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How to Heal Emotional Abuse in your Marriage Together with Your Spouse

Are you experiencing narcissism in your marriage? Have you been living with emotional abuse in your relationship? Are you wondering if there is hope for the narcissist in your life? At the Marriage Recovery Center, we recommend having an intervention with the abusive spouse, however shipping him or her off to counseling without any healing work for the victim will seldom lead to restoration of the marriage.

Dr. Hawkins talks about how to heal emotional abuse, healing together and the importance of both spouses doing their own individual work, and then coming together to work on the relationship.

How to Heal Emotional Abuse in your Marriage Together with Your Spouse

To heal emotional abuse in a marriage is a challenging and complex process. It requires a comprehensive approach that involves both partners actively participating in their own counseling and working towards personal growth. In this article, we will explore the concept of “healing together” as a potential solution for couples dealing with emotional abuse in their marriage. This approach acknowledges the need for individual healing while also recognizing the possibility of rebuilding the relationship when it becomes safe and conducive to both partners’ growth.

The Limitations of Individual Counseling

When women refer emotionally abusive partners to counseling without their involvement, it often leads to defensive behavior and a tendency to blame their spouse. This approach fails to address the underlying issues and often perpetuates the cycle of abuse. Simply sending your partner to counseling without active involvement is unlikely to yield the desired results.

Creating a Crisis and Intervening

To initiate real change, it is essential to create a crisis within the marriage. This crisis should include an ultimatum for the emotionally abusive spouse to participate in in-depth counseling focused on character change. This rigorous counseling approach sets the expectation for genuine transformation. It requires professional intervention to ensure accountability and monitoring throughout the process.

The Importance of Individual Counseling for the Spouse

Simultaneously, it is crucial for the spouse who has experienced narcissistic and emotional abuse to seek her own counseling. This counseling provides an opportunity for her to recover from the trauma she has endured. By actively participating in her own healing journey, she gains strength and resilience, enabling her to make informed decisions about the future of the relationship.

Healing Together: A New Perspective

“Healing together” is a concept that recognizes the potential for both partners to engage in their respective healing processes simultaneously. While their individual healing journeys differ, they share a common goal of personal growth and transformation. The term “healing together” emphasizes the importance of mutual support and understanding as both partners navigate their healing paths.

Dependent Healing vs. Independent Healing

It is important to note that the emotionally abusive spouse’s healing does not depend on the spouse who experienced the abuse. Each partner’s healing journey is independent, although parallel. The focus remains on personal growth and accountability for one’s own actions and behaviors.

The Possibility of Couples Counseling

If the emotionally abusive partner demonstrates genuine change and becomes a safer individual, and if the spouse feels safe and willing, couples counseling may be considered. However, this step should only be taken when all parties involved, including professionals familiar with narcissistic and emotional abuse, agree that it is safe to do so. Couples counseling can provide an opportunity for rebuilding trust, improving communication, and fostering a healthier relationship.


Healing from emotional abuse in a marriage requires a multi-faceted approach that considers the individual healing of both partners and the potential for healing together. It is important to involve professionals experienced in working with emotional abuse and narcissism to guide and monitor the healing process. While healing together offers hope for some marriages, it is essential to recognize that not all relationships can be saved, and not all individuals can change. Each situation is unique, and the decision to pursue healing together should be made cautiously, with the wellbeing and safety of all involved as the top priority.

To learn how we can help, reach out to us at (206) 219-0145 or info@marriagerecoverycenter.com to speak with a Client Care Specialist

Also read: How to Give and Receive Criticism in an Emotionally Abusive Marriage

About Dr. Hawkins:

The internet is inundated with hyperbole and misinformation about narcissism, leaving many people confused and hopeless. Get the facts on narcissism and emotional abuse from someone who has been researching, writing about and treating narcissism and emotional abuse for over a decade.

Dr. Hawkins is a best-selling author and clinical psychologist with over three decades of experience helping people break unhealthy patterns and build healthier relationships.

He is the founder and director of the Marriage Recovery Center and the Emotional Abuse Institute which offers education, training and counseling for people who want to break free of, and heal from, emotional abuse. Whether the perpetrator of the abuse is your spouse, partner, parent, boss, friend or family member, we offer practical advice for anyone trapped in a toxic, destructive relationship.

In addition to narcissism & emotional abuse, you’ll learn about the lesser known forms of abuse, including covert abuse, reactive abuse, spiritual abuse, secondary abuse, relationship trauma and much more.


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