Spousal abuse is never acceptable and should be dealt with in a firm manner. Domestic abuse happens in all economic and social strata, according to data from the Domestic Violence Resource Center, although domestic violence is higher in families making less than $25,000 a year, as of 2013. Emotional abuse can escalate to physical and is more dangerous that physical abuse because it can occur daily. The abuse must stop.
One of the first steps to stop domestic abuse is to share your situation with someone you trust. You can share with a trusted friend or family member, domestic abuse professional, police, pastor or mental health professional. Do this even when the abuse is emotional or mental but not physical abuse. This is very important. Abuse is abuse. Build a support system, suggests psychologist and licensed marriage and family counselor, Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker. The support system can boost your self-esteem, help you plan an escape and can provide some verification of the abuse.
Some abusers don’t realize that their behavior is abusive, according to licensed counselor Kelly McDaniel and author of “Ready to Heal.” Carefully confronting your abuser can get his attention and make him aware of what his behavior is doing to you. If you think he could become physically abusive when confronted, confront him in the presence of others and be prepared to leave so that you are safe. You could do an intervention with a counselor, your pastor and with others who can support both of you when you tell your abuser that you won’t allow him to abuse you anymore and that you insist on anger-management counseling, suggests Dr. Bill Maier, a clinical psychologist and host of Focus on the Family's “Family Minute.”
Even if your husband won’t get counseling, you can find a counselor who can help you come to terms with the abuse you’ve suffered so that you can get on a healthy track. Learn the warning signals of an abusive relationship and how to protect yourself. It can help to hear that you aren’t responsible for the abuse and that you can recover your self-esteem. Counseling can help you gain perspective and decide if the relationship is salvageable or if you need to leave. Your counselor will encourage you to see that you can’t change your husband unless he wants to change, affirms Hartwell-Walker.
If your husband is physically abuse, it is time to find a safe place to go. Leaving can save your life or change the abusive cycle. If you need motivation, realize that 50 percent of those in prison for spousal abuse killed their spouse, according to the American Bar Association’s “Domestic Violence Statistics” page. Twenty percent of non-fatal crimes against women are the result of domestic violence. In the three- to 12-month period following the time that an abused woman spends in a shelter for abused women, she is less likely to suffer spousal abuse, and those who suffer continuing abuse experience a reduction in the severity of the abuse, according to the Domestic Violence Resource Center.