Do you feel trapped in a marriage with a husband who undermines you, makes you feel weak rather than strong, or are you always tense or afraid whenever he is around?

You should know that divorce is not your only option and that you have more options than you realize. Understanding the cause for your husband’s abusive behaviors is the first step toward seeing, then breaking destructive patterns in your relationship.
Relationship abuse may begin when a man feels vulnerable, inadequate or poorly equipped to deal with life. It may sound contradictory, but when a husband is yelling, blaming, even hitting his wife, very often he is masking a deep fear of abandonment. The very things that are driving you away from him are the same things he’s doing in a desperate attempt to keep you with him.

Outwardly, your husband may appear confident and strong or act overbearing and controlling, but his very need to control his family (by wanting them to feel bad about themselves) betrays his deep insecurity and vulnerability.

An abusive husband who fears abandonment can react very negatively to your threats (real or perceived) of leaving. For this reason it is safer NOT to threaten divorce if you don’t intend going through with it. If you do feel that you must separate, please make sure you first read our advice about how to leave safely.

We have advice that will improve your situation regardless if you leave or stay. Steve and I used to have just about the worst marriage in the world, but now, five years later, Steve is no longer an abusive husband and I believe we now have one of the best marriages ever!

Kim Cooper is the author of “Back from the Looking Glass” and “The Love Safety Net Workbook,” e-books about healing an abusive relationship. She and her husband Steve co-host The Love Safety Net talk radio show and website at

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