The signs that will help you recognize an abusive husband -- whether your own or the husband of someone close to you -- are not black and white. Subtle signs of potential abuse might be apparent before or early on in the marriage, but at that point they also might be easy to dismiss. For example, extreme jealousy might be mistaken for love. Intimidating threats, verbal and emotional abuse tend to escalate into physical violence as a marriage progresses, according to the article, "Domestic Violence and Abuse," published on HelpGuide.org. Recognizing the red flags is the first step to obtaining help. Control and power, despite what the abuser says, is what fuels domestic abuse.
On the Outside Looking In
Often, it is difficult to see an abusive situation for what it is until someone from the outside points it out. Denial and fear as well as hope that things will change may play a part in this. A close friend or family member may suspect abuse if you seem jumpy or irritable when your husband calls or if he calls you constantly when you're away from home, shows up unexpectedly when you are out with friends or family, or otherwise monitors and tracks your every move. Overly controlling behavior, unrealistic expectations and isolation from your support system are red flags associated with an abusive husband, according to the article, "Warning Signs of an Abusive Person," published on the Northwestern University Women's Center website.
A woman who was once confident may have very low self-esteem, show a drastic personality change or become depressed, anxious or suicidal when living with an abusive husband, according to HelpGuide.org. Emotional abuse make take the form of yelling, blaming or shaming her. He may call her names or accuse her of doing him wrong as an excuse to abuse her. Even if he hasn't physically harmed her, he may threaten to bring physical harm to her if she doesn't comply with his wishes. An emotionally abusive husband may also isolate his wife, make her quit her job and withhold money or necessities from her.
He's Never Wrong
At first, the wife of an abusive husband may think he's stubborn and sensitive when he won't take responsibility for his actions and reacts strongly to the difficulties life brings his way. She may even feel bad for him and offer to help. She will likely meet his rage as he turns on her and blames her for his problems. For example, he may arrive home from work and complain about the awful day he had. His wife attempts to empathize with him only to have him yell, "If you didn't make me late for work this morning, my day would have been fine. You ruined it because the alarm you set didn't go off." She is never able to explain herself because his rage and need to be right intensifies. His wife begins to walk on eggshells around her husband in an attempt to keep the peace.
Jealousy and insecurity invade the mind of an abusive husband. He is often jealous of his wife's family and friends -- particularly other men, including co-workers, according to the article, "Abusive Men: The Red Flags," published on the Oprah website. Abusive husbands can behave in a charming manner in front of others and become violent and aggressive once they are alone with their wives again. For example, while at a dinner party a husband may tolerate his wife's friendly interaction with a mutual male friend, only to become abusive on the way home, accusing her of flirting with the man or even lusting after him. In the husband's mind, his wife has already cheated on him or plans to do so.