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Scared To Death Now

Question:

I am a twenty-six year old woman with three children. They all have different fathers. I recently broke away from an abusive relationship with my youngest child’s father and started talking to one of my other children’s father. At the time we started talking again, he was incarcerated for various outstanding warrants due to traffic violations. When he was locked up he would always say how much he loved me and he would never leave me alone at night time to be with his friends and all that (I have a problem sitting at home at night by myself all the time.) Anyways, he’s been out for six weeks now and for the past two weeks he is staying out more and more in the evenings and says that I call him whining all the time about coming home and he’s not going to put up with it. I already know that I have issues with trust and with abandonment because of previous situations that I’ve been in. I’m scared to death now. I don’t want to be alone again. Every time I’m going through something bad with a man, I don’t treat my children as well, yelling all the time or just staying in bed and not being able to get up. I also bought a new vehicle that i can’t afford before he got out so that we would have something nice to drive. He says he is going to make the payment, but he still doesn’t have any money. I was doing so good by myself last year (even though I was usually depressed and lonely), but as far as money and having all my bills paid, I was o.k. Now, I feel like I’m spiraling into a money hell. I don’t know what to do. I’m afraid if I tell him to leave that I will be so miserable I won’t be able to get up for work, and I won’t be able to pay any bills. I just wish i could be happy without a man. I also feel like this is my last chance to be with one of my children’s fathers. I’ve always wanted that, and if we break up I know that won’t happen. I’m afraid I’ll be alone for the rest of my life because I can’t be with someone that doesn’t love my kids and there aren’t many men that would get into a relationship with a woman with three children with three different fathers. I don’t know what to do. Please help me.

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Answer:

Franklin Roosevelt, President of the United States of America, once said, “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself — nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance”. That’s a lot of words, but the sentiment is spot on for your situation. If we look at your situation, you seem to do better economically and self-esteem wise when you are away from these men. You pay your bills on time and are proud of yourself. But you are afraid. Afraid of being alone “forever”, and just afraid in general of being alone. So you enter into relationships with men who are at best immature, and at worst abusive. They aren’t partners to you. They certainly don’t make commitments to you that are useful and which support and enhance your life. And you give these men most of your power, probably because you think by doing so that they will take care of you. But it doesn’t work out that way really. From your men’s perspective there isn’t any reason they need to treat you well. You need them more then they need you. You’ll stay with them because (they think) you’re too afraid to do otherwise.

<

p> But you’re aware too, besides being afraid. You know that these guys aren’t treating you respectfully, and you know that you are subsidizing their freeloading lifestyle at the expense of your own and your children’s lifestyle. It’s a tug-of-war between your fear and your awareness, and so far the fear is winning.

<

p> I think the thing you need most right now is not a boyfriend/husband/man, but rather mature adult guidance from someone who has been around the block and who doesn’t want to take advantage of you. You need guidance from a counselor or clergy-person or family member, or from all of them if you have access to all of them. Someone who can help you gain the perspective you need to see your situation more clearly. And someone who can support you as you decide whether you’d rather be alone (for a while) and feel good about yourself, or whether you are just addicted to needing a man that you’re willing to suffer being treated in an immature and abusive way just to have one around. Please do what you can to locate a mature adviser for yourself. I believe it could benefit you greatly. Also – get yourself a lawyer or child support advocate. Chances are very good that these men are legally required to pay you child support for the benefit of your children.

<

p> It doesn’t sound like your latest reunion with the father of two of your children is off to a good start. Actually, it sounds like this guy is rather self-centered and manipulative, and in a word, a dud. I can’t see the relationship being healthy for you based on what you’ve written. My advice is that you leave him and do not go back. Stay away from relationships for a while in fact until you understand better why you are attracted to men who take advantage of you and abuse you. Talk about this tendency of yours with your counselor or mature adviser if you can. It is worth braving being alone for a while while you figure this out because the payoff could be that you learn to recognize and choose a better more mature quality of man next time around. What is the point of being with someone if being with them requires you to be taken advantage of all the time? You deserve better (as does everyone).

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Comments
  • Carrie

    I am in the same position. I left the first two fathers of my children, now 10 and 15 because of there extreme abuse towards me and my children. I had my first child at the age of 18...I had to leave him during my pregnancy since he started smacking me when i was pregnant....he cheated, humiliated me, treated me as a maid servant, and forced me to have sex.

    I thought i was doing better when i met my second childs father, because he never hit me. I didn't recognize how abusive he was...until I got to the point of being unable to make a simple decision for myself...he took away all of my power...I spent seven years trying to be better at everything, and changing myself, and making him happy, so he wouldn't flip out, break things, scold me or my son. I didn't recognize emotional and mental abuse for what it was at the time. now i am in college for psychology though...but i havent broke my pattern of getting into the serious relationships with men who do not respect me....as much as they scream that they care.

    Now I am 34. i just found out that I am about four weeks pregnant by my boyfriend of a year and a half. i had broke up with him several times....fed up with his drinking and binges...no job...no respect for the fact that he can't drive my car and drink. No respect for the fact that you don't flirt with other people when you are in a relationship with someone already. What is crazy, is I got back together with him, again, after dating a guy...who was right in all ways for me....a man with a job, a great personality, responsible and great with conversation....we had alot of the same interest....he was so sweet. But again, somehow, this one got his foot back into my door again....after i had started to feel quite stable without him....and now i am pregnant with his child. He has two children already he is not paying child support for...and see's maybe once a month....when he feels like it. i am with him, and i feel incredibly alone. His drinking is more important...and he will use any and all excuses to get out and drink again. He will prove himself to me...or to himself...meaning, that he is not an alcoholic....(which i do know he is an alcoholic, behavior wise, immature, selfish, priorities are all wrong and backwards). I am afraid, i have to tell you...but no matter what I have resolved not to keep putting up with the crap. He is one of the most covertly manipulative men I have ever dated in my life, and I have to be careful how I react to this....Which means i am making a conscious effort not to react to his behaviors. My sons do not have respect for him...they do not like the fact that he leaves me alone for hoiurs on end to go and drink with all of his alcoholic best friends.

    No matter what he plans to do, i have resolved to do a few things...and resolved never to forget the fact that i too, deserve happiness and peace in my life. i know now, that i cannot force him to stop drinking...but also, that he cannot force me to accept his drinking and behaviors either.

    If he continues drinking, I am leaving. I am going to finish college and go on to a masters in psychology...(my field of interest). I am going to give my children what I have always wanted for them, no matter how long it takes, and no matter how hard it is. My children are blessings. Because it can be such a lonely struggle, I am making sure that I build support networks with healthy caring people. I am going to join a church...for one. I am keeping in touch with people I have made friends with at college...and i am making an effort to keep in touch with friends who are healthy. I will not give up my interest or hobbies in art or music....these things brings me much happiness. I am going to do what i need to do to stay healthy physically, eat healthy, exercise, rest. I refuse to worry anymore about "where he is" because i can not do this while I am pregnant...it isn't healthy for me or the baby. I am going to go to counseling because i think i am very much so, co-dependent...i relate to men very much the same way, as i grew up with my father (I always did things to make him happy.) Its time for me to make myself happy...so that i can give this to my children. I am working on this. Its time for me to stop feeling guilty, about being happy or successful....I think I have always sabatoged my own success out of guilt.

    I refuse to be a doormat anylonger to people who see a chance for a free easy ride. I have let these men come in to my life, and take what they want...(and believe me! They scream about how much they love me when I am walking out the other door.) These kind of men, their promises last as long as it takes to get you back...they want their cake and they want to eat it it too...and then they change the rules as they get uncomfortable with their responsibilities and uncomfortable with facing themselves...it is not our job to do this for them. These are the people you see at age 45 sitting at the bars, drunk, thinking they are on top of the world, looking like they are going on a sickly 65 and always one step away from a drunk, a fight, jail, or anything else that is just morally wrong.

    Just know, that it is a waist of your time to be angry....spend your energy on what is important....you and your children and good people who care.

    Know that being free, is living your truth...and that you find your power from within yourself and God (remember, god does not turn his backs on us, we turn our backs on him)....you do not have to take it from anyone else....and do not let these men take it from you. That is what they are doing, that is why we feel so lonely, depressed, angry...because they take what is good from us and use it as a weapon against us. We wind up questioning our own abilities, sanity, knowledge. That is exactly what they want. My boyfriend now is constantly testing me, and he has admitted to this. I feel like he watches me every move and I still feel controlled. i am letting go of him inside though and preparing myself in every way i know how to raise another child alone, because i am alone.

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