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I really don't know what to do anymore


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;):(I've been with my husband for 18 years. The first six months he was wonderful. A real charmer. But after that he became Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde. He had a past of emotional issues that I was aware of but didn't realize the full ramifications of until I was in over my head in a relationship with him. I'm not saying that I'm perfect, but I just dont' know what to do with him anymore.

My husband wears a mask for most people. He's Mr. Wonderful to most and loved by friends and co-workers. But when you are close to him you see the true man, and he's oftentimes rude, ignorant, mean and on occasion, violent. On the myers briggs testing, I am an ENFJ, he's an INFJ.

I know he hates himself - at the core root of who he is - but you wouldn't know that by listening to him. I am told on a regular basis that I'm dumb, deaf, don't pay attention, don't listen, don't plan for the long term, etc. Most of his comments are just jabs. He says that if someone at work would say the same thing, I'd laugh and think it was funny. He's wrong. Mostly I just ignore him (which might be why I don't listen to him). Thing is, I know he loves me and he can't stop himself. It's like in order to make himself feel good, he needs someone to berate.

At any rate, I'm almost 50 and tired of being put down by those who say they love me. Yesterday he got the truck stuck in the snow. In order for him to deal with this situation in my presence, he yells at me, tells me what I'm doing is wrong, says I don't listen. I'm hardened to his critisizm and tell him to #### Off. He then takes the shovel he's been using, holds it like a bat and takes a swing that he holds back. I can see the tension in his swing.

I know I should have left him long ago, but I love him. I know that my children have suffered for my love for my husband and our relationship. He's gone in and out of therapy and says that I have to go because he's done it all and I've not done anything to work on myself. He holds me emotionally hostage for most things I'd like to do - like work or go see family. We have few friends and get along best when there is no one but him in my life.

Help...I love this man and understand he's messed up. What can I do to help us both?

Edited by bluegirl
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I have a similar situation with my wife but not as extreme. He may think his therepy is over but it may just be begining. Call a Phsyc. for couples counseling and tell him that you are trying counseling and ask him if he will go with you for support then you cantry to dig things out that might help him to see the error of his way or at least start to recognize his wrong doings. So you may have a better life with him. My wife and i are about to start marriage counseling in a week. Wish me luck. I will do the same for you too. Don't be afraid to write what is on your mind.

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Good luck with your counseling Karl. Yeah, we've been before but always stop short of it actually accomplishing anything. We do love each other very much so it's not that...and I know that he has lots of issues from his past and from PTSD from a job he held for 18 years but sometimes the weight of his problems crush me. His answer is if I feel abused then we might just as well end it because that's just where it will end up and better sooner than later. I just want him to stop harassing me (for being on the computer, having friends, going to work), stop interrupting me (because he doesn't want to listen or knows what I am going to say), stop belittling me (because at some level it must make him feel good). Thanks for the advice.

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Some of the things you mentioned that he says sounds like my wife talking to me. I know your thinking but your a guy how can she batter you? I am 6' 215lbs. she is 5'4" and weighs 110lbs yes i can easily throw her but i don't. She like to belittle me with words and when she does my anger issue kicks in and i want to beat her down at times with a great passion but i have never laid a hand on her, even when our wedding picture went flying passed my head in a fight and smashed against the wall. yeah i wanted to throw down but i knowits wrong and i try to fight back with words but my brain scrambles and i want to just start swingin. My anger is like my therapy if only i had a punching bag i would have my own therapy. LOL Cheer up once hit bottom you can only go up.

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  • 2 weeks later...


I read your story and I have alot in common with you.My story is very long,so I will just start with the basics for now...I am 35 and we have three kids,two of which are mine and his.The other is from his first marriage.There is mental,emotional,and sexual abuse.We have been together for 14 yrs,but it started getting bad about the last 6-8 yrs.He belittles me in front of our children,he is rude to my Mom because we get along so well.He is very jealous of her.He calls me names,and says nothing positive to me.He expects me to make love to him no matter how he treats me.I started getting turned off when he would ask me to have phone sex,or send him dirty pics or text him with dirty stories.I finally had to block all cell phone text because when I would turn him down he would call me every name in the book.He has a job where it requires him to be gone all week,and he said it was my job to keep him satisfied while he was away.Sometimes I would do it to get him off my back because he would hound me all day till I gave in.I would literally be in tears,while satisfying him,but he didnt care.

There is so much more to tell.......let me know if we can vent to each other.I need someone to talk to so bad........

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Sometimes part of what helps is to be able to label what is happening. That gives a handle to it and helps you to know how to respond. In some of these cases, it sounds like what is happening is verbal abuse. The abusive person is not a bad person, but the pattern is there that they cope with their own stuff by putting someone else down.

So long as the abuse is not violent and there isn't a safety issue, there are a few different ways to handle the situation. One way is to 1) label the behavior out loud as it happens and 2) remove yourself from the situation. "that behavior is abusive and I won't stand for it.", and then leave. "I'm going downstairs/out for coffee/for a drive" etc. In some way removing yourself. There is an analysis you have to make here. Is leaving temporarily going to be giving the person what s/he wants or is it going to be a punishment. Is this person trying to connect with you in some way, or are they trying to push you away. Leaving will potentially be punishing if the latter is more true, and if the abusive person feels upset enough over losing you as a target for a while, you may be able to shape their behavior towards being less abusive. e.g., you may discover that s/he will work to stay connected to you. You will have to grab the reigns of the interaction, however, and your ability to remove yourself is dependent on other factors such as do you need to supervise your children, etc. many people can't just up and leave for a while.

Leaving, even if it is just going downstairs, cuts off the chain of events before it can get amplified (where objects start flying). And that can be helpful too.

Therapy is certainly a good idea, if you can get the abusive partner to be willing to go and to take it seriously. Part of what helps a person to feel okay about being abusive is often a tendency to be externalizing with blame - to blame their own problems and vulnerabilities on someone outside of themselves. So that works against their taking responsibility for fixing themselves.


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  • 3 weeks later...

Wow--I can identify with a lot of that because of my experience with my Dad. He, too, wore a mask for other people (outside the home). I was always trying to understand him...I also thought that he somehow just NEEDED to berate someone. I still don't understand how you can treat someone like that who you allegedy love. (And I know he does...there's no wrapping your mind around it).

As Mark said, the best tact is to leave. I can remember it being so difficult to do that. I can remember standing there, trying to argue with him, trying to get him to see my side of things. Of course, this was a herculean task, because he was very verbal and I was a teenager. He was smarter than me, only by virtue of his age, and he knew it, so I think he thought he could get away with it.

But I digress--anyway, what Mark told you to do is very important. It will be a challenge, but don't let that stop you. You'll probably feel, as I did, like fly paper is stuck on you, connecting you to the verbal abuser. Force yourself to leave, if necessary.

When he's acting as a child, treat him as one. As Mark said, think about what he wants when he turns "Mr. Hyde" on you. He wants to see you CARE about what he's saying. It doesn't matter at that moment to him whether it hurts you or not, he just wants to see if he can have an effect. It's very primitive and childish. Handle it accordingly.

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One thing that stood out, for me anyway, in your letter, was your husbands desire to see you enter therapy, as his attempts proved somewhat futile.

My intial instincts tell me that it is just another way for your husband to avoid facing, or accepting responsibility for his negative actions.

Deflection can be a powerful strategy when dealing with issues of self, putting the onus on someone else relieves the offender of feelings of guilt or responsibility for thier actions, by convincing themselves its not thier fault, but yours.

Altho not a constructive approach, it allows the offender an easy way out, and many would opt for that easy road instead of really getting to the root of why they are the way they are.

Confrontation from you, outright saying he has a problem, will not be effective, as he has already decided in some way that you are responsible for his actions. Direct confrontation from you will only serve to reenforce that in him.

The idea of couples therapy is quite possibly a very good mechanism to use, a good therapist should eventually be able to recognize the patterns, and even suggest your husband take part in individual therapy. A suggestion much more likely to be well recieved from an inpartial professional.

Your husband at some point will need to open his mind for himself to the idea that the issues in front of you are his and his alone. Something he will unlikely be willing to accept at your suggestion, as he is placing you squarely in the path of him reconciling that his issues are his to resolve.

As his wife and companion you can accompany your husband on his journy, but the door of acceptance he must walk through on his own.


I wish you luck and patience.

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