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How to Recognize an Emotional Abuser - Personal Experience  E-mail


Hello Maria,

I found your site late last night while waiting for my husband to come home from work. We have been married for almost ten years. We started off on the wrong foot. We met at a club, he was a great guy with a big heart, very kind and generous.  After only couple months of knowing him, we moved in together.  We don't have families here or much of friends.  So we hung out, went to bars, and developed love for each other.  I know he loves me and I loved him. Long story short, I was pregnant after only couple months.  We got married a month later.

We had problems because of our background.  I had an anger problem, where I would yell and say hurtful things to him.  He had an anger problem as well, he can be easily angered. At one point I found out he had an affair.  He didn't want to work on the marriage. But then the other lady had to leave the country.  He was in constant contact with her via email and phone cards.  He saw I was suffering, depressed, and went through a really hard time.  Yet he was planning a trip to her country to see her.  He took on an extra side job so he could save up the money.

After months of suffering and trying to change myself (to be a better cook, a better wife, better dresser etc.), I suppose he realized he has no hope with this lady in another country because she couldn't get a visa to come to back to America. So we brushed everything under the carpet and didn't really resolve our problems.

Last spring we had our 2nd child.  Two days after I had my child and had complications, I received an email from this lady (his co-worker) that I suspected he had an affair with.  But he denied it and made up the perfect lies and excuses and I believed him.  HOLD and BEHOLD, he had a 3 1/2 years affair based on her email. He had told her he was SINGLE AND I WAS ONLY THE MOTHER OF HIS CHILD...  We lived together...  Imagine having a newborn and receiving such news.

He felt such remorse and guilt that he did his best to work the marriage out and save the family.  He was home for many weeks. When he went back to work, slowly he started resuming his old ways. He was seeing her again behind my back. I caught them in the car.  I know they are still talking (His time sheet doesn't reflex the hours he works. He would leave at 10 and clock in at 1pm almost every Monday and Wednesday. Or then he sees her after work).

He would mistreat me and start yelling, screaming, cursing at me whenever I ask him if he spoke to her or if he saw her. I am walking on eggshells. I have to be very careful NOT to mentioned anything about the affair or he will raise HELL. When I tracked him and he lied that he was at work and he wasn't, he turned his cell phone off! When I called him and he was not at work and somewhere else, he refused to answer the phone. He would call me from work to help ease my feeling and sense of security to show that he's at work.  He would call me like at 4pm from his work # and said he has a meeting  but he would leave work and meet up with her for an hr or 1 1/2 hour and calls me from his cell that he's coming home.  He does this quite often.

Then I would ask him about it, he would call me psycho, sick, I am crazy etc. it's ALL in my head. He mistreats me for his guilty actions and shame. He is always saying "how handsome he is, how lucky I am to have him as a husband, etc." He would put me down, like I have no butt and boobs (this other woman has as she's thicker than I am), the way I am dressed, etc. 

I want to save the marriage and my family but he's very casual about it.  His attitude is "I don't care" attitude, yet he tells me that he would NEVER leave me because he loves me, he will try harder and will treat me nice etc. Once I mention or slip about his past, he is a different person.  He gets very mean and very cruel.  His personality is such that he will never leave this other woman unless she leaves him.  He can't make a decision of committing to us or to her.  He's seeing her and lies that he is not etc.

I changed again for him. Because of him I know god and am able to work on my anger.  I had to do it on my own because he said it's my emotions and no one can help me but myself. There are times I cry because I am so hurt but he doesn't care. He can't handle my emotions and said "if you keep crying I am going to leave", or "calm down or I won't talk to you" or other mean and harsh things. In reality, it's him who is yelling at me, frustrated, angered and going on a rampage. He has been very hurtful and mean to me to defend his actions.

Yes, I can't seem to leave this marriage because I love him.. We have good moments too.  He is a funny person, hard worker, etc. But he is never there for me as emotional support. He is able to surprise that other woman, buys her gifts, writes love poems, texts her etc. When he is on the phone with her, he is a very sweet nice person with a lovely voice.  With me, he is frustrated, angry and seems to be so irritated.

I keep telling myself that he did the worst by having sex with her and by still seeing her despite the fact that he sees how hurt I am and how I am suffering. Yet the doesn't care, he disregards my feelings and still sees her.  WHY CAN'T I LEAVE?  It's almost 7 months of living with anxiety, crying, sadness, dark times...  It's really hard for me when he goes to work.  I know we both have emotional attachment to each other, but he also has emotional attachment to her and her to him.

Does he classify as a narcissistic person or just a liar and a cheater?  Instead of working on our marriage, he spent the time lying and cheating. If he did not, we could have a different marriage. Instead he escapes the problems and seeks an easy way out.  He said he has flaws and he's working on them.  He said it's really hard.


The goal of this website is to give support to people who are feeling depressed and unhappy with their lives. I am living in Europe and English is not my native language, I wish you will excuse me if I make some grammatical errors. I decided to write in English because I wish to reach as many people as I can around the world.


Maria's Reply:

How to Recognize an Emotional Abuser - Personal Experience


Dear Friend,

Thank you for your letter. I am sorry to hear what you have been going through. I understand the pain you are feeling. It does not matter what the exact "diagnosis" of your husband is, it is clear that he has some serious problems when it comes to proper behavior in a relationship. You have been living with this situation for several months now, and during this time you have been feeling depressed and anxious. I know you love your husband and you cannot imagine life without him, but if you remain in this kind of a stressful situation for much longer, there is a serious danger that you will gradually become more and more depressed. If your husband is unable to change, eventually your only option is to leave him. If you wait too long, it will take considerably longer time for you to recover after the separation, because you then have to recover not only from the separation but also from depression. It takes several years for a severe depression to develop and the recovery often takes equally long time. Dear Friend, I wish you do not have to go down that path.

Your husband's behavior towards you sounds very disrespectful and cruel. He appears to be insensitive to your pain. He knows how much pain it is causing you when you know that he is seeing this other woman while he is still living with you, yet he makes no effort to relieve your pain. In the same time he says he loves you and that he would never leave you. Your husband's words and actions are very contradictory. You also said you do not believe your husband will leave that other woman unless she leaves him first. Dear Friend, I do understand that you love your husband and do not wish to leave him, but based on your letter, the way he treats you is no way to treat one's spouse.

Emotional abuse can lead to a severe depression

Human mind is built in such a way that we tend to adapt to ongoing bad treatment. Adaptation makes the pain easier to bare, but in a long run this adaptation process will not prevent one from becoming depressed. Dear Friend, based on the things you mentioned in your letter, it certainly appears that you are in an emotionally abusive relationship. You need to think of your own well-being and the well-being of your children. You say that you have some good moments with your husband, but are those moments truly worth all the suffering that you must endure?

Problems occur time to time in every relationship, the most important thing is how one deals with the problems when they occur. Those couples who are able to talk about their problems in a civilized manner tend to remain together more often than couples who cannot discuss their indifferences. Your husband has performed a serious betrayal when he cheated on you and he is still having an affair. It is clear that you cannot start to process the matter properly and get over it before the affair has ended. Your husband is, however, refusing to end the affair and is also preventing you from processing your painful emotions by getting angry every time you bring the topic up. This is very cruel and cold behavior.

You said your husband calls you psycho, crazy etc when you are trying to ask him anything about the other woman. This is quite typical behavior from a person who has been cheating, I hear similar descriptions all the time from people who write to me and tell how they found out about the affair, cheating etc. Anger and rage are taking the focus away from the main matter (affair) and may also reflect the quilt the cheater is feeling. It sounds like your husband has started to use rage as a form of control over you: whenever you start to talk about unpleasant topic (related to his affair), he starts to yell at you. It is impossible to have a proper discussion with a person who behaves this way. With his behavior, your husband is making it impossible for you to work on the problems in your relationship.

Dear Friend, I understand your pain. If you feel you do not want to leave your husband, I warmly recommend you to go to see a counselor to discuss your situation and to process your painful emotions. If your husband is uninterested in working on your relationship, then go alone. As a matter of fact you might benefit more if you go by yourself to see a counselor at this point. When your husband is not around you might be able to talk about your emotions more freely. The most important thing is that you do not allow the situation to continue as it is. I strongly believe it will help you to see your situation and your options more clearly if you go to meet a professional counselor.

Whatever you decide to do, please do not allow the situation to continue as it is. Even though it feels horrible to think of separation, believe me when I say this: if you remain in this situation and your husband is not able to change his behavior towards you, there is a serious danger that you will slowly become more depressed. Depression is a serious condition that will influence every area of one's life. It is often very hard to recover from a severe depression. Dear Friend, I do not wish you to end up in that situation.

Please stay strong. My thoughts are with you. Please write to me anytime you wish.

Warm hug,



It helps to know we are not alone. To read more stories of people who are experiencing problems in a relationship, visit section Personal Stories.



If you wish to submit your own story to get feedback and support or if you wish to contact me for any other reason, please send me email to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it


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