How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site. Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Karyn Jones Your Own Question
Karyn Jones
Karyn Jones, Mental Health Professional
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 1716
Experience:  Diploma of Counselling and Transactional Analysis Counselling, Lifeline counselling, Pastoral Care.
Type Your Mental Health Question Here...
Karyn Jones is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

I am a 45 year old male. I have been married to a verbally

Resolved Question:

I am a 45 year old male. I have been married to a verbally abusive/controlling woman for 13 years. I have "diagnosed" her as having BPD. I have been wanting to get out of my marriage for a LONG time, but I never seem to be able to muster up the strength to do so. January 1st of this year, I told myself that I would get out this year. This was going to be the year. Now here I am at the end of 2010 and I am still stuck. I hate the idea of hurting her, but this relationship is a slow death for me. Aside from going to see a therapist, what do you suggest that I do?
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Karyn Jones replied 6 years ago.
Hello my name is ***** ***** you for bringing your concerns to Just Answer...with regards ***** ***** most difficult and stressful marriage partner...not an easy road to be going down by any means to say the very least..and I truly feel for you....
Though, one way to deal with a controlling spouse is to find out the reason why she is exerting this control. It may be due to the parental examples she was shown as a child. If one parent was seen to be more dominant than the other, this model may have become ingrained in her as a child..and she sees nothing wrong with it... Now as an adult, she may be unconsciously mimicking this type of control/behaviour.
Sadly, verbal abuse is difficult to identify and regrettably can be a common type of abuse in some marriages. Not all words that are meant to hurt are "ugly words." A master at verbal abuse can damage your self-esteem while, at the same time, appear to care deeply for you. The use of words to punish is a very covert attempt to control and regardless of how loving your spouse may appear to be, verbal abuse is wrong and can be just has harmful as physical abuse.

If your wife, continues to verbally abuse you and dismisses your feelings, you will begin to see yourself and your needs as unimportant, of little consequence and irrelevant. When you finally recognize and come to terms with the idea that you are being verbally abused you need to also become focused on getting help.So here are some steps you can take if faced with verbal abuse:

  • Abuse is never justified so, you should never feel that it is your fault.
  • Let your wife know how hurtful her words are and discuss with her ( if at all possible) the fact that it is unacceptable to you. Set boundaries on what you will and will not accept from her..regardless ..its for your own sanity.
  • Surround yourself with a support system of family and friends. Talk as much as you can with what is happening and how you are feeling.
  • If the verbal abuse escalates to physical abuse, leave. Your personal safety is far more important than the relationship.
  • Do not engage in conflict with your wife. If she becomes angry stay calm, walk away and don’t give her what they want…a reaction from you.

  • Take back your power. If you react to her, you are rewarding her by letting her know she has power over your emotions. Don’t allow her to have control over how you feel.

  • Action cures fear. The fear of something usually is there only until you begin to do something about it. When you take the first step to cure a problem the fear usually begins to dissipate. This is true of diving off a high diving board, public speaking, and telling your controlling spouse, "No". Don't dwell too long on what you want to do, just do it. Like the bully syndrome, people only bully when you don't stand up for yourself. If you show that you will not be bullied, they will back down.

  • Sit up and speak up. It's very interesting to realize that our inner feelings are directly effected by our physical actions. When we act like we have self confidence, the self confidence follows. When we act like a pushover, we are pushed over.

  • Leave the marriage. If setting boundaries, and refusing to respond to the abuse doesn’t work, then it is time to consider divorce. There are times when the best thing you can do for yourself ( and your children if there are any involved) is, break all ties with her. If you do make this decision hire an attorney familiar with domestic violence,and stay in close contact with your support system and focusing on using good coping skills..outlined above...
  • I do hope this has helped you then if it has please ;accept' my response as it also helps us greatly to keep this valauble service going for you and others in the future...please...take good care of 'self'' you are worth it!!somewhat not a very pleasant scenario to be in ..and please know that my thoughts are' with you...
    Best wishes
    Customer: replied 6 years ago.
    Thank you Karyn for your compassion and thoughtful response. Much of what you have said I have already realized and come to terms with. It amazes me what a pushover I have been in this relationship. Being a complete pushover mostly occurred early on in our relationship. For years now, I "go along" with her in the name of taking the high road, I.e. keeping things from escalating. Her relating tactics could be summed up as "take no prisoners". This mode d' operandi seems to serve her well. She gets what she wants from me by simply being louder and nastier. At times, it takes a heroic effort on my part to keep my cool. A long while back I decided to give her a taste of her own medicine by attacking her verbally. This completely backfired on me. Furthermore, I ended feeling awful about myself.
    What I am seeking today is advice and inspiration. I want out of this marriage. I want to be in a respectful, loving, reciprocating relationship. I want to give love and receive love in equal measure. I don't understand why I feel so afraid and powerless. I want to be courageous. I understand that the feelings of power and confidence come after taking that leap. I just can't quite seem to let myself jump. That is the crux for me. This is where I need help.
    Expert:  Karyn Jones replied 6 years ago.
    Many thanks for your reply to me ..and I am very sorry about the delay....mainly time difference between countries..
    I can completely understand where you are at presently..your 'leap to 'freedom' respect and dignity must come to you by way of your...'looking inwards' and 'seeing' your self worth, and respect of self....ascertain within yourself' exactly how much more you are willing to take of this 'abuse' could it be the best years of your have given and devoted much of that already...and you are 'worth much much more' than what you are getting right now from your wife.
    Ask yourself whats 'stopping me from taking that leap to freedom, love, peace, respect..?
    Ask yourself again as to how much 'value' you place on yourself ?

    and why you stay with your wife?.................. you are right when you say "I want out of this marriage. I want to be in a respectful, loving, reciprocating relationship. I want to give love and receive love in equal measure. I want to be courageous"....
    This marriage and relationship have done nothing but strip you of the man you once was..and it will only continue to do this ..because this is all you have known for the best part of your life..this is why you are afraid and feel powerless..
    Ask yourself further ..what you would be like in another 13 years if you stayed on and put up with it..?
    If your wife isn't going to change ( which I feel is highly unlikely) you aren't hurting anyone except yourself.....the wisdom' to know the difference lies within make that leap of faith forwards and onto a much brighter happier future...there is the 'right' someone waiting out there..for you, but no one can do this for need to do it for in yourself!! guilt has its rightful place and its uses, but this is not one of them...
    This is about the who you are and if you like yourself enough to break away for can do this because you are good enough!!!! you can realize your own have the power within you!!!!...Take control back!! set Yourself FREE!!you will never' look back...
    If I did it so can you.....!!

    Karyn Jones and other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you