How to handle a violent girlfriend or wife

How to handle a violent girlfriend or wife

In This Article

Men are not the only ones who can be abusive in a relationship.

As shocking as it might be, women can be abusive too.

Also, due to the general lack of awareness when it comes to the abuse men face, they don’t even realize they’re dealing with an abusive wife. The signs of an abusive woman can often be so subtle that men may not realize that they are at the receiving end.

Find out if you, or someone you know, is a victim of an abusive wife by going through the list below. Advice on how to deal with an abusive wife has also been discussed.

1. Controlling behavior

Abusive wives have controlling behavior. She will control who you hang out with, where you go, where you work, what you do with your paycheck, what you wear and how often you talk to family or friends.

The abuser will try to control you by utilizing non-verbal communication. She may refuse to talk to you, ignore you, stop being intimate with you, or even sulk until she gets her way. She is also an ace at controlling discussions.

2. Verbal abuse

In the event that you believe you are always (metaphorically speaking) walking on eggshells, this is most likely an indication of abuse. You may have an abusive wife in the event that she shouts, yells or blows a gasket over little things. Such an abusive woman may debilitate you, constantly criticize you, and will often reject your sentiments.

My wife is abusive. What do I do? If things have escalated to this level that you are wondering about the answer to this question then it’s time you took matters into your own hands and set boundaries to mend the relationship .

3. Violence

In the event that your significant other is rough, either when it comes to you or the people around you, you are in an oppressive relationship. If she punches, hits and slaps you, these are clear signs the relationship isn’t sound. She may, likewise, try to kick animals, punch walls or toss things at you when she does not get her way.

4. Extreme jealousy

Most abusive wives are envious. They might demonstrate a bad mood as soon as they see you talking with someone else. Of course, spouses do tend to get jealous when they see their significant others interact with other people. However, in this case, jealousy is a bit different. Your abusive wife will even grow jealous if you’re paying too much attention to your siblings or parents.

5. Unreasonable reactions

Another prominent sign of your wife being abusive is her having nonsensical reactions. When you commit an error, you feel there is nothing you can do to make it up to her. She won’t pardon you for your activities, regardless of how minute the mistake was or how much you plead her for forgiveness.

6. Isolation

Oppressive spouses need you all to themselves. They don’t need you investing energy with colleagues, family or companions. She would rather prefer you to be miserable and all by yourself. She doesn’t need you hanging out with other individuals for fear that they may identify the abuse.

7. Instills fear

Does your wife place you in circumstances that might make you fear for your life or safety? If there are instances where she tries to threaten you, makes you feel frightened, controls and manipulates you to the point where you begin dreading her and are scared, you are clearly in an abusive relationship.

8. Blames everyone else

She finds ways to accuse others; she assumes no liability for what she has done or said and will blame everybody for anything that turns out badly. She will dependably figure out how to point the finger at you.

On the off chance that you have never heard your wife apologize for anything and she is always playing the blame game, you might be in an abusive relationship.

9. Gaslighting

Gaslighting is the manipulative conduct used to confuse individuals into thinking their responses are so far away from what’s normal that they’re insane.

The abusive wife tells the husband he is crazy or it’s just in his head. Such husbands are often left wondering whether this behavior means that they need to correct themselves or their wife is abusive enough to skirt the issue by playing a blame game.

10. Inability to handle criticism

She can’t deal with feedback, regardless of how sincere it is. You can’t give useful feedback without backfiring. She sees everything as negative feedback and feels very insulted and attacked. In any case, she is more than ready to criticize, often in an insulting way, the moment you try and say something to her.

My wife is abusive, what do I do?

Set boundaries for the things or actions you will accept and not accept from your wife. Make sure to let her know what is and isn’t acceptable when she speaks to you or about you. Let her know, in no uncertain terms will you accept her belittling and demeaning you, your intelligence or your character.

On the off chance that she crosses your limits and calls you rude names, you’ll need to create some kind of space between the two of you. Get up and leave and disclose to her that each time she says something harmful or mean to you, you will leave her and that situation.

In no case should you continue being the victim in a relationship after identifying these signs of an abusive wife . Of course, doing all of these things might not work out. Your abusive wife might grow more aggressive. If she shows such behavior and refuses to respect you as her spouse, then it’s best to part ways for good. Living in a toxic marriage with an abusive wife won’t do you any good.

How to handle a violent girlfriend or wife

People victimized by verbal abuse in marriage, or other verbally abusive relationships, don’t want to give up easily. There is love or money (or both) at stake, and they could feel that the sacrifice of walking away is too great. Victims of verbally abusive relationships most want to know how to respond to verbal abuse and how to stop verbal abuse.

Stopping Verbal Abuse in Marriage, Relationships

Those on the victim side of verbally abusive relationships simply want the abuse to stop. They cannot understand why another person would want to be cruel. Most people waste too much time wondering “why” and not enough time reframing their own mental and emotional perspectives. But this, too, is an effect of abuse. Verbally abusive people “teach” their victims’ to focus outward toward them instead of inward to the victims’ own perceptions and feelings. (see Verbally Abusive Men and Women: Why Do They Abuse?)

Getting Control in Verbally Abusive Relationships

The only way to stop verbal abuse in marriage or other relationships is if victims change the way they respond to it. Here are five ways a victim of verbal abuse can change their reactions to a verbally abusive spouse, co-worker, or anyone else and possibly end the abuse:

  1. Every emotionally charged situation includes three things: The activating event, the victim’s beliefs about the activating event, and the victim’s resulting feelings or behaviors. Too often, people jump from the event straight to the feelings/behaviors without considering their beliefs about the event. If victims change their beliefs about the abusive event (here we go again, look at her trying to control me!), then their emotions and behaviors change, too. 1
  2. Recognize the difference between healthy negative emotions and unhealthy ones. Referring back to number one, victims who create beliefs that produce unhealthy negative emotions will feel things like rage, self-hatred, and anxiety. But victims whose beliefs create healthy negative emotions experience feelings like frustration, disappointment and sadness. The healthy negative feelings are appropriate (no one would be happy about being abused), but the unhealthy feelings spiral the victim into counter-productive behaviors and a feeling of being stuck in a horrible situation. 2
  3. Set personal boundaries on behaviors you will not accept from other people and enforce them. Personal boundaries erode over the course of a verbally abusive relationship as the abuser gains access to the victim’s safe zones. Setting personal boundaries mostly reminds the victim to be on the lookout for abusive behaviors, recognize them, and protect themselves from further emotional or mental harm.
  4. Victims of verbally abusive relationships who tell other people about the abuse find support and strength and are better able to stay clear-minded when the abuse occurs. Victims must be careful in their selection of support people. If someone in your circle consistently tells you, “You’re making more of this than it is,” or they insist the one who abuses you is a “good person,” then they’re not appropriate support.
  5. Victims who address the verbal abuse as it occurs have the opportunity to point out behavior the abuser might not realize s/he’s doing. If nothing else, addressing the abuse in real-time empowers the victim and sets the stage for remembering to do numbers 1-3. The easiest response to verbal abuse is “Stop it!” 3

Carly Snyder, MD is a reproductive and perinatal psychiatrist who combines traditional psychiatry with integrative medicine-based treatments.

Many women and men are going through the same struggle. Research across different countries and cultures has demonstrated a strong relationship between binge drinking and violence towards intimate partners, whether they are married, cohabiting, dating, or casual encounters, and whether the partners are heterosexual, gay, lesbian, or bisexual.  

Both men and women can be victims or perpetrators, but the vast majority of assaults and homicides are perpetrated by men to women.

As with all people with violent partners, you are not to blame for what’s happening to you, but you’re unlikely to get help unless you take action yourself to prevent further abuse. Only you can decide what to do in this situation, but you are strongly advised to seek professional help as soon as possible.

Drinking and Partner Violence

Binge drinking is associated with being both the perpetrator and the victim of violence between married couples. Think about how many drinks you have when you’re with your partner—the more you drink, as well as the more your partner drinks, the greater the risk that they will become violent towards you.

Alcohol is typically involved in the most severe incidents of violence towards partners. The relationship between alcohol consumption and intimate partner violence is similar across diverse cultures and drinking patterns.

While you may have “only” suffered from bruises up to this point, many partners, especially women, are hospitalized and die each year as a result of violence from a drunk partner, so it’s important that you deal with this now.

Research also shows that there is a consistent link between the number of drinks consumed per occasion and engaging in partner violence, suggesting that it’s alcohol intoxication rather than merely alcohol use that creates situations where violence occurs.  

One of the first things you can do is control your drinking by setting a limit on how much you and your partner will drink—if at all. Five drinks or more is particularly unsafe for escalating the risk of violence, so a limit of three to four drinks should be the maximum.

Even if you don’t want to discuss your partner’s drinking with them, you can control your own drinking right away.

Getting Help

You may love your partner and they may be kind the majority of the time. However, it’s absolutely crossing the line to hit or assault anyone. If possible, try talking to your partner when neither of you is under the influence and see if you can come up with a plan together about how to get help.

Both you and your partner likely need outside help in this situation. While some people who are violent towards their partners can learn more effective ways to manage their feelings and behavior, if left unchecked, you can find yourself living in fear, eventually suffering from injuries or worse.

Ideally, if your partner is willing to come to counseling, you should get couples counseling to address the underlying problems in your relationship. You should also both get counseling about your drinking (unless you are both willing and able to quit, and don’t drink most of the time), and your partner should get additional help to deal with their violent behavior.

If your partner becomes violent again, you can call 911 and ask for the police and an ambulance if you need medical attention. The police can help to link you with services in your area for abused partners. You can also find this help through your local community center or hospital.

If you or a loved one are a victim of domestic violence, contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 for confidential assistance from trained advocates.

For more mental health resources, see our National Helpline Database.

What drives them, and how you can bring them back.

How to handle a violent girlfriend or wife

The biggest challenge of living with a resentful or angry person is to keep from becoming one yourself—or else, the high contagion and reactivity of resentment and anger are likely to make you into someone you are not.

The second-biggest challenge in staying in a relationship with a resentful or angry person is trying to get him or her to change. Four major thorns are likely to obstruct that goal:

  • Victim identity
  • Conditioned blame
  • Temporary narcissism
  • Negative attributions

Victim Identity Breeds Entitlement

Resentful and angry people see themselves as merely reacting to an unfair world. They often feel offended by what they perceive as a general insensitivity to their “needs.” As a result, they are likely to feel attacked by any attempt to point out the ways in which they are unfair, much less the effects of their behavior or others.

Driven by high standards of what they should get and what other people should do for them, the angry and resentful frequently feel disappointed and offended, which, in turn, causes more entitlement. It seems only fair, from their perspective, that they be compensated for their constant frustrations. Special consideration seems like so little to ask!

Here’s the logic: “It’s so hard being me, I shouldn’t have to do the dishes, too!”

Conditioned to Blame

Most problem anger is powered by the habit of blaming uncomfortable emotional states on others. The resentful or angry have conditioned themselves to pin the cause of their emotional states on someone else, thereby becoming powerless over self-regulation. Instead, they use the shot of adrenaline-driven energy and confidence that comes with resentment and anger, in the same way that many of us are conditioned to make a cup of coffee first thing in the morning.

This is an easy habit to form, since resentment and anger have amphetamine and analgesic effects—they provide an immediate surge of energy and numbing of pain. They increase confidence and a sense of power, which feel much better than the powerlessness and vulnerability of whatever insult or injury stimulated the conditioned response of blame.

If you experience any amphetamine, including anger or resentment, you will soon crash from the surge of vigor and confidence into self-doubt and diminished energy. And that’s just the physiological response; it does not include the added depressive effects of doing something while you’re resentful or angry that you are later ashamed of, like hurting people you love.

The law of blame is that it eventually goes to the closest person. Your resentful or angry partner is likely to blame you for the problems of the relationship—if not life in general—and, therefore, will not be highly motivated to change.

Temporary Narcissism

I have had hundreds of clients who were misdiagnosed by their partners’ therapists (or their partners’ self-help books) with Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Although it is unethical—and foolhardy—for professionals to diagnose someone they have not examined, it is an easy mistake to make when considering those who are chronically resentful or angry. Indeed, everyone is narcissistic when they’re feeling angry or resentful. In the adrenaline rush of even low-grade anger, everyone feels entitled and more important than those who have stimulated their anger. Everyone has a false sense of confidence, if not arrogance, at those times, is motivated to manipulate, and is incapable of empathy.

Negative Attributions

States of anger and resentment feature narrow, rigid thinking that amplify and magnify only the negative aspects of a behavior or situation. The tendency of the angry and resentful to attribute malevolence, incompetence, or inadequacy to those who disagree with them makes negotiation extremely difficult. We are all likely to devalue those who incur our resentment or anger. Even if we do it in our heads, without acting it out, this negativity will almost certainly be communicated in a close relationship.

The Healing Emotion

You can easily get stuck in a Pendulum of Pain when living with a resentful or angry person. This leads to a tragic Catch-22: “When my partner heals whatever hurt seems to cause the resentment and anger, then he/she will be more compassionate.” The truth is, your partner will not heal without becoming more compassionate. Compassion breaks the hold of victim identity, habituated blaming, temporary narcissism, and negative attributions by putting us in touch with our basic humanity. Your compassion will heal you but not your partner.

Compassionate Assertiveness

In demanding change from your partner, your emotional demeanor is more important than the words you use, and it must stem from the deep conviction that he or she will not recover without learning to sustain compassion. You must be convinced that you and your family deserve a better life and be determined to achieve it. It is important to see your partner not as an enemy or opponent, but someone who is betraying his or her deepest values by mistreating you. Approach him or her with compassion, and say, in your own words, something like:

“Neither of us is being the partner we want to be. I know that I am not, and I’m pretty sure that in your heart you don’t like the way we react to each other. (It’s hurting our children as well.) If we go on like this, we will begin to hate ourselves. We have to become more understanding, sympathetic, and valuing of one another, for all our sakes.”

Because your partner cannot recover without developing greater compassion, the most compassionate thing for you to do is insist that he or she treat you with the value and respect you deserve, if you are to stay in the relationship.

You are most humane when you model compassion and insist that your partner do the same.

Just for the record, my wife came up with that title.

I know this never happens to anyone else in their relationships, but it did for me about four months ago.

Topic: Our responsibilities as a spouse to one another

I’m not sure why the lines that I drew were so blurry to my wife, but for some odd reason she wasn’t feeling as great about my decision as I was.

As a man, there’s an entitlement to laying down the laws in the household—whether everyone likes them or not. At least that’s what I thought up until 11:33 p.m. that night.

In my mind, my wife was being lazy and not wanting to pull her weight around the house among countless other flaws that I had been so kind to point out. One of which has always been sleep. I can function well on four to six hours of sleep, unbeknownst to me, my wife requires at least eight or more hours just to keep her sanity. Needless to say, this was one area of tension in our house. I felt like she needed to be up with me and running the same pace and serving me the “hard working husband.” All she had to do was go read Proverbs 31 right? She should be up before me and have a hot breakfast all set out.

What a jerk huh ladies?

So somewhere around 12:13 a.m. or so, after having beat the proverbial dead horse again, it hit me, all the things that I was really irritated about with my wife were really things that I was insecure with or failed to control in my own life. It wasn’t that my wife was lazy and not wanting to get up with me at o’dark thirty, but it was the fact that if I didn’t have to I would be sleeping just as long, and I would surely not be joyful at that time of day either.

Interestingly enough, this one subject was not the only thing that I had a problem with when it came to the way I thought my wife should be operating her life. The more I took an honest look at all the things that I was frustrated with in her , the more I found they were ALL things that I needed to change in my own life. Wow, you want to talk about a hard pill to swallow. That went down like an elephant pill. No, it didn’t feel good. I felt like the world biggest ignoramus. How do you recover from that one? We’d been married for over four years and this was just coming to the suface. Tell you what. My wife is a saint.

So from there, it’s been all sunshine and roses. Well…for the most part anyways. It’s amazing how much a different perspective on life can really change so many things.

How to handle a violent girlfriend or wife

Almost every abused man struggles with admitting he has a verbally abusive wife, so they do not seek support as readily as women do. There is hardly any support available specifically for men, gay or straight, if they want to leave an abusive relationship. The simple explanation is that most research on domestic abuse historically focuses on verbally abused women. 3 There is not much out there that explains the underlying conflicts in a marriage where verbally abusive women commit harm, so helping agencies do not know how to reach out to abused men effectively.

But wait, there is more bad news. Patricia Evans, verbal abuse expert and author on several books explaining verbal abuse, has this disappointing news:

“. although I’ve seen men change, I have never seen a woman transform from seriously verbally abusing her mate to treating him with empathy. The therapists I’ve talked with about this issue have not seen verbally abusive women change either. please know that the odds are against your partner changing.” 1

This applies to women in lesbian relationships also.

Why is it so unusual for a verbally abusive wife to change? For a woman to lack empathy and completely disconnect from everything that our culture says constitutes femininity (i.e. intuition, receptiveness) she must be very severely psychologically damaged, practically beyond repair. 1

A Verbally Abusive Wife is Different

What’s different between verbally abusive wives and husbands who abuse? One big difference is that women are not born with male privilege (they cannot base their power over their victim on societal views promoting patriarchy), so they must find another way to control and create fear through verbal abuse. In about 50% of cases, verbally abusive wives find that power in threats to “manipulate the system” 2 – accuse their husband of abuse and have him arrested.

Typically, abusive women go about verbally and emotionally abusing men just as men go about abusing women. They use coercion and threats, emotional abuse, intimidation, blaming, minimizing, denying, isolation, economic abuse, and the children, plus more. 2

Dealing with Verbal Abuse From Wife

So what is a man to do about his verbally abusive wife? The techniques used to help a verbally abusive man change probably won’t work. 1 Divorce is a scary option when children are involved because, despite stories to the contrary, mothers retain custody a majority of the time and family courts are not good at discerning abusive parents from non-abusive ones. 4

  • Setting personal boundaries and following through with them will protect the victim from exposure to verbal abuse and help them gain clarity about their relationship.
  • Spending time with friends and attending a support group will help build strength and determination.
  • Calling an abuse hotline will give victims an understanding ear and helpful resources.
  • Attending counseling with a therapist familiar with the dynamics of abuse is very helpful.
  • Research into trauma theory could be especially helpful in determining creative ways victims can deal with verbally abusive wives.

In the end, the verbally abused man asks the same question as any other victim of abuse: Is this relationship worth the effort and energy it requires? (See also: How to Stop Verbal Abuse and How to Deal with a Verbally Abusive Husband or Boyfriend)

  1. General Characteristics of Emotionally Abusive Mothers
  2. Signs of Verbal Abuse
  3. How Do You Know If Your Wife Is Cheating?
  4. Excessive Jealousy & Possessiveness
  5. How to Know If My Girlfriend Is a Narcissist

How to handle a violent girlfriend or wife

Men are not the only ones that can be abusive. Women can also be abusive. Marital abuse is when the spouse attempts to exert control and power over her partner. Here are the top 10 signs you have an abusive wife.

Controlling Behavior

Abusive wives are controlling. She will control who you hang out with, where you go, where you work, what you do with your paycheck, what you wear and how often you talk to family or friends. The abuser will attempt to control you by using body language, according to She may refuse to talk to you, ignore you or sulk until she gets her way. She is also a master at controlling conversations.


How to handle a violent girlfriend or wife

If your wife is violent, you are in an abusive relationship. If she punches, hits and slaps you, these are obvious signs the relationship is not healthy. She may also try to kick animals, punch holes in the wall or throw things at you when she doesn’t get her way.

Extreme Jealousy

Most abusive wives are jealous. There are two parts to jealously. She may be jealous of you as a person or jealous when she is not the center of attention. A spouse who is insecure in a relationship is different from a spouse who is jealous each time you talk to a complete stranger. The later example would be a sign of an unhealthy relationship.


How to handle a violent girlfriend or wife

Abusive wives want you all to themselves. They do not want you spending time with platonic co-workers, family or friends. She would rather you be unhappy by yourself. She doesn’t want you hanging with other people in fear that they may see the abuse.

Verbal Abuse

If you feel you are walking on eggshells, this is probably a sign of verbal abuse. Your wife is abusive if she yells, screams or emotionally freaks out over small things. She may threaten you and will always dismiss your feelings.

Blames Everyone Else

She blames others. She takes no responsibility for her actions and blames everyone for anything that goes wrong. She will always find a way to blame you. If you have never heard your wife apologize for anything, you may be in an abusive relationship.


Gaslighting is “manipulative behavior used to confuse people into thinking their reactions are so far off base that they’re crazy,” according to The Current Conscience. The abuser tells the victim he or she is crazy or “it’s all in your head.” The victim begins to question reality.

Unreasonable Expectations

Your wife has unreasonable expectations. When you make a mistake, you feel there is nothing you can do to make it up to her. She won’t forgive you for your actions, no matter how small the mistake.

Instills Fear

How to handle a violent girlfriend or wife

Does your wife put you in situations that make you fear for your life? If she tries to intimidate you, make you feel scared, control and manipulate you to the point where you are fearful of her actions, you are in an abusive relationship.

Can’t Handle Criticism

She can’t handle criticism. You cannot even give constructive criticism without it backfiring. She perceives everything as negative criticism and is highly offended. But she is more than able to criticize, usually in a rude way. If you tell her she is rude, she will say you are too sensitive.

I am becoming increasingly concerned by my wife’s outbursts of anger. She has a very short fuse and very few coping strategies, so when something goes wrong (anything from a birthday party invite being declined, to a jar not opening first time, to being hungry), she is prone to rage, usually clenching fists, shouting and swearing and occasionally banging or throwing things. The anger is usually directed at the nearest person, regardless of whether that person has caused the issue. That person is usually me, but occasionally it’s our two year old – and that is what is starting to concern me.

I don’t want her to swear at our child, and even when the swearing is directed elsewhere I feel bad for our daughter who has to see this display of bad attitude. I confront my wife about it and she admits it’s wrong and promises not to do it again – but she does. I genuinely don’t think she has any control over it.

I know she would never be intentionally violent towards our child but I know she is right on the border of losing control of her own actions. It is rare that the anger escalates to that point but there have been times that I have just wanted to snatch our daughter away and stand between us, just in case.

I’ve asked her to see a doctor or other professional (maybe anger management?) but she won’t engage in that conversation at all. She’s always been a bit like this, but the stresses of parenthood seem to bring it out more and more.

She’s otherwise a perfectly intelligent, reasonable and loving person so I’m not interested in any just-leave-her comments. I’m just out of ideas about how to deal with this happening in front of our daughter, because I’m sure if it continues it will harm her emotionally in some way.

7 Answers 7

You’re right to be concerned with regard to your daughter’s emotional well-being. She is in for a very rough life (it doesn’t end when she leaves home) if something doesn’t change. In 1986, Ney et al published a seminal study showing that of 5 kinds of abuse (physical, verbal, sexual, physical neglect and emotional neglect), verbally abused children were most negatively affected, with low self-esteem, self-directed anger, aggressive behavior and pessimism about their futures.

You’re an adult, and you can handle your wife’s unpredictable (or predictable) mood swings. One reason is that as an adult, you know how to keep yourself safe. You are in a situation of being equally as (or maybe even more) powerful as your wife. You have power over your physical self. You can probably also remove yourself physically from an alarming situation.

Your daughter, however, is completely helpless, and depends on her parents to keep her safe in a world that has more than enough challenges to deal with. To allow her to be subjected to a volatile and frightening parent will do a considerable amount of psychological damage.

Imagine, if you can, how you would feel about your wife’s rages if you were in an accident and were consequently paraplegic with a limited ability to communicate. You are with her all day (no going off to work) and pretty much totally dependent on her. You have no way to help your wife calm down or to negotiate the situation. She’s screaming down at you in your wheelchair, and you can’t just roll yourself away. There’s little you can do except endure her rage each time and hope she doesn’t throw something at you or hit you this time. If you turn your back to her, will she get even angrier? If you can imagine that, you might have a window into your daughter’s situation. Young children of emotionally labile parents are sometimes afraid their parent will kill them. Furthermore, your daughter has no recourse except to hope for your protection during these events, which are traumatic regardless of at whom the rage is directed.

Add to that the fact that young children think the world revolves around them. Your daughter will think it’s her fault that mommy is so angry. She will grow up thinking she is a bad person who deserves to be emotionally abused.

You say that you don’t want to leave your wife, and I want to respect that. But know that to stay, you are acting as if her raging is acceptable behavior (in action, not words).

You can’t protect your daughter while her mother is a primary caretaker. As you said,

I confront my wife about it and she admits it’s wrong and promises not to do it again – but she does. I genuinely don’t think she has any control over it.

You may think she’s unable to control it, she might think she’s unable to control it, but the truth is, she has no valid reason – none whatsoever, really – to refuse to seek help for her mood disorder.

You don’t have many options if you want to stay in this relationship. Some of them are

  • start therapy yourself to learn why your wife behaves the way she does and how you can set healthy boundaries‡
  • to convince her to go for professional counseling and to stay in counseling as long as this is a problem
  • remove your daughter from this situation (can she live with her grandmother?) until your wife learns to control herself permanently

Is the latter option legal? It is if your daughter is being abused (verbal abuse counts.) Start gathering proof with your smart phone, and store the evidence where she has no access to it. Likely she will rage at this as well, but it seems to me you need to start doing something radically different if you want her to get counseling.

What you can do for your daughter is limited, but every bit helps: love her, validate her, give her an emotional vocabulary so she can express herself (‘scared/sad/mad/happy/etc.), make sure she knows that your wife’s anger is not her fault, and protect her from your wife’s rages. She needs you.

‡Your wife blame-shifts: when she’s angry, she blames someone or something else for behavior she engages in. It is likely that initially when you stand up to her, she will become angrier and will blame you. You need to be prepared (this is where your therapy will help) to handle this. It is likely to get worse before it gets better.