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Biblical Counseling Coalition: Grace & Truth

Responding to Emotional Abuse in Marriage

Responding to Emotional Abuse in Marriage

This post is dedicated to the women I’ve met who have inspired me by their faith and strength in the midst of painful marriages.

I’ve seen marriages that reflect Christ and the Church: husbands lovingly leading their homes and wives lovingly submitting to their husbands. How good (and hope-filled!) it is to see real life examples, especially at a time when marriages are being attacked from pornography, homosexuality, and cohabitation. I’ve also seen broken marriages and emotionally abusive relationships, which has taught me a lot about faith.

The women I’ve met believed in submitting to their husbands and tried to do so. At some point, however, they began to change negatively without knowing it. They isolated themselves. They questioned themselves. They started to make excuses for their husbands’ sins.

What do you do when your husband emotionally abuses you? Some might say that you should continue to submit to his leadership, pray for him, and trust God. Is it acceptable to seek help and possibly even separate, if necessary? When I think of marriage, “protection” is one of the concepts that comes to mind. Perhaps that’s why emotional abuse, or any kind of abuse for that matter, in marriage saddens me in a different way.

My desire is that God might use this blog post to encourage those who are weary, to challenge those who are not trusting God or seeking counsel, and to provide some help to those who are not sure how to help women in emotionally abusive relationships. I’ve also met men who have been abused by their wives, so I certainly do not believe that only women are abused.

The Bible doesn’t use the label “emotional abuse,” but it does prohibit it. First, we are not to curse people who have been created in the image of God (James 3:9). Second, emotional abuse violates the two greatest commandments: love God and love others as yourself (Matthew 22:35-40). Third, emotional abuse violates God’s design for marriage where the husband lovingly leads and the wife lovingly submits (Ephesians 5:21-33). Fourth, it violates Christian living by denying yourself (Mark 8:34) and speaking wholesome words (Ephesians 4:29). Fifth, it displays pride and a lack of fear of God, which leads to destruction (Proverbs 16:18). A husband who commits emotional abuse deceives himself to be a king who deserves glory, honor, and praise. Sixth, emotional abuse is betrayal to God and people by trying to be like God and deceiving others.

The Nature of Emotional Abuse

A common term found in the definition of emotional abuse is control. Emotional abuse occurs when someone tries to control you through actions or words. They might not physically hurt you, but they know how to instill fear through intimidation and manipulation. If emotions are produced by your evaluations or perceptions,[1] then emotional abuse involves hurting how you view yourself and others. Over time, you negatively view yourself. You might question yourself, blame yourself, or not see the severity of the situation. You become a weary person, trying to please your husband’s unreasonable demands but rarely is he pleased.

Emotional abuse is more deceitful than physical abuse. The women I’ve met endured emotional abuse for years and no one knew about it. They didn’t even know until they finally talked to someone. (Of course, the same could happen with physical abuse.) Emotional abuse is unacceptable and sinful. It is slowly killing a person. It is also not the same as occasional arguments in marriage; it occurs frequently.

Common Themes in Emotional Abuse

Anger. Emotionally abusive anger is a sin (Colossians 3:8). In this case, it reveals a desire for control. For example, a husband sends texts or calls throughout the day from work and gets angry if the wife responds too slowly. Or, he gets angry if she disagrees with him.

Manipulation/hypocrisy. This sin is revealed in different ways:

  1. The husband is a different person in front of a church leader and others. He knows how to blame the wife.
  2. The husband starts crying in the counseling session and convinces the pastor or friends. Then, everything that the wife had shared in the past carries little weight. After all, he cried. The wife  trusts people even less.
  3. The husband meets with other family and friends to win them over.

Fear/Threats. In some cases, this involves finances or child custody if the couple is in the process of a divorce.

Blameshifting/Denial. “If you did what I told you to do, then I wouldn’t have been angry.” “When did I say that to you?”

Isolation. The wife spends less time with family and friends because her husband does not want to see them or another argument happened.

Minimizing the problem. The husband says that the wife is exaggerating. Sometimes, the wife minimizes the problem. Another instance is when the person trying to help is deceived or doesn’t know how to help. “Every marriage has problems.” “Both the husband and wife have issues.”

In-laws. Leaving and cleaving never happened in the marriage. The in-laws are the leaders in the marriage, not the husband. The in-laws believe that their son is perfect or they see their son’s faults but place the blame on his wife.

What to Do For the Wife

It is not uncommon for emotional abuse to lead to physical abuse, so seek counseling as soon as possible. We might think that emotional abuse would not happen in Christian marriages. I’ve seen cases where the husband was a church leader.

Don’t keep it private. You think that your spouse will change or won’t get angry again if you’re more obedient. Be careful of such thinking. In a way, it deceives you to think that you’re in control of the situation.

Find someone who will believe you. Sometimes, church leaders are deceived or don’t want to get involved in messy problems. Don’t give up until you find a godly person who knows how to help.

Biblical submission. This is not obedience at all costs. Yes, wives are to submit to their husbands, but not to sin or sinful treatment.

Prayer. Pray for the spouse’s repentance. If the spouse is not saved, pray for his salvation. Pray that God would protect your heart from anger and bitterness.

Trust God. It is so hurtful when family or friends don’t believe you or desert you, but God knows the truth. You can rest in His care and know that vengeance belongs to Him.

Remember God’s character. He is faithful. He is all-knowing. He will never desert you.

If someone shares about any kind of abuse with you, know that a lot of courage and trust were involved. Be careful of shattering it! Most likely, this person is vulnerable and fearful. As I often tell people, good intentions are not enough. I’ve seen friends get involved by meeting with the husband and then they are left more confused.

Watch out for complaining and gossip. Use wisdom in determining how much the person should share with you. In the end, our effort to minister shouldn’t have enabled a venting session, but a return to God’s perspective session, which gives hope and honors God.

One woman said to me: “If God allowed this pain to happen so that my husband might know Christ, then it was worth it.” She also recognized that God used the trial to draw her closer to Him. At that moment, this person who never completed college taught me about faith in a way that I didn’t learn from books and lectures. It’s easier to submit to a loving leader in the home, but to love a husband who constantly questions you, belittles you, and lies to you is a powerful display of faith in God.

Join the Conversation

What additional biblical counsel would you give to an emotionally abused wife?


[1]Brian Borgman, Feelings and Faith (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 2009), 26.

This entry was posted in Approval-Seeking, Biblical Counseling, Codependency, Conflict, People in Need of Care, People Who Offer Care, People Who Train Caregivers, Suffering, Women/Wives and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.
 
  • Karen

    These are good points. Can you direct counsellors to a source that deals with this in greater depth?
    God bless, Karen

    • Dutch 30

      “Angry Men and the Women Who Love Them: Breaking the Cycle of Physical and Emotional Abuse” by Paul Hegstrom
      “The Verbally Abusive Relationship” by Patricia Evans and also “Victory Over Verbal Abuse” by P. Evans
      “A Cry for Justice: How the Evil of Domestic Abuse Hides in Your Church” by Jeff Crippen

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  • Dutch30

    Hold him accountable to men of the church, which is often difficult to do, but necessary nonetheless…and when you do this, bring Pastor’s wives or strong spiritual women on board, not just men. Require INDIVIDUAL counseling, not COUPLES counseling. In true abuse cases, physical or emotional(usually physical does not occur before the emotional), control still continues in the counsellor’s office and on the way home. Loving a husband who is sinning against God and you by being abusive and not expecting/requiring a change to take place is called enabling, not displaying faith in God.

  • longnleanlegs

    Did all the counseling, individual and couple, marriage retreats, got pastors involved, and accountability partners……I have no regrets, because my ex used his Christianity as a mask. He is a Narcissistic person, and is a very sick man. 10 years post divorce, he is remarried and still taking me to court and fighting me for everything. The last remaining ‘thing’ is our 10 year old daughter….he just ‘won’ custody. Fools everyone with his masks he wears…..the church believed him and cursed me. The judges and lawyers believe him and ridicule me. Abused women don’t get the time of day or the listening ears. I tell the truth, and it is ignored.

  • mczoo

    I have to admit I spent many tearfilled mornings crying to God, praying for mercy. I got to the point of emptiness, fear and desperation that I wanted to just die, even if it was by my own hands. Yet, knowing that if I was gone, there would be no one to protect my children. I had no where I could go (long term) and I couldnt get him to let me go. I did the counseling, marriage counseling, got counseling from our pastor. My husband told the pastor that I criticize him. My pastor told me to stop being critical of him or he’s going to kill me and he needed to stop or I’m gonna leave. Needless to say, I was crushed. What my husband considered me being critical was me telling him he needed anger management because I couldn’t stand how he would lunge at us with his fists, throw things, punch holes in walls and doors and say terrible things to us. You would think that we are divorced. No, we are not. I am one of the lucky ones in that he did change. Even if it took 12 years of blood sweat and tears. I have to heal. I have my good days (where I like him) and my bad days (where I hate him). The bitterness mixed with forgiveness I feel is confusing and frustrating and a process. Its not only my healing that I have to work on constantly, but my kids’. They (especially one child) and my husband still struggle with healing their relationship which I feel is at times irreparable. I feel that as long as my kids can heal and be stronger from this experience, God can be glorified and I do my best to guide them in the direction of being better and not bitter.

  • Sarah McKinnon Moss

    http://www.whenetwork.com speaks to the issue of faith-based abuse intervention and prevention.

    I was in an emotionally abusive marriage for years, I didn’t recognize it until it started to turn physical towards our young children. I spent many hours in prayer and believed that maybe it was my role/lot in life to be abused, that my Christian duty was to grin and bear it… God spoke to me in that moment and reminded me that HE suffered abuse, HE accepted ridicule and shame so that I didn’t have to. Malachi tells us that God hates violence against women and children.

    I did some studying and realized that divorce is a gift God gave us “because of the hardness of {our} hearts”. When a spouses heart is hard towards the one they pledged to love always and their children, God gave us divorce so we would have a way of escape.

    My sister died at the hands of her husband who, for 18 years, emotionally abused her. The first day he hit her, he killed her. Emotional abuse is as dangerous and as deadly as any other type of abuse, sometimes more so because you don’t see the danger until it’s happened.

  • FaithHopeLove

    I lived in such a marriage for 17 years, and still endure periodic abuse in various forms, though he finally abandoned us nearly a year ago (after first securing my replacement).

    Biblical counselors repeatedly failed us both over the years, and most likely made our marriage worse rather than better with a variety of surface quick-fixes that didn’t get to the heart of the matter. I read many books, followed the advice of many teachers who counselled me to submit more, trust God more, love more, serve more, forgive more, stop my own sinning more etc etc etc….while addressing very little of the real problem, which was the choices he continued to make while denying he did the things he did (and leaving me to clean up the wreckage he left behind). He lied, manipulated, and charmed his way into painting me as the problem and himself as the victim…it was if the marriage itself was of more value to the pastors than the people in the marriage; the marriage must be preserved, no matter what the cost or collateral damage to the children, or God’s reputation would somehow suffer….

    The harder I tried to make our marriage work, the worse his private behavior became; it wasn’t until I turned in desperation to others outside the church and starting learning self-respect and how to stand up for myself that he recognized the end of his reign of terror was near.

    In the end, after it all fell apart, while the members of my local church were a great source of comfort and assistance for me and my family, those trained to counsel shied away from knowledge of what really happened in my home. By that point, I had lost hope in finding answers or help from pastoral counseling, and instead turned to others outside the church during my greatest need.

    Secular counseling (with a young Christian lady) at a local domestic violence shelter helped me through the roughest patches as I began the transition from a worn-out, isolated homemaker with little confidence and no college degree, to a single working parent of two teens, trying to move forward and begin to heal from the years of mistreatment.

    I’m not completely free yet of this man who still takes pleasure in hurting us all while denying responsibility for his choices and refusing help for his own issues. I still must face divorce at some point, but I have found much comfort and peace from help I know God has provided me at critical moments during this year of renewal.

    God is my husband now and I desire no other; His faithfulness has shown itself in thousands of ways over the years….My trust and faith in God has deepened and strengthened a great deal over this past year, while my faith in the institution of the church as it exists in America today has all but vanished. And that, I am finding, is not a bad thing at all.

    Perhaps if Biblical counselors focused much less on the sin that Christ died to free us from, and more on who God says we already are today, the church members would stop sinning so much (while hiding their shame), finally learn how to take off the masks we hide behind, and rest in our true identity as God’s own beloved children.

  • unboundandcalled

    I pray that no one believes that their submission to emotional, physical, spiritual or other abuse is the road to an abuser coming to Christ. Too many of us believed that to destruction, murder, and the waste of lives. Also children are warped as they grow up left in such an environment.

    Thank you for expressing some very good thoughts.

  • lovedandcalled

    Thank-you for this timely article! I have been married over 5 years, and the first 4.75 were filled with emotional abuse. I was yelled at, cursed, constantly criticized, blamed for everything that went wrong & for all of his anger (if I had just done ____, he wouldn’t have gotten angry). In my confusion, I kept trying harder to be the perfect Christian wife. Things just got worse. He started pushing me, threatening to punch my face in, throwing things, until I would have to leave the house. Finally, when my health hit an all-time low from the constant stress, and I started thinking of suicide (except I knew I needed to live for my 2 little kids’ sake), and I started feeling a great deal of internal anger – I woke up & started listening to a dear friend who’d been trying to tell me about my husband’s personality disorder. Denial is huge for women in abusive relationships. To break through it is one of the hardest & best things you’ll ever do.

    I have to say that our marriage is much different today – not because I submitted more, prayed more, suffered more, but because I finally started seeing God’s perspective of my life, and walking in it. God hates violence toward the vulnerable, and oppression of any kind. He values me. He cares about my feelings. He brings a sense of peace & adequacy, not a sense of constant failure. He doesn’t put me down, but died to lift me up to constant fellowship with Him. He is quietness, rest, grace, encouragement & endless love. He has not designed our bodies to live with emotional abuse. Ultimately I did have a choice, and when I realized that my silence & “submission” was actually enabling abuse, I begged God for wisdom to help me wisely, kindly stop this incredibly harmful cycle.

    And so – I contacted a counselor who specializes in emotionally abusive marriages. (pray & google!) I packed up the car & headed across the country with my two kids, toward the counselor’s office. I told my husband that if he wants to have us come back home & continue with him in full-time ministry, he will have to meet us in the counselor’s office. I quietly, firmly explained emotional abuse & the damage it has done in our relationship, & that I was no longer willing to tolerate it. He yelled, screamed & threatened me. He tried to get others to convince me to come back, but I kept driving & firmly repeating that I will no longer tolerate any type of abuse. He actually did fly across country, took intensive counseling & began to see the chaos his anger had created. Restoration took weeks, as we would move one step forward, one step back. But several counselors & several months later, I returned home to a very different relationship. He has really been trying hard to control his anger & be more calm & kind with all of us. Believe it or not, he is more in love with me than he has ever been! I know he’s come to respect me as his equal, and a woman to be reckoned with. Things aren’t perfect – humans don’t completely change overnight! I still get weary of being on constant alert for the mind games, the subtle accusations & put-downs – and of being ready to nip them in the bud. But the sooner I speak the truth, the sooner the issue gets dealt with.

    So I’ve learned a lot of things. God calls us to kindness, but that does not mean ignoring sin or allowing hypocrisy to continue unchallenged. Part of both kindness & being a helper to our husband is insisting that our Christian husbands become what God wants them to be.

    We are equal partners, and therefore equally responsible for a continually chaotic home life. Once our husbands realize we will choose to live alone rather than live in endless chaos, they are faced with the effects of their sin on the family. Is it better to keep the marriage “intact” with constant hidden chaos & abuse? Well, is that being honest? Doesn’t God hate lying? Abuse is not God’s heart for marriage, prevents true intimacy, and I believe causes huge damage for any children involved. If there needs to be a temporary separation (and this is very likely), then so be it. It is only facing the reality of where the marriage has been in secret…. and when we live in truth, God can begin to heal us.

    So many wonderful things have happened in my husband’s heart in the last few months, that would NEVER have happened had I not confronted him about his abuse & refused to tolerate more. I could write pages on that, but many times I just cry with gratitude as I see God changing & using Him in much deeper ways.

    Please ladies – you do have a choice about the kind of life you live. Take care of yourself first so you can love others well. When you respect yourself, others automatically begin to respect you too. No woman deserves to live in abuse. The sooner you disrupt the cycle, the sooner it will stop. Move decisively, and create a meaningful intervention that will stop the cycle for good.

    God has worked tremendously in our marriage, but the change came once I was willing to face reality, confront abuse, and pay whatever price I needed to pay to have a different atmosphere in our home.

  • M.H.

    I have a fiance that recently took off after 2 yrs. We got along excellent and then he started a new job, we saw less and less of eachother and one day he just left stating he could not show the sensitive side of him. he continued to help me with bills but i had no idea where he was or where the vehicle that was in both of our names was. he was very decietful and it felt as if he was just keeping me in his back pocket until only the Lord knows when. The pain I felt after he left drive me to the doctor who then gave me zoloft and xanax. after that i decided the lies were going to stop, it was literally killing me, i had not eaten in 14 days, lost 13 lbs in those 14 days. i finally told him to come get the rest of his stuff….this was after i had promised him and myself that I wouldnt give up on him. I just hope I made the right decision.

  • Paul Kranz

    One of my biggest challenges as a Christian marriage coach is to get past the years of hurt that a non-leader husband has caused his wife. On too many ocassions, I have been unable to help a couple revive the flame of romantic love for no other reason than the wife is too emotionally hurt to do the things she must do to have the marriage she has always wanted.

  • ELJAY

    I just wanted to make a quick point here. I know that often times we focus on the women of abused relationship, and its hard to see the wife of a marriage as the abusive one. Sadly, this isn’t the case and many men just stay silent. For so many reasons we stay silent. For me one of those reasons has been because it is my “job” as her husband to protect her.
    I have been isolated, called names, hit, and all affection has been torn from me. She wont let me touch her, and she wont touch me. Everything I do is “wrong” and then she turns the tables on me and tells me that I’m the abusive one. She expects me to do everything perfectly, and my manerisms must be flawless at all times, and then, if shes in the mood, she may warm up to me enough to give me a brief hug.
    I don’t want to rant too much. I more want to know what is the duty of a Christian male when it comes to an abusive wife.
    Yours in Christ,
    L

    • http://batman-news.com bryanb

      Eljay – our issues are much more subtle, but I would love to hear more direction on how to best lead an abusing wife. Not only do I feel as if I am the target of her emotional manipulation and control, I also feel a great sense of failure when i look at my “role” as a Godly husband and father.

    • Markus

      Eljay, just a few questions for thought. Did you give your wife the emotional security she needed? Many times when a wife withdraws there are unresolved issues in the marriage. When there is unresolved hurt, I have come to realize that it is difficult for a wife to open up as a defense mechanism. Were her concerns heard? This behavior is never right, but most of the time there’s an underlying issue that isn’t faced within a marriage. The thing husbands and wives both need to do is search themselves to see how each contributes to the problems/behavior. They must both be willing to admit their failures and be willing to discuss them without fear of retribution. They must feel safe in their marriage, that their spouse is going to be there through the valley. As the head, did you lead in prayer and devotion? I’m not undermining what you say by no means, but each must take responsibility for the issues. It sounds like you both were not getting needs met by the other. As for the duty of the christian male, you must pray for a God to lead you. As each of you pray (providing both are christians) as God to help you become the person YOU need to be to each other. When you do this it will cause the other to

      • Markus

        become who they need to be.

  • FreedomFighter

    This was absolutely amazing!! I wish I had this article years ago when I was in an emotionally abusive marriage. That was one of the hardest things I’ve ever happened to experience, partly because I had no clue what was happening to me. Thank you for writing such a great article…even years after it happened this still helped me tremendously. God Bless

  • BTSum13

    I agree with all of this. The only thing I would add is that sometimes it actually is the wife doing all of the emotional abuse, the manipulation, and continuing to not tell the truth, and even when caught in a lie, she continues to defend her lies even though more than one person has direct knowledge that the opposite was in fact the truth in many instances.

    An example of the wife being emotional abusive and manipulating the situation is as follows: A couple got married when the husband was temporarily unemployed (the husband has been in IT sales), and one week after marriage, in an effort to force the couple to move, the wife asked the husband what he would do if he could not pay the mortgage in an upcoming month. The husband, who has still never once asked for one penny from the wife (even though the wife makes well over six-figures in base compensation), asked why she was asking. The wife responded by saying that they could lose the house. The husband first said that after being unemployed a couple of times in the last couple of years, it is a reality that he has had to deal with before, but he stated that he has still never missed a mortgage payment. Then the husband explained that after saying that, he took a step back and thought for a moment, and then he asked his wife if she was saying that if he had no means by which to pay the mortgage that she would not assist financially. And the wife did not respond for way too long, but when she finally did, she said no and she said she had debt to pay off and she needed to save. Well, it turns out that the debt she was referring to was not actually debt. Instead, the debt she was referring to was actually her moving costs after moving to the same city to be with her fiancé and soon-to-be and now husband, and her company was paying all of her moving expenses. Anyway, the couple said that after a couple of hours had passed after the wife said this to the husband, not only did the wife not apologize for what she had said to her husband, she got physical with her husband, first slapping him hard, and then closed-fist punching him in the face, which stunned the husband. This instance occurred one week after the couple was married! Interestingly, even though the wife has been physically abusive, which again started 1 week after marriage, she does not give any indication that she takes responsibility for her actions. Instead, her focus is what the husband said to her a couple of hours after she hit him. A couple of hours after she hit her husband, the husband said to her that if this is happening one week after marriage, everything in his body is telling him to run away as far away as possible and as fast away as possible (which honestly seems reasonable). And ever since this incident, the wife’s focus is not making amends for literally hurting the husband but instead that the husband did not immediately apologize to her for saying what he said after she hit him. Further, the wife starts crying and said that what the husband said to her (referring to how he said that he should be running away from her after she hit him since it occurred one week after marriage) so deeply hurt her. By doing this, what the wife is in effect doing is minimizing the severity of her actions, not taking responsibility of her actions, and worse, deflecting blame onto the husband. Even worse is that the wife then starts saying that it was the husband’s aggression that has gone too far and even said that she was backing up when she hit her husband, which does not seem possible as she hit him that hard.

    In another incident, the wife began by pulling the husband’s head and neck, then she tried to hit him again, but the husband blocked her fist and after catching her fist, he says he pushed her with his hand on her fist onto the bed and walked away. Then she physically jumped on the husband who was standing at the time and not expecting her to jump on him, and she started hitting him. In this incident, the husband was wearing his glasses at the time and his glasses were pulled down off of his face and were thrown down and broken. The wife denies breaking his glasses and said that his glasses were not pulled down from his face, but instead, she said his glasses were pushed up over his head. So, the husband said ok, they were pushed over his head, but said she still broke his glasses. She again denies this and said that his glasses fell off his face because her face and his face rubbed together. The husband then said that does not make sense because if his glasses simply fell off of his face, his glasses would not have broken like that. For them to break like that, he said, they had to have been thrown down. The wife denies throwing his glasses down and still says that their faces rubbing together caused his glasses to fall.

    Then in an effort to remove himself from the situation, the husband said he was going to take the dogs for a walk, but when the wife sees the husband at the door with his dog and her dog, she walks over to him, pushes him away from her dog and does not allow him to take her dog for a walk. So, the husband opens the door to take his dog for a walk, but she will not allow him to close the door by blocking the door. He said that she let go of the door and the door slammed. When the door slammed shut, he said his wife followed the husband out onto the front porch yelling at him that he intentionally tried to cut off her fingers by slamming the door shut. So, the husband took his dog for a walk, and during his walk, he spoke with his parents about how he was now scared of what his wife might do. He said that he told his parents that he actually feared for his safety because she gets so mad and angry and has already been physically abusive with him and also because she does not tell the truth, or manipulates the truth, and will tell complete lies to shift all blame to him. The husband said that he told his parents that he seriously thought she may have been trashing the house while he was on his walk, and then he told his parents that he feared that since she is not telling the truth and shifting all blame onto him that she will have him arrested or take out a restraining order against him. Then the husband said that when he got back to the house, she was standing just inside the door, and the husband said that the wife said to him to that she fears for her safety and does not feel comfortable at the house with him and that his aggression had gone too far. Upon hearing that, the husband said that he was in disbelief, and replied to the wife saying let’s not forget that she hit him and not the other way around. The wife responds by saying again that his aggression has gone too far and that the husband had intentionally tried to cut off her fingers by slamming the door shut. And then the wife, who had already packed up her car with clothes, essentials, and her dog and two cats, while the husband was walking his dog, left.

    Now, the husband says he is really scared, and he said that he thought about calling the police, but didn’t because he feared that the police would simply arrest him because he has heard of situations in which the husband is arrested anyway, even with evidence showing the woman abusing the man.
    Furthermore, the husband said that he is definitely now afraid that she will manipulate the truth and completely lie to take out a restraining order against him (unjustifiably) or even have him arrested, with the purpose to shift all blame to the husband.

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