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He Claims He's Christian, But A Tape Recorder In Our Home Would Show Different

by Victoria
(Los Angeles)

Hi - My name is Victoria and I've known for quite a while that I've been in a verbally abusive marriage. We've been married for 20 years now and my husband just seems to be getting worse. He's short tempered, always critical of everyone, especially me and our son.

He's super quick to point out everyone's sins and faults and takes great glee in doing so, but I've never once heard him point out any sin of his own. When I've told him in the past (many, many times) that his harsh way of speaking to me and Isaac is hurtful and ungodly, he says that I am a "hot-house flower" and he's not going to let me raise a wimpy son.

Other times I tell him that his words are very hurtful and sinful, he tells me "oh, I guess you're just a saint! - - aren't you self-righteous!" He always deflects from looking at himself and criticizes me for being hurt.

Last night when I came home from work, he met me at the front porch and threatened me not to come inside and start "babying" our son. He had just verbally destroyed our son over a below-average homework attempt and our son was still crying.

I have wanted to leave the marriage many, many times and I have even discussed this possibility with our son. Our son does not want us to split up. He's an only child and our little threesome is his whole world.

My husband also jumps from job to job because he doesn't like any of his co-workers. There may be legitimate complaints about aspects of his various jobs, but anything in a job that he's dissatisfied about, makes him want to leave. He doesn't seem to have the ability to adjust to the culture around him. He just complains that everyone around him is crazy, stupid, insecure, threatened by him, envious of him, etc.

I don't have any faith any more that he will change. I have prayed for this change hundreds of times, but I guess God's answer on this one is "NO." But because he's not physically violent, and we're Christians, and there are some things about him that I, and our son, still do appreciate. I find it hard to justify leaving a 20 year marriage.

I'm pretty silent at home and I find it hard to look at him now. But he's usually so self-absorbed in his complaints about his co-workers, our son, my family, the people at our church, other parents, etc., that he hasn't noticed that I don't even look at him any more. I'm completely shut down and depressed.

How do you get someone like this to go to family counseling? He has said many times that he would never go to counseling.

Response from Dr. DeFoore

Hello Victoria, and thanks for telling your story here. Your situation sounds very difficult, to say the least. Unfortunately, there is no way to get someone to go to counseling when they don't want to, unless they're a child and you just take them.

I strongly recommend that you read the following pages on relationships, where you will find some guidance about things that you can do to at least improve how you feel, if not actually change your situation for the better.

how to deal with abusive relationships

You will find several recommendations on those pages of journaling exercises you can do to improve how you feel, and that will definitely help you. I strongly recommend that you do those exercises.

Consider the possibility, Victoria, that you can have more of a positive impact than you may have thought.

My very best to you,

Dr. DeFoore

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