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An Angry Husband

Question:

I have been married for 19 years to a verbally abusive person. I was young, pregnant, and never married before. I was his 3rd wife; it took me a while to figure out why the other two left. We have 3 sons, the eldest 17 and the youngest 7. I am a college student. I have really enjoyed the experience of college and the journey through the knowledge of learning. He resents every minute I spend away from the house and belittles me. There is not an easy way out of this situation. I have refused to have relations with him until he seeks anger therapy. He will not go. I have no job, no money, and no one in my family who is supportive. I do have friends who tell me to just go. I need a plan; I cannot drag my children from a loving home on a farm to live in low income housing. I do fear for my life should I try to go. He has often said if I try to go he will kill my pets, and I will not get one penny from him for any support. I need concrete advice. I am 43 years old, a college Junior, so it will be some time before I get a degree and a job. I am also diagnosed Manic-Depressive on meds, so if I were dropped from his insurance there could be serious problems for me there too.

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  • ‘Anne’ is the pseudonym for the individual who writes this relationship advice column.
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Answer:

You have described a situation becoming increasingly common in our society. Your options are obviously limited and you seem to have really tried everything reasonable to work things out with your husband. A couple of things come to mind, however, which you may want to consider. First, you said he would not consider anger therapy to help him work out his problems. Often times, however, when a spouse or significant other is faced with problems in the relationship, it is difficult for them to admit they have a problem. One way of working around this is to suggest couples therapy, so you can work together on the relationship problems. While certainly his anger may be one of the problems in the relationship, perhaps there are others which can also be addressed. This is often seen as less threatening to the spouse or significant other, than individual therapy is. Second, if he refuses to do that, you should turn to your university’s college counseling center. Most universities have such a place, where students can go for help and assistance in their lives and with whatever problems they may be facing. This would be a great place to get started with assistance and support for helping you make the next decision — whether to stay or go. If you decide to go, the counselor there will help you with emotional support during this difficult time, as well as helping you discover the resources within your community which can help ease the transition. There may be more out there than you think! Third, keep in mind that nobody ever deserves to be an abusive relationship and most importantly, it is not your fault. Self-esteem is often the first thing to suffer in such a relationship, but you need to keep reminding yourself that you can take back control in this situation. It is your life, and if planned carefully, a life you can eventually lead safely without him, if you so choose. Contact your local mental health association, or county mental health board or department, or crisis/information helpline for resources within your local community which can help you plan on how best to leave this situation, if that is your choice. Hope things work out, – Anne

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