emotional abuse victim

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    Dear Diva Rebecca,

    My husband and I have been married 3 years, we have been together a total of 9 years. Lately, especially when we are among his family, he has been offensive towards me. He says things that he knows will hurt me. For instance, his sister was asking if he was the jealous type (because she is but not her husband). He quickly responded "Hell, no! jealous of what? Who is going to want her?" Then started to laugh. I usually don't respond because it will just make everyone uncomfortable and don't want to ruin the evening. My usual response is "whatever.... like I care what you think," and I change the subject. He has also made comments (again only when his family is around) such as the fact that he has someone else and that we probably won't be married very long. I do have to say that he is drunk when he does this, but no excuse. I don't want to give up and walk out on my marriage, but I tell him the next day that if this continues he will leave me no choice. It really hurts me. He apologizes profusely the next day, but I am getting really tired of this cycle of verbal abuse. My heart just aches every time this happens.


    Emotional Abuse Victim,
    Baytown, Texas

    Dear Emotional Abuse Victim,

    Emotional abuse is like air pollution. It poisons the air around you and around everyone else in the vicinity. It affects you, the abuser and anyone who is listening. And it makes you sick. The only way to get better and heal yourself from this poisoning is to move away, or shut down the factory.

    I am truly sorry you are going through this. It is a terrible thing to have to go through alone. But hopefully, you are not alone. If you have close friends and family, don't try and play things cool. Talk to at least one close person about it. You don't have to announce your problems to everyone you know, but find at least one special confidant with whom you can engage in a personal discussion with. It will help to get things off your chest. When you are able to verbalize how you are feeling, it will help clear the air for you. It always does. Besides, I am sure many people know what is going on anyhow, especially since he likes to abuse you in public.

    I won't pretend to know why he is verbally abusing you in public. There are many different reasons. Perhaps it is a way for him to feel like he is in control over you in public situations. By dealing out humiliation, he feels like he is the king of his matrimonial possessions. Maybe he feels inferior in other ways, so by making you feel less about yourself publicly, he gets to feel superior. This is a very common reason. Another common reason, which I bet may be the answer, is simply attention. It seems like he is deliberately TRYING to get a rise out of you in public. Perhaps he just wants more attention from you and he is going about it in all the wrong ways.

    But whatever the reason is, you don't have to stand for it and you shouldn't have to. His emotional abuse has become a cycle for him and it won't stop until you step out of that circle, thereby collapsing his little circle of control back on himself. You don't need to leave just yet, but you don't have to take it anymore. I think it is a very good thing that you do not escalate his remarks into a full blown argument when you are in public. This is very mature of you. It is better that you ignore his remarks for now, while in public. But when he does it again, try to let him know privately that he is irritating you. One more remark and you are going home. Make it final and then follow through. If he gives you one more bad comment, leave for the evening, with or without him.

    If he is trying to get your attention with these hurtful remarks, make a suggestion to him while he is not drunk yet. Tell him that the better he treats you, the more love and attention he will get from you. If he makes nice and loving comments about you in front of family and friends, he will be rewarded. Maybe he'll even get lucky that night.

    But as far as the malicious comments go, you must put your foot down. Make sure there are repercussions which you can follow through with. Just threatening to leave isn't going to work, especially when you never do. Just like dealing with a child, give him punishments when he does something wrong and reward him when he is being good. I know this is a full grown male we are talking about, but he is behaving like a child, so treat him like one.


    Diva Rebecca

    Not everyone will agree with me, everyone has their own opinion.
    What would your advice be?
    Be respectful and courteous. Rude remarks and slander of any kind will be removed.