"My husband is emotionally abusive" is a difficult phrase to say to yourself the first time. And if you are reading this article chances are that you already see many of the following things in your relationship:
If you suspect that some of these things may be true but you cannot quite recognize them, then that is another indication that you are in an abusive environment.
Ok, so now we are on the same page, what's next?
There are two basic things you need to do. One is to protect yourself (and the children if there are any) and two is to stop the abuse. That's all very well and good, I hear you say. But how do I do that?
In terms of protecting yourself, the only way is to learn about mind control, manipulation, coercive persuasion, thought reform, psychological abuse, whatever you like to call it. If you don't know what he is doing to you, you cannot mentally resist. If you are not aware of his tactics, you cannot take steps to counter them.
When a magician makes a big flourish with his right hand so that all attention is on that hand, he can easily do the sleight of hand with his left hand and it goes unnoticed. If you think your husband is doing one thing and he is actually doing something you don't know about, you lose out in one way or the other.
It's vital to understand how he is controlling your behavior, your thoughts, your perceptions, your emotions and the information you have available. But that's not enough. You have to understand how each tactic works, what specifically the tactic did to you and why. When you understand this, then you begin to have options about how you respond when he uses the tactic against you.
It also allows you to undo the beliefs and ideas he installed using the tactic. When you see how he got you to believe something, then you can choose whether you want to continue believing that, or not!
This is not an easy thing to do. Again, if you don't recognize the fact that he got you to believe in an idea, you won't know that you need to challenge that idea. In other words, if you think you came to this conclusion yourself, you will not recognize the need to do anything about it. This is the nature of mind control. People believe they are making their own decisions and do not understand the level of influence they are subjected to by the person they believe loves them. Coming to terms with this is a big deal.
You also need to understand psychopaths, sociopaths and narcissists. What is a psychopath? And I don't mean the knife wielding maniac that is portrayed in the movies that people think they would quickly recognize. What makes a person a psychopath?
And there are other important questions if you realize your husband is abusive. Why is he abusive? Is it because of some past trauma or does he fit the profile of a psychopath? Do psychopaths know what they are doing? Do they know the difference between right and wrong? Can they change? Is there any treatment for sociopaths or psychopaths?
And what drives these people? Why do they do what they do?
It is important to recognize if your abusive husband is doing things deliberately to control you and not actually, as he claims, for the benefit of the family, for example. Trying to pretend that he is unaware of what he is doing and that any day now he will change if you give him enough time and love and attention is not going to cut it if you are dealing with a psychopath. In fact, you may have been doing that for years and it is not working. That's not a criticism. It is simply what happens in abusive relationships and the psychopaths and sociopaths rely on your thinking that way (giving them the benefit of the doubt) in order to to maintain the on going control over you.
It's important that you put an end to the abuse. He is not going to change so you have to do something about it. That usually means moving away.
I know, the very idea is terrifying for most people who are in psychologically abusive situations.
However, staying usually means that you will be subjected to more abuse.
I know that moving away is incredibly difficult because the victims of psychological abuse are typically dependent on the abuser. This is why people end up staying in abusive situations for so long. I am not going to go into the details of the dependency here, but you can read more about how a controlling spouse creates such a power imbalance in this article about verbally abusive husbands.
To move out, you need support. You need to get some friends or family on board. You need some money. You need a place to stay. You will have to consider how you manage the children.
Some people end up staying in abusive situations because they think it is best for the children. But how could living 50% of the time in an abusive environment and 50% in a healthy household be better for children than living 100% of the time in an abusive environment?
You can read more about how to leave an abusive relationship here.
These two steps are not mutually exclusive. While you are learning about mind control you can also be preparing to leave. In fact, some people need to learn about their situation to realize how bad it is in order to understand that they need to leave. Some people need to learn about abuse in order to get rid of the fear of the abuser so that they can actually pluck up the courage to leave.
But one thing is clear. You need to get help. Getting away on your own is infinitely more difficult than if you have help. This often means starting to talk openly about your abusive husband to others. This may feel strange but this is one of the situations where you have to override the emotions and make the decision with your head, logically. You are being abused, the logical thing is to leave the relationship.
You may feel afraid of the potential consequences, he may have threatened you with all sorts of things if you leave and you may even feel that somehow you are betraying him if you say bad things about him. This is all part of the manipulation and you have to start to break the patterns in order to break away from his control. I know, it sounds easier than it actually is in practice.
Get professional help! It will help save you time, energy, money and suffering.
Would you like to talk to someone about your situation?
If you think you are or have been in a cult or a destructive relationship, or a friend or family member might be in a cult and you want to talk to someone, send me a message on the Contact page and we can arrange to talk. All communication will be treated in the strictest confidence.
You have the theory but how do you actually apply it? This book spells it out...
Do you think that you might be in an abusive relationship? Are you realizing that the group you are in may be a cult?
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