"I Married An Abusive Girl:" Men Are Survivors Of Domestic Violence Too

Updated February 28, 2021

Medically Reviewed By: Lauren Guilbeault

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?

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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:

  • Physical abuse
  • Sexual abuse
  • Emotional abuse
  • Economic abuse
  • Psychological abuse
  • Threats
  • Stalking
  • Cyberstalking

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

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

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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.

Emotional Abuse

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:

  • She Is Controlling. If your wife is abusive, then she may want to control everything in your relationship. She might want to have the final say over everything. This can include your family's finances, what you do in your spare time, and even what you wear.
  • She Constantly Criticizes You. You may find that you can't seem to do anything right in your wife's eyes. No matter what you do, she will find a way to knock it down and criticize you in the process.
  • She Acts Out Physically. It could be that she punches the wall, pushes you or punches you, or even takes her physical anger out on the family pet.
  • She's Jealous Of Everyone. Abusive wives tend to struggle with jealousy. But this isn't just jealousy if you're talking to other women. She might be jealous of the time that you spend with family and friends as well. She wants to control your time and wants your focus to be on her.
  • She Threatens You. This could mean that she threatens your physical safety, but it could also mean that she does things like threaten to leave and take the kids with her if you don't do what she wants.

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  • She Is The Queen Of The Blame Game. Chances are, if you have an abusive wife, then she thinks she is never wrong. She finds a way to blame everything on someone else and that someone else is usually you. Things are constantly your fault and never her fault.
  • She Doesn't Apologize. Since she doesn't think that she is ever doing anything wrong, she will not apologize to you when she does. However, she will demand apologies from you even if you haven't done anything to apologize for.
  • She Can't Handle Hearing Criticism. If your wife is abusive, she will have a hard time hearing anything negative about herself. She will react harshly and deny whatever you say.

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.

Get Support

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

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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.


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