Verbal Abuse: The Abuse No One Talks About

June 21, 2012 99 Comments TAGS: Marriage, Stress

By Guest Blogger Henriette Eiby Christensen 

Six years ago, I came out of a 12-year verbally abusive relationship not knowing what had happened.

First relief, then not understanding why I felt so bad, and kept feeling like the world would be a better place without me in it.

Then ANGER. No way was I going to let him continue to have that kind of power over me – I had to understand everything, not only for myself, but also for my three children. And so I started writing and observing.

My ex-husband is a very handsome and smart man. I had always been more passive, a pleaser. I was willing to move and turn every single pebble of my body and soul to accommodate his needs. Why I believe I took the abuse so freely, was because that there was an element of truth to every abusive thing he said about me or others, so I was kept in a state of constant confusion and soul searching. He never hit me. He never came home drunk. But he killed me a thousand times with his mouth. This man was my husband. We shared a bank account.

I did everything wrong– the way I kept our house wasn’t how he liked it. I had too much “stuff.” I was too “laid-back.” He used “positive” critique to belittle me.  He would cover his verbal abuse up in “I’m only being honest.”  He would call me names, and so many more horrific things I care not recall. My friends and family slowly evaporated from our life.

Here is the part which is very hard to explain… why I stayed. I understand that this is sometimes difficult to comprehend from an outsider looking in. You see, I was a stay-at-home mom in Denmark and very isolated. In Denmark, being a stay-at-home mom is frowned upon. Having a job is much more valued. So I was alone. Alone in my beliefs that my children were much more important than any job could possibly be. I felt that I didn’t have children to have other people take care of them. I wanted to be the one to raise them.

An easy target you might say. Yes. I no longer had a network. I no longer had an income. I had no self esteem or self worth. No special skills which might help me create an income. My education was outdated. And I was stuck. Emotionally and financially stuck. 

One day, he decided that we needed a second income, so he pushed me to work. I promptly got a job as a substitute teacher while my youngest was in kindergarten. A couple of years later, I went back to school to get a teaching degree (his idea). Well, guess what? I started socializing. I discovered I was smart. My classmates would call me for help with homework, and they valued my opinion. As I said – working was HIS idea, and it was he who pushed me into getting a degree so I could earn more money for our family. But every time I had an exam, he would threaten me with divorce, belittle me, and say phrases like: “You’re really going to let your studying come before the wellbeing of this family and our children?”  Well, the more of those he came up with, the harder I studied, and along the way my education became my life-raft. It represented financial freedom and social connection. And – most importantly – it represented being valued for who I am as a human being. It saved my life.

We divorced six months before I finished school.

I have written five books on bullying in relationships in Danish. A few months ago I released my first book in English: 110 Ways to Detect a Bad Relationship and it hit Amazon’s “Hot New Releases” list and has been mentioned in Forbes Women. I have never been happier, which is why I have reached a point where I can help others and share.  It has actually become my life’s purpose. I am a link between Verbal Abuse and Happiness.

How can you avoid verbal abuse? By noticing how you feel and appreciating your own self worth. Always listen to your gut feeling – although that can be very hard and very scary, but practice makes perfect.

 Here are five of the biggest telltale signs you are in a verbally abusive relationship:

  1. You are nervous around him. (Walking on eggshells.)
  2. His needs come first. (You drop everything at his call.)
  3. Your friends and family disappear. (They aren’t good enough for you – he says.)
  4. You suffer from various stress and anxiety symptoms. (Stomach and headaches, insomnia, dizziness, depression etc.)
  5. You complain to yourself or other people about him.

Most of all, I hope to reach teens and young adults before they enter into long term relationships and get stuck. So it is my wish to reach the educational systems all over the world.

Love and Blessings.


About Henriette Eiby Christensen…

Born in 1962, Danish. Lived in the USA from 1984 to 1990. Author, Artist, Teacher, Speaker, Counselor. Single mother of three.

Henriette is the author of 110 Ways to Detect a Bad Relationship – Before it’s too Late. Her new book 110 Ways to Charm your Brain – Positive Thinking is coming out soon.

Follow Henriette on her website

I hope Henriette’s story has touched you, taught you, made you think about your own self-worth, and will make you reach out for help if you are in a similar situation. It is my goal for this post to help someone who might be suffering. Please forward this to anyone you feel might be in a similar situation. I hope her message of hope, despair and resilience will stay with you. If you have any comments or questions for Henriette, I encourage you to post them right here.



    1. jennieNo Gravatar says:

      Dr Brian Neil Talarico North Bay Has been convicted of child molestation, an
      possession of child pornography on his computer. Sexually molesting a young
      boy. He had prior convictions for child molestation in 1990 and 2001. After
      his parole in 2006. Dr. Talarico Brian. Works for north east mental health
      centre, despite his background, and numerous complaints against him of
      abuse, fraud, negligence, and imprisonment. Address: North East Mental
      Health Centre, North Bay Campus Highway 11 North North Bay Ontario P1B 8L1,
      and now works for Act 2, North Bay.

    2. AngieNo Gravatar says:

      I was an American expat married to a Bosnian/Dane in Denmark. I experienced much of the things that happened to you except for the cardinal difference that my husband physically abused me. He brutally beat me, withheld money, klippekort, everything from me. The Danish police were of no help, the Danish battered womens shelters were all full and whenever I tried to get help from people, they did not believe me because, “Danes are the happiest in the world.” Rrrriight. Even to this day after leaving the abuser, the abuser still tries to abuse and humiliate. After I escaped Denmark and my abuser, I realized how bad domestic violence and abuse are in Denmark and that the people and system are rotten and useless in fixing it. My abuser Z will abuse again (he is under probation for other violent crimes but apparently beating your wife with a metal pipe from the vacuum and then busting her head through a window are not enough to get police attention). Denmark, enjoy my abuser. You support them and turn the victims into pariahs. I thank my lucky stars every day for birth control because everyone knows how Denmark kidnaps children and violated the Hague convention on that. Denmark is also notorious for forcing kids to have visitation with abusive parents. The cycle of abuse will continue, I am lucky enough to be far away.

      Denmark, time to roto-root your system, it is horrible.

      • Dear Angie
        You hit the head of the nail
        The Danish system is out of order.
        I have been trying to get through to politicians and the press for many years to no avail
        There is this one journalist from DR who collects cases like yours
        please contact him and tell him I sent you
        Ulrik Skotte
        we need to help women and children in Denmark

        THANK YOU
        All my love

    3. CrystalNo Gravatar says:

      Hi there & thank you for your story. I realize this blog is a few years old so I’ll understand if I don’t get a response. I recognized a lot of myself in your story. I love my husband but I’ve already been in abusive relationships before. I guess I’m hoping someone can tell me that it’s me & my husband loves me, or that he’s the one with the problem. To give you a little background…We will have been together 2 years come Nov. & married one year. I have 2 little girls from a previous relationship, ages 4 & 6. He has a 19 year old daughter that he didn’t have a lot to do with her upbringing. What brought me here I think it’s something that JUST happend; we were walking out of a restaurant while he held the door for me, I watch him looking at a pretty blond walking across the parking lot & he didn’t “just glance” as he claimed to have (his eyes followed her all the way across the parking lot). I ask him if he thought he knew her & he already knows I get hurt when I see him looking at other women. He says no & I said well why were you looking at her like that then? He says he wasn’t he just glanced. Every time I see him do this, I just can’t keep my mouth shut, I mean really, he’s holding the door for me to go thru,why not check out MY ass? Anyway, he always gets angry & starts screaming & cursing at me, May even slam his fist down on something (usually something in MY car). Absolutely WILL NOT admit he’d been caught & yells about me accusing him of stuff he’s not doing…but this isn’t the only thing that gets him in a rage at me, there have been many times when I’ve tried to sit down & talk about how I “feel” about something or another, & I usually would get anger from him. I started feeling like I walk on eggshells & I’ve tried to stop talking to him about my “feelings”. But just like you said in your article, I guess I feel like there’s some bit of truth inn everything he says to me. Like maybe I should just keep my mouth shut & let it bug the crap outta me to see my husband looking at another women. I mean after all, I guess all men do..sorry this is so very long, I would really be grateful for any advice or insight you could offer. Thank you again! God bless you!

      • Dear Crystal
        His feelings are his. Yours are yours.
        If you ignore his looking it might subside. It might not.
        Looking is ok – doing is not.
        Do you feel insecure about his love for you? Talk about that with a therapist and him.
        Hitting things or you and aggression are not ok.
        Feeling like you are walking on egg shells and avoiding certain subjects are not ok.
        You do have a choice in how you want to feel.
        I highly recommend Abraham and Ester Hicks to feel better and let go of unwanted emotion.

        Lots of Love to you

    4. steven moenNo Gravatar says:

      86 yo mom 9 years of severe mental /verbal abuse trying to help her leave right in the middle of it .he threatened to shoot people put in jail 5-23-14 got out 15 hrs later .no claims is moving out but still there . mom severely brain washed ,severe anxiety and depression .wont take any meds for it severe appetite loss barely eating down to 87 pounds now fear she may die .been to 25 appts with md doctors and emergency rooms in 6 months cant find much wrong .I know and she knows its mental problem ,she is almost impossible to help her she wont cooperate with almost anything she is begged to do ? she had a mild stroke 2.5 months ago they family has been fighting with each other cause of this bastard .want to get her to psychologist but not interested .doctors never reffered her to anyone dam fools I have anxiety and major depression I can see things in people and know how hard it is to get better if even possible . the who family walking on egg shells for 9 years. I feel like a rotten asshole for letting this happen .she still wants to hang on to that monster but knows the stress will kill her .and may kill her anyway. please help

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    6. Ashley Bergenstock says:

      It’s eye opening reading this and then catching myself nodding my head and relating to it. In my fact, I’m in the bedroom crying and I can him say,
      “F***ing idiot,” because I didn’t put the dishes away right. I’m originally crying because I was at my college library longer than I thought I was going to be, but he thinks I was ‘probably out with my boyfriends spending money on them, (his words) because he needed gas money and I didn’t jump up and bring it to him.
      I ask myself every day why I’m still with him, and while I do love him, I don’t know why I’m still here other than being terrified of leaving. I’m writing working and going to school while he’s been laid off for almost a year, and when he calls me lazy, worthless and useless I somehow still believe it. I guess from hearing the same degrading names almost everyday for two years I started to believe them.
      He’s put his hands on me twice, and knew then and know now that’s when I should have left. But since he was drunk and told me that if didn’t piss him off it wouldn’t have happened- I guess I agreed at the time.
      He’s told me at least twice today that he’s sick of me. And after telling earlier that I had an appointment to go to, he asked if it was a shrink because ‘I needed one.’ Well, being mentally mind f***ed, and emotionally abused for so long, he’s darn right I need one.
      He tells me that I need to get a back bone and not be so sensitive to his name calling because ‘it annoys him when I cry’. I’d have a back bone if he didn’t keep breaking it.

      I hope I get the strength to be happy again soon.

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