What’s The Prognosis For Your Verbally Abusive Relationship Or Marriage?
Has verbal abuse infiltrated your relationship or marriage to the extent you’re ready to do something about it? Perhaps you intend to suggest marriage counseling to your husband? Or, before you do that, do you suppose if you tell him how much his verbal abuse hurts you emotionally, he will drop it?
Don’t be so sure. Believe it or not, he might intentionally be using verbal abuse to control you, or to get you to behave the way he desires.
If he suffers from an unhealthy level of narcissism and certainly, if he is diagnosable as having actual Narcissistic Personality Disorder or NPD, this is apt to be the case. It might not be what you want to hear, but you should listen up anyway.
The thing is, narcissistic men tend to use not only verbal abuse, but they seem to favor emotional abuse, economic abuse, social abuse, and sexual abuse, too. A narcissistic man might be content to rely upon only one or two of these forms of abusive behavior. Then again, you’ll see some plagued with narcissism using all of them.
Why did I fail to mention physical abuse? Because while the narcissist might use it, he is probably disinclined to do so. Assuming he has achieved a certain level of success personally or professionally, he doesn’t need the raised eyebrows or attention from the law that might cause. Furthermore, the narcissist is not as out of control or impulsive as the individual who suffers from Antisocial Personality Disorder, or who has antisocial tendencies, at least. Oh, and by the way, this is the label now used in the mental health arena to define someone previously called a sociopath, and before that, a psychopath.
But let’s get back to the topic of verbal abuse and how you might determine the prognosis for your marriage by understanding your husband’s motivation for engaging in that type of behavior in the first place.
As I said already, some men who suffer from unhealthy levels of narcissism engage in verbal abuse as a means of controlling the partner and getting her to do his will. But just as you might have been accepting of his verbal abuse for awhile because you grew up in a family where your parents verbally abused you, or verbal abuse is familiar depsite the fact it is emotionally painful, your husband or partner might have grown up in such a home, too. Because he had verbally abusive roles models, he has crafted a verbally abusive relationship not out of desire to control, but more from conditioning or habit.
If you call this man on his verbal abuse and tell him you are simply not going to tolerate this verbally abusive relationship any longer, he might stare back at you in shock. He might actually be apologetic and agree he’ll do anything to try and change. And indeed, he might be helped by couples’ communications skills, anger management classes, or marital counseling.
If you have seen the Dr. Phil show, you might have seen a man or two who honestly was appalled when he saw and heard himself on the videotape. But then again, you”ve seen those who accepted no responsibility and kept blaming the woman. Yes, she made him do it, or somehow she asked for it. Well, or she needed to be kept in line. She obviously did not know her place.
Right, she wasn’t acknowledging him as king and herself as his humble servant.
Some of the men might have had antisocial tendencies. Some might have been narcissists. Actually, it doesn’t much matter which category they fall into. Well, I take that back. I suppose it does. Both will use verbal abuse to control you. The verbal abuse will likely grow worse over time. But while the professionally successful narcissist might never resort to physical abuse because that could bring on problems he doesn’t need, and especially when the other forms of abuse accomplish the ends he desires, the man with Antisocial tendencies may start with verbal abuse, but then slip into physical abuse, too.
Either way, the prognosis for your marriage is not good.
Be forewarned that if you drag your narcissistic and abusive spouse to therapy, he might listen intently to what the therapist says. Rather than applying what he has learned to his own behavior, however, he will likely use it against you. In other words, he might point out how you are not using I statements or you are hitting below the belt and not fighting fairly. He will point out that you did not sandwich your criticism between two positive statements. Yes, he will apply all of the things you’ve been learning together to find more powerful or specific ways to criticize you.
If this is how your husband behaves, please know that his verbal abuse will undoubtedly continue on. In fact, the abusiveness in your verbally abusive relationship will likely only intensify over time.
Sure, a few verbally abusive relationships might be transformed. But sadly, too many of them have a poor prognosis.
Which type of verbally abusive relationship are you in? Do you have any idea? If not, are you ready to find out?