20 Ways To Get Out Of An Emotionally Abusive Relationship

Abusive husbands cause a lot of pain. Learn how to overcome emotional abuse and ways to get out of negative relationships and marriage patterns.

By Gerald Matiri
20 Ways To Get Out Of An Emotionally Abusive Relationship

Recover From Emotionally Abusive Relationships

An emotionally abusive marriage is a situation whereby one spouse is in full control and dominates the other partner through abusive approaches. As such, there is an imbalance of power because the abuser holds the entire mandate while the victim has none. Nonetheless, if the victim is fully aware of the situation, they can stop the abuse, even though it’s challenging. Reclaiming your personal power from an emotionally abusive relationship is quite difficult but it’s possible. You have a huge task of confronting the person who’s putting you through the emotional abuse. It seems easier to get out of an abusive marriage for good but you might want to change the relationship first. If you have made up your mind to confront this emotional abuse, it is important that you find an emotional shield (someone to support you in the process). The supportive individual should promise you in advance to be your buffer if things get tough as you face the abuser.

Signs Of Emotional Abuse In Marriage By Husbands

Surprisingly not so many women recognize that their husbands are emotional abusers. And when they do, it is normally a confrontational to get their husbands notice the damage they have caused. The problem of emotional abuse is that its effects are usually invisible and by the time they get noticed, they have done already caused enough harm. Basically, the emotional abuse is a cycle as opposed to a one-time occurrence. In a healthy marriage, a husband apologizes when he inflicts pain on his wife in a sincere manner. In such a case, the hurt is unintended and there are signs of remorse on the side of the husband. However, this is not the case with emotionally abusive relationships. In rare cases, manipulative husbands apologize and promise not to do it again, but the wives know very well that this is a façade. Sooner or later, their husbands resume the emotional abuse cycle. Here are the common signs of abusive relationships 1. Hypercriticism 2. Lack of affection 3. Mean jokes 4. Cheating 5. Poor communication 6. Constant humiliations and embarrassments 7. Domination 8. Guilt trips 9. Discouragements 10. Chaos

Traits Of Emotionally Abusive Husbands

Abusive husbands are controlling, humiliating, degrading, intimidating, punitive, and demeaning. This attitude from a spouse invalidates the wife’s feelings and opinions, whether intentionally or unintentionally. Over time, the emotional climate erodes the meaning of most relationships and wives start to perceive the concept of marriage as lifeless. The commonest phrase used by emotional abusers is ‘I love you but…….’ At first, he makes it sound sweet but it is a disguised threat or criticism. He might tell you, ‘I love you for now, but I will get tired if you don’t stop this’. The effects of such negative comments eat away your confidence. Note how he abuses even the word love just so he can control you. If you think your spouse is an emotional abuser, check for these signs: 1. He calls and texts you constantly when you are away 2. He uses an unpleasant tone 3. He shows extreme jealousy 4. He threatens to commit suicide if you go 5. He is moody most of the times 6. He says everything is your fault 7. He makes fun of you with mean jokes 8. He makes disguised threats 9. He uses money to control you 10. He doesn’t want you with your friends or family

Recovery from Emotional Abuse In Marriage Difficult

Women find it hard to recover from emotional abuse by husbands due to the psychological effects, which an abusive marriage causes. Such effects include:

Lack of psychological resources

Over time, abused women get used to the sneaky behavior of their husbands, even though she hates it. She feels like she doesn’t have sufficient mental and social power to escape this toxicity. In a bid to please her husband, she makes a lot of compromises that all her dignity gets eroded. In the end, the manipulative spouse manages to control her life completely. She becomes so psychologically disturbed that saying no seems close to impossibility.

Shattered confidence

Because of the rollercoaster of emotions abused women go through, their self-worth dwindles over time. It seems almost impossible to get out of the relationship even though they feel miserable. Basically, lack of confidence takes away the strength of a woman.


Since the abusive spouse blames her all the time, it becomes harder to break up. This is especially true if a woman fails to recognize the warning signs of an abusive husband. The effects of guilty conscious are retrogressive; instead of walking away, she forms even a stronger bond with her husband because she is ashamed of the thought of leaving him.

How To Cope With Emotional Abuse In Marriage

It’s time you recover from the effects of psychological torture in your marriage. Don’t allow him to damage you any further. You have to be strong and recognize that what your husband is doing to you is wrong. Do you want to keep on being a prisoner in your own house? I suppose not. The first step is to understand the warning signs as mentioned above. After all, how can you make him stop if you are not aware that he is an emotional abuser in the first place? Assess the signs and follow your gut; only then can you stop the emotional abuse. Read these 20 calls to action.

1. Understanding abusive husbands

An emotionally abusive spouse must not go scot-free. You don’t have to humiliate yourself more by tolerating the emotional abuser who is just but a bully. Like any other challenge in life, you can overcome this. It may sound counterproductive to show compassion to a manipulator, but sometimes having a different perception about your husband can inspire you to deal with the abuse even better. It may not have occurred to you before but your abusive husband has his insecurities. Ordinarily, emotional abusers show signs of anxiety, depression, among other insecurities. Keeping this in mind will enable you to place the abuse in the right context i.e. it is about him, not you. If you put yourself in his shoes, you wouldn’t want to feel challenged but you would bury the hatchet if your tactics are challenged. After you understand him, find a creative way to interact with him- use humor or create distractions.

It is difficult for a girl to come into a new family and build relationships with the individuals within, but what can the girl do if she is treated as an outsider and the extended family do not accept her as a member the family? Although I have faced many trials in my first year of marriage, the most difficult has been not being accepted by my husbands extended family as one of their own. I have attended family gatherings and have been completely ignored by some family members from the moment I set foot into the house. When I greet them, I receive very cool responses and often snide comments. Instead of telling me their stories and including me in conversations; they have their inside jokes and talk about lots of memories from the past, reminiscing about the ‘good old days’ and how they wish they could go back. They even go as far as making plans together in which I am not included in and then rubbing it in my face by talking about it and sharing photos at the next gathering. I have always been a shy and reserved person so when I feel unwelcome or find myself in stressful situations, I tend to crawl back into my shell and become very quiet and withdrawn. Even when I do that I get comments about how I’m being too proud to mix with the family! It has gotten to the point where attending family gatherings makes me anxious and my husband and I have started to do more things with my side of the family instead. My husband is aware of this situation and has even spoken out in my defence many times, only to have gotten the reply that he has become ‘batameez’ and how I have changed him and taken him away from his family. It seems to have become a Catch 22 situation where I just can’t win! What would you do and how would you handle yourself in this situation? Contributed by Anonymous #islam #marriage #husband #wife #marriageissues #family #inlaws #muslimgirlmonday #loveforallhatredfornone #muslimah #hijabi

A post shared by Empower | Inspire | Convey (@thevoicetoday) on

2. Facing the emotional abuse with confidence

Facing emotional abuse is not an easy decision when it comes to intimate relationships. The abuser will not stop his behavior unless the victim acts. If you are a victim of emotional abuse in marriage, you will feel beaten up most of the times. He will make you feel like you cannot make it on your own but you can stand up to him and assert confidence. You need a lot of courage to look him in the eye and tell him to stop teasing you. Demand a dignified treatment and respect from your spouse. As you face him with confidence, speak calmly, assertively, and reasonably. You must act out of rationality as opposed to emotions to help the situation. Start by practicing assertiveness in other areas of your life and you will be confident enough to stop the emotional abuse your husband subjects you to.

Stop Emotional Abuse In Relationships

3. Getting out of the abusive marriage

If the situation is severe, you have no option than to get out of your marriage completely. If your husband is a pathological manipulator, his behavior is ingrained- he cannot change or accept help. So, the best alternative is to leave him. You are a wonderful woman and don’t deserve any abuse. Help yourself by leaving this abusive loser and be sure to inform the appropriate law enforcement authority (in case your husband is a threat).

4. Ditching the love of abusive husbands

Sometimes, in order to move on, you have to move past love. The love feelings will linger in your heart- which is totally normal- and you will wonder how on earth you could love such a perverted individual. You cannot continue loving a husband who treats you with neither respect nor dignity. Even though he has been a pivotal person in your life (he is the father of your kids and provider), understand that you are no his prisoner. Your love feelings are totally normal but please stop dwelling on them.

You Don't Have to Feel Like This Does the situation seem hopeless? It’s never been THIS bad? Your spouse has one and a half feet out the door and seems ready to go all with someone else? You live with anger and rage daily, hourly and your spouse is oblivious of it or doesn't even care how you feel? You never felt so alone, desperate and SCARED? OMG, It’s going to end! What will I do? If it feels like your last chance, last ditch effort to save your marriage or relationship, I want you to click this link: https://marriagematters.com.ng/5-keys-to-cracking-infidelity-code/ I will be taking you through the things you need to know about infidelity in this 3 days FREE webinar. Even though it feels like the end, THAT end, is often the BEGINNING of something beautiful for several couples. A serious marital crisis may be your wake up call. It’s time for a change. Join me and let's crack the infidelity code. Wishing you the best, Bose Fawehinmi Lead Counsellor Marriage Matters International Click on the link in my bio.

A post shared by Marriage Matters counsellor (@askbosefawehinmi) on

5. Let others help you overcome emotional abuse

Don’t ever forget that the abuse is not your fault and you don’t have to deal with it alone. Note that not everyone is supportive when it comes to dealing with marriage issues. Some friends might even put the blame on you, so you have to be careful with whom you choose to advise you. Seek support from people who are close to you so you can recover. If you have a trustworthy friend, visit them and vent. Cry if you want to. Let out your emotions so you can move on. Reconnect with a strong person who adores you like your mum. Engage with people who would never tolerate anybody mistreating you. These are the people you should surround yourself with so you can rebuild your self-esteem.

6. Ignoring abusive husbands

When trying to get out of emotional abuse from a husband, the worst blunder you can commit it to correct him because you will only get tangled up in his abusive cycle even more. To trap you in a disagreement, he will use his anxiety and confusion so that you become emotional. He knows very well the things that trigger emotional outbursts in you and he will use them against you. Since he is always up to influencing your actions, why don’t you ignore him for a while? Actually, you can ignore him for good. You may not be in a position to do this immediately. Start with agreeing to everything he says and then do your stuff. Soon, he will see that you are not bothered with his criticisms, lies, or teases.

7. Resisting the temptation to go back

You might feel like you should get back with your ex-husband at some point. You keep wishing for things to be different. These lingering feelings only make you feel more miserable. Do not let them tear you apart; you have already been broken far too many times. Try loving yourself more and wish your ex-spouse good luck but do not go back to the emotional abuse. If you are considering getting together, make sure you have regained your power so you can walk away if he starts showing signs of abuse again.

8. Safety planning for abusive relationships

A safety plan is vital, whether the controlling spouse physically violent or not. You will need external help to develop a practical regime to stay safe in an abusive marriage and after you get out of it. If he has been abusing you verbally and psychologically, there are higher chances he could turn into a wife battler, especially if he feels like he’s being challenged. The safety plan should have two aspects: an escape route and a safe area of your home. Then, have your phone all the times and a friend you can talk to when you need help. For safety, devise a signal or code word for emergency assistance from your neighbor or nearby friend. Another good tip is to have your car ready always- have it gas filled and packed in your driveway and lock all the car doors except the driver’s. Be very careful if you have to leave your abusive husband. He might provoke physical violence; call an emergency department if you feel in danger (domestic violence hotline or an advocate)

9. Getting past grief and open wounds of abuse

As mentioned, it is possible to have love feelings for your abuser. Besides that, you might be overwhelmed with despair, grief, and sadness towards the end of a dysfunctional marriage. When you get out of this marriage, some of your dreams and hopes will be lost so you can expect the negative feelings. Take heart and don’t let grief and the hurtful feelings interfere with your new life. If they are so overwhelming, consult psychological counseling. This will help you deal with anger and guilt which you could be harboring. An abusive spouse can leave you hyper-vigilant to threats, wounded, and with complicated fresh emotions. Make sure you get professional help.

Recovery after emotional abuse in marriage

As explained above, the easiest way to overcome emotional abuse is walking away. Only then can you move forward. The next step is moving from fear to a state of power. How do you do this if you choose to stick with him?

10. Eliminating the guilt after emotional abuse

Stop entertaining the useless emotion of guilt. It is one of the weaknesses an abusive spouse uses to control you. The effects of guilt are shame, low self-esteem, and cowardice. He can do anything just to see you feeling guilty even for being confident and happy. He wants you to believe that it is wrong to feel too good about yourself. You need to recover from the negative feelings inflicts on you because they are not real. His aim is to see you doubting your capability and self-worth so that in your state of uncertainty, he takes over. The only solution to this is to stop feeling guilty and believe in yourself. Get out of self-doubt and be proud of your achievements. If you keep compromising your happiness, you will be destroying yourself slowly by slowly.

11. Setting limits on husbands criticism

You have to make him know that you will only accept positive criticism. Be open to his opinions and concerns but not attacks against you. Never again engage in conversations aimed at belittling you or judging your actions. If he has a little understanding left of him, he should respect your stance. The key is staying assertive until he learned this. Of course, you don’t expect him to back down; he might actually play the defensive even strongly. What you need is to make a strong standpoint and don’t let his abusive nature overpower you again.

12. Saving relationships with honesty

Start by being honest with yourself and then your emotionally abusive spouse. What are your needs, life goals, and moral values? Make decisions that will favor your personal needs; do not put his needs before yours. Be very clear on what you can take from him and what you can’t. Then, clarify what you can do for him within your power and what you can’t. Don’t allow him to intimidate you again. As you consider his needs, what can you do for him and what is off the table? You don’t have to do things for him for the sake of saving the relationship or pleasing him; do something because it feels right. He should not compel you to do stuff. If you say no, mean it so he can accept or else you part ways.

13. Turning the tables of abusive relationships

Abusive husbands constantly use their lousy approaches against their wives. If this has been happening for long, you should be able to highlight those strategies. Does he hold past cases over your head? He might even get close to your friends so he can turn them against you. He will lure you into his shady games just to confuse you and waste your time. Now that you already know his tactics, it’s high time you turn the tables. This time, make his life miserable like he has been doing to you. You need to pick appropriate targets such as his boss, friends, manager, or co-worker. These are people he depends on and they trust him; form allies with them. He will feel threatened because he knows you can use these people against you. In the end, he will call a truce a hold back his horses.

14. Reinventing yourself after emotional abuse

An abusive husband wants you to dwell in a state of confusion to ensure that his agenda moves on. He wants you to remain a housewife for good to make them feel good. This is how he manages to keep you in his box and control you. Luckily, there is a way out i.e. push against the limits he sets you for but don’t try to fit in them. Work hard so you can shine. Do not stay in the same position he wants you in but rather look for ways to be different. Staying in the same position for too long is the reason he takes you for granted. So, grow as a person, embrace change, and seek means of making yourself better.

15. Learn from past mistakes in abusive relationships

If you have been tripped once by your husband, you shouldn’t beat yourself up. But if he fools you every month, do not be offended if someone calls you a fool. Why do you let him walk over you constantly? You are not a punching bag to receive blows every time. Stop embarrassing yourself by falling for his tricks. You must have self-awareness and respect so you can say an affirmative no to mistreatments. As soon as you detect signs he is an emotional abuser, start taking actions with immediate effect. Do not give him a free pass to keep on abusing you. If he abuses you over and over, cut him loose and move on.

16. Stop seeking permission in an abusive marriage

You must not ask for his approval to do obvious things. The effects of his emotional abuse have preconditioned you to seeking his consent in almost everything. You don’t anybody’s permission to live the life you deserve. Maybe you are so used to waiting for his approval that you sit silently and afraid to speak up when there is an issue. How about you stop acting so polite or trying to make him feel comfortable? Break all his manipulative rules and start doing things your way. If it is about your career or education, take bold steps and decide for yourself because it is your life. Now is the time to take full control of your own life without seeking anybody’s permission.

17. Finding purpose to fight abusive relationships

Without a purpose, it becomes easier for you to get sidetracked and manipulated. Emotional abuse in marriage continues to thrive because most wives do not know what to do with their lives. They don’t understand why they are with their husbands in the first place. Do you feel like you somehow found yourself in marriage for no reason? What you are lacking is a purpose in life. If you don’t define your life purpose, you will find yourself doing just anything- especially for your husband- because nothing matters to you. You don’t have to stay purposeless. Start defining your direction and stop killing time with this man. Keep yourself busy if you want to tackle a manipulative husband. If you are occupied, he won’t find a chance to peddle nonsense to you. Stay focused and he won’t hurt, misguide, or distract you.

18. Taking care of your health

Psychological manipulation takes a heavy toll on the victim’s health not to mention their overall well-being. There are healthy ways to cope with emotional abuse in marriage such as exercising, eating healthy, and getting enough sleep. Embrace your uniqueness- talents, traits, and beauty. Find a hobby that will distract you from your mean spouse. Read inspirational books so you can find motivation.

19. The dynamics of abusive relationships

Coping with emotional abuse starts with identifying the warning signs. Abusive husbands design an unfair platform where they want to stay in control. As mentioned before, they intimidate, humiliate, coerce, and isolate their wives. A survey carried out in America indicates that 15% of American women have experienced this kind of abuse by their partners. While changing an abuser is hard, learning the dynamics of emotional abuse can make life better for the victim.

20. Rebuilding power to overcome victim identity

No one else will reclaim your personal power except you. You must find your lost sense of worth by all means. Start reconnecting with your strengths, talents, skills, and special abilities. Once you realign with your goals and values, you will have found yourself once again. Setting boundaries with your husband will help a lot. As soon as he starts his verbal tirade, do not argue with him and if he continues, leave him to calm down. Soon, you will recover and stop labeling yourself a victim.

#maritalfights #sithlords #darkside

A post shared by Lady Jane 💋 (@venusminerva13) on

Final word

There is something you need to get straight: emotional abuse is none of your faults. An abusive husband is excellent at manipulation. He can make you believe that the treatment you receive is your entire fault. If there is one thing he takes advantage of is your insecurity. He has the nerves to convince you that he is mistreating you to make you better. He might even act like a charmer when you are in public places so that no one notices his ill side. But his actions are completely different when it’s just the two of you. If this describes your marriage, you only have a small chance of improving your relationship. For the abusive husband to change it’s going to take tremendous motivation and insight. If possible, find professional help to enable you to get out of the marital abuse. Take your first step by seeing a counselor who can assist you in rebuilding your self-esteem. You may be totally in love with your husband but does he love or respect you? Have faith that you will get out of this nightmare and break it off.