Is your spouse emotionally abusing you? Here's how to know. (Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash)

In the northwest corner of Montana, an hour from the Canadian border, is the town of Libby, Montana. It is a small town featuring some of the most majestic landscapes in the nation. In and around the town are rolling hills, snow-capped mountains, lakes and rivers. For many years, the people there were supported by the logging industry and the local mine. The mine harvested vermiculite, which has a number of commercial uses, including fire and home insulation while also being used as a soil conditioner. In the town of Libby, it could be found everywhere.

The problem is that this vermiculite contained a dangerous form of asbestos. For years, the entire town had been breathing in asbestos dust.

As asbestos dust particles move into the lungs, the fibers end up lodging into the lung tissue like small thorns. When the immune system cells try to break down the asbestos fibers, the cells become damaged and eventually die. This creates dead scar tissue that grows over time until finally the lungs no longer function.

The people of Libby had no idea what was in the air. One resident said, "You spend your life trying to protect your family. And you can protect your family from stuff that you can see." What about the things that you can't see or are difficult to recognize?

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Physical abuse in a marriage is easy to see. It produces visible results. Emotional abuse kills from the inside out. It gradually chips away at a person's will, identity and self-worth. Although it can be hard to identify, it needs to be in order to be removed. Although this is speaking to husbands, this treatment can obviously go either way. Here are three signs of emotional abuse in your marriage.

1. You feel as though you are being controlled.

There are many reasons why people are emotionally abusive, ranging from childhood wounds, deep-seated anger and insecurities. Many times, it stems from being abused themselves. Those experiences lead them to feel out of control and unsafe, causing anxiety. Unfortunately, one of the biggest things they try to control to alleviate that anxiety are relationships, particularly the ones that are the closest. Attempts to control you may involve treating you like a child or labeling you. They make you feel like you need to have their permission before making small decisions. Many times, they will withhold something like sex, finances or emotional investment in order to get their way. Do you feel as though your wife attempts to control you?

2. You are being made to feel intimidated.

Wives do this by making threats. Physical threats have clear emotional damage. They may also resort to mental threats. Attempts to intimidate you will involve a lot of blaming and being intolerant of your mistakes. Even when your mistakes are minor, they will be treated as huge inconveniences. Their temper at seemingly small things will make you feel like you are walking on eggshells, perhaps unsafe. When confronted, they will divert all responsibility back on you and make you feel as though you are at fault for being overly sensitive. Do you feel intimidated by your wife?

3. You are consistently demeaned.

A demeaning wife will consistently criticize and talk badly about you in public and in private. This may take the form of sarcastic remarks or making fun of you with the goal of making you feel inferior. They will trivialize your opinion or exhibit a low amount of respect. An emotionally abusive person may also seek to embarrass or humiliate you. Are you regularly demoralized and demeaned by your wife?

If you think you are in an abusive relationship, seek counseling for both you, individually and as a couple. A qualified third party is needed to diagnose the problems accurately. The issues run deep and insight and help from experts are necessary in order to restore health and healing.

Have you ever experienced emotional abuse?

BJ Foster is the director of content creation for All Pro Dad and a married father of two.

This article originally appeared at allprodad.com.

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