I Just Lost Myself: Psychological Abuse of Women in Marriage

I Just Lost Myself: Psychological Abuse of Women in Marriage

I Just Lost Myself: Psychological Abuse of Women in Marriage

I Just Lost Myself: Psychological Abuse of Women in Marriage


Psychological abuse can be as damaging to the psyche as physical abuse can be to the body, yet little is written about this common problem. This book confronts the issue of psychological abuse of women in marriage. Psychological abuse consists of an on-going pattern of domination, oppression, unrealistic expectations, verbal attacking or silent withdrawal within a relationship typically devoid of emotional connection. The author addresses the questions of how and why these women are abused, how the abuse starts and progresses, and in what ways does the process differ from that of physical abuse? Using quotes from survivors of these relationships, Dr. Chang describes life inside one of these relationships and gives treatment recommendations.


I think I could be the wife he wants, but when I try to do that I lose so much of me that I become depressed. If I try to get him to understand my side, he says that I am being selfish and then leaves. It doesn't matter what I do, I end up depressed. (40 year old teacher)

This woman is describing her experience in a psychologically abusive marriage. The process involved him using excessive demands, threats, dominating behavior, and criticism in an attempt to control her. If she responded defensively, he became angrier and either threatened to leave or left. Feeling frightened by his anger and threats and wanting to please him, she generally adapted submissively in an attempt to end the conflict and create peace. As she continued to adapt, she lost touch with her unique sense of self and became depressed. This process was described by the other women I interviewed.

In this book, I put these women's narratives in context; their vivid reports describe and explain psychological abuse. Their life stories are courageous journeys of moving out of one reality, one style of thinking and being, into a new reality. Their hope is that their experiences will inform others who want to increase their understanding of psychological abuse.

Shortly after I decided to study psychological abuse of women in marriage, three women in one of my therapy groups were . . .

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