The Psychological Battle

Yesterday, after 16 years of being married to my workaholic husband, I finally realized that this is mentally abusive. My husband is the one with a problem not me.

Yet, since I've known him, he's made me feel guilty for wanting him home. He's said, "I'm earning this kind of money for us and for the family." Yet, for years I've told him that I don't need his money, I just want his love and attention.

Sixteen years of this. We now have children, and I feel as though I'm a single mom. He wasn't there for all the great milestones and events that only come once in a parent's life. Whenever I bring that up he tells me that he's doing something far more important ... bringing in the dough. We've been to marriage counselors over the years, yet, nothing changes. He's defensive and refuses to change.

Yet, I work. I work full time (out of the house as a writer). I also bring in money. AND I take care of the house, I take care of the children, I do all the cooking, cleaning and laundry. I run all the errands, etc.

I've tried to have a life outside of the marriage. Yet, every time I make plans to do things with a group, his work gets in the way at the last minute to where I can't find a babysitter, and then I can't go because I need to stay home to take care of my children. Years of this!

So, now, as I write this, I am three months into my plan to leave him. I can't just walk away ... especially in this current financial climate. So, now I'm working double time, earning extra money, stashing it away, saving to buy my own house, pay for an attorney and pay for the divorce.

That divorce is like my dangling carrot. The more I think about it, the more excited I get. I can't wait to be free from the grips of this psychological battle of feeling guilty for asking him to be home with me and the kids. I can't wait to be free from the tasks of taking care of his laundry, cooking for him, cleaning up after him and talking to him on late weekend nights wondering when he's going to come home.

It's going to take a while, about 16 months, before I have enough money for a down payment on a house. Yet, for the first time in all these years, I have a genuine smile on my face ... I can't wait to be free.

2cztheday 2cztheday
41-45, F
6 Responses Mar 1, 2009

Why leave him? He is working to make sure his family has everything they need some women would love to have a man like that.

I can't wait to be you! I am 20 years and several children into a marriage that has been great, indifferent, loveless, angry, good again...the only common thread: I love a workaholic who loves me and our kids, but constantly is unavailable physically and emotionally. I thought he treated me badly for many years because he was unhappy with work and no longer took time for exercise or outside interests (including his family). Ten years into this and I find out he is just angry with me: I am the reason he HAS to work so hard, I am not a good enough housewife, l am not a good enough partner, I am not physically available when he wants to have sex; the list is endless. I believed this garbage for 10 years. I am over that now...these are all his defenses for being a workaholic. I am full of anger and shame for putting up with this behavior. I am waiting until my youngest is in school, I will go back to work full-time, put away my paychecks and be done. I feel so much happier just having a light at the end of the tunnel. Although I am TERRIFIED at the thought of bring a middle aged single Mom. I am alone now, and miserable when he is home, but it is familiar. The unknown is so frightening.

I am very jealous of you! I seriously think after 17 years of being married to a workaholic a have a sort of post traumatic stress disorder from the abuse. Sad thing is I love my husband and I know he loves me but as most addicts he does not admit to his addiction and therefore no progress can be made. I don't want to leave him, my kids would be debased , even though work comes before them too:)

I've never thought about workaholism as a form of abuse. But I can see where it definitely can be. In your case, it seems to be a form of control - including his comments about him earning the money "for you and the family" whenever you confront him. This is just a way to stir up guilt in you for his further purpose of control. HE is the one who should feel guilty about not living up to what should be priorities as a husband and father, which include giving of his time, emotions and communication. It is clear that he has not lived up to these obligations - no wonder you feel as if you will soon be "free". No one was meant to live in a prison of mental and emotional neglect.

I know another woman that did this. It took her 3 yrs, but she is free and happy. Good for you. She is financially stable and her husband's income truly does pay for her children's things and she saves for their college expenses with the rest. All because she was patient and planned ahead. I don't have the desire to leave, but can see why others are.

Good luck to you. Brave steps and completely understandable. You can't wait forever for a change that just isn't going to come. It's not you. He's figthing a battle with himself that he can't win. How about an update one year on?