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All My Eggs In One Basket

by K
(Ontario, Canada)

My common-law husband and I manage apartment buildings and we live, eat and breath work.

I love my job, I just can't handle the verbal abuse. If I leave I lose my home and my job. But the last couple of arguments are starting to show signs of physical abuse. For example: he threw a stuffed animal at me (I know it was only a stuffed animal - but what next time?) and our last fight (tonight) he grabbed my wrist when I tried to phone someone.

He's always saying, "call your mommy", or "I'm the worst thing to happen to him in his life". I'm worthless, no good, can't do my job, can't survive without him, he calls me a slut, c---, bitch, you name it, he says it.

His father verbally and physically abuse hime when he was at home, he left home at an early age. No I'm not making excuses for him. I would just like to know why when he didn't like what his father did to him, he doesn't see what he's doing to me.

All of our arguments end up being my fault, as he always turns things around to suit him. There have been times when I've actually said, "I should tape you so you can hear how you speak and treat me".

I don't want to lose everything in my life in one quick swoop, but I need help. I'm scared, alone with nowhere go. I've often thought maybe I should go to a shelter for a few days, not tell him and let him worry; but would he even care? I don't know any more.

All I'm asking for is a respectful, loving relationship.

Response from Dr. DeFoore

Hello K, and thanks for telling your story here. It is clear that your situation is difficult, and that you feel trapped by your circumstances. You are worthy of the respectful, loving relationship that you want, and I will try to help you move in that direction.

From what you describe, it does not appear that you can reason with your husband, so I will not recommend that you try to communicate with him about this. If you feel differently, please use these conflict resolution skills and see if the two of you can work things out.

Otherwise, if you don't think he will listen respectfully to you, here is what I suggest:

1) The abuse has to stop. This is wearing on you, in ways you may not be aware of.

2) As you point out, it is becoming physical, and you never know what's coming next. I highly encourage you to go to a shelter, get some counseling about your situation, and start considering your options.

3) See if you can find some legal advice about how you might get out of your common law marriage without losing your home and your income. You may not choose to do this, but it is always good to be informed about your options.

Meanwhile, make up your mind that you will be treated with respect, no matter what. Make that decision deep inside, and don't voice it out loud to anyone. Just make that commitment to yourself in your heart. Then, take one step at a time in the direction that will maximize your possibilities of always being treated with respect.

Take a look at these relationship-quotes, and see how they might help you. You might also get some value from this page on self love.

Believe in yourself, K. No one has the right to treat you badly. Be sure and take a look at your own anger, by the way, and if you need to, practice these anger management techniques regularly until they are second nature.

You might also be interested in these audio CD programs for couples.

Never, ever give up on yourself and your dreams.

My very best to you,

Dr. DeFoore

P.S. If you found this to be helpful, please consider making a donation to this site to support our mission.

P.P.S. If you got something of value here, We would also greatly appreciate it if you would provide a written testimonial about the site, Dr. DeFoore's help, or one of our products.

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Jan 13, 2010
Staying in an Abusive Relationship
by: Anonymous

I was married to my first husband for 23 years. During that time he was extremely verbally and sexually abusive. I kept waiting for him to change. I kept going into recovery thinking that if I got better, somehow the marriage would get better. I did this because he kept telling me that our problems were my fault and not his. He kept telling me that I was crazy. I started to believe him.

I asked my ex if he would go into counseling with me and he refused.

After my children were grown, I left him. I found out later that I should have left him sooner. When my oldest son got married, he told me that he started to be verbally abusive with his wife just like his father had been with me. The cycle had been handed down to another generation. My son said that as soon as he realized what he was doing, he got help and learned to be a better husband. He said that he just couldn't stand being abusive like his father.

No amount of money and no job is worth allowing yourself to be destroyed by another person's abuse.

My present husband and I are currently getting phone counseling with Bill DeFoore. I am so relieved. After the first phone session I realized that Bill DeFoore is as warm, kind, and genuinely concerned as he is in his books and on this blog site. He is a gifted counselor.

My present husband and I have some problems mostly due to unresolved childhood and past memories and feelings. We are both going to be facing those problems and feelings until our marriage is what we both want it to be. There is no way to explain how it feels to be married to someone who is willing to be in counseling with you.

My present husband and I do not have problems as severe as you do with your relationship. We are not dangerous to each other. Even if your common law husband agreed to get help, I think it would be wise for you to move out. Staying in a dangerous situation is just not worth it.

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