Emotionally Destructive/Abusive Marriages



Emotional abuse is any kind of abuse that is emotional rather than physical in nature. With emotional abuse, unlike physical abuse, the people doing it and receiving it, may not even know it’s happening until much damage has been done. 

Emotional abuse is like a kind of brain washing. It subtly over time, changes how a person sees themselves and  it allows things that are untrue to define who the abused person thinks they are. Emotional abuse destroys a victim's self-confidence and sense of self-worth. The abuser often twists things, denies things, minimizes or turns things around so much, that the victim feels like they are going crazy and makes the victim question and mistrust their own perceptions and emotions. The abuser usually makes it known, they do not think they are the problem, it is the victim that is the problem. The abuser rarely takes responsibility for their abuse. They usually deny, deflect or minimize their actions.  In emotionally abusive relationships, one person controls the other by undermining his or her confidence, worthiness, growth, trust, or emotional stability. The abuser can use one or many tactics to abuse.These include verbal abuse, constant criticism, intimidation, humiliation, manipulation, refusing to ever be pleased, berating or belittling or taking the position that they know best. Sometimes the abuser says they are only being "helpful" by guiding, teaching, or giving advice. An abuser can use other tactics as well, including refusing to listen, refusing to communicate, or emotionally withdrawing or giving the silent treatment.

Verbal abuse is not always about the words that are used but about the effects of behavior. An abuser can say the most loving words with sarcasm and silently communicate contempt through body language, rolling eyes, sighs, grimaces, tone of voice, disgusted looks, cold shoulders, banging dishes, etc. There are dozens of ways to be emotionally abusive.

With physical abuse, often the victim does not blame themselves...or it's easier to see that  the abuser has a problem. It should be noted though, many times the physical abuser will often try to make the victim feel like they are  indeed the problem and  that the victims behavior made the abuser hurt them. With emotional abuse, the victims usually blame themselves. Emotional abuse makes a person feel stupid, incompetent, not worth attention or that no one could love them. It creates a cycle of trying to do better and be better and puts the victim on a treadmill of  trying to be perfect so they will gain approval and love and so they can make things better in the relationship. Unfortunately,  even if they do everything "right", the abuser will still find things to complain about or find fault with...thus, it makes the victim believe that they are the problem. Emotional abuse breaks your spirit. It makes you feel like you are walking on egg shells and it makes love hurt. 

Here is an emotional abuse quiz you can take called Walking on Eggshells Quiz


You're afraid to tell your spouse about things such as your car needs repairs, there is a bill due, your kids need something for school, your boss made you work overtime etc., because you're not sure how he will react.

When you  talk to your spouse, they put you down and make you feel stupid. They regularly dismiss, disregard and pay no attention to your thoughts, opinions or feelings. You feel like you need to keep your thoughts and opinions to yourself. Your spouse does not respect your opinions, feelings or input. They do not honor or cherish you.

Your spouse expects you to meet all of their needs, but they do not care about meeting yours. 

Your spouse is like Jekyll and Hyde. You walk on eggshells because you do not know what to expect. 

You make yourself available to your spouse no matter what the personal cost or what time of day or night, just to avoid a confrontation, conflict or a lecture.

You no longer go around your friends or family because you're afraid your spouse will berate you or humiliate you in front of your loved ones... or your spouse has alienated you from your friends and family or made you choose them over everyone else. They do not want you to have a social life. Some spouses, want a social life for themselves, and expect you to not object... others will cut themselves off from others as well and say that if you love each other, you only need each other's company

Your spouse makes you feel like you are  going crazy. They deny saying things. They make you question your emotions and your thought process.

When talking about an accomplishment or something that you're excited about, your spouse in uninterested, puts you down  and mocks your achievement rather than celebrating it, but they expect you to praise them for everything.

You feel helpless, like you're trapped in your relationship.

Your mate treats you like an object or  like property, not like a person with  feelings. The only feelings that really matter are theirs.

Your partner keeps a tight control on all things like money. They only  give you an allowance  with no access to anything...you might have to give an accounting for every  penny spent...they don't let you know what they spend money on, or maybe even how much they make. They put everything in their name. They control the  phone and check records to see who you call.They control the car, who you see and what you do. They constantly check up on you. You are not allowed to do things that most responsible adults freely do. They tell you what to wear. They tell you to wear more makeup/no make up. They tell you if you love them you should want to do these things to please them. You are made to feel like you have a parent/child relationship, instead of a loving partnership.

If you fight back, speak up or question your mate, you are blamed for the abusive behavior.  They might tell you that you are being disrespectful, unsubmissive, or call you names.

You've begun to see yourself as worthless and without purpose.

You've begun to feel as though you deserve to be treated badly. If you were a better person, you wouldn't make your spouse so mad.

Your spouse teases and uses sarcasm as a way to put you down or degrade you. When you complain they say they were just kidding and you're being too sensitive.  Your spouse is unable to take a joke themselves.

Your spouse regularly tells you that you are wrong and they are right. They criticize, advise, offer solutions, analyze and tell you what to do and all the while tell you "they are only trying to help"

You are not allowed to make decisions and you have to ask permission to do things.

Your spouse when angered will pout, withdraw and withhold attention, communication and affection.

No matter what you do, it's not good enough or wrong. Everything is your fault. 

You feel powerless, fearful, hurt and hopeless




First of all I would encourage you to watch the videos below  and check out the links that are listed here. There is a wealth of great information to help you. 

Setting Boundaries

Find a Counselor







Christianity Today

Christian Post


Focus On The Family


Get off the Jekyll and Hyde Rollercoaster



I'd like to offer a prayer for those who are in an emotionally destructive marriage

Dear Heavenly Father, 

I lift up to you those who are struggling under the weight of their marriage...struggling under the weight of a broken heart and dashed dreams. Lord, you know each of us. You see each tear, you hear each cry and every silent prayer and longing of the heart. You see what no one else see's behind closed doors and your heart grieves and aches right along with each person who is being mistreated and abused. The enemy loves to keep things hidden in the dark where  he can use things like abuse to kill, rob and destroy. Father, please shine your light of truth in the dark places. Please, reveal and change what needs to be changed and please bring hope and healing. 

Father, we know all things are possible through you. For hearts that are yielded unto you, miracles can happen. But it takes both people working and being willing to change and make things right and you will never impose your will on anyone... But for there to be any hope and any chance of change, there has to be a catalyst for change. To do nothing, means everything will remain the same. So, we pray for courage, Lord. Please remove all fears and "what if's" and give strength and the ability to step out in faith, knowing that we are only responsible for our own actions and as long as we are seeking your will and your guidance, you will take care of us...you are faithful. You have a long history of providing for your own...you took a few fish and loaves of bread and fed thousands and when your children needed protection, you parted the Red Sea and kept them safe from those who would do them harm. Lord, we ask for a hedge of protection about each one. We pray for you to open doors and make a way where there seems to be no way. Help your child to see themselves through your eyes....may they find their sense of self worth in what you think of them. Help them to drown out  the hurtful words that play on a continual loop in their mind.May they hear your voice above all others telling them that they are loved and adored and cherished. Help them to feel your unconditional love and may they feel your presence like never before. Meet each need Lord. Give them Holy Boldness and help them to remember that when we are weak, you are strong in us. We can do all things through you. You have not called us to be abused by anyone. Help us to claim our divine heritage as your child and know that you love and adore us and want only the best for us. Pour out your grace and mercy now we pray, in the name of Jesus . Amen.

Blessings be upon you. May today be the day that starts to bring about change and healing in your life. I have been in your shoes and I am here to offer you  encouragement  and hope that there is healing  and overcoming through Jesus Christ. Much love, Debbie Kay





Part 1 preview of  Leslie Vernick's new book The Emotionally Destructive Marriage

Session 2 of The Emotionally Destructive Marriage book preview.

Part 4 Leslie Vernick- Freedom - An Essential Ingredient In All Relationships

Part 3 from Leslie Vernick's preview...What is emotional abuse? When is the line crossed?

Part 5 of the Emotionally Destructive Marriage Preview

Part 6 of the Emotionally Destructive Marriage Preview

Session 9 of Leslie Vernick's pre-release series centered around her new book "The Emotionally Destructive Marriage". 

Session 8 of Leslie Vernick's pre-release series centered around her new book "The Emotionally Destructive Marriage". 

Session 7 of Leslie Vernick's pre-release series centered around her new book "The Emotionally Destructive Marriage". 

Session 10 of Leslie Vernick's pre-release series centered around her new book "The Emotionally Destructive Marriage".