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My husband woke up this morning, before the alarm clock went off, and went into the other room and turned off the heater. It's the beginning of springtime, however, it was still 30 degrees outside overnight. He came back in the bedroom and took the blankets from me and told me, "It's hot in here, you don't need the blanket." Then he told me that I should know that I'm "not allowed to touch the heat."
I have learned from my experience with him that if he gets this way, I need to ignore him, because anything I say or do will result in a bigger fight. So I just stayed where I was and didn't move. He proceeded to push me off the bed and told me to sleep on the couch. I couldn't do that, because I have learned that when I respond to something he does, he will do it again.
He called me a "thorn" and a "bi***". Then he got up for the day, smashed a coat rack against the wall, and broke everything that was on top of our dresser. He said to me, "the reason you are being this way is because we visited your mom yesterday." He has very negative feelings towards my mom, but is nice to her face, and will later blame "who I am" on her.
He told me that I should have known better than to turn the heat on, and how high our bill is going to be. (We make 60,000 a year, so We can afford to be comfortable.) I told him I didn't care about the heat. He translated this into I don't care about him or our house, which made him more mad. When he was leaving the room to take a shower he said, "Get up, I need orange juice." A little later in the morning, as he was leaving for work, he said "Thanks for the juice. You might not care about me or the house, but you care about juice."
I recognize that this is not a healthy dynamic, and I don't want to be a doormat. I want to go to counseling, but when I bring it up to him--even when he is in a healthy state of mind--he doesn't think that our marriage is that bad, and if it was, he asks me why don't we just get divorced instead?
What if I went to counseling myself? Would it be beneficial at all? I was thinking that I could at least learn some coping skills to help me deal with him emotionally. I am thinking of sleeping at my sister's tonight, and dropping our two dogs off at his parent's house. He will sometimes take things out on them to get a reaction from me (his words).
I am at a loss. Seriously. I have exhausted all of my emotional energy on this and I can't live with him being this way for the rest of my life.
Response from Dr. DeFoore
Hello, and thanks for asking your question here. I think your thinking seems clear regarding your situation. You are clearly being verbally and emotionally abused (with some physical--pushing you out of the bed).
I totally support your idea of staying at your sister's house, and finding a safe place for your dogs. You need to keep yourself safe, and your dogs too.
It is important that you think of all of the messages you are sending your husband. Make sure he knows that his abusiveness to you is not acceptable. If you go back, try to work things out, make up, and he continues to treat you this way, you're sending the message that it is acceptable to you.
Your husband needs help, and you have said that he's not willing to get any. That is a definite warning sign. Even if he gets help, there is no guarantee that you will be safe in this relationship.
Make your own safety your top priority. Stand up for yourself in a way that is safe for you.
And yes, I think it would be excellent for you to get counseling for yourself. I have counseled with a lot of women in your situation, and by learning to communicate effectively and stand up for themselves, they have been able to stop the abuse--either by ending the relationship or by working things out--which requires the husband's participation.
It is good that you don't want to be a doormat. The response you describe of not doing anything when he becomes abusive is a type of "freeze" response. It is a classic victim reaction, and in some cases invites further abuse--even though it might be your best possible option in the situation. This is why you may need to just stay away from this man.
Take a look at the following web pages for further support and ideas:
Believe in yourself. Take good care of yourself. Take action that leads you to a feeling of peace and comfort inside. Trust your good heart.
My very best to you,
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