Should I Give My Emotionally Abusive Husband Another Chance?
Dear Doubtful on Divorce,
You are in a tough spot. You have been married for 16 years, and of course there’s a part of you that would love to see him change and spare all of you the challenges that come with restructuring your family. That makes total sense to me. I can’t tell you what to do, but I think one of the most telling parts of your question is the presence of apparent emotional manipulation in his pleas to give him a second chance. I say “apparent” because, although his pleas feel manipulative to you and might very well be strategic, we have to leave open the possibility that the guilt trips are unintentional manifestations of the pain your husband is experiencing. You would know better than me how authentic those pleas are.
Whatever the case, though, it’s clear that he has some work to do. There are plenty of other signals in your narrative—verbal and emotional abuse, controlling/limiting/tracking behaviors, denying social connections—that should alarm you. Those signals are not consistent with a healthy relationship.
The way I see it, here are the possible scenarios: he has or has not changed and you do or do not call off the divorce. Best case, he has changed and you call off the divorce and, with the help of a marriage counselor, develop a strong and healthy relationship. Worst case, you call off the divorce and it becomes clear in the following weeks/months/years that he has not changed and he reverts to abusive behaviors.
I can’t tell you the likelihood of either scenario in your specific situation, but in my experience, change like the kind your husband is talking about takes time and committed work. In the meantime, I would be concerned about your well-being and the well-being of your children. His intentions may be to change, but there is significant work to be done to implement those changes consistently. Has he started working with a counselor to address his behaviors? How does he react when you don’t give him answers he likes? Do you feel heard, accepted, and safe? If the answer is not a resounding “yes,” there is still work to be done.
Let’s look at some alternative scenarios. What if you continue with the divorce and he shows he is committed to changing? There is nothing to say you can’t let him back into your life in the future if you trust that his changes are real and you feel safe doing so.
If you continue with the divorce, however, and the negative behaviors continue or escalate, you will know that you made the right decision. It is not unusual for the angry party to try to place the blame for his or her reaction on the other person; if only you had taken him back, it would be different. Don’t buy into that. Either he will choose to operate in this world in a peaceful, kind manner, or he won’t. If his choice is dependent on getting what he wants, then that change is not likely to last.
Best of luck!
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StellaOctober 24th, 2014 at 10:54 AM
I don’t think that I would make any kind of decisions about this right now. I think that the two of you together need to engage in some counseling to even try to determine if the marriage is worth holding onto. I would have to know why all of the interest in staying married now when he has always been so abusive and manipulative over the years. Does he genuinely love you or is he just afraid of being alone? If it were me, I think that I would stay the course with the way things are right now and until he did something significant to convince me that he was a changed man, I would insist that we go to counseling before making any other decision that could ultimately coem back to bite you in a very bad way.
MarcieAugust 23rd, 2017 at 8:54 AM
It has been so therapeutic reading everyone’s comments. It’s hard to believe/accept emotional abuse is so prevalent.
DeliFebruary 14th, 2018 at 8:44 PM
I’ve been married only 7 months…I admit catching on to some red flags of controlling, verbal and emotional abuse from my husband when we were dating but I chose to only focus on his good side since at the time, he was really sweet, charming, confident, intelligent, full of love and affection plus financially wise.. we only dated 2 months and married on the whim. I was excited to finally be with someone who wanted to settle down and build a family. I was tired of dating. While we were dating, he would get upset when I didn’t answer my phone , and cuss angrily and say things like”it’s a cell phone, common sense should tell you to carry it with you, because you know I’d call”… When I inform him that I don’t like him taking to me in that manner, he’d say I’m being childish. That was how most of our arguments would start in the initial stages of our relationship. In went into this marriage knowing about the anxiety, depression, anger, insecurity and pain he has stemming from his childhood and his past relationship (having been cheated on by his ex-wife, divorced and had connection to their daughter) from what he tells me, he loved his daughter so much that he had to let her go, that he couldn’t stand how his ex wife works tell him to ask permission from her new husband before he comes speak with his own daughter (contributed a ton to his depression)
I was involved in church and small group before we met and got married. He showed interest and support for both in the beginning. Then he started expressing to me he didn’t like certain members of our small and the fact that my ex boyfriend was part of it. He would argue with me about petty stuff: when I’m in small group and I don’t call or text him, or inform him as soon as I get it. I had to give up volunteer services at church because that was cutting into the time we had together, he would call me when I’m with friends and have stay on the phone with him, not really talking about anything and when I ask to just call him back when I’m done with my friends he’ll say “so you don’t have time for your husband” “i guess I’m not your priority” “you’re showing me that your friends are more important and your much happier with them”and If I dared to tell that my samll group is a big part of who I am as a woman (the happy, confident, strong woman that he met and fell in love with)he getuoset and says Im not show to stand on my own as a married woman and I need my friends to coach me. And he doesn’t like it because most of them are single… we’ve had Countless arguments like these and I’m mainly the person that will initiate peace, to move on because it’s not contributing anything to our marriage but he drags me further into it and at the end we are both emotionally drained. He’s super insecure when I’m at work or whenever we’re not together in the same place. Sometimes heell call me and during the conversation he would say he can hear male voices around me and ask who I’m with. He he never believes me when I say I’m with female friends or co workers…or even I tell him if I met with with male client. He’d be curious to Know if I if I’m flirting with them . He expects me to talk him through the day when I’m at work and if I have to call him back so I can finish a task or make business calls he expects me to call him back in acerrain time period and when I don’t that’s another argument I get dragged into. I continuously have to explain what I’m doing only for him to answer with stuff like “oh, i bet!” And in explaining myself to him he’ll accuse me of having an attitude, or acting up because I’m at work and treating him like a piece if shit in front today people at work..which is false. There’s never and an end to these petty argument, the only end is when I accept blame for what happened, for ‘making’ him fell made or upset…disprespecting him”. On Dec 26 2017, he snapped when I called him insecure for asking me if I’m still communication with my ex boyfriend…he was at work and I was home…he drove home in the company vehicle, punched a hole in the wall damaged some items in the house, dragged my clothes and tosed them in the trash can , hurled items at me, screaming and asking to leave. He called me a b***, lazy, dumb, retarded etc…I was terrified and tried to talk to him to calm him down, nothing was making sense to me…I knew he has gun in a safe and I was scared, I called an Uber to try to leave and he restrained me and almost got into a fight with the Uber driver because he threatened him with knife , I was forced to go back into the house ..he told me I was making a scene in front of our neighbors. He went back to work and came back home ,acting completely normal like nothing had happens. I’d informed my mom and close friend of what was happening and they’d advised that I report to cops and leave. I was just too scared and plus I didn’t want my husband to get in trouble or endanger his job…so I stayed and it got worse. He got drunk and started acting like a manaic, cursing in my face and asking why I I’m planning to leave him. He locked the front door and closed the blinds and threw more stuff around. I ended calling the cops after he shattered the glass table and heard him open the safe for the gun. I ran I’ve rto the neighbor’s house ,the alley and called 911. My husband called afterwards and demand that I tell him where I am or he’d blow his brains out..at this point I was shaking..I watched as my husband got handcuffed in front of our house. I went in with the cops and couldn’t find the gun. Fast forward, I packed up and left the house. my husband was out in mental detention for a week. I really wanted to quit and file divorce. He even threatened that. Then he went into the begging mode. Said he’ll change and be the leader in family(we don’t have any kids yet), go to church, get help for his alcohol abuse and even do some counseling. I took m back and we went the Honeymoon phase . His proposed to change only lasted 10days. When I reminded him of any of it he’d say m putting pressure on him…we continued to have emotionally draining arguments , whether at work or home. It’s like he enjoys to bicker with me. On Feb 2, 2018 we had another throwdown and he asked me not to come home(I was at work) and if I did ,I should just pack my stuff and leave. He was done with me (all over us going back and forth with me telling him that there were no male workers around me and said I disrepected him when I called out to the worker to prove to him when they answered that it was a female worker) I went home, my husband has already started packing my stuff..he even there some stuff out on the lawn . I left that day for my safety and for my sanity. He demanded the house key and the marriage certificate. Sice that day, he’s begging, swearing stuff on his daughter and on his life, that he’s going to get rid of his anger, jealousy and insecurirand never fight with me again. He wants me to come home and watch TV with him again, he sends me pictures from all the great times we’ve had, and tells me to look at them and see how.much love we got between us. …it’s Valentine’s day today and he’s still asking me to come back .. I’m in a place now that I don’t want to go back, he feels I’m going to divorce and wants me to give us a chance. And for for him to “prove and show’ me that he can be better. I want to separate from him and use this time to heal and reagin some dignity for my self…he thinks we can do it together under the same roof but I know better. I need to tell him but I don’t know how to say it…I wldont want him to get enraged or snap and do anything crazy. I’m so glad to have found this website, it has helped get outside my head and really enlightened me on so much that I didn’t understand. I welcome all feedback on what my next steps shd be. I want to give it a chance but I don’t know if he’s going to stick to his word and actually make changes . Thank you.
SavannahApril 17th, 2018 at 11:49 AM
I am so sorry you had to go through this. I have been in a similar situation myself and it seems the only choice is to leave. I am sure, like me, you feel scared and alone. You probably also feel like you could be making a mistake. I know the question that keeps running through my head is, “What if he really has changed?” My ex sends me PARAGRAPHS of pleas to take him back on an hourly basis. I set my boundaries and told him I had to take care of myself and would be blocking his number. Of course, he somehow found me on my email and sent me 150+ photos of us telling me to remember how happy we used to be. After I blocked him on that, he found me on Facebook (even though we aren’t friends) and started messaging me begging for another chance. I feel horrible blocking him on that too, but it is getting to be an emotionally draining process for me. It sound so easy… just block him… but trust me it isn’t. I thought I was strong. Heck, I blocked him on two different media sources. But this last one is hard. What if I am letting him down? What if he needs me? I know the answers to these questions should be, “Just take care of yourself and move on”, but it is hard to close the door on someone you know so well.
How are you doing today? Have you made any decisions?
GordonMay 1st, 2018 at 5:42 PM
Hi. I am the abuser… and… I want to use this forum to help you and me at the same time. I did not realize I was abusive until it was too late. I was abused as a child, bullied, sexually assaulted, harassed in the military, had a friend die in my arms… got PTSD from that, and THEN, … I got married. So, I MAY have had a few issues buried inside me… Add to that I have high blood pressure and the darn medications that they prescribe for me (FOUR of them now…) ALL cause the Serotonin levels in my body to drop to very low levels (I had gut surgery years ago – that is where most of the Serotonin is produced, the brain makes its own, but with the meds… I have been low on serotonin overall). Serotonin is the “happy” hormone in the body… so as the years past and I took more and more meds… I started to feel the side effects. I started getting a hair-trigger temper and was always irritable. So, when the last five years happened,… my wife was getting a guy who is a VERY nice and kind and gentle man,… who, at the drop of a hat, would turn into a raging and arguing idiot.
So, I was only able to figure out the root of my problems and behaviour after being separated from my wife for a period of time. Because I like to “fix” everything, like many men do, I set about trying to fix the problem I had. I KNEW something physiologically was contributing to the hair-trigger anger, because I could not control how quickly I got angry anymore. I ALSO knew that I had to address the anger issues in me. It is ok to be angry, but it is NOT ok to be violent about it or misdirect it… PLUS, Holding onto anger is useless… it is like swallowing poison and expecting the OTHER person to die….
So, until your husband has a realization of what his behaviour has done. What the source of his abusiveness is, etc…. Until he is able to admit what he did openly to YOU… he is not ready. Here are some tips for you on managing men (in my opinion anyway):
1. You were our beloved bride at one time… we enjoyed being your protector and shining knight… it is extremely hard for us to look in the mirror and admit to ourselves and to others that we have failed AND that WE were actually the villain. Admitting this, though, is a good thing and honorable. So, try to make this work for you somehow.
2. It is hard to want to stay in a relationship as an abuser… even if I put in all the effort to correct my own behaviour, I will ALWAYS be “the Abuser” to my wife, friends, family, extended family… it is totally a no-win scenario. It crushes our identity and we need help in rebuilding that. It is simpler (and in many cases not a bad idea) to just move on and end the relationship. Certainly, EVERYone out there will support you on that. But keeping the relationship… HOW? Where do we fit in? What happens if we argue again…? Where is the balance in the relationship now? If you don’t do counselling together,… forget it, it will get you nowhere. BOTH of you have feelings that need to be addressed and understood and coached through.
3. This is going to sound… well, you can decide,… getting help to understand types of abuse is important. I considered physical abuse to be the limit where abusive behaviour happens… of course, I knew that emotional abuse existed,and so do OTHER abuses, but I would never do that…! Until, I did that. I did not even realize it. Make sure that, in counselling, you discuss with your man how his behaviour affected you and why it was abusive. It may actually be a hard pill to swallow because, I know from my military time, guys don’t always see their behaviour as abusive amongst themselves… yet it IS. It DOES affect performance on the job, etc. We just accept it sometimes when we should not. Ask your man if he would want someone else talking to you like he did, or maybe… would he accept if someone treated his daughters that way. It may help him realize things.
4. If he feels like he is doing all the work to correct his behaviour… well,… he IS. It was HIS behaviour that got him into the situation, and, from my own analysis,… there is a pretty good chance that his behaviour caused some of his OWN complaints with how you interact with him. My wife ignored me and I blamed her. Certainly, she does bear some of the responsibility because she buried herself with work, but my yelling at her or resenting her for it did not help things. My suggestion… take your man out on a date night. Show him you still appreciate him, then tell him he has to take you out on a date night. It may help demonstrate that you are both working towards a better relationship and it can give you time to talk… just make sure that the OTHER steps have happened first. Last thing you needs is to go on a date that ends in yelling.
Good luck. I am still trying to figure out my own ending. A big part of me thinks that it is better off just ending things too… but I remember all the good times and it helps me balance things a bit in my head. I REALLY need to feel valued again.
SylviaSeptember 7th, 2019 at 8:11 AM
How do I go about asking a question to this Therapist?
NatalieJune 19th, 2019 at 4:08 PM
I am currently in your situation, after 9 years of verbal abuse, sever verbal abuse, insulting me in front of our two little boys constantly, bad mouthing me to my parents, isolating me from my parents, isolating me from my friends, now the last incident he told my 8 year old son that I was sleeping with other men, I said enough is enough and I’m filing for divorce, so all out of nowhere, he changed like I threw magic on him, his non-stop pleas, begging and reminding me of the very few times where we actually didn’t fight, the same pattern when i told him the last time I wanted a divorce, but one small mistake from my side turns my world upside down. He called our priest and I accepted to go with him to the priest, trying to step on my heart and giving it a small chance, he told the priest that he caught me signing on a singing app that he doubted me having a virtual affair with all the men I joined them on it. Of course, the part me singing was true it helped me release stress, but having an affair virtually with these men? what the f*** is this sick minded, and I ended up during the session defending myself and explaining. It is just a circle of manipulation! he will never change for anyone, and now that you have taken the fist step to divorce go ahead and do it. like my husband he will make you feel guilty over and over and over again, thinking it is your fault for destroying your home! I’m only waiting to apply for his citizenship in november, I’m not a b****, and if i divorce him now, his file will be affected! see!! the sacrifice we keep doing while they keep making us feel it is us who are destroying the family! while his bad mouth and behaviors and abuse is the one that destroyed the house! not you, not me. I can remember few times when he forced sex on me, he also didn’t exactly hit me but he did use physical violence by throwing things on me, or holding me hard or even giving me gestures that he will hit me like intimidating me.
I am not saying he is completely bad, he is very good looking man, he is wonderful when it comes to giving time for the family, he loves his kids even though i question that because he bad mouth me in front of them and encourages them to treat me in a bad way, like telling them that i have bad taste in cloths so they should not wear what i try to dress them..
I am crying everyday for my wasted years with him, i saw the signs of abuse before we got married, like he would get really angry if i didn’t pick up the phone right away when he called, but i was so taken by his charms. It is my fault, and i can’t help but blaming myself for not loving myself more than anything else, i feel i allowed him to step on my dignity over and over again, I wish you and i can get together and support each other, I am so isolated from my friend and family, even my family he made them think that I am giving him reasons to be like this, I have no one at all, and I’m afraid to get into depression, or even leave the house for him and the kids, I just need to remind myself that I should never leave my kids for this jerk who ruined my life completely!
CrystalNovember 13th, 2019 at 8:06 AM
It seems as though our situations are pretty much identical. My husband of 17 years was verbally and mentally abusive in front of our children who are now 15 and 14. My daughter has told her counselor that she wants me to leave and that he treats me terribly. A lot of what you said totally mimics my situation. I filled for divorce and I’m not turning back but my depression and anxiety is eating me alive. I, too, am alone and have been isolated and accused of being unfaithful. Now, the begging and crying and pleading is irritating. We still live together since I have no where to go and he has wiped out our back account twice. I think we both could use someone who has and is living with this nightmare.
SandyOctober 24th, 2014 at 1:28 PM
I read your story and just had to reply. I was in a similar situation, with 3 children. I stayed with him for 40 years, believing him when he said that he was trying and changing. I finally realized that he was not going to change and that if I wanted to be happy, I would have to end our marriage. All I can say, is that I waited way too long. A person has to really want to change, go to therapy, and put the in the work. My husband did not really want to change. In hindsight, I wish that I would have followed through when I filed for divorce many, many years ago. I am in therapy and doing great, but the years of verbal abuse did take it’s toll. I wish you the best.
KatJuly 9th, 2016 at 4:33 PM
I read your post……You are exactally like me. My husband of 9 yrs has done the same thing but we do not have kids. I decided finally after a long period of trying to make it work…….to leave. His promises, his behavior, his anger, his drinking has all lead to me leaving. He has kept me from family and only allowed me at times to talk to my kids from a previous marriage. (His first wife passed away). I have talked to his children and tried with their help to get him help and he insists there is no problem. But he blames me for everything in his life,…his health, his non happiness..his drinking……and nothing is EVER his fault. I also have my kids saying “wow mom you picked a winner”. He is by far a winner…he is a mean man who needs to be in control of everything. He also listens to conversations…has followed me….ect. He continually would say….”Why are you leaving”….duh. I cannot do it…my only choice was to leave…..and although I am ok now…….its hard on me to live on limited resourses. We are still separated…..and the divorce will happen……but he still doesn’t “get it”.
VanessaAugust 7th, 2016 at 7:56 AM
Same here, he doesn’t get it!!!!!!!!!!!!!! He booked a trip to California for me and our 2 kids. I feel forced to go on this trip on the 11th. The fair and gateways are booked. He says he love CA, but I need to know will that make me look bad in a divorce, or for my custody case that I’ll be filing next month?
VeronicaNovember 6th, 2016 at 10:53 AM
My heart hurts for my husband and family. He has been verbally abusive for years. Recently he threatened to shoot our grown daughter because she wouldn’t take him to buy marjuana. We have help raise our grandson, who is now twelve. I feel like I’m breaking up the only home my grandson has ever known. However, a child should not be subjected to cursing, verbal abusive, and now threatening behavior directed at his mother and grandmother. My grandson called the police and we were told to file an involuntary mental order. We did do so and now my husband has shut himself off in his room, ordered a refrigerator and microwave and hardly comes out the room. He curses and hollers for hours in his room talking to himself. I know it will hurt him when we leave this situation. It hurts me that it will hurt him, but for our well being we have to leave. We got married at 18 and 20. We have been married for 40 years. Most of the time it has been sad and oppressive. I was always told to stay and work it out. He has become worst as we have gotten older. He is in a wheelchair but has strong upper body strength. It is so disheartening to see someone become so bitter and so controlling. If I don’t leave, I know I’ll become mentally and physically ill. My blood pressure is very high and I had a clinical depression some years ago from his constant affairs, then being told to stay. Not every pastor gave that advice. I was just too scared and too weak to leave. I know God will take care of him and us as well. I will make sure that he has someone to come 8n and help him.
KellyNovember 18th, 2016 at 9:58 AM
I hope you found the courage to put yourself first and leave the situation that is threatening you. I understand your religious concerns about leaving. However, I believe God wants us to protect ourselves. We need to be good to ourselves first. If we are not, we cannot help others.
Also, it seems that your husband is not likely to help himself if he thinks he has a safety net of help. His behaviors are shocking, illegal and dangerous. You can’t fix it. He is responsible for his behavior and making a choice to fix it. You are responsible for protecting yourself and any children involved from harm.
If you have not found safety yet, please do so right away.
Dig deep and find the strength that I am sure you have. You are deserving of love and peace.
Veronica C.November 18th, 2016 at 5:17 PM
Thank you, Kelly for your response. It helped me greatly. My daughter, grandson and I are moving. We have a place to go. God is Love and I thank Him.
Veronica C.November 18th, 2016 at 5:22 PM
Thank you, Kelly for your response. It helped me greatly. We are moving and letting him be on his own. God is Love and I thank Him for His Love and Mercy.
Keep helping those who are critically in need.
jonOctober 25th, 2014 at 10:24 AM
stay and give him the extra opportunity to hurt you even worse? I don’t think so.
TingTingSeptember 17th, 2016 at 3:31 PM
There seem to be sooooo many men that alienate the people they say they love and I know that my husband was abused by his father = brutally. But how long am I suppose to hang in there? Until I get hurt? That has already happened previously. He has just suspended it for a period of time and who knows how long that will be. I took a stand today and like one of the above posts said, his behaviors escalated to whatever he thinks will get him what he wants. I am locked away in my bedroom right now trying to decide how to get out of this situation. This house is my sole and separate property and the only thing I have in this entire world to live in or barter with the world to find someplace else to go. His last wife left him for the same reasons, I know. But my picker is broken and I choose the same men over and over because I have not learned to make better choices for myself yet. I am 58 years old and educated. It has nothing to do with maturity or education or street smarts. It has to do with self-worth and self evaluation and water rising to its own level or what I think my level is. There is a shotgun in the house, but alas I don’t think he would rise to that level. But who really knows. I am at the point where what will be will be. I don’t have a plan right now. I am trying to bide time to formulate one and I have no clue what that will be. What I can tell you is I have spent a huge amount of time in counseling for myself, a huge amount of time reading blogs about people who make the same bad choices I have over and over and I still do not have a solution. Now my world is crumbling in on me as he is knocking at my back door trying to push me to open the door. I am to a point where I really believe that I must just live with the bad choices I have made and let him do me in. I really am. I am done fighting this fight. I swear I am. It has got me so beat down that I would rather just move on to whatever the next life has to bring me. I am so stuck in my stupidity and pain that it seems like a nice escape.
The GoodTherapy.org TeamSeptember 17th, 2016 at 6:51 PM
Thank you for your comment. We wanted to provide links to some resources that may be relevant to you here. We have more information about domestic violence at https://www.goodtherapy.org/therapy-for-domestic-violence.html and additional information about what to do in a crisis at https://www.goodtherapy.org/in-crisis.html
The GoodTherapy.org Team
KellyNovember 29th, 2016 at 1:04 PM
Please keep us posted. Your situation (safety) appears to be very concerning.
Ask yourself what you value most and use that as your path to stay focused. For example, it could be peace, honesty, health and family. If you find yourself being pulled in a direction that takes you away from the values you identified, it can help you get back on track.
If your husband starts talking about wanting you to come back, does it feel contradict your values? Do you feel peaceful in the situation? Are there lies being told or buried? How is your health? For example, is your blood pressure OK? Does it benefit your children?
Stay true to your values. You are deserving of peace and love. That peace and love starts with you loving yourself. I believe that loving yourself begins with staying true to your values.
Big hugs to you. You are very courageous!!!
Veronica CNovember 30th, 2016 at 7:22 PM
Thank you. My husband says he will go to therapy and even talk with the pastor. I’m not feeling too good about it. He sounds sincere but he has long standing patterns that aren’t easily broken. I fear he won’t keep up with the sessions. My pressure is still very high. Thank you so much for caring. It brings tears to my eyes that someone who has never met me would be so kind.
YanaDecember 6th, 2018 at 5:30 PM
I really sorry about your situation its really terrible, Iam 26 and Iam in process of devorce with such verbal Abusive husband, that took all my pation asnd nerves, i was crying every day, I just decided untill i dont have kids I have to leave ASAP. Just dont be sorry about his feelings he has no sorry, he is not emphatic, he has no love for u. He just need a server that will satisfy his needs.
AriaOctober 25th, 2014 at 2:01 PM
Please know with all of my heart that you are able to find a way to hold your family together- but I would still be concerned that everything that he says and that he prommises is just one more way to manipulate you and get you to do what he wants. This has to be playing into his favor somehow.
jennerOctober 26th, 2014 at 9:05 AM
You really need to think about the kids and the bause that they have already witnessed. The probability is that they don’t need any more of this in their lives
Mr. CulbertsonOctober 28th, 2014 at 4:00 AM
This is such a hard question that you raise and I think that you are the only person who has the real answer for that. You have been through so much with this person and your children have too but I also understand that there is an emotional connection there and those are hard to break once they have been so rooted and established. You have some very hard choices ahead of you and I think that every reader here would wish you only the best. Abuse from anyone is a terrible thing to have to face, and when it comes from someone that you have been with for so long and have been through so much with that makes it even more challenging when faced with a decision like this.
suttonOctober 30th, 2014 at 3:35 PM
I think that there is probably a part of you that thinks that this could be the right thing to do but I also think that there is a smarter and stronger part of you that knows that this is not the thing that you need to do at all. I understand that being alone again after all this time has to be scary to you, but I think that if you have to ask then you know what the right thing to do will be. It will be hard, anytime that you make a tough choice like this then it will be hard, but it can show you in the end just how smart and strong you really are.
yvetteJanuary 6th, 2016 at 10:37 AM
I have been married for 17 years. I was told if I left my two boys should stay with him. I left and am grieving for my boys. Had to go through mediation so I could have them during Xmas. My husband was controlling and verbally abusive.He wants me back but I am confused. I even have a decent job offer here. So confused. My 8 year old told me don’t leave. I want my boys when the time is right.
ok not Christmas up see
yvetteJanuary 10th, 2016 at 6:32 PM
You gave some advice to someone that might fit my current situation?
AidaNovember 13th, 2014 at 3:50 AM
I am in the same situation for the moment and I am waiting for the juge to décide when should my husband leave the house. I’ve been with him for 16 years and we have to doughters. Know this. “PEOPLE NEVER CHANGE” I gave him everything, I forgave him always, but he returns to be the one we don’t want him to be.
The decision is tough I know, but pls deal with it as I am doing right now. Be strong and love your self more. Give your children a chance to have a peaceful life, so that they can built their own in such way. Succès is not something you see and you grab imidiately. You and me, we have to make our steps towards it by loving and respecting our selfes.
JohnNovember 14th, 2014 at 6:20 PM
If he hasn’t changed after 16 years? Might as well try to buy a loaf of bread in a hardware store …
maruNovember 15th, 2014 at 1:46 AM
I can understand how you feel, the abuse and manipulation is awful, but somehow they do it until you feel like your worthless and can’t get anyone else. For the sake of your children and your sanity don’t stay in a loveless relationship, the abuse will continue, even if you get 6 to 12 months of the nice guy, know that the mask will slip.. its more a matter of when than if..
TinoSeptember 10th, 2018 at 8:11 AM
Saying someone will never change is a sign of your own issue. I am currently involved in my wife of 6 years and I being separated, we have a 6 year old daughter. I am currently going to therapy as my family is of the upmost importance to me and I want nothing but to be good enough so I can give them the life they deserve. I suffer from anger, have my whole life, I have calmed slightly in my age but I seem to have become complacent and not showing my wife how I love her enough, getting overly mad about stupid things that I could just get off my lazy a** and help with, and not showing her how much she means to me. She has always been the love of my life since early on and still is, why I became slack in showing that I don’t know. Allowing myself to become angry and then not try to change until I think shes leaving has been a cycle that isn’t fair to her. I treat my kid like gold, just haven’t to my wife. She became bitter to me over the last few years which made me take the tact that we both need to fix this. But to be honest she never used to be and it was a tough pill to swallow when I realized that she became this way because of me and that it was my fault. People can change, but they have to want to not just for fear or loss or being alone, but because they want to have a happy life for themselves as well as loved ones. If the motivation is right it can happen. I know I can do it, and hopefully it isn’t to late to save my marriage as I have the best wife a man could hope to have. So I understand how you feel, angry men like myself often make women feel the way you do, but don’t think every single person is the same, we aren’t. Have a little faith in humanity. I know I can do what I need to, and I also know it isn’t going to be a quick fix as my nature looks for, I am also a fixer of problems. It is sobering to know I cant just fix anything that happens. Hopefully over time I truly become the change I want and not just apply some temporary behaviors, I hope it works out for all on this thread. take care.
denaOctober 22nd, 2019 at 8:54 AM
UHHH!!!! typical male
KellyFebruary 9th, 2015 at 11:36 AM
Not sure if my story helps but….
I have been married for 24 years. My two kids are teenagers. My husband was always grumpy, he yelled alot and he dismissed my plea to talk about it. I have been battling a long time chronic illness (lyme disease) and he was not supportive. I was lonely and lost and made a mistake. I had an affair. The affair did open my eyes to look at the marriage in a different light. When my husband found out he made my life hell. I paid terribly for the past 18 months. I gave into his controlling behavior and did what he wanted. It didn’t help. I learned that I can’t fix his pain. He has to choose to do it. I moved out and live in an apartment nearby. He now says that he sees what he has done wrong. He is committing to listening and so I can feel safe to share my feelings.
I think it is too late. I will suffer more pain and damage while he goes through trial and error to get it right. I also feel like his behavior should not have gotten as far as it did if he really cared about me. He has hurt me for too long.
I am not angry anymore. I wish him well but with someone else. It is time for me to move on and heal myself.
Also, my kids are almost begging for us to make a decision either way. They can’t handle anymore limbo stage. It is time for us all to move on.
Heidi CMay 5th, 2015 at 7:00 AM
Sounds like my story, he is going to counseling today, but I doubt he’ll be honest with the therapist ad to the nature of the problem, we ate living together , but told him , after he was especially cruel, after his. Long term affair. And I told him it is humiliating for me after the things he said . Made a boundary that I either want a separation, or for him to get help, he agreed there was a problem before, but now retracts that. Says nothing wills tyre that he does anyway, wants things fixed , because he made the appt. this is not giving me hope. I need help he, won’t be patient @ I told him I don’t want to live like this anymore , without respecting myself. Don’t think he gets it, or has a true desire to get help, I told him we’ll see how things go. This is so scary & difficult. I am $ dependent on him we have 2 older boys & a three year old. He was raised this way & defends it, he was taught that it is good for people. Stayed for the older boys, not knowing what I was dealing with, now I see he has damaged allnof us & already starting on my little beautiful boy. I am afraid of his retaliation , but know this is very bad for us now, I can’t unknow it. He is making this sooo hard!
ChristinaJune 6th, 2015 at 12:38 PM
As I sit here reading these posts – its sureal to realize that so many woman are living the nightmare as I. I relate so much to your post. My husband is emotionally and verbally abusive. We’ve been together for 23 years I was 16. We had our 1st son when I was 20 and three months after he was born my son became very sick and while in the hospital stopped breathing. The lack of oxygen caused severe brain damage. The stress caused my husband to become unstable and the abuse started. To make things worse I was pregnant again. My boys are one year apart exactly. Now they’re 19 and 18. My aunt would watch my boys while I worked and started to see the verbal abuse. The older my son got the more she knew. The plates thrown across the room, the yelling at 4am. My aunt became my boys savior and my son would call her as soon as he saw my husband getting agitated.
I almost left my husband once but ge went to rehab for alcoholism and I thought we had a good chance of turning our toxic relationship into a healthy one. I even got a promotion at work that was amazing and I finally felt we were going to he able to afford to buy our first home. And then another blessing… probably the happiest day of my life. After 11 years of not being able to get pregnant after my son a miracle happened! My little girl was born in 2008.
Then…the short lived happiness ended. My husband and I both got laid off In 2009 during the recession. The abuse was back. In 2012 my son had enough and basically told me If i want to live With a monster thats my choice but he And his brother didnt have to. My son hasnt spoken to me in two years. Nothing i tell him changes his mind.
I struggled to find a job but thankfully in 2011 i got back on my feet. My husband didnt make supporting our family a priority. He felt staying home and not paying for a daycare was the best option. My daughter is now finishing 1st grade and hes still not working. I dont think he knows how to fix whats hes broken. But he takes his failures out on me. Every morning my lil one has to listen to the verbal abuse. the same thing our boys heard. The difference… Shes daddy’s little girl and she tells me if daddy moves she wants to live with him. He manipulates her so much. Im the one working. Juggling bills and at this point almost drowning in debt. Trying to figure out how im going to buy food for the next week. But daddy has all the fun with her. He’ll sit and play video games with her, take bicycle rides, etc. Im the bitch that comes home and just complains about messy rooms and homework.
Ive totally shut down. I dont even argue back or defend myself any longer.
After every one of his tantrums he’d apologize and we’d makeup.
I haven’t slept with my husband in over two months. Thats never happened in our marriage. But I cant even look at him any more.
I dont understand what im scared of…since i know i’ll make it financially on my own. I guess not knowing what life is without him scares me.
I even feel guilty and I dont understand these feelings.
I have asked him to move out and he threatens he is lesving on celenas last day of school which June 18th. He states Im unbearable, a terrible wife and mother. hes telling Celena that if she stays with me I’ll give her to my aunt. And she cries and cries…then he’ll look at me and ask me how I can do this to her?
How can i be so weak, why am I so scared? How do I get out and not hurt my daughter? How do I fix my relationship with my boys? How do I find the strength to love myself enough and even more so. .love my daughter enough to leave him.
JJSeptember 21st, 2015 at 10:49 PM
My heart is breaking for you. Please look up a woman named Elisabeth Klein. She is a writer, she has a blog and runs private Facebook support groups for women in abusive marriages. These groups are very helpful. You have to message her to be sent a link to the secret groups.
VanessaAugust 7th, 2016 at 8:14 AM
same here, they absorb your thoughts, your thinking is like they are inside you. You fear them but you want them to be ok. How confusing isn’t it!!!!!! My ex just canceled a trip to California. For too long, he would say “I love CA I’ll be happier lets just go and figure divorce later.” Going will make me look bad?
June 6th, 2015 at
Thank you for your comment, Christina. We wanted to provide links to some resources that may be relevant to you here. We have more information about emotional abuse at https://www.goodtherapy.org/therapy-for-emotional-abuse.html and additional information about what to do in a crisis at https://www.goodtherapy.org/in-crisis.html
The GoodTherapy.org Team
Nancy WJanuary 12th, 2017 at 8:45 AM
I was on the verge of being with my husband we are separated. Since reading the stories any of them could be my story I am moving forward and not looking back. He is out of my life. No children. Thank you for sharing.2
StarJune 11th, 2015 at 12:41 PM
Dear Doubtful on Divorce I am have been in your shoes previously. I left my husband of 14 yrs several months ago due to mental/emotional abuse. I had filed for divorce twice previously and believed he had changed so reconciled. Only each time the abuse got worse and I could see the impact it was having on me and my kids. I finally thru help of counselors, family and friends had the courage to walk out the door with my kids. Been gone six months and filed for divorce a month ago. Now he is begging pleading for me to stop it and give him another chance, give us another chance for the kids. Well NO I did twice before and he never changed it was an act. How I am to trust him again? Maybe he will change but it won’t be for me. Too little too late for me. I did the best thing I could and although it was and is hard to do I know I can’t trust him or give him more time. For now this is the best thing for all of us. Maybe if he wakes up and changes and maintains it for years he will have a relationship with the kids otherwise they see thru him too. Hope you kept going.
PhillipJune 13th, 2016 at 7:53 AM
I am a man in a similar situation with my wife. We have both made serious mistakes during the course of the last 13 years. It started when I was forced to take a 3rd shift job working 70+ hours a week and she felt lonely and cheated. I became someone I never thought possible and put her through some serious emotional stuff. I regret every bit of it and during that time she had become very emotionally and verbally abusive toward me. After 2 years back and forth I had enough and separated from the marriage. I started spending time with a friend who was always there to lend an ear when I needed it. She and I had a child together which after finding out she was pregnant she wanted nothing to do with me. My wife and I decided to work on us and we reconciled only to find out the anger and rage she harbored toward me for having bore a child with another woman (understanable). For the following 3 years I carried on being constantly verbally and emotionally abused. I walked on eggshells. Anything I did weather right or wrong caused my wife to blow up at me no matter where we were. I had enough and threatened divorce and she begged and pleaded using the children (we have three together) and any other tactic imaginable and swore she would stop, that she could change. Now she has flipped it and is filing for divorce saying she can’t do this anymore, that I’m too emotionally abusive and manipulative. I am so madly in love with her and have pleaded using the very same tactics she did. I’m trying to convince her that we should seek individual counseling and couples/marriage counseling. I’m so lost. I never stopped loving her but we have both betrayed each other and we have both treated each other in ways that no husband and wife should.
KellyJune 15th, 2016 at 7:33 AM
My husband and I spent a lot of time inflicting a lot of pain on each other. The cycle was awful. He would blame me for my affair. I blamed him for his abusive behavior and ultimately having an affair. It was a constant cycle of blame and hurt. Over time it continued to escalate. It was horrible on my already delicate health problems.
Ultimately, we learned that we were looking for the other person to solve our problems, including taking away our pain. We needed to learn new ways to communicate differently. You could try the book, “non violent communication” and check out nvc.org. They have full day workshops that teaches you both how to communicate not with each other but with yourself. It was a turning point for us both. It has become the foundation for how we now communicate.
We also learned that the key is owning our own happiness. When we did that and stopped blaming, the healing began. It has been a long and hard journey but worth it. We are both still working through the hurt but we don’t blame anymore. We take the time to comfort and the let it go. If fact, we are very sensitive to any anger around us.
Best of luck to you. I hope you find your happiness.
Ms. MariAugust 28th, 2015 at 2:17 PM
I can relate to each story here. I’ve been in multiple abuse relationship & I’m just learning to see red flags and get help for me because I think I’m just as ill as my abusers for putting up w being insulted, spit on, taken for granted just plain humiliated. So that’s why I’m here to learn and know I’m not alone…I wish you all better because our feelings, thoughts dreams DO matter and I’m learning to believe in me again after a long long time..
JJSeptember 21st, 2015 at 10:53 PM
I am in the exact same situation as the original writer. What did she end up doing?
KellySeptember 25th, 2015 at 12:38 PM
Here is an update.
I filed for divorce. I came to the reality that even if my husband did want to change, his journey would be long and his trial and error to do better would be detrimental to me. I could not suffer through him doing better to only make a mistake the next day. It would prevent me from healing. It has been the hardest decision I have ever made. I love him very much.
I have had to morn the loss of the marriage and the connection I have with him. I have had to learn to put my health and emotional well being first. I am someone that tells myself that I am always ok. I had to accept that I am not ok right now. I need to separate from the man I love to heal and be a better me.
It has had many ups and downs. I second guess my decision almost daily but also confirm my decision daily too. In my waffling back and forth, I have gotten close to my husband many times. I used to beat myself up about it.
I am trying to keep perspective that the feelings I am having are ok as long it keeps me moving forward.
I refuse let him make me feel guilty anymore (I am not always successful). I am not very religious but went to a church recently and asked God to forgive me of my sins and made peace with him and myself. I also asked for strength and to see a path to get through it. I am working on self love and not relying him or anyone else for acceptance.
It is a long journey. I am fighting for it everyday. It is my life. I need to take accountability for how I live it.
MayaDecember 7th, 2015 at 2:43 AM
What a strong, inspiring message. Perfect for my situation and I will re-read it when I need guidance and strength.
ShannonJune 8th, 2016 at 1:08 PM
This may sound weird, but would you be willing to be a pen pal with me or something. I live in a very small town, surrounded by my husbands judgmental family and 1200 miles away from mine. I have no one to talk to that I can trust. Everyone of my “friends” either knows him or his family and this is gossip city! Here is a quick run down… I filed for divorce and moved out about 3 months ago after a little over 7 years of marriage. He was VERY controlling, manipulative, and verbally/emotionally abusive. Toward the end he got slightly physical… No punches or hits, but using force to hold me down to take my phone away, flipping the mattress over while I was laying on it, ect. Not only all of that, but there was zero love and affection in our relationship. There was no trust, no respect, and no friendship. The only time we touched was when he wanted sex and eventually I began to shudder any time I saw him naked or he hinted around about it. I began to hate it all together.
So here I am, finally out of the house after being held hostage every time he thought I was trying to leave, In the process of divorce, and now he is “changing”. Saying things like “don’t you think our children deserve a fair shot at a family?”, “I am doing anything I can to change, how can you walk away from your vows?”, and “this is against gods will and he will not listen to your prayers if you continue on sinning”. I have no one here. Holidays and birthdays will be lonely. My 2 kids (3 and 1) will be bored with just me on Christmas when they could spend it with their cousins on his side of the family. Thinking of that makes me question what I’m doing, but j know that’s not the reason to go back. I guess what I need is someone on the outside who has no connection to him of his family and who has been through this before to encourage me. I know deep down in my heart that I don’t want to go back, but with the 20+ texts a day telling me I’m making the biggest mistake of my life, I constantly doubt. If you can help me, I would so appreciate it. Just knowing someone else has gone through this will be enough to help me not feel so alone.
KelliJune 9th, 2016 at 7:22 AM
That would be nice but don’t know how to get you information without it being publicized on the website.
KellyJune 9th, 2016 at 7:44 AM
First, I would like to say that you are a very courageous woman for making the decision to separate yourself from a situation that is damaging to you. From one mom to another, I know it is difficult to put yourself first.
My heart ached for you when I read your posting but I was happy to see your courage. My advice is based on my experience so it may or may not work for you. It took me a long time to stop worrying about the what and why of my husband’s action. Nothing changed for me (or him) until I started asking more internal questions such why I was allowing it to happen. A question you may want to start with is asking why are you allowing him to text you 20+ times a day? You have options to block him or turn your notification off and either delete them without reading them or read them at a time when it is convenient for you. You have control.
Your huge step to leave is the first of many. You now have the space to breath and hear your own inner voice. He is likely texting you so much because he wants to still stay in your head. He knows he is losing control and he is grasping at the only thing he knows what to do….control.
I learned that when I refused to let my husband in my head and started thinking for myself, everything changed. The things that got me there was reading the books you will find in this string of postings, meditation, prayer and exercise. I started doing things that I wanted to do. I set boundaries for myself. I stopped letting his drama inside me…..well, as much as I could. It was very hard to do. When he started causing me stress, I ended the conversation.
My advice for you right now is to take time to be alone so you can get back to hearing your own inner voice again. Keep us posted. We are “hear” for you. Stay strong. Hugs.
Btw. My husband and I are still together. We are very happy now. But I am learning it isn’t about if we are together or not. It is about how I am doing. I have a lot of flashbacks which I am still struggling with but I am learning to recover quicker from them and they are less frequent.
RossJuly 25th, 2016 at 9:03 AM
I have been married 35 years with a manipulative and emotionally abusive wife. We have been to counseling but “because I need to talk to someone”. I have left 2 times over the past 10 years. I had two affairs in 25 years and could not figure out why until I realized I just wanted to talk to someone normal. Every time I have tried to calmly discuss leaving she becomes super nice wonderful wife. I have spent the last year since leaving the second time and coming back to realize how I felt so guilty over leaving. But coming back the honeymoon only lasts an average of 3–4 months then it is back to the same insults and tactics to control and guilt trip. I finally realized I don’t need to feel guilty. In 3 weeks I am leaving and this time I will not discuss or try to be friends. I will have to talk to her simply because of all the years and finances as we are 65. But the contact will be on my terms. I will keep it business and to the point. No reason to answer if you hear the same old….”I can’t believe you are doing this.” Or you have no idea how to live on your own. And a million other phrases that are “toxic” caring statements to control you. No one should ever give up because of age or length of marriage. There is too much to miss of life to not embrace change and enjoy the rest of your life. I finally realize to live the life of our expectations and not someone else’s expectations of us. A marriage driven by guilt is not worth giving your life. Be strong and never feel that what you want out of life is selfish. Change is not selfish. Manipulation and abuse is selfish.
Be strong and good luck. I am veteran of many guilt trips and battles that I always apologized for. She has wonderful qualities that are going to be appreciated by someone else. That is how I left the anger go. I owe her only one thing the freedom to choose someone who will love her for her.
Good luck again and hang in there.
AriAugust 13th, 2016 at 12:57 AM
Hi I am in exactly the same situation like you. Alone in a country with my family away and only his family, all pushing me to change my decision and give it another go. I feel so lonely and scared but I am finding the strength to finally do it. Email me please to talk
RossAugust 13th, 2016 at 3:31 PM
Isolation is worse when you are in this situation. Remember how others in history met challenges. Rosa parks, those who helped Jews during World War Two and countless others who went against the majority. You see yourself in the same situation. You are outnumbered by the same people that produced the abuser. Trust yourself. You don’t need to defend yourself. You have a right to your feelings and needs. If leaving is what you want then do not question yourself. No one is better at what you want in life than yourself. Stay strong and believe in you.
JayneMay 3rd, 2017 at 3:13 PM
I’m going through exactly the same thing, I love my husband dearly ,but I need to keep moving forward.i already cancelled one divorce. Then went back,and he carried on with the same old rubbish.i have been left 5 months this time. I have filed for divorce, and he’s begging me to call it off again.i love him,and I realise,he’s never going to change.theres a better life out there for me.ill keep moving forward this time,no matter how it hurts.
KellyMay 11th, 2017 at 8:35 AM
It seems that your husband has not changed. If he is still begging you to call off the divorce vs. taking time to understand how his behavior has affected you and your needs, then he is not taking accountability for his actions. If he understood the full extent of his actions, he would not continue to push his needs onto you. Begging isn’t any different then bullying.
Ok, let’s talk you. If you are giving into his begging, why are his needs more important than yours? Why are you giving yourself away? I understand that you love him…..believe me I really get that and I am not trying to diminish that. Think about it this way; just because the rose is beautiful, would you want to dig the thorn into your finger just to hold the rose? Why would you do that?
Mr. Silverstein was brilliant when he wrote “The Giving Tree”. We need to love and care for ourselves first before we can love and serve others or we turn into a tree stump instead of a fruitful tree and the people we gave ourselves to, will be out of control and unhappy. It is easier to blame your husband for being abusive and judging if he has changed. Yes, he does need to change but there is a another chapter to the story. You have to change too. You have to no longer accept being a victim. When you do that, you will recognize when someone is begging and trying to bully….in fact, bullies won’t attempt it anymore because they know they can’t push you around.
I suggest not worrying about what your husband wants. Instead, consider what is happening with you and why you are subjecting yourself to digging that thorn into yourself….. and it isn’t just because you love him.
Maybe try this: Find a picture of yourself when you were a little girl. Really look at the picture. Remember when you were little and your aspirations for your future. I am sure it wasn’t to be pushed around and abused. Take the time to apologize to that little girl and promise her that you will take better care of her from this point forward. Promise her that you will love her and put her first….she deserves to be loved by you.
If we are not good to ourselves first, we are incapable of do right by others. If we are living our lives as victims we are allowing someone to be a bully. I know my words sound harsh and direct but I think we need to start changing the dialogue in abuse. Change starts by looking in the mirror.
Jayne, you deserve love. You are important. This is your life. What do you want for you? Dig deep and find the courage to do it.
Big hug to you. We are “hear” for you.
KelliOctober 19th, 2015 at 5:26 AM
Kelly, I am in a similar situation and my soon to be ex husband has a drinking problem which makes it more difficult. I struggle everyday and blame myself which I know is wrong but I just can’t stop feeling this way.
saraOctober 22nd, 2015 at 9:48 PM
Someone who has been through this, please help! My husband and and I have been together 9 years, married 6. The first 6 were occasionally physically abusive but that has fully stopped for 3 years. He has been verbally abusing me though for the past 9. We have 3 kids and he’s a great dad. We are a very happy family but not a happy couple. Recently, when he was supposedly drunk I found out he hit on 2 women, 1 of them my friend, when I was in the next room! This was the last straw and we are getting separated. He fully admits the abuse, and takes 100% blame for the ending of our marriage. He constantly tells me how he’s so in love with me and tries to hold me and kiss me when noreally he’s not affectionate. He’s willing to go to anger management, marriage counseling and is so desperate he will just about do anything to get me back. I am in love with him but I know he makes me miserable. He’s the only man I’ve ever loved, lived with or been in a real relationship with. I feel like divorce is the right thing but we have a 6 and 4 year old and 7 month old so I’m second guessing all the time. He has promised to change many times and did stop with the physical abuse, and hasn’t done that on 3 years. I am utterly confused but do not want to wake up in 20 years and regret giving him another chance.
AliriaAugust 13th, 2016 at 12:29 PM
Well, my opinion is that the fact that your husband physically abused you for 6 years says it all about him. It matters a lot that he stopped, however it went on for 6 bloody years!! We all know where verbal abuse leads to: physical abuse! If the verbal and psychological abuse don’t stop, chances are high he will hit you again.
About your children: what is better? having two great parents who are happy and leading healthy lives, or have two parents who live together but the father makes the mother miserable and lowly. Your children see what happens and that will be imprinted on them forever. Think about it.
BethOctober 26th, 2015 at 9:19 AM
I’ve been where you were and been where you are. And seen the other side of it. And even though I would tell you the truth, like these people before me. I also know you are probably thinking, ‘but wonder if he CAN change, maybe he is different than other men’ or maybe your secretly thinking, ‘wonder if he’s right and it’s just me taking this all too serious. No one is going to convince you that this man is a classic abuser, just like me. So, please, before you let him back into yours and your children lives. Please read a book that cured me of that kind of thinking. “Why Does He Do That?” inside the mind of A Angry and Controlling Man. By Lundy Bancroft, it absolutely convinced me that I was married to an abuser and that my situation was not unique. I read page after page of instances that were identical to my own. I recognized so many traits that I could not deny that ‘he will and won’t EVER change. It hurt like everything to actually read my life on those pages, but I’m glad I did. I’m not his fool anymore. This kind of behavior has worked for him, his whole life. My children were 15, 13,and 9. They all new who and what he was, he couldn’t fool them. Crying, my son of 13, told me, That he would run away if his father came back, which my daughters, standing with their brother said they would do the same. They were so afraid I was going to take him back, ‘for the sake of the children. That’s when I knew, my children came first. Their inner pain and suffering were amince, more than I knew. Your husbands happiness and well being is not worth your children’s lives and happiness, or yours either. Lundy is a professional and has other helpful books, but please start with the first one. The only ones that can change are your way of thinking and getting your children in your focus. My heart goes out to you, Sister. You are a survivor!
ClaireNovember 7th, 2015 at 1:07 PM
Hi there…. Would love your perspective on this… I was in a verbally and emotionally abusive relationship for almost 13 years, but didn’t realize this was the case until after I left. A dear friend of mine who also knows my ex told me he was a narcissist passive aggressive and when I googled the term, it was spooky because so many of the things they do he was doing to me. He was physically beaten by his father for many years and when we met and I found this out, I felt so sorry for him and was there for him in all ways loving him dearly. He was lovely to me, but he sometimes seemed awkward when I needed comfort… he made an effort, but it never felt quite right. We married and I quickly fell pregnant and then things changed… he stayed out all of the time drinking with “work” and coming in trashed and verbally abusive calling me horrendous names like b**** and c**t… just because I wouldn’t have sex with him in this drunken state and if I dared cross him on why he had stayed out until the early hours getting drunk and then waking me up when I had a young baby… that made things worse. He had always drank with his job in the City and he enjoyed it… but now it was at least twice a week if not more. It seemed to give him a confidence and he was toxic when drunk towards me…
He had/has a very successful job which over time we have developed into him being a partner through my support at home and coming out with clients to gain business (as I used to work in the city with a successful career before I had children).
We then had another baby and he continued to be out binge drinking and not getting in touch so I never knew where I stood as far as him coming home and also not knowing what state he would be in when he did eventually get home.
Even at weekends he had time consuming selfish hobbies such as golf or wrestling/boxing so was hardly ever home to help out. He saw anything to do with the house beneath him and hardly ever mucked in to help when I even asked for help. He would just sit there in silence watching the TV either ignoring me or saying he would later, but later never came! He would even watch me struggle with something heavy and sometimes snicker! It was an emotional roller coaster with very little consideration of my feelings. He showed no empathy when I was ill or needed help. Serious conditions like a diagnosis of a malignant melanoma or a broken arm, or an abrasion on my eyeball when little one caught me with a finger nail. The doctor when I had my surgery for my melanoma even commented that it was strange I didn’t even get a hug after the operation. He saw any kind of showing care and attention to me as a weakness… I could tell this was the case. In an argument he even used to say I was just like his father and unless it was exactly the way I wanted it to be I would have a problem?! He said I was a bully!
I then started to suffer after about two years of marriage with chronic insomnia and consequently depression on many drugs to try and address it, but nothing worked. I used to exist on a maximum of one a a half hours sleep a night after taking my tablets and then awake the whole of the night with my heart beating like a train with anxiety. I would then force myself up in a morning to take care of my boys, but feel so sick with sleep deprivation I could hardly function, ……but I forced myself and to eat…..I lost so much weight with the stress and sleep deprivation, people thought I was anorexic. He even said I looked like an anorexic druggy with my clothes off…and to do something about it! My self esteem was through the floor.
He provided for the family as the breadwinner and was/is on a huge salary, but was never there for me and our boys …we always came after work (understandably), drinking and getting drunk, golf and other hobbies etc… so he never forged a relationship with the boys. There was always an awkwardness and coldness… He always had a latent anger under the surface and never smiled. He never ever complimented me or thanked me even for a lovely meal… I didn’t understand why as in the beginning he was so caring and loving towards me and so protective. He said he was never jealous, but if out and a guy started talking to me it was always MY fault that he was chatting me up! I felt he loved the way I was (attractive, funny, chatty, bubbly, educated, etc.) not that I feel this way now… she has mostly gone… but he also hated the way I was!!
He has in the past admitted to hating women and when I reminded him I was a woman… he said I was just different. I even asked him to treat me the same as his female work colleagues, as he was so charming with them, but he said he had to make a real effort with them and he didn’t have to try with me!
He used to provoke me so much, to the extent i was blamed for all arguments and made out to be the mental case as I would be the one to rise to his horrendous behavior, but he was never in the wrong in his eyes… he never apologized… I once when we first got together, when I was fresh and still upbeat… made him laugh at how ludicrous it was that on this particular occasion he had blamed me! He laughed then this once and could see how “funny” it was… but this only happened once! I tried to ignore him when he came home drunk… at the end up to three to four times a week… but he would just follow me around the house being nasty, calling me those disgusting names and blaming me for the breakdown in our marriage because I was the way I was and also because I wouldn’t have sex with him when he was drunk… which was most of the time! I just felt numb and really ill… I would then lie awake the rest of the night after four or five hours of arguing, name calling and condescending cruel comments looking at me as if I was scum. Who would want to sleep with someone who treated them like this?! He would then get up in the morning wreaking of stale alcohol out of every pore acting as if nothing had happened or apologizing trying to kiss me that made my skin crawl.
Whenever I seriously called him on his behavior and he thought I could leave he would massively apologize and say it would never happen again… and I would believe him and be like a child hanging onto the hope he had actually changed. Of course after a little time whether it was days (usually days!) or weeks the verbal abuse and drinking and underlying anger would start again and I would plummet into depression. It was torture and I gave him chance after chance to change for the sake of the family unit… because if he was to change… we had everything…. two beautiful boys, a fabulous home, financial security… everything.
I was like a bouncy ball, always bouncing back after an episode, me being hopeful and determined to make things work… but the bounce just got less and less until there was none… I was literally emotionally and physically exhausted with my self esteem through the floor feeling like a shell of myself.
The crunch came when I went away on holiday with my boys when he was at work over the summer and there was a drunk fueled party at the house when neighbors were complaining to me via text about the disturbance and noise with loud music and foul language all night. I dared to message him about this from abroad and the foul language I received back I cannot repeat back. He hates anyone in authority whether it is the police, teachers, older people… even me his spouse who stands up to him. He is never wrong and gets abusive whenever criticized. Money has made him incredibly arrogant and yes the things he bought me and the places we went when he was on good form were amazing… sometimes he could be lovely… if I was doing exactly what he wanted… but all I craved was a close loving husband that could be a real companion and friend… what I thought I had when we met… he changed so much!… or did I change him!?
He even used to ask… why I was with him on occasions (he sometimes showed a real lack of self esteem thinking I was too good for him… pushing me away emotionally) and accused me of having affairs… he even on one occasion said he would understand if I had had an affair since he was such a terrible husband and father!! Then later he denied saying it at all! It was as if he was waiting for me to leave him, so he could say… “see, I was right… told you she would leave me!”
When I got headhunted for a very good contract job he was really nasty and didn’t see the point as we had more than enough money. The truth is I felt vulnerable and I needed to prove to myself when the opportunity came along that I could do it. I thrived, but it was really tough looking after the boys on my own with no family around me to help and existing on around four hours sleep a night for six months. It was a huge success, but I burnt myself out. He didn’t help at all with the boys etc…
Then I crashed into depression after these six months I was sent to a specialist and was diagnosed as bipolar II, which in retrospect was a relief as I could be put on medication that could balance my own inner roller coaster. The specialist was very honest and said I had been incredibly strong not to hit drink, drugs or be committed after such an experience over a decade… She said this, but I never believe I am strong. I never wanted to fail at anything, including my marriage, but eventually after the party during that summer after even things at our beautiful home were smashed by so called friends of his, I had had enough… I was dead inside and my bubbly positive resilient nature wasn’t there anymore and I felt numb.
After a very apologetic phone call from him I agreed to give him one last chance to prove to me that he would choose his boys and myself over the alcohol and the abuse that came with it. Although he could be abusive, selfish and cold when sober… only pleasant when things going his way! This behavior has really affected the boys… they only want me… and I also get the blame for this from my ex.
My boys then much older who had heard a lot of the arguments when in their beds at night and experienced first hand the sullen, sulky angry looking father at a weekends… even when sober. I know he loves them and I don’t doubt once he really loved me. I warned him on numerous occasions that he was destroying all that we had, but he would just blame me for everything that was wrong with our relationship. I was exhausted emotionally and physically at the age of 44 and my two boys pleading with me not to give him this last chance!
I did… and he did try, but he lasted 10 days! I was completely dead inside and had to be true to my word and get us out. We agreed to divorce and we started the process, but I could tell he still wanted to make it work… but I no longer loved him or even liked him… and even my eldest when he found out was so relieved we were leaving!
I then out of the blue… was contacted by an old friend by text who I had known for about four years through the school and we started to text each other through this awful time. I had an emotional relationship through conversation and text that filled me with hope that all men were not the same… but I felt vulnerable… even though I had very little self esteem and at the age of 44 was not looking for a “relationship”!!
We did eventually start a relationship after a few weeks of messaging and I felt very guilty about this, but fulfilled in a way I never thought was possible at my age….he is seven years younger than me…..I was very nervous at my age after two babies and a mental health condition… I told him everything and he was not phased one bit.
Of course when my soon to be ex found out I was blamed for everything and accused of the affair being the cause of our divorce. I did divorce him, although a horrendous process being called every disgusting name under the sun!
My boys adore my new partner and he adores me and loves my boys… he has kids of his own and life can be very stressful and financially strained to say the least. I am currently looking for work, as my last job went no where after a year… was made a mug of… which hasn’t helped my mental state.
I write this to give hope, but would love anything you have to say in response as I am even going through a hard time now after two years split from my ex. I love my new partner dearly, but feel like damaged goods with my self esteem through the floor and guilt about the affair at the end of the day… even though we had agreed to divorce. I can’t help but sometimes think of the good times we shared as there were some, but way more horrendous times. I suppose it is the history we shared and He is at the end of the day the father of my boys, but they can’t stand him and so relieved I did leave… I miss the financial security we built up together over so many years through hard work and focus. All he wanted me to do was not work and spend the cash, but I saved as much as I could so we had a secure future… perhaps I should have just sat back and spent without a thought… I don’t know! Was I really the cause of the breakup?! I feel mentally all over the place some days and I suppose I am mourning the death of my dreams after a long marriage… On top of this my boys don’t want to go over to their dads so seeing them so upset really upsets me and I miss them so much when they are not here… they have been my life over the past 14 years!
I am so sorry this has been a saga and would love to hear from you. I really connected to your post and would love to hear your opinion.
I feel so lost right now, but lucky at the same time… I feel conflicted… hating myself for having these thoughts… really look forward to hearing from you.
Hope you don’t mind me contacting you like this.
BBDecember 12th, 2015 at 8:27 AM
I’m sorry to hear about what you’re going through. When I read through your post, there were so many parts of it where I thought I had written it!
I am just at the starting point of realizing that my husband has been controlling and manipulating me to the point of insomnia and depression. I finally went to speak to a counselor and during that first session she opened my eyes to all of the things he’s been doing. I have completely isolated myself from my friends and, honestly, would feel embarrassed to talk about this with them anyways. So talking to someone neutral was really helpful and I can’t wait to go back.
Have you tried counseling for your self-esteem issues? I would love to talk to you more if you like.
KellyNovember 5th, 2015 at 2:13 PM
So here is the latest. I had the opportunity to travel for work internationally. I was away for 18 days. I had a lot of time to be alone (even though I got a lot text messages from my husband). I woke up one day crying and in so much emotional pain. I finally started to ask the following questions:
Why do I allow him to hurt me? Why do I allow my feelings to be put up for debate and judgment? What is keeping me from putting myself first? Why am I not protecting myself? Why do I get a little strong and risk myself so quickly?
How do I take better care of me? How do I protect myself? How do I find the strength? How do I comfort myself? How do I heal? How do I calm and quiet myself?
I am perfect as I am. I can trust my instincts. (I have a serious chronic illness) My body is sending me messages and I can listen. I can and will make those signals my navigation vs. letting judgment of others do it. I will pray more.
Even with my new found strength, I got home from my trip and waffled again with my husband. He keeps taking steps forward and each time he does it, I quickly jump back in. Then, something happens that shows me that it is not safe (emotionally) to be with him. I pulled away from him…..again.
This time, I realized that before I went back, I was starting to build a life without him (I live in an apartment down the street from him and the kids). I was cultivating friendships. I was going to a women’s church group. I was going to the theater by myself and sometimes with the kids. I was doing things with the kids without my husband (they were sleeping over at the apartment). Then, he says a few “right” things and I dropped all of it for him!!!
I am a Senior Executive Leader for one of the largest companies in the world and I am letting him influence me. I would not let that happen at work. Nor would I let my kids, family or friends do it.
I have come to realize that at this point, it is no longer about him. It is about me. I need to love and respect myself. Each time I pull away, I get a little stronger. I feel more centered and in touch with myself. I started running again!! I re-engaged with those friends and went to church.
Putting myself first is the hardest thing I have ever done. It is getting easier because I am starting to believe that I deserve to own my happiness and journey.
I started telling myself, “It is not your fault this happened to you but it is your responsibility to make it stop”
Good luck to all of you. You are all amazing women! You deserve to own your happiness and journey!!
KellyNovember 9th, 2015 at 12:49 PM
Dear Claire – It seems like you are going through drama withdrawal. Your old life was high drama. You could blame your Ex for it. Now the drama is gone, there is no one to blame anymore and you have to accept accountability for yourself? Really hard to do.
I read a great book on being a rescuer. Btw – the book Beth recommends from Lundy is really good too. It was life changing for me. I am someone that is attracted to people that are “broken with potential” and are “emotional unavailable” to me. I hope that if I can fix them, they will love me for it. It took a lot for me to see and own it. I am learning to stop fixing others and let them own their own problems. I also had to mourn the loss of who I was and learn to change. Now, I am focusing on taking accountability for me and looking inside me to understand why I do these things and how to move forward. It is life changing. Hard to do but worth it.
I was victim of verbal abuse for a very long time. I blamed my husband for what was happening and kept hoping he would see how much he is hurting me and stop. I kept hoping that he loved me enough to stop. I reconciled with myself that he did not love me in a healthy way. That was so painful. The big lesson was coming to terms with it was his fault that I was abused but it is my responsibility to be happy.
Note: I am in a very fragile state and could be manipulated to go back to the abuse. However, I am learning to be a new me.
I am finding things to fill my time that are good for me. I am exercising again (big deal considering I have a health problem). I am going to church. I am making new friends that are low on drama and don’t look for me to fix them. I go to art museums and theater alone. I am spending more time listening to my kids vs. talking. I am trying to focus on a new way of living.
Again, I am very fragile. My divorce is not done and I still waffle back and forth with my husband. The difference today is that I am finding ways to be more aware of when he is attempting to manipulate me, how to prevent it and how to heal from it when it happens.
By doing all these things, I am making him less important in my life.
I am guessing that you may need to take a look inside yourself and ask why you have these conflicting thoughts. Please don’t hate yourself for the thoughts. I suggest taking time to be with your feelings and try to understand what is not complete within you that you need to pay attention to. Also, someone very wise once told me that when I have strong feelings come up, experience them (be with them and comfort them) and let them go. Don’t indulge or hold onto them. Over time, you will heal and those feelings will lessen. Hope this helps.
I am sure I did some rescue here….I am still a (fragile) work in progress!! Take care.
DeborahNovember 22nd, 2015 at 4:20 AM
Very compassionate and courageous post. Keep focusing on yourself as the highest priority. One of the things I had to do was to take pictures of the chaos he created and write down a list of the things he did. I read these things and look at the pictures when I feel tempted to go back and I feel he is manipulating me. For example, I had a fabulous 50th birthday party. Each of the 3 birthdays following, since being with him, he ruined. Not one birthday present. Not even a card. But worse, but day to celebrate being alive, my life – ruined. The list goes on. I’m very fortunate to have a family that loves me and has been able to be there for me. And,also, he is a travel nurse who works nowhere near me. I’m grateful for your post and to read it as he is begging me to come back to him on the tiny island where we were living. I trapped in the middle of the Caribbean with no money or credit cards of my own. Now, I am safe and not feeling like a victim. Prayers and positive thoughts for you.
AnnNovember 17th, 2015 at 12:50 AM
I’m lost between two worlds. The we-have-a-perfect family world that we portray to everyone and the real one that exists only in the comfort of home. 15 years in an emotionally (some physical) abusive marriage and I hardly know who I am anymore.
He starts out kind, humble, funny, shy and I love him. This was who I originally fell head over heels for. He is 4 years younger, thought everything I said was interesting, we had a physical connection, we both were career focused. Our future looked bright!
Then one night everything changed. He’d been drinking (not uncommon at age 26) and we were having a late night pizza with friends. He snapped at me for some reason I don’t remember, but it stung like I had been hit. We’d been dating 6 months & he had only been sweet. I was confused. After getting to his apt, I confronted him about my hurt feelings. What followed was my first (of many) terrifying verbal assaults. He saw I was starting to cry and got right in front of my face and said ‘go ahead cry you bitch’. Disgusting hurtful words out of the mouth of the man I was in love with?! It continued until I was in the fetal position with my hands over my ears just waiting for it to stop.I waited till morning and snuck out, so numb and totally confused. I was not crying when I told my roommate what happened. ‘Oh my! He must be crazy! Thank god u got out unhurt!’ .
Not so fast, I got a desperate call from him within hours BEGGING me to just hear his explanation. More out of curiosity, I went to dinner with him. He started immediately telling me about his messed up childhood (kept saying u have NO idea how bad it was! it was so bad!). No details, just the drama of this mysterious terrible childhood! Then he started with ‘you’re the only person who ever loved me. Please don’t leave me. I’ll never do that again. I was so drunk. I can’t live without you’. I melted into his arms. All he had was me! I could help him! After all, I’m a nurse. This is what I do.
17 years later and living in a lovely home with 2 awesome kids, he makes great money & I stay home with the kids . Complete with a dog who we adore. Kids in private school, I run my triathalalons, we take vacations. Sounds pretty good?
Here’s the other side…we live in fear of him. His moods, insults, his jokes! (You smell! You are ugly! Let’s go on vacation! (As kids r packed & waiting to leave,) Nope! I decided we’re not going., the silent treatment, broken furniture when he’s raging, glasses of water thrown at me if he doesn’t like what I say, punching me, after a disagreement, I took the kids (4&6 at the time) out for a walk. B/c he was mad at me, he followed us knew where we were walking. He waited in a bush at a very quiet part of the path. As we walked by, he jumped out screaming and waving his arms like a lunatic. The kids & I thought we were getting attcked!! They were sobbing! He was hysterically laughing, shaming us for not thinking it was funny. Nothing is funny seeing ur children crying, ever. No normal person watches adorable innocent kids cry & can’t understand why he’s the only one laughing.
Always followed up by the big blah blah (bad childhood, so sorry, never again, I need this family or I’ll die, I love u guys!!!). Since I haven’t been falling for that, he’s changed it up. Now I get “u could never make it on your own! I will ruin u financially! No more private school for the kids!!! U guys will barely afford an apt when I’m thru”
I’m numb much of the time, anxious & depressed the rest. I devote everything to my beautiful children. For so many years thinking I was giving them the gift of a nuclear family, so I try desperately to hide the awful from them, that doesn’t work anymore. I see their faces, they r just as traumatized as me. Love hate? In this family we just don’t know. Why won’t he let me & kids go peacefully without more trauma? Is he possibly evil on earth?
November 17th, 2015 at
Thank you for your comment. We applaud your courage. We wanted to provide links to some resources that may be relevant to you here. We have more information about domestic violence at https://www.goodtherapy.org/therapy-for-domestic-violence.html and additional information about what to do in a crisis at https://www.goodtherapy.org/in-crisis.html
The GoodTherapy.org Team
KelliNovember 22nd, 2015 at 7:48 PM
I’m not sure how these blog things work really but your story is so similar to mine that I thought I had written it for a second. I filed for divorce after 21years of marriage to my husband. I had a issue with his drinking from the beginning but as a 16 year old I saw it as what high school and college kids do “party”. As life became more stressful and some life disappointments happened I saw the drinking get worse. (as they say progressive disease). He became a very angry man with alcohol intensifying each situation. I pulled away and became ridden with anxiety from his abusive Jekyll and Hyde personality. He was verbally and emotionally abusive. I preferred to stay away from the house and be out with friends more often. In doing this I met a man going through his own emotional divorce with a wife who also drank too much. We were friends and texted and called each other a lot and my husband just about a year ago found his number in the phone bill and asked who it was I was talking to so much. I told him and this is when the abuse went from bad to worse. Over the 4 years we were talking he knew I wanted to save my marriage and gave me emotional support along the way. My husband and I even went on a double date with him when I tried to set him up with one of my single friends. My husband doesn’t remember this of course because he was drunk that night and it was 4 years ago. I guess this is what they call an emotional affair between the two of us. Things continued to get worse at home now that my husband could put all the blame on me as to why he was always so angry. Husband moved out into a condo we bought together hoping for some time apart to hopefully work on ourselves and our marriage. I stopped talking to the other man and started counseling weekly. We tried together but counselor had old us until he puts the bottle down we were just undoing any kind of progress we were trying to make weekly. I told my husband we would go alone and when counselor thought we were ready to try counseling again together he would let us know. I continued to go while my husband stopped. I begged him to please get help for his drinking and anger management and come home to his family. 6 months went by when counselor asked me “are you happy” and I said “no”, he asked “why” and I stated “because I had given up my friends and this other man for him and I sit at home and cry daily”. Counselor told me “why am I the only one abiding by the rules of my husband when he has done nothing I’ve asked of him”. I went to my husband one last time and told him if I didn’t see any progress soon I wanted a divorce. Another month went by and still no action on my husbands part only words. So I started talking and going out with my friends and this other guy again after 6 months and filed for divorce. Since then the verbal and emotional abuse turned into harassing abuse via text messaging. For months I engaged with him via text defending my decision and going from day time I love you texts ill do anything to have you back to night time drunk name calling, abusive, accusatory text messages (I hate you, I dont deserve my last name so I need to change it, F U’s, wish I never met you, go be with your boyfriend, you 100%responsible for our breakup, you made this choice so now you will live with the consequences). I’m at my wits end its an every day and every night thing. I’m emotionally exhausted. His family negates the fact that I’ve asked them for years to help me get him help for his drinking and now that they know I was talking to this guy say I’m using his drinking as a convenient excuse to be with another man. They agree with him I am the problem and I’ve changed. They guy I’m talking to keeps reminding me that for 4 years I’ve been talking to him about my husbands drinking and abuse it just didn’t start after he found out about him or I wouldn’t have needed the emotional support from him in the first place if all were fine and dandy at home. Read a lot on narcissistic behaviors and its almost scary how much my husband portrays these traits. Confused and guilt ridden and having a hard time moving forward and letting go. I did actually love this man and probably in some sick way still do and that’s what makes it so ruff considering what he keeps doing to me. My kids support me and lived under the same roof and have observed his behaviors and are appalled by him. They are happy I filed and want me happy and would definitely not respect me if I was to take him back. This guy I have been talking to continues to be supportive and wants a relationship with me and by doing this it makes me look like husband was right and that makes me feel even more guilty because it is just not the case. I didn’t leave my husband for this guy I left my husband for so home he doesn’t know ME.
ClaireNovember 29th, 2015 at 11:13 AM
Apologies it has taken me a while to reply to you.
You are so right about there being a load of similarities in our stories.
First of all, I think you were so right to leave…as I was….and you have to try and stop beating yourself up for all that has happened. Like you, I left my husband for myself and my boys and no one else. I rule my new partner this and he understood. I too like you for a long time believed his brain washing about me being weak and not been able to cope with life, but the longer I am away from him, the stronger I am getting. I also see my two beautiful boys growing stronger and healing…they laugh so much now and are so content with their family life hugging both me and my partner and saying how much they love him. Life of course has its challenges…lots of them, but I feel now that these can be handled since my home life is so natural and I am part of a team ….not walking around on eggshells waiting for the next row to blow up out of nowhere whether he is drunk or sober….now I feel so much more peaceful and I see my boys like this too. They say they have never been happier.
It was the hardest decision I have made in my whole life to leave my husband, and it took a great deal of strength and determination ….it was an horrendous time with many ups and downs ….but we are getting there. Just to see my boys so happy is reward enough, but like you the guilt sometimes creeps in and I just try to accept that now….as I am such an emotional person. I obviously was with a very unemotionally intelligent angry man who needed alcohol to give him extra confidence and this destroyed any sort of marriage and connection we did have. I and you are morning the death of our dreams more than anything….we are morning the death of what we thought we had, not what we actually had.
I do hope my message gives you some hope and helps in some way.
Do stay in touch and let me know how you get on. Xx
sabrinaNovember 29th, 2015 at 1:00 AM
I’ve been married for 9 years my husband has a short fuse and myself and my 14 year old daughter (from a previous relationship ) put up with a lot of verbal aggression from him ! He dislikes her and has said it he calls her horrific names and picks on her every opportunity ! Now she is answering back and things are escalating ! He has hit her on occasion , kicked her and last week grabbed her by the cheek in front of her friend ! I’m walking on egg shells for years trying yo keep the peace I can’t leave them alone together and for that I feel trapped ! I tend to stay quiet and not respond or provoke anger in him I guess I gave learned ! Over the last 6 months I began to disconnect from him and no longer wanted to be around him , I sank into an awful depression as I felt like I was cracking up under the constant pressure and guilt that I was failing my daughter and my three sons too , my 9 year old boy treats his sister like his dad because he has told him thst it is ok t8 hit and kick her ! End result I drove my car into an estuary one night because I had enough pain luckily I survived , he was very harsh afterwards saying I obv didn’t care about any of them . I asked for a trial separation he was very angry then ge switched to being so kind and nice this lasted about 2 months but the cracks started to show again and last weekend he reverted back to his old self , followed on by him stating that he is depressed ! I’m emotionally broken , I want out but seeing him in pain is breaking my heart . I’m afraid of the effects of leaving will have on the extended family and the crap that will cone from his family !
The GoodTherapy.org TeamNovember 29th, 2015 at 9:13 AM
Thank you for your comment, Sabrina. We wanted to provide links to some resources that may be relevant to you here. We have more information about domestic violence at https://www.goodtherapy.org/therapy-for-domestic-violence.html and additional information about what to do in a crisis at https://www.goodtherapy.org/in-crisis.html
The GoodTherapy.org Team
ClaireNovember 29th, 2015 at 11:21 AM
Thank you for your message and telling me your story.
Please do not beat yourself up about what is happening to you….I have done this for a long time and now realise it was out of my control …and no matter how much I wanted or needed my ex husband to change his ways…he wouldn’t. I just find it really sad now, as he is the father of my children, but they want nothing to do with him. They do still see him, but under sufferance every two weeks or so. They are just waiting a couple of years until they are old enough to not go at all. He has created this mess and now is blaming me for manipulating the children against him….which is ridiculous, but not a surprise as I got the blame for everything that went wrong when we were together.
You cannot stay in a relationship that is damaging to your children. My two are staring to heal now and enjoying being part of a norma loving family with lots of laughter and support and teamwork….how it should be!
It is still hard sometimes, but I am able to work through the tough times without the constant arguments and conflict and the drunken state he was in up to three times a week. It was no way to love our lives even if there were no money worries! I had to get out and save my children from such a toxic environment.
My children say they are happier than they have ever Ben and that is such a reward after such a traumatic time over more than a decade. I do hope this helps in some way….let me know how you get on xx
DeniseJanuary 7th, 2016 at 3:39 PM
My skin crawled as I was reading your story. I have been through these EXACT SAME THINGS FOR 21 YRS. MARRIED 10. My husband controls EVERYTHING. He has Isolated me from ANY AND EVERYONE. SLOWLY HE HAS TAKEN EVERYTHING FROM ME. I tried to file for divorce 3 yrs ago, I was told we had been together too long we needed to work it out. I STILL CANNOT BELIEVE IT. BUT IT HAPPENED. He has 2 previous children whom he has nothing to do with because they WON’T be told wat to do. Myself and our 2 children DO NOT UNDERSTAND WHY HE IS SO ANGRY AND SELFISH. I AM THE MOST SELFLESS PERSON ALIVE AND I JUST CAN’T UNDERSTAND WAT I DO TO BE TREATED THIS WAY. NO MATTER WAT I DO ITS NEVER RIGHT, ANYTHING I SAY, ITS WRONG. HE INTERRUPTS ME IF HIS FAMILY TALKS TO ME. I JUST WANT OUT. IM MISERABLE AND MY KIDS ARE TOO. DO U KNOW ANY RESOURCES? I PRAY AND PRAY BUT IF HE HEARS ME HE JUST STARTS CURSING. I FEEL LIKE I’M LIVING WITH SATAN. PLEASE KEEP ME AND MY FAMILY IN YOUR PRAYERS AS I WILL THE SAME. I WILL TELL U, IF UR CHILDREN ARE STILL YOUNG ENOUGH GET OUT BEFORE IT REALLY AFFECTS THEM MINE HAS STARTED TO ACT OUT AND I BLAME MYSELF FOR NOT LEAVING. IM SO AFRAID I TRIED AND BECAUSE THEY MADE ME STAY, I NEVER HEAR THE END OF, “U WERE TRYING TO LEAVE ME, U CAN’T DO ANYTHING OR GO ANYWHERE!”
January 7th, 2016 at
Thank you for sharing. The GoodTherapy.org Team is not qualified to offer professional advice, but we encourage you to reach out immediately. You can find crisis resources here:
The National Domestic Violence Hotline can be reached at any time at this number: 1-800-799-7233 (TTY: 1-800-787-3224)
A therapist or counselor may also be able to provide assistance. You can locate one in your area by entering your ZIP code here:
Please know you are not alone. Help is available, and we wish you the best of luck in your search.
The GoodTherapy.org Team
JeffDecember 13th, 2015 at 1:11 PM
Okay I am on the other side of the spectrum one question if I did not know that I was being verbally abusive nor my wife of 25 years did tell me she disliked my occasional outbursts and immature behavior that really emotionally scared her I would of left and got professional help. She is the most sweetest human being I have ever met and yes I feel guilt beyond belief. It took me an experience to understand what I did. Once I received help my diagnosis is bi-polar and head trauma caused by many concussions. She has now brought me back in to the household. My dealings with my children always went well most of them are out of the home. Okay my behavior has changed only slightly but I see the big picture but in the way of partnership in our marriage we always made all of our life choices together, Out side of the home we always okay most of the time got along. We hangout still and enjoy our company together and have the same interest. Okay I know the damage has been done but is there any advice I can get to save us. When I realized the way I was acting towards such a saint It took her a ORDER FOR PROTECTION for me to realize what I have done to her.We still care about one another-SO HOW CAN I SAVE OUR MARRIAGE?
I know I have a long rode ahead of me and I do not worry about being alone at my 50 year old age but I have read so many of these sights and seem so text book.But I now know I am accountable for my own actions. I have never cheated on her nor go out to bars and seek sex she even has female problems that effected us form not having intercourse for years. I still love her as my wife and I feel that I cant live without her daily companionship we hae such a strong connection its hard for 2 people to ever find that but can I fix the damage and how?
JvDecember 18th, 2015 at 3:37 PM
This is my current situation. What did you do?
December 18th, 2015 at
Thank you for sharing. The GoodTherapy.org Team is not a substitute for professional advice, but if you are experiencing abuse or are in crisis, we encourage you to reach out.
You can get a list of therapists in your area by entering your ZIP code here:
If you need immediate help, please contact local law enforcement or go to your nearest emergency room. You can find other crisis resources here:
You can also find more information on emotional abuse here:
Please know you are not alone. Help is available, and we wish you the best of luck in your search.
The GoodTherapy.org Team
SandraJanuary 27th, 2016 at 11:43 AM
I can relate to so much of this. I have been married for almost two years. I have been seperated, (living alone) for about a year and a half. My husband has a bad temper and although he never physically hurt me, emotionally he has. He has said horrible things to me that from not being in love me anymore, that he hopes i F’ing die, and just about every name in the book. Even before we were married any big argument we had usually ended with him leaving me and saying he didnt want to be with me. I would cry and eventually he would just act like nothing happened. After years of this, (even before getting married) I never felt like i was secure in the relationship because if he didnt get his way then he could just walk. I have filed for divorce two times, and keep canceling because for some reason I miss him and I cant move forward. The worst part is, I usually contact him. Even after he says I am pathetic for wanting to be with him. I am not financially dependent on him at all, on the contrary he is very bad with his money although as a career he still cannot save enough money to move out. We have no children, nor own anything together. My H likes to go out and when he does he drinks ALOT. This caused most of our arguments, as well as his gambling addiction whether at casinos or online. I just dont know what to do anymore. I have anxiety even writing this because I cant seem to walk away and let him go yet I know this isn’t normal. Any advice would mean so much.
KellyJanuary 29th, 2016 at 10:19 AM
Here is another update.
My husband and I have decided to reconcile. I am moving back home soon. This has been an extremely difficult journey. The further we got away from each other the more miserable be both became. Sitting across the table with lawyers and celebrating Christmas was a very emotional time. We said to each other, “why are we doing this?” We love each other deeply. He realized that he needed to give up the anger he was carting around because it was causing him to lose everything that was important to him. It took huge courage on his part….and a lot of anger management books and frankly going to church (counseling didn’t seem to help). Btw – we were not very religious until this past year.
I needed to do my part too. As you can see in some of my recent posts, I needed to accept accountability also. I let him treat me badly. I did not stand up for myself. I needed to get strong and BELIEVE that I am deserving of love and respect. He was hurting me because I let him. I have been living in an apartment outside the home for over a year now. I spent the time getting myself out of being under his thumb. I put more importance on what he thought of me than what I thought of me.
We both have learned that no one can fix your insecurities or pain but you. Blaming will keep you from healing. Your friends and family ones can support you but ultimately you have to own your own stuff.
We were in a cycle of blame. He was angry and wanted me to fix it (blame) vs owning it himself. I wanted to fix him and blame him for hurting me vs. taking care of me.
My husband has learned to let go of the negative baggage he was carrying around and love with an open heart. I been with him for 28 years. No one knows him like I do and I truly believe he has let go of the baggage. I feel like I got the man I married back….and even better.
Now, it is up to me to heal. I am working very hard to let go of the trauma. I have many moments when something triggers it. When it happens, I take time to allow myself to be with the pain, comfort it and let it go. Many times, my husband is with me and he sits quietly next to me while I work through it.
Lakewood Church here in Houston has great sermons online (John Gray is fantastic). We learned that our mistakes are forgiven by God. When someone does wrong to us, it is for God to handle. We need to let go of the wrongs done to us because they prevent us from moving forward. When we stray from what God has planned for us and make mistakes, God forgives us. We need to have faith in that and let go of the burden of those mistakes. The burden that I am working on letting go is the guilt of not standing up for myself and taking care of me….and believing that I am strong. I am loved. I am important. And, I am deserving.
The only way we could get to this point was to stop blaming each other and own our own happiness.
I have not moved home yet. We decided to remodel the bedroom first. I have trouble spending time in that room. It is where most of the abuse occurred. We are working together to paint and purchase new furniture. We decided to use re-claimed wood! Seemed appropriate.
This journey has been about my marriage but it more importantly it has been about me. I strong. I am loved. I am important. I am deserving. I keep saying this multiple times a day and have started to believe it.
I believe the same for each of you also. Please keep fighting for strength and believe that your deserving.
Hugs to each of you.
Jeff – My advice to you is to love your wife with an open heart. Truly let go of all your anger…..don’t just find ways to control it. If you are still having trouble, maybe try going to church and ask God for forgiveness. Own your actions. Absolutely no anger or outbursts is the only way. Even one will set you both miles back. She is extremely fragile….like a thin piece of glass. One outburst will ruin her. Observe her. See what the anger has done to her. When you really see it with an open heart, it will stop you from ever doing it again. …that is what I believe and all these women are hoping for from their husbands. She will be angry with you for awhile but give her time to let it pass. Stay strong…..and calm. It will take time for her to see that the storm is over. Most importantly, never, ever do it again. If you think you can’t let go of the anger, don’t go back to her. Lastly, here might be a motivating factor – you will never be in a healthy relationship until you let go of the anger. Isn’t better to do it now and be with the women you truly love?
JBFebruary 18th, 2016 at 7:27 AM
Just the same situation including two boys, but not as brave so haven’t started divorce. Too scared to face life on my own, catalyse a split home for my boys, face the impoverished life we would lead with the boys and know I can’t face the abuse he’d throw (and it would be tireless!) if I stood up to him. He is so sickeningly gentlemanly and so proud of how romantic his shallow gestures are when in public, but so cruel, irrational, egocentric and unfair the moment we’re alone. Alcohol makes him far far worse and yet he refuses to cut back because “this is (his) only happiness in life.” Of course it’s not, but simply an excuse to continue to do exactly what he wants to do when he wants to do it, and nothing more. I could never hope to stand up to him, he would simply make my life hell. What I’m really trying to say is that to the lady who started this thread, I have the utmost respect for you, for you’re clearly far braver than I. I have no family support network to fall back on, nor do I have friends who are strong enough to identify the games that he plays involving them. No relationship, including friendship, is perfect, and when he wants to really isolate and hurt me more, he tells my friends some of the things that in the past is confided in him about, i.e.idiosyncrasies or things that those friends have done to annoy or upset me, and what has happened in the past is that that friend has pulled away and got angry with me because of what he has told them. He’s then been successful in alienating any allies or external comfort I thought I’d found. I cannot possibly feel more alone. Sorry.
KellyFebruary 18th, 2016 at 10:20 AM
Reading your post brings back so many feelings and memories. I felt hopeless. I wanted my family to stay together. I want my husband to love me. I wanted the tornado around me to stop.
I don’t know if this will help, but I can tell you what changed for me. I started changing me. It was not at first about standing up to my husband outwardly. It was about how I received the words he was throwing out there. I stopped letting them sink in. I stopped owning what he was saying. I started to recognize that what was happening to him was something I didn’t own. It was soooo hard to do because everything he was projecting was an expectation from him for me to own it. Then, I started on a different mode of dealing with him by just observing his behavior. The more I observed it, the stronger I got. I saw his anger and pain vs. owning it. I also started taking better care of me physically. Yoga and running became my “me time”. I found myself getting more centered and stopped giving myself away. I became protective of what I let in. It was not about fighting back. It was about not internally receiving it.
It was a little easier for me because I moved out of the house into an apartment. I also had a safe place to go and have quiet time. However, it was also a place of feeling alone and missing my family.
I don’t think you need to stand up to him outwardly right now. Maybe start standing up to him by not letting yourself receive it inside you. Emotionally step away from what is happening and observe him. You may be surprised at what you see.
Here is something else I learned. Emotions come from essentially two places; Love or Fear. When you observe him, you will likely see his fear. When I started to see my husbands fear, it changed everything for me. I realized that what he was projecting had nothing to do with me. It was his own pain and fears. And, when I was owning it, it kept him from owning it. It was bad cycle we were in.
Our big learning is that we own our own happiness. I thought I was but I realized I was just blaming him for treating me badly and not taking ownership.
I believe you are a very strong women. Anyone that survives each day of abuse being thrown at them is very strong. I dug deep within myself and found the courage to not let it penetrate me anymore.
To keep from feeling reduced by his words, I also kept saying many times everyday “You are strong. You are loved. You are important. You are deserving.” (something I still do today because I am still on my journey)
Big hug to you, JB. Stay strong.
JBFebruary 18th, 2016 at 3:07 PM
Thank you Kelly xx
JoeFebruary 23rd, 2016 at 4:22 AM
As I read your posts, I could not help but think of the years I put up with the same type of treatment. My wife has beat me down emotionally for most of our marriage. She knows that I love my daughters and leaving them is impossible. I have even convinced myself that I need to stay till they leave to college. Do I know that is wrong? Absolutely but just can’t leave my babies. I have 8 more years and then I’m done. I have asked for change and she has promised it so many times but nothing. My advice to you is to stick to your plan and move on. Life has to better right. Good luck and God Bless.
JBFebruary 23rd, 2016 at 10:35 AM
Hi back Joe,
I’ve come to the conclusion that it would be selfish of me to do anything but maintain some semblance of normality for my boys (12 and 16) until, like you’ve aimed for, college or University.
I would hope that I had the strength to reassess that, should I begin to become ill, but for as long as I’m able I know/think/hope that I can keep it together enough to last the distance.
I’ve no way of knowing how much you’ve been eroded away, and to what extent your wife’S behaviour has taken its toll, but I’m sure that you too will know when enough is enough or it’s become too hard a grind.
Never forget also, that the fact that you’re ABLE to stick it out for your daughters, in itself makes you strong, and probably far stronger than you give yourself credit for.
Hang in there, if you can. Good luck to you too.
KellyFebruary 23rd, 2016 at 10:36 AM
My heart goes out to you. I am guessing that you feel trapped…..that your wife is bringing you down and you feel you can’t do anything about it because you feel that it will take you away from your kids.
I can tell you I felt that way. I moved out of the house and missed my family terribly. They are teenagers and so many little things were happening that I was not part of. I was missing out on so much. Some of your fears were my reality. I was also so much in love with my husband and even though he was hurting me, I wanted him. I just wanted the storm to stop.
One day, my husband was unloading and blaming me in a pretty serious way. I reached rock bottom. At that moment I kicked him out of the room, emotionally fell to my knees and sobbed. I have not been a very religious person. At that moment, I asked God to help me. I ask Him to help me see the path. I went to the church I occasionally attend and sat with one of the pastors there and uncontrollably cried for several hours. We prayed. I asked God for forgiveness for my mistakes. At that moment, the pastor told me from this point on, my husband can’t attack me anymore. I made peace with myself and God. It is not my husbands place to judge me. It was a liberating moment for me.
I started observing my husbands behavior. I started looking in his eyes when he was unloading. I emotionally separated myself from his unloading. When I did it, I saw him differently. I saw his pain and fear. I saw him trying to get me to own his problems. I saw his lack of self control.
I will also never forget the day I told him that I don’t own his happiness. He was shocked….probably because he thought I did. Once I got to that point, I needed to start to own MY happiness. I needed to care more about what I thought of me vs. what he thought of me.
I am a senior leader for one of the largest companies in the world. It has not been easy for a women to get to this level. I spent my entire life being negatively judged and picked apart by everyone. I have been a pioneer for women in business. Over the years, all that judgement, including my husband, wore me down.
When I stopped owning my husband’s blame and judgement, I started asking the right questions.
Why do I allow him to hurt me?
Why do I allow my feelings to be put up for debate and judgement?
What is keeping me from putting myself first?
Why am I not protecting myself?
Why do I get a little strong and risk myself so quickly?
I own my happiness. I own my path. This is my life. A marriage license does not give my husband the right to decide how I live it.
Standing up to him started with no longer receiving what he was throwing at me. It was the biggest hurdle.
I believe that victims of abuse are very strong people. Dig deep for that strength to believe that you are strong, you are loved, you are important and you are deserving.
God Bless. Hug.
KellyFebruary 24th, 2016 at 10:15 AM
I just wanted to share with you something that happened last night.
There was a big storm here. Bushes were banging on the bedroom window. My husband was snoring. It brought back traumatic memories of him startling me with his snoring and not caring. He refused to lose weight or do anything to stop the snoring. He even denied that he was doing it. I was so ill back then and sleep was so important. It also brought terrible flashbacks of him unloading on me in the middle of the night.
The fear in me last night got so bad I had to leave the room and sleep elsewhere. He stayed with me while I cried. He said several times, “I am sorry I did this to you”.
I could have lashed out at him and he would have taken it but that would not have done me (or him ) any good. Instead, I decided to own my fears. I cried….a lot. I let myself feel the pain and fear. He held me when I wanted him to….it was not always. I probably cried for half an hour. Eventually, I laid down and started to fall asleep. He left me alone because he was afraid of keeping me awake with his snoring (allergies).
He has lost most of the weight and does not snore like that anymore usually.
I got up this morning still feeling some of the trauma but happy that I handled it ok. I felt the pain and let it go. I have long road of getting through it but I am digging deep to get through it.
JBFebruary 24th, 2016 at 9:45 PM
Well done Kelly. Stay strong xx
LuvAJune 27th, 2016 at 12:04 PM
I summed up my life for a reason. It’s been roughly 8 years I have endured this. I wrote this because I do not want to go back, but decided that it is best to do an self-assessment of the reasons for not returning.
REASONS WHY I SHOULD NOT RETURN
1. THE THREATS – voiced life-threatening once, and countless other threats over the years.
2. THE DECEIT – Outright lying (pathological or compulsive, who knows).
3. THE HYPOCRISY – done without shame.
4. THE DISRESPECT – not targeted at me only; even his own mother and countless others.
5. FALSE HOPES & PROMISES – throughout the years, not just regarding our relationship/marriage.
6. EMOTIONAL DETACHMENT – was never in tune emotionally from the very start.
7. LACK OF CONTROL – anger, speech, actions, financially, socially, food & drink, sexually.
8. LACK OF LOVE / SELFISHNESS – only interested in his own satisfaction and interests, self-opinionated, beyond reasoning or reasonableness, unless suited to his interests.
9. CONTROLLING & ABUSIVE BEHAVIOR – not just with me. Belittling words, actions, facial expressions, name-calling.
10. REVENGEFUL – something to fear. Keeps things about people in mind, to resurface at an opportune time, to destroy the person later on, when things does not go HIS way.
11. JEALOUS ACTIONS – accusations, constantly harassing on phone and abusive words if I go out.
12. DISPLAYS MENTAL INSTABILITY – excessive indecisiveness/inconsistency.
13. DRUNKENNESS – has stopped and resumed way too many times, thinks HE can control it.
14. SPIRITUAL DETACHMENT – overly critical, doubtful, lack of improvement – no support.
15. I PERSONALLY CANNOT DETERMINE ANY REASON TO RETURN – my life was only fear, insecurity, poor physical and emotional health, disappointments, tears, shame and uncertainty, emotional roller-coaster – had seen the signs before marriage because thought he would change. Gave my all and worked hard on too many chances but there is no more love.
There are no specific details here but believe me, they sad and depressing. I also have to face countless voicemails and sending messages that he has changed. I’ve heard it way too many times. Although it has been life-changing for my son and I (including my parents who has taken me in), I am determined not to return. Although he was not physical, he knew how to instill fear, and it took only one life-threatening remark (he also started keeping a machete in the living room) to make my son and I flee. I cannot risk that he is pretending to change. I know the man, I know the lies, I know the fear. I am supposed to have mediation to talk with him; he says he has matters to discuss about his assets. I’ll listen to his concerns but once he starts his annoying begging, saying he’s changed, I’ll have to show him the facts plain and simple as above. He would know the details. Also I would like to ask him what exactly does he mean by he’s changed…what has he changed? He’d most likely say that he has stopped drinking. But how would he know if he’s no longer abusive, if there is no one around him that he can abuse.
Besides how can I take his word for it, that he’s not continuing to pass on his abusive frustrations towards his mom and others. This is a dead end for me. I’d like to hear what anyone thinks about this.
LuvADecember 2nd, 2016 at 8:55 AM
I’m updating on my post early this year. There has been issues arising of course, since I left on Feb. 24th 2016 including further threats by voicemails (they do not block by the way), and the latest was one saying that he was with another woman. Well two days ago, I was finally able to confirm this was indeed true…was my suspension when I lived with him anyway. Therefore my update is that I would be pursuing a divorce. I have to say that I do not feel sad or disoriented, given the treatment that I had been receiving. There is nothing to yearn for in those type of circumstances. I have had enough time to adjust to my new situation including financially which has been challenging. My 14-yr old son (not my husband’s son) has become happier and feels secure. We are both now able to move on fully, with full support from my parents, where we have received a place to stay. They have offered us also to build an extension to their house on their land, for which we are grateful. I feel a huge weight off my shoulder. I just want to say that I have been working on making my mind over with regards to the type of person that I may be attracted to in the future, given that I have encountered two abusive marriages. I would need to focus on someone more compatible, for I am a friendly, helpful and balanced person who sees good in everyone…thus why I would’ve continued to work on the marriage had infidelity not step in. I am grateful for everyone who helped with their support, including yourself Kelly.
Veronica CDecember 2nd, 2016 at 10:26 AM
Thank you so much
KellyJune 28th, 2016 at 8:06 AM
First of all, congratulations on your courage for standing up for yourself. The first step can be so difficult. No one should endure the things you described. At this point, it isn’t about if he will change. It is more about if you will continue change. In my opinion, the cycle of abuse doesn’t really change unless you stop letting it in. His actions are his problem and for him to own. Now is the time for you to focus on you and start asking yourself the really hard questions about how you got there. What is it in you that needs to change? How do you get centered and calm? What do you need to do to continue to strengthen yourself?
Right now, it isn’t about if he has changed but rather it is about if you have changed.
BTW, you will know if he changed. You were married long enough to know him better than anyone. You will feel it. He stops making excuses and saying that he has changed. He is calm and settled. He isn’t blaming. He is quiet and listening. He is humble.
My husband and I both had to take accountability for our actions in how we got to such a terrible place. I needed to stop trying to fix him. I didn’t own his anger. I needed to stop being a victim and own (and stand up for) my happiness in spite of him being unhappy. I was enabling him to stay angry by accepting it.
My advice is to stop worrying about if he will change. Start focusing on your own change. Own your happiness.
You are strong. You can do it. Most of all, you are deserving and loved. Big hugs to you!
LuvAJune 28th, 2016 at 1:28 PM
Thank you so much for the encouragement. Over the past few days, he sent some voicemails that we very threatening and manipulative. He has sent lawyer letter wherein shows he lied to them. He also wants me to sign to disowning any interests in his property, etc. I have been advised to stop bending my head in fear whenever I see him, because he has been feeding off my fear. I am going to be seeking local professional assistance through my Employee’s Assistance Program. I really need to work on taking charge of myself and my strengths and my happiness. Thank you for this Kelly.
KellyJuly 1st, 2016 at 7:14 AM
For me, everything changed when I stopped spending energy on trying to figure my husband out and started focusing on me. One of the many books I read, talked about getting back to your core values. I took time to identify what I valued and started focusing my energy on living my life according to those values. They were very simple values such as family, love, honesty and integrity. I started focusing those values on me. I needed to take better care of me. By loving myself, it meant protecting me and not giving myself away. Letting all that anger and negative energy in was not protecting me. I had to recognize that having boundaries was not selfish. I started being honest with myself. I stopped making excuses and took accountability. Then, most importantly, I forgave myself. I wasn’t strong enough to stand up to him and it did some serious emotional damage to me. Once I forgave myself, I could focus on the future of building self love.
I also learned that there are essentially two emotions – Love and Fear. To help you from bending your head to him, maybe start observing him when he starts his bad behavior. I think you will see the fear in him. The fear is not about you. You can’t fix that. He has to chose to make it stop. When I started observing vs. getting caught in his tornado, it was another big turning point for me.
Btw. He obviously doesn’t get it if he is still threatening and trying to manipulate.
There are plenty of great books out there to help you. I think I bought about a dozen!! Church was really helpful too. That is where I learned forgiveness of myself. I also spent time doing things that were very quiet, like reading, painting, crafts, exercising, etc.. I desperately needed calmness. I needed to get centered and settled.
It is your life. You are in charge of your happiness. You are strong and deserving. Big hug to you! Hope this helps.
LuvAJuly 1st, 2016 at 3:27 PM
Thanks again Kelly. Your comments truly does help.
AmandaJuly 7th, 2016 at 1:54 PM
Well, I’m not sure where to begin. My journey with my now ex-fiancé begin almost three years ago to this date. I had just started getting over a previous relationship, and I thought I was ready to open my heart again. I met my ex on an online dating site. He was living out of state at the time but would be moving close by where I was at within then eat month or so. It was great! We talked sporadically throughout the day and sometimes our conversations went on for hours. When he finally moved up to where I was, we went on our first date. It was everything you could hope for. He was sweet, funny, charming, attentive and seemed genuinely interested in me.
After a few months of dating I would say was when insane my first “red flag.” I worked in a profession consisting mostly of men so I had a lot of male coworkers and friends. One of my male coworkers was moving away and was having a little get together at a local bar as a farewell. I was not a big drinker, but yes, I did like to go out with friends from time to time and have a good time. I let my ex know I was going out for the evening. He made comments about me getting drunk with a bunch of guys. While he never said no I shouldn’t go, he made it clear he was disappointed and I would never live it down. I made the choice to not go, for fear of upsetting him. I allowed this mans opinion from keeping me hanging out with friends. It was several months later when some friends invited us over for New Year’s Eve. We were in the process of moving in together, so we said we would try to make it depending on how the move went. We unfortunately we’re not able to make it due to time and the weather ( we lived in SD at the time).
Red flag number #2- 5 happened while we first moved in together. The first one started when we went out to dinner once. I excused myself to go to the bathroom. When I came back be made comments about how the waitress gave him her number, how she wanted to have sex with him. WHAT!?!? Where did that come from? We had a long talk about it and he said he was only joking. He didn’t mean to make me upset, and he was sorry. I told him it was unacceptable and it should never happen again. The next red flag is he started talking about other women he was talking to that he met from the same dating site we met. He was also talking about how these two female coworkers were “fighting” over him. One day he was in the shower, I looked through his phone and saw texts between him and a coworker where he told her she was beautiful, subtle comments about how he wished he wasn’t in a relationship otherwise maybe they could be together and even said he had an extra room in the house as she was looking for a new place to live!!! WTF!? We had our first huge argument about this. I was so ready to be done with this relationship already. But I stayed…I gave up my career when we moved in together and I didn’t want to run to my family and tell them I made a mistake. And to top it off, I just found out I was pregnant.
Shortly after moving in together, we found out he got his old job back in FL. He had two kids from a previous marriage and we made the decision to move to FL to be closer to his kids and the job was better. As I was having difficulties finding a job, we started our own business (pool company). Prior to moving to fl we got into arguments about his talking to the coworker still and comments about other women wanting to be with him. So many times he told me I could just stay and he would go to FL. It was like he was telling me to stay behind. But we were having a baby and I thought once we got away and started fresh it would be ok.
Fastforward…. The stress of working full time and running a business took its toll. We didn’t have a lot of friends down there. He didn’t know how to take out his anger and frustration, so I was on the receiving end. It was never physically but emotional abuse to a T. Making comments about how I was an idiot, I couldn’t do anything right, I couldn’t cook/clean, I didn’t look pregnant (?) and of course the comments about how other women gave him numbers, wanted to be with him and have sex with him. It never ended. While it was not an everyday thing, it was enough to make me feel that way about myself.
Over the next couple years the name calling and belittling continued. The comments about other women wanting him and giving him their numbers while we were out continued. The ultimate blow happened when be went away for training for five weeks. As a stay at home mom I was able to travel up and see him every weekend. There was one weekend where we made the decision not to go, and he had an affair. I later found out after going through our phone logs that he had talked to at least a dozen other women while away at training, sent and received pictures and videos of who knows what. It actually all started a month before he left. He was talking to some of these women as I laid in the bed next to him.
We had an argument about everything and agreed to do counseling. He apologized but we never really addressed it as we should have. When it came time for counseling be kept saying we didn’t need it, it’s a waste of time and a wast of money. I pushed for awhile but he kept putting it off. Eventually we stopped talking about, and basically brushed it under the rug and went on with life.
I was never really the same after that. He kept talking about having another baby and I found myself distancing from the relationship. We could barely hold a conversation together and when we spent time together, he was consumed in his phone. I was understanding as a lot of the time on the phone was business related calls, but a good amount of it was him playing games or doing whatever.
Things were rocky to say the least. He would constantly point out my weight with comments about telling people I was pregnant bc I looked like I was. Asking when the baby was due as he patted my stomach (I was not pregnant). When I told him he needed to stop and it hurt my feelings, he turned it around and said he was only joking and I didn’t know how to take a joke.
Right around Mothers Day he began to get overprotective of his phone. One night I randomly woke up, took his phone and hid in the closet. I found out he was bad mouthing me to one of our female employees. To his ex. Complaining how I just sit on my butt all day, I’m lazy and everything under the sun. I then went to his web browser and found out he was on a dating site…again. Talking to another dozen women or so. I had it!! I moved my stuff to the spare room and decided enough was enough. I made arrangements to move back home and the next day went to reserve a uhaul. as I didn’t have a job, I reserved it for later in the week so I could talk to him about finances. In the process of waiting he agreed to get counseling and we talked about a lot of things. We decided to start counseling once the new insurance kicked in.
Not even two weeks later I found out he was back on the dating site and talking to women again. I had it. I reserved a uhaul, took enough money to get me by til I got settled, and moved across country with our daughter.
It’s been almost two months since I’ve been gone and he constantly is telling me he wants to work it out. we can fix it. All while continuing to have his dating profile still and talking to women. I eventually went down for a visit for Father’s Day and found out that while he was telling me over and over how he wanted to be with me and work it out, he didn’t like what I said and eventually slept with another women in our house multiple times. I’m crushed. He still wants to work it out. He calls me crying saying he regrets everything. He admits he was wrong and a lot of the negative ways I feel about myself are a result of the way that he has treated me. He tells me I can’t keep thinking about the past and I just need to move forward and we can work it out. There is a small part of me that says I can see he is actively trying to change (seeking counseling, not resorting to insults when he isn’t getting his way like he used to, giving me space without me having to ask, etc.). But there is this HUGE part of me that says …what the hell are you thinking? Look what he’s done to you! Look what he did to his ex (she reached out to me after I left and our stories are identical). This has been going on for too long and I can’t just get over it. He talks about doing couples counseling but I don’t want to do joint counseling as I don’t want it under the pretense we are a couple and trying to work things out.
I have been going counseling already since moving back. I realize I am co-dependent and we touched lightly on the possibility of PTSD. While I will continue counseling, he has finally reached out and said he wants to do individual counseling via Skype with the same counselor and the possibility of doing joint sessions.
I am just so torn as I do see significant changes in him unlike before. I know we’ve had a lot of the honeymoon phase stuff sh where things get better for a little bit and they always go right back. And that’s what I worry about. As I have made progress in moving forward. I just don’t want to continue under the assumption he and I are working things out and hold myself back from further progress or even finding someone who treats me like I deserve. But the other side of me says I don’t want to give up on him as we do have a family and he is truly showing glimpses of hope that he could change…
KellyJuly 8th, 2016 at 11:58 AM
Wow. It took a lot of courage to move out and take a stand. Congratulations.
I remember being on the fence and not know how to trust my own judgement. I found the below link as a helpful guideline from the National Abuse Hotline. It also gave me words to express my concerns to him.
For my husband and I to work it out, he also read a lot of books about his anger to get to the root cause of it. The key was that he acknowledged it was a choice to be angry and he no longer had a single abusive moment with me….not even one. He also changed the way he approached his job which was making him feel out of control and angry.
All of your Fiance’s cheating and need for attention from other women is something he needs to address as well. There is a lot there to solve on his part….and it is not your responsibility. He has to figure it out. You can’t fix it.
There is no reason for you to rush into any decision and nor should he pressure you. In the meantime, take time for yourself to get strong. I am guessing have heard a lot of negative things and been on edge for a long time. I suggest using this time to care for yourself and not focus on if he has changed.
….and if he can’t understand your need for the space and time, he has not changed.
I believe women that have been subject to abuse are very special and strong women. Take time to restore your confidence and get centered again. Focus on you and your happiness. It is your life and your choice how you want to live it….and anyone that wants to push you into what they want and believe is not good for you.
Big hugs to you!
KellyJuly 25th, 2016 at 1:05 PM
I completely agree with you. A major turning point for me was taking accountability for my own happiness. I had to stop being a victim and start owning up to my responsibilities. I also had to stop taking accountability for others happiness. I could not fix my husband. He had to own his happiness also. I am still on a journey but heading in the right direction.
I also agree that age is not a factor. It is never too late to choose your own destiny.
RossJuly 25th, 2016 at 2:11 PM
Thank you and good luck to all of you to find the courage to live life on your terms.
joeSeptember 2nd, 2016 at 7:57 AM
i have been in therapy for six months …stopped drinking sober now but my wife of 18 years has filed for divorce and is going to go through with it.
KellySeptember 6th, 2016 at 12:32 PM
It is hard for anyone on the outside to judge what you should do. Only you can answer that.
However, I believe, the answers are found when you start asking the right questions. My husband and I were able to reconcile and save our marriage when we changed the questions we were asking.
I used to ask a lot of questions about why he was so angry and took it out on me. I wanted to understand why he couldn’t see how much he was hurting me and if he could only see it, he would stop. So, I kept trying to help him understand what he was doing to me. He just kept justifying his anger. It got us no where. We were both rooted in our position and blaming each other.
Then, through many self help books and church, I woke up one morning (literally) and realized that I was going about it all wrong. I was asking the wrong questions.
I needed to start looking at me. I needed to start asking why I was letting it happen…and what I needed to do to protect and care for myself. When I changed, he changed….then, everything changed.
He could no longer blame me. He had to own his own happiness and fix his own problems. There were things I did wrong that he wanted to hang onto and continue to blame me. My response was that I asked God for forgiveness. My mistakes were forgiven by God. I apologized to my husband for those mistakes but now it was his responsibility to find a way to move forward. I didn’t own that. Btw – His anger was so much more than my mistakes.
We choose our happiness. My advice for you is to not worry about what he is doing but more about looking inward and asking questions about yourself. The answers might be that you need to leave to protect and care for yourself. Only you will know.
Put yourself first. You are deserving and you are loved. Big hug.
MeganSeptember 8th, 2016 at 11:47 PM
Hi Kelly. So many of the stories that are posted here are horrible yet very familiar. I was in an emotionally and verbally abusive relationship for 22 years with some physical elements as well. About 4 months ago I left my husband. I had enough. Especially since I often told him he was abusive, aggressive, hypocritical etc. so it was not as if he was unaware of his behaviour and the fact I didn’t think it was acceptable. About 4 months prior to this separation I decided to give him a chance if he attended marriage counselling (which he did), but as soon as his abusive nature started to show in the sessions, he didn’t want to attend anymore.
The last incident involved him screaming at me, calling me names and putting me down in front of our children because I disagreed with him about something and then made the grave mistake of telling him to calm down.
Since I left him, he seems to really get it this time. Maybe because I was done and unwilling to communicate with him or play the game.
At any rate, he has admitted his issues, realised (or shared anyway) that he is abusive, he started going to counselling and has enrolled and began attending a respect course (aimed at domestic violence).
I obviously think that is all great for him as a person, and will help him to be a better role model for the children. Where it leaves me I’m not exactly sure.
Sometimes when your done, your done. That is the way I was thinking and also, there is a history of bad treatment and memories.
However, I do give him credit for the way he has changed so far, and the steps he’s continuing to take.
Reading what people have written on this site, it seems there is no easy choice. There seems to be doubts and regrets whether you stay or go. So for me, I feel torn between whether I give him a final chance because he has made acknowledgements and taken positive steps but there is still baggage, and I don’t feel like he’s an honourable person having ever treated someone badly because he felt he could get away with it. We also have children by the way.
You stayed with your partner, just wondered what was your thought processes regarding staying or going.
KellySeptember 19th, 2016 at 6:57 AM
I am sorry I missed your request for my input. I was out with shoulder surgery (could not use a keyboard) and am still catching up.
Congratulations on choosing you by moving out. I moved out for over a year. It was really hard to do. It was so painful. I needed to put me first. I took the time to first get some rest and feel quiet. My apartment was not only my safe, quiet place, it became a place of self discovery. I started doing things for myself. I learned to cook. I painted and got back to running again. I also cried a lot. I read, kept a journal, prayed and meditated.
I kept trying to answer the same question as you which is “should we divorce?”. I think I put too much pressure on myself to answer that question. It was not about that. It was was about healing and owning my happiness.
Giving us the space forced us to both look inside ourselves. He wasn’t just hurting me, he was hurting himself. I was hurting me too.
It seems like your husband might be trying. However, I think the question for you is “what are you doing to help yourself?”. It isn’t just about what he is doing wrong and judging if he is still angry. If you go back as the same you, it won’t work.
Why did you accept his anger and control? What did it do to you that you need to heal and fix? You may go through (if not already) a period of blame and feeling like a victim. You will need to get out of that to make it work. I had to own what happened to me and fix me. I had to take accountability for my wounds.
I found myself sometimes getting angry for what he did to me. After having a meltdown and yelling at him, I realized that I only felt worse. It wounded both of us. I starting practicing healing and not getting upset. I needed to learn to comfort myself.
My husband did his part to learn about his anger and overcome it. I did my part to not give myself away. We both learned to own our own happiness.
Big hugs to you, Megan. Your journey, no matter where it leads you, will be difficult but well worth it. We are “hear” for you.
TingTingSeptember 17th, 2016 at 4:29 PM
Kelly’s post is one of the most profound things I’ve read in such a long time. It lit a little light inside my brain and I hope more than anything else I can follow that light. I need to focus on myself and stop constantly focusing on his negativity. I need to get centered and know that I will be alright no matter what I do as long as I pray, ask for help, knowledge, guidance from above and from people like Kelly, who have found an inner peace with themselves that carried them through, no matter what the ultimate outcome may be. I don’t need to know what that is. I just need to stay centered within myself and not self-centered like. Like focus on my own shortcomings, downfalls, attitudes, self-talk, behaviors and I won’t have time to worry about what he is doing. When I read LuvA’s list of things that I may find within my husband, I got panicked because my husband has a piece of every single one of those things, but the truth is, if I honestly look at myself, I could find some of each of those within myself as well and that is what I need to worry about. Fix myself as best I can and the situation will fix itself. I cannot control anything but myself and that is doubtful sometimes too. Kelly, you gave me hope when I had none today. Just a tiny little mustard seed light. Thank you.
KellySeptember 19th, 2016 at 5:56 AM
I am so proud of you. You understand that it is not about him. It is about you. Now you can begin your journey to healing…..albeit, it is really hard to do when you have so much influence around you to stay the same.
Now is the time to dig deep and find the strength to save YOU. If you can find time to be alone each day to pray, meditate, read, etc… It is your time to heal and get centered. I found that I was giving myself away each day and getting lost. It took time and determination. I am still not fully there but I am moving in the right direction. Celebrate the moments you feel centered (even if it is just a few minutes at first) and start to pay attention to how you feel when you are not. Knowing the difference is a great start.
Also, observe your husband when he is out of control vs. allowing yourself to get caught up in him. You will see his fear. It is likely fear of losing control….which causes him to ironically lose control.
Keep us posted. You are loved. You are important. You are deserving. Big hugs to you…..we are all listening.
SarahSeptember 26th, 2016 at 9:24 AM
I’ve completely emotionally detached from my husband. He was verbally and emotionally abusive for the majority of our 11 year marriage. We have three young children, and several months after the birth of our youngest, I was so low and alone, and he would alternate between neglect/cruelty, I had an affair. I know it was wrong, but it opened my eyes to how miserable I was and how much of myself I’d let go in an attempt to keep my husband “happy.” It also gave me the courage to stand up and say, “This is not working. I don’t love you anymore. If things don’t change, I’m leaving.” Since then, he has worked very hard, mostly through sheer willpower, and some occasional counseling, to change his behavior. He swears he had no idea how bad it was, that he was so mean and controlling, that his anger and mood cast a cloud over the house; he says he sees it now, he’s ashamed, and he wants to be better. There have been a few setbacks and occasional bouts of abusive behavior. But he also says and does the right things afterwards: he apologizes, owns responsibility for his actions, and doesn’t blame me. He still sometimes uses guilt and manipulative language when we have serious discussions about our future, but on the whole he seems like an entirely different person. But I think I’m too far gone. I’m still here, and I’m in therapy to work on my own conflict avoidance/people pleasing tendencies, my extremely low self-esteem, and my inability to be self-sufficient. The problem I now face is two-fold: 1) I don’t trust him, I view all his change as desperate attempts to keep me, and much of his new and improved “helpful/protective” behavior feels smothering/controlling/infantilizing. He knows about my affair and it’s difficult bc he doesn’t trust me either now. And 2) I’m still very much in love with my affair partner. The affair has been over for nearly a year, but he was my first love, and I never really got over him in the first place. It’s a very long story, how we broke up, why I married my husband while still carrying a torch for someone else I thought I’d never see again, but our reconnection reminded me of what love should be like: honest, caring, free from coercion/guilt/manipulation, and at the very heart of it, we were just the most awesome best friends who also happen to be extremely attracted to each other. But now I’m trying to let that go, work on myself and shape my own goals and find what makes me happy without depending on someone else to “complete me,” AND work on rebuilding some kind of relationship with my husband (on top of being a SAHM to three young children). It’s so so much, and if I were financially independent I think I’d already have filed for divorce. But my husband seems to be changing, he’s already a much better father than he ever was before, AND I feel such guilt over my actions, that I think I have to stay and see where it goes. I guess my question for Kelly is, do you think you would’ve chosen to reconcile if you had completely fallen out of love with your husband, even if he had changed and it was going to be better for your kids if you stayed together? I think we’re in a more honest place now; my husband knows I still love this other man, but he thinks I can love him again if I see how good it can be. I feel like it will be a miracle if I can ever feel more than general goodwill and sympathy for him, and that even just being “friends” is a lot to ask of me. I feel like I’m being so selfish and unrealistic for wanting more than security and companionship in a marriage. I want to feel like my husband is my best friend; but best friends don’t treat each other the way he treated me, nor do they hold a grudge like I feel like I’m doing. I’m so confused.
Mr BadguyApril 10th, 2018 at 2:49 PM
I feel my wife is you right now. I am changing but what I did to her is not what a best friend would do. I did not know or understand my actions due to my own chaos but still that will never make it right. Have you fallen back into love with your husband or did it end up just being a goodwill friendship?
joeOctober 17th, 2016 at 9:15 AM
I verbally abused my wife for 18 years. She filed for divorce in March since then i have been in counseling and have become 100% sober.i am doing this because i want to change for myself .i still live with her as our divorced is not finalized.we have 2 chlidren 16 and 18 .the counseling has helped alot and being sober feels great. i dont lash out but my therapist says my wife doesnt trust me after all those bad years She doesnt want to go to counseling with me she goes on her own .i hope she can finally see my improvement i love her but it was along period of abuse. my kids can see the difference maybe my wife will.
Mr BadguyApril 10th, 2018 at 2:43 PM
Wow 18 years, My wife was fed up after 8 but it was a real hard 8 years for sure and I am in the progress of fixing myself to get on track to fix us. Hope it all worked out.
KellyOctober 18th, 2016 at 7:53 AM
I also went to counseling on my own. I never went with my husband who was verbally abusive to me. We did go to non-violent communication workshops together which were the turning point to saving our marriage. If you google it, I am guessing you can find one near you.
It sounds like you have made some huge changes. It took a a lot of strength and courage to get to this point, and I encourage you to keep going. It is probably difficult to understand what she is going through and see how she can recover (with or without you). Here is my story since my husband stopped being angry:
I have been married to Mike for 26 years now. We decided to stay together in January this year. I know him better than anyone….in some cases, probably better than he knows himself. I knew when he was no longer angry. I loved him and did not want the marriage to end. Him giving up the anger and us deciding to stay together was only half the journey. That’s when my journey to healing began.
In the beginning, I was angry. I lashed out several times, followed by a lot of crying. It seemed that it was the first time I really got to say what his actions did to me. I think I spent a couple of months having outbursts and then started to understand that I needed to get it under control or I would become the abuser. Lashing out was not helping either of us because each time I calmed down, we both felt wounded and not healed.
We started spending time together with essentially no talking. We needed to get back into each others presence with no drama. We needed to be together in a calm quiet state. We avoided any and all drama. We didn’t watch scary or action movies, we didn’t allow our kids to have outbursts (we stopped them before it escalated), we did not participate in drama conversations with friends, etc.. We avoided anything that would disrupt the calm state we were striving to be in. We spent a lot of time just holding each other. The biggest healing time was holding each other while we slept. It seemed to bring calmness and reassurance. I could feel that he was calm and it helped me heal.
Even after the outburst phase, I had many moments where my fears got the best of me and I became afraid. I had to own it though. I knew that the past was not the present. I needed to heal. He may have played a big part in creating my pain but he was not responsible for fixing me. Only I can do that. It was extremely difficult.
I had a lot inside me to overcome. The first to go was the twitching. Whenever I was around him, I would twitch uncontrollably….he knew that it was because of him. I was always waiting for him to have a meltdown and it left me on edge. The twitching slowly calmed down. It isn’t completely gone but it is a lot better.
The next was trying to not indulge the flashbacks. I worked on feeling the pain, comforting it and then letting it go. That took huge courage and strength. It is easier to wallow in the pain. It takes strength to let it go.
Right now, I am focused on not letting triggers bring up old wounds. Last weekend, my teenage son used some words and tone that felt like my husbands old behavior. It sent me in an emotional tail spin for several days. It was probably the worst emotional break down I had all year. I handled it by going to bed and staying away until I could heal from it.
My husband needed to own his actions and his road to fixing it. He needed to stop blaming others and not look to me to fix him. I needed to stop being a victim and start looking at how I got to this point. I am not a push over. I am a senior executive for one of the largest global companies. Women don’t get to this position being a push over. Hopefully, your wife is working to understand her own journey and how she got to the point of allowing herself to be abused for 18 years.
We both needed to ask forgiveness from God and commit to not only being better in the marriage but more importantly better to ourselves. As you probably figured out, your anger was damaging to you. Being a victim was damaging to me.
Your wife likely sees the changes in you and is afraid it won’t stick. The best thing you can do is create a calm environment. She needs to sees the storm is over and that only happens with time. She may unknowingly test you….don’t take the bait. Stay calm.
If you want the marriage to work, tell her. Let her know that you see what your anger has done to her. Tell her about your journey and how you got to be angry. Let her know that it is not her fault nor was it her responsibility to fix it. Listen to her talk about her pain. Repeat back what you hear from her to let her know you heard her. Don’t be defensive. It was the old you that hurt her. The new (and real) you is here to comfort her.
She has been with you for 18 years and put up with your anger just so she could have the good moments with you. I am guessing that her reasons for leaving is not because she doesn’t love you. Instead, I am guessing she is leaving because she is afraid of you…..and afraid that she does not have the capability to handle your anger if it happens again. If she starts to heal, it means that she has to let her guard down. That makes her feel vulnerable which is such a scary place to be when she lived the last 18 years in a storm.
This may sound strange but she knows you like no one else but also doesn’t know you. She knows the real you which is the you she fell in love with. But the scary you is the one she has lived with. So, she doesn’t know how to live with the real you.
She is also a very special person. I am guessing, she felt your pain and anger. She took it in, owned it and tried to fix it. She has great empathy….to her own demise. She needs to get settled within herself and not own anyone else’s pain and drama. She needs to take the time to care for herself and heal. During this time, watch her grow and let her know what you see. Encourage her.
If you truly did give up your anger, she will know it. Remember, she has been with you for 18 years. She has spent a lot time trying to figure out the causes and triggers of your anger. You can’t hide or suppress it from her….doing so will only damage any trust you are trying to build.
As an example, my husband could walk in a room, not say a word or even look at me and I knew what he was feeling. I spent years either bracing myself for the storm or trying to find ways to calm and influence it before it got out of hand. He could not hide it from me.
As you see her pain and struggles to heal, don’t spiral and indulge in guilt. She needs your calmness and strength to rise up. There are basically two emotions – love and fear. Everything stems from these two. Stay with love. It is your turn to lead with positive emotions and love now. I suspect you relied on her for that in the past (my husband did).
My note is a bit rambling and all over. I hope it helps. Just as I have said to those that have been abused, you are strong and deserving of love. We are all deserving of love. Keep your heart open.
JOEOctober 19th, 2016 at 11:27 AM
i will do what you say. however she has already filed for divorce so i hope my time doesnt run out.i will stay with the love aspect but right now we only speak a little bit.i used to drink and thats when i would often lash out. One good thing is that she knows im 100 percent sober 24/7 so she knows i have very good control of myself now. I see a counselor 2x a week and he really said last night ive come a long way but he knows my wife wants the divorce.He said 18 years of verbal abuse is tough to overcome so dont expect a miracle.My wife knows im doing better but he says its tough for her to let go of the past and has very little trust in me. You know he says she may think this is a big act ..i know deep down that sheknows im improving im trying and the house is quiet now. I love her i messed !!any more input you have would be great for me
JOEOctober 19th, 2016 at 11:55 AM
i read your post again right now she will not let me touch her and we sleep in different rooms.Ithink holding her would be out of the question.im just going to continue to be kind and positive.maybe she will start to let me in??
KellyOctober 20th, 2016 at 8:51 AM
My husband and I didn’t start holding each other until I called off the divorce proceedings. I filed for divorce July, 2015 and called it off January, 2016.
Does she know that you don’t want a divorce and how you feel about her? Have you talked about your journey and what you learned? How did you get to the point of being angry and what changed for you?
Does she want a divorce because she does not love you anymore or because she loves you but is afraid of you? If it is the second, you may have a small open door. I never wanted my marriage to end. I just wanted my husband to stop being angry and get the real him back.
Now that he is back, it is strange. I know him but I am not used to living with him. I have to reprogram myself. He doesn’t react the way he used to. I am bracing myself for a storm that does not happen. When it doesn’t happen, I feel like I don’t know him. Sometimes, I have a hard time recovering from the storm that didn’t happen. I become closed off and it takes me a few days to let it go.
You could ask her questions about how she is doing with her healing and if you are creating an environment in the house that is helping? If you see her react to something, say become closed off or afraid, ask her about it? Just listen and play back what you heard even if she is lashing out on you. It is so hard to avoid getting defensive but think of it as the old, angry you that hurt her and the real you is here to comfort her.
If you really have let go of the old angry you then you are probably feeling that you want to support her and be good to her even if the marriage ends. You want to do what is best for your family which includes her.
My advice is seek to understand what your anger did to her. During my husband’s anger I felt alone and isolated. I doubted so much about myself. I felt guilty that I could not fix him. I tried to protect my kids but also stand by my husband. I never felt that I got it right. When I tried to talk to him about it, he dismissed me which added to all those feelings. I felt like I was in a no win situation because I felt responsible for fixing him and couldn’t. She probably needs to hear from you that your anger was in no way her fault.
Ask her questions to seek to understand what happened to her and how she is healing. Don’t allow yourself to spiral into guilt – that just makes it about you and not her.
Good luck to you. Hope this perspective helps.
KellyOctober 21st, 2016 at 12:20 PM
Here is something interesting. My husband continues to be more of himself lately. The last couple days he has actually been openly funny. I say “openly” funny because for a long time, he stopped laughing out loud. Today, he sent a funny video in a family group text of driving through a parking lot and a ton of birds taking off while he did it (no birds were harmed, he was slow and careful). He was laughing on the video at how many birds there were.
My reaction was that I thought it was funny but it also made me feel off balance. I feel like I don’t know this person….or I forgot who he is. As I mentioned, I know him like no one else but yet I don’t know what it is like to live with the real him.
It isn’t just me that reacts to his laughter. The kids look at him strange too. It is almost like we don’t know what his laugh sounds like! Btw. My daughter is 18 at college now and my son is 14.
He is being himself and it makes me feel off balance. I still have healing and relearning to do. Today is not yesterday. The only way he and I can make this work is if we trust in today and the future.
If you stopped laughing, start laughing with an open heart again. ….obviously, just make sure your laughter is inclusive and kind.
KellyDecember 1st, 2016 at 1:30 PM
So glad I can help you. I believe that victims of domestic abuse are very special people. I believe they love very deeply and have strength within them they have not yet discovered. They just need to dig deep and they will find it. When they find it, amazing things will happen.
I would not judge or concern yourself with what your husband is doing right now. Instead, focus on your own self discoveries. Now is the time to get back to peace and quiet. Time to remember what it feels like when you feel centered and safe. When you do that, you will begin to recognize the difference. Take time to just experience the quiet. I remember how good it felt in my apartment with no storm around me….I actually used to hug the walls because it felt so good to be safe. Do something for yourself that you have longed to do….even if it is just time to sit and read a book! Make it about you.
Also, maybe take time to listen to your grandson. Ask him questions and seek to understand. I am guessing he has been through a lot. I learned that my kids didn’t always need explanations but rather just someone to listen to what they are feeling.
If your husband wants to talk about what he is doing you can encourage him to continue but I would let him know that you both need separate journeys for now. You need to recover and you can’t do that with him right now. It is too risky. If he slips back, even for a moment, then it is very damaging to you. You are in a very delicate state. If he is truly working on himself, he will understand it.
However, I would caution you. His behavior sounded illegal and dangerous. As you get strong, you may discover that you want a different path.
Always remember that you are loved, you are important and you are deserving.
Keep us all posted. We are “hear” for you. Big hugs!
Veronica CDecember 2nd, 2016 at 5:52 AM
Thank you so much for your strong words of encouragement and words for peace. I thank Jesus for His peace.
KellyDecember 2nd, 2016 at 10:48 AM
I am so happy for you. I actually cried when I read your note. You are demonstrating such enormous courage to put yourself first. It is also so wonderful that you have such a supportive family.
I read a really good book that may help you with future relationships, “Dr. Seth’s Love Prescription: Overcome Relationship Repetition Syndrome and Find the Love You Deserve”. It may help you identify why you chose the people in your life and how to make that change.
Keep us posted. Your journey can provide encouragement to others to dig deep and find the courage within them. Always remember that you are loved, you are important and you are deserving. Big hug to you!
Have a great Holiday and Happy New Year!
LuvADecember 2nd, 2016 at 11:43 AM
Whao thanks for informing me of that book Kelly…I will definitely look into it. And yes, I shall continue to follow this blog and share.
Veronica CDecember 4th, 2016 at 9:27 PM
Thanks so much for all your help. I prayed and cried for a long time. I was so scared and confused . Only God could have gotten me out. I thank Him in Jesus Name. Amen
Be strong in the Lord and be of good courage. God will direct you. Even though it is sooo hard.
strongbeliefJanuary 2nd, 2017 at 10:36 PM
Out of the 11 years of our marriage, the past 8 years have been been gradually becoming from bad to worse because of my verbally abusive husband who is sometimes physically abusive and very controlling about my movements. He was admitted twice in the last 6 years for maniac episodes which though treated for a week in the hospital still continued after he got discharged and it has gradually stuck to his personality. I dont remember how he was in the first couple of years of marriage because of what I see constantly now is a totally changed person..he was diagnosed with Bipolar disorder and paranoia. He now believes that he has extra powers and he is the special child /messenger of GOD and he is in this world to give apt messages to the people. He refuses to get treatment and although he says he loves me very much, he blames for things which I never even committed and insults me that I would have indulged in adultery before our marriage and also during the marriage when he was out to work and our kids was out to school. I was angry, shocked and have tried several ways to convince him that I am not that type of a woman to think of such cheap things but he always gets to that even for a silly mistake (e..g in cooking) for that. It just starts spiralling..and all this happens in front of our 10 year old daughter. I put up this behaviour as he does not have anyone other than us and his sister who is bed-ridden and looked after by me. I fled from home taking my daughter and living respectfully and seperately for the past 2 months and i have stated initiating divorce proceedings. We met yesterday at the court and he pleaded to give me another chance but still during the course of our talk he blamed the whole world/neighbours/the house we live in/the state we live in but he does not take full responsibility of the problem on him. He says that I gave him pinpricks and tried to instigate him which I definitely dont do because I dont want to hear any abuses from him and also that I know his preferences. Lately he started accusing my character too much even for silly things like not finding the key or the remote etc which is totally irrelevant..He put camera in the hall to make sure I dont indulge in dirty activities,, all this really put me off and I cannot believe that he can change anything so easily in the last couple of months. He finally cursed me and my daughter that we will suffer due to this Sins committed and will be punished by GOD. How can the person who once says that he truly loves is is able to also curse ? I wish and pray that he is well wherever he is..Just that I cant be together with him and I took the kid with me as she is unable to see the pain I go through and whatever is being directed upon me today wll get shifted to her tomorrow. He says her future will have problems.. I just pray to GOD that he must protect all of us…Al though I wish deep in my hearts that all be fine and we are like any other normal family who have normal disputes and rejoin etc. I am unable to even think of rejoining him and I have gone through the hell..I only feel that I will make things worse for me and my kid if I had continue to stay or re-join now..Please advise
The GoodTherapy.org TeamJanuary 3rd, 2017 at 9:16 AM
Thank you so much for reaching out here. Please know there is help available, and there are people who care. We want to share with you some resources that may be of help as you continue to seek help. If you are experiencing any type of domestic violence or abuse, it is very important you report it and talk to someone who can assist immediately. You can call the If you are concerned that you or someone you care about may be experiencing emotional, physical, sexual, or other kinds of abuse, whether or not you would call it domestic violence, you can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 (TTY: 1-800-787-3224). They provide free confidential support at any time, day or night.
Call if you think you may be experiencing emotional, sexual, physical, or other abuse.
Call for resources about safety within an abusive relationship or while trying to leave one.
Call for resources about safety and recovery after an abusive relationship has ended.
Call if you are afraid you may be abusing someone and want help changing your behavior.
You can also reach an advocate using their private chat services 7 a.m.–2 p.m. (CST) at http://www.thehotline.org.
We have more resources available for crisis and emergency assistance here: https://www.goodtherapy.org/in-crisis.html
Thank you again for your courage in sharing your story here. We are wishing you all the best in moving forward. ♥
The GoodTherapy.org Team
LuvAJanuary 5th, 2017 at 11:04 AM
Sigh! StrongBelief, except for the feeling “he has extra powers and he is the special child /messenger of GOD” part….I feel like your story was mines. I have a sense that your experience is a mere summary of your life and that the specific details would be truly more horrid than you’ve described.
Kelly’s advice to me this year has been quite sound, and I would like to encourage you to reach out, because understanding that you’re not alone was a first source of comfort to me.
Kelly said something worth re-emphasizing: “to remove yourself emotionally from his tornado of emotions and observe his behavior instead.” Kelly, I believe that I may have done that in the latter part of my living in my husband’s home, and it indeed worked to help ME. I did inform here earlier this year, that I am in middle of handling divorce also, as in addition to abusive behavior, I was hit with a life-threat. He also admitted to adultery (whereas for years he accused me of that).
One thing is clear as I continue to follow this blog….it is apparent that the behavioral pattern of abuse is general the same, with very slight variations. Come to think of it, persons often asked me if my husband was bipolar but I could not answer as there could have been other factors influential to his apparent “nature”, that is, he said his father was a tyrant, and he was also an alcoholic.
Anyway, you’re in good hands here. Keep in touch…don’t keep things to yourself. I send my hugs to you also. I really feel for anyone that faces this…you are special my dear StrongBelief. I refuse to be a victim…I’m a Survivor…and you are also. Yeepee!!!
KellyJanuary 3rd, 2017 at 1:07 PM
Wow!! Congratulations on your courage to take a stand and put you and your family first.
Your post reminds me a little of my grandmother and step-father when they had Alzheimers. When it really took hold of them, we could no longer have a conversation that was logical and sane. It was so hard. My mom especially kept getting caught up in their world which was not real. I had to keep pulling my mom out of it and reminding her they were no longer thinking clearly. I think she was in denial about their illness and kept wishing for it to be different. It was so hard.
It seems that maybe your (ex?)husband is the same. His condition, and not taking accountability for it, causes him to exhibit behavior that is not logical or real. It must be so hard to keep from getting caught up into his tornado of insanity. What great courage you have to remove yourself and your daughter from it.
I am guessing the coming months for you will be taking time to getting yourself centered and settled. When the tornado of abuse ended for me (my husband learned to stop and we are back together), it took a long time to stop being on guard and waiting for something bad to happen. I kept taking time to just feel my own presence and calmness…..something I still do. It reassures me that I am ok and what is happening is actually real.
I am finding that the calmer my husband and I become, the people around us (mainly our kids) feel the same. Our family is repairing and happy. You and your daughter will too. Meditation and prayer helps a lot. I focus on building my own strength, not blaming and moving forward. I also asked forgiveness from God for letting things happen to me and not taking accountability. It helped me shed the victim weight I was carrying.
As far as you questioning your relationship with your (ex?)husband, only you know what is best but it seems that he needs to get himself in order. What he wants and what is best, can be two different things right now. It seems that he needs to take accountability for his illness and anything else happening. ANY words of blame are a sign that he is still abusive. Also, asking for you back without doing the work is destructive to you and selfish on his part…..it is a sign that he does not see the damage that has been done which means it will likely continue.
My advice for you is to try to remove yourself emotionally from his tornado of emotions and observe his behavior instead. It takes practice but you will get good at it. The more you observe vs. getting caught up in his drama and tornado, the easier it is to see what is really happening with him. It will make your stronger.
Love isn’t sacrificing yourself like the book, “The Giving Tree” (he was a genius!) teaches us. Now is the time for you to put on your oxygen mask first, just like they tell us on an airplane.
Big Hugs to you. Your are strong, you are loved and you are deserving.
MeganJanuary 10th, 2017 at 4:59 AM
I have been living separately from my husband for 8 months. He was verbally and emotionally abusive. We were together for 22 years.
Despite repeat chances during the marriage, about 1 1/2 years ago, he was given a final chance and we attended counselling. I clearly articulated it was the last chance and after he smashed my phone for saying he was too aggressive and I informed the counsellor, he didn’t want to attend anymore.
The last incident lasted for 3 days of him being moody, shouting, calling me names in front of our children. I came to a decision that this was not going to be the rest of my life. I was feeling like my soul, purpose and happiness was been drained from me. I felt like a fraud, how can I raise children in a house where I am screamed at for leaving tea bags in the sink, not coiling the hose on the reel properly, not putting my jewellery where told, starting a sentence with no, not answering the phone etc etc.
I have stood my ground in the separation, in fact I was just done. He went and got counselling in an effort to win me back and did an 8 week respect course. He has definitely changed for the better and has a far greater relationship with our children which is good.
He has asked for a chance to prove himself and win me back. I told him I was done and I need space to work on me – to see how I feel, to heal and so forth. He feels like I am keeping him in limbo though and he had changed enough for a chance. Sometimes he sends texts which sound so reasonable but what he says doesn’t last. The first 4 months of the separation he made threats to me (the worst being he would kill himself so I would have blood on my hands). He was ok for the next few months but has not given me any space, asking me every few days to a week whether I’ve thought about us or made a decision to give him a chance. Over Christmas, he harrassed me. One time lasted 3 days or being aggressive to me, calling numerous times and texting. The next incident included at least 5 occasions of badgering as he wanted me to stay at his house Christmas Eve ‘for the kids’ – I said I didn’t feel comfortable with that and he wouldn’t accept no as an answer. The same thing New Years. Again, I articulated that he’s harassing me and it’s not ok. I have reached a level of utter frustration at not being heard by him.
I told him there is definitely no future for us and he sends a lovely text promising to respect me and give space. That lasted 24 hours.
I told him it’s over and we need to divorce. He is pleading and begging and sounds like he is going to have a breakdown. I agreed to consider this for a few more days – I literally cannot get off the phone to him and it makes me feel so guilty. He doesn’t listen to me unless I’m stern with him and that feels so horrible having to say no and be short and or angry to him.
He is in utter denial but he plays on my self doubt very well. He blames me for not approaching a reconciliation positively, he states he’s improved drastically but I’m just being negative. He says it’s going to be war if I divorce him. I know I’m still being blamed, he’s still minimising, making threats, asking for credit for his change, not giving me space, and highlighting how he would have reacted in the past. All signs that any change would not be lasting.
I don’t respect him, think he lacks integrity and morals and I don’t even know if I love him anymore (I feel pretty numb towards him). I know in my heart that when I’ve really needed him, when I have been vulnerable, he was never there for me and metaphorically kicked me when I was down. I don’t like his blame mentality, he is devicive and negative (also charming though).
Yet I still find making the decision to legally cut ties so difficult. I think the thing that has given me pause is that he has admitted his fault (though he doesn’t want to compensate for it) and has tried tirelessly to get me back – though using the wrong methods at times. I keep just wondering what I am waiting for – so hard to divorce yet I don’t want to take a chance when I could be more vulnerable next time.
Abusers are so insidious. It really messes with your mind and decision making abilities. Any advice?
ChristopherJanuary 10th, 2017 at 12:29 PM
First, I am sorry you are going through this. I am a guy going through separation as well. One thing to consider – has he always been like this? Did some event or incident cause him to change? Or, has he always been like this? If he has always been like this, note leopards don’t change their spots, and a guy set in his ways is very difficult to change. I know, because it’s that way for me. If something did cause him to change, he needs to get counseling/therapy to address that and find a positive way to deal with his anger, etc. For me, it’s coming to terms with abuse I had as a child that I suppressed for 30 years.
Either way, you made the correct decision for you and your family. Marriage should be a partnership where both sides work towards common goals as a team, not to mention loving each other unconditionally. If that isn’t there, then it isn’t a marriage, it’s a prison. I hope things work out so you and your family can move forward and be happy. Please pray for my family as well. Thanks
MeganJanuary 10th, 2017 at 9:34 PM
Yes he has always been like it. I have always (along with the help of him and others) justified such behaviour. We were young when we started dating (15 & 17) and my parents would think certain behaviour was due to immaturity. They were right but he never grew out of that.
His mother used to tell me he would fall apart if I ever left him and that he’s much better than his father. This was true and I found myself resentful of his dad. I know he was raised in a dysfunctional family and his brothers marriage is also a mess but at the end of the day, he is responsible for his own behaviour and while i feel sorry for his upbringing, I’m not subjecting my kids to that.
I certainly don’t feel as if he is an evil man by any means but just very immature and selfish. He’s been that way for a lifetime and his improvements feel a little like pulling teeth – hard and slow.
I’m assuming you are the abuser Christopher? If so my advice to you is this, you can’t change the past but you are responsible for your actions and thoughts. There is help out there and it takes a lot of work and commitment. Let go of your fear and redefine your values. Oh, and do it all before your family is fed up with you.
You deserve it and so does your wife and kids. Therapy / counselling would be my suggestion for unravelling your past hurts – they definitely affects you in unexpected ways. Get yourself healthy, don’t let someone else’s actions ruin your life! (Hopefully I read that all correctly). Good luck!
KellyJanuary 12th, 2017 at 10:11 AM
Hello Megan and Christopher,
Both are great inspirational comments.
Megan – I think you are demonstrating great courage to put you and your children first. It is so hard to no longer be under the thumb of a spouse that is abusive. A couple of things to consider…. Does he still project his needs and wants without consideration for how it impacts you? Just because he wants you back doesn’t mean that it is in the best interest for your health. If he doesn’t see that, he is still not taking accountability for his actions. Has he been able to articulate (or even asked you) how his actions have impacted you. If he can’t play it back, again, he has not taken accountability.
Christopher’s question was a great one. As some background, my husband was not abusive for the first 15+ years of marriage. We have been married for 26 years now, so there was many years of his anger. Today, he has stopped projecting and now owns his happiness. That happened a year ago. I am still recovering from it. It takes a very long time and tremendous determination to recover from abuse, especially when you reconcile with the person that projected it. If you chose to stay with him, know that it is still a very, very long road to get to peaceful, happiness.
I does not seem like he is there yet based on your description but only you can make that assessment. There is no formula to when you need to make a decision. Trust your gut and keep putting yourself first. Focus on your emotional and physical health. Take time to feel calmness so you can easily tell the difference. I lost site of the difference because I was so caught up his tornado.
Christopher – your advice is very insightful. The term prison really resonated. I felt that way. The turning point for my husband and me was when we took accountability for our own happiness and actions and stopped blaming. It was a terrible cycle we were in. My husband made a choice to no longer project his anger and try to hold me accountable for it. This happened when I moved out, I stopped accepting his anger/blame and he found himself sitting in a room with divorce lawyers. I also had to own my responsibility which was to no longer be a victim and own my happiness.
We started the road back to each other by just being quiet. We spent a lot of time together not talking much. Instead we just spent time being around each other without conflict. We held each other a lot which help me feel his energy and know that he was not angry. The energy felt exactly what it feels like outside after a big storm. There is debris everywhere to clean up but the sun is out. We had said too much and now was the time to heal and own our individual healing. And, in the process of healing we needed to stop doing harm to the other person. Yes, I was doing harm by being the victim.
When I got scared or upset about what he did to me, I had to manage that too and not project it. I had to own the healing. The person now in front of me was not the same person that hurt me. When he felt the anger, due to old habits creeping up, he had to remove himself from the situation and find his path to new behavior. He made small mistakes along the way but I saw quickly that he was recognizing it and took action to correct it. It still effected me and I had to take action to recover from it.
This past year has taken a lot of strength, courage and determination on both parts. I love my husband deeply. He is in my bones as I am in his. We both dug deep and fought for what was important to us – our family. It would not have worked if one of us was not willing to do our own individual work.
Another important note, once we agreed to dig deep and make it work, we stopped judging and blaming the other person. We trusted the other person to do their part. We had to individually own our responsibilities and commit to do no harm to the other person.
My husband and I are in a really good place right now and the journey continues. I will pray for you and your family. God bless.
Megan and Christopher – Hope this helps We are all “hear” for you. Please keep us posted!
MeganJanuary 22nd, 2017 at 4:13 AM
Thanks Kelly. In response to your questions – My husband doesn’t really acknowledge what the abuse has done. He has said he hates himself for what he had done and did listen to me initially but I believe that was simply a token gesture. Many subsequent comments have demonstrated his lack of empathy such as: ‘I’ve made drastic changes, I am not yelling or calling you names so that is enough for you to give me another chance’, telling me if we divorce it will be war, the separation (of 8 months) been long enough and this is having a detrimental impact on him (he has been saying this since week 1), it’s in ‘my best interests’ to reconcile, let him fix me, how could I do this to the kids etc. he has done some kind things that were not asked of him but holds that over my head – as if giving me one of our TVs makes up for the years of torment.
The most predominant indication that he lacks insight is his constant plea to give him another chance and that I need to consider a future with him without being negative. Negativity according to him, is when I raise issues about the past. Eg. He says he wants me to come home so he can look after me and we can watch movies together. When I say, you never wanted to do that in the past and in fact you didn’t like me watching television. He tells me to stop being negative towards him – just be positive.
Therefore he’s not even allowing me to express my past experiences, let alone help me through it. I feel I am not being heard still and then the harassment shows a lack of change also. I do believe he loves me in his own way and would desperately want to reconcile. I think he’s genuine in that he would like to be different and wants to make it up to me but I think he is so used to manipulating to get his own way that I don’t know if he can really change that. I know his father well and know he’s controlling, narcissistic and has a poor view of strong women. My husband is the same I guess. I never realised it though because he’s not like that all the time but he is cyclically.
It is interesting you and Christopher mention about not always being abusive. My husband has always been. It’s not just the anger that I am walking away from, it’s the lack of support, lack of empathy, blaming, minimising, telling me I had a bad memory and was confused about disagreements, the hypocrisy, the changing arguments and the mind games.
The other factor that I consider too is that my power lies in the physical separation. I always defended myself to my husband, assertively and not emotionally. I always said his behaviour, words were not ok. I would walk away when he was raging and ignore him. That didn’t mean he didn’t follow me and go on and on. He would be angrier when I defended myself but I always did. I never did the things he attempted to control me with. I didn’t allow him to isolate me from my family and friends even though he would try. When he would scream and rage about the one thing he did with the kids (bath them two nights a week), I didn’t just do it to save an argument. I guess my only role was not leaving (I guess I didn’t enforce a consequence when he didn’t respect my boundaries). So I feel I’m not behaving vastly differently, it’s just that I can choose not to take his calls or respond to his texts.
My downfall in the relationship was that I had allowed him to undermine me so that I second guessed my gut instinct. Now I’m trying to listen to it though. I don’t know if I could endure a load road to recovery. I feel like I have been down such a long road to trust myself and put myself first when leaving him 8 months ago.
I’ll keep you posted.
ChristopherJanuary 22nd, 2017 at 5:20 PM
Sorry you’re dealing with this. As a man, it’s sometimes hard for me to express how I feel. We are raised to be of strong and almost distant, or at least I was. What I’m doing a poor job of saying is our emotional intelligence is lacking because we’ve been trained to a degree to not try to understand women, to accept that we don’t get women because they over react or over analyze everything. I’m not saying men should be like women, but I do think it’s important to understand a woman’s psyche so we can relate to their feelings and emotions. I am still on my journey to have better insight, but I’m listening (now for the second time) to a book called Emotional Intelligence 2.0 by Dr. Thomas Bradbury (I think that’s his name, i’m typing this in the airport). Not knowing this contributed to my failure in marriage, I am convinced.
Again, I regret anyone has to feel this way. When you truly love someone and it’s lost for whatever reason, it hurts a lot. I am taking a break from relationships for a while myself and working on being a more complete person. I’m unsure your husband would embrace any suggestions for personal growth, and if his nature is something you’ve now believe is unlivable, then pull the band aid off, get divorced, and move on with your life.
Good Luck to you.
KellyJanuary 23rd, 2017 at 9:15 AM
It sounds like you are on the road to building strength for yourself. You are starting to ask the right questions. It isn’t about him right now. It is about you.
I encourage you to keep doing things for yourself regardless of what others think. Take time to pray and/or meditate….feel your own presence. “If you stay settled, you won’t settle” (quote from someone very wise). The abusive relationship you were in, knocked you off your core and it is time for you to work on getting settled within yourself again. Take time to be alone and experience you.
I spent a lot of time and energy focused on why my husband was treating me badly. We were in a blame tornado. When I stopped blaming him for hurting me and stopped trying to find a way to fix him, it gave me space to focus on me. My thoughts were consumed with judging him. He was consumed with my judgement and trying to debate, control or fix it. I set him free by no longer judging him and letting his problems become mine. I started observing his behavior vs. owning it. And, I started focusing on me.
It was (and still is) hard to not blame. I read somewhere that there are only two emotions – love and fear. Everything stems from them. Blame is fear. When I start to feel fear in its many forms, I try to replace it with love. It takes a lot of practice but I am getting there.
It doesn’t sound like your husband is taking accountability for himself. He is spending a lot of time and energy trying to convince you that he has changed to a state of good enough. Set him free by not judging or worrying about if he is good enough.
Focus on you and settling within yourself. All of this is much easier said than done and takes practice. If he is attacking and pressuring you, start by not letting it in. Observe him. Tell him that you don’t own that (whatever “that” is at the time). Tell him you are not responsible for fixing what his is going through. You can’t fix it….even if you caused it (which you likely didn’t). He has to fix himself. When you say these things, watch his reaction. It will throw him off and it will feel empowering…..over time, it will start different conversations.
Note: I asked God for forgiveness of my sins. I didn’t take care of or protect me and only God can provide forgiveness. It also was not my place to forgive my husband….he had to reconcile that with God himself. When I did that, I no longer took accountability for anything my husband was throwing at me. It was liberating. I was forgiven by God and could move forward.
We are all responsible for our own happiness. We can’t make someone happy. They can only do that themselves. We can support the ones we love but they ultimately own it.
Hope this helps Megan. We are “hear” for you. Big hugs.
DavidAugust 10th, 2018 at 9:22 AM
My wife has filed for divorce after being together for 28 years. Her reason was that I mistreated by being abusive towards her im all our years together. I must admit that there were many incidents that my behaviour was totally out of line -I shouted at her , belittled her ,was very sarcastic towards her which didn’t contribute to our relationship. One also has to acknowledge that my wife felt for many years intimidated by my angry outbursts which led to the cracks in pur marriage.
Yet my wife has also contributed to these cracks by attributes of a certain level of greed which caused me to be in constant pressure to deliver a very high standard of living even when we couldn’t afford it and also at the beginning of pur mutual life she wasn’t faithful. In 2015 my wife started to see a psychologist in order to self empower herself. She didn’t want to be on the receiving side anymore and she did become assertive which in some aspects I was pleased with.
All in all after 28 years my wife decided to file for divorce having said that she doesn’t love me anymore and that I mistreated her. That has sent me soul searching and understanding that I needed a drastic change in my life my attitude and behaviour. I started to meet with a psychologist and a psychestric to to eliminate vast parts of my destructive attitude. I have gone to about 60 hours in the last 3 months. The result is that for the first time in my life I am at peace with my self and those who r around me. Gone is the anger the outbursts the sarcasm the cynism . I am now able finally to not only understand what my wife went through but to feel it as well. The problem is that it seems tjat my wife has moved a head in her approach towards me as if I am irrelevant to her. I myself am ambivalent as to how I feel towards her and whether I should trust her as well. All I know that her move was such a catalyst for me to change that it never would have happened otherwise.
Now the only question is where do I go from here?Is there any point in approaching some who said that I was a s***** husband as well as a s***** human being!! I would highly appreciate your opinion.
KellySeptember 5th, 2018 at 9:18 AM
Sorry for my late response. It has been an extremely busy time.
First, congratulations on progress. It is not easy to take a look in the mirror and see the effects of your own behavior on others and then make changes.
I have a friend with a similar story as yours. He was very angry, aggressive and caught up in his own fears that he could not see that he was culpable. I gave him some straight talk and he started to come around. Unfortunately, his wife wasn’t getting the same feedback. She was involved in a lot of relationships that were frankly shocking. She continually blamed him for her actions. While she may be correct that his actions effected her self esteem and it led her to seek relief, she still owns her destructive behavior. He stopped engaging in abusive conversation with her. Her behavior got worse because I think it confused her and she didn’t trust his calmer approach. I also think it was hard for him to share what he was learning. He became worn out and so was she. They are now in the process of getting a divorce. They are starting to see that they can’t run from it even though they are worn out because they have kids. They still need to work through their baggage to have healthy kids.
On a personal note, during the my tornado, everytime I learned something, I was always rushing to my husband to share it with him. He did the same. I guess that is the difference. We both wanted to do better…..even when we were blaming each other!!
It sounds like you are trying to figure out how you feel about your wife. The tornado that you both created can really confuse feelings. I understand that. I suggest you stop trying to work it out in your head because you may not get the right answer. When I was living outside our home, I cried almost everyday. I found myself making excuses to talk to him and he was quick to respond. Arguing with him was better than not interacting at all. This is hard to explain but my husband is a part of me. He is in my bones!! We have a body rhythm that I can’t explain. Even though we were destroying each other, I couldn’t do it without him. We realized that we need to fix ourselves because being without each other was worse…..and we would have to fix those problems anyway. Also, I could not heal until he stopped his anger. It was sequential. My healing has taken longer, btw. I keep getting flashbacks and become afraid. I don’t blame him anymore. I own my healing.
I am not sure if this helps. Your wife has to want to give up her fears and destructive behavior including blaming you. You figured out how to do better, are you willing to fight for her to help her do better? ……sometimes we want someone to fight for us and know we are worth fighting for. It is a long, long road….but it will still be a long road separately. Consider if you want to heal together or figure it out alone.
I would likely still be messed up if I did it without my husband and I think he would be too.
Your anger may have hurt people but it doesn’t make you undeserving of love as long as you are willing to give love. We are “hear” for you. Big hugs to you.
ceceMarch 11th, 2017 at 5:13 PM
Its nice to know I am not alone. Almost 19 years I’ve been riding this wave. It wasn’t until 5 years ago that I started to research and learn about his behaviors. I’ve been accussed of cheating at least 100 times if not constantly. I am according to him some nympho. If he sees a bruise anywhere on my body he become deranged and accusses me of terrible things. His eyes go wild and follows me around demanding a confession. He also is obseesed with sexual deviance bdsm etc. We have 4 kids that are truly wonderful. They know their Dad is mentally unwell as they have witnessed his bizarre behaviors. He has mixed type delusional disorder and potientially schitzoaffective disorder. He verbally terrorizes me monthly or bi weekly. He has hit me a few times and restrained me. He stopped hitting once he was recorded by our home survelliance system punching me several years ago. He is very paranoid of everyone. He is a hateful person. When I become enraged he backs down and apologizes. The only way I can keep him from being a monster is to remain cold and detached. As soon as I allow affection in it is short lived and he turns on me and breaks my heart. I have no love for him anymore just hatred and desdain. I try but it seems in this last year my heart has grown cold. The straw that broke the camels back was when one day he pretending to shoot a neighbor thats he is extremly paranoid about. Hes insistant Ive had an affair with this individual. Despite the fact that he is recently married and they just had their first child last week. After air shooting him I expressed my dislike of that behavior and its immature and an embrassment to his family to behave like that. He started yelling about how im always defending him (the man was just walking down the street) I told him to go home and I would do the shopping alone and would not be treated with such disrespect. He proceeded to drive like a mad man almost crashing into a car. I was unable to speak to him for a week. Any attempt would cause bile to rise up in my throat. As always he swore to do better. We made it almost 2 weeks before he started accussing me of cheating because of a small bruise. Mind you we had a 10 day straight makeup sexathon that ended from pure exhaustion just days prior. So somewhere in there he believed I slinked off to have an affair and get a bruise. He has no logic. He blames others for his problems. He hates his mom and sisters and thinks all women are evil…of course somehow I’m different. As always he swears he’ll get help. I just don’t care anymore. I only care about finding some peace and raising my super incredible kids. On a good note although his first 4 years as a father he was terrible and selfish he improved and I van say he is a loving caring father that adores his kids. I would never keep them apart. But as much as I dream of happy ever after it has to end. I just hope he doesn’t become dangerous and come after me physically once he realizes I’m not going to submit and forgive anymore. Its over but he doesnt want to accept it because I always forgive rinse and repeat. Im done now because its not fair to him to be with someone that now hates him so hard I seethe.
The GoodTherapy.org TeamMarch 12th, 2017 at 8:53 AM
Thank you for your comment,CeCe. We wanted to provide links to some resources that may be relevant to you here. We have more information about emotional abuse at https://www.goodtherapy.org/therapy-for-emotional-abuse.html and additional information about what to do in a crisis at https://www.goodtherapy.org/in-crisis.html
The GoodTherapy.org Team
sandra bJune 5th, 2017 at 9:03 AM
Hello is like the time difference is much between canada and australia . hello hope you dont mind if we can communicate thru text. text in you on your phone will be nice…thank you pretty
KellySeptember 7th, 2017 at 12:43 PM
I am glad this is helpful. You are not alone. I learned so much over the past couple of years. The main theme I learned is that we own our own happiness. The harsh reality is that if we are victims, it is a choice we are making. If someone is abusive, it is a choice they are making. If we want someone to stop abusing us, we need to do something about it. We can hope they will just stop. It is your life. How do you want to live it?
If you are in an abusive situation, I highly recommend finding ways to, at minimum, each day take some time away from the situation so you can practice hearing your own voice. Meditation is a great way to do it. Try taking a few minutes to clear your head and listen to yourself breath. Pay attention to your heartbeat. Let the deep breaths move throughout your body. If you practice it a little bit each day, you will start to hear your inner more clearly. And, at the end of each meditation say “I love you” to yourself. Also, look your abuser in the eye (many victims put their head down). You will see the fear and know that it isn’t really about you.
Good luck to you. You are important, You are deserving. You are loved. We are “hear” for you. Big hugs.
KellyFebruary 19th, 2018 at 12:18 PM
First, I am also glad you found this website. I assume you read the posts and it sets off a ton of bells. Normally, my advice is not as direct as this but I strongly encourage you to get out. He is a danger. You have not been together very long so you have little invested. He will NOT get it together with you around.
Also, what is happening to you is not really about him. It is about you. Why would you diminish yourself and be with someone that continually keeps you off balance? Why would you give yourself away?
I know that it is hard to debate with someone like that and you never feel like you “won” the argument and instead you walk away feeling like it was all your fault. His actions are not your responsibility and you are not doing anything to “make” him feel a certain way. We all chose our feelings.
You don’t need to point to any of his actions to give him an answer as why you want to leave. The reasons are not up for debate. He will try to debate your reasons and you may find yourself carrying that suitcase back in the house.
Instead, you owe him nothing. Be direct and straight up. You are unhappy and leaving. Tell him it is not up for debate. He can’t convince you to love him more. Don’t get into his behavior or blame because that creates debate. Own your emotions. Tell him that you don’t love him….regardless of how you think you feel right now.
Look him in the eyes when you say it. Do not put your head down. You will see his fear and insecurities and it will give your strength to say no. You need to fix what is inside you that brought you to marry such an abusive person. You can’t do it while you are with him. Leaving him is about you not him. Your not standing up for yourself and instead letting him push you around. You have work to do to figure out how to get some backbone and put yourself first. Your first step towards putting you first is leaving him.
This is your life. How do you want to live it? We are “hear” for you. I will respond and support you as long as you like. Promise. Just know that you are worthy of love….it needs to start with you loving and protecting you.
Here is a visual for you. Imagine yourself when you were a little girl. Is this what you would want for her? That’s your answer. Protect that little girl.
Big hugs to you. We are listening.
AshleyMarch 8th, 2018 at 9:43 AM
It took me two days in my free time at work to read through this blog. I started at the top with comments back from 2014 and read through all the way to the bottom. It was so eye opening and so heart breaking. Story after story that either sounded like it was straight from my book or at least from the same shelf. When I got to the bottom I felt the urge to post my story even though it sounds just like the rest. Kelly your story has been so inspirational and eye opening as well. Typing this out today is a step for me to gather my thoughts and start putting myself first.
My husband and I have been married for 10yrs. He has been abusive for the entirety of our marriage. The physical abuse was worse in the beginning. He never hit me in my face and he never left marks that others would see so in his mind it wasn’t abuse. Isolated and in the church I wasn’t able to tell family and friends… he told me that if I told my family they wouldn’t forgive him like I was able to and it would cause division. Over the years and after having our 2 kids the physical abuse became less and less but has always been there and the control and verbal abuse increased. The control started slowly and with “good intentions” but got worse over the years and as technology got better. I have to call him with every move I made because he said he was concerned for my safety so it sounded like he just loved me and maybe that was partly the reason but he benefited from the controlling aspect. He constantly accuses me of cheating even though we are never apart. I am not allowed to do anything without him “because we love each other so much and care only about our 4person family because that’s all that’s important in the end” If I disagreed I was just selfish and he couldn’t believe I would want to give up time with him and our kids to have a lady’s night out. He constantly checks my phone…he actually has my messages and emails on his phone and ipad so he can see what I do at all times. He has several apps on my phone for tracking me and I am not allowed to have social media accounts on my own they are all shared “because when we married we became one and there is no need to have separate accounts unless we have secrets we need to keep”. He controls our finances and although he lets me spend when we need things there is a lot I go without because I don’t feel like asking and being rejected. He never helped with the home or the kids and has told me that all I do doesn’t matter. The verbal abuse has increased over the past couple years. He has called me every name in the book. He says I am a horrible person, horrible wife, and horrible mother. He has told my daughter to never grow up and be like me. He spoils the kids and is a good father in some aspects. He gives them a lot of material things but the manipulation and verbal abuse was beginning to increase towards them as well. My 8yr old son and 6yr old daughter have mentioned not wanting to live because they feel worthless and undeserving and they feel like horrible people. After all these years during each fight and blowup I would wonder how he could look at me, the wife he was supposed to love and cherish, and do any sort of abuse towards me. I would say every time that, that was the last time and that I didn’t want it to happen again but I’d cave and things would be good for a while and the next blowup would come and go. For the past couple years, I have been struggling with depression and stress. I have cried to him several times, I have asked if I could go get help but he would tell me I just need him and God and that I didn’t need to go tell anyone about our problems. I was feeling lower than dirt and like an empty shell. But one day I decided I had enough. I stopped letting his words hurt me. I could stand up during and after a blowup without care. I guess in a way I began to build a wall against him. But I also began to lose respect and trust for him.
2 weeks ago after a physical and verbal fight in front of our children I decided that I needed to leave and I went to stay with my grandma for 2 nights. My family was floored. They see all the nice things we have and all of our happy post on facebook and they along with everyone else just thinks we have this perfect family. Since I came back he has gone through a lot of emotions. At first he was angry and felt betrayed but then he realized the pain he has caused me. He doesn’t want to lose our family. He has admitted to his actions of abuse and is making a lot of changes. He has started helping out around the house every day. He has voiced his wrong actions to the kids. He has made efforts to be better for them. He has agreed to counseling which is a HUGE step for him.
The only thing is I am still dead inside. I am still cold towards him. I do and always will love him, but I have pulled away physically from him. I don’t want sex, I don’t want to hold his hand, I don’t want to hug him. He has said that he will do whatever it takes but I feel that there is soooo much that needs to change that I may be unrealistic to think that it will ever be what I want. I am so torn I don’t want to hurt him and leave him alone. I don’t want to divide our family. I don’t want to take the opportunity of a having a “happy family that doesn’t divorce” away from my children. They love their father so much and I fear that they will resent me if I did. BUT I also don’t want to go back into that box of being controlled and abused. I am fearful of giving in and being subjected to it again. In the last two weeks with all the changes he is making he has allowed me to schedule counseling for myself for my depression. We are working to schedule counseling for our marriage and he is scheduling counseling for himself to resolve the issues of childhood abuse, his father’s suicide, and many other issues.
However, and this is where I need advice I don’t know what to do now…. Every day is different. Since coming home I have been honest which I never used to be… I would always say what he wanted to hear I would just try and convince myself of whatever it was. But I have told him how being around him still overwhelms me and makes me miserable and that I am happiest when he isn’t around questioning me about our marriage all day and talking about our issues every minute. I was honest and told him I just don’t feel in love with him like I used to and even though I care about him and his hurt when he breaks down and shows real emotions to me it doesn’t tug at my heart strings like it used to. He has made it clear that he wants to save our marriage and not lose our family. He has made it clear that he loves me and our family dearly. Two days ago he said he would do whatever it takes and will endure whatever it takes to fix things but then last night in a conversation of the same stuff he mentioned that he felt I was now trying to get revenge on him. That I was just out to repay for him for the hurt. He said that these past 10years haven’t all been bad (which is true) and that I owe him the chance to change. He has promised that it will never happen again and has asked me to refer to the abuse and the control in past tense. BUT now as of last night he doesn’t know how long he can take the physical rejection of me not wanting his touch. Today he is I assume trying to respect my space. I haven’t gotten a call or a text from and he didn’t respond to a text that I sent him.
I am hoping that once we begin counseling things will get better and we will both get some help and some answers that we need.
KellyMarch 8th, 2018 at 12:59 PM
First, congratulations on your courage to take a stand. That is a huge step.
Second, know that years of abuse does not change over night no matter how much your husband wants to change. If he has been like this for 10 years and probably longer, it will likely take several years to learn to do better. When my husband found out about my affair, things blew up and it has taken 5 years for us to get to a good place….and we still have work to do. During that time, I moved out of the house for 1.5 years. It was an opportunity for both of us to have a timeout. I used the time to get quiet within myself and start to listen to my own voice. I cried a lot too.
I am not hearing in your voice the change you need to make. Why are you allowing yourself to be controlled? Why are you putting your head down? Stop judging him and start looking in the mirror.
Try this exercise: Close your eyes…remember you as a little girl…..remember a time when you were innocent and happy. Now, look at yourself today. Take an honest look. Keep you eyes closed and tell that little girl you are sorry that you let people hurt her. Promise her that you will protect her. Tell her that you love her….say it everyday.
When you change, the people around have no choice but to change. Your husband in consumed in fear and you are letting his fear influence how you live your life. Your life will not change until you recognize it. It is not about him right now. It is about you. You want him to stop controlling you? Stop letting him. Start loving yourself more.
I realize this is tough talk but it doesn’t help you to focus on judging your husband.
Here is another exercise. When you talk with your husband, make sure you sit across from him and are looking in his eyes. Do not put your head down or sit side by side. See him. See his fear. See his manipulation. See the weakness. It will make you stronger.
Google Bombards Body Language. Mandy will help you see when someone believes what they are saying or is not telling their truth. btw. Michael Jackson was not a pedophile!
As an update on me, I am still a work in process. I fight hard everyday to live from a place of love and not fear. When the fear overwhelms me, I become insecure. I feel like I am not loved. I feel that if I could not take care of myself, my family would not care for me (I have health problems due to Lyme Disease). I feel like my needs don’t matter. Because I work at home now, I stopped buying nice clothes and getting my nails done which adds to my self deprivation. As I have said, I am a well educated, senior leader for one of the largest companies in the world. I command attention and get things done during the day. People respect me and I am influential. What an interesting paradox!
Joel Osteen talks about negative thoughts. He says that we don’t need to indulge those thoughts. We can turn the channel. We just need to make the choice. I work hard everyday to choose. I am making progress because 1. I can recognize when it is happening, 2. It is not as severe as it used to be, 3. I am getting quicker at turning the channel, 4. there are longer periods of time that go by before the fear occurs again and 5. I crave peace not drama and fear. I know I will be ok. Also, my family is calmer and happier.
I strongly suggest you stop judging your husband and start looking in the mirror.
I am “hear” for you. You are loved and you are important. Big hugs to you Ashley.
AshleyMarch 19th, 2018 at 7:44 AM
Thank you so much for your response. I do know and understand that this will take time, but I question how much more abuse do I endure while we work through this. I do see a genuine desire to change and a strong fear of losing me and the kids. However, the storm hasn’t stopped. It’s like we are just going in circles. Just this past week he had a few big verbal blow-ups that he even involved my children in the arguments. As I picked up the shattered glass or as I laid there enduring the abuse, hearing the horrible hurtful words, hearing my kids crying because of the threats of divorce….. I cried and kept saying to myself … “this is the last time I can allow this to happen to me and my children”. After it was all over he says he knows what he did was wrong but that he felt attacked and didn’t know another way to handle it. :(
I am trying hard to focus on myself and to not let him have so much control over me, but in his eyes by me focusing on myself he says that I am just being selfish towards him and the kids. There is a lot that he has control over that as of now he is still saying he won’t change because that’s just how he believes a marriage should be. So how do I just stop letting him control me?
We just started counseling and the therapist doesn’t want us to just move on and get better but to look into the past, find the root of the problems, repair what we can and begin to build a new marriage. He says and I believe it to be true I have lost my identity. I am hopeful that through these changes I can find myself and begin to love myself again. All I want to do it to be happy and do what is best for the children. I want to fight and try to give them a chance at a having a life with a family that stays together…..but I don’t want them to continue in this type of lifestyle and neither does my husband. He sees and understands that what he has taught them is wrong and he wants the chance to help change and fix it before it’s too late for them.
Right now my heart lacks love, trust and respect for him. I haven’t let him touch me in a while and that is very hard for him to accept. He says it is hurting him and that he feels I am just trying to hurt him on purpose as payback. But that is far from the truth. I feel that I haven’t left yet because on the contrary I don’t want to hurt him. But When he isn’t around I feel like I can breathe and like I have time to calm my mind. I look forward to going to work so that I can have some time away from him and his fears. I do want to protect the little girl I picture in the mirror…I don’t want to let anyone hurt her again and with him I feel like that may be really hard and I live in a constant fear of him.
As suggested by my counselor, I did start some self-care and started running a few nights a week for just 15-30 mins alone. This is the first time in 10yrs I have ever done anything alone. The first time I went it started a big verbal blow-up but when I finally got to go….it was so freeing. The second time I went I got a guilt trip about deserting my family and how I get to do self-care while he is miserable but he was less reluctant.
Can you explain more about what you mean to look in the mirror. This is all so new to me. I used to just succumb to the way I knew he wanted things and we would just move on like nothing ever happened but I was dying inside. Now that I am making a stand and trying to stand up for myself this is all new to me. I am not sure what to do…….he is constantly in my head making me doubt myself and my decisions. Most days I feel that I am the one in the wrong and that maybe he is right that I am causing our family all this stress and chaos right now.
KellyMarch 20th, 2018 at 6:54 AM
First, congratulations on your personal progress! I did a lot of running too. I found that it helped me clear my head and shake off some of the chemical imbalance I felt. Remember the old cliché that in an emergency on an airport, you need to put your oxygen mask on first? Well, it is true. You are building strength and love inside you so you can show up as the best you.
Try this too: Emotions come from one of 2 places – Love or fear. Fear is insecurity, anger, jealousy, frustration, etc… When you are in fear, you are likely projecting, off balance and blaming. Love is calm, joy, centered, in the moment, etc.. when you are coming from a place of love, you feel centered and can hear yourself. You are giving love to you. It is impossible to be in fear and love at the same time. Take time through out the day to observe the emotion you are in. At this point, it is likely very difficult to move from fear to love quickly. Don’t worry about that right now. Just take the time to observe the emotion you are in. Learn to recognize it.
For extra credit (ha!), observe your husband. Observe which emotion he is in. When he is blaming you and attempting to make you feel guilty, he is coming from fear. You may actually be seeing more fear from him as you grow because he is afraid of your growth. When you are able to recognize his fear and see that it has nothing to do with you, it won’t control you anymore…..that is a journey too. At that point, you will find yourself starting to say no to him and it will be ok. You will stop giving yourself away.
I will never forget my husbands reaction the first time I told him that I was not responsible for his happiness. He was so shocked that I he staggered back and almost fell on the floor. It was growth for both of us.
Assuming you wear makeup, take extra time to look in the mirror. I remember that I was surprised at the fear I saw in myself. Take a good look. See it for what it is. It is a point in time and a marker for your progress. From that point on, look for signs of love and happiness. It will be a slow progression but you will see it. You will see yourself slowly come back to life.
Remember, your journey is not about him. You are both are projecting your blame and judgment of each other. You are only responsible for your own happiness.
I am going to say it again to make sure it sinks in. You are only responsible for your happiness. You are not responsible for his happiness. He is not responsible for your happiness. Stop blaming and stop being a victim.
Don’t worry right now if the marriage is going to work. You need to focus on gaining strength and love inside you before you can see clearly. You likely have not heard your own inner voice in a long time.
Ashley, you are deserving of love and it starts with you. I am “hear” for you. You are on your way….keep going. Big hug to you.
AshleyMarch 29th, 2018 at 7:44 AM
I appreciate your words. I read and re-read them almost daily. While these changes are very rewarding this is a very scary journey. Trying to find my inner self and make myself happy is scary and it is effecting not only me and my husband but also my children. At times it almost seems that it would be easier to just cave and revert back to old ways, but I know that I can’t do that. I am willing to do this work. I want a better me, a better marriage, and what’s best for my children.
I can see the fear in both me and my husband. As I am making changes when he reacts I can see the fear in him. He tries to justify and say it isn’t fear but then comes around to admit the fear and tries to then show support.
Our counselor recommended a book for me call “Women Who Run With Wolves”. It is all about empowering women and helping women connect with their inner self/ soul. It is very eye opening to all the power of myself that I have been giving over to him all these years. I just can’t wrap my head around why or how I did that for so long and was ok with it. Like I said scary journey, facing many of my own truths.
I know that I read in some of your earlier post that it took a while for you to allow your husband to touch you and for intimacy to re-enter your marriage. Right now in all the changes we are both making he sees it as a one way street because he feels that I am not making any progress. He says this because I am still distant and don’t desire his touch. We also haven’t been intimate in 7 weeks ( I know because he has a calendar reminder). My individual counselor told me this past week that I should try to give him some sort of touch as that is his love language. I made a small attempt this week to give him a hug and kiss on the cheek in the mornings before leaving for work. He sees it as a pity hug and says that it means nothing to him. Can you provide any suggestions in that area?
It seems that we take two steps forward and begin to make progress and then he gives in, says he can’t do this anymore, and that he can’t keep being the only one to try and make our marriage better. When I am making plenty of changes as well, but he sees them as changes the “only benefit me and not our marriage”. It makes me doubt myself and progress and then I end up feeling like we are back at square one.
Thanks again for all of your support. Hugs to you – good for you for being so strong!
KellyMarch 29th, 2018 at 1:32 PM
I am so glad that my story is helping you. It has been a long and hard journey…one that I still struggle with. I still have fears and insecurities in me. I feel like I have PTSD. I am waiting for something terrible to pop out at any moment. Some weeks and days are better than others. I measure my progress in months, not days or hours. My biggest step was when I could recognize the difference between being out of control and in fear vs. coming from love and being settled. The hardest has been making the fear stop and not gaining momentum. When it starts to happen it drags me in like a magnet. I have a few things that help me. 1. I pray – I tell God that I am giving those fears to Him to handle. Those fears are of someone else hurting me. I can’t control the other person so I give them to God to handle it. I work really hard at then letting it go. 2. I take deep breaths and try to visualize blowing the fears out. 3. I give love to someone else. For example, I call my daughter at college, ask her about her day and make the conversation all about her. I focus on getting back to a place of love. 4. I go to sleep. Sometimes sleeping off the anxiety helps.
There are times when none of it works and I just have to wait it out. While it is happening, I try to do no harm to anyone else. No meltdowns. No hurtful words. Just own the fear and work through it.
My husband was my abuser but I let it happen. I own up to that. Lashing out at him does not help either of us heal.
Your husband sounds like he has not taken full accountability for his actions yet. He is stuck in blaming and judging you. He seems to still want to hold you accountable for his happiness.
Maybe change the way the conversation goes. Start by asking him how his progress in going and tell him how yours is going. The conversation is no longer about blame but about self healing. When starts to blame you, turn the conversation back to how he will heal. Ask him what he intends to do about his pain.
I had a wise person once tell me that there are 3 parts to a relationship – the marriage itself and the 2 individuals. If any of the 2 individuals are not healthy the marriage struggles. The 2 of you need to individually working on bringing your best self to the relationship.
Another note: I think I wrote about when I asked God for forgiveness. It helps. Once you truly get on your knees and ask for forgiveness, you have settled it. Tell your husband that you worked it out with God and you will no longer take blame from him. Your mistakes are between you and God. It was liberating for me when I sat down with a pastor and did it. I felt empowered to move forward.
Your journey is inspiring to others. You are giving hope. Keep going.
Your are loved and deserving of love. I am “hear” for you. Hugs.
KellyApril 2nd, 2018 at 1:04 PM
To my friends out there, I have been struggling a lot lately.
My birthday and Mothers Day have always been something I dread. My husband always did a terrible job acknowledging it. It was not neutral, it was horrible. I would tend to step away from the day to let him step up and lead it. The result, was the kids misbehaving, my husband yelling and shutting down. In the end, both days have always been terrible. 100% of the time. I came to hate these days. I still get panic attacks and fear.
Even though my husband has stopped being angry, he still does little to celebrate my day. My birthday was last week. My present was not wrapped. Our teenage kids were not involved in picking it out….they didn’t even know what my husband got for me. It was theater tickets for a play this July. I like the present. I got a couple of other things that were still in the Amazon boxes. I got up the courage to buy myself a dress to go to dinner. We never went out.
It really wasn’t what he did or didn’t do. It was more about my own fears.
When my affair blew up, I became the villain. I was ostracized. I was so hurt that I could be figuratively thrown to the curb so quickly. I felt like no one took the time to truly understand what was happening to me. I can’t shake the feeling that I am part of my family “conditionally”. I am still traumatized by the way I was treated. I love my family so much. I feel that they need me and want me but I don’t feel that they see me.
I think my husband is afraid to ask. He knows that he played a huge role in my insecurities and fears so he is afraid to hear about it and does not know how to support me. I don’t ask for help and I rarely talk about it.
I struggle to shake the fears and panic attacks. Not feeling loved. Not feeling deserving. Not feeling beautiful.
I am 51 years old. I was thin and pretty. I gained 25 pounds due to menopause. I am no spring chicken so that does not help. I work from home so I don’t buy clothes anymore. I don’t do anything for myself. I don’t go anywhere without my family. Frankly, I struggle with believing I deserve it. If I get a compliment, I dismiss it most of the time.
I decided to post my thoughts and feelings because I wanted others to know that if you are feeling it, you are not alone. I struggle with it often and it becomes overwhelming on my Birthday and Mothers Day.
Love and Hugs to you all. Kelly
AshleyApril 11th, 2018 at 11:55 AM
Thank you for sharing your struggles. I think as women we all tend to have those same fears in some way or another and it most certainly helps to know that we aren’t alone. You being open and vulnerable has been a saving grace for me. You have given me hope! You have given me strength! You have made a difference in my life! If I could I highly recommend the book “Women who run with Wolves” it has helped me tremendously and may be of some help to you and your struggles.
Last night in counseling I was able to have an epiphany for myself and it was so liberating. I was telling my husband my story of how I see our marriage, how we met, and where we are now. Towards the end of the story I mentioned that I still desire our family however I desire for “ME” be a part of it….when he asked me to elaborate I gave an analogy of a person being in the background jumping up and down saying “hey what about me, I have a lot to offer, I am beautiful, I am funny, I am smart, I am strong, etc.” and that person is the REAL ME. It’s the me that I haven’t been able to be because of the abuse and the control and because I gave in and allowed myself to be given over to what I was expected to be, to fit a mold that he wanted, and I lost my voice. Well now I am focused on finding myself again, forgiving myself for letting her go, moving past allowing the abuse, moving toward a place of love and not fear anymore.
After telling my story and after this came out the fear, guilt, and pain was so evident in my husband. He even voiced that he rather just give up and let me go instead of continuing to work towards a “new” phase of marriage that includes that part of me that I let go and lost all these years. The argument has continued into today and I have been in a text debate with him since 8am this morning of him telling me that he is done with me. I know that all of this is coming from a place of over whelming fear, and I have tried to be understanding.
Another part of the argument and another reason he ais ready to give up is because for the past 9wks we haven’t been intimate and the physical touch between us has been limited by me. He sees my reservation as a sign of me not caring for him…. He sees it as though he is doing all the work to make our marriage better and I’m not doing anything. I have begun to hug and kiss him every morning and I laid and cuddled with him while watching a movie the other night. I am working towards getting back to intimacy, but I still have this unexplainable reservation towards him. Do you have any advice for this area? Why do I have this reservation? Am I wrong? Should I just push through it and give in?
Thank you for all of your time and advice!
GordonMay 1st, 2018 at 6:11 PM
Hi. I am the abuser in my relationship and I am learning a great deal from listening and reading women’s comments and thoughts (and I have done a TON of counselling and self-help books and reading on the internet). So, I would like to leave this general posting and I hope that the administrators of the page allow it to stand. I am willing to engage in limited question and answers if you want. I am not a psychologist or a therapist, and I would defer to whatever your own therapist says, but I can tell you a few things that may help you… like WHY all the phone calls and efforts to call or contact you. It certainly can fall under the “control” category… if you have a spouse that liked to keep close tabs on you and manage your movements (creepy) then that is a possibility. Run away from that. However, if your man is a “good” man who did bad things… then part of it is coming from fear of loss, fear of change, fear of the unknown. keeping connected to you through contact allows the fear to subside, because he can control that aspect of the relationship… he can contact you. Not necessarily a good thing. Also, if your spouse or partner WAS living with you and is now displaced from the family home… it is VERY disorienting. The world you knew before is now all gone and that loss is very hard to deal with… you really want to get things back to that norm. So, the shock and the fear take over and the large flow of communication starts. Pathetic a bit, because that norm is now gone… and the best thing a man can do is realize it and IF he wants to reconcile, there is a long road before that even gets close. My advice… keep blocking those emails and texts and calls, BUT… be kind about it. Your man is human and is definitely broken, so gently advise him to seek counselling. A kind word can be offered without any promises made. If he does not slow down on the communication attempts,… then, you should take care of yourself and make sure you are safe, just in case.
KellyMay 2nd, 2018 at 2:39 PM
Ashley, Gordon, Savannah and Mr. Badguy,
It has been a busy couple weeks, so sorry for my delay in responding. I have been thinking about all of you.
First, all your posts are so heartfelt that each one made me want to cry.
Mr. Badguy – beating yourself up is not going to move you forward. Please give us a new name for you. There are many reasons that someone loses their way which causes them to behave badly and hurt others. When my son was little and did something bad, I would tell him, “I don’t like what you did, but I still love you”. I didn’t like what my husband did but I did still love him. I just wanted the man I married back. If you want to move forward, we are “hear” for you.
Mr. Badguy and Gordon – thank you for sharing your insights. Everything you said is exactly what my husband has said and I can see. I know he carries the burden of his actions. I could not heal and progress until his anger stopped and he learned to better. I was in defense mode until the storm he was stirring stopped. My husband did stop his anger and he is actually very sensitive to being around others that are angry. He wants to get away from it right away.
The second phase has been my healing which has been a longer road than I expected. I went through a period of being angry and yelling at him for what he did to me. I needed to get it out. I was silenced for such a long time that I needed to unload and feel empowered to be angry for a while.
The next phase was a lot of crying. I was so hurt by all words and ostracizing. I never said the horrible things he said to me. The suppressed memories of it all came to surface and one by one I had to deal with all that pain.
Next, came the desire to move forward and heal…..my husband was, at first, very happy for me to move into that phase. It was hard for him to take the brunt of my eradicate emotions and remain calm when he was still learning too. But, I don’t think he was prepared to see my journey to healing. I started to own my pain and my emotions. By doing that, I had to get control of it and heal. He watched me cry, shake and try to breath with every trigger moment. He could not fix it….I had to fix it. I think it caused him some depression to see the real effects of his actions. Gordon – your comments about being the protector resonates. He was the person I wanted to run to for protection and yet he was the monster at the same time. This phase has been the longest. The good news – if you both can get to this point it is encouraging to know that you will likely make it.
Today, I am working through a lot of insecurities that I brought to the marriage and became worse with his anger. The story in my head is that I am not loved or wanted. I hate Mothers Day and my Birthday. My husband did a terrible job celebrating it and the kids ALWAYS misbehaved and then my husband yelled a lot. Those days bring extreme anxiety for me. I have huge panic attacks. Those past days confirmed my doubts about not being loved and wanted because they were so awful….and they were supposed to be about me. And, yes, I am already getting anxious about Mothers Day in a few weeks. I just wish it would never come. I wish I could just sleep the day away.
Even with that anxiety, I can see us starting to move into a new phase right now. We are becoming more affectionate. We touch each other more. I find mine or his hand or leg on the other person more often when we are sleeping. We hold hands more. We hug longer and just take in the love and feelings we have for each other. We focus on those calm and loving moments and have started to crave it. We are going to be ok.
Sex is not frequent but when it happens it is nice and loving. There is no pressure for it. We do it when it feels right so we both are happy afterwards.
I love my husband. He is in my bones and I can’t be without him. Ultimately, there was no option but to work through it. It has taken so much individual strength and patience. We almost divorced and I thank God we didn’t. Our family has some scars from everything that happened. But I can see that we will be ok…better than ok.
Ashley – you asked about affection and sex. My advice is to take it all very slow. Don’t do anything you are uncomfortable with. If your husband is pressuring you that means the storm on his side is not over yet. If he understood what you have been through, he would not be pressuring you.
I think Gordon is right that you have to figure out if your abuser is “good man” or not. I knew mine was. I also don’t know if he would have stopped if I didn’t stand up to him. The big turning point for us was me picking my head up and telling him to stop. I filed for divorce and meant it. As much as I love him, I had to love me more and be willing to walk away to protect myself.
I am starting to see my husband’s depression about the effects of his anger. I hope that seeing me heal will help him get past it. I love him deeply.
AshleyMay 3rd, 2018 at 9:28 AM
It was so good to hear from you. I have been thinking a lot about you and your anxieties with Mother’s Day coming up. I feel the same way you do… I lost my mom at a young age, so I naturally already don’t like the day and then to top it off my husband usually orders my gift the morning of and I get a screen shot of what’s to come and the day is rarely anything special. The kids give me their homemade cards and gifts, which I love …. But I do agree and wish I could just sleep past that day.
As I read your message today, I just sat at my desk and sobbed. My storm still has not exactly stopped, and I even feel that a new storm has begun while the other was still going. Some days I feel strong and others I just feel so weak. For the most part we have still been fighting daily and my husband has even had a few abusive outbreak episodes. Threats of physical violence and very bad verbal abuse. I feel that the more I stand up for myself and the stronger I get the harder it is on him. I can see depression in him, fear in him, and I know that he loves me and doesn’t want to lose me but he hurts and fights me daily. I don’t think that my husband is a bad man, he isn’t a monster but he has done and still does so much wrong … the control (calls and text are monitored, he checks my panties and panty drawer, financially I have no liberty etc), the accusations, the physical fights, the verbal abuse, the manipulation, the hurt and pain…. Even though he has started helping with house chores and the kids and I appreciate that soooo much it is the other things and the control that he will not change and I honestly fear that he would ever be able to. He is set in his ways and his thoughts of the way marriage should be, he has told me many times he doesn’t like the new way I am going, and that he can’t change and won’t change several of the things that hurt me.
I understand what Gordon said about wanting to be back to normal but the normal that we once knew can no longer be. It would be a lot easier to revert and get back to normal but I just can’t continue life that way. Essentially, we have to break down our past 10 yrs and start new and fresh…. And like you said Kelly this wouldn’t of happened and these changes wouldn’t be occurring if I hadn’t of stood up and said it had to stop. I did not file for divorce but I took the kids and left for the weekend and that was his wake up call and when I started voicing my thoughts and needs. We are still in the early stage of the transition and we both are having a hard time. I now feel guilty … my thoughts are “all of these issues are my fault because I stood up and made a stance. If I hadn’t we wouldn’t be here”…. BUT if I hadn’t I would still be being abused and I still wouldn’t have a voice. So, even though it’s been hard on my entire family I am trying not to let the guilt weigh me down.
The intimate part is still a struggle. We have not been intimate and it’s still super hard on him. I guess out of fear or maybe trying to persuade me to give in… he got a tinder account. He lays in bed next to me and swipes and makes comments out loud about the girls he finds on there. How in his mind will that draw me closer to him?? I don’t want to accept infidelity…I don’t even know what to say or do with that. The past two days he has been giving me space, not pressuring me with fights, helping with the kids and doing things “right”. But because I still haven’t given in this morning he told me he gives up… and that I he feels he will never be good enough.
When he is having these good days …. In my mind I imagine a little girl that was abused and I see her cowering down in a corner. And while he hasn’t been fighting I see her looking up at him, maybe even being drawn towards him, maybe looking for any positive attention or a chance to smile and laugh …. But I am so fearful still that if she gets up he will hurt her again. I want to grab her, hug her, tell her it will all be ok and walk out the door with her…… but leaving is also fearful…it’s the unknown. Today I feel I am at a point to where my choices are to stay knowing the hurts and pains to come or to leave not know whether that door of the unknown is freedom and bliss or just more hard times and heartache for my children. Why am I so torn….how can 10 yrs of abuse be dismissed in my mind by two days of good behavior from him?
I am sorry Kelly to just dump all of this out and it may even seem I am pointing blame and just out to point out his wrongs but besides counseling, I have no one…. I have no body to talk to and I am struggling so much just to discover myself all while dealing with these issues. So to voice them out it helps me to get it off my chest and to process it outside of my head. Thank you for being an ear.
KellyMay 7th, 2018 at 7:02 PM
I am sorry to say that your husband is being a monster. I can’t say if he is a monster but he is behaving like one. Physical abuse is way too far. Comparing you to women on Tinder is just disgusting. When a line is crossed it can’t be taken back.
You are a wonderful person. You and your kids deserve peace. You deserve to live a life from a place of love not fear. If your husband is not willing to walk that journey with you, it is time to leave.
My husband crossed a few lines by saying some awful things. I am still struggling with those awful things.
Everything he did that crosses your line will live within you and you will have to fight hard to let it go and feel safe again.
Here is an example, one of the times were fighting about my affair, I told him that my difficulty dealing with his anger could have come out several other ways. I asked would you rather I had an affair or attempted suicide? He was calm and said, “suicide because it would not have been a direct attack on him”. I struggle to shake those words. It is hard to judge his state of mind at the moment and how much he actually meant it. It doesn’t matter, he said it. I can’t shake it. I am trying but really struggling.
I am also struggling with him trying to tell me during the divorce process that he should get more than half because I had an affair. I also struggle with the fact that he leaned on our daughter to favor him.
He played dirty and it hurts. I struggle with doubts about being loved and if I can count on him. Intellectually, I believe he would fight to the end to protect me but his words raised doubts.
Lines crossed are extremely difficult to overcome. Only you know in your bones how much he crossed those lines. The more I hear about your story, I worry that he crossed them to the point of being unrecoverable.
If you decide to work it out, there needs to be ground rules. Cut him off and leave the room when he becomes angry. Tell him you will not engage in the conversation. Lock the other door if you have to. Leave the house. Do not engage in it. It is like giving into a toddler temper tantrum. Don’t do it. Imagine him as a toddler melting down when he does it if it is easier….whatever it takes to avoid getting pulled into his drama….it is not your drama, it is his. :)
Happy Mothers Day my friend. You are stronger than you may realize. You are loved and you deserve love. ….You deserve peace. Demand peace for yourself.
Big hugs to you. I am “hear” for you.
Love and hugs,
AshleyMay 11th, 2018 at 2:38 PM
I cannot express my thanks enough for your responses. As I mentioned I am having a hard time discovering my own thoughts, and myself so it is not that I depend on your responses but having someone else’s thoughts and opinions to hear helps tremendously. I guess many times I doubt myself…He has conditioned me to believe that anytime I do something that goes against the way he thinks it should be that I am wrong, I am being selfish, I am hurting my children or family etc….when in reality it’s just because he is afraid or has fears. So I am still struggling with my own thoughts and accepting them as OK… kind of like an abused puppy that shys away when someone raised their hand or grabs a broom stick. I just still so afraid that even when I think I want to make a stand regarding something I am afraid of the attack I will get for it.
I really know what you mean by lines being crossed. Like the Tinder thing. He used it a tactic to get my attention and with hopes of getting me to be intimate with him. When I didn’t fall for it and didn’t showed that I cared I think that he has since stopped using it. However, it truly broke me inside and crossed a line that was very damaging. Over the years, he has told me very hateful things. When all of this started in our marriage he told me that if he could go back in time and change anything he wouldn’t bring his father back…he would choose to never meet or marry me. That he hated me so much he would forgo having his father back if it meant he didn’t have to be with me. That is just one comment that comes to mind, there are many many more. So I can relate to you on the pain that is caused by the hurtful words. They do last and hurt more than any time he has ever hit me. I am afraid that a lot of the damage he has caused is unrecoverable.
I am still so unsure of what I need to do with my marriage, but you are right. I do deserve and need peace in my life. The good day streaks are lasting a little longer but even “good” days have moments of blow ups and hurtful words still. I would like to think that he would able to create and stick to a set of ground rules with me, but when he sees red he does not stop and doesn’t back down. I am a point where I think maybe at least a separation would be helpful. I need the chaos to stop. I need to be able to focus and get to a place of peace for the kids and myself. Our counselor mentioned a structured separation and that is something that I may bring up at our next session.
Kelly I truly hope that you are able to have a Happy Mother’s Day this year! Don’t focus on the gifts or even the efforts that is put into the day by your husband. If needed take the day into your own hands. Make it be what you want! Know that you are worthy of being loved and I am sure that you are loved very much. Could you tell him what you want and what would make you happy? Lay it out for him and make it easy for him to provide what you need. You are loved and you deserve love as well!!!
Thank you so so so much for your encouraging words. I will stay strong through this weekend myself.
Big hug from mother to mother and struggling wife to struggling wife…..
LauraNovember 7th, 2018 at 10:27 PM
Haven’t seen a recent blog so don’t know if anyone’s still active. How do you deal with children suffering through a needed separation? My 8-yr old asked for 1 night on, one off (between dad and mom) because he can’t bear to be away from me for long. We knew that was crazy so we’ve been doing 2 nights and days each. He is begging me now to come home to dad because he hates being away from me. His dad is more reasonable and mentally stable when he feels I’m being “fair” but he doesn’t take responsibility. He either pretends I’m going through a menopausal flightiness (haven’t reached mp yet!) or that I’ve just been overreacting, being flighty… He says things like, “You didn’t need to leave – I was only angry” !!! ONLY ANGRY? A strong man so much bigger than I who threatened my life once before, roaring at me in the middle of the night, throwing things around, ordering me out of the house at midnight in a rural location when I had to teach school the next day, refusing to give me keys for the car..?!! I got into jeans infront of him while he was yelling, put some dress clothes in the pockets of a big coat, grabbed my glasses, cosmetics, toothbrush, cell phone for when I might hitch-hike into cell phone range, laptop for school… and eventually walked to the home of some acquaintance who I knew was a Christian and thought I might be able to trust, arriving as a near stranger at 1 am and asking to sleep on her couch until I could catch a bus into town the next morning. Needless to say, I chose that day after years of craziness (leaving the house at all hours, in winter, with my baby in my coat nursing, waiting until he’d calm down enough to re-enter the house, etc), to make leaving permanent. I haven’t said I’m filing for divorce, because it seems like a slap in the face. He is a good man with trauma in his past, which surfaces to traumatize his family. But my son has developed a temper and acts up so much with me. He sees that whoever is strongest controls who is weakest and he seems to try to control me when he is upset (although he adores me and cries, sometimes chasing the car when I leave). I am so torn apart. People, tell me what to say to my son. My husband is essentially trying to date me and get me back, guilting me about family not being my priority. We can get along well when we see each other, because he doesn’t have to deal with day-to-day frustrations. It is like an enticing lullaby, like a drug, wooing me to return. He hasn’t gone for help. He wants couples’ counselling but I refuse at this point. I don’t want to be counselled about how to live with an abusive man. He needs help to learn ways to deal with frustration and anger, as I am taking my little boy to art therapy so he learns mechanisms so this won’t be repeated in his life. But how do I answer my child, begging me to return to dad? He wants mommy to always be with him and I so desperately do too. He is my LIFE!! I had him at 41 and he is my one and only. It is only incredibly deep conviction and self-sacrifice that I am without him half the time. I think it would be better for us both if he were with me 2/3rds of the time, but it is also better for us both if dad is somewhat stable, and so I’ve been trying to look “fair”. But what to say to my son? I don’t understand how so many women are at more of a loss regarding their abusive ex-husbands and don’t say nearly as much about their kids. I know they are traumatized and need to talk about the abuse (me too!!), but how do I deal with my child? I simply cannot imagine those of you who have had to give up your children to an abusive spouse. I might kill myself in that case, except for the hope to fight, fight, fight to be reunited. Advice?
KellyApril 15th, 2019 at 8:03 AM
I think your situation is a common and difficult one. You don’t want your son to copy the same behaviors as your husband. I am guessing you feel like they are both against you….bullying you. You love them both and you probably have a desire to please them but something in your gut is tugging at you. My advice is to listen to your gut. Your gut is telling you what you need to know.
Your son and husband sound like they are feeling out of control. They are desperate to get what they want and fear is driving their actions. Your son is likely copying your husbands tactics which is to blame you for his unhappiness. The best thing you can do for your son is to stand up to your husband.
Your husband can’t have what he wants at the expense of you. Doing so, doesn’t make you a real person. It makes you an object. He can’t perform a few good deeds and negotiate his way back in. It doesn’t work that way.
He has to see that he is creating a tornado and you need to recognize that YOU have the power to make it stop by just saying “no”.
We all own our own happiness. We are all responsible for our destiny. The best thing you can do for your son is dig deep and own your happiness. Take care of yourself. Exercise. Pray. Eat healthy. Hold your son…a lot. Let him feel your love and calmness. …..and trust your gut to say no.
What do people do when there is a tornado? Take cover and protect yourself. You can’t control the tornado. Remember, there can be calmness in the middle of the tornado….don’t be fooled, there is still a tornado happening. How do you know when the tornado is gone? You will know. There will be debris everywhere that needs to be cleaned up and the sun will be shining.
How do you know when you and your husband are ready to move forward? You will know…..the sun will be shining and there will be debris everywhere to cleanup. If this doesn’t make sense, you might still be in the tornado.
Dig deep and take a stand. Remember, you are responsible for your happiness It may help to compare your husband’s behavior to a toddler. He is having a huge temper tantrum. The more you give in, the bigger brat he becomes.
Your son will respect when you demand respect. Assure him that the love of his parents is not dependent on the two of you being together. And, that everyone needs to learn how to work together better. Pushing people around to get what you think you want is not the answer. Everyone must respect others feelings.. You can’t make someone feel love and happiness.
Praying helps a lot. I recently started doing a new mini prayer. As soon as I feel fear and stress, I stop instantly and ask God to send some love. I take the time to feel the “download”. I let it pour in which crowds out the fear and stress. It’s a bit funny, but it helps. Maybe you can teach your son the same. Pray together when fear and stress come.
You matter. You are loved. Big hugs to you.
katey513April 14th, 2019 at 4:00 PM
good one here
KevinSeptember 16th, 2019 at 6:18 PM
My wife and I have been married for 21 years. We are high school sweethearts and have known each other since middle school and quickly became good friends. After 20 years, she suddenly came to me and said she was done and wanted a separation. I had been suffering from ptsd, depression and anxiety for years, so I was oblivious and blindsided.
She left and took our 12 year old daughter (my everything) with her and moved into her parents house. Two days after she left, she told me she was journaling and trying to figure things out. My wife and family are my everything, plus my mental status kept me from being able to give her what she wanted, time and space. I wasn’t trying to be difficult, but I was at a point in my life where I didn’t just want my wife……I needed her. And I felt like she abandoned me. It wasn’t an attempt to be controlling, but I understand now how she could see it that way. I had gotten to the point that I had zero energy. I could barely find my way from the bed to the couch and back again each day. It was the worst feeling in the world to know that I was not fulfilling my role as a husband or father, but I couldn’t even force myself to change. I knew I needed help, and so did my wife. We talked about it, but that was it. I don’t want to place blame or point the finger, but she was the one that was of sound mind and I just felt like she should have done more to get me to counseling or a psychiatrist. Even a threat of, if you don’t get help, I wont be able to stay much longer. Again, I know that sounds controlling and manipulative, but I’m hoping you will understand my mental health at the time and know that I’m not trying to place blame, I just feel like she could have done more.
After she left, I started seeing a counselor on a weekly basis and was working so hard on getting better. I started seeing a psychiatrist and was prescribed medication, which I took without fail.
After about 6 weeks, during which she was mean, nasty, hateful, hurtful, and had zero remorse for her actions, she suddenly moved back home. During the time she was gone, I had worked so hard on myself, including losing about 40 pounds, got my energy back, and was doing all of the household chores, since it was just me. While she was back, she continued to be mean and hurtful towards me. I felt like everything I did she found fault in and got mad about. I remember a night that she and our daughter came home. I had cleaned the house, done laundry, made dinner, and had it on the table for them. After dinner, she said she would do the dishes and I said I appreciate that, but I’ll get them. I cleared the table, washed, dried, and put the dishes away, and cleaned the kitchen. When I walked out of the kitchen and into the living room, she gave me a look like go to hell. I couldn’t understand why?
In the next week, I did something that I shouldn’t have, but I snooped and found the journal she had been writing in. On the second day, so about 3 days after she initially left me, I found a entry where she started off praying to God. She asked him why she was fantasizing about another man…..the man that owns the music school that our daughter attends. She then mentioned him and fantasies about him and thanking God for allowing her to see him, even if only for a few minutes…..multiple times. I was crushed! When I confronted her about it, of course I was the bad guy for snooping, never mind the fact that she had those thoughts and wrote them down.
Needless to say, after about 6 weeks, she left again and moved back into her parents house. She then went on a $25k spending spree. I enrolled in an intensive outpatient group therapy to try something additional to help me. But after about 3 weeks, I finally, after over a year, got a great paying, full time job, so I was no longer able to attend.
Lots of things happened back and forth over the next few months, and then I was suddenly served with divorce papers. Again, I was crushed. In my life, God is #1, my wife is #2, and our family (daughter) is #3. I lost everything in a moment and although I had tried so hard, and kept fighting for us, I felt like there was nothing else I could do. It seemed that everything I tried, my wife found a negative in it. My counselor, my psychiatrist, and both therapists in my IOP program all asked me if she was possibly in a midlife crisis. I didn’t know, so I researched it. It seemed very possible and even my wife’s sister and best friend agreed. But my wife didn’t see it and only chastised me for even suggesting it as a possibility.
Recently I asked her why she thought, after 9 months of being treated like garbage, her draining of us of every dime we had, and me loosing valuable time with our daughter, I would still be fighting for our marriage. Her response was, “well, you’ll probably say its because you love me, but its really because you are controlling, manipulative, and narcissistic. I honestly did not know how to respond. It killed me for two reasons. One, I didn’t think I was. And two, if I was, how did this happen and how can I show her now that it is not who or what I want to be?
Again, I don’t think I am those things, and obviously there is a lot more to our story than I can share here. But if I was, how do I fix it and how do I show her now before the divorce is final in a few months. If I have been those things, I don’t want to be. I love my wife more that she knows and my family means everything to me. I guess I’m just asking, is there anything I can do at this point to show her my true love and feelings for her, without her feeling like I’m trying to control or manipulate her…….That is honestly the last thing I want her to feel. I just want her to be happy and feel loved.
If the things I have said make you think I haven’t been the best, please tell me! I want to be the best I can for her. And if you think I’m beyond the point of no return, please tell me that too. I will be the worst thing I’ll ever hear in life, but if its what I need to hear, then please tell me. I’m hopeful there is something I can do, some way to repair things.
Thank you in advance for any opinions. I wish the very best for everyone!
Matthew 19:26 – With God, all things are possible.
KellySeptember 17th, 2019 at 10:02 AM
Thank you for sharing your story. There are basically two emotions – love and fear. All actions and feelings stem from one of these two places. It sounds like you spent a very long time in deep fear. Congratulations on working your butt off to come out of fear and focus on love instead.
I believe that healing a marriage is sequential and not simultaneous. You made the decision to shift to love…. assume it is still an up and down struggle but it looks like your goal is love. Your wife sees your changes and it scares her. She may like it but doesn’t trust it. So she, unconsciously, tests you by getting you to take the bait and show the old you. Your changes rocked her world. While she struggled with the old you, she could predict you. Now, she’s confused by the new you and likely sees the old you from time to time. She doesn’t know what to expect from you.
Also, she likely hasn’t owned her healing. You can’t save her. You can only serve her. Repeat that several times to let is sink in.
That doesn’t mean you walk away. Share what you have learned. Tell her you are sorry but she has to decide to heal.
The best way to start the healing is to first observe your emotions. Continually observe and label if you are in fear or love. Notice the difference. Decide that your feelings are a laboratory experiment to observe. When you do this, it becomes the start of taking control of yourself. Over time, you will see those fears sticking around for a shorter length of time. Share this experiment with your wife. Ask her to do this with you. Ask her if she is willing for the both of you to share observations and learnings.
The two of you can join together to fight for love and let go of fear. It is a big challenge but nothing is more important. Btw, when you both overcome it, your daughter will need to heal too. She is the third in the sequence.
You rocked the boat and started the healing. Right now, you are the leader. Don’t give up. Keep your heart open. Blame is fear. Pushing away is fear. Putting your head down is fear. Saving is fear. Panic is fear.
Listening and observing is love. Head up is love. Exercise is love. Healthy eating is love. Strong relationship with God is love. Trust in God is love. Stretch and challenging yourself is love. Serving and staying true to yourself is love.
Your progress will bring more love to you. It will bring more prosperity to you. It will be infectious to your family.
Stay with it. Be strong. Ask God for forgiveness….lay it ALL out there. Then, tell your wife that you sorry and that you settled your sins with God. God forgave you and you are moving forward. Tell her that you cannot heal her wounds. She needs to settle her sins with God and chose to heal. Tell her that you want to walk the journey with her. It will be bumpy and very hard but she is the only one you want to do it with.
You and your family are worth it. Dig deep inside you and keep fighting. Please keep us posted. Many people read these posts. Your success can be an encouragement for others.
Know that you are loved and you matter.
denaOctober 22nd, 2019 at 9:00 AM
Dear emotionally and verbally and physically abusive men, Stop it, on this comment thread. Please stop using this thread to be cathartic. Get a grip, we do not want to read you ramblings. you are doing to us what you have done to your wives. STOP trying to look good.
KellyOctober 22nd, 2019 at 1:31 PM
People that come to this thread are likely searching for answers. They search using keywords and end up here. What type of key words do you think they used to get here? Based on those words, what could they be feeling?
We see a lot of people being abused and looking for ways to find strength to take control of their situation. They are often handing over their destiny to someone else and don’t see that they have control to change their future. Instead, they are stuck in a victim mentality blaming someone else and waiting for it to get better. We hopefully help them see they are deserving of love and they start taking a look in mirror vs. blaming.
Others show up knowing they are projecting anger and fear but don’t know how to make it stop. Their logic might not make sense to you and maybe it even triggers your own experiences but they came here to looking for answers. Judging and blaming them isn’t helpful.
My husband was angry. His logic and self justification was absolute crazy logic. However, he learned to turn it around. Now, he is kind, funny and calm……it isn’t fear anymore, it is love. I was a victim sitting around blaming him and hoping he would change. I took the first step (picked my head up) and stopped the tornado in my home…..(it usually only takes one person to start the change). Now, I take personal accountability for my happiness and don’t blame or judge him.
In most cases, neither person is a bad. They are both living in fear and not love.
Instead of chastising others, consider using each opportunity as chance for you to learn to communicate compassionately. Putting something positive out there can help someone that really wants help. Putting something negative out there doesn’t help anyone…..including yourself.
Btw. People can only do on to you what you give them permission to do.
Best of luck to you Dena. You too are loved and matter.
Cally SOctober 24th, 2019 at 12:44 PM
That what I was looking for was answers to why things had to develop to the places things went to, in my life. From trying to get my husband to try things in a different way, Just make things easy on the lives and ways people had to make their own considerations for family and social needs and the reasons I felt I had to stand with his father to achieve certain goals in the community. Then to the violence that developed because my husband simply was not getting his way, when we were holding a olive branch out offering alternatives to peaceful solutions.
Never being able to stop trying to gain cooperation to allow the reward I was willing to offer in exchange for just a little cooperation for everyones sake, a sex and family. Equal time off work for 6times he gave up for the needs of other people. Even to try and find a job and shift that he would like that those with more influence in the community did not want for themselves or their grown children working with my husband. There had to be some way to stop my husbands defiance towards everyone and their positions within the community.
A message for Victims of Abuse.November 2nd, 2019 at 2:33 PM
First of all, I am sorry that people hurt you. You deserve to be treated with respect and love. You don’t have to be perfect to be treated this way either; there is no excuse for abuse. There might be explanations-a bad child hood, medications, past trauma, but ultimately the abuser made a choice to abuser you and not other people, because normally the abuser doesn’t have an out of control raging temper with everyone. Typically, people who choose to be abusive take out their anger on safe people. For the victims of abuse, this is not the time for you to be thinking about the welfare and well-being of the abuser or the good times you might have had with them; this is about you getting you back; your sense of identity. If the abuser wants to reconcile and he or she is using guilt to make you worry more about their feelings than your safety and well-being, the abusive person is being self-centered again. They were self-centered in choosing to harm you in the first place. Abusive people focus a lot on themselves and past injustices and they tend to dismiss what they’ve done to others. The focus is always on themselves and their own egos. Don’t allow them to make them keep your eyes focused on them. Don’t buy into wistful manipulation. If the abusive person wants to feel good about themselves when they’ve done bad things, they are going to have to do the hard work of changing and over time, they will prove through self-discipline and consistent behavior to be safe people to be around. If the focus is on, ‘who has the power now, I don’t want to be the underdog’?, that is not the mindset of a repentant person. Recognize this if a person who abused you wants to reconcile. Don’t remember the good times. This isn’t about remembering the good times, it is about looking at how the bad times have made your life a misery, so much that the good times didn’t help much. The good times are usually controlled by the abuser, good times often mean lack of bad times, times when his or mood isn’t so bad, maybe there’s laughter, but the main point is that the abusive person is still the one in absolute control; do they rage or do they behave? Happiness can not be dependant on whether the abuser loses it or not. And it is good if the abusers feels bad about themselves; they should. If they are so concerned about feeling good and valued, it means they don’t want to do the necessary work and take the necessary steps to real change, which is hard. They might have to eat a little bit of humble pie. Being truly repentant means they don’t make excuses. If they sigh and say, maybe we should just break up, that is manipulative. Either they are going to do the hard work or they are not. If people hurt them, those people are wrong. They get to choose if they want to hang out with those people who hurt them or not. But the focus right now is on what they did, not on what others did to them. They have to hold themselves accountable and can’t look for a quick fix.
KellyNovember 4th, 2019 at 10:50 AM
That is very good context on the abuser.
If you are an abuser or victim or a little of both, it is important to minimize time spent on blaming and judging. We are all imperfect human beings and our lives won’t improve until we look in the mirror. We are all responsible for our own happiness. Blaming and judging someone else’s actions implies that we won’t be happy until they change. That is completely untrue.
The title under these posts is “should I give my emotionally abusive husband another chance?”. It got us all to show up here because we were asking that question. I learned that it was the wrong question to ask. Over time, I learned that I needed to change. I needed to own my happiness. I found it by asking God for forgiveness and developing a closer relationship with Him…..and myself. My sin was that I didn’t protect and care for myself. When I started to take personal accountability and own my happiness, I could start lifting my head up. I worked on listening to my own inner voice. I started looking my husband in the eyes and seeing his fear. He was afraid just like me…..he just had a different way of showing it. He wasn’t a monster after all. In my situation, the tornado we were in wasn’t going to stop, until I changed. I had to stop blaming and judging his abusive behavior. When I changed, he had no choice but to change how he reacted to me. This bears repeating……. When I changed, he had no choice but to change how he reacted to me.
Here is a simple answer to the question victims ask….. “why does he abuse me?” …… “because you let him”. So, stop letting him. Lift your head up and look in the mirror. What do you see in the mirror? Is this who you really are? Stop trying to figure him out. Start trying to figure yourself out.
I know this all sounds a bit harsh but sometimes we need a loving kick in the butt. Make a commitment to stop giving yourself away and relinquishing your happiness to someone else’s control. Eventually, your level of discernment will improve. You will learn to know when to say no and when to say yes.
Know that you are loved and you are important. It is your journey. Make it a good one. Love and Hugs.
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