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Te effects of emotional abuse on a marriage

Community Member
I am finding this very hard. I have been keeping a lot of emotional baggage to myself. But it’s getting too overwhelming for me keeping it all together. I am married to a very nice man. But every now and then he snaps, and is quite angry and verbally abusive. Sometimes I recognise that my behaviour has triggered frustration in him and I let it slide. But other times I haven’t done anything and he just snaps, shocking me with the degree of repressed anger in his tone. He says he can’t seem to help himself but he can when around others. It’s having a bad effect on me. I feel like I’m always censoring my behaviour and what I say in case he snaps. 90% of the time he is thoughtful and kind, and helps me when I am unwell. But this anger has made me withdraw from him to the degree that I pretty much have isolated myself. I know he feels this. I don’t know what to do. I feel like staying with him is damaging my mental health but I really don’t seem to have the courage or the desire to hurt him by telling him I want out of my marriage.
6 Replies 6

Hi Marguerita,

Welcome to the forums and thank you for being a member of this open, kind and helpful community.
We are sorry to hear that you are experiencing difficulties in your relationship at the moment and it can feel very overwhelming when you are unable to think with clarity through all of those emotions!  We also know that it can be incredibly difficult to share our story, so we want to say thank you for showing such courage in posting and sharing that experience - you never know who will read this post and feel less alone on their own journey.
We are here 24/7 on 1300 22 4636 or via our webchat.  Our team who answer the phones are ready to have a supportive and non-judgmental chat whenever you need it. You might also find the following organization helpful in terms of your relationship concerns.
Relationships Australia Click Here
If you would welcome other perspective, there is also 1800 RESPECT Click Here
Thank you again for joining us here and for starting this conversation. Please feel free to come back and update us on how you are feeling, if you are comfortable.
Kind regards,
Sophie M

Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Hello Marguerita, spouses may be nice 90% of the time, but it's the rest of the time where you may be scared or frightened of what may happen next and because of this it dominates your marriage.

When he is nice with other people then perhaps they don't exactly know what he's like at home and that's only going to annoy you because you can't be certain what's going to happen when you return home.

It's your health you must look after because you are not sure how he will react even if you stay with him and it's possible it may get worse.

You need to talk with someone and a separation could be suggested, but please remember when this does happen the person promises they will fix their errors, but after a short period they can relapse back to their old self, so please remember this, but would dearly love to talk back with you.

My best.

Geoff. x

Community Champion
Community Champion

Hello Marguerita

welcone to the forum and thanks for sharing your story. I can relate to what you wrote.

It is hard when everybody sees your partner as being as being a wonderful person we know there is another side. I once tried to tell someone who knew him but they wouldn’t believe me. I am fortunate I have support and people who will listen.
Is there someone you trust who would understand..

It is hard when most of the time is fine but for me it isn’t as high as it used to be. Those times when it affects your mental health maybe will grow.

I think walking on eggshells takes it toll and you second guess.
Geoff and Sophie have given you supportive suggestions.

Respect Australia as Sophie mention is helpful as are the other resources.

I think if you can get information and support it will help you make a plan.

we are listening and you are not alone.

Feel free to post here when you want to.

Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor

Hi Marguerita

I feel for you so deeply as you face the challenge of managing your own emotions as well as your husband's (through working hard not to trigger him). You need to give yourself serious credit; managing our own emotions is one thing but when we're working hard to manage another person's we're technically working twice as hard. It can definitely become exhausting work.

I can relate to where you're coming from. I should mention, it was only a couple of weeks ago that I spoke to my husband of 20 years about the need for us to separate. I told him the marriage has become too depressing for me to continue managing in its current form. Whether we completely separate or we live separately while trying to work things out, all I know is that we can't continue going through the same depressing cycle. Can't help but wonder whether this cycle sounds familiar to you: Things can be going well. You say/do something upsetting or triggering to him and he shuts you down. You cycle into a down phase (a depressed state that could at times be accompanied by resentment) until you figure out how to make things better. You enter into the part where you manage to make things better and he's happy again. You're both happy together until you trigger him. The cycle repeats and repeats and repeats. if this does sound familiar, you're technically doing all the work to evolve the marriage.

My husband too is basically a nice guy. This definitely makes things harder, leading us to self doubt. The self doubt factor can sound like 'Am I being unreasonable? Am I the problem? Maybe I am hard to live with'. The big question I came to ask myself was 'Can I be my natural self around him, without triggering him to dismiss me or become angry?'. My revelation, 'I can't be myself and this is depressing me'. I'm wondering if you can relate to a simple example: If your natural self is reasonable, when you offer valid reasons for your feelings and/or actions, does he shut you down, walk away or respond with anger? Does he refuse to listen to reason? Does he not respect your reasons? Does he not care? Are you led to suppress the natural desire to offer valid reasons? As long as you simply don't rock the boat, by behaving in pleasing ways, are things all good in his opinion?

As I've said to my husband 'You can help yourself but you refuse to. If you choose not to help yourself, I refuse to continue taking responsibility for that'.

You're a beautiful deeply feeling person Marguerita 🙂

white knight
Community Champion
Community Champion

Hi, welcome

You've had responses from senior members already so I won't repeat that sound advice.

My 1st wife was abusive eith silence and laziness. It's totally different but I know the isolation you feel

It seems other than these outbursts, your marriage would survive. So, I'd like to offer some thoughts on that.

  • "Familiarity breeds contempt". It might not be you that is causing his rant but that you are there and a person to take it out on.
  • If you plan to leave consider a tactic of putting up a resistance first. If he has confrontation as a result of his aggression he might rethink.
  • Google: beyondblue topic relationship strife? The peace pipe
  • Seek professional counselling. If he won't go then attend alone.

I hope that helps


Community Member
Great to hear your story. I am married to a woman who, at first, was snappy every 2 months or so. Once married and child was born, she would lose her cool and rant and scream and intimidate every time we had an argument as a means to punish and discourage descent on certain things. Screaming "go to treatment" or "take your medication" in specific pitch and tone to extract the emotional response needed to shut me down. My face would be hot and my tongue tied. Like MI6 or CIA trained. It has been that way for 16 years. Totally calm if you watch her transition from one environment to another. Great actress. Bad person when doing it.