It’s time again for “Dear Wendy Updates,” a feature where people I’ve given advice to in the past let us know whether they followed the advice and how they’re doing now. Today we hear from “Muted Voice,” a woman who wrote in nearly ten years ago (!) asking how to tell her husband of twenty years how deeply unhappy she was. He was verbally abusive, he never helped with childcare or domestic chores, and she was ready to leave the marriage – she even had an apartment picked out to move into – but didn’t know how to do it. “I have a history of not standing up for myself and I have tried a few sessions of counseling, but can’t get past whatever block is inside my mouth, throat, or head. I’ve read somewhere about cognitive therapy for assertiveness and have been researching therapists in my area (hey, it’s a step in the right direction), but I’d really like to hear from you and your readers about how they may have extracted themselves from similar situations.”
Ten years later, find out whether she was ever able to extract herself from this unhappy marriage.
My son and I are both in therapy, and we’re 800 miles away from a man who is truly a narcissist (undiagnosed, of course – he doesn’t see the point of therapy). We are communicating via e-mail only (which is one of the boundaries I set and am maintaining a hard line on).
There is no more love there for him. Emotionally, I am truly and permanently done. There are still details to work out, and I am still on anti-depressants as well as on anti-anxiety meds when needed for panic attacks (caused by his outbursts). But the really good news is that I’m beginning to feel happiness again! I’m starting to see how much my confidence had suffered and my self-esteem was non-existent. I managed to get up the courage to run with my son, and we are now surrounded by family and friends and lots of love.
I’m beginning to actually look forward to the rest of my life. I know I stayed way too long (and am working through this with my therapist). I just wanted your readers to know that if they are in similar circumstances, there is still hope. There is life after some pretty horrible verbal/emotional abuse. And you might be surprised that your friends are just waiting to hear from you and will rejoice with you when you get out. I have reconnected with many friends over the past month.
Anyway, thank you for being there for me then, and please keep up the great work you do to help people! You’re awesome!
I’m so so glad you were able to leave your abusive, unhappy marriage and get yourself and your son to a safe place. How wonderful that you’re reaching out to old friends, are getting therapy, and have access to medication that works for you! I’m celebrating your new beginning and really touched you shared this with me; thank you. Wishing you many good things on your path forward.
If you’re someone I’ve given advice to in the past, I’d love to hear from you, too. Email me at email@example.com with a link to the original post, and let me know whether you followed the advice and how you’re doing now.
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