me with is withholding and getting the children to withhold. I have no idea what she must be telling the children, so if I ever do get to see them again I will have to keep my mouth shut. Why? Because when the children, who will be adults, find out about any lies they will just get really upset with her. She will then have to defend herself and probably dump on the children/adults for it.

Well to feel better about things I do still love her but I had to say goodbye. I hope she gets help. She will probably find some other person to manipulate to compensate for the loss of the punching bag I had become.

I hope this helps. Stand up for what you believe and stand up for yourself. That was one of the hardest things I ever had to do. No one was put on earth to end up being a punching bag for a person who obviously has personal problems. Do not let them make their problems hurt you.

A reader of this Web site writes:

I've been in a verbally abusive relationship for the past 14 years and I want to leave . I can't say or do anything right.  She always puts me and the children down. She constantly yells screams at the children and me. I want out for sure but unsure how without her getting 60% of what I own. She only wants to make love when she's in the mood and makes me fill dirty about having to do it with her. When I do work outside and tired and don't want to have sex she gets upset and belittles me in any shape and form. I would appreciate any help with this matter. I can't take it anymore.  At times I want to hit her but haven't.

A reader of this Web site writes:

I'm hoping you're still active in this area. It's a shame there isn't a simpler bulletin board for this topic. Basically, my story is that my partner is an emotional closed book. Communication is zero unless I initiate it. It's superficially pleasant but a lot of it is putting on a pleasant demeanor to avoid turning on the switch of abuse. It is soul destroying. Unless I'm in a totally emotionally and practically supportive role, my purpose in the relationship is meaningless. Whenever I've brought up that things between us are not right in that there is no communication, and that she is overly defensive, she immediately begins to twist my words into another meaning. She makes my motives seem like I am engaging in a purely personal attack on her when I am, in reality, trying to communicate my hurt and seek answers together with her to try and rectify it. If I bring up something I'm unhappy with, in the most considerate and explained manner, she takes it always as an unreasonable attack and so, she attacks me verbally. These episodes usually end with her abusing me in a vulgar way, like F you or get F'ed.

I'm a professional person, responsible for others, but I cannot cope with this oppressive situation. I sleep in another room. I have a study in the house but she never comes and simply spends time with me, just to enjoy my company. It's a very strange relationship and it's been getting worse over the time we've been together. I want it to be over. I'm going to look for an apartment for myself to get my sense of self and my sanity back. I survive by holding on to the memory that I am fundamentally a kind person.

A reader of this Web site writes:

I’ve been married 12 years to a beautiful woman. I’m a professional and have a respectful family income. My wife is a good home maker, mom and can be a great wife, but is crippled by her severe insecurity. All men find her stunning, she is simply gorgeous. Unfortunately, we have major problems due to her insecurities and it’s killing our relationship.

- I cannot speak to any woman without feeling paranoid. Big problem, because we work together.

- She constantly accuses me of checking out other women. (I do occasional look, but “I’m a guy,” but never show the slightest disrespect.)

- She acts as the family martyr, making all of us feel guilty of “never doing enough.”

- She constantly accuses me of treating other women so much better than her.

- I never go out with the guys; it’s just not worth the pain.

- It’s my responsibility to make her happy.

- Privacy? What’s that?

- She counts the hours that I’m away from her and will question me about the details.

- She always needs to know “who was there?”

- She gets angry when I go on business trips and accuses me of scheming. When I call her at night, I better be in the hotel early.

- She creates constant stress by accusing me of not satisfying her many emotional needs.

- We are constantly on the move, but she insist we never do anything fun, but she would never plan a thing, it’s up to me.

- She lives her life pissed off and accuses me that I don’t love her enough.

- She’s jealous of anything that distracts my attention from her.

- She insist on getting face lifts, boob jobs, tummy tucks, because “I’m not happy with the way she looks.”

- She constantly states that our sex life sucks, but she controls the frequency.

- When the chips are down, you are on your own and it’s best to keep it to yourself.

- She’s downing in the sea of life and I act as her rescuer.

- She’s just miserable and taking my family with her.

But aside from all this, I love her and pray that someday, things will be better. I’m just very tired. God Bless You for listening.

Hanging-in-there.

A reader of this Web site writes:

I am in my 2nd "loser" marriage, but at least now understand the how’s and why’s of my situation. My previous beliefs were more that G-d has something against me. I now understand that because of my past, of being bullied and like wise emotionally abused, I am a magnet for "losers" and "abusers." I am now in counseling and understand how and why I got into this "latest" mess. At least I no longer think that a higher deity has it in for me. I have a support group and am preparing my "escape" from the marriage. Unfortunately, it is not so straight forward because of the "cycle of abuse." I am looking for all the support and advice that I can get. Unfortunately, there are no men’s groups in my area; as you probably already know, for the most part, the "system" recognizes physical and emotional abuse on women but turns a blind eye when men are victims. I have a lifetime of being the victim behind me and am now trying to break the cycle. My latest situation is difficult in that my wife can be terrible and sweet on a dime.

Briefly, I was bullied and made fun of from grade through high school. I did go to university and obtained an engineering degree; barely got through the program to encounter a generally poor job market. In my late 20's and early 30's, I felt sorry for myself but finally started to turn things around in my early 30's. Unfortunately, I started to become attracted to "like" personalities, at least my perception of such.

I was down and out but pulled myself back up and became a self-supporting member of society. Yes, from time to time, I needed some help but overall was self sufficient. Unfortunately, I became drawn and attracted to women that I thought were like me; still, these ladies never really made it on their own. I felt comfortable with these "loser" types of personalities because I could identify with them. I became a "rescuer" of "damsels in distress"; I have been in and out of therapy for most of my life but only until I started going to therapy about my 2nd wife did I start to understand my situation.

I am in my 2nd marriage; my psychologist is trying to make me understand that my present situation is with a "loser" or "abuser" type of personality. My 1st wife was living at home with her parents when we were 1st introduced; she was living there more out of necessity. Very bright and well educated but drifting through her life.

Before my 1st wife, I was briefly engaged to a woman whom was schizo paranoid; my perception of "healthy" was very much skewed. We were together, and then separated, then back again. My guilt or love for her brought me back to a 2nd punishing round. I finally saw that no matter what I did, I could not stop people from spying on or following her. She got on a plane and literally flew out of my life; I got off easy. While we were together, I lost my job in a recession, my condo crashed in value and was foreclosed, and I had little in the way of savings; then my girlfriend "flipped" out.

Back to my 1st wife; I was on the rebound and was introduced to her. Other than not being very independent; living at home with her parents, she seemed "normal" to me. I could identify with her "frustration" about not finding a job to suit her education. By this time, I was getting to be fairly successful. After dating for about 2 years, I popped the question. We had a long engagement in which time my wife started to become angrier, less patient, and her endometriosis got worse. I still went through with the marriage. After a year, the economy was in recession and I was laid off. This time, I had significant savings. Still, my wife started to blame me for things that went wrong. She quit her job shortly after we were married; she blamed the pressure of the job and later blamed me for telling her to quit. My wife got "sicker" as the marriage progressed; she went from job to job and took "much" time off, she would be laid off after a few months. She wanted children and a home and blamed me for not having this. She no longer accepted the endometriosis but said that due to pressure of me not working and wanting to relocate, that the "condition" was caused by "stress"; we stopped having "relations" shortly after the honeymoon, literally. This marriage dragged on for close to 3 years; I finally filed when my then wife was reluctant to relocate to another city where the economy was booming.

I waited a year after I had filed for divorce with wife number one. I met wife number two over the Internet about 8 months later. We corresponded for about 6 months and seemed to hit it off at least on line. She was very intelligent, her writing was interesting and we could "talk" about anything. After 6 months of corresponding, I drove to her city and met her. She was extremely attractive; I could not understand why she was on line. I was there for 3 days; our 1st "date" was nice, a full day. What came out was that her previous marriage seemed to be much like mine! On our 2nd date, I told her that if we were to get serious that I realized that she had a son; I would take care of them both. After I was separated from wife #1, I sought counseling. The counselor told me to make out a list of what I wanted in a mate. She told me that I am not the same helpless person that I was growing up but successful and most important a good person; I deserved likewise. The 1st thing on my list was to be with someone that could stand on her own two feet. When I was 1st corresponding with future wife #2, she "seemed" to be "normal," separated for more than 4 years with a son and a home. After we met, she was moved out of her home and living in her sister’s home with the boy. All the signs of disaster were there but I looked the other way. Like most abusive situations, there was a quick involvement; within 2 months we purchased a condo together in my city, she "insisted." She then moved in with me along with her son; we were married within 6 months of the 1st time we physically met.

Shortly before we were married, she was exhibiting a "quick" temper, lack of patience and jealousy. The first of many jealous episodes happened shortly before we were married. We were watching a Sci-fi movie with some "sexy" robots; when I remarked "that’s what I call a robot" my future wife lost her temper and screamed at me for being so disrespectful. Episodes similar to this were rampant earlier in the marriage; I used to argue back but stopped after a while. My wife started to "discourage" me from going to a health club and participating in my outdoors group; there were single women there. She "discouraged" me from having "professional" women friends. My wife was married twice before me; she said that her 1st husband was "abusive" and cheated on her. She said that her 2nd husband was controlling and didn’t let her have a say in the finances. As the marriage progressed, my wife tried to pressure me to put her name on my investments and accounts; she apparently had "little" of her own. Her fear was that I would meet a younger, professional version of her and leave her. My wife cannot have any more children; I have none of my own. My wife thinks this an ideal situation and has pressured me to leave all my savings to her and the boy. My wife insists on going through my e-mails and my cell phone passwords. She sometimes calls me at work to make sure that I am there and not having an affair. One time, when I was at my lawyer’s she actually came to work to look for me.

I was very busy with work and didn’t have much time for "other" activities other than work and my "family." I started to see a psychologist at the urging of my mother; at the time I was isolating myself and only confided in my mother about my wife’s possessiveness, insecurity and jealousy. I thought that it was my wife that needed help and not me. After about 3 sessions, the psychologist said that I was being "abused"; the session before I told the psychologist that I was thinking about seeing a lawyer. During the 3rd session, she strongly recommended that I do so. For about a month, I waffled on seeing the lawyer; my "situation" was good and bad. I didn’t understand or believe the "cycle of abuse" or that my new wife was also a "loser." In a short period of time, my wife tried to pressure me to transfer much of money into "our" joint account; she accused me of "ogling" women and went into a blind rage when I told her that I wanted to go hiking with my outdoor group. My 2nd wife has fibromyalgia; see was "healthy" when we were 1st seeing each other but became "sicker" as the marriage progressed. She now works part time after being "ill" in the 1st few months of the marriage. I make more than 8 times what my wife does; at one point, anything after the basic bills was going toward her, the son and then more so to her family in Asia. I was paying the bills and my "family" was reaping the benefits. With the counseling, I became more aware of the situation; I am more assertive and my wife "lets" me out for hiking one to two times a month. I put the family on a budget and it seemed to be working. About her son; he is now 16 and in grade 11. The boy in many way takes after his mother; albeit not short tempered he has very little patience. He wants "instant" gratification. In junior high, he was at the top of his class, now there is more competition. At times he is very disrespectful of me but this is on the wane; he used to think that he would be a lawyer and make lots of money like his dad. Now he is more respectful of his mothers "engineer."

As you can imagine, there have been some very intense fights in the marriage. At one point, I told my wife I wanted a divorce; she later said that the "boy" would suffer so much and hate me forever. We are helping my wife’s mother out financially, more and more of late; sometimes we help out other members of her family in Asia. The mother is sick and albeit we could not afford to do so, my wife wants to visit her over Christmas. What started as an "understanding" about a "mercy" trip has turned into a 5 star spectacle. My wife bought thousands of dollars of "gifts" for the family and wanted to spend more. After some intense fighting, she finally stopped the "gift" giving. I put the family on a budget, was going out more with my hiking group; albeit things were still bad, at least I was getting myself together. My wife was starting to "pressure" me to go along with her on the trip; my wife also said that she needed $5,000 for her "personal" expenses on the trip. I realize that she wants me there to control me and that the money is really for more gift giving and showing off. We have had some terrible arguments of late; now about money and control.

I have scoped out some "temporary" accommodations should the situation get violent. I have also retained a lawyer and we will be sitting down to draw up the divorce papers and a "settlement" letter to my wife. I paid much in alimony to my 1st wife; my lawyer is saying that the sooner I file, the less I will pay. My psychologist is very familiar with abusive relationships and remarked how the law is flawed in that abuse is almost legalized, and how my wife will fare well whether she is still married to me or divorced.

I went to two lawyers, the 1st scared me that I may have to pay more than my life savings regarding my wife’s fibromyalgia; she later said that this is unlikely but I would probably pay a few thousand a month for 2-3 years. We have been married for about a year and a half. The 2nd lawyer said that the damage should only be about 6 months and that 2 years would be generous on my part. The issue is that my wife can act so "helpless" and then there is her son. Fortunately, we have no children and it is her son. Still, it would be messy considering the split of assets and how to support them until the boy graduates; I will work it out with my lawyer.

With the abusive cycle, it makes it very difficult for me to "pull the trigger." My psychologist is making me realize that the marriage is not healthy; I suggested to my wife to get help but she won’t, another trait of abusers. I hope to get courage soon and put an end to this "madness." My psychologist says that the only way to stop the abuse is to get out of the marriage. She says that I alone cannot change my wife; my wife can only change herself.

A reader of this Web site writes:

I am 38 years old. I have had two wives who were unfaithful. One while I was a work who exhibited many of the examples given. One who was unfaithful while I was in Iraq. My present wife was faithful which gave me a lot of hope. At least I believe she has been. That was enough. When we were dating she was affectionate. Much more than she is now. In fact I am the sole source of affection and I get pushed away the majority of the time. Simple put I am without common sense, I can never do enough. I work seven days a week. Seven. Sometimes on three hours of sleep. If I ask to help with something I am told often not to worry about it and then two weeks later I am criticized for it. I am questioned about how I did something or what I am doing the majority of the time. Its never right.

My daughter from my previous relationship is creatively scheduled absent from a lot that we do and she begins a mood swing just before she arrives. I once kept track of how often she was in a horrible mood. It came out to approximately a third of the month. For months mind you. I am blamed for the majority of any problems that come up. If I offer to help I am bugging her or it just gets worse. Case in point. Last week I took off two days to assist with the family so I could be there to help. I just took two more days off to help her. Tonight she asked if I could take tomorrow off. My work wouldn't allow it. I told her I was sorry and offered to stay up without sleep to assist in anything. I was told that I was bugging her, it somehow ended up all my fault and she dang near hung the phone up on me. When I talk to her about it later, in circumstances like this, she is just venting. I cant tell you how many times I have had to take off work to go home to settle a situation down because she is angry about something and my absence or something that I am not doing properly is the cause of her mood swing. She could be in a good mood and three hours later she is extremely ticked off and its all my fault even if I had little to do with what happened she will find a way to point it in my direction.

I spend the majority of my time asking her what is wrong, if she is mad, what I did etc. Constantly. She is affectionate at all. She hates my job, what it represents, hates my religion or choice thereof, and I'm stupid more or less. She talks to me like I'm a kid to be honest. I walk on egg shells a lot and constantly find myself wondering what I may do to make her angry. I could go on and on. Simply put this has been my first year with her. That's a summary. I miss, simply, "her". "Her" as I knew her. I could clean everything that I could find in the house and she would find something that wasn't done right or just plain wasn't done and focus on that.

She is very physical when it comes to discipline with the kids. She pulls hair, kicks etc. She calls them stupid etc. She will just go off about this and that and what isn't done and what I don't do etc. Constantly. Its completely unpredictable. She wants things done. She's in a bad mood and its my fault. Money. The house. I don't do much right. No common sense. The kids are spoiled rotten. My parents are idiots and don't think. My daughter from the previous relationship is without common sense and will someday be at risk for teenage pregnancy. Her daughter from a previous relationship is still afraid, at the age of nine, to sleep in her own room and sleeps on the floor next to our bed. Still. I sometimes wonder if she is afraid that her mother will stop loving her or leave or something. If the fluctuation of her moods has caused an uneasiness in her?

These are things that cross my mind. I don't know what to do. I really don't. Simply put. Its her house still. Although she could not sign her name on the loan because of her credit from her previous divorce and I ended up saying that I would cover the loan its still, in her mind, her house so when she is mad she tells me to just "pack my shit and leave". What do I do? I don't know what else to do. I have read articles in the computer. Numerous ones. I tell her constantly that I think she is attractive. I tell her constantly how much I love her. I bet I tell her that five or six times a day. I try to do the best I can to help. I don't know what else to do. I am completely frustrated and like I said .......... I miss "her".

A reader of this Web site writes:

One realization I recently had was that my wife fits the definition of being an anger addict. I took a chance and made a copy of some information I found on the Internet. She was receptive of this information, but I am being careful not to put too much hope into that since most people with anger addiction do not realize their dilemma and are not in control of their seemingly cyclic outbursts. After reading about anger addiction, I find myself less inclined to take the verbal abuse so personally. I am also wise enough to realize that if her behavior continues to the point of my making a self-sacrifice, I still may need to end the relationship. I have held false hope for so long that I have entered into that co-dependent cycle that occurs after each outburst session. I do find myself having more healthy reactions to the verbal abuse. My decision to go on and live my life has received much criticism from my mate as if I am forcing her into the lonely existence that she chooses. Since I am in recovery from chemical addiction, I am trying to offer her the same chance for recovery from her addiction to anger. I do realize that if my recovery is threatened on an ongoing basis by her behavior that I may need to break the cycle by ending the relationship.

A reader of this Web site writes:

After reading your website, I've come to realize I am the victim of verbal abuse. At first I thought I was crazy that I would try anything and everything to make my wife happy, and nothing was good enough for her. It's a long story, but after reading the other stories on your site, and knowing how much they helped me, I'm going to share mine.

I've been married for 2 and 1/2 years, and been together with my wife for 4 and 1/2 years. The relationship has been filled with great, wonderful caring times, and then times that are nothing but fighting, which is all we've done lately. There were warning signs from the very beginning, but I ignored them thinking things would get better. We started off in a long distance relationship, and she was very jealous and insecure. She didn't like any of my female friends, and was even jealous of me spending time with my male friends. I chalked it up to the distance. I had one female friend that I got along with very well and we had the same personality. My wife (then girlfriend) accused me of having an "emotional affair" with this person. I've never cheated on her, not once, and yet she accused me of this. It was unbelievable.

I even had a special necklace hand made for her from this girl I worked with. When I gave it to her, and told her how it was unique and one of a kind and had it made for her. She asked who made it. When I told her she got mad at me that I had talked to this girl, even though I paid a lot of money for her to make this. I just couldn't believe it. It was during this time that she would seem to go into random rages against me, like the smallest insignificant thing would set her off. She called me numerous names, like "asshole", "jerk" and told me to "fuck off" many times. I had no idea how to react. Most of my time was spent just trying to calm her down. Even now, as we are in the process of divorce, I have never once called her a bad name. I remember asking her many times to please not call me names. I even broke down and cried in front of her. She would stop for a short time, but it resumed again.

I was accused of having affairs numerous times with numerous people, none of which ever happened. One time she even claimed to have seen me go down some stairwell at my work with some girl. I had literally gotten off the elevator and had files still in my hand when she told me this. I tried to explain that I wasn't in the stairwell and she could ask numerous people where I had been all morning, but she flew into a rage. It was extremely embarrassing as I am a professional and this was in front of co-workers.

All my time was spent trying to keep her calmed down. I also had to change so many things about myself. For example, I have a very raunchy sense of humor. My wife didn't find that funny, so I wasn't allowed to joke about those sorts of things. Any time I was not with her and went out, I had to call her and talk to her until I got to the place, then she would call while I was out, and want to know who I was out with and when I would be back. Then I would have to call her when I was done and talk to her until I got home.

She then told me that it was inappropriate for me to spend any time alone with my female co-workers. So I was no longer allowed to walk down and get coffee with my friends. We eventually moved to a new city, and I thought it would get better, but it didn't. She kept up the same patterns. I was now required to call her before going out with any friends and invite her to come along so she would feel included. She later told the therapist that I constantly bugged her at work. I only did it because she told me to.

We do nothing but fight. She announced she was leaving me and told me that I was no fun, and we never did anything together and everything was my fault. When we went to counseling all she did was yell at me, and when I tried to talk about my side she told the counselor I was lying.

I've come to realize how controlling and manipulative she's been. I have no privacy whatsoever. She made me give her all my e-mail passwords so she could check up on me. She would go through my cell phone. Heaven forbid there was a number on there she didn't know, because then I would be accused of cheating. Anytime I got an e-mail from a female friend that she didn't approve of, she accused me of cheating. She even changed my e-mail passwords and wouldn't tell me what they were, and then she would write these female friends back telling them not to contact me anymore.

I'm a very social person, and she has taken that away from me. I think I'm a pretty funny person, and she's taken that away from me too. She is so jealous and insecure, she even gets jealous of my pets. I'm constantly berated and made to feel bad. And yet the few times she is nice to me, I get overwhelmed with joy.

I'm getting ready to move out, as she's getting the house, and I'm both scared and excited. Since she's left, I've reconnected with old friends both male and female, and after talking to them about what I've gone through, I've realized the way my wife behaves is not normal.

She's totally changed the person I used to be, and I don't like the new me. She's told me she doesn't like the new me either. She also told me that when we were separated she wouldn't agree to not date other people. How can you say you want to work on a marriage and then want to go out on dates?

I admit that I've become resentful against her, and I've done my share of arguing back with her. It seems that whenever I stand up for myself, it just makes her more angry. When she would say I would yell back at her and she didn't like it, I tried very hard to make sure I didn't raise my voice. Then she accused me of talking to her in a "tone" she didn't like. There was just no way for me to win.

Even though she's the one that left, she now says she's not going to file. So, after learning how unhealthy our relationship is, now I have to file. So she can once again make me out to be the bad guy.

During out separation I've spent more time with my friends. She is constantly asking me where I've been and who I'm with. When I refuse to tell her, she gets very passive-aggressive with me, and then it just leads to insults. And yet, I still love her. I don't understand what is wrong with me. I'm hoping that once I get my own place, where she doesn't know where I live, it will be better.

A female reader of this Web site writes:

I DO WISH TO SHARE MY STORY. MY HUSBAND AND I HAVE BEEN TOGETHER FOR 17 YEARS. WE HAVE TWO CHILDREN. I JUST RECENTLY REALIZED THAT I HAVE BEEN VERBALLY ABUSED OFF AND ON DURING THE WHOLE TIME THAT WE HAVE BEEN TOGETHER. I HAD NO IDEA THAT THIS MAN HAD ANOTHER SIDE TO HIM UNTIL WE GOT MARRIED. THERE ARE THINGS THAT HE HAS SAID TO ME THAT HAVE REALLY LOWERED MY SELF ESTEEM. ALMOST TO THE POINT THAT I THOUGHT I HAD TO LIVE MY WHOLE LIFE UNHAPPY. I AM A CHRISTIAN AND I KNOW GOD HATES DIVORCE, BUT I ALSO KNOW THAT HE DOES NOT WANT US TO LIVE AN UNHAPPY LIFE. ( I DO ALSO REALIZE KNOW THAT WE SHOULD TALK TO GOD AND ASK HIM TO SEND US A PARTNER AND NOT GO ON OUR OWN INSTINCTS.) I DECIDED TO SEPARATE FROM HIM AND EVENTUALLY GET A DIVORCE, BECAUSE MY CHILDREN SEE A MOTHER THAT IS UNHAPPY MOST OF THE TIME AND THEY DESERVE BETTER. I DO FEEL GUILTY BECAUSE MY CHILDREN WILL GROW UP WITHOUT THEIR FATHER IN THE HOME. BUT I TRULY BELIEVE AND HAVE FAITH ENOUGH IN GOD TO KNOW THAT THEY WILL BE FINE.

A reader of this Web site writes:

Thank goodness our story can be heard as well. I was in a relationship of 5 years, engaged 3.5 years of that time. We had a long distance relationship, 100 miles apart and my job (engineer) brought me to that area almost every week. Since I did visit so frequently, I of course would stay with her. Over the course of 4-5 months into the relationship, my schedule then became a problem. Seems it interfered with her personal schedule (her time with girlfriends). Instead of coming out and telling me what her problem was, she simply would begin to rant about my company, and that they must be glad they can use her as a hotel for my business trips. I told her that I did not understand, I always called ahead about my schedule, and even offered to stay in a hotel as an option if it did indeed interfere. Initially she would never come out and say why, she would just exude anger and stay that way for typically three days at a time. Then the story was told after the fact, her personal time, in her mind ,was then ruined and I was to blame. This was a major area of contention for her, and I always had to provide a detailed calendar of my arrivals. Despite her need to do so, when my company wanted me there, I had to be there. I stayed in local hotels, yet, she would come by the hotel to have sex and then ask me to come to her house. Damned if you do, damned if you don't! This was the beginning of the control.

The first two years, she was jealous and distrustful of me. I never once gave her reason to feel this way, and in the end, she always said it was her intuition or gut feeling that drove her. This jealousy would come out of nowhere like everything else she had contentions with. Abrupt, impulsive, did not think before she spoke, she simply could not control her egregious thoughts. She would make statements like, "my job is more important than yours, because peoples lives are in my hands" (attorney). "I make more money than you." "I am stressed because of my job and the hours I work", (she worked less than 35 hours a week.) I would offer to work after my job and help her at her office, offer support. Instead of saying thanks for being there, she would say, "I don't need support, I need a clone!!!" I would do remodeling work around her house, of which I did 95% of said work. She would take credit for the biggest share of such work in various ways. She criticized, insulted deprecated, and castigated me frequently. She was deceptive, elusive and when caught in her lies, she would become angry, she would then state she could do what the "F" she wanted when the "F' she wanted. She would to me, "You have an anger management problem!!" I would ask, "so what do you have when you are angry and loud along side me?" The anger would subside, (mode change) and she said, "I'm not angry and loud, I'm simply passionate about the subject." And you know, I went to a counselor about anger management, and you know what they said?.. "You are an emotionally healthy personality, and stated that I am dealing with the traits of an Narcissistic personality in my fiancée. That the prognosis for her changing is not good. That I should get out before any emotional damage is done. That was 3 years ago.

She would lie about where she was or where she was going. Not that I questioned her, quite the contrary, she would forget things that she said and tell on herself without realizing it. As much as I hate to admit this, there was a time when I left on a Friday evening, and she said she was going to snuggle up on the couch, start the fireplace up, and watch a movie. For some reason, I did not believe her. Instead of going home, I went to her girlfriends subdivision, and parked my car in the tennis court area. Her girlfriend was 35 minutes from her house. Less than one hour later, here come my fiancée into the subdivision, and I watched her and her girlfriend leave the subdivision 10 minutes later. I then went home and never brought this to her attention ever. Once again, I was an ostrich. There were other circumstance where she would be gone for hours at a time, leaving me with her young son, never asking me to watch him, she would simply go. I found vacation pictures of her and other men together. These pics were of trips that her and her sorority sisters take every year. Funny thing is, of our five years together, this was the only set of pics I ever saw of her trips (she left them out on the counter accidentally when received in the mail, I arrived early that day). After a long arduous debate about those pics, I asked her how come I have never seen the other 4 years of pictures? She goes, Hmmm, I don't know?, and then began to circumvent the question with more rhetoric and debate. She would have after hour meetings with out of town male clients. The irony of this is she never needed to have such meetings with her out of town female clients!? One of her out of town male clients was in conference with her (at her office) late one afternoon and I had stopped by her office to see what she wanted to do about dinner. She had come out of her conference to make some copies and noticed me in the waiting room. She approached me and acted as though I was a client, she said, "Yes sir, what can I do for you today? I initially laughed and said, What do you want to do about dinner tonight? She was trying to give me a physical sign to be quiet, and replied, Yes sir I understand, why don't you get with my secretary and make an appointment and we'll discuss your case further then.", she walked back into the conference room, leaving me perplexed! This was at approx. 5:00pm, she didn't arrive home until 9:30pm, no calls, no nothing. Of course, she was not hungry when she arrived. I asked what the professional attitude was about, and she said, "I cannot have you just arriving in my office without some prior notice, this is a professional atmosphere and I wish to maintain it that way." Interestingly enough, in the past, I had always arrived at her office shortly before closing, and not once did she ever pull this one on me! Thereafter as well, did she ever do this again. I never exuded my jealousy towards her, I asked why she didn't have the courtesy to call and say she was going to be as late as she was, her reply, "what do think I was doing? F'n my client or something?" The thought did cross my mind, however, I simply submitted. As well, to say the least, I did not trust her.

Over time, I found myself tip toeing around her to avoid confrontation, however, to no avail. My frustration soon became anger for it was not about the true subject of debate for her, it was about winning, to be right at the cost of degridating the relationship even more. Her sense of entitlement became such that I was nothing more than a emotional prisoner. A punching bag of sorts and I continued to submit. She projected the very things she was guilty of upon me. Knowing the truth of things I spoke, frustration set in and she would respond by saying, "when did this become about you" or "if you want to play games, then let's play, because I'm the best at it!!" "Name one person you know that has a good relationship,..NOBODY!, so what makes us any different!!" Her sarcasms, criticisms, and self-absorption were taking an unhealthy toll upon me. I could tell so many stories, one more painful than the other. I began to hate her, yet, I still believed I loved her. I knew in my heart though, people that love one another, don't do what we did. The straw that broke the camel's back was in January of this year. On my way out of town, I forgot to pick up some dry cleaning. Since she was coming to visit me that weekend, I asked her a favor to pick it up for me. She said, no problem. That Friday a.m., she called me to say she had picked up the dry cleaning. I thanked her and stated my appreciation. She replied, "And don't ever do such a bone head move again!!, I don't have 5 minutes out of my busy schedule to chase down your dry cleaning!!" I was awestruck!? I replied, "What happen to just saying, "You're welcome" and simply leaving it at that? Her reply, "Why can't you just admit when I'm right?!?! Why can't you simply admit it was a bonehead move!?!?" My reply, "What entitles you to make me feel like a heal because of some dry cleaning that I forgot? I thought that's what we, as significant others do for one another." Her reply, "You are a "F'N" idiot!!"

At that point, something snapped, I knew then I had to escape. I told her I was tired of being criticized, and people that truly love one another, would not treat their significant other in such ways. I then told her I was done for good. She replied, "So you're going to give up 5 years that you've invested in a relationship, a family (her family she alludes to), a young professional woman (she was 12 years my jr.), miss out on football season (she was a season ticket holder to local pro football team), and the sex we have?? You will never at your age find a deal like that again!!!"

Aside from some personal items we exchanged in the first couple of weeks, we've been no contact since. I thought it would be easier than it was, however, the pain is subsiding and I am becoming a new man. If a woman of this type (Narcissistic characteristics and traits) knows they have a man of moral character, faithful, intimate at many levels, and honorable, this man will indeed become their emotional prisoner.

Early on, after the breakup, I truly hated her, I wanted vindication, reparation for all that she had done to me. I soon realized this was an unproductive thought process if I were to recover. It now "is about me", to turn around and never look back. The first 30 days were tough, however, the absence of adversity has made it far more tolerable. It's a breath of fresh air. I accepted blame for allowing myself to stay in this abusive relationship for as long as I did. The signs were there early on, I buried my head in the sand, I submitted when I shouldn't have and I cannot change the past. I just have to accept it and move on. It is what it is. So now I fill my empty space with more time with friends and pursue things that I haven't done in a while to keep my mind off the negative emotions. Recovery for the abused is far more difficult than it will be for the abuser. Their lack of emotion and intimacy, inability to truly love and their self-absorption, will be their hell on earth. I find some solace in that, yet, I feel sorry for them and more sorry for their next unsuspecting victim.

A reader of this Web site writes:

My story - wish I couldn't even imagine a story like this could be true:

Thank you for starting this web site. You’re right. Popular culture tells us that the only abusers in relationships are men – both verbal and physical. Even Ms. Evans wonderful works are just filled with the pronoun “he” in talking about abusers and “she” in talking about the abused. I did gleen good information from her writings but it was hard to filter through all those “mismatched” pronouns in trying to relate my situation to her writings.

My wife witnessed horrific verbal abuse growing up. I’d say the majority of it she witnessed was seeing her mom abuse her dad. I’d also say a fair amount was leveled her way, as well as to her brother and sister. To this day, each of them only feels as good as their last major purchase, last wonderful vacation or some major completed project (home re-decorating in my wife’s case). In other words they felt CONDITIONALLY loved and sadly, feel this is the way to express love to your children and spouse.

I won’t repeat what probably many men have written here, or have at least felt, which is to ponder, “How was I so badly fooled?” or “Why couldn’t I see this coming?” These are “age-old” questions of poor / failing / failed relationships. In our hearts, we all know why . . .we desperately wanted to love these women with the hopes they’d love us (in the way we expressed it to them!) back. So we were blind to any warning signs. As many have written, now, in hindsight, with love destroyed, you now can admit that there were warning signs.

But that’s in the past. It’s my present and unfortunately my children’s present that is so miserable now. I’m almost amazed at the masterful way my current life seems to have been woven into a terrible trap of anguish almost as if directed by an evil genius! Honestly, EVERY step I’ve taken over the last 15 years to (to my mind) make her happy and therefore, stop her verbal abuse, has only resulted in me being further dragged into hopeless pain and deepening abuse. For example, I don’t think it’s any surprise that most of these abusers have some sort of huge gap in their souls . . .some sort of deep emotional wound that harmed them long ago that they were able to disguise during courtship. Most often, as in my wife’s case, the wound was inflicted by parents. Absent getting any help, that wound is going to manifest itself in horrible ways later in life and establish new victims – spouses and children.

These folks can avoid their pain some small periods of time by “self- medicating”. This is done in a variety of ways, such as through alcohol, through drugs, through sex through work, or through shopping. My wife and her sister’s drug of choice was shopping and her brother’s was work. My wife’s shopping always placed us in a situation where our money was never enough. (To her credit, my wife worked, but she always spent her entire paycheck within days of getting paid.) So, no matter what I earned it was never enough. Knowing of typical/average salaries of “heads-of-household” in the U.S. I also knew I was always well paid. However, when your entire month is spent thinking about all the thing you have to buy, all the projects you have to get going on . . .you quickly find it’s never enough. What did I do as the complaints about my failure to earn “ a real man’s wage” became louder? Simple. I got a second and a third job. Last year I earned $160,000. It wasn’t enough!

Now, second and third jobs tend to take you out of the house on evenings and weekends. Some husbands might expect to maybe get some admiration and praise from their wives if they step up and work more to earn the money their wives say they want. Not me. Not from my wife. I get verbal hell that I’m not around to clean the house as much as she’d like or to do “things” with our children so she doesn’t have to. As many of you have written, you come to find out that what you did to try and “solve” your problem just put you into a new set of problems. As the old saying goes, “You just can’t win!”

For awhile my wife withheld sex (and any sign of affection) from me as another way to let me know how badly I was failing her. As the love-making diminished from once a week to once a month to once every few months, I’d get upset. You guys know how we’re wired to feel love . . . .usually through physical contact. One of the worst feelings has come to me over the last couple of years, and that’s the loss of feeling bad over our lack of sex. I don’t want to make love to her. I don’t like her. And those feelings actually effect my thoughts on how attractive she is. She’s not anymore. Why would I want to have sex with her? When I “take care of “ those things now, I think of other women . . . women who I imagine are happy with their lives, their world, own their emotions and aren’t looking for someone to blame for not making them happy. A woman like that, now, at this stage of my life . . . .that’s the definition of a sexy woman to me!

While the descent began soon after our marriage, the additional “stressor” (for that’s how my wife views EVERYTHING about life – stress) of children arriving really sealed my fate and now the fate of my children. For one thing, I think, generally speaking, decent men don’t leave their children no matter how unpleasant they find home life to be. Another thing, most decent men find they absolutely LOVE being fathers. I do. Often, you’ll find, when your relationship with your wife becomes so horrible, you’ll actually cling harder to relationships that do bring you joy. It’s this way with me and my children. Normal child rearing activities that some women CHERISH and the vast majority at least take in stride, are nothing more than monumental examples of how terrible my wife’s life is as she now has to – make lunches – help with homework – drive to activities, etc, etc, etc. Your head spins as she complains about these things as “ruining” her life, when you know . . .in the house across the street. . . .another woman is HAPPILY doing all these things!! Even as I try to take as many of these thing off of her plate as possible she still complains.

The essence of our situation now, as described on so WELL on the web site, is that pretty much everything, every activity, every discussion, every event is a very, very ripe situation for my wife to go off on a tirade to let everyone know just how angry she is that her husband and her children have just made her life so horrifically bad. Blessings that come our way that normal families give thanks for are lost on her. She’ll say it out loud, she’s not blessed, she’s cursed. Honestly, she’ll compare her situation of living in the U.S. in a household grossing over $200,000 to families trying to stay ahead of rival, murdering tribes in Darfur, Africa. That’s how “out of touch” she is. I feel I helped make her this way by doing everything for her and shielding her from reality. Yes she goes to work, but she’s so negative she has no friends and therefore only has work as a tie in to real life. To hear her describe it . . . . 99.9999999% of Americans and the world, for that matter, who are dealing with real life and living in the real world are “white trash”. Honestly, seeing how far she’s sunken, I’d say that the only circumstance that would make her happy would be to essentially have an unlimited source of money where people could be paid to cook, clean and raise her children and her task each day would be to hit some store or decorating center where she could spend time “re-doing” one of her rooms in her mansion. Once she got through with all the rooms . . .she’d start again.

The typical tirade now involves language that would make sailors blush. The nastiest profanities are aimed at me and our children. Very quickly, within seconds of a tirade starting (maybe I failed to bring in the mail – or she told me to get skim milk and I got 1% - terrible things like that that I do) she’ll whip out divorce. Saying how she hates me and wants to divorce me. Last night I was driving home from my second job and my son caused the toilet to over-flow while I was making the drive. It spilled some water onto the bathroom floor. This caused an unbelievable tirade where she called me on my cell (I think most men on this site hate cell phones because it lets the abuse go on almost non-stop) and told me not to come home, to get a hotel and my stuff would be on the porch later as the marriage was over as she was really, really (for real this time!) fed up for having to live in a situation no woman should have to live in! (I guess she meant the backed up toilet!) The calls and texts from my children then came pouring in begging me to get home, which I did, to silent treatment. And there’s no telling how long the treatment will go on for. With pre-teen kids though, she can abuse me through them even while in the ”silent treatment” mode. She can tell them, within ear-shot of me, how important it is not to marry losers or “white trash” like their dad or else they’ll be condemned to a life of misery much like hers. Imagine the conflict within my children knowing how their dad really is, the love he shows them, and hearing this from their mom – MARRIED to their dad!

I’m so very tired and so beaten down. I know life didn’t have to be like this. Why did this happen to me and my children?

A reader of this Web site writes:

After 31 years of marriage I took the clear option of leaving my wife 2 months ago and am struggling to make it on my own now financially. I had hoped to go into older age (I am 55 and she is 59) having a partner to finish my years with.

Slowly, and after we moved from Denver to this southern state so she could be near her family, and ever so slowly over the past 3 years she became too many of the things listed on your home page. That is why I emailed this, because I could relate to many of those items.

Six years ago I left her for 2 days and arranged for us to go to a marriage counselor which we did for 5 sessions. She actually told the marriage counselor she was suspicious of my motive for us going to counseling. Nine years ago I helped her and supported her with her bout of breast cancer. I worked at a large IT company and she pretty much demanded a new car every two or so years in the 1990s and got them. Since 1994 she has been receiving disability income from both the company she worked for and social security. I supported her all through that both emotionally and factually.

I have always been polite and tried to remember to say the things that I thought counted, "that was a good dinner", "you look nice", "can I help". That is my nature both in public and what was my married life, to be appreciative of what people do. Shortly after our marriage counseling sessions I gave up my career and we moved to be nearer her family - since I had insurance from her job/disability retirement I figured that would be OK and being older maybe a slower paced life would be of value anyway. Seemingly I helped her dream of living close to her family. For the past three years I have slowly accepted and tolerated and tried to convince myself things will be OK even though it was growing worse.

So, we have a 55 year old man and a 59 year old woman married for just over 31 years and I am here to say that this isn't just a young mans dilemma. In the past two months before I left - and I will leave out any curse words she said in her outbursts - I have been accused of cheating on her (I never have), to just get out there and make more money, I haven't been a husband to her for 32 years - and on and on to the most trivial of being yelled at one dinner after she cooked hamburgers because she cut some lettuce and I didn't put any on my hamburger...nasty stuff, and I am talking about serious loud yelling and cursing.

I ask her to see a doctor, I am serious, could it be a physical problem? I just didn't know what was going on or why, it was just bizarre. I am not a confrontational person and would try and talk when the time seemed right and was met with further loud and nasty argumentative replies. It is true I did not want to be around people or my business acquaintances with her and even around her family and I would have a much quieter personality because ordinary conversation I would have with anyone would later be questioned or judged by her.

So now I am separated by my choice and struggling to make it in a small town in the southern US. Money isn't plentiful here but I just might make it and be able to stay around my grandchildren who want me to stay here.

To whomever reads this - it can happen after many years of marriage and it doesn't seem to know any age boundaries. I miss having a companion and I worry about my future but in no way can I go back to that kind of treatment under any circumstance. Since I left I have thoughtfully taken many steps back and gone over and over my circumstance in my thoughts, why?, what happened?, did I do the right thing?, and each time I conclude that I would never place myself back into that situation, ever.

I am so thankful for my sister and my friends who actually appreciate me.

A reader of this Web site writes:

First, thank you for producing this Web page. I feel like a normal human again. I experienced all and more of what you described. I can’t believe I let it go on for so long. On top of it my wife insisted that I go to counseling 20 years ago for my anger. It turns out that my anger came from being verbally abused by my wife. I now reflect back on all of my previous relationships with women and not one of them ever yelled at me or verbally abused me in any way.

I was raised by my verbally abusive mother. Her main topic was all men of my last name were bastards. She pitted me and my brother against one another and my father. So, if I add up the years it was 19 with mom and 22 with my wife for 41 out 52 years of abuse. Enough already! Another thing my wife has said over the years is that our “marriage has been X many years of misery." We are now at 22 years of misery. I realize that I cannot go on with a woman who thinks our time together has been misery.

I have provided everything that my wife has needed or wanted. We live in a nice home, have nice cars, beautiful children and yet it is not enough. She will insist that we not go anywhere for the weekend because she has plans for us. Then admits she has a girl scout meeting in the middle of the day and will see me later. Left alone again. She has asked for a divorce so many times that I have lost track and don’t care. All I say now is can I help you pack.

I met with my MFCC therapist last night for 2 hours and reviewed your article with her. She thinks you’re the greatest. My therapist has been telling me for years that my wife has a problem. In fact, I am very satisfied that I found your Web page and that it gave me answers to my problems. I have validation from both you and my therapist and now my friends. I have had the courage to speak with my long time friends about the verbal abuse after reading your Web page. They have all agreed that I need to move on and have given my best as a father and husband. On the advice of my therapist, I will ask my wife to attend couples counseling again, but she has insisted in the past that only I have a problem. She senses something is up and has been nicer lately, but still no sex. I wish I could believe that she will change, but I sincerely doubt it. I am going to ask for us to attend couples counseling after this weekend. If she says no, I am prepared to say we need to divorce. I will update after this upcoming event.

 

As you can see, if you are a victim of verbal abuse, you are not alone. Please send me your story, so I can post it on this page for others to read and help them to realize that they are also not alone. Together, we can help each other through the long, lonely, journey of recovery.

Please go to the Sharing your story page to share your verbal abuse story. If you have any specific questions about verbal abuse, feel free to send an e-mail to comptimes@aol.com with the subject line VERBAL ABUSE QUESTION.

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