For Better Or Worse: Three Other Types Of Abuse in Marriage


How do we keep our marriage vows when our situation gets worse? Are we truly up for the worse? In every 1000 population in the US, the divorce rate is about0.007% or 7 out of every 1,000 population, and one of the main reasons for this is an abusive partner. Abuse can be common in marriages and relationships, especially on women. The Violence Against Women Act of 1994 (VAWA)was created with the intent to protect women against domestic violence.

Domestic violence is not the only abuse that can be experienced in a relationship, especially when you are living together. There are other types of abuse that can damage a person.

What are the three other types of abuse in marriage aside from physical abuse?

Verbal Abuse


Verbal abuse is the use of unnecessary words to inflict pain on our partner. We all get upset, and sometimes, we say things which are hurtful in a way. Things like this happen in all relationships, and our partners would apologize and make up for it, but we should know when it is abusive.

Hurtful words that are damaging one’s self-worth, especially when spoken repeatedly, is considered verbal abuse. If it’s spoken more than once, and if it is starting to degrade you as a person and affect how you see yourself, it is definitely not okay anymore.

Any forms of cursing, humiliating, degrading, or threatening are considered verbal abuse. As told by Brandy Parris, MA, LMHC, “For many people, the word “abuse” evokes images of physical violence and the visible marks it leaves. However, abuse comes in many forms, some of which are more subtle and harder to pinpoint. Emotional, verbal, and psychological abuse can build slowly in a relationship, and you may become accustomed to giving away little bits of your will and desire until eventually you’ve given all your power over to your partner.”

Emotional Abuse

Emotional abuse refers to our feelings and how we react towards a certain person, thing, or situation.It involves verbal abuse but is broader in a sense that words don’t need to be spoken. Sometimes, it could also be silence or non-verbal, like when a person makes you feel unworthy, unwanted, insecure, or unsafe in any way.

When you are in a relationship, it is essential that you make each other special no matter how long you’ve been together. The feeling that you are taken for granted, disregarded, or denied in any way is considered emotional abuse because it causes emotional instability. “Emotional abuse could also look like repeated criticisms about personal vulnerabilities you’ve shared with them in the past, such as abuse histories, phobias, fears, or sensitive information about your past.” Christine Scott-Hudson, MA MFT ATR said.

All forms of verbal and non-verbal abuse that are negatively affecting our emotions are considered emotional abuse. 

Mental Abuse


Mental or psychological refers to our state of mind. It has something to do with how we think and how we process and function as an individual. It is correlated with emotional abuse, but in mental abuse, it affects and hinders our mental or intellectual development.

Mental development pertains to the honing of our knowledge and capabilities as a person. When our mental or intellectual growth is affected in any way, or when we suffer from depression or anxiety due to all the stress caused by certain events in our marriage, it is considered mental or psychological abuse. Jor-El Caraballo, LMHC said, “I think that one sign that your relationship is toxic or bad for your mental health is how you feel. If you find that when you are with your partner(s), you often feel down or drained, then it might be time to speak to a third party for some more objective feedback.”

No matter the circumstances, it should be “for better or worse,” but that doesn’t mean we are allowed to make things worse for our partner. Marriage should be able to bring out the best in us, and any forms of abuse could ruin something that was supposed to make us a better half.