Home > Abusive relationships, Borderline Personality Disorder, Marriage, relationships > 10 Signs Your Girlfriend or Wife is an Emotional Bully

10 Signs Your Girlfriend or Wife is an Emotional Bully

mood-swingsDoes your girlfriend or wife yell, scream, and swear at you? Do you feel like you can’t talk to anyone about your relationship because they just wouldn’t understand? Is your relationship making you feel like you’re slowly going crazy?

If so, you’re probably involved with a woman who is an emotionally abusive bully. Most men don’t want to admit that they’re in an abusive relationship. They describe the relationship and their girlfriend/wife using other terms like crazy, emotional, controlling, bossy, domineering, constant conflict, or volatile. If you use words like this to describe your relationship, odds are you’re being emotionally abused.

Do you recognize any of the following behaviors?

1) Bullying. If she doesn’t get her way, there’s hell to pay. She wants to control you and resorts to emotional intimidation to do it. She uses verbal assaults and threats in order to get you to do what she wants. It makes her feel powerful to make you feel bad. People with a Narcissistic personality are often bullies.

Result: You lose your self-respect and feel outnumbered, sad, and alone. You develop a case of Stockholm Syndrome, in which you identify with the aggressor and actually defend her behavior to others.

2) Unreasonable expectations. No matter how hard you try and how much you give, it’s never enough. She expects you to drop whatever you’re doing and attend to her needs. No matter the inconvenience, she comes first. She has an endless list of demands that no one mere mortal could ever fulfill.

Common complaints include: You’re not romantic enough, you don’t spend enough time with me, you’re not sensitive enough, you’re not smart enough to figure out my needs, you’re not making enough money, you’re not FILL IN THE BLANK enough. Basically, you’re not enough, because there’s no pleasing this woman. No one will ever be enough for her, so don’t take it to heart.

Result: You’re constantly criticized because you’re not able to meet her needs and experience a sense of learned helplessness. You feel powerless and defeated because she puts you in no-win situations.

3) Verbal attacks.This is self-explanatory. She employs schoolyard name calling, pathologizing (e.g., armed with a superficial knowledge of psychology she uses diagnostic terms like labile, paranoid, narcissistic, etc. for a 50-cent version of name calling), criticizing, threatening, screaming, yelling, swearing, sarcasm, humiliation, exaggerating your flaws, and making fun of you in front of others, including your children and other people she’s not intimidated by. Verbal assault is another form of bullying, and bullies only act like this in front of those whom they don’t fear or people who let them get away with their bad behavior.

Result: Your self-confidence and sense of self-worth all but disappear. You may even begin to believe the horrible things she says to you.

4) Gaslighting. “I didn’t do that. I didn’t say that. I don’t know what you’re talking about. It wasn’t that bad. You’re imagining things. Stop making things up.” If the woman you’re involved with is prone to Borderline or Narcissistic rage episodes, in which she spirals into outer orbit, she may very well not remember things she’s said and done. However, don’t doubt your perception and memory of events. They happened and they are that bad.

Result: Her gaslighting behavior may cause you to doubt your own sanity. It’s crazy-making behavior that leaves you feeling confused, bewildered, and helpless.

5) Unpredictable responses. Round and round and round she goes. Where she’ll stop, nobody knows. She reacts differently to you on different days or at different times. For example, on Monday, it’s ok for you to Blackberry work email in front of her. On Wednesday, the same behavior is “disrespectful, insensitive, you don’t love me, you’re a self-important jerk, you’re a workaholic.” By Friday, it could be okay for you to Blackberry again.

Telling you one day that something’s alright and the next day that it’s not is emotionally abusive behavior. It’s like walking through a landmine in which the mines shift location.

Result: You’re constantly on edge, walking on eggshells, and waiting for the other shoe to drop. This is a trauma response. You’re being traumatized by her behavior. Because you can’t predict her responses, you become hypervigilant to any change in her mood or potential outburst, which leaves you in a perpetual state of anxiety and possibly fear. It’s a healthy sign to be afraid of this behavior. It’s scary. Don’t feel ashamed to admit it.

6) Constant Chaos. She’s addicted to conflict. She gets a charge from the adrenaline and drama. She may deliberately start arguments and conflict as a way to avoid intimacy, to avoid being called on her bullshit, to avoid feeling inferior or, bewilderingly, as an attempt to avoid being abandoned. She may also pick fights to keep you engaged or as a way to get you to react to her with hostility, so that she can accuse you of being abusive and she can play the victim. This maneuver is a defense mechanism called projective identification.

Result: You become emotionally punch drunk. You’re left feeling dazed and confused, not knowing which end is up. This is highly stressful because it also requires you to be hypervigilant and in a constant state of defense for incoming attacks.

7) Emotional Blackmail. She threatens to abandon you, to end the relationship, or give you the cold shoulder if you don’t play by her rules. She plays on your fears, vulnerabilities, weaknesses, shame, values, sympathy, compassion, and other “buttons” to control you and get what she wants.

Result: You feel manipulated, used, and controlled.

8 Rejection. She ignores you, won’t look at you when you’re in the same room, gives you the cold shoulder, withholds affection, withholds sex, declines or puts down your ideas, invitations, suggestions, and pushes you away when you try to be close. After she pushes you as hard and as far away as she can, she’ll try to be affectionate with you. You’re still hurting from her previous rebuff or attack and don’t respond. Then she accuses you of being cold and rejecting, which she’ll use as an excuse to push you away again in the future.

Result: You feel undesirable, unwanted, and unlovable. You believe no one else would want you and cling to this abusive woman, grateful for whatever scraps of infrequent affection she shows you.

9) Withholding affection and sex. This is another form of rejection and emotional blackmail. It’s not just about sex, it’s about withholding physical, psychological, and emotional nurturing. It includes a lack of interest in what’s important to you–your job, family, friends, hobbies, activities–and being uninvolved, emotionally detached or shut down with you.

Result: You have a transactional relationship in which you have to perform tasks, buy her things, “be nice to her,” or give into her demands in order to receive love and affection from her. You don’t feel loved and appreciated for who you are, but for what you do for her or buy her.

10) Isolating. She demands or acts in ways that cause you to distance yourself from your family, friends, or anyone that would be concerned for your well-being or a source of support. This typically involves verbally trashing your friends and family, being overtly hostile to your family and friends, or acting out and starting arguments in front of others to make it as unpleasant as possible for them to be around the two of you.

Result: This makes you completely dependent upon her. She takes away your outside sources of support and/or controls the amount of interaction you have with them. You’re left feeling trapped and alone, afraid to tell anyone what really goes on in your relationship because you don’t think they’ll believe you.

You don’t have to accept emotional abuse in your relationship. You can get help or you can end it. Most emotionally abusive women don’t want help. They don’t think they need it. They are the professional victims, bullies, narcissists, and borderlines. They’re abusive personality types and don’t know any other way to act in relationships.

Life is too short to spend one more second in this kind of relationship. If your partner won’t admit she has a problem and agree to get help, real help, then it’s in your best interest to get support, get out, and stay out.


Dr Tara J Palmatier_Shrink4Men_02Counseling, Consulting and Coaching with Dr. Tara J. Palmatier, PsyD

Dr. Tara J. Palmatier, PsyD helps individuals work through their relationship and codependency issues via telephone or Skype. She specializes in helping men and women trying to break free of an abusive relationship, cope with the stress of an abusive relationship or heal from an abusive relationship. She combines practical advice, emotional support and goal-oriented outcomes. Please visit the Schedule a Session page for professional inquiries.

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Photo credits: Mood swings on ccmbuzz.

  1. Nick
    December 17, 2017 at 9:35 pm

    A lot of what I read here resonates with me. I have done some things I regret over the years but my wife seeks to control most aspects of our marriage/relationship. Things like being able to do certain things I enjoy in small, controlled amounts. She blames me for financial pressures, tells me how to do things (her way) all of the time, dredges up the past and uses it as a weapon against me, sometimes swears, yells and abuses me. She expects me to earn all of the money (she hasn’t had a job for over ten years and we have no kids – not even a pet!), but questions me constantly about why I am unhappy. Tells me to man up and just get on with things. I also have sleeping issues which I am starting to believe are brought on by the increasing anxiety i am currently experiencing. This is just a fraction of what goes on and she has a justification for everything. She also recoils in horror if I try to raise issues with her behaviour or what she has done – a complete double standard and one that she has leveraged off for years in our relationship. My problem is leaving. I think about it constantly and even have a detailed plan to do it. The trouble is, I just can’t get up out of my chair and initiate it. Not sure how to over come this.

    • Kevin
      December 27, 2017 at 12:26 am


      Please heed the warnings from everyone on this site. The abuse is real. It is covert. It is destructive. I was in your position and was hearing the same things from others telling me to leave. She simply can’t change and never will. It will only get worse. Save yourself my friend. Follow your heart and your dreams, have hope again, life is meant to be lived. It took her to leave me, but she wanted only a temporary separation while she went out with other guys who she didn’t know her past so she could get the admiration and adoration of them (by showing her false self) while demonizing me and playing the victim card. Never layed a finger in her, made 7 times the income she did, paid for everything, nearly ruined myself financially and nearly lost my business of 17 years. Never yelled at her, became extremely submissive, had constant anxiety, eating disorder, digestive issues, and even temporarily broke my sobriety (which I had for years before I met her). I’m recovering now and like I said it took her to leave me!!! I had zero balls to leave. It was that bad. But it’s been nearly 6 mos now and I finally am starting to see me again. Would I go back?? Hell no. As well I started dating someone who is really kind to me and likes me for me, not what I have and the ideal that I should be in her eyes. Don’t wait. Get out. Get your life back. You deserve it. Get off the chair. Follow your escape plan. When she comes crying REMEMBER it is manipulative and a lie. Believe me, they are incredibly good actors. But it’s a lie. Best of luck to you buddy. Stay strong.


    • Kevin
      May 13, 2018 at 3:52 am

      Hey buddy I feel your pain. Been out for about a year now and going through the whole “it’s hard to give a shit about bullshit phase of the healing process. But, like all guys who’ve been there we will all say same thing.

      Get out. Don’t run don’t walk. Don’t look back….that’s what she does and why she can’t help but be the way she is. She’s obsessed with the what if’s and why comes of her own life. It won’t stop. The odds of her changing are extremely small. We all thought we’d win and now we’re all on this forum recovering from life breaking soul crushing hell. Get out. Do it. Don’t look back. Run like your life depended on it.

  2. Travis
    December 12, 2017 at 1:50 pm

    This sums up my relationship…we have met about 1.5 years ago started out great….spiralled out of control then she was pregnant 6 months in. Now we have a 4 month old daughter who we adore but lately i’ve been holding back my feelings because I didn’t want her to stress….anyways I came out with some issues and she played them off as silly so my normal self I left felling unwanted then she called me freaking out to get home and take care of our baby(fair enough). I get home and she begins hitting me. From previous experiences i just eventually let her hit me to end it sooner.(I bit one of her fingers stupidly before she stopped) she then threatened me with police as she has a peace bond on me from previous conflict. Then she proceeded to emotionally break me down to the point I wanted to end my life just to make her happy.( one thing she said was she wished she could see my brains splattered on the floor). I was to the point of balling my eyes out and dry hiving and she still continued to degrade me….
    This is ridiculous we have a beautiful little girl and she is really the only reason for me not to kill my self…but it kills me thinking of ending the relationship because she will make my life hell.
    What am I into???

  3. AnoninAlta
    November 28, 2017 at 3:44 pm

    Thank you for this article. There isn’t a lot available to men who are abused by their wife or girlfriend so this page is a godsend. I’m in my 40s and married for 9 years to a woman who I am starting to think is a complete narcissist. Sadly, I can see where she gets it from, because her elderly mother is a raging narcissist, and her late father was the neglectful type of narcissist. Her oldest brother has narcissistic tendencies (he was married to one previously), and his 2 sons, as well as my stepdaughter, are all showing narcissistic tendencies as well. Both my wife’s brothers are considered ‘golden children’ by their narcissistic mother and only 1 of them has managed to stay clear of these toxic traits. This entire family has been taking my would for most of our marriage, and I am about to hit the bottom of the world for the 2nd time in 3 years. It wasn’t long after we were married that the narcissistic behavior of her elderly parents raised its ugly head, always making demands of me and my time. My wife’s mother believed that ‘a minute relaxing is a minute wasted’ and thought we needed to be doing something ‘productive’ for every second of the day, not just at our jobs. She even believed that days at her cottage were to be spent WORKING (she did the same to my wife and her siblings when they were younger). My wife demanded that I look after her elderly father even after he had physically injured me and put me out of work for 2 months. My wife says she ‘does not have time’ or ‘can’t be bothered’ for date nights or movie nights because if the demands of her mother and father. She also told me once it would be ‘mean’ to exclude her precious mother from our nights out. My wife and her mother are also emotionally and verbally abusive, and if you stand up to them they will either ignore you or direct their narcissistic rage at you. This family does not ever apologize (because they don’t think they are ever wrong). When I told my wife I was sick of being the scapegoat for everything she thinks is wrong, my wife just scoffed and ignored me. Even my stepdaughter joins her mother in bullying,because she has been taught by a neighbor that ‘girls have to stick together’. She also has said she views herself, her mother and grandmother as a ‘team’ against me, and has said she wants me to leave. My wife not only ignores her child’s hostility towards me but defends her mother’s behavior and yells me to ‘just put up with her, she only has a few years left’. My wife is becoming more controlling as well, trying to keep me at home every waking minute. She refuses to buy herself a car so she can buy her mother and brother houses, and insist on using mine. She is ALWAYS demanding help with useless make-work projects in order to keep me from having any sort of enjoyment in life, because this is how she was raised and what her mother expects.

    I apologize for this wall of text. I am just so down right now I think I have hit bottom.

    • Simran
      January 17, 2018 at 11:31 am

      Hi Anoninalta, i hope things have improved at your end. Most of us i think have become used to get our arses whipped by narcs wives. I am one of them too. I still cannot work out why i take so much insults from my wife. Sometimes i think what would i say to my son if he were in similar situation. I am sure i would say get away from her Now. I am otherwise very proud person but just keep on taking the bullshit heaped on me and i think it encourages her to do more since i just hearing and ignoring her abuses. i dont know how long can i take it.

      • AnoninAlta
        May 14, 2018 at 6:40 pm

        Simran, thank you. I have finally escaped the insanity that is my marriage. My Narcissistic (?) wife crossed the line at New Years and tried to stop me from seeing my relatives. After some horrid verbal/emotional abuse from her I walked out the door and never went back. The emotional abuse continued after I returned to my own home in the form of stalking me at work & confronting me even at my workplace. Fortunately my boss caught her in the act & ran her off. It has been 5 months since we separated and I am slowly starting to put my life back together again. I am very sad that this is what 10 years of marriage has come to but I can’t go on with a spouse who not only abuses & humiliates me herself but allows her horrid Narc mother to do so as well, and tells me to ‘just put up with her because she only has a few years left’. I swear it is the toxic narcissism that allows these horrid gnats to live so long (NMIL is 95).

  4. Not Proud
    November 26, 2017 at 8:47 pm

    I am here to speak my truth – and have a question for the members of this group. I am married to a female ball busting, soul-sucking narcissist – and my truth is – I married her when we were both on our best behavior and full of promises. “I do” really was heard as – “you will fix all my problems, will understand all that is missing inside of me, and love me no matter what.” What an idiot I was. I am culpable for where I am right now. Depressed, fearful, sapped of my will and strength and long-lost mojo. Why? After 8 years of marriage and her neuroses it comes down to this – I am totally liable for not being able to speak my truth – for fear of an instant argument, accusations, victimhood (what I am doing to her, or NOT doing for her), how she is suffering, and the scorekeeping that silently goes on. Either she has, or my fear has gotten worse the more we go. Frankly, it has been easier to NOT tell her things, so that I can live a more peaceful life and avoid arguments. I don’t cheat, don’t drink, smoke, do drugs, gamble, yell, berate, etc. – I am a classic “nice guy” – a perfect victim for her narcissism and emptiness inside.

    For all these years I have been afraid of her berating and lashings for years as I never knew how to defend myself. I literally could not form the words to respond or fight back. I am an educated man but felt like a cro-magnon man trying to form sentences. This year, I found great help by reading the book “When I Say No I Feel Guilty” – which has taught me how to respond to her constant verbal assaults on me.

    But let’s get to the point of this post – I have a question for you. I am currently being hung out to dry as a “liar” because I did not disclose all the truth about an upcoming trip with my daughter. Frankly, I was trying to break this to my wife at the opportune time, but she found out. I chose to withhold the truth for the payoff of having a drama free life. However, the real payback is that I am now being called a liar for everything I have done or will do. I realize that withholding the truth is the same as lying. My friends who like me say it is more like “survival” than lying. My question to you is – have you withheld your truth for the sake of less stress in your house? Has it been worth it? Frankly, I think this is a terrible way to live in a relationship. I guess I am trying to make myself feel better by hearing other’s experiences.


  5. John
    November 24, 2017 at 12:35 am

    You’re a genius, really! I can’t believe this, i’ve searched everywhere on the internet and yet i’ve never seen someone explaining this well what i’m currently living.
    I can relate to every point you mentioned, i’m hurt right know, just to this all of this, i want to stand up for myself but exactly like you said, she always prevents me to do so, always threatening me of dumping me (even i know for sure she wouldn’t do it, she’s scared of being alone)
    What would be the first step to get some respect from her?
    She has way more respect for her friends (and even me when i was her friend back then) i also know that she becomes a lot nicer when i’m sad or angry (i never yelled or sweared at her, on the other hand she does it almost everyday and it hurts)

    After 6 months of trying to please her i do not make mistakes anymore, now she’s angry at me for absolutely no reason, like she says “you don’t love me” then she just tell me “because” when i ask her why she’s saying that.
    So what should i do to get her back? I’m stuck and i’m madly in love with her (probably a kind of stockholm syndrome sadly…)

    • Jaco
      September 2, 2018 at 11:48 pm

      “scorekeeping that silently goes on”

      Good phrase, “Not Proud.” Says volumes. Sorry I wasn’t reading enough here before. Maybe I’m moving out of intense problems, and can now think a little better. Maybe. Scorekeeping like that shouldn’t happen in a relationship IMO…or maybe once or twice a year? Maybe in detente, but not in a relationship. That’s sort of what I think I’ve experienced in a “forgiving less each time” thing [after each argument] I wrote about in another post I put up here today. Sound like the same thing to you?

  6. Daniel Sweeney
    November 9, 2017 at 3:05 am

    I have been separated for almost 4 years, divorced for 1.5. This article is my ex to a tee. She was the victim and I was labeled as a verbal abuser because of my response to her abuse. The madness still doesn’t stop because we have 3 kids. I was worried about the kids and the effect the divorce would have on them but I had to get the hell out.

  7. Stephen
    November 4, 2017 at 12:46 pm

    Holy Cow! I am so happy to find this site. This article describes my marriage to a tee. The problem I have is I’ve been doing this for many years now, and we have children. I feel that if I leave her I’d be putting myself before the children. But at the same time, I can’t do it anymore. I see a counselor. Wife refuses (like the article says). What do I do? Do I stay in this abusive relationship for the kids? Or do I leave? I also feel I’d be letting her and her family down if I left, because I made a promise to God, “For better or for worse!” So, that adds another dimension to my dilemma.

  8. Drained
    October 29, 2017 at 3:07 pm

    Well my girlfriend is also and definitely like this. I really love her! I mean she was like the world to me.. I even did everything she loved but now after 6 months she started this behavior again! Im really desperate.. Cant even think straight! I know she loves me but its really hard to control myself every time. Im not like other guys and we were in this relationship for about 2yrs now! I didnt even cheated anytime within this 2yrs.. Really wanted to share my emotions! Just needed someone to tell me that if this is a natural or otherwise??

    • Stephen
      November 4, 2017 at 1:01 pm

      I was in the same boat as you before I married my wife. I decided to marry her anyway thinking it would change. But, trust me, this type of behavior does not go away on its own. It gets worse when you have kids. It gets worse when you love her family. I’m an expert only because I am living it right now. For decades I have lived with the woman described in this article. The roots are deep. I would advise you to pull out the roots now before they get too deep. If I could go back and advise me of the past, that’s what I’d tell myself. You can do better. You are worth it.

  9. Danny
    October 29, 2017 at 3:53 am

    i just got myself into a relationship with an abusive woman. She yells, calls me names you’re iresponsible, worthless, We javent yet lived together, but we’re engaged she lives in another country etc. And then when she calms down I say to her you said this and that and it really hurt my feelings and It is scaring me that I have to be afraid to talk to you. Because I mever know when you’llsnap. She says no I didn’t. And you make things up. Other times when she admits, she says: well, you know I love you and its just I have this condition I scream a lot. dont take it seriously please. I will try not to scream next time. And then sure enough.. back to square one. I have now started to record the conversations (without her knowing it) and one of these days. I’m going to dump her once I have at least a few recordings. This is now reflecting at my job. My workmates have noticed I am not sleeping well at nights, I feel scared and I sometimes am starting to believe what she says. Maybe I am a bad person.

    • Stephen
      November 4, 2017 at 1:06 pm

      See my comment above. You do not deserve this. You are not a bad person. Are you married? Do you have kids? If you do, that would put you in the same boat as me, and I don’t have an answer for you. But, if you are just dating, end it now. You are worth it. You can do better.

  10. Jonathan
    October 28, 2017 at 6:34 pm

    This is literally word for word what im going through. When things are good, theyre amazing though. What makes it so tough is how much i love her but she goes on about how much i dont.

    • Stephen
      November 4, 2017 at 1:09 pm

      Sounds like you’re in the same boat as me.

    • Stephen
      November 7, 2017 at 10:58 pm

      Ditto for me!

  11. Kevin
    September 10, 2017 at 9:01 pm

    But how can I leave? I have kids and if I leave she will do it to them. I can’t let that hsppen

    • Kevin
      September 11, 2017 at 7:31 pm

      To Kevin from another Kevin. I implore you to heed every warning from every one on this site. We are all going through the same things, though with different circumstances. We are all saying the same thing. The pattern is the same. You will be much better off and so will your kids once you leave, heal, rediscover your true self, and then be an example to your children. It sucks. Yes it does. But we are all in this and everyone here who has left the abuser and started the healing process all come to the same realization-staying could kill you. Repeat after me: She will never change. Say that 100 times today. And then tomorrow. We ALL tried and believed we could encourage change. We all failed. We all went to hell. We are all coming back. The sooner you l we’ve the better. I’m still going through cleaning up my life and working through the PTSD etc. it gets better.

      • Jim Robinson
        September 11, 2017 at 9:31 pm


        I have been in a marriage like the ones everyone is posting for 27 years. I have two kids. The damage that these relationships do over time to you is devastating. I have a hard time trusting woman, I see kindness in others as manipulating. My Oldest son sees relationships as too much trouble.

        I find myself building a wall and closing off from relationships. This is nothing I’d ever want for my children and hope they find a healthy relationship one day. I know staying and allowing them to watch me slip into deep depression over the way I was treated had to be horrible for them and I would not ever do it knowing what I know now.

        Leaving is hard, scary, lonely and an emotional roller coaster. It is and remains the hardest thing I’ve ever done and I continually doubt myself. But today in mediation the truth was revealed. She broke down in tears. After I spoke to her in the hall. I tried to be kind. She said “don’t think my tears are because I miss you or want you back. They are because I pinned my future on your job and now you took that from me.”

        They don’t love you. They don’t know how to love .

        After 27 years that hit me like a punch to the face. I said I’m sorry, turned and walked away.

        The adage: “The more you suffer, the more it shows you really care” is not true.

        Be strong

        Good luck

    • Paul Rowley
      December 16, 2017 at 7:30 am

      I’m with you – I desperately want to escape this hell but there is just no way I will leave my kids with her. Her abuse will then be directed at them and I simply could not function wondering what they are going through at that moment. I feel totally trapped – I just hope that when they grow into men that they realise I sacrificed my own happiness to protect them.

  12. Struggling
    September 4, 2017 at 4:13 am

    I just found this article. What strikes me as remarkable is the 55 pages of comments. This is more widespread than I realized. Anyway I’m 59. My marriage wasn’t always bad as far as I can remember but the verbal abuse and controlling has been going on for at least 20 years. I used to argue with her when she tried to control what I said and what I did, now I don’t care anymore. I’d tell he I didn’t appreciate her talking to me the way she did – criticism after criticism and put downs “you stupid” she would say. I stopped telling her the truth about the kids doing things she didn’t like because she would blame me for whatever it was. Nothing was really bad – they are really good kids – I’d just get the blame for whatever she didn’t like. So I lied to her about what they were doing out of self-preservation and fear I guess. I knew it was not right but I was protecting myself from her verbal abuse which I could not take. I never thought of leaving her. I love her still. Five years ago my wife said “no more sex”. We never really had a physical relationship since wee were married. You probably will find this really strange (I know I do), but she never liked it when I kissed her on her lips. We never even kissed for more than a second! We had sex and that was it. I never received or was able to give her any kind of physical affection. Then I always dreaded having sex with her because I knew I would have to pay for it afterward with the constant criticism she threw me for days with after we had sex. It’s like she was punishing me for making her “dirty” down there (her words). 25 years ago she was in the kitchen with my Mother and she asked how everything was and my wife said “he doesn’t make enough money”. A few years after that I started a business and it gives us a very nice income (I make over $200k most years). No matter what I do I cannot satisfy her. It’s an everyday thing. I do something or say something she doesn’t like and she yells at me for saying or doing the wrong thing. When I bring up the subject of her constant criticisms she calls me stupid. For 30 years we never had fun on a weekend or weeknight because tells me we need money so I should work. When she wants to talk and I say I have to work she says “you never pay attention to me”. When I don’t work and pay attention to her she says go back to work. When the kids were small and they wanted to watch a movie with me she would always come whisper in my ear that I should be working not wasting time watching a movie. I could never relax or have fun. The only fun I have had in 30 years is with my kids when I took them to soccer or baseball games they were in when they were small or we spent time with my parents (they passed away several years ago). She rarely if ever went to their games so it gave me a chance to relax. I miss those days. Now my kids are older – my youngest is 20, oldest 30. I’m confused now about what to do. I read most of the comments and realize she will never change. I’ll be 60 soon and don’t want to live like this anymore and want a chance to be happy, but how do you end 30 years of marriage…

    • Roger
      September 9, 2017 at 9:29 am

      Hi Struggling, i understand your story very well. In my view she doesn’t want you to have any fun. She has taken u for granted knowing u r not going anywhere. My kids too are grown up i too miss my time with them…going to soccer, football, saturday morning games and training nights. You are damned if you do and damned if you don’t. Same here. In her good mood days as they are these days….it is good for me but bad as well….since this is the time she is collecting new ammo to strike with when her dark mood returns. In my case she knows that i am leaving so she is not picking up fights as she thinks by doing i might not leave. In your case also, since you are on a good income, you can plan ahead such as buy another house, get your things there..u can air bnb if you like and when u have had enough…lay it out to her….tell her your feelings..if she doesn’t relent…you have every moral right to leave. If she does relent….then u have some serious thinking to do

  13. Roger
    September 3, 2017 at 12:28 pm

    I am in similar situation. These days she is in a good mood so all is good but i am too hurt from her last week’s outbursts that i cannot bear to be near her. I have made arrangements to move away but now she is so sweat that it is hard to go away. Trouble is her anger is cyclic – one week up two weeks down. During her down moods I made arrangements to move out but now she super sweet again. This has been going on for at least last 15 years. Now kids are grown up so breaking away is easier. Don’t know what to do..stick around that things will get better or continue with my plans to leave. I am sure this is a false dawn and in a week or so, she will be back in her down mood and then i will be in her cross hairs again.
    Her mum came here recently and i realised where some of my wife’s insecurities come from. Both when upset wake up 2.30am and when i come in for coffee she pounces on me with verbal abuse. Her mum did the same to her while she was here. Another thing i noticed was that my wife would argue with her mum almost daily. She stayed for 3 months and during that time we only had argument once. That is a record in nearly 30 years of our marriage.
    Thanks for reading. All suggestions are welcome.

  14. Callum
    August 28, 2017 at 2:01 pm

    Hi. This is kinda strange for me. Myself and my partner have been together six years, we have two beautiful children and we are still in our twenties. I have managed to provide them with pretty much everything I can, nice house in a nice area, regular income (partner doesn’t have to work), bellies full of food and copious amounts of love. Now I understand that I am far from perfect, but I consider myself a pretty good guy. I’m faithful, I work hard and I would simply die for my family. BUT, no matter how much we have, or how hard I try, it seems like nothing is enough to genuinely please my partner. I have tried every thinkable approach to please her, we even separated for a year! The only time this women is happy is when we are in the bed room! It has really hit home reading this article as this describes my partner almost word for word. There’s no changing her, obviously I’m not happy. It effects our kids and it seriously effects my mental state as I am constantly doubting myself. I really can’t see that throwing the last six years of our lives away is the answer. My kids deserve better from me. Surely I can make this work? Sorry for the big essay but I don’t normally talk about this stuff so it’s good to let it out. Thanks for reading

    • Jim Robinson
      August 31, 2017 at 10:47 pm

      I dealt with much the same thing for 27 years. It would get better for a short time when I could not take it then go back to the same old thing. It was if when she saw I’d had enough she would give me a break before she broke me. It effected the kids. I saw it daily and thought staying for them was the best thing. Only you can decide if staying or not is nestled, and how much abuse you are willing to take. But one thing I do know is the kids see it, know it and learn about relationships from how their parents act towards each other. I had to ask myself is this what I want for my boys? Is this what they should think is normal?

      • TT Bbyncornrs
        September 1, 2017 at 2:16 pm

        Hope things get better for you & that U continue to follow up on here…I understand this very scenario not counting my struggles within own immediate family members off & on…I will say in regard to this exact situation, make sure u defend & openly stick up for your daughter when abusive behavior occurs…trust me on this & so trusting you & sense of self & security isn’t ruined…I was always put down & mocked, humiliated, & called names that’s unheard of all cuz I wasn’t her kid (jealousy) & he allowed it & then became as bad even tho none of it was valid or true in any way…if she becomes too much loner she could start rebelling big time & if she always in chaos of abusiveness around her, always feeling her fault, or blamed as much, she may internalize this & much worse could happen…at a young age, she could end up making a bad decision now & or later, for always assuming the position of self blame & Also she is only gonna learn to hide which leads to hiding more & the best of her all self as she grows…she needs to know she allowed to be herself & that “U” r on her side &4her, to be Able to always trust that when abusive behavior happens…& make sure U don’t allow side taking & force her involvement to grown adult arguments etc…she ends up being he manager of ALL’s voids instead of or b4 her own…I been in this exact scenario but just as bad, even with plenty of others for siblings even when wasnt in exact scenario, which means even tho families loved, they had issues they refused to see as their own, God4Bid… &also want to add, if, hypothetically it’s every1, like hit or miss all around her & from 2many, putting responsibility & blame, for all their actions, feelings, voids, 4fixing, she will only learn conformity,& to be, or sometimes even seek to go to a damn corner, creating walls that she’ll even struggle to come out of for a combo of self internalizing, blame, & also learning that shoe is always gonna drop to further kick her in the Ass even on a good day… She will be taught 2think, it is too damn hard & too damn hard to love her, stick by her, choose her, etc…Don’t let her believe that it takes too long by not allowing bad behavior & blames take too long becoming “an always this is true cuz this is always being, this way”…so respectfully to be helpful to all said & to say make sure she fully trusts in U & that u won’t allow such bs in her life…let the Adult pay the “I’m the 1 need change my own behaviors” be the action required, not stoicly withstand or she needs to pay price by going, her lesson as grown Ass adult not child endurance(S)… Plz trust me on this…U will accidentally teach her no matter how abusive that it’s ok or her duty is to take it thinking she can fix it or like it’s her fault & desrves cuz it’s too damn hard to love her right way, just for being her…hope I helped…

  15. George
    August 28, 2017 at 5:22 am

    This is so difficult because my wife would say that I am and/or do all of these things but I know I do not. I am the one who weakens to the fear of losing her. I do not have enough confidence to even attempt half of these things. When she is doing these things I get so bereaved and sad to see the possibility of our marriage ending that I get angry just trying to be heard. She has always been able to just “walk away” and not look back. Me, I value relationship and always want to see reconciliation. But unless I take all the blame, she just continues to attack me.

    She grew up in an alcoholic home and, as I have learned, these are all common traits of Adult Children of Alcoholics. I have also learned that once these traits become so embedded in a persons identity, the probably will not ever realize they have deep issues.

    I have no hope.

  16. Kevin
    August 25, 2017 at 6:10 pm

    The unfortunate answer is you need to leave her. A lot of us on here including me are all going through the same thing on some level. We all tried everything to no avail. We all thought we had a special case and could make it work. It won’t. Sorry to say it like this but I’ve been through a similar hell and the BEST thing you can do is be the one to leave before you are discarded. It will be way worse if she leaves you. You need to go out with dignity and rebuild. Your kids will appreciate you greatly for it later on. It sucks but it’s the only way.

  17. Bob
    August 25, 2017 at 11:34 am

    You know when I ask my wife for a little intimacy. She tells me all think about is myself. We don’t sleep together. My boys 10 & 9 sleep with her. I think she likes it that way so there is no chance of being together. I just tried to give her a hug this morning and she yelled at me. I have to sneak up on her in the shower or when she is asleep to get anything. We haven’t had sex for almost 10 years. I am a 52 year old man. She is 40. I go online. Maybe this is technically cheating but what am I supposed to do? She is actually my biggest fantasy. I love her. I want to love her. My 10 year old son has told me to find someone else. He has also told me I am too nice to her.
    It could be because I am so good to her. It makes her feel guilty. Something I find funny is that she never calls me by any “pet’ name. She calls me by my full formal name. No love behind it.

  18. Steve
    August 24, 2017 at 6:51 pm

    I believe my son may be in a relationship like this how can i help him.
    He doesnt want to listen to any of his family
    Your last chapter tipifys his sitiation

  19. Jim Robinson
    August 14, 2017 at 8:18 pm

    This was very helpful. It almost seems as your wrote this about my relationship. I’m going throug a divorce and have and am dealing with most of this and you are spot on with how it leaves you. I am dealing with almost all the results you spoke of and it leaves you lost and feeling crazy.

    Thank you.

  20. August 13, 2017 at 3:39 pm

    After reading this you have described my wife exactly in all 10!!
    But, I am intelligent and strong willed enough to have taken her on and she will not prevail. I could write a book about her antics and what she would do to win without morals or decency. She has herself in a dire position now and its everything she deserves.

    • shrink4men
      August 14, 2017 at 3:36 pm

      Good luck with that.

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