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Emotionally abusive husband – stay or go??

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  • #966208 Reply

    I have been married to my husband for 2.5 years, together for 11. We are 28 & 30 years old, so we have spent most of our young adult years together. For the past year I have been in a constant battle of wondering – should I stay, or leave?

    Emotional abuse has been apparent for the last few years – and much longer, if we get really into it, but worsening lately. It is in the form of judgments, cold remarks, threats to take the dog, demands – sexual and nonsexual, name-calling, silent treatments, belittling, blaming, projecting, loud angry outbursts, etc. It has not gotten “physical,” but at the same time, has included drunkenly yelling in my face, punching walls, breaking down locked doors, punching pillows, and once pulling the bed out from under me. Most, if not all, of these were while drunk.

    4 months ago, I was enlightened and basically said “Stop this or I’m done.” He made a 180 change with his behaviors for a week or two. Then there would be a drunken rage, then another, and then he quit drinking altogether. Things seemed to get better with the absence of alcohol, but I still feel these covert signs of abuse.

    Last week, he told me I was giving him attitude, slammed on his brakes, and told me to “get the F out” of his truck. When I did, he opened the door and said “did you learn your lesson? Get the F back in.”

    I am staying elsewhere because of this. However, these overtly abusive episodes are becoming less severe and less frequent, and he is still not drinking. So I see the effort he is putting in. I am STRUGGLING with what move to make now. Another chance? Counseling (I have heard this is a bad idea with abuse)? Leave definitively? Or something in between?

    I have the means and I think financially (and, really, emotionally) I would be alright in a separation situation. But it’s such a difficult and permanent decision, and I feel immense guilt and sadness for him if this is the case.

    Any and all comments are welcome. I appreciate you all so much. Thank you.

    #966258 Reply

    He’s abusive full stop and you should never go back. You need a divorce and he does not deserve your pity and compassion. It is his choice to drink, be mean and controlling, and yes he has used physical violence on you if he pulled the bed from under you.

    I’m sure he’s in pain and feels shame, but you need to be safe yourself and domestic violence organisations can help outline how to do that. You don’t have to give him another chance just because he’s abusing you less currently.

    Here in NZ there is a movement called ‘she is not your rehab’ and it’s so true.

    #966283 Reply

    You don’t have to make a decision this instant. Do these things, in this order, and then take your time deciding …
    1. Call the domestic violence hotline in your country. US is 800.799.SAFE (7233)
    2. Go to counseling alone. Give it time to work.
    3. Go to al-anon (online), because he is an alcoholic and because you were probably raised by an alcoholic, right? Give this time to work also.
    4. Prepare for him to love bomb you and pressure you once he suspects you aren’t coming back. Rushing you is a sure sign that he’s not sincere.

    You’re feeling the guilt and sadness that HE refuses to feel. He’s shoved it off onto you; it’s not yours to carry.

    #966522 Reply

    He is physically abusive. Really, you quote many examples of him being violent and damaging for you.
    Go. I think you know the answer. Yes, it is very sad. But he did all this and you can’t undo it for him. You can’t erase it: it existed and caused your harm. It is not only a matter of addiction that can all go away. He acts like this repeatedly, even sober. You already gave him a lot of chances to amend.
    So please don’t take the guilt on you. The facts are the facts. You act accordingly. You were 100% right to move out after the last episode. I would be done after that as well. You can’t rely on such a man as a partner. You couldn’t expect him either to be a good father, for example. You leave in fear and mistreatment: this is no life. This marriage has no future. This is for him to seek treatment and to take the guilt on him.
    Please proceed to the divorce. Make an appointment with a lawyer and seek mental support as a victim of marital abuse.
    You seem to be strong. You will go through it. It will be difficult but you can do it. And when you pick up your stuff, take many people with you for your protection. Don’t go back to common life with him, I fear for your safety.

    #966558 Reply

    FYI nailed it. I’m glad you’re already somewhat separated from this guy and you should continue to untangle yourself from him. You’re blaming most of his abuse on alcohol, and alcoholism is a devastating illness, but people can be both ill and an asshole. Go to al-anon. Lots of online options. Download the app In These Rooms. Its common for a couple to break up when the addicted partner gets sober. The nonaddicted partner stops seeing the addict as sick so they tolerate less bullshit. Your husband being sober, for now, is lovebombing. He’s being an idealized version of himself to win you back. If he was putting in the hard work of getting sober he’d be trying to change his life, not trying to make it how it used to be. I know you have a lengthy history with him, but that shouldn’t blind you to the mess that he is currently. You’re happier and safer with him gone

    #966560 Reply

    Sorry, the app is In The Room. Also try Meeting Guide. Both can get you talking to other people who love addicts within minutes

    #966811 Reply

    He sounds like a person you should leave in the past. Everything seems to be escalating, too. I’d leave. ASAP.

    Madonna penned a disturbing song about abusive relationships that NAILS the false optimism of staying with an abuser…

    It’s an awful, vicious cycle. Get out!

    #966816 Reply

    “They never laugh
    (not like before)
    she takes the keys
    (he breaks the door)”

    The build up of this song is so, so dark. Yet the music remains relentlessly upbeat and optimistic…

    With Madonna’s voice and ever shifting points of view narration bouncing back and forth in between…

    #966822 Reply

    “He takes a drink
    (She goes inside)
    He starts to scream
    (The vases fly.)”

    Any of this sound familiar, LW? Hey if Madonna could leave Sean Penn — yep, this song is all about him! — trust me, you can leave Mr Loser.

    Do it. Do it. Do it now.

    #966867 Reply

    Let me clarify. The only reason I said “you don’t have to decide this instant” is because you said you’re not living with him, right? I pictured him pressuring you to return because he’s acting like he’s making an effort. My only point is that you could hold off on telling HIM anything, while you get tons of outside support in place to help you.

    #966868 Reply

    Yeah, you’re going to need to get a divorce. This guy is all kinds of wrong. I know you feel really invested, but trust me, it only will get worse. Do check out Al-Anon and find a therapist, but also get your divorce papers ready. I married my HS boyfriend too, and got divorced at 28. He wasn’t abusive, but he drank and he started making unacceptable life choices. We didn’t have kids or own property, so it was as easy as downloading papers from the internet for a few hundred bucks. Anyway, I’m not saying you’ll feel fantastic at first. It’s hard. But then you get a life again and you can be free to meet a good guy. You sound like you have a lot going for you. Don’t settle for this. Seriously. I have zero regrets. I think of him fondly now, but never do I think we should be together.

    #966869 Reply

    Regardless of my experience, though, you do not have to take this type of shit from a man. At his BEST, he’s making threats to teach you a lesson? Fuck. That. Not normal, not ok, not acceptable for any reason, especially not because you’ve been together 10 years. Bye.

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