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My Loving Husband Has Become Abusive

by Anonymous

We’ve been together for 5 years. Married for 1 year. We have a 3yr old son together. Things were great for a while. I felt loved and supported by my husband.
The months after our wedding several stressful events occurred. We moved house and then my husband lost his job. He decided to start his own company so I started working full time. He also had a bad fight with his mum soon after the wedding about her behaviour at and after the wedding.

The day after the wedding she caused a huge argument between us. She told my husband I had offended her and he got very angry with me. He has since confided in me about the emotional abuse he endured from his mother.

I’m beginning to see that my husband has very low self-esteem and is not emotionally intelligent.

I used to feel nurtured by him but over the past year I have often felt neglected. I try to bring it up but he gets angry. He has started treating me the way his mother treated (and still treats) him, e.g. with verbal abuse, belittling and gas lighting, or alternatively he treats me how he treats her, e.g. with distain and emotional distance, exasperation and dismissal.

He challenges my assertion that his behaviour towards me constitutes emotional abuse and explains that I cause his anger and frustration with my needs and ‘constant yapping’. When we argue he will roll his eyes and sigh if I talk about my feelings. If I bring up unresolved issues he says he can’t be bothered with my ‘noise.’

He avoids all interaction with my family and I have begun to go along with this since trying to involve him just left me feeling hurt. He always excuses himself from any social gathering involving my family, although he is always cordial when he does see them.

He’s a nervous anxious person and I believe he could heal from his wounds. Over the past three years he has been building a relationship with his dad who left him and his mum when he was around 4yrs old. He harbors anger and resentment against his dad but simultaneously idolizes him.

Unfortunately, his dad can be misogynistic at times and since spending more time with him, my husband has begun to make more misogynistic comments. My husband will usually take the other person’s side in any dispute I might have, no matter how minor. He expects me to take his side in his disputes.

I feel sorry for him as he has had a lot of personal difficulty over the last 3 years. However I get frustrated at his apparent lack of motivation to address his issues and grow as a person.

I feel he is more immature now than when I met him five years ago.

I’m sad as he could be at peace and enjoy being himself and I always tell him I love him for who he is. He has a need to prove himself. He wants to succeed to ‘show people’ - I am not like this and while I try to respect his stance I believe it is actually unhealthy.

A couple of people have mentioned to me that they felt uncomfortable at times when they witnessed my husband making disrespectful comments to me.

I’m beginning to find my husband very unattractive. We used to have a very good intimate connection but have not made love for some weeks now. Neither of us has initiated it.

We have argued a lot lately and I have honestly tried to stay calm in the hopes it helps him communicate more rationally but this has not always worked.

I realize I am living with a constant sense of fear and ‘walking on eggshells’ and I often get very anxious about how he will react to things. He has sworn at me during rows but says it’s because I don’t stop getting at him.

To be fair, I can sometimes totally lose my rag when I feel he is deliberately misunderstanding me. For example I said that even though I know he loves me, at times his behaviour can make me feel unloved.

I take great pains to be clear and non-critical as he can become very offended and angrily lash out (verbally) if he thinks I am putting him down. He responded that he can’t believe I’d suggest he didn’t love me.

He will usually apologize unreservedly when he has been verbally abusive. However lately he has begun to insinuate it’s my fault, or get upset and insulting if I don’t apologize for causing his agitation.

I can’t continue like this but I still struggle to accept the marriage might be over.

After one particularly distressing episode I told he that he must get counselling to control his anger and emotional outbursts or I could not stay with him. We then spent a long time talking about my mental health issues and how my behaviour is destructive to our relationship.

I agreed to go to therapy and I did. Nothing has come of my efforts to make things better. I needed him to try to control his anger.

I don’t know where I’m going with all of this. When he gets really emotionally irrational I do tend to panic and I get worked up trying to stick to the point. I do feel like I drive him to his rage at times.

For example one night he was going to the pub and I was fine with that. He told me he would be home at a certain time. He contacted me at the precise time he was meant to be home and said he would be very late. I was not fine with that. I just expressed mild irritation. But he got angry that I ‘obviously had an issue with him going to the pub.’

I kept saying it was not the pub it was the respect and courtesy to contact me to let me know he’d be late before the time he said he would be back. He got really annoyed that I was repeating myself and I began to be sarcastic and rude to him.

I hate my own behaviour when we row. I can stay calm and clear and assertive for a while but I usually see red if I feel he’s belittling me or being very unreasonable.

I don’t know what to do.

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Dec 27, 2017
Your Situation Is Understandable
by: Dr. DeFoore

Hello, and thanks for sharing your story here. You express yourself very well, which makes it pretty clear what is going on.

I totally agree with your assessment of the situation. Often in the new "blush" of romance, people put their best self forward, and then that wears off after marriage, and old "stuff" takes over. It looks like that is what has happened with your husband.

No easy answers here. If he gets help for himself, and takes responsibility for healing from his past, he may be able to start making his marriage more important than his relationship with his mother.

However, without his being willing to take full responsibility for himself and his part, there is little chance for improvement. As a matter of fact, it's very likely that things will just get worse from here.

I'm so sorry you're having this trouble with your marriage.

I wish you all the best as you move ahead and make up your mind to create only positive, loving relationships in your life.

My best to you,

Dr. DeFoore

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