What is Emotional Abuse?

The Abused Wives
in an Emotionally Abusive Relationship



About: What is Emotional Abuse and the Emotionally Abusive Relationship?
When most think of “abuse” they think of physical abuse: hitting, stabbing, breaking bones, kicking etc., but there are more types of abuse that are equally destructive.

But what is emotional abuse, what is an emotionally abusive relationship, and how does it affect families?

During the years I lived with my abusive husband and I experienced abuse, I realized that it wasn’t the physical abuse that did long term damage.

It was our emotionally abuse relationship that really hurt me. (That’s not to say, other types of abuse such as economical, spiritual, and sexual abuse doesn’t hurt. It does and does do great damage.)

During the marriage, he threatened me, criticized me, degraded me, damaged property and convinced me there was no way out of the relationship. I lived in constant fear, terrified to move, leave, or do anything that would upset him.

That type of abuse is called emotional abuse. Emotional abuse was worse to me than the physical (and I was stabbed, beaten severely, broken bones, put into a coma, beaten so badly I had brain damage and left for dead).

The ill effects of the emotional kept me from moving forward in my life and all that God had planned for me, because of what my husband said and did to me – verbally and emotionally.

What is Emotional Abuse and How Does it Effect Others?

I remember once a friend told me about her experience when she and her family stayed for a week at my house. Every day, we would we have fun, go to the beach or pool, go out to eat and do all the tourist attractions. But as we would come home and it neared 6:00 pm my demeanor changed.

I began cleaning up, fear rose up in me and a tension in the house permeated the atmosphere. It made her whole family uncomfortable.

Moments earlier, actually the whole day was fun and enjoyable but as it neared dinner time the atmosphere changed and everyone was uncomfortable.

I was so fearful of my husband coming home that it affected the entire household and even my visitors. Emotional abuse is very serious. It doesn’t just affect women and children while they are living with the abuser, it affects them years after they left.

What is Emotional Abuse and How Long Does it Last?

For me, it took me about 10 years to overcome the emotional effects of emotional abuse. Unfortunately once you leave an abuser the effects of abuse are ingrained in us and it takes time to heal and remove the intimidation, threats, humiliation, and mind control he had over you.

For the abused wives who have left an abusive relationship, most of the time never thought for herself. She has been told what to do and what to think. She has no thoughts or feelings about anything because he has “taught” her to think his thoughts and do what he has said.

Additionally, after being told repeatedly how worthless and stupid she is, it’s hard to believe she is capable of accomplishing anything.

As a result after leaving an abusive relationship the victim has difficulties caring for herself and her children. Those lies she has heard and believed, now control what she does and who she is now, even though she has left the emotionally abusive relationship.

Is this to say it will take you 10 years to overcome the ill effects of abuse? No. Many women get out and are living total freedom and peace.

Is this to say that you will have difficulties after you leave? No, not necessarily. Each of us are different. We all heal in different ways, we all overcome situations and circumstances in our life differently.

Back when I was in my abusive relationship there wasn’t anything available to help victims of abuse, no help to leave an abusive relationship, no resources to help heal, no books about domestic violence.

That is why I started this organization and have written these books, so for anyone who is in an abusive relationship or has gotten out will have all the help they need to succeed.

If you are experiencing emotional abuse (or physical, sexual, spiritual abuse) there is help. We are here to help you.

What is Emotional Abuse?

In a Relationship of EMOTIONAL ABUSE You May Experience the Following from Your Abuser:

  • Constant criticism. Swearing, name calling, degrading and shaming comments.
  • Does not trust you and acts jealous, domineering, or possessive.
  • Isolates you from family and friends.
  • Monitors where you go, who you call, and who you spend time with.
  • Persuades you not to work.
  • Controls the household finances and all money. Gives you an allowance.
  • Punishes you by withholding affection.
  • Expects you to ask permission.
  • Threatens to hurt you, the children, your family, or your pets.
  • Humiliates you, embarrasses you, mocks, or makes fun of you publicly or privately.
  • Damages property when angry—thrown objects, punched walls, kicked doors, etc.
  • Abandons you in an unsafe or unfamiliar place.
  • Drives recklessly to cause fear.
  • Kicks you out of your home.
  • Imprisons you in your home or keeps you from leaving.
  • Stops you from calling police or seeking medical attention.
  • Intimidates you to force your obedience.
  • Repeatedly tells you that you are worthless and unimportant.
  • Blames you for the violence abuser does to you.
  • Convinces you that there is no way out of the relationship.


If you are experiencing emotional abuse, I have a book that can help: Hurt No More! A Journey of Healing from Abuse

Learn more about what is emotional abuse, abused wives and abusive husbands with these related articles:

More about Economically Abusive Relationships

Living with an Abuser

How to Escape Economic Abuse

Return to Home Page from What is Emotional Abuse?





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Kelly Ann Evers, founder of His Love Heals, Domestic Violence Help.  www.domestic-violence-help.org.  Don't do abuse alone!

Hi, I'm Kelly.

I have created this website to share tips, ideas, and planning tools for all your domestic abuse needs. Each page gives you the courage to make sound choices for your future.

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