Just Now Recognizing Verbal And Emotional Abuse In Our Marriage Of 15 Years

I hardly know where to start. I am in my forties, and married almost 15 years. Shortly after my DH and I were married, one of my aunts, who had only met DH once or twice, called to ask if "everything was okay," and she meant how I was doing with the marriage. She seemed genuinely concerned, and I had no idea what she was getting at at the time. Now I think she must be clairvoyant! 


No matter what I am feeling, if I share my feelings they are dismissed by my DH, totally invalidated unless they mesh exactly with his own feelings or opinions. Either that, or he explains to me why I am wrong. There is always anger just under the surface. If I slip up and share any negative feelings he tells me I am getting bent out of shape. If I disagree with him, he expects my to concede a point, no matter what. I walk on eggshells all the time, and I can feel a physical and emotional toll from the stress. The kids sense it.


I could write a novel about the poor condition of our home, our financial plans, etc. that would illustrate that I am completely freaked out and everything is a struggle, just trying to "keep it together"! He has said that I "have it made" - LOL! Oh, and that I am lazy, despite being the default childcare provider, half or more than half the income for the family, and keep most of the important household management stuff in my own head, on my own plate -- I am overwhelmed! Not all of my personal decisions have been perfect, but I am focused on getting things right for the future. I feel like I keep getting dragged back into the past for every little minor perceived transgression. I apologize for hurt feelings, I make changes in myself, but I also recognize that I am not responsible for his feelings and actions. How I wish this was all reciprocated! Instead, I get a ***-for-tat reaction, or worse.


If I tell him I feel scared when he yells and/or curses while fixing household fixtures, disciplining the kids, working on taxes, paying bills, etc., then I get "put in my place" so to speak, and he turns it around on me. If he is being over-the-top angry with the kids over some small issue (basically if they don't comply with his expectations immediately), my inclination is to try to calm everyone down. He tells me not to "treat him this way" and that it "isn't his fault" that he is yelling. On the flip-side, he will jump in and take over if he perceives that *my* discipline with the kids is not working! He does this with no sense of irony! It is infuriating and also makes me feel very sad. He has little patience and no sense of humor, and little kids need both. I have been teaching for over 20 years, and I "get" kids, yet he completely dismisses this. My place is not to question him, period. 


He has threatened to leave on a few occasions, after arguments over a variety of topics -- usually when I just simply disagree with him, even if the topic has nothing to do with us personally! I am talking red-faced, loud, pointing-a-finger-in-my-face rage. He has always left on-foot, and always comes back later. Doesn't care if the kids hear (??!). Then the next day when we "discuss" it, he claims that his rage was justified and he doesn't understand why *I* won't change. No apology, ever. After being yelled at and feeling so frightened and bewildered, how can I feel anything else now? Genuine intimacy is out of the question now, although I think this is all he really wants from me. When I fake it, it feels wrong. If I try to explain myself, he tells me to "stop it" or "cut it out" -- but then keeps asking me to explain myself! He has said I am treating him badly. In public, we are the picture of a happy family. It's crazy-making!


There is so much more, but it would take an entire book to write. Help! I want to fix this without having to leave, but I don't know how, or if it is possible. I have very few friends here, and family is out of state. Please ask me questions to help me work through this. With my counselor, I feel like I am talking in circles, and she will not give advice, only tell me to be assertive, or to leave. This is so hard. :(
teacherlymom teacherlymom
2 Responses May 17, 2012

Ma'am I have no idea what it feels like to be in your situation and my heart goes out to you for all the hurt and pain that you and your kids have had to endure. I respect the fact that you do not want to leave your husband I'm assuming as in get a divorce, but removing you and your kids from this hurtful environment may be the best thing for you and the best thing for your husband. It could be the wake up call that he needs to realize that his behavior is destroying his family. Do you have any family members you can stay with for awhile? It sounds like your husband will not accept any of the blame for his actions and nothing will change until he does that. Until then, removing yourself from that situation seems to be your only option for the sake of your ow sanity and your kids as well. I will certaintly be pryaying for that God will grant you wisdom to do what is best.

My dear, I can so totally relate to what you're saying. My husband is much the same, except that, rather than walking out, he tells me to leave. Of course, I don't. But I know where you're coming from. We can only keep telling ourselves, over & over, that he is the problem, it isn't us and that we don't deserve to be treated that way. Chin up - you're as good if not better than anyone else!