Abused Husbands

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    In the goyisha world you constantly hear about spousal abuse, but it is a euphomism for him abusing her. Yet we have heard (here) real cases of wives abusing their husband, be it emotional abuse, verbal abuse, and even physical abuse.

    Although we hear this general concept, how does this play out in real life? Especially physical abuse — most husbands can easily defend themselves. But that must be the least common. Emotional, and especially verbal abuse against husbands, what are the types of abuse seen and what kind of suffering do these husbands endure? And most importantly, where do they turn to for help and how do they remedy the situation?


    Certainly it happens in all walks of life and in all religions as well. There are sick and controlling people and those who just do not know how to behave in a marriage. A husband either forces the situation by taking the wife to a Rav or therapist, keeps to himself as much as possible or gives up and files for divorce.


    A husband either forces the situation by taking the wife to a Rav or therapist


    Oh boy another abuse thread.

    1. Abuse,

    2. Divorce,

    3. Crisis,

    4. Tuition

    Lets move on Rabbosia!


    TBT: Finally you seem to be in agreement that abuse can occur in marriage. So what is your opinion as to what should be done in such a situation, since you believe divorce is absolutely not an option [as you pointed out in other threads on this topic]?


    Many men would not seek help because of the stigma of being the weaker one in the relationship

    World Saver

    Every husband is abused.



    Wrong one..


    WS: Every wife is abused.

    The problem is that every abuser thinks, in his/her perverted way of thinking, that they are actually the ones who are being abused. Human nature is very complex and complicated.


    LMA: I never claimed abuse is not possible. My point here is, that you can’t force the other person to change etc. Rather, do go to your Rebbe/Rav/Rebbetzen/compitant mentor etc. which hopefully is long existent, and get help. Running away won’t help. Nor will “changing the other” (isen’t that a form of abuse?!)

    Now that you mention the D card, lets analize it.

    Q: Why did the abused marry an abuser?

    A1: Didn’t know, couldn’t tell.

    Problem: Next time you won’t be fooled? Next time you will “see it”. Good luck

    A2: He/She was such a good person while dating,

    but became “bad” after the marriage or after a few years.

    Problem: What will stop that from happening with prince charming/queen perfect, whos just waiting for them to jump ship.

    Thought: Maybe we should seek to fix ourselves, and so many problems will divorce us.

    (on rare rare occasion, the Rebbe etc. will advise divorce. I’d guess about 5% of divorces, if that much)


    TBT, if you are the point of the ridiculous where a wife refuses to go to the RAV, a husband could of course invite the RAV to come to the home. A man still has the upper hand in these situations.


    Aries: I don’t think initially asking the Rav to approach the wife is the wisest idea; I would say ask the wife’s female mentor [at an earlier stage in her life] whom she naturally trusts more, so that she can explain to her nicely the husband’s position and the issues involved.

    TBT: I also believe in the sanctity of marriage, and that divorce should not be taken lightly. However, every spouse who has gotten caught in such a situation must ask themselves seriously if they are ready to endure the abuse indefinitely w/o it ruining their self image, or will it end up ruining their self image and cause them to live their lives with a broken ego. If the latter is true [either because of the severity of the abuse, or because of the psychological nature of the abused spouse], then definitely divorce is the right option, since one cannot serve Hashem properly with a shattered ego. Doesn’t it say in the Torah our primary obligation is to serve Hashem with happiness -“Tachas Asher Lo Uvadita Es Hashem B’Simcha U’vituv Laivuv”? A divorced spouse serving Hashem with happiness is better than a married one serving Hashem in misery.


    many years ago I read an article in the JP about a man in a wheelchair who said his wife hit him. I was horrified. No one should ever be abused and if someone is in an abusive relationship of any kind he/she should seek help immediately.


    Most of the times, the husband is embarrassed to admit he is the weaker (or more vulnerable) one in the relationship. Or he doesn’t realize the abuse due to the fact that he associates abuse with the male against the female. It doesn’t register in his mind that he’s being abused until the irreversible emotional damage has been done. He assumes the whole time that shes just being overly emotional or overreacting.


    LMA: why do you think it’s either divorce or suffering.Who knows if the divorce is really a solution. Some problems are a resolt of low self esteem etc, not the cause thereof. Escape/divorce won’t solve it. (Just look at the post breakup fighting)

    Should anhappy person quit serving Hashem C”V, or should they seek the state-of-mind called happy?


    TBT: I can’t understand how lack of self esteem should be the cause for feeling abused. The most confident people can lose all their self esteem through abuse. Divorce is not an escape in such a situation; it’s rather a forced solution to maintain mental health. Additionally, when an abuser is faced with a real possibility of divorce, it shakes them up and forces them to shape up their behavior.


    LMA: you can’t understand. That’s fine. I don’t think we should be advocating divorce when don’t comprehend the whole picture. Leave it to their Rov/Rebbetzen/Rebbe/competent mentor.

    I just wish we all incoporated one into our lives. We’d be better equipped to deal with adversery.


    escape/divorce wont solve the abusers issues but it will solve the problem of BEIN abused.. i dont understand ur comparison, truth.


    s2021: Please elaborte. Which one of my points don’t you understand? Also, whos definition of abuse are you using?


    TBT: I have a gut feeling that you’re currently in the midst of grappling with this very issue right now (and you definitely seem to be the abused one NOT the abuser). Make sure you are handling with the right Rav/Mentor; it might be a good idea to seek out a another rav’s/professional opinion in the matter so you can be sure you’re on the correct path, hatzlacha.


    LMA: Not the case. A couple of friends whove messed up their lives- yes. Thanks though


    LMA, NEVER EVER get the friends involved, that is the worst thing to do!!!! A RAV can be considered a professional and can be counted on to keep things confidential, a friend can’t. Never call in a friend, who will twist and turn things and your wife will truly feel betrayed if you call her friend in to get involved. You will only make things worse because you will accused of trying to turn her friends against her.


    Aries: I meant the wife’s mentor/rebbitzin/teacher with whom she had a relationship with in the past. Obviously an older mechaneches can be trusted to be confidential. Why is a woman’s rebbitzin any different than a man’s rosh yeshiva? Wouldn’t you agree that the first person to approach to try to positively influence the man [if he was the abuser], would be his rosh yeshiva and not his rav?


    “Every husband is abused.”

    Wow. That’s a strong statement. Where’d you get that, worldsaver?


    To clarify: examples of emotional spousal abuse are:

    1) Being verbally degraded repeatedly, i.e. one spouse makes the other feel that their self-worth is devalued by saying they are not worthy. A husband can be repeatedly told that the spiritual weaknesses of the children are all his fault, that he does nothing for their Chinuch. Most damaging is when the spouse is verbally degraded in front of family, especially their own children, since it causes a devaluation of the abused parent in the eyes of the children and totally distorts the sanctity of husband-wife relationship in the children’s eyes. Children very much want to see that their parents are valued and when one parent does the very opposite to the other, it is very destructive to the children’s image of their family home as their sanctum.

    2) By constantly refusing to show recognition or acknowledgement for the good things the other does and even worse by blaming the other person for everything that goes wrong, even when the blamer is totally at fault for the very things he/she blames the other for. I know one example where one spouse blamed the other for their astronomical credit card debt despite the fact that the “blamer” was the only one to use the credit cards, but blamed the entire debt on the other because the “blamee” ordered the credit card from the bank! The blamer can be so blind that he/she will accuse the other for not doing a desired Tovah when in reality the “blamee” person did the very Tovah most devotedly every day.

    3) This hurts me very much to say, since it may be viewed as an attack on women or being insensitive to their suffering, which is the farthest from my mind: Women who refuse to go to the Mikvah for even short and sometimes long periods of time, assuming that they did not have dispensation from their Rov, are acting emotionally abusively toward their husband since they are engaging Halacha as a weapon. Nothing is more damaging to the happiness and self-worth of a husband than when his wife says “you are not good enough for me to go to the Mikvah for”. I know that the vast majority of Frum women would not dream of doing this, but it happens in some marriages. (There may be cases where a women has a dispensation from her Rov not to go to the Mikvah, in which case she is likely in a very sad and painful situation – and we are excluding these cases from our discussion since this is an entirely different circumstance).

    Spousal emotional abuse is very hard to identify since often each spouse sees themselves as the emotional abused, even when he/she does 99% of the abusive behavior. For this reason many people are dismissive towared the plight of the truly emotional abused spouse. Spouses who are truly emotionally abused derserve our greatest support since words can sometimes hurt more than physical blows (both are totally unacceptable), especially since people tend to acuse the abused party for engaging in a “pity party”.


    I found that it is not just pop culture that says that men should be strong and accept abuse (“big boys don’t cry”), but also some frum sources say that also.

    In the Garden of Peace, translated by R’ Lazer Brody, it says that the way a wife acts is a mirror to the man’s spirituality. That is, if she is mean to him, then he is to blame. He should be more spiritually perfect. It was his shortcomings that caused her (through Hashem hand) to become angry, mean, etc. Nor should a man have any physical desires for his wife. If he does, she will reject him. What I understand from that is that a man is supposed to be an angel, regardless of his wife’s abuse, because it’s all his fault. <sarcasm> I’m glad to know that my wife has no free will, nor any human imperfections. </sarcasm>


    MDG: The Midrash states that the posuk “birtzos Hashem darchei ish, gam ovav yashlim ito” (when G-d likes the way of a man, He will cause even the mans enemies to make peace with him), is referring to a mans wife.

    Never read Rabbi Brodys book, but the idea certanly has some truth


    When a Rav is called in it is basically a “din torah” between the husband and the wife and it is viewed as a serious situation. It depends on the couple. Will the wife view a female mentor, a Rebbetzin stepping in as an emergency situation or will she blame her husband for divulging this private matter to someone who respects her. It is like walking a tight rope. A Rav involved with Shalom Bayis issues is probably your best bet.



    If you see someone crying, something is wrong in his life; or he has hiccups and his eyes are tearing. If your computer pops up a message that you got an email, you got an email; or there’s a bug. If you behave a certain way to a person, they will respond in kind; or the person has a real defect.

    In other words, don’t condemn a book that is talking to regular people, not cases.


    truth be told,

    I understand and agree with the concept, but my point is that having a 200+ page book that basically says that it’s all a man’s fault can contribute to a abuse.

    I think that these concepts, while they have truth to them, have to put in the proper context. You can find examples of Tzaddikim who had difficult wives. Are you going to then say that they were in reality bad people?


    MDG, so who is taking it out of context?


    I read these stats in a Psychology book: About 57% of men are considered to be difficult people (or was it 75%? I hope not), as well as about 16% of women. But these 16% are HORRIBLE, much worse than the difficult men. Och un vey to the man who marries one of them. Men, if you find yourself married to an abuser, run for your life before the kids start coming.

    OTOH most women have to put up with difficult husbands… that’s life.


    silent one: Wow wow wow. I’m so sorry to hear about these challenges you faced. It sounds horrendous. Sounds like a real shrrew.. B”H you’ve held your sanity and are even seeking to help others avoid this.

    On another thread you even take responsibility for not listening to your Rebbe. I am hopefully inspired.

    MDG: Based upon the way you describe the book, I hear your point.

    I once saw quoted in the name of the Ari that tzadikim who suffer from their wife is because of the Eigal, where the women were completely clean.. (I don’t think it was a justification for the wives, just why the husband suffered.)

    R. Yakkov of lisa’s (Nesivos) wife, abused him, yet refused to take a get. Are. Akiva Eiger tried to talk her into accepting one. Her response: “do you expect me to give up living with such a tzadik?”.

    (LMA, they didn’t advocate the exuses made up nowadays or divorces)


    msseeker: How did that book define dificult and what was their testing/research method? Thanks


    Healthy women in healthy marriages don’t avoid the mikvah as punishment. Perhaps if the husband is unwilling to discuss the problem, I could see a woman using that as a tool (not that I agree with that – I think if for nothing else, a woman should go to the mikvah to remove harchakot). What you are talking about is either not a healthy woman or not a healthy marriage. And its a power play, not a good sign for the marriage either.

    The reason abuse usually refers to him abusing her is because something like 90% of abused people are women.

    No man should stay in an abusive relationship either.


    TBT: No idea. But the stats make sense. Ask anyone who deals with many people of both genders.


    SJS, that is exactly what he is talking about. An unhealthy marriage!


    SJS: I don’t have first hand knowledge in this field (and I doubt you do either), but your estimate of 90% vs. 10% seems logically way off. The same percent of people born with tendences to control other people is equally split between male/female gender, so I can’t see why the equation would change so drastically when it comes to relationship in marriage.


    LMA, I’m slightly off, but this was taken from a DV support area:

    Gender trends: Women make up 3/4 of the victims of homicide by an intimate partner. Actually, 33% of all women murdered (of course, only cases which are solved are included) are murdered by an intimate partner. Women make up about 85% of the victims of non-lethal domestic violence. In all, women are victims of intimate partner violence at a rate about 5 times that of males.


    msseeker: With all due respect, the numbers only make sense if you use slanted definition of difficult. We can define difficult in a way that 95% of women would fit there.. (ex. Take lots of time to get ready, moody etc etc)


    SJS: We are discussing emotional abuse not physical abuse. I understand that women are naturally afraid to physically hurt their husbands [even if they feel like they want to]. Emotional abuse is still an easy weapon for a woman to use, since even a man is vulnerable and defenseless to it.


    LMA, non-lethal domestic violence usually includes emotional/verbal abuse. I’m still looking around, but here is some older information (1993 Study in Canada):

    35% of all women surveyed reported that their spouse was emotionally abusive.

    – 18% of women reported experiencing emotional abuse but not physical abuse in a relationship.

    77% of women reported emotional abuse in combination with physical abuse. In one Canadian study on abuse in university and college dating relationships, 81% of male respondents reported that they had psychologically abused a female partner.


    SJS: Your numbers don’t apply to us. Men without Torah are animals (some good, some bad). My stats are probably also different for Torah Jews, but “difficult” is a subjective term, as TBT pointed out. Difficult Torah Jews would mostly be IMO stubborn, domineering, demanding, etc., not intentionally mean or abusive. Even the real abusers don’t kill their wives. ???? ???????? ?? ??????!

    TBT: In my experience, most men mainly try to get the better deal, while most women mainly try to get along. If you consider “taking lots of time to get ready” as being difficult, well, you’re entitled to your *** opinion. Now for being moody: what do most women do when they’re moody, and what do most men do when they’re moody? (Of course you’re entitled to think crying and krechtzing is as bad as yelling and blaming, or even worse, but I think most people would disagree.) I’m not talking about those 16% of witches. For them there is no Torah but their own (no matter how frum they look and sound) and no real cure. They should be left to die as spinsters.


    SJS – The first study is only regarding physical abuse. The second study doesn’t address the phenomenon of abusive women.


    i was at a friend of mine and we were talking about this issue. She said that she was told to leave her husband (i dont knwo if she meant the D word or just to seperate temp) if he hit her even once. another friend said that its wrong to leave after one hit cuz what if he did it by mistake and didnt mean it?

    IMO, hitting is hitting and if he hits once, he may hit again.

    What do you think?


    “another friend said that its wrong to leave after one hit cuz what if he did it by mistake and didnt mean it?”

    OMG!! Is this friend married?!


    msseeker, you are wrong about statistics. Abuse is a significant problem in the Jewish community. Lethal domestic violence may be smaller, but don’t discount what a problem it is. And Jews do have violent crimes done to them – when I was growing up, a man took an axe to his wife’s head (somehow she survived).

    And to reiterate DOMESTIC VIOLENCE USUALLY INCLUDES EMOTIONAL/VERBAL ABUSE. Statistics quoted are relevant. The point being, while many marriages may only suffer from emotional/verbal abuse, many include physical abuse as well.


    SJS: msseeker is not wrong. The stats you site are . Stats based upon personal reportage without independent verification, is flawed on several basis’.

    1) who is choosing to included themselves in this study (and who is being asked to participatea?)

    2))When obviously flawed studies are made, there is usually an agenda at hand. When I have more time, I’ll try and site some recent cases


    msseeker: When you use say Torah Jews can be stubborn, domineering, demanding, we are not talking about a large leap from abusive. It is a continuum – where stubborn, domineering, demanding ends and abusive behavior begins in a gray line at best. The bottom line is that none of these behaviors fit into what Chazal say “The Kavod of your Chaver should be more dear than your own”. Your spouse should be your closet Chaver, so for sure, so upholding his/her Kavod should be the utmost priority in marriage. When you examine the types of behaviors I provided as examples of psychological abuse (above), they are the ultimate opposites of upholding the opposite’s Kavod. One thing to me is quite certain: that learning Torah alone, without rigorous Mussar reinforcement, will not in of itself prevent young men or women from falling into this trap, since there are many forms of Negios (ulterior needs or motives) that can enable a person to act totally against the Torah’s moral code, while even thinking that he/she is doing a Mitzvah (i.e thinking that it his/her “duty” to speak harshly to his/her spouse for whatever crazy reason he/she may dream up; See Reb Chatzkel Levenstain ZT”L in Sefer Ohr Yechezkel who explains this idea much better than I can, with regard to the death of Rebbi Akiva’s talmidim “for they did not afford Kavod one to another”). Reb Chatzkel explains that the only antidote from falling into this trap is to learn Mussar assiduously.

    My question that I hope someone can shed light on is: What makes a person act abusively (or even near-abusively) to their spouse? It is not just an academic question – the answer to this question may provide the solution in reengineering our way of Chinuch of pre-marital youngsters so that they safely guard themselves against acting in such a manner. Is it because one spouse is insecure, so putting down the other raises his/her own image, R”L? – I don’t buy this since I always had low self-esteem and never would dream of acting abusively to my spouse. So I can’t figure it out. One thing I know for sure is that somehow the abusive people (very often) somehow restrain these tendencies until after the Chasunah (even act super nice before the Chasunah), so the abused spouses are totally taken for a loop, not having had any idea before the Chasunah that this would happen (if they had some warning before, maybe they could have saved themselves, unless they were blinded as well). I would love to hear people’s input on this – mostly so that the Mosdos of Chinuch (and parents) could help youngsters work on preventing themselves from becoming abusers or abused.


    miritchka: She should go to her Rov/mentorr etc ASAP. If she dosent have one,, she should consult us here;

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