Most people think of bruises and scrapes when they think of domestic violence. They take physical abuse more seriously. However, the scars that result from verbal abuse last much longer and can have their own devastating effects. Emotional abuse is the act of trying to gain control over the victim through mental manipulation. This can be done by various means, including insults, put-downs and belittling comments to diminish the victim's self-worth. The first step to stopping emotional abuse is recognizing it.
An emotionally abusive husband uses various manipulation tactics to gain and then maintain a sense of control over his wife. If he tells you that you are crazy or stupid, he is manipulating you into lower self-esteem. Another method is to try and make you believe that his hurting or insulting you is your fault. He'll do this by saying things such as, "If you hadn't said that... if you hadn't done that... then this wouldn't have happened." He'll also say that he can't help being abusive, he'll make excuses stemming from his childhood or past, so that you continue to try and help him. If he suffered abuse himself (as is often the case) he should be in professional therapy. It is not your job, as his wife, to fix the effects of his past.
An abusive husband is always right and feels the need to prove it. He has to win and be in charge all the time. He'll justify his behavior by blaming others or you for being wrong. He'll often talk down to you or call you names in order to make himself feel superior.
An abusive husband will feel a need to dole out some kind of punishment if he doesn't get his way. He may withhold sex, emotional intimacy or play the "silent game" in order to do this.
He will often have to have control over the finances in your household and is demanding of your time. He has to be the center of your attention. He will become angry if you show signs of independence or strength.
Jealousy and Posessiveness
If he becomes jealous over friends, family and co-workers, he is likely an emotional abuser. He needs to feel that he has control over you, and any independent behavior at all will make him lose this feeling; he'll blame you for it. He'll try to isolate you and prevent you from interacting with people other than him. He'll accuse you of flirting with other men, even if you are only having a conversation.
Unwilling to Seek Help
Abusers are often very insecure and it is too damaging to their delicate egos to admit that they have done anything wrong. Instead of acknowledging a personal shortcoming in handling his actions and his problems, he will blame his behavior on outside circumstances or his past.
There are many other signs of an emotionally abusive relationship; some of them include, but are not limited to, the following: an unpredictable temper, threatening to commit suicide if you leave, destroying your belongings, forcing you to have sex, threatening to hurt you or kill you, considering you property or a sex object, humiliating and yelling at you and ignoring your opinions or accomplishments.