Name-Calling Is Not Normal: Understanding the Signs of Emotional Abuse in Your Marriage

Unfortunately, marriage is not always the fairy tale you dreamed of as a little girl. From the reality of living together to the stresses of work and finances, it is easy to see how marriage can become overwhelming. While arguing is a normal part of a relationship, your spouse should never berate, belittle, or threaten you.

Considering an estimated 35 percent of married women or women in a common-law marriage have experienced emotional abuse, learning the signs of this non-physical problem is smart. Using this guide on emotional abuse, you will understand how name-calling is more than part of an argument between you and your spouse.

The Signs of Emotional Abuse

If your husband is abusing you physically, you may have noticeable bruises, bumps, and possible broken bones. Unfortunately, emotional abuse does not leave any real physical signs, so understanding this form of abuse is more difficult.

While surprising to hear, your new husband may begin calling you degrading names that are undeserved. Of course, name-calling is not the only sign of emotional abuse. If your husband is doing the following, you are in an emotionally-abusive relationship:

  1. Making threats—If your spouse is threatening any part of your life, it is a sign of emotional abuse.
  2. Controlling you—Your spouse may attempt to control you physically, emotionally, and financially. In many cases, they will take away your car keys or not allow you to visit friends. In addition, financial control may involve limiting your access to bank accounts or not allowing you to make personal purchases.
  3. Screaming & yelling—You may have constant, heated, and loud arguments. Your husband may scream and yell at you during these arguments.

Emotional abuse does not always lead to physical abuse. However, if you fear for your safety, contact local law enforcement immediately for help.

Is Treatment Possible?

Your husband may not realize there is a problem in your marriage, so communication is essential. Unfortunately, this discussion can turn in to another heated argument that can become emotionally abusive for you. In these situations, your spouse may benefit from counseling and individual therapy.

Counselors can determine the reasoning behind your husband's abusive tendencies. This abusive behavior may have been learned from childhood or may be a reaction to severe stress or anger issues. Once therapists determine the cause, anger management treatment can begin.

Your husband will need to learn coping mechanisms to deal with his anger, decreasing any bouts of emotional abuse. Here are a few ways your husband can control his anger:

  • Deep breathing
  • Exercise
  • Self-massage
  • Music
  • Counting to 10

You may feel the need to be extra sensitive with your spouse while they are undergoing therapy, so consider therapy as a couple. Couple's therapy can help you and your husband work on the following:

  • Establish healthy communication—Therapists can educate you and your husband on the best ways to communicate with one another. Healthy communication should bring you two together without yelling, screaming, name-calling, or threats.
  • Conflict resolution—Through healthy communication, you and your spouse should be able to effectively resolve conflicts and disagreements. It is also important for you both to agree on disagreeing in many aspects of your life.
  • Finding adequate stress relief—Couple's therapy can help you and your husband work together as a team, reducing the everyday stresses of marriage.

Name-calling is not normal behavior in your marriage. In most cases, it is a sign of emotional abuse. Using this guide and the help of therapist, your spouse may be able to get help, possibly achieving the marriage of your dreams. For more information or assistance, contact local counseling resources like Park Center Inc.