How Do Women Emotionally Abuse Men?

By Mila Koljensic

At several points in my relationship, I have used unorthodox tools to get what and when I want out of my partner. Here you go, there I’ve said it. I have also witnessed more than a few women do exactly the same, and worse. Repeatedly.

I’ve seen their partners become alcoholics, gain a significant amount of weight, cut friends and family out of their lives, change behavior, and develop severe mental health issues.

People don’t like to speak about it, but many men are victimized by emotional abuse on a daily basis.

My friend’s TAR Tale

My good friend has recently been through a very nasty divorce. They’ve been married for seven years, and he has been living under her control for most of the time. When they divorced, she started using their children as tools to get back at him for leaving the emotional abuse.

She wasn’t always like that: eight years ago when they entered the relationship she was captivating, funny, and intelligent. She was beautiful. He was in love. They were a strong team back then – but then she changed.

She complained he didn’t make enough money, that he didn’t spend enough time with her, and that he didn’t do certain things right by her. Every day there was an argument started by her. He felt like nothing he did was right or good enough.

Soon she stopped sleeping with him, showing affection, and decided that it would be best for them to move and live with her parents. Why?

So she can put him down even more, using her parents’ love for her as leverage. He followed her instructions.

Now he was living with her parents and was completely isolated from his friends and family. She demanded that he delete all his social media — he did. They spent weekends with her parents doing BBQ and listening to her father’s jokes. He started drinking.

Months passed and his parents asked him to loan them $10,000 so they could re-start their business. He had no other option than to oblige – if he didn’t, his wife would be upset and there would be more arguments. You see, my friend just wanted to avoid arguments.

Her behavior became so unpredictable that he felt like anything he said or did would be turned against him. She started calling him names. He gained weight, and so did she but he was the “fat” one. Once he left to see his sister in another city and meet up with me for a brief coffee. His wife called him in a rage, he didn’t understand why.

He left before we finished our espresso. 

She started to lie about their kids. If he wasn’t around or late getting home from work, she would tell him that they were sick with fever, as if his kids being sick had something to do with him staying 30–40 minutes later at work. He asked to work from home before it was cool or mandatory.

They went to Croatia for the family vacation. He paid for it as always, but she complained that she was tired of paying for their vacations. He asked when her parents were going to return the $10,000 loan — she hit him.

After the divorce, things became even worse as she showed her true self and became very hostile towards him, turning his children against him.

My friend was in a relationship with an emotionally abusive person who may have hidden sociopathic tendencies. The effect on him was extremely detrimental – he became depressed and suicidal. The worst is that he still has to deal with her because of their children.

We see these women around us too often but no one says or does anything. So many women discuss in media and press how they’ve survived emotionally abusive relationships, but we rarely see TV shows that speak of male victims. It’s nearly impossible to find resources for men to help them to cope with emotional abuse and parental alienation.

And yet each and every one of us knows at least one man who was or still is a victim of emotional abuse.

We all know women who use malicious tools – criticism, embarrassment, blame, and any number of others – to control and manipulate their partners. It’s common in romantic relationships and it’s one of the hardest forms of abuse to recognize. It can be extremely covert and manipulative.

Sings of emotional abuse.

It takes away the victim’s self-esteem and hides their true personality. The men who are being emotionally abused may:

  • be belittled, humiliated, embarrassed, and made to feel worthless
  • do everything that the partner tells them to do
  • feel the need to do everything to please their partner
  • have their children alienated from them
  • feel threatened and scared
  • become isolated from their friends and family
  • become depressed, suicidal and change body appearance (i.e., lose or gain significant weight)
  • indulge in destructive behaviors such as gambling, alcohol, or drugs
  • feel as if they are losing their mind
  • have no self-esteem
  • look unwell, have difficulty getting to sleep or oversleeping

What Can Men Do?

It’s difficult to address the emotional abuse of men because of prejudice. Feminists have made it quite hard for men to speak honestly and believably convince others that women are capable of emotional abuse too. There is a massive movement in politics, media, and academia that supports women who are abused by men.

Awareness is great, but it’s also important that every victim of abuse – whether female or male – be heard and provided with resources. Emotional abuse can be sometimes even worse than physical one because it doesn’t leave visible traces. If you’ve been hit by someone you can easily prove that, but if you are tortured emotionally for years it’s nearly impossible to prove to the police.

Emotional abuse, which men and women tolerate, can go on for decades and leaves the victim weak desperate, and helpless.

If you suspect that someone you know is being abused, speak up. I’ve talked to my friend on multiple occasions and have helped him find a therapist to address these issues, recently I have also introduced him to a good female friend of mine and today they are married and expecting a child.

Just last week, he told me how grateful he is that I have helped him address the emotional abuse that he was experiencing and also cut down on alcohol.

People who have been emotionally abused are scared and ashamed. They need help to get out, By picking up on the signs and providing support, you can help.

Always remember — one person can make a difference.

Share on Facebook
Share on LinkedIn
Share on X

In the Spotlight

Related Articles