Content/Trigger Warning: Please be advised, the below article might mention trauma-related topics that include abuse, sexual assault & violence, which could potentially be triggering.
When society hears about domestic violence or a relationship with abuse, they instantly assume a female being abused by a man. However, that's not always the case. Even though research suggests it may not happen as often, there are situations of men that marry an abusive girl and experience domestic violence.
According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, "1 in 25 men have been injured by an intimate partner." If you have found yourself in an abusive marriage, know that you are not alone, even if it's not something that is often discussed in society.
What Is Domestic Violence?
While most people think of physical abuse when they hear the phrase "domestic abuse." But it's more than that. According to the website FindLaw.com, the definition "is a pattern of abusive behavior in any relationship that one partner uses to gain or maintain control over another intimate partner."
They include the following forms of abuse in domestic violence:
Types Of Abuse
Domestic violence is not just physical abuse. While there are women that physically abuse their husbands, research suggests it's more likely that a wife will use other forms of abuse.
In research shared by the Alliance for Family Wellness, president Kimberly Taylor mentions that women were more likely to turn to forms of abuse such as emotional abuse or verbal abuse.
Every type of abuse is inappropriate and unacceptable in a relationship.
Physical abuse, which most people are familiar with, includes a spouse physically harming their spouse. Physical abuse leaves physical scars, making it easier for people to identify that the abuse is happening.
Verbal abuse is when one partner uses their words to hurt the other person. This could include things like name-calling and belittling. While this does not leave physical signs of the abuse, overtime hearing, this type of abuse can impact how a person feels about themselves. This can lead to things like anxiety, depression, in low self-esteem.
This type of abuse includes constantly criticizing, name-calling, and doing things like threatening to take the children away if they don't do what their spouse wants. This also leads to symptoms of abuse, such as anxiety, depression, and low confidence.
What Does An Abusive Girl Look Like?
According to the article on domesticshelters.org, an abusive girl does not look the same way an abusive guy does. The article explains that often, abusive men go through a cycle of abuse. There tends to be a honeymoon phase when things are well before the abuse starts. And then, they experience a period of remorse after an incident of abuse. They may even apologize and try to smooth things over with their wives. However, on the other hand, wives don't tend to show this period of remorse or work through the cycle in their actions.
The article states, "These female abusers' common traits included being possessive, controlling and jealous; having unrealistic expectations of her partner; having high impulsivity, anger, and rage; and not having enough outside support from female friends."
Here are some signs that you can look for if you think that your wife might be abusive:
What To Do If You're Married To An Abusive Girl
If you are married to an abusive girl, you don't need to continue to live in the abuse. Depending on the situation, it could be possible that your marriage could be saved. However, this isn't always the case. The important thing is that you make sure that you are safe and your children if you have them.
Learn To Set Boundaries
If you plan on staying with your wife, and it's safe to do so, you need to learn how to set boundaries. When you set boundaries, you create rules for how your wife is allowed to treat you going forward. This can be challenging to do if you haven't done it before, but it's also an important first step in changing your relationship. However, she will continue to act; however, she wants and treats you however she wants if you let her. Your boundaries stop her from being able to do that.
It's important to have a good support system that you can turn to. This could include your family members and friends. However, abusive partners tend to work on isolating you by separating you from your support system. This could be something that your wife has been doing for years, leaving you feeling like you don't have anyone to turn to.
Find A Shelter
If your marriage is unsafe to stay in, you need to get out of it safely. If you aren't sure where to go and don't have a support system that you can turn to, you can look for a domestic violence shelter. There are beginning to be more shelters that are open exclusively to men. While in the past, research suggests that men that arrived at these shelters tended to be from same-sex relationships, there are beginning to be more men arriving that are leaving abusive wives.
Talk To A Therapist
Whether you are trying to stay in your marriage or ready to get out, talking to a therapist can help you work through the process. Relationships are hard, but it can make it feel impossible when you add in an abusive wife. If you aren't sure if you should stay or leave, a therapist can help you work on making a decision. They will not decide for you or tell you what to do, but they will help you process what you've been going through.
If you want to stay in your marriage, a licensed therapist can help you learn what changes you need to have a healthier marriage. They can also help you learn how to set boundaries, as discussed above.
If you decide that it's time to leave your relationship, a therapist can help you work through the many emotions you will experience. Even if it's the best thing for you, it can be a hard decision to make.
If you and your wife want to improve your relationship together, couples counseling can help. These sessions provide you with a place where you can be open and honest about what you're experiencing in the relationship while having a neutral expert to help guide you through the process without judgment.
If you or your wife is leery about meeting in person with a counselor, ReGain gives you access to online licensed therapists 24/7. This means you can do couples counseling or individual counseling right from the comfort of your own home. It's an affordable and convenient way to get the help you need if you're married to an abusive girl.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What are the indicators of emotional abuse?
The indicators of emotional abuse can be hard to spot. Those in an abusive relationship might not be willing to come forward with their experiences - in fact, they might not even realize they’re in an abusive relationship, to begin with.
Indicators of emotional abuse in adults might include:
Indicators of emotional abuse in children might include:
Emotional abuse can be a form of domestic abuse, especially from an abusive girlfriend or abusive boyfriend. It’s important to take these warning signs seriously and take action to remedy them if necessary.
What causes someone to be an abuser?
Many factors can lead to an abusive relationship (or dating an abusive girlfriend), many of which are uncontrollable.
For many abusers, past experiences of abuse motivate them to commit acts of their own. They may remember the abuse and use it as a model in times of stress or anger. The idea of abused becoming an abuser themselves is known as the cycle of abuse, and it’s unfortunately quite common. To summarize, here are some of the most common causes that could lead someone to become an abuser:
Note that all these issues stem from the abuser, not the individual experiencing domestic violence.
Is yelling a sign of abuse?
Yelling can be a sign of an abusive relationship, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be. It’s not fair to say that because normal people in regular relationships sometimes yell, yelling can’t be abusive; it can be an example of verbal, emotional, or mental abuse, especially if it happens frequently.
If you’re dealing with an abusive girlfriend or suspect you’re in an abusive relationship, yelling can definitely be a red flag. If some of the other signs of abuse we’ve discussed in this article ring true to you as well, it may be time to seek help.
When tensions have cleared, speak to your partner about any behavior you find concerning, like yelling. Let them know that you take it very seriously, and be open about how it makes you feel. Your partner may not realize that he or she is yelling or may not realize that it frightens and upsets you.
Can verbal abuse cause PTSD?
Those who remember abuse can be haunted by it in many ways. Even after therapy and years of healing, the scars of abuse can linger. It’s not fair or true to say that words can’t be abusive or constitute a toxic situation - they absolutely can and do.
Verbal abuse can cause PTSD symptoms, as well as symptoms of other mental illnesses. If you’re dealing with mental illness symptoms, you must speak with a healthcare professional.
What does narcissistic abuse do to you?
The consequences of narcissistic abuse are complex and numerous, as are the consequences of general domestic abuse.
If you’re living with, married to, or the child of a narcissist, you’re likely familiar with many of the tell-tale signs: low self-worth, an inability to make easy decisions, emotional isolation, among others. Living under these sorts of circumstances can certainly impact your wellbeing, and it’s important to be aware of such a reality so that you can combat it if you begin to deal with it.
Some common symptoms that individuals experiencing narcissistic abuse experience may include:
These are some guidelines meant to act as identifiers of narcissistic abuse, but not all of them must be present. Also, many individuals that experience abuse rises above their situations to lead healthy and normal lives. You can learn from your past abuse and traumas without letting them define you.