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Coping With a Difficult Husband Who Treats You Badly

Your husband is worse than difficult: he treats you badly at home and in public. The problem is that you can’t just leave your marriage or change your husband. Instead, you need to learn how to cope with life in a difficult marriage and to gain strength for whatever your future holds.

I recently returned from an all-inclusive resort trip to Jamaica. A family of five swooped in and took over the pool deck area next to us. The kids weren’t a problem – I enjoyed their energy! But the husband wasn’t just difficult, he was abusive. He called his wife names under his breath and spoke to her in  a condescending, demeaning, patronizing manner. His whole attitude and tone of voice was sarcastic, mean, and rude. His wife seemed helpless to defend herself. She was passive, quiet, submissive, and helpless.

What do you do when you live with a difficult husband – a man you wish you never married? Maybe your husband is even more condescending and abusive than you’re willing to admit. You feel powerless and helpless. I’ll share a few ideas here…but the truth is that you don’t need more information. You need power, strength, help and hope to get through the day. You need to talk to someone in person about living with your husband…and you need to decide for yourself what the best solution is. My tips for living with a difficult husband won’t solve your marriage problems. I can, however, show you that you aren’t alone.


“My husband treats me like crap,” says Erika on When Your Husband Says He Hates You. “I have no where to go and no help or money. So I am stuck in this marriage and its starting to really get to me. My husband has lost my heart that I patched up for him, thinking he was the one who would fix it for me. I feel so much pain and try not to show it. When I say anything my husband freaks out tells me how ungrateful I am.”

Some wives aren’t just living with difficult husbands. They are in abusive marriages, and they think they have nowhere to go. But this is a lie, a false belief that keeps women trapped in unhealthy and even abusive marriages.

When You’re Living With a Difficult Husband

The most important thing to remember is that you aren’t trapped in this marriage. You may feel stuck and isolated, but you do have options. Your options won’t be easy or even all that attractive…but it is possible to leave a bad marriage and start over.

The truth is that there IS somewhere to go, and help is available. Your job is to find the help you need and stick to your plans.

Imagine how your life could be different

Living With a Difficult Husband Who Treats You Badly

You can’t change your husband, but you can start planning a new life. Even if you think there’s no way you could ever live without your husband, you can allow yourself to dream! Dreams plant seeds of hope, life, energy and future plans. Amazing achievements and successes have to start somewhere, don’t they? And they always start with a tiny seed of hope.

Yes, your husband is difficult. Perhaps he treats you terribly, like Erika’s husband. Maybe your husband isn’t as bad as he was before….or maybe he’s more abusive than he’s ever been. No matter what your situation is, you have more power than you think.

If you’re struggling financially, read How to Leave Your Husband if You Have No Money.

Seek counseling – with or without your husband

The wife by the pool in Jamaica didn’t defend herself or even respond to her husband. Rather, she treated kindly and gently. It was as if her husband was actually being nice to her. Her coping mechanism was to passively accept her husband’s bad treatment. She survived each day of her marriage by placating and soothing her difficult husband. Maybe it wasn’t just easier for her to get through the day by being nice to her husband, maybe it was physically safer for her and her children.

Difficult men aren’t easy to confront. Abusive husbands can be dangerous to talk to, even gently and softly. This is why talking to a counselor or trusted friend about coping with your difficult husband is safe. It won’t be easy, but taking some sort of action may help you move forward. Confiding in a friend or even writing about your husband’s words and behavior can help you decide how to cope. You may find that the more you talk about it, the easier it’ll get to open up.

Find people and activities that fill you with life, hope and faith

When was the last time you talked to your best friend, sister, mom, or trustworthy coworker? Who have you lost touch with, and wish you could reunite with? What activities make you feel happy, refreshed, energetic, and fulfilled? What about counseling – have you talked to a professional about your marriage? Do you exercise, eat healthy foods, get enough sleep, and love yourself? These may sound like useless or meaningless things to do, but they are so important. The healthier you are, the better your life will be.


Stay connected to people who love and support you, you’re more likely to make healthy decisions for your life. Even more importantly learn who you are as a child of God. Turn your face upward, meet God’s gaze, and ask for the strength and power you need to cope. When your husband treats you badly you begin to think you deserve it, that you’re worthless. This is another lie that will drive you into despair. You can break free, but you need to start taking steps – no matter how difficult it is.

Learn ways to become an emotionally strong woman in your marriage.

Be honest about living with a husband who treats you badly

Tell the truth. Talk about your marriage with someone. Be honest with yourself, too. Do you really think your husband will change? Can you see yourself spending the rest of your life with a man who treats you badly? Why are you still struggling to cope with a husband who treats you so badly? Try to figure out why you feel stuck and helpless.

It may be painful, heartbreaking, hard, and scary to leave your husband, no matter how difficult he is or how badly he treats you. Maybe it seems impossible. You’ll have to cope with financial struggles, guilt, shame, your family’s opinions and your children’s reactions. It’s important to find people you trust, whom you can talk honestly and openly to. It’s even more important to rebuild yourself spiritually, emotionally, and physically.

Look up, and feel your Father’s gaze on you. Know that you are not as powerless as you feel. Remember what you learned about faith and God in the past…and let the Holy Spirit nudge you forward in ways you never thought possible. My prayer for you is that you’re filled with the strength, faith, power and hope you need to take care of yourself and your loved ones.

Your thoughts – big and little – are welcome below! Share how you’re doing, what you’re dealing with, and how you’re handling life with a difficult husband.


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110 thoughts on “Coping With a Difficult Husband Who Treats You Badly”

  1. My husband and l has been married almost five years. We did not have any problems during the date phase. Once we got married he didn’t seem interested in me anymore. Sex declined more and more every being married. In 2019 my started to be real cold towards me. We haven’t had sex in six months. One day I was at work, he left me a letter saying he need space, he went back to his home state and he will be home in a couple of days. Well, he decided to take a job in his home state with talking to me. He wants me to move to his home. My sixteen year old does not want to go because he wants finish his last years at his school. My husband tells me to leave my son with his dad and move there with him.

  2. I feel emotional worn down. He’s not always mean but often enough. I never know when it’s coming. Suddenly I’m asking him a question. I am hyper aware of my tone and approach at all times (I’ve never yelled at him) but I can’t keep him from cursing at me, giving me attitude or yelling. He apologies and before the end of the morning he’s at it again. He just gets on a roll and I’m emotionally exhausted trying to not detonate his bomb. I know he has the ability to be respectful and kind because he’s that way to everyone else. I’ve never seen him disrespect anyone else but me. He treats strangers better than me. It’s heartbreaking cause I see his parents relationship and can’t understand where he gets it from. I’ve never seen his father treat his mother this way. I’m just tired.

  3. This is a first for me. Sharing about my personal life is new. I’ve been married to my husband for three years and we have s toddler. We’ve been trying for another. While I want my marriage to work I hurt. A lot. A bit too often to want to be hurt I guess. I’m unsure if this is all a part of marriage of if it’s abuse. He treats me like one of children. He talks down to me sometimes and when I react by being silent he treats me worse. Earlier today I wanted to watch a 15 second video with him of our toddler. We are on vacation in another country and were on the bus. In this country people don’t turn on the volume on their phones in public. When I attempt show him the video he told me that it was loud. It wasn’t, but I put it on mute instantly. He told me to put the phone away because people don’t look at their phones in public in this country. I told him that that was only when people are being served-restaurant, massage, etc. He snapped at me and told me he didn’t want to see the video. He asked if I still wanted to go to our destination because I’m quiet. I told him that it’s up to him. He got upset and told me that I always ruin things. We went back and forth. He said we won’t go and walked to the hotel room-I followed. He then left to go to our original destination without me. Again, I’m not sure what this is or if it’s anything at all. I just always feel hurt when he scolds me in public. There are other things but I’m not sure it qualifies as abuse. He just makes me feel inadequate over and over. He says and does whatever and goes on about his day. I’m well educated and earn good money. I could survive on my own but I’m unsure of what this is. I’ve told him a few times how he complains about everything and helps with nothing. Not sure what to do or how to process this.

  4. My husband treats me really and very bad and I don’t know how to cope pls I need advice am getting sick and emotionally down everyday by day pls I need to get my life on on track back am loosing it already pls help

  5. It took me 42 years to realize I was being verbally Abused.I always thought it was me doing something wrong. So I tried harder to do better. He raises his voice to me and tells me to stay back as though if I come closer he will hit me. I am always shocked by the unexpectedness of it. It started to happen more and more frequently. Then I discovered he was having an affair. I let him come back home and for a couple of weeks he treated me like a man should treat his wife. But the mean mood and snappy talk are back. He looks at me like I’m an idiot and his voice gets louder and louder. I started packing today and plan to leave. I have no place to go but I’ll be packed when I do find a new home. I can’t and won’t do it anymore. I am also dealing with the trauma of my autistic grandson being kidnapped by his drug addict father. I’ve raised him from birth and am in torment as to where he is. There is a BOLO out on my son. Yesterday one of his drug addicts friends came by and I had to call the cops on him. You’d think my husband could be kind to me seeing what I deal with

  6. Sometimes I am doubting if it’s just me. I know I am not perfect. Today I was rather stressed out. My husband can’t stand that. He gets unkind to me in front of the kids when I am stressed out and do not treat him the way he wants me to treat him.
    I doubt myself all the time, Am I really doing it all wrong. I appologized for being stressed out and not speaking to him in a nice and calm way but when I asked him if he would appologize himself to for his unkind and unfriendly reaction he kind of freaked out. He says I am to blame only and I am victimizing myself and so on. It seems to me I am always defending myself and I am always wrong, this makes me very doubting of myself. I feel very alone and I don’t know what to do anymore. I don’t want to leave one of my kids is autistic and can’t take changes…

  7. It’s funny, I knew I married the wrong man within 5 years of our marriage, but the dysfunctional way I grew up and a want to succeed led me to this moment – 25 years later. He is a good man and good engineer, but boy is he a horrible husband.

    He has no clue how to respond to normal comments without swearing, snapping and treating me like an idiot. He has no intimacy skills and will never initiate sex. We have not had sex in 8 years because the hurt I feel from feeling unwanted and not beautiful for 25 years has killed me.

    I made the mistake of staying home to raise my son and now I am stuck in this hell. NO WAY OUT! Stupid me.

  8. My daughter, age 55 had 3 mini strokes, needs a walker, her left arm is practically useless. Her mean drunk retired “husband” is an s,o,b, he tortures her because she urinates a lot and uses too much toilet paper! He’s got 2 adult sons living with him, who of course are on his side. They say their mother adds nothing, meaning $ to their household. They are foul mouth people, constantly using the F word to or at her. This has been going on foryears. The husband is 69.
    We live in an apartment bldg., I live on a different floor. They all smoke like fiends, including my daughter. I use to make sure my daughter ate. I can not go up there anymore because the nicotine and smoke oder takes my breath away. I have COPD.
    I am so worried…as far as I no no physical abuse, but definite mental and emotional abuse.
    Doctor and nurses and care aids try to help, but she wont take their advice. Even the cops have been there, and she always says “ I’m alright.”
    A family of 4 needs more than 2 rolls of toilet paper in a week. Just because 3 men get away with a “shake”when they pee, evidentlyafter all these years, they dont understand female needs.
    Sorry, I am just venting. Thanks for reading.

  9. What to do when husband is nt only cheating but blaming me for wrong which you i hv never done i belong to very orthodox family n hv a girl child my husband is well to do but still he is bad to me as i hv caught him cheating on me this he did since last 2 years n i threw him out of the house later he said sorry n came back but he didn’t mean the sorry any day he abuses me everyday treats me like a trash if i stop him from doingg wrong he shouts at me he has several times raise his hands on me bec of which my brother had shouted n given him warnings not to raise hands on me but still he sometimes raises his hands n i dnt complain as i m a very simple girl lived my whole life as my father said n now leaving as husband keeps my mother says this the part of womens life compromise with it but sometimes feel like running aways from everything but then looking at my daughter i stoped i hv no love no respect no emotions no feelings in my life even though i look beautiful he always look other girls n then just come to me at night that too when he is nt able to go to call girls or massage parlours my life is spoiled but i dnt want my daughter to suffer so leavinv with him. I know my answer is with me only but still what u suggest n yes i had once been to a counsellor too she advice to take divorce but due to family obligations i cant do it had tried once but they refused to support it. I dnt want u to know my name n email id as i m scared

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