Verbal abuse in marriage is a common problem. Many times the offending spouse may not even realize that the abuse is taking place. Any time one spouse consistently belittles the other, abuse is taking place. Usually, this is a learned way of gaining dominance in a relationship. Unless you are a rare person that enjoys abuse, learning to deal with a verbally abusive spouse is a necessary step to improve the chances of the survival of the marriage.
Decide if verbal abuse will escalate into physical abuse.
Some people are all bark and no bite. If you are married to a person who uses verbal abuse as a prelude to physical abuse, you may want to seek protection before addressing the verbal abuse problem. It may not even be worth the effort to stay in the relationship if the safety of you and your children is at stake.
Try to get professional marital counseling.
If your spouse will not consent to go to counseling, the likelihood of fixing this problem is remote. More than likely, the refusal is an indication that your spouse does not recognize that any verbal abuse is happening. Try explaining how the abusive language makes you feel and affects your feelings toward your spouse. If this fails to get him or her into counseling, you may want to decide if you can live with the situation or if it would be better to just leave now.
Video your spouse engaged in the abuse.
You may want to attempt to demonstrate your plight be creating a video while the abuse is in progress. Unfortunately, you may have to be secretive to get this done. If you spouse will agree to the camera, you might have a chance at proving your case and getting results. If the video has to be made secretly, it may touch off a firestorm when it is made known. On the other hand, it will make good evidence if you need to use it in legal proceedings.
With any luck, your spouse will see the video and acknowledge the issue.
This would be the best possible outcome because it can lead to a resolution of the problem. Expect that it might take more than a few minutes for the effect of the video to be evident. In fact, it may take a couple of days before your spouse is ready to admit his or her problem. You may even get a round or two of unpleasant verbal attacks before this result is seen.
Put on your thick skin and confront your spouse during the abuse.
One potentially effective approach may be to enter the fray yourself. The problem with this is that many recipients of verbal abuse are programmed to be passive. Breaking this pattern can be very difficult even for a special case. If you can keep your head on and address each point made during the abuse, your spouse may run out of steam or out of the house.
Either way, you will probably get some relief.
If you spouse realizes that the verbal abuse is not an automatic path to gain power in the relationship, it will make a difference. You will just have to watch and see how that difference plays out in your situation. Be prepared to have to use this method multiple times before real change will be effected. Take care not to become the abuser in your attempts to fix the problem.
Persuade your spouse to seek anger management and sensitivity counseling.
The only route to a permanent solution is for your spouse to get help. He or she needs to learn how to control the anger that leads to spontaneous verbal abuse. Also, your spouse needs to learn to be sensitive to how harsh and ugly words affect others. Without professional help, change is not very likely to be permanent.