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Emotional Abuse

Community Member


My wife and I are coming up on 13 years of marriage, but I don't know what to do anymore. I am constantly told that I am worthless, am told I stuff everything up, don't have a brain, and am extremely insincere. All of this, she says in front of our kids, and then says to them, when they become anxious about the fighting, that this is normal, and they should be aware of it. If I try and mention that I disagree, I am then abused and yelled at, so I have to take the moderator route.

Three years ago, I was diagnosed with Aspergers; which was a big relief for me as it explained so much of why certain things have happened the way they have throughout my life. Whilst my wife agrees that I have this, she constantly bags me for being the way I am and gets frustrated that I don't do things they way she would do them, or say stupid things. 'I have had enough time now to learn to be neurotypical and be normal like everyone else'.

I am told that I gaslight her, when something happens. My wife is very insecure and can never trust anyone, so always believes a situation is how she thinks the situation is, so when I am in a situation of having to defend myself for something she believes I have done, I often have to let her win, and then admit that I have done wrong because erupts and causes the biggest scene. I do this for my kids, but I cannot tolerate this anymore.

Last night, I was asked to pay a 'bill', so I paid the one that was due in a few days, but then later got told off because I didn't pay the 'bills' including the one that was due in 3 weeks. I was told off for being incompetent, and stupid, and that 'normal' people wouldn't make this mistake. I was also told for eating something from the fridge after my wife went to be from the previous night. She claims I am sneaking...

I am truly at a loss; we've had counselling; which only went her way because I couldn't bring up anything that she did as she would always 'deflect' on to me, and my wife managed to control the counsellor into focusing on everything I did wrong. I have even tried to get my own counselling, which had to be done behind my wife's back, but the counsellor ended up knowing her in my local suburb, so I had to stop.

I am not perfect, but I have always supported my wife. She has depression and is medicated. I have always been there for her and have stayed with her to protect my kids. My other family are basically estranged because she finds fault with them too, so I can't get help from them.

7 Replies 7

white knight
Community Champion
Community Champion

Hi, welcome

There's that saying that is apt in some relationships- "familiarity breeds contempt". In your case this is certain imo. Yes, you cant do right by her and its a shame.

I'm bipolar so I have hyper mania and depression suppressed by medication most of the time. My wife, carer, would never belittle me for my moods or any other symptom of my illness. That would hurt so much I'd leave.
She has a different type of depression, she sleeps a lot. Even though that can ruffle my feathers in terms of interfering in a project we both ve planned (gardening) I'd never blame her for that. It is mutual respect. However I did have a previous partner of 10 years that did what you are experiencing. She's belittle me for staying up till 2am building my model airplanes as I couldnt sleep. No gentle discussion- full on screaming as soon as she entered the hobby room. I felt demeaned, a school boy, humiliated.

I have no answers for you. I dont believe your environment with her is healthy and its unlikely she will change. But you have arrived at a point where you have little choice but to move on. Life can be rewarding alone, well, more rewarding than being in such a toxic place. If you choose that direction it will be difficult coping, and we will be here to talk as always.

If you need you can ring the number at the bottom of this page for urgent assistance


Thanks Tony for your reply.

Thanks for sharing your story. I try to dance around my wife's moods, but it can be very difficult. She was brought up in a very volatile relationship, where her father verbally abused her mother and still does, so I take that into account.

I tried to move on a few years back when we were having the counselling, but my daughter became sick, so I stayed to assist with her. My children are very affected by this, have become very sensitive, especially my eldest. She's at her happiest at the moment and about to enter secondary school next year, so I am reluctant to rock the boat for her.

TBH, my wife has no real friendships, they have all started to disband her because they see her moods as well. She doesn't understand, and I try and help her, but I could never be straight with her, as she would go crazy. I believe my wife has Borderline, as she harmed herself a few years ago to try and get at me. This was when I tried to be upfront with her and we were on the brink of breaking up.

This was when my daughter got sick (mentally more so), and when she improved, it wasn't because WE sorted things out, it was because I wasn't doing the things I was doing.

My wife's depression results in her sleeping a lot too, and she has no motivation. I have been there to help her as much as I can. I moved further away from my job to move closer to her grandmother to assist her be with her in the last few years of her life and assisted by preparing documents with a family tribunal case with her grandmother as well, all without her asking me. It's because I care and love her, but in her eyes it's because I am insincere and have my own motivations...

My family are basically estranged. I don't talk to my brother, I talk to my father maybe 4 times a year, and mother maybe 6 times a year. This is all because she doesn't like them, and I have gone to them before and they have become involved, so now that has stained that relationship to the point where both my Mother and Father don't want to hear of any problems because I stayed with her.

I am really at a loss, as I want to stay with her, especially for my kids. I try everything for her, but it is never enough. I am struggling at work with my boss giving me unreasonable expectations, and have recently even thought about things I should never think about... I don't believe I would ever go there, but these thoughts do enter my head as to get rid of the situation.

Sorry, about all of this!!

Dear Losingtheplot29~

I'd like to join TonyWK in welcoming you here. It was a good move to come as here you can other people's views. There are solutions to your problems, none is easy but at least they are there and many others have come though.

I can understand that you are trapped between voicing the truth and standing up four yourself, which will upset your wife and children, resulting in the current situation. It may even lead further to separation

The alternative is doing the opposite and having a policy of appeasement.That at least seams to keep a quieter household in the short term.

However it is at a different sort of cost. Your own mental health, self esteem and confidence is eroded, until you start to think of killing yourself (pardon me if I misunderstood your words) , and your children grow up in an environment where 'might is right'.

It cannot be good for your wife's long term welfare either to never be opposed and learns if she is aggressive enough she will always get her way.

So rather than trying to make up your mind about what to do straight away I'd get a professional's view from someone who does not know your wife.

The 1800Respect (1800 737 732) organisation is highly experienced in advising on all forms of abuse, and will be able to let you know what realistic options you may have -and the advantages and difficulties of each.

Do you think you might give them a call?


Community Champion
Community Champion

Hi Losingtheplot29,

First of all, I am so sorry. Marriage can be insanely tough at times and your spouse is the one who is meant to be with you and support you 100%! Of course, it's not always perfect - no relationship is - we all fight sometimes. However, what you're describing does sound like emotional abuse and I am so sorry you are experiencing it. You seem to have done a lot to help keep this marriage stable as well as your own mental health. But sometimes you do need to put yourself first.

My parents fought constantly growing up. They FINALLY separated 17 years later, but basically their relationship wasn't built on love...that ended many years before they separated. But then my mum told me that they only stayed together for my siblings and me. To be honest, this devastated me. I never saw a "loving" example of a relationship growing up. When I went to friends houses and saw their parents being affectionate, I thought that was very strange. My parents were not.

I love my dad and mum - they are amazing parents and people. But even parents have trauma and mental illness or other issues. I don't think it is healthy to stay together "for the kids" - as a child of this, I only think it made things harder for me in terms of my concept of a healthy or loving relationship. Now, my parents are both SO happy apart. I now have an awesome stepdad and stepfamily and life is great. I would 100% much rather it this way than them together because I finally get to see them living their best lives, happy, and in real, loving, relationships.

Of course, I am not saying you should break up but I am saying you should put yourself first - whether that means reaching out to lost family, getting counselling or doing whatever you need to keep your own mental health in check. Only you know what you need to do.

If in doubt - maybe contact the Beyond Blue hotline or 1800Respect as Croix suggested.

All the best,


Community Member

Thank you Croix and Jaz28,

I have contacted 1800RESPECT before, a few years ago. At the time, they didn't seem to offer much assistance, but I will definitely try again.

You are right in what you mention Croix, I have had thoughts of killing myself, but I must admit they are merely thoughts, and I don't believe I could actually act on them.

In regards to my wife never being opposed, she never lets anyone oppose her. She lacks a perspective in regards to these matters, including with her own family, and including our older son (technically my step son). He may argue a point with her, but she will then become aggressive with him as well. The only reason she is different with him than me is because she doesn't want to lose a relationship with her children, as they are very important to her. I am more dispensable.

You are right, my own mental health is affected, my self esteem, I have anxieties, but that has been to protect my children, which brings me to your point Jaz. Yes, my parents separated when I was 7, my mother raised my brother and I as a single mother, and we had the police at our door about 6 times a year, and my mother was always drunk, sleeping with different men, etc whilst my Dad was off with a new woman neglecting his children. It was only when my fathers parents became involved that he started to us some consideration.

I am not in anyway saying that my wife would be like this as she adores our kids and doesn't drink, but I have seen her when she is down, and the kids can do whatever they want, whilst she just sits on facebook or watches Netflix. This is why I feel the need to stay to assist my kids in nurturing them through their teenage years especially.

It is a difficult situation. I have my moments where I struggle and others where I am okay. I do feel as though I walk a tight rope.

I will definitely call the helpline.

Thanks again for all the assistance

Dear Losingtheplot29~

Thanks for discussing the matter so honestly, you are a perceptive person. I can understand why you might feel stuck.

I guess I'd like to ask what in life you enjoy -or have in the past? It's a more imortant question than you might think. A particular comedian, riding a bike, specific songs, reading .... I'm just guessing, you would remember what made you smile or calm or absorbed.

The reason I ask is I believe you should have something to look forward to each day. That's not being selfish, it's necessary for your well-being. So maybe an hour, maybe more you do something just for you. Choose things that will take your mind away from the real world and all it's hassles and give you a respite.

I use books, movies, talking with a friend. I really look forward to reading a few more chapters or seeing a movie I enjoyed before. As time goes on you find, or I did anyway, that despite life's adversities I was deserving of these rewards, and that makes a real difference. Also the anticipation helped during the day.

As for those thoughts, it's something an awful lot of people have when in situations like yours. I'd suggest the solution I have, a safety plan, made when you are feeling ok, and there to reach for when overwhelmed.


It's a program called BeyondNow. It's mot waht oyu mght expect and frankly there are some bits I've never botherd to fill in untill much later. You use it creativity and fill in all the things that might give you a lift, there ready for you to try. I could say more but I"ll leave that for now.

There's other things to talk about but I don't want to overload you in one post so I'll stop and hope you come back again


Hi again,

While you are answering those good questions from Croix, I might mention that in 1996 I made my own and only suicide attempt after 11 years of trying to tolerate her narcissism. My dad ty her once commented "better to be a part time dad than no dad at all". With those words ringing in my head I drove off with a new life. My eldest was 7yo then and at 12yoo she left home to live with me, she'd been treated poorly in the same way. Had I not survived she would have been trapped. Ironically my youngest remained and survived well at home as she inherited the same traits as her mother.

I walked my eldest down the aisle 5 years ago wondering who would have had I passed away. Yes they are only thoughts- remove them for better mental health. You will survive this period of your life regardless of her antics.

I'm estranged from my mother for 10 years now. I believe she has Borderline personality disorder but she has refused to seek diagnosis nor help.. Her life is a train wreck sadly. So I understand your frustration and your options are few unless she created a situation whereby evidence could be gathered e.g. police reports that could make way for a mental health report that would favour you to a court for custody. So I'd like to suggest you seek an initial family solicitors opinion as to your future options if separating.

Frustratingly narcissism nor BPD, etc is not illegal in these circumstances. E.g. I would not have been successful if I'd wanted some custody solely on the grounds of my ex narcissism it would be laughed out of court. Same with general nastiness, gaslighting etc. You can't get fined for any of these behaviours.

In such cases like yours if you separate it is essential you protect your rights of parenthood by seeking court orders for same. It's also for the children's sake.

For 14 years till my youngest reached 18yo my ex made thing difficult, very little flexibility. E.g. parent and teacher night's not allowed to take our children as it wasn't listed on the court order for visitations. So protect yourself.

Good luck