How To Recognize And Respond To Emotional Abuse

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Emotional abuse is a destructive and all-too-common problem within Christian marriages. Despite the fact that abuse destroys families, it’s often overlooked or minimized in Christian communities because of various religious beliefs. Let’s take a look at the issue of emotional abuse within Christian marriages and how to know if you or someone you love is being abused.

Emotional Abuse and Christian Marriages @ AVirtuousWoman.org

Marriage is a special commitment between two individuals, but it’s not always easy. Emotional abuse is an insidious problem within too many marriages and can cause significant harm to the victim’s mental and emotional well-being. Emotional abuse in Christian marriages is a problem that is often downplayed or ignored due to religious beliefs.

The good news is that you have a Savior, a mighty fortress, who will help you in times of trouble. The Bible says: “The Lord is a stronghold for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble.” Psalm 9:9 ESV

What is Emotional Abuse?

Emotional abuse is a type of domestic violence that entails using manipulation, control, and belittling behavior to assert power over one’s partner. This form of abuse is not a new phenomenon in Christian marriages and can take various forms, including verbal attacks, isolation, intimidation, and guilt-tripping.

Unfortunately, sometimes Christian beliefs are used to justify emotional abuse, such as the expectation of wives to submit to their husbands or forgiveness being mandatory, even when it causes harm.

I write for women here at A Virtuous Woman so much of what I will talk about is for women who are being abused. However, wives can be emotionally abusive to their husbands as well.

Emotional Abuse: Video

Emotional Abuse Symptoms in Christian Marriages

Emotional abuse in Christian marriages can take many forms, and the symptoms may vary from one person to another. However, some common emotional abuse symptoms in Christian marriages include:

  1. Constant criticism or belittling of a partner’s thoughts, feelings, or opinions.
  2. Controlling behavior, such as monitoring a partner’s every move or isolating them from friends and family.
  3. Verbal attacks or yelling, often over small or insignificant issues.
  4. Manipulation, such as using guilt or fear to control a partner’s behavior.
  5. Withholding affection, attention, or intimacy as a form of punishment or control.
  6. Blaming the victim for everything that goes wrong in the relationship, even when it’s not their fault.
  7. Using religious beliefs to justify or excuse abusive behavior, such as demanding submission from a spouse or claiming that forgiveness means the victim should tolerate abuse.

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms in your Christian marriage, it’s crucial to seek help from a trusted friend, family member, or professional. Remember that emotional abuse can have severe consequences on your mental and emotional well-being, and you deserve to be in a loving and respectful relationship.

Emotional Abuse in Christian Marriages

Are you in a difficult marriage? It can be difficult to understand what is happening if you’re being emotionally abused. Learn more about emotional abuse in Christian marriages in the articles below:

I’ll be adding more articles to this list as time goes on.

More Articles About Difficult Marriages

How to Respond if Someone You Know is Being Abused

If you suspect that someone you know is being abused, it’s important to approach the situation with care and sensitivity. Here’s how to respond:

  1. Express concern: Let the person know that you’re concerned about them and their well-being.
  2. Listen without judgment: Allow the person to share their experiences without judging or blaming them.
  3. Offer support: Let the person know that they are not alone, and there is help available.
  4. Encourage them to seek help: Provide them with information on local resources, such as a domestic violence hotline or counseling services.
  5. Respect their choices: Remember that the person is the best judge of their situation, and they may not be ready to leave the relationship or seek help immediately.
  6. Be patient and understanding: Recovery from abuse takes time, and the person may need ongoing support and encouragement.

Remember that intervening in an abusive relationship can be dangerous, so it’s important to seek advice from a professional if you’re unsure of what to do.

Some Emotional Abuse Questions Answered

Q: What are the signs of emotional abuse in Christian marriages?

A: Emotional abuse can manifest in many ways, including constant criticism, controlling behavior, isolation, and manipulation.

Q: Can emotional abuse in Christian marriages lead to physical abuse?

A: Yes, emotional abuse can escalate into physical abuse if left unchecked.

Q: What should I do if I am experiencing emotional abuse in my Christian marriage?

A: Seek help from a trusted friend, family member, or professional. You can also contact a domestic violence hotline or your local church for support.

  • National Domestic Violence Hotline: 800-799-7233
  • Hours: 24/7. Languages: English, Spanish and 200+ through interpretation service 

Q: Can a Christian marriage survive emotional abuse?

A: It depends on the severity of the abuse and the willingness of both partners to seek help and work on the relationship. However, the victim should prioritize their safety and well-being above everything else.


Emotional abuse in Christian marriages is a serious issue that needs to be addressed. It is essential to recognize the signs of emotional abuse and seek help as soon as possible to prevent it from escalating into physical abuse. If you or someone you know is experiencing emotional abuse, remember that help is available, and you are not alone.

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