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Now Available! Dr. DeFoore's New Book GOODFINDING

How Dare You Want A Puppy!

by Anonymous

I spent the good part of this morning trying to decide how I should kill myself. Where I should do it, how I should do it, should I leave, my husband would just rip them up. Mail them.

And my children - I don't want them to find me. On and on it went until I came full circle - I don't want to add to my children's pain by having a mother that committed suicide. That thought made me realize I could no longer bury my feelings or hide from what I was living with.

My husband is an emotional and verbal abuser. It's killing me as sure as physical abuse.

These episodes don't happen often, but when they do the damage is complete. Raging, berating, lots of name calling. He's very big on name calling. And it starts over something that isn't that big. Last night: Our daughter (12) wants a puppy for her birthday. I overheard him telling her it was all my fault and he held me responsible for letting it get this far. People don't do this and she shouldn't want it.

She was crying and he yelled at her to stop right now. Which only made her cry harder. Our son (10) was in the room as well. I came over to comfort our daughter and he told me I could just move all my stuff out and get my own dog if I wanted it that bad.

He stood up and took a step towards me. I was afraid. The kids screamed and cried and tried to run out of the house. I tried to calm them. Our son was petrified and kept saying this is okay, this happens, this is okay, right? You and Dad have fought before and it will be over tomorrow, right?

He went out to mow the lawn and I tried to comfort the kids. The rest of the night he stayed away from everyone. I stay to protect my kids. I can't bear the thought of leaving them alone with him and how badly he treats people. I feel that if I leave that is a selfish decision.

Some of his rages are like this. Others are over something that hasn't even happened. For example, when I became pregnant with our last son (10), he insisted that he wasn't his. He raged and berated me and I have never been or even thought of being unfaithful to him. But he is like that....if he has a thought, then it's true. He makes assumptions and then acts on them. No matter the consequences. Please help.

Response from Dr. DeFoore

Hello, and thanks for telling your story here. Your situation is indeed challenging. I have worked with many women facing this type of situation, considering divorce, but not wanting to leave your children alone with their father following the divorce process.

There are no easy answers, but I'll give you some things to consider in your decision making process:

1) At this point, you seem to have concluded that your children are not safe in your (their) home.
2) If you divorce, they will at least have one safe home, with you.
3) It is possible that your husband's behavior toward your children will improve following the divorce, but of course there's no guarantee of this.
4) He is their father, and it will always be so. I encourage you to trust your children to manage their own relationship with their father. They will need your protection and support, of course, but it is very important that you believe in their ability to manage the relationship they have with the man who is and will always be their father.
5) Your focus needs to be on yourself, as a person, and as your children's mother. You must keep yourself healthy (and as much as possible, happy). This is the greatest gift you can give your children.

I suggest that you read the following pages on relationships:

battered wife syndrome
quotes on relationships

I hope this helps you to make the best decision for yourself and your children. If you do choose to stay with your husband, then by all means try to get some help with your marriage, if your husband is at all willing.

Believe in yourself. Find a place in your heart where you trust that you will make the best decisions going forward.

My very best to you,

Dr. DeFoore

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