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Controlling Husband

Question:

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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Answer:

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.

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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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Comments
  • Anonymous-1

    As I read your response, I was quite a amazed that you prescribed separation or termination of the marriage as an alternative. The legal literature/case studies suggest the notion (Whatever is in the best interest of children). I believe that lawyers don't know what is in the best interest of children. and some mental health professionals have lost their subjectivity in this regard as well. Thus. I feel compelled to offer a cold hard fact. The divorce rate in this country is extremely high (the trend for over many decades). As a result, the family unit has suffered. As a deeper consequence, the children tend encounter greater anguish. here is a bit of antidotal or qualitative information. Children from divorced parent who attend school exhibit greater academic difficulties in comparison to children from intact homes. Some literature supports this proposition. As an trained educator, I have witnessed the impact of divorce on children first hand. Not only academic but behavioral issues tend to dominate a significant number of children from "broken homes". Furthermore, children from female head of households families tend to encounter even more difficulties in relation to school.

    Nonetheless, I agree with the premise that counseling is required in this case. But there should be a strong caution about divorce. There are mediating variables such as economic factors that can inadvertently harm the children's future more so than any other factor. also the socialization aspect of the availability of two parents. Even though mental abuse is a serious concern, not having a father to guild the children would be far worst then an attack on one's self esteem.

    To close, I recall my fifth grade social studies teacher teaching my class a lesson on Primary and secondary needs for survival. I told the teacher (in 1976) that money was a primary need because nothing was for free in this country. She argued this point by using author of the text. In 1976 all fifth graders knew that if it was in the textbook, it must be true. Indeed she exclaimed, money is a secondary need. For the test I had to agree. but I knew better. The point, if one were to look at the number of children who dwell in poverty (in 2010)-especially in this era of reduced medical benefits, a reduction of social programs, and the current political climate., money becomes a primary need. Furthermore, I venture to say that the lack of money is always a deal breaker in some instances. Tell the banker that you have an esteem problem therefore, i can't pay my mortgage. You get the point.

    So, Doc, please think of the children's future before you give the advise. . Maybe you should used the following disclaimer

    "Divorce should be considered similar to amputation of a limb. Yes the body can survive, but the person will be considered functional but disabled. "

    (please forgive the misspellings and poor use of grammar)

    Just an insight.

  • Anonymous-2

    Naturally whoever wrote the comeback about not divorcing is either a christian or has never been in an emotional abused relationship or with a controlling spouse.. Think about the children living in the hell there mother is living in...as in my opinion the children will all either end up controlling there own spouse when they become adults or be with a controlling spouse.

  • Anonymous-3

    I simply cannot believe what I just read: whoever wrote on Feb 10, 2010 is either a helpless spinster or an alien! Who in the world would be such an advocate of marriage even is a bad one were people get depressed and humiliated? What is wrong with you? Don't you see that even though marriage can be the foundation of a family and ergo society, a bad one can be more damaging than breaking apart (with its consequences). Think that what works for you does NOT necessarily works for everybody else and that there are many ways to live a life even if you disagree with it.

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