Why Do I Still Feel Paralyzed And Afraid To Leave?

by Anonymous
(USA)

Hi, I have been married to very abusive man with major anger/rage issues for the last ten years. He has destroyed any trust I had and I no longer feel safe with him. I've caught him lying to me many times and in his anger/rages I have been called every horrible swear word and name you can imagine.



His cruel sarcasm and putdowns have ripped my heart to shreds. I would literally hide from him behind clothing in closets at the house but he would search until he found me and continue his verbal assaults. I've been mocked, pushed, shoved, shook, kicked, hair pulled, taunted, things hit out of my hands...everything just short of him punching or strangling me.

Which I believe in my heart he's wanted to do and it was all he could do to stop himself. I basically live in 3 rooms in our home because I'm afraid to be near him when he is at the house. Terrible things have happened when I've been in the car with him so I refuse to go anywhere with him now. He has told me repeatedly there was something wrong with me. The really scary part is he never takes responsibility for his actions, apologizes or shows any remorse for the horrible things he says and does.

I feel he emotionally abandoned our relationship years ago. He's told me many, many times "he doesn't care what I think or how I feel" and that he could have done better. I've tried everything I know to do to build a relationship with him but he's always kept me at a distance.

He is well known in our community and everyone thinks he is a really great guy. No one ever sees this side of him. My three very close friends know how abusive he is and tell me, "No one would ever believe you." I very recently found out that his father was a very abusive man and several of his siblings also have major anger/rage/control issues as well.

If I say something to anger him, he often will jump up from his chair, or wherever he is, and will come within inches of my face and yell at me or push and shove me. The first few times he did this it scared me so much I tried to push him away from me, but when I did, he then would theatrically stagger backwards about ten feet, wildly flailing his arms and accuse me of attacking and abusing him. So now I don't know what to do so I just stand there or sit and cover my head and don't respond.

I'm 48 years old, haven't worked outside the home for almost the whole while I've been married to him. I know it sounds dumb but I feel paralyzed and can't seem to divorce him because I'm worried about my future financial security, health insurance etc. I would really appreciate your words of advice on how I can overcome my fear of being alone and unable to pay my bills. Thank you.

Please don't reveal my name or address.




Response from Dr. DeFoore

Hello, and thanks for telling your story here. I know you feel very alone, but you are not alone with your situation. Many others are currently and have in the past dealt with this type of abusive relationship.

You are currently held captive by your own fear. You have been beaten down and intimidated to the point that you don't think much of yourself, and you doubt your ability to function in the world without this abusive man. You are in a battered wife syndrome, and many have been there before you, and have recovered. You can too.

Please read the following page on battered wife syndrome, and follow all of the recommended steps there.

Contact your local women's shelter, and they will tell you what to do. They have been through this thousands of times, and your story will sound very familiar to them. You will find your way to safety one step at a time. The first step was telling your story here.

The next step is to make that phone call. If you don't know who to call, do an online search for "battered women's shelter" and enter the town where you live. Even if you have to drive to another city, do whatever you have to do to get yourself to safety. Then the next step will be to find out what resources are available to you there. These centers are very accustomed to helping women just like you to find a safe and reasonable way to live separately from your abuser.

You can do this. Do it now. Don't wait. Do it for yourself, because you are a good person, worthy of kindness and respect.

Be your own champion. Do it now.

Believe in yourself.

My very best to you,

Dr. DeFoore

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