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What Abuse Looks Like

Question:

My husband and I were married almost 6 mths ago and he has been acting very different. I know he has problems, but I am not sure if they would be considered a psychological disorder. Here are his symptoms: anger!, rage, secrecy (about everything, including $ – I have an allowance of $20 a week), mood swings, questions about me being faithful(as God is my witness I have never given him any reason nor have done anything to lead him to believe this!!!), does not touch me, is nice one week and tells me he loves me-the next he hates me and tells me to get out and leave, won’t hug or kiss me because he says I am unattractive-the next week he is all over me, controlling, possessive, then he goes into another mood swing where he doesn’t care where I go or what I do, goes behind my back and puts me down to my family, does not remember things correctly, his way is the only right way-if I don’t read his mind and do things his way or at his time he wants a divorce,will not talk at all to me for 3 or 4 days-then he acts like nothing is wrong, gets mad over little things such as putting the dishes in the dishwasher instead of asking him to do it and a month before screaming and throwing things at me for not doing it when I was home only about 2 hrs, having very contradictory notions about things and always coming up with stupid little ideas in his head-eg: I am a drama queen, I won’t allow myself to be happy, I don’t ask him to do anything, I don’t do anything-he does it all, talking about him to people behind his back, not being happy-being too happy. The list goes on and on. I have tried dressing up but I’m still not attractive because my hair is ugly. I’m not pretty inside. He says he cannot hug or kiss me because he is not attracted to me. The reasons I listed above are the ones he uses. First physical, then emotional. I try to keep my mouth shut when he is angry or irritated. I really never know when I can open my mouth or just not to say anything. I apologize for such a long letter, but I wanted you to have as much info as possible. The more you know the better you can help me. I would greatly appreciate a response. I just need to know if it is a disease or maybe a chemical imbalance. The first step is to find out if there is medicine that he needs. I promise you that I don’t say too much to him. Of course I tell him where I go and what I do, but things like this-NO! That would only be asking for trouble. He has only hit me one time on the arm and has grabbed me a few times, but no physical abuse.

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Answer:

You are describing an abusive marriage. You are married to a man who is treating you in abusive ways: some physical hitting, and a whole lot of emotional mind games, insults and controlling behaviors that are designed to break your spirit and allow him to dominate and control you. This is very unhealthy for you and especially for your son to be around. I’m also concerned in reading your response to this behavior, that by framing his abusive behavior towards you as the product of some possible illness that you are somehow excusing how he is treating you: as if it is somehow okay for him to abuse you just because he might be depressed or angry or something. It is not okay for him to abuse you, and in general, it is not okay for anyone to abuse anyone else. Being ‘sick’ simply doesn’t excuse abuse. This is not to say that there isn’t anything ‘wrong’ with him; there may be, and at the very least he could use some anger management classes, etc. It is just that it doesn’t matter if he is ill or not; he needs to stop being abusive, or you need to get away from the relationship. My recommendation to you is to immediately seek support and counsel from a local battered women’s shelter, or other counselor whom you trust with your safety, and also to read books on assertiveness. You have a right to be treated better than you are by your partner. You will need to learn how to safely assert this right to him, and possibly remove yourself from the relationship if he becomes more controlling or violent in response. It is best to have a plan for taking care of yourself and your son before you take this step; the domestic violence counselors can help you with this task. Marital counseling may become appropriate if you can both agree to go and if you both can find a way to use it productively. Good luck.

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Comments
  • matt

    I think that you are having a rough time right now and you need to have a trial seperation but i am no doc and you make your own decisions but consider seperating for a while.

  • Mel

    Oh my goodness, your letter sounds familiar. Counselling is so very critical - for you first. You're writing because you know his treatment of you is wrong and irrational. Now you need to truly believe that it is not deserved. I hope you realize soon that you're unable to rationalize, explain or 'fix' anything about yourself that triggers his abusive behaviors. HE is the problem. Focus on the good in you, the potential, the strong parenting capabilities within you and make those your focus. I strongly agree with the doctor that you need to have a plan to leave. Life really IS a wonderful place to be when we make the choices we know in our hearts to be right. I wish you strength & determination to take back your life :)

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