Stay Or Leave This Emotionally Abusive Relationship?

"Princess" asked whether she should stay or leave her emotionally abusive relationship. They've been together for 10 years and married for five. Under financial stress, they have had to move in with relatives. Before they moved he was the most amazing man she had ever met. Since then, his behavior has changed radically and he's been verbally abusing her. And he doesn't help with anything anymore. She wants to make the relationship work.

This is how I answered her question:

Would you be asking these questions if your husband was acting this way because he had a serious they physical illness? My guess is you wouldn't. You'd be scared and upset like you are now but you'd be looking for ways to help him get well. It's entirely possible that he is suffering from an illness — an emotional one.

Depression in men often shows up as the kind of angry, blaming, emotionally abusive behavior you're describing. And depression could be his response to the stress of your situation.

Since you have had a good relationship for a long time and you do love him, don't give up without trying to get him the help he needs. If possible, he should see a doctor who can check out the reasons that his behavior has changed so drastically. If depression is the problem, medication can help.

You might be able to help by trying to get him to talk about his fears about the future. Many men think they shouldn't be afraid and are ashamed to talk about it so this could be a real challenge. Don't give up, you do have a chance to save your marriage.

At the very least don't allow yourself to stay and be berated. Tell him quietly but firmly that if he continues to talk to you that way you won't stay in the room. Then follow through. Tell him you'll be back 15 minutes and then go to another room and do something else to distract yourself while he cools off.

Resources: You’ll find information about how to save your marriage without a marriage counselor at

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