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. Bluesj
    December 25, 2010 at 7:13 pm

    I was married for 25 years and I lived with my ex for 2 years before we got married. My whole time with her was as you describe. Especially #6 Constant Chaos. I have been divorced for almost 2 years now. I have had 2 failed relationships with women that ended because they too fell into the category that you describe.Especialy the narcissist personality.
    I want a relationship. I am starting to wonder if there is such a thing as having a meaningfull relationship with a woman WITHOUT having to put up with the B.S.?

  2. Fred
    December 23, 2010 at 4:47 pm

    I find myself lying to her to cover up for jealousy. It ranges from some add on TV showing a bikini clad woman, to talking to any female coworkers, to whatever she starts in about. I feel aweful that I feel that lying helps, but it’s probably another sign of how sick our relationship is. I can’t be open and honest about my true feelings anymore, one they don’t matter to her and two, it is used latter when she decides to beat me up verbally.

    Thanks and have a Merry Christmas!!!

  3. Fred
    December 22, 2010 at 9:14 pm

    Thanks Cal-dad!

    i didn’t realize i was so messed up until i read this. now i don’t know what to do, part of me still loves her, but the other part is so tired and scared. did you ever feel compelled to lie to her just to keep the peace? and then find out that it didn’t work. i have tried everything, we even went to therapy for 4 sessions and the the therapist started to try and get her to understand it wasn’t my fault then she decided she didn’t need to go anymore, that was two years ago…

    • Cal-Dad
      December 23, 2010 at 3:26 pm

      Yes, I chose to lie over several issues (nothing that hurt her) because I didn’t want all the drama and emotions over issues that I knew would be a circular discussion.

      In our therapy sessions I finally learned to spill my guts and really tell her what I was feeling – not blaming, just telling her about things that hurt me. I had a stream of consciousness where I was just speaking from the heart, softly, really digging deep. I stopped and looked at her, and she didn’t even acknowledge my feelings. She simply started talking about why she does the things she does. Remember, I wasn’t blaming her for anything – just sharing my feelings in a tender, finally-open way. It was telling. In our next session I tried the same thing. This time she turned to the counselor and said “I really don’t think it was as bad as he says it was.” I was shocked. The first time she ignored my emotions and the second time she completely dismissed them. That was when I finally understood that she was either unwilling or unable to acknowledge my feelings and my emotions. Therefore she was unable to acknowledge that she would have to make changes for us to have a healthy marriage – it was only me that needed to make changes in her opinion. This was after months of tumultuous sessions in therapy. That was the day that I knew I needed to make a decision. If I were to stay it would be completely one-sided. If I wanted a truly healthy relationship then it could not be with her. A few weeks later I told her I was moving on, after more than 20 years of marriage.

      My requirement is that we have a healthy marriage, where both people can express their needs and emotions, and then each makes compromises so both can be happy. Also, both spouses own up to their own crap when it arises. If a healthy marriage isn’t possible then it’s not worth being married in my opinion. It’s too painful to take the blame for everything, and it’s not healthy. We are currently separated and I will file for divorce after the holidays.

      Good luck to you Fred! Get healthy!

  4. Alreadylost
    December 22, 2010 at 9:09 pm

    Well I went to a counselor the other day. I’m not sure about her yet. She did say men could be the abused spouse so I suppose that’s a start. She’s just starting out on her own but she’s all that’s available around here. I gave her a partial list of tha stuff that goes on on her comment was the wife does seem controlling. Then she asked if I gave the wife any reason to act that way so indexing a red flag here maybe. We did get into why stay and I guess it’s a sense of being responsible for the spouse. No kids so there really isn’t anything much else to explain it. Then the mhp asked why the spouse stays and I really dont have a answer for that one. The mhp wants to get the spouse in for a session and mentioned marriage counseling a few times. A) I don’t think the lady would go as she doesnt see any thing wrong with her. B) it might make things even worse back at home C) she might twist it into a validation that she’s right and im wrong or D) all of the above. Anyway after the holidays I need to do something one way or another. This can’t go on

    • Cal-Dad
      December 23, 2010 at 3:11 pm

      Keep aiming for a healthy relationship. Trust your instincts that what you sense is true. Good luck!

  5. Cal-Dad
    December 22, 2010 at 9:05 pm


    I used to have feelings of despair to the point of thinking about ways to commit suicide. Each time I the ideas came I quickly thought of my children, my family and friends and decided that I wasn’t going to inflict that kind of pain on them. So I know the depth of despair you feel.

    You’ve come to the right place to find clarity and hope. I have since separated from my wife and the longer I’m away the more clear the unhealthy behaviors are. I hope you work at demanding the healthy relationship that you deserve.

  6. Fred
    December 21, 2010 at 4:43 pm

    man! i am glad i found his place. i have gotten so depressed lately because of what happens at home, that i have considered (many times)to just end my life. she has made me feel so totally worthless, and add to that my company has annouced another round of pay cuts, i fear that now i’ll never be able to be whole again. she has even recruited her oldest daughter in all this and when i try to talk her son in law about it he basically said i was being a whimp….

    take yesterday for example, i get to work and had an email from her and she asked “where i lived and with who 7 years ago befgore her and i got together” and then made a remark i need to tell her the truth that she has “proof” of what i did. well i answered her email, told her the truth, but then she continues to conter with i need to be a man and come clean. i continued with the same truth but she continued to tell me i was lying. i finally got mad and said maybe it’s time for me to end this relationship and then she goes on about how she is nothing but scum because of how i treat her.
    i feel so lost that i feel like i have lost my mind. i could go on and on, but just saying what i have has made me feel better.

  7. Tyson
    December 15, 2010 at 9:31 pm

    Wow this site is great!!! Love the other comments that make me feel sane again. Been married for 4 years and I have to get out. I am miserable, tired, and honestly feel a little depressed at times. We have been to counseling for about 3 months. The counselor has told me she believes my wife has BPD and signs of a sociopath, but for some reason won’t diagnose her verbally….which i don’t know why. It is absolutely amazing how she fits ALL the signs of BPD to the T–incredible. The controlling, demanding, narcisstic, etc. are all there. She’s up/down all the time. We’ll be fine for a few weeks, then she’ll blow out a fight saying she can’t do this anymore. Keeps going on and on and asks where I want my divorce papers and she’s happier without me. Tells me to leave, etc… I get some clothes together and she puts her hand on my chest and ask me why ‘I’M’ doing this and won’t let me leave. Next morning she walks around as nothing even happened and continues to ask if this is really what I want… My head is going in circles non stop. We haven’t said I love you in months–well I don’t love her. She’s one of those women that will call you 10 times within a minute if you don’t answer the first time. Pick up and “what are you doing?”= that’s it… all that for a what are you doing. Big issue is….We have 2 wonderful children that I adore. If we’re divorced I’m afraid she’ll have to have physical custody because I can’t physically take them to daycare because I work so early in morning. I’ll hate being away from them, but there’s no way this is healthy for them to see how their parents act, right?? Minimal talking, no affection, etc. I want to know if others’ wives really yell at their kids?? My oldest is 2. Only 2!! Just last night I heard her ‘YELL’ God Dangit B! Why did you do that!!! I ran in there and he had just dropped his plate on the floor because he wasn’t hungry anymore. Yes noone likes to clean it up, but was the yelling necessary, and he is 2!!! Isn’t that normal?? She is truly a LOUD person, but will yell at him a lot for the smallest things like this (taking off his diaper, splashing water out of the tub, and the food thing).. I need some advice here on this subjuct please. This can’t be healthy for him right? I’m so scared he’ll grow up to be like her because of this. I tell her not to yell or why did she yell at that, but never get a response, just a go to hell look. I’m going to man up and end all this abuse to myself once the holidays are through. I have to live my life for once and enjoy it. I’m 30 now and will be 60 before I know it and probably wouldn’t make it that far if she’s still in my life everyday–I’ll go insane. Please leave plenty of comments good/bad because surely I’m not the only one goign through this… Thanks!!!

  8. Alreadylost
    December 13, 2010 at 3:27 pm

    What makes it really hard is that she is a Jekyll and Hyde type. Sweet and loving one minute then all hell breaks loose. Once she “wins” she is back to sweet and loving. I have taken to a separate bedroom since it seems every night ends in her losing it and reiterating a list of all my faults and how I have ruined her life and how she’s never been anything but nice to me. By morning she’s oh so sweet and kind and “helpful”. I’m so depressed now that I go to bed every night praying I don’t wake up in the morning. My physical health is a wreck. I’m certain no one who “knows her” would believe she has this evil twin inside of her. How do I end this?

    • gary
      December 13, 2010 at 3:57 pm

      Yep, Jekyll and Hyde. I’ve used that exact term to describe my soon-to-be ex wife many times. I did the separate bedroom thing too just so I could get some sleep at night without the childish head games she played, but the emotional games continued until I left the house. It doesn’t matter how everyone perceives her. Until you leave you’re giving her permission to treat you this way. What is stopping you from leaving today?

      • Alreadylost
        December 13, 2010 at 7:17 pm

        No where to go to and no way to get there even if I had someplace to go. I work 2 jobs mostly to stay out of the house as much as possible and she stll spends every dime. I’m at the no option stage.

        • gary
          December 13, 2010 at 9:59 pm

          Don’t ever tell yourself you have no options. You have options. It’s just a question of what’s important to you. You are not trapped. Yes, you have to make a difficult decision, but that’s not the same thing as having no options. You get to decide, and you must decide.

  9. Confused
    December 12, 2010 at 1:21 am

    I also forgot to mention. Her and I were best friends before we decided to take the next step. This is what makes it so hard because she’s the first woman I fell in love with

  10. Confused
    December 12, 2010 at 1:14 am

    My girlfriend and I have been together for almost a year. Every month anniversary we had was just terrible. She’d forget and cause a great deal of conflict and drama. This was almost everyday as well.

    It’s so hard to let go because of everything you’ve listed in the article. I feel so dependent on her since she caused me to be alone, my friends are gone and even my family. I’m suffering so bad with attachment and I am completely destroyed by the abuse. Unfortunately I cannot leave her, because she’s the type who will make my life hell if I do.

    My life is related in every word to that article, from what she does to how I feel, and I know in my heart it isn’t healthy, and I know people tell me to let go, but saying it is easier then doing it.

    Is there any way I can detach myself from her without her noticing? I think the detach part will be the first step for me to recovering from all the damage she’s caused and to finally rid her out of my life, but unfortunately I still need her, I just have to get out of that reliance.

    I’m so happy to know that I am not alone in this situation.

  11. Lewis Ray
    November 27, 2010 at 6:39 pm

    I have been married since i was 19 and still am at 26. I have three amazing children with my wife and love them beyond words, however. Over the past few years my wife has had depression, so she tells me, and i have supported her from day one as you’d expect. i am writing this because i have had enough of the way she treats me and how she makes me feel, she emotionally blackmails me constantly usung the children as her tool to do so. i can’t sleep propery when i am not with my children because i need to know they are safe with me, but she just keeps telling me to move out! i am a student at the moment and in my 1st year at university. i have been studying as expected but she tells me that i am trying to live a single life??? when i am actually trying to better myself and better the family with hopefully being a qualified physio and being a role model for my kids! she just keeps making me feel alone, helpless and selfish when i all i have done over the years is support her and the children financially and emotionally! please can you help me out because the way she makes me feel and has done over the years i fell like just packing it in and taking a bottle of tabs!

  12. dino
    November 25, 2010 at 11:22 am

    well some great stuff for me to ponder on , here my girl friend has some sort of difficulty I am reluctant to diagnose , I am intriuged by the stockholm syndrome, the is the daddy of them all along with the learn helplessness, it has actually gave me strenth to realise these emotions have names and you can do something about them rather than spending your time what seems like playing a game with some one ie partner as I wouldnt take any crap from strangers ( well half strangers ) you never really get crap from strangers , I digress just a quick comment to say this has given me some food for thought and of course action thank you ,

  13. Alreadylost
    October 26, 2010 at 3:05 pm

    My spouse exhibits all of these signs to varying degrees. To the outside world she’s a sweet angel who is long suffering because of me. I couldn’t figure out what was going on until one morning at 4 am when she backhanded me as I lay in bed and cut my lip. That was the first time she ever hit me. I started looking around after that and came across this site. After reading the posts here I realize I will never be free of this woman and that has me really depressed. It’s hopeless and I’m trapped with no exit. Not that I don’t deserve it

    • gary
      December 13, 2010 at 3:53 pm

      You are not trapped. I felt trapped for years because nothing I did improved the conflict – even counseling. Because we have children I didn’t feel divorce was in the best interest of my children – and therefore I felt trapped. Feeling trapped was the cause of my despair. I was hurting. I thought about suicide a number of times, although the thoughts never lasted long because I didn’t want to do that to my children and friends. That just goes to show how desperate I was for relief. The first step in healing was to move out of the bedroom, but there was still the other behaviors to deal with. During counseling I finally became aware of how unhealthy we were, and she could not see that she needed to change. For my emotional health and to have a healthy relationship with my kids I decided to divorce. I moved out a few months ago and I’ve felt great relief and I’m going through the healing process. You are not trapped – there are always options.

  14. josh
    October 26, 2010 at 3:30 am

    Hmmm, any suggestions on what to do when the woman in question is pregnant? She’s using her hormones as an excuse and I’m scared to death to remind her that it was just as bad before the pregnancy when she apologized for mistreating me and explained it was simply because she wanted another child. I left my job to care for our home full time while she passionately engages her career as a women’s issues worker. She actually takes far more men’s rights stands than her peers I have met so I thought she was trustworthy. I’m in over my head. Scared to death.

    • dino
      November 25, 2010 at 11:39 am

      seems to me you fell for the sucker punch and probally been wlking on to it for a long time , how do you resolve this action speaks louder than words quietly but determind change is what is needed , you my have to become a little stronger in yourself and grow up perhaps best wishes dino

  15. jay
    October 24, 2010 at 4:27 am

    thanks for the info..another ?..ever since finding out about these illnesses I’ve somewhat been freed but also imprisoned..i feel like there is no hope..i love her but it just seems like to long of a process and most of all I’ve become so depressed and stresed because I’m evaulating her actions and being reafirmed by the symptoms and I just want to throw it in her face and this is my ? How do I get her to see a psych? Let alone tell her my concerns? I’ve been recording her accusations too just for sanity and for a therapist/psych that I’m going to see because I now realize that I have been damaged these past 5 years..i used to never retaliate..i used to never put things off but a small part of me has started to let go over the past few years

  16. Jay
    October 22, 2010 at 4:39 am

    I started to read through this just to see if my wife has BPD and so far im convinced but I’d like input. Im pretty bad at reiterating my thoughts exactly but here goes. My wife (24) and I (25) have been married for almost 6 years and have 2 boys, ages 4 and 2. Things have been up and down but lately they have gone overboard. I found out a few months ago that she had become an alcoholic and she recently went to detox but agreed to check out before treatment/rehab because I own a business and she had stated “I dont want to drink I just need to get it out of my system because I drink to keep from getting sick” and while she was gone life was perfect with just the boys, they never acted up, did perfect in preschool/toddler school. So she gets back and the issues issues are back. Heres the main issues that have plagued me so lets rewind. She has always wanted certain things to be “hers” and gets upset if I use them, but it was never a big deal. She was always blamed me for things like doing all the chores and never “giving her a chance” to do them even though she never has or would. I pretty much raise the family my self, i do everything, she just stays at home with the kids and lays around or sleeping. At first she was active, wore clothes instead of pjs and took the kids out on errands and we went out alot (i think because she had a job because our kids but her drive faded) now all she owns is pjs and NEVER takes the kids out, we never go anywhere together because she blames it on her weight (ever since she started drinking she has gained over 100 pounds) she stopped going to church with us and one thing i do feel bad about is that she has no friends, all her acquaintances never seem to have time or want to hang out but now its starting to become clear that its probably the BPD. She has started to force my mom out of our life. She has kept my parents from visiting because of “her weight” and hates that i talk to my mom without her (my wife) being there because im always doing errands with the kids and thats the time i want to talk. She subtly forces me to be home all the time causing me to put off jobs (the business i own is a golf cart repair shop) and her excuse is “i need a break, you get breaks all day long” She has deleted my facebook accounts and forced me to believe that its not a good idea to keep in touch with people in my past life (she had a VERY hard time with my exes and past sexual relationships which was a huge hurdle we got over in which i thought was ridiculous). And when im home shes either always laying on the couch or having a “smoke break” in which she is wasting time on the computer “looking stuff up” and yes she is productive in her research wether it be for the kids behavior or our relationship but it always comes back to me, that IM the cause of our problems, that I dont give her enough attention or I dont understand her and how i leave her alone at night all the time but I have to because I have to do the work at the shop that i couldnt get done cause i needed to be home. She constantly blames me for things that I swear arent true but for my history of reiterating things wrong or my bad memory I have no defense. And it almost seems like the things she blames me for are her own wrongs and shes the one actually at fault. And to the things being “hers” issue, i recently leased a car under my business but as a family car. Well i pretty much leased it against her desire for that car and price because she wanted a certain car but it actually cost more cause it wasnt under the promotion (we got a 2010 prius) and at first she HATED it but i liked it and i drive it 99% of the time so i kind of have the upper hand but she would fight that tooth and nail. So now she has deemed it “hers” because she stated “i get to have all this stuff and I have my work truck so its hers” and i gave up fighting that because its all talk..i still drive it everywhere..i just have to keep the mirrors to her setting and the radio and junk so i dont started a fight..also when money comes into question i always try to say “i work for it so I call the shots” (i wouldnt say this if she actually did her job as a stay at home mom but i subtly try to make it clear to her) i have kept my mouth shut for the most part on any issues i believe to be in my favor and that shes crazy but ill let them slip every now and then and omg all hell breaks loose. she DOES verbally and physically abuse me but im a tough guy and brush it off although lately i have retaliated sad to say but nothing to leave marks..just like a open handed hard slap to her leg or arm or throwing small objects which is her weapon of choice (throwing food and furniture) and im always the one to assure the boys mommy and daddy are fine. And when i try to evade her coming at me she says “you know not to do that it just makes me want to do it more” . I am against divorce but I have transported my main stored possessions and memorabilia and birth certs and what not to my shop cause every since she got back from detox/rehab she seems ever worse and im prepared to move out and work things out from there but then shes normal and then i go back to thinking that i was being drastic..also all she wants to do is go back to rehab (i think its mainly cause she actually had human interaction which she like i said doesnt have much) and threatens to take the car and that I need to do all this stuff for her problem to help understand her and I agree at some level but she chose this route even though she blames me for it…so yah thats the main stuff..so whats the verdict… am I crazy?

    • shrink4men
      October 22, 2010 at 2:33 pm


      I don’t know what your wife’s problems are, but she has been physically assaulting you and now you’re retaliating. You need to get out before you end up in jail and the kids are left with only her as a parent. Throwing objects at you is domestic violence. slapping her away, even if it doesn’t leave marks, is bad. I believe men and women should have the right to defend themselves, but in our society the reality is that only women have the right to defend themselves against abusive men. Men will end up in jail and publicly vilified and shamed if they physically defend themselves against a violent woman. It’s a BS double standard, but that’s the way it presently.

      I strongly encourage you to speak with an attorney and formulate a strategy and safety plan. Your wife needs help for sure. It’d be great if you could get her into a residential treatment facility for observation. If your description of her behavior is accurate, there’s a lot going, i.e., multiple diagnoses plus substance abuse. Yesterday I posted an interview with a high-conflict attorney on the new Shrink4Men site (http://www.shrink4men.com) and am posting the second half today. I encourage you to check out the info presented.

      Finally, stop physically retaliating against your wife. Violence is wrong. When your partner becomes violent, you don’t become violent back. You need to get out.

      Dr Tara

  17. s.e. rolf
    October 21, 2010 at 6:45 pm

    my god!!!! where were you 3 years ago? everything on the list is true! i am out now and am just trying to figure out how i let this happen to me? i am going to keep reading the rest of the site and see others comments. this is amazing! all this time i felt like i deserved to be treated this way and felt something was wrong with me because i could never give her the 100 percent emotional support she needed and said was normal…thank you dr!!!!

    • shrink4men
      October 21, 2010 at 6:50 pm

      Hi s.e. rolf,

      I’m glad you find the informatio on this site helpful. Please be sure to check out the new site at http://shrink4men.com

      Best, Dr Tara

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