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Daughter In Abusive Marriage

Question:

My daughter is married to an emotional abuser. They have a 1 year old son. He constantly belittles her and the baby. He spends all their money, never stays home, and, when he is home, is extremely angry and verbally abusive.
She recently separated from this man, but now he is continuing the abuse via text messages and constant phone calls.

She is confused because of the baby. She wants to make sure she has done all she can before divorcing. She is torn because he is, of course, promising her the moon, blaming her for tearing apart their family and so, she feels guilty. He is bringing out all the big guns: He keeps crying, says he is going to change, and begs her to not divorce him. These are the same old stories he said forever, such as, when she would confront him and he would change enough to give her hope. After a short period of time he then went back to the same old ways.

He steals her credit cards, maxes them all out and lies about everything!!! Her opinion is never relevant. He puts her down in every aspect of what she does. He tells her that he makes the damn money and he can do with it whatever he wants.

She recently reconnected with an old boyfriend via the Internet. That gave her hope that she could actually be happy again with a very nice guy.

Now he is starting all of this all over again. He tries to turn things around and make her feel like she is the one who ruined the marriage.

Desperate: Please help me advise her. How do I make her aware that she really NEEDS to move on for her sake and most importantly the baby.

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Answer:

Hi Mom/Grandma,

Even when our children are adult and have their own family they continue to give us reasons to worry. I guess parenting never really ends.

Depending on your relationship with your daughter, you could find yourself in a “no win situation.” If you advise her to divorce you run the risk of her accusing her of meddling. If you do not advise her you run the risk of her telling you that you do not care. I only hope that all the information you have written here is a result of her taking you into her confidence and being open to your advice.

What you describe of your daughter’s marriage is a classic example of abuse. He demeans both her and the baby while blaming her for all of their problems. When she confronts him and threatens divorce, he begs forgiveness and promises to reform his ways. She believes his abusive propaganda, feels sorry for him and takes him back. Soon after, he reverts to the same old verbal abuse.

There are a few things she needs to worry about. Even though his abuse is verbal there are too many cases of things becoming violent. I cannot predict that this will happen but I can guess that there is some risk of that happening.

It is very troubling that he turns his venom against his own child. His abuse of her is bad enough but his abuse of his baby is even worse because the child is helpless except for his mother protecting him. This child deserves protection from this emotional violence. Please take in the words, emotional violence. In many ways verbal attacks can be just as damaging as physical attacks, for both wife and child.

By renewing an old friendship with a man from the past, she runs the risk of “jumping from the frying pan into the fire.” She needs to divorce and give herself time to heal before she even thinks about dating again. Too many people seize new relationships during divorce only to be sorely disappointed afterwards.

In my opinion, there is no question that your daughter should leave this damaging marriage. The sooner the better because things can become considerably worse for her and your grandson. 

One suggestion I have is for you to talk this over with your daughter. However, be careful about how you will talk to her. You do not want to come across as “pushy, bossy or dictatorial” because you run the risk of pushing her more deeply into the marriage just to be defiant. You could ask her to read my response to your plea for help. Her instincts are correct. She is guilty of nothing because there is no excuse for this mans sadistic, cruel behavior.

Best of Luck

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