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How Do I Quit My Job When My Boss Is My (Abusive) Husband?

by Anonymous

I have never seen this situation addressed and hope to get some badly needed advice. My backstory: I am a 62 y/o female, college educated, married 37 years and have one child (a 23 year old adult son who no longer lives at home).

I worked in the private and governmental sectors for 20 years and, in the last 20 years, I have been a self-employed business owner along with my husband on our family farm.

From the beginning of our relationship, there were red flags which I guess you could say I chose to ignore due to immaturity, inexperience and, sadly, several serious life events that took place just prior to our meeting.

It only took me 30+ years to have a "light bulb" moment and discover that there was a name for everything that had occurred in our relationship over the years and was/is still happening (verbal, emotional and sometimes physical abuse).

Mid-way through our marriage, I quit my day job to work full-time for our business and have been responsible for its day to day operation ever since (ranging from farm labor to management decisions and everything in between). I think I'm very good at what I do but I get very little joy and fulfillment from it and would like to do something else before it's too late.

It's an understatement to say working for my husband is difficult -- I am the batting board and the one to blame for things that go wrong. If I do get a compliment, it will inevitably be offset with an insult, scolding or criticism and often in front of our employees.

If I do what I'm told to do and act like an employee, then my boss (husband) is fine for the time being. On other days, I am expected to act like the owner, "grow a set" (his words, not mine) and make a decision. It's so confusing!

There is no separation of personal and business life which further complicates things and it creates a double whammy since his behavior in our personal life is the same as in business. I know in my heart that I can't quit my "job" and still be able to stay in my marriage because there would be consequences and I just don't have the energy to live that way.

If I do leave, my problem (as misguided as this might be) is that I don't want to be the one responsible for bringing the business down. I don't even mind if my husband continues with the business, I just don't want to be part of it anymore.

I think everyone can be replaced, but I know what I do for our business comes from years of experience which you can't typically just hire someone for. I really don't know what to do or how to separate myself from this. Any advice would be sincerely appreciated because, right or wrong, this has been a real sticking point for me and it keeps me from being able to move on.

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May 20, 2017
Your Self Worth Is Your Best Guide
by: Dr. DeFoore

Hello, and thanks for sharing your story here. I understand your dilemma, and why it is complicated for you. As important as the business is, nothing is as important as your self worth and self respect.

You are being abused, as you have realized. It's important that you realize that you have become accustomed to the abuse, and breaking out of the pattern will be challenging for you.

The most important thing is that you make the necessary decisions to insure that you are emotionally and physically safe. It sounds like you are absolutely not safe with your husband.

I encourage you to begin planning the steps to leave the marriage and the business. Look for an attorney you can trust, and discuss your options with the information you have available.

Your self worth and self respect are your most prized possessions. Do whatever you need to restore and preserve them.

Believe in yourself. You are worth the journey ahead.

My best to you,

Dr. DeFoore

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