Sometimes women reach out to me and complain that their husband mistreats them and is really a mean guy and if they had known he was such a louse they would never had married him.

In the course of the conversation, these ladies will wonder out loud why their husband treats them so badly.  Sometimes they will question if they are at fault or if they unwittingly contributed to their husband’s behavior and outbursts.  They will tell me that their husband wasn’t this way in the beginning of the marriage.

But now he is a monster in their eyes.

husband treats me poorly

It is a sad side of my work, but far too often I come across women who have attached themselves to a husband who are the equivalent of a bad boy. I get reports of  husbands that mistreat, shout and yell at their wives far too often.

I am told about guys who are just downright mean and ugly, cursing at their wife and telling her she is worthless.

Why do some men act this way?

Is it something that is part of their make up?  Were they born this way?

Were they treated this way, so they just are behaving in the way of their past?

Or is it something you, the wife, are doing that triggers the outburst and poor treatment?

Well….I can tell you from experience it is seldom anything you did.  Sure, you are far from perfect.  Who is?  But a mean spirited husband didn’t get that way because of you.

So let me say it again.

If you are married to a guy who treats you badly, rarely is it your fault.  The fault lies with the person who is exhibiting such distasteful, rude and unpleasant, or even disgusting behavior.

So should you ditch you man?  I get into this topic later in this post, but for further reading you should also check out this article I recently wrote…

So what can you do about it?  That is the question I most often get.  There is usually three things a wife who reaches out to me wants to know.

One thing they will ask me about is how they can better tolerate living with such an unpleasant person. They may not be ready to call it quits.  The situation may not have risen to a level where they feel the marriage is in serious jeopardy.  So they are interested in learning how to manage their own stress levels and keep their husband in line.  With this group, I find myself steering them away from the notion that they should learn to better cope with a husband who to often gives in to hateful behavior.  It is better to address the real problem, namely the husband’s treatment of his wife.

A second thing some women will need help with is what they can do to get their husband to stop acting so poorly.  They want him to stop hurting their feelings and being so mean and disrespectful to them.  The solutions to these problems are different depending on the frequency and severity of the husband’s behavior. Seldom do I lead with a negative, but I will tell women that if their husband has been behaving this way for a long time, that is a huge problem.  If your man consistently mistreats you, then don’t expect that he will change much or if at all unless there is a major intervention.  We will discuss this more later.

The third area that some of these women wish to explore is whether the relationship is worth sticking out.  They want to know if their husband will ever change his selfish and cruel ways because they are of the mind to bolt.

So with regard to this third point, these women are looking for advice on how to leave their husbands. Sometimes I talk with women who are so entrenched in the relationship, they have lost sight of just how bad and abusive the relationship has become.  This much more common than people realize.

my husband is cruel to me

In certain cases, I find myself steering my advice to these women in such a way to help them see how dysfunctional their situation has become so that they will consider getting out of the clutches of a twisted and cruel minded husband.

So I get a lot of queries along this topic.

Often they are like cries for help and it is heartbreaking to hear their stories. You can hear the pain.  You can also see the sense of futility some of these women express.

But I tell them all,  there is a door you can walk through that leads you away from this pain.  And this door can lead you to a place in which your husband is still part of your life.  Or it can lead you to another place where you seldom if ever see him again, and he cannot hurt you anymore.

Far too many women suffer poor treatment from their husband or boyfriend. For example….

My husband treats me bad and seems totally disgusted me.  What should I do because I am coming apart.

I know I don’t deserve this.  My husband is awful to me.  He treats me badly but I am not sure if I should leave because of the kids and we have so much history.

I know when a man treats you badly, you shouldn’t put up with it.  But its like I am stuck in quicksand and just don’t know how to get out. 

He treats and talks to me like dirt.  I deserve better and I am going to leave him.  What do I do first?  I am ready to end this, but I don’t want it to go off the rails.

What do you do when someone you love treats you badly?  Should you just get away for a while?  Give him an ultimatum?  Move out permanently? 

My boyfriend treats me badly but I love him still and don’t want things to end.  I keep hoping we will turn the corner.  What are the chances that he will change?  My mother tells me it’s a lost cause. 

Know That You Are Not At Fault

not your fault he mistreats you

Clearly, it is a sad situation when a woman is married to a man who mistreats her emotionally and uses bullying tactics to intimidate, dominate and make her submissive.

Just allowing these women to tell their story is therapeutic for them in the short run.  Knowing that they are not alone and that there are other women out there who are involved in marriage or relationship in which their man behaves badly helps them see that it not something they have done wrong.

That is one of the reasons why I started up a Private Facebook Support and Recovery Group.

Women who find themselves being belittled or blamed for seemingly everything, should know that it is not their fault.  Their husbands may have told them for years about how worthless they are and how everything that is wrong with the marriage is their fault.  But that is a LIE.

Humans can be cruel and treat each other horribly.   Both husbands and wives can be an instigator and a victim.

Today we are talking about husbands who mistreat their wife in all sorts of ways.  But in some marriages, mistreatment is a two-way street.

But let’s keep the focus on those women who feel beaten down.

And that is a problem in some of these spousal emotional abuse cases.  The husband may have so traumatized his wife, beating down her sense of self-worth, that she may come to believe that she is to blame or that she is not doing enough or holding up her end.

After all, in most of these cases, the abusive husband is constantly demeaning his wife, telling her how she is stupid or useless and wrong about everything.  If one hears that enough, it can cause you to lose self-esteem and even begin to question whether some of the put downs and ugly comments might be true.

So while I am not miracle worker, I do try to help lift these women’s spirit and hopes and open up their eyes to the path of other possibilities.  Because the truth is that while you may feel trapped in a relationship and while you may feel abused;  there is almost always a door you can walk through that will lead you away from those who wish to bring you down and make you feel bad about yourself.

Why Does You Husband Act So Poorly?

you deserve better than him

Now that you know that his poor treatment of you is rarely your fault, it begs the question why does your man act this way?

What makes him such a hard person to live with and is there anything you can do about it?  Can your husband change or is that notion really just chasing a pipe dream?

In my experience, if your husband has been mistreating you for most of the time you have been together, then the problem probably originates deep within the core of his personality and past experiences.

His attitudes toward women or people in general most likely formed long before he met you.  It is likely the mean-spirited comments directed at you and lack of consideration for your feelings is a product of both his genetic make up and the environment he was exposed to when growing up.  We are all a product of our genes, how we are raised, and other influencers.

I don’t believe one single factor is responsible for how a man ultimately treats his wife.  Men are not born to be rotten to their wives.  Though they may exhibit certain unattractive behaviors caused by the way their brain is formed, it not the only that thing that causes them to be a guy who constantly belittles and picks on his wife.

I think how a guy ends up treating his wife is a product of  many factors.  Genetics, environmental influences, the quality of the relationship match (compatibility), attitudes about marriage, core values, attachment styles and daily stress can all contribute to how a guy ultimately behaves toward his wife.

No single factor can be blamed or credited for how a person was molded.

Just because your husband may have been raised in the most loving and supportive environment, won’t mean that he will be a wonderful and loving guy.  All the chips could have been stacked against him early in life, but through the sheer force of his personality and core beliefs, he may turn out to be a kind and considerate man.

The truth every man has certain strengths and weaknesses  he brings to the relationship.  And a man’s wife also has certain strengths and weaknesses.  How the two people come together is largely a function of how these individuals combine their strengths and weaknesses.  How they mesh or dovetail can be a complicated matter when you pull back the layers and look closely.

So the question of why your husband may act a certain way is in no way a simple matter to fully understand.  In coming up with potentials solutions, it helps to gain some insights.

But our focus today is dealing with outcomes, right?  Let’s assume you have tried a lot of things on your end and it is getting you no where.   Specifically, what should you do if you are stuck in an unhappy and emotionally unhealthy marriage?

Should You End It When He Treats You Badly?

ending it with your husband

So what are the conditions in which you should simply tell your husband that you no longer want to move forward with the relationship?

When do things get bad enough that it is unhealthy for you to stay in the marriage?

Clearly, if your husband’s poor treatment of you has been going on for a long time and there have been good faith efforts made to try to change, one is left wondering whether the match was suitable in the first place.

Sometimes we just don’t choose the right person for ourselves.

It is really not such an easy thing to do because in the beginning of every courtship there is this undeniable force that gets in the way of our rationale mind.

The hormones that are triggered when we are falling in love can create a false sense that we are with the most wonderful person that has ever existed.   All we can think of when we are “falling in love” is being with this other person.  Our emotional and physical arousal to a person we are falling in love with can cause us to obsess over the person and convince us that the match is made in heaven.

It is almost like we have lost control of our rationale minds.  We can become blind to problems of compatibility.  When we encounter or notice problems in our lover’s personality or raise questions about their behavior, we are more prone to explain it away.  We rationalize that it is just something in passing.

In the beginning of a relationship, people tend to highlight the positive and wash away the negatives.  Often, our lover doesn’t showcase their weaknesses.  They hide certain unattractive qualities and behaviors because they are interested in attracting you.  That is not necessarily a devious thing.  We all want to put on our “best face”.

It may seem impossible to you at the time that your soon to be husband will eventually reveal himself as a selfish bad boy, but this is an common occurrence in relationships.

The question becomes when is enough, enough.

5 Things To Look For Before You Bail Out of Your Marriage

when to bail out of marriage

In dealing with this problem, I came up with a simple checklist.

It is not foolproof.  But if you can honestly check off each of these 5 things, then you really have to ask yourself what are you doing in the relationship.

Sometimes we just have to accept that we chose wrong.  Sure, breaking up and ending a marriage will bring on its on set of problems.  But these issues are almost always over the short-term and will eventually subside and end.    Staying  with someone who is abusive and treats you badly for the long haul is a far worst scenario.

Obviously, these are not easy decisions.

So consider carefully what is going on in your marriage and whether your husband’s behavior is so bad that it has risen to a level where you simply cannot tolerate living life in such away.

Look at this checklist and decide if these descriptions captures the essence of your marriage situation.  If each ( or most) of these 5 things are happening in your life, to the degree described, then you should give serious consideration to getting off the relationship track you are on and that might mean ending things for a significant period of time or permanently.

  1.  You have been together for multiple years.  Your husband is emotionally and physically abusive frequently.  He insults you and your intelligence and those around you that you love.  His treatments of you makes you feel like a lesser person. He may be a control freak insisting that most everything be done his way and if not, he explodes with anger or tries to bully you.  He often raises his voice and uses ugly words to describe you or uses threatening langauge to make you do things you don’t want to do.
  2.  You and your husband often can’t get along.  He starts most of the arguments.  Sometimes he threatens to strike you or he pushes you or gets physical in your presence by slamming, kicking or breaking objects.  These altercations can get very loud and frightening and you become afraid for your safety.  You live almost every day with anxiety about your safety or whether your husband will have another upsetting outburst.
  3. Your husband’s mood is unpredictable.  You feel like you are on pins and needles.  In one moment he can be very loving, then he can simply crack and just come apart blaming you or whoever is around.  You are often afraid to argue or disagree with him, even on the smallest of points.  Your husband can act cruelly and when things go wrong, he takes it out on you.  Sometimes your husband is influenced by alcohol or drugs which negatively impacts his behavior
  4. The environment in the home you both live in is dreary and sad.  You feel like you often want to escape.  You have been thinking about leaving him for a long time, but don’t know whether you should or how to.  In your heart, you know the marriage will not get better and will probably get worse.  You often feel depressed and your emotional health is deteriorating.  You have possibly talked to close friends or close family members about your situation and are starting to feel desperate about what to do.
  5. You can honestly say that you have often spoken to your husband about how his actions are hurting you and the marriage.  You have given him examples of his behavior and have warned him that you cannot tolerate this kind of behavior.  You have strongly encouraged him to go with you to see a marriage counselor because you believe the marriage is failing.  He has declined or if he agreed, he quickly relapsed to his old ways.


How likely is your marriage to succeed?

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15 responses to “Why Does My Husband Treat Me So Badly

  1. My partner just screaned at me and called me horrible names for absolutely no reason. We were getting along just fine singing sings and cooking dinner together and he totally flipped out. I never know where these episodes come from. I retreated to my room as I became filled w fear after the verbal attack. Trying to decompress.

    1. You did the right thing by putting distance between you and your partner. It sounds like these episodes happen periodically. There is an underlying cause and it should be addressed. The question is how to get it out in the open. Perhaps he may be willing to talk about it, particlarly if he understands his behavior is hindering the relationship. Maybe couples counseling. It is difficult to speculate what might be the cause and how it should be treated. But it is not normal for someone to behave this way with frequency and any notion he might have that you will continue to tolerate this should be snuffed out.

  2. My husband did not get much sleep last so when my new puppy began crying at 4AM this morning I got up and got him out of our room quickly as not to disturb his sleep. Mind you my husband has gotten onto the floor to go to sleep hours before the puppy made a sound. About 15 minutes of being in the living room with the puppy (who I am potty training) my husband comes out and says, “What the fuck are you doing?” I am sitting on the floor waiting for the puppy to go potty and stated so. He asked if I wanted to fight because he has not slept. He goes back into the room and locks our bedroom door and goes to sleep. I stay in the living room to create space. My alarm as always goes of at 5AM and my phone is in the room. Because the phone goes off he throws one of our side tables breaking an oil burner of mine that was given to me for Christmas. I get mad because I loved that and say it’s always my stuff that has to get broken. He then took a big pitcher of ice tea and throws it all over my new carpet and the dremel I got him for Christmas and throws it into the trash. I am at a loss of words by now crying and trying my best to pick up tea from the ground. I scream I want a DIVORCE! He goes back to the room makes the bed (that he never makes) and leaves for work. I am so lost.

    1. I am so sorry you had such a horrible experience. Obviously, your husband was behaving badly. There is no excuse for that kind of behavior. It is abusive. He really needs to acknowledge that and apologize. I think you both could use some space from each other right now. Hopefully he will understand that he acted badly and that you won’t tolerate or pretend it is all in the past. It need not be anything dramatic, but getting away from for a few hours when he returns from work or taking a day off and spending it with a close friend might trigger a realization in your husband that he needs to address the problem and give you assurance it isn’t going to happen again. That would be the better outcome….him coming to you to initiate discussion. If or when that happens, simply remain very calm and maintain a quiet demeanor as if you are in a contemplative mood or place. It is him that needs to demonstrate his regrets.

    2. You just described my sham of a ‘marriage’. Im so sorry. Truly. Mine did this so often that there are moments from years ago I still ache over let alone the acceleration of worse events this year alone. Youre in my thoughts and I hope these days you’re happy/at peace with your decision?

    3. Omg. Are you ok? My husband says what the F are you doing all the time and it destroys me! He cannot handle any disruption to his sleep. Any improvements???

  3. My husband retired in 2011 after 31 years in service. 2013 is when I noticed a change in him but 2015 it got bad (The PTSD Monster), so much that I don’t think he is the same person. Making our life’s decisions on his own, what ever makes him happy, my happiness is not important to him any more, my well being isn’t important to him anymore. He moved us to Oregon for his first civilian job from the military and that lasted 14 months, he then started working in Saudi Arabia and that lasted 4 1/2 years, he sold our home in Oregon and moved us to TN which is not what I wanted, that job ended in a lay off and he started working for Air Evac nearby which last a year because he didn’t like it and decided on his own to go to a Federal academy in GA for five months, meaning we’d have to sell another new home we’ve put a lot of money into and move to the boarder in TX for three years which I am also not happy about.

    He’s not considering getting help for himself or thinking of us at all, he went to the VA to see a counselor for a short time while working at Air Evac then stopped and blamed me? Since he’s been in GA I set him up with a counselor there, bought him a weighted blanket, four books on PTSD, a PTSD oil kit and many other helpful things. But it doesn’t appear anything is working as he has gone at least six different times without calling me, right now we are at a month with not talking. He did call once on my Birthday and left a message acting like NOTHING was wrong. Did not call on Mother’s Day, knowing I am here alone and have physical and emotional issues. Not supporting me with the household issues (financially yes), or other important issues. And knowing how horrible our neighbors are, he’s not being the protector he once was and I don’t feel safe.

    He used to need to know where I was and that I was safe at all times, not now? I used to get nice notes, cards, emails, dates, getaways and such, not now. He never want’s to go anywhere or do anything. He doesn’t even like to talk to me, he’s complaining the whole time we talk. He says he wants to be happy in his work and when I say what about us he says nothing? We have been married 32 years and this is what I get after being his only supporter for all these years? He says nasty things to me, hasn’t had sex with me in five years, claims erectile dysfunction and when I tried to get him help for that he got mad! He always says he can’t get help because they will medicate him and that would ground him because he is a pilot, which is not true.

    I have literally been abandoned mentally and physically. No family left, no friends here. Strange he’d move us here amongst his entire family when he won’t even speak to them? I was driving home from Nashville one evening and he called and said text me when your home safe and I’ll check it IN THE MORNING! WOW…I’m so devastated, he’s in denial and doesn’t see anything he’s doing wrong. I get slammed for everything, it’s very hurtful and when I’m crying he says nothing, when I say I don’t want to live he say’s “get help”!

    My stress level is at an all time high and is coming out in many ways but he only cares about his well being not mine? I have been there for his nearly 30 surgeries and nursed him back to health, I still make him breakfast in bed, still do everything I have always done but it goes unappreciated now. I see narcissistic tendencies and that scares the hell out of me, I really am at a loss of what to do?

    1. Hello Karen…I am so very sorry for your suffering. There is no easy solutions to very complicated issues around a relationship that has lasted so many years. If I made it out to be easy, it would be a lie. But that doesn’t mean the situation is hopeless. We can find happiness in all kinds of places and moments. Among many other positive qualities and attributes that you possess, you are an excellent writer, so one thing I would suggest is you continue to write down your thoughts and feelings. Keeping a journal can be very therapeutic. Write about your feelings. Write about the beautiful little moments you have and the things you want to do that brings you fulfillment. Focus on those things you can control and brings you fulfillment. Stress levels can be reduced through physical activity, so try and incorporate that into your life more if you can. Even if its just brief walks. Reading and music can also be very helpful and uplifting. Perhaps with a directed marriage counseling approach, there are things your husband can learn to better connect with needs. Being kind and generous, these are the things that good marriages are made of. Some men have a hard time expressing those feelings, though they may have empathy within them to give, it just doesn’t always come out in the right ways or regularly. I sounds like you have been a wonderful and supportive wife. That is truth that rises above all things and you should be proud of yourself. Introduce yourself to you. You are pretty special. Few women would have been so devoted for so long. So take more time now to give back to yourself.

  4. My husband is always putting me down
    I am happy when he is happy and allows me to be close to him and love him. I really love him. No I don’t no why because I realised that I am not getting back what I give. He has episodes of happiness and then like magic (black magic I will said) he changed.
    Last episode happen 7 days ago
    Before that for 2 or 3 weeks he was absolutely nice -my son and I were helping him with the extension we are make it at home. Then he need to finished something for few days in his own so he didn’t need us
    But also I was there trying to helping him.
    So last Friday he invited a neighbour to have beer at home so I even was preparing the beers inside ice
    When he come inside I asked a question he didn’t answer and goes away so when he come back I was kind of quite so he asked me what’s happen and I said why you didn’t answered me and he started to shout at me I”I said I need toilet facken “ and he became absolutely upset he didn’t want to speak with me anymore I asked what’s happen? he Told me go away I don’t want to speak with you . I didn’t understand why
    He ignored me Saturday when I asked we need to tal he just said I am busy I am looking the TV
    Sunday I didn’t want to speak to him I was so sad. Monday I approached him and he became again agresiva he said he is busy and he didn’t want to speak
    All the week was like I need to asked him for pardoned I said sorry (but I didn’t know even for what I didn’t know what I done)
    Sunday again I spoke to him morning in the bed
    So he became angry when I started to ask what’s happen this is no normal
    To finalise he said he is angry because I don’t go to sleep at the same time like him, same my son and he feel frustration because he want all of us go to sleep 11
    But I need apply for jobs clean the house make food go and help outside Etc so when I have time for me is late so I want just relax and see something in the tv
    Until now he didn’t said sorry for what he did
    It like I need to do exactly what he wants if no I will have punishment 🙁

  5. My husband and I have been married for 12 years, and we have 2 boys. Our relationship has always been a little rocky but it started early. Two years into our marriage, he cheated. I don’t really know what exactly happened but I don’t want to know. We moved on pretty fast and he deploys didn’t think much of after. We had our arguments. Than 8 years into our relationship he has a two month affair and plays house and denies his own his own kids. That was the worst year of my life after. I couldn’t get over every detail that I knew. Til this day I kills me. Ever since than he’s treats me with the most upright Rude and disrespectful way. Calling me names, telling me I should know my place and I should be seen not heard. Among really bad nasty words. He’s never did this until this affair. I would tell him about it and but his moods are all over and it’s ok than he’s back to being nasty. It’s my fault, I’m a bitch and he can’t stand me. Last year, he left me for another woman and filed for divorce and was gone 3 weeks and came back. I was so confused and didn’t know how to handle it. Wouldn’t get close. I don’t want to go through any hurt again. I find out and he yells and corners me and says he should of never came back. I let it go! Than two months later I find he’s cheating again. At this point I know I shouldn’t stay. But I really do love him. But I have become so numb and disgusted at all this, I pull away when he tries to give me any affection. Everyday he says he can’t stand me, he can’t stand the kids. He has nothing nice to say about anyone and it don’t matter how many times I tell him about hisself, he don’t want to hear it. He does nothing wrong and I’m the bitch. I know he’s a narcissist and I have been trying, but why try when he just doesn’t repeat me!

  6. I read this article and it is exactly what i am/have been going through for years.
    We now have two little boys (2 & 3) which makes things much more stressful/hard.
    I have been so tired and have gained wright since babies that we are barely intimate (1per month) partially because he is so mean to me.
    He says ive let myself go, i am a terrible wife, and make it a terrible place to live. I can relate to all 5 of those checklist items. Nothing physically harmful to me, just objects and emotional abuse. I know my worth. I am so scared for my babies and their future. I dont want them to have a broken family. I am beyond broken.

  7. My husband thinks i should be submissive if i dont do it the first time or we argue he calls me useless worthless or theatening me with other woman i have 3 kids and i try my best to not cry but its hard i find my self disconnected with the person i use to be i gave so much sacrifices for him while i get nothing in return he tells me i need to listen to him more and i need to be submissive to make matter worse i have no brothers or family that would have my back so im basically alone i always have to make a man happy but what about me

  8. Thanks for this article Chris. My husband is very unkind to me and is getting worse day by day…… I try so hard to make him happy but feel like he takes me for granted and Ill never please him. He drinks alot and is verbally abusive to me all the time. For example I make him dinner most nights….I work 4 days, take care of all household chores etc, volunteer on my day off. Today I cleaned the house, did other chores for him and tonight I made him a nice dinner and asked him to help me with reload pepper kurnels into shaker and he told me I was useless and told me I was a f**kwit. He ate my dinner and showed no appreciation. I work so hard and this behaviour is not acceptable. I don’t want to talk about him to people I know as I don’t want them to know what he is like but he is horrible to me….very unkind and I’m really at a loss with what to do. I would love to join your private fb page to connect with people in this situation for a safe places to vent. Is that possible? I NEED HELP 🙁

  9. Any other/reccomended resources would help. I could divulge a story that will make no one feel good or indifferent and only bring more pain, misery and injustice to people or I can shut my mouth and just say “please, advice, asap”. Lack of funds is a huge issue on the removing myself physically part. After that, then the unthinkable hard work begins :/

  10. I feel stuck, my husband often say malicious things to me with the intent to hurt my feelings. He’s so nasty and hateful with his words and then always comes back and apologizes. I try to correct him while he’s doing that by saying “do you think it’s appropriate to speak to you wife that way?” Or “is that really how you want to talk to your wife” and he always says something worse and hateful back. He always has an excuse or apology. I’ve stopped accepting them. I told him to stop apologizing to me and that he might as well just start looking at me in my face and say I meant what I said and I’m not sorry for saying any of it and I will continue to do it because you mean nothing to me, because ultimately thats how he makes me feel. I don’t know what to do anymore. He knows what he’s doing but continues to treat me badly without and will to change his behavior.