I recently saw a post where someone asked how she could handle an abusive husband in a marriage. The sad truth is that there is nothing to handle when you have an abusive spouse. Abuse is genderless, so it could be both ways. A husband can be the abuser and a wife too can be the abuser in a marriage.
Abuse comes in different forms, it could be emotional, financial, sexual physical, and psychological and lots more. Abusive tendencies or actions could be as little as blaming and shaming the other spouse for the abuser’s actions or as big as highly manipulative moves, physical violence which sometimes leads to disability, permanent scars, disfigurement of the body etc and even death in certain instances. Imagine a spouse pouring hot liquid on the other or flogging the victim to the point of leaving welts on the skin of the victim. Sometimes a marriage could be devoid of emotional or physical abuse but financial abuse might be present, this usually occurs when the victim’s finance is being controlled or the victim’s ability to acquire, use and maintain wealth is being controlled or where the victim is deprived of acquiring wealth. For instance, where a spouse does not want his partner to work or do any sort of business, this exposes the partner to depend solely on the spouse for finances. The abuser can use this method to control the spouse’s behaviour. Where a spouse forbids the partner for no justifiable reason from doing a certain type of business, this is also financial abuse.
Emotional abuse arises when the abuser controls the victim through criticism, embarrassment, shame, blame, or otherwise through manipulations.
When confronted in this situation in a marriage, what can you do?
Exit: This could be legal separation, divorce or physical separation. Plan an exit from the abusive marriage, by this if you need to build your finances, kindly do same, if you need to divorce your emotions from the situation, kindly do same and if you need help, kindly ask for help. Most times, the victims get so comfortable in the abusive marriage that they fail to see the harm such toxic union creates until it is too late in the day.
Support network: Create a support network as this would assist you to stop blaming yourself for the ill treatment you are receiving from the abuser. A support network is particularly important because it gives a victim the ability to recognise the different types of abuse he or she might be experiencing in the marriage. It also gives the victim the strength not to make excuses for the abuser.
Create/Build boundaries: Another step you can take is to create boundaries with the abuser, ensure you make the abuser know that certain behaviours will not be tolerated.
Finally, if there is physical violence, please do well to separate from the abuser in order to protect your life. Should it be emotional abuse, your top priority should be to safeguard your mental health and physical health by walking away each time the insults and abuses start or by not paying attention or responding to the blame and shame gimmicks of the abuser.
Remember, only the living can love.