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Controlling Husband


I’ve been married for 12 years now. Every year we argue of the same thing that rips our marriage almost apart. Money. We both have a spending problem. But most of all – it’s his money and I stay home with the kids. (8, 3, & 2) I love being home with the kids, but lately all my friends have gone back to work and I’m feeling I need a new identity also. I’ve been freelancing as a Graphic Designer for 6 years and loving every minute but just recently I have gotten a sitter for my younger boys to do more work. I don’t make as much, but I’m trying to find a means to get out of debt. I’ve been seeing a marriage counselor a couple times, but haven’t felt much better, I’m on Celexa for depression because of the marriage, and praying like crazy for God to change my heart. He is very obsessive. The house must be clean, laundry (if it isn’t I get the lecture of “It’s not that difficult”) He criticizes me in front of the kids, wrestles with them until they cry. Asked me to quit the PTA and church groups because I was being unfair to the kids. I’ve lost touch with a lot of my friends because of his jealous moods. I try to involve him with my friends and their husbands- we sometimes have fun, but it always comes down to me not doing “My Job”, investing our money, balancing the check book, and taking care of the kids and house. Help? Is this mental abuse? I’ve tried talking about with hi and asking him to go to counseling with me he says it’s my problem…. He is the problem. Ouch! My family says they will support any decision I make. I don’t know if I even love him any more, but I care about my children’s’ outcome on life. Any advice?

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The surface issue you describe is money, but scratch that surface and you immediately get involved in issues of control. Your husband appears to dictate to you how things need to be (how you need to be as a person!), and you appear to scramble to make them so. Despite your efforts, things are never quite right and he lets you know this through public criticism in front of your children (which is not good for the children to experience). Is this abuse? Well – probably yes. It’s not physical or sexual abuse, but it does seem to be a type of emotional abuse. I’m frankly not very surprised that you are depressed. Most people would be in the situation you describe.


p> Your problem is probably best thought of as not yours alone, but rather as a marital problem that exists between you and your husband. I would go so far as to say that if your husband insists that the problem is yours alone that he is being quite objectively rigid and fanatical about the issue in a sort of sick way that in of itself suggests that he needs help. It is good that you are on some medication for depressive feelings, and it is even better that you’ve gone for some therapy. However, what is called for here is marital therapy where both of you (as partners) go for couples counseling. You two have different ideas about your respective roles (as wife and husband) in this marriage, and until you are able to truly compromise on this important issue you will be at odds. It is not necessarily better for your children to remain under an intact marriage if that marriage is full of conflict…

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