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I want to explode.


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Okay, here's the deal in as short synopsis that I may write.

Married almost 7 years, known my husband over 22 years. Abusive relationship. He abused me verbally and mentally Monday A.M. then started becoming physically abusive. He went to jail for CDV. His boss got him released. Now I am working with a shelter to get a protection order against him and put him out of the house. I am not near my pets or things. I feel so alone I can't stand it.

My marriage is ending and I am trying to view it as one door closes and another opens but all I do is want to cry. I cannot cry around the people I am staying with, because I feel like an idiot. I cannot afford gas to go to a support group and where I live there is no public transportation. I have no money, nothing. I know that the ending of this marriage is for the best but how does one pick up the pieces and go on when their whole world is crashing in around them? HOW? And how are you supposed to hold it together and find employment after being a housewife for 7 years? I have applied at over 10 different places since Wednesday. I am submitting apps online everything, but I feel like a failure. A complete failure at my marriage and not being a productive member of society when I have been at home for 7 years.

I just want to explode. Will someone please, please write me and tell me I am not alone?

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You are absolutely not alone in this place you find yourself in. This is the hardest part, usually. the leaving process, and the grief that accompanies the leaving. In your case right now there are a few things that are making this extremely painful:

1) being out of your element without the comforts you normally depend on. This sounds like a little thing that you should easily get over, but it is the little things that make us feel oriented and normal. Without them we are refugees and out of place

2) beating yourself up because now that you've decided to leave, you are feeling like your previous decision to stay was stupid (or something like that). How did you say it below?

not being a productive member of society when I have been at home for 7 years.
3) grief over the end of the marriage (please read our grief article)

4) Fear over your future economic prospects (will I find a job and will I be able to support myself when I've been out of the loop for so long)

Probably more than this but these are the big ones that are leaping out at me right now.

A little about that beating yourself up process in #2. This is a very normal thing to do when you've just made a big decision that was hard to make. What has happened is that you've probably been ambivalent - not able to make the decision one way or the other, and during that probably extended period of paraysis you didn't take actions that would have protected you a little from this economic shock of needing to get a job immediately. Now that you have made the decision (Very hard to do - congraduations!) you are looking backwards and cursing your lack of planning, but you must remember that until you made the decision, you weren't able to do that planning becuase you were paralyzed. My message is - be gentle with yourself.

You say that you are a complete failure, but I don't see it that way at all. It is part of human nature to make mistakes. it is very easy to get into a bad relationship. People do it all the time. and your abusive relationship has "failed" - but is the death of a relationship that was causing you severe pain really a bad thing? Sometimes old things have to fail and die and break apart so that newer things can come into being that are more nourishing. Like the snake sheds his skin when he has outgrown it. Since it is inevitable that you will make mistakes, the way I see it is that the true failure occurs when you make a mistake and refuse to admit it or act on that knowledge becuase you are proud or afraid or whatever. It is failure to recognize that you've failed and to persist in that failure. but recognizing a failure and then taking action to fix the situation so that you can move on with your life and learn from your mistakes is not failure (although it sure can feel like one). The way I see it, in the context of abuse, failure is allowing yourself to get permanently stuck, and success is figuring out how to move again towards the nourishing goals you set for yourself.

There is much to celebrate right now, although maybe it is hard to appreciate this. You've escaped a very difficult situation to escape. Read our abuse article and the comments that many women have left and you'll see that many of them just can't bring themselves to leave - it is too intimidating and too frightening. But you have made the break and that is proof of your courage and strength. This world is difficult for sure, and you will need assistance and help to get on your feet independently, but the hardest part - the leaving - is done now, and that is just a great thing. Totally frightening, of course. Freedom is always frightening. But you are free and being free from abuse is important. :D

I think the people at the shelter will be your best advisors for the next little while. They are hooked into what slim resources there are in the community near you for assistance. Take what assistance you can get now (such as any city provided career counseling, or resume preparation, or whathaveyou), and if that makes you feel uncomfortable to take now, resolve that when you do get on your feet, you'll give back.

You are a strong person, as your actions prove. That is worth something. there is no telling what shape your future will look like, but I believe that on the basis of you being willing to stand up for yourself, that you will fashion something that is better than the life you've been living. there is a lot to look forward to, I firmly believe.


Edited by Mark
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I don't really have a lot to add to what Mark said to you, which was wonderful, by the way.

I just wanted to tell you that, as a woman, I admire your courage in admitting that the violence in your relationship was unacceptable. So many women think so little of themselves and their ability to survive on their own that they accept abuse. I believe that you will look back on this time some day as the beginning of a much better life.

Please keep us informed on how you are doing.

Best wishes,


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Guest ASchwartz

Dear janetb65 and Catmom,

I fully agree with both Mark and Catmom. I also want to emphasize that you are NOT ALONE. I am so pleased that you found us here. Please keep us informed, just as Catmom asked and ask us for advice, and share your struggles.

Catmom, thankyou for your wonderful response to the "ask Dr. Schwartz" question about the "relationship to a psychologist." :D I really appreciated that. You know, just as I point our there about all of us, we here at Mental Help Net need and enjoy the postive comments. It does not mean we cannot take the criticisms. We can, we are not perfect, we make mistakes and misunderstand and we know how important it is for people to express anger. So, saying that we enjoy the positive feedback does not mean that we reject the negative feedback. Healthy relationships require both.


Can you tell us more about yourself and your marriage?


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I was married to a wonderful man whom is no longer there. I've known him over 20 years. We've been married almost seven. He drinks every day. Not a night cap either, or a glass of wine. He DRINKS. He became beligerant. He cussed at me. He called me horrible names when he drank. He got violent on several occasions, throwing things, breaking things, holding knives to my neck, etc. I know I am the classic example of Abuse 101. I should be the poster child. He called my father at 3:00 A.M. and told him he was going to kill me and then himself.

I am scared because I can remember when it wasn't like that. I am scared he will try to change, again, and want me back. I know he wants me back. I cannot go back. My self esteem is so low, I just want to go to another country and start over somewhere tropical. I know that is not feasible.

I appreciate all that show they care. Because I weep as I write this. I just wish some fairy godmother could come down and make everything better.

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I don't know if this is feasible for you or not, or if its a good suggestion but perhaps in response to your want to move somewhere tropical, you can get some pictures from a magazine or something of some place nice and keep them wherever you are staying. Then in the morning and before bed, and whenever you feel you need a pick up, look at the picture and remind yourself that each day is a new day to be stronger for yourself and to remind yourself you are just as beautiful as the picture you are looking at. Let it be part of your safe place and a few minutes each day for you to just be there, even if its in your mind, you are still there. :D I don't know if that will work for you, but if it does I'm very glad. I hope it helps.

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Hello Janet,

You have gotten such wonderful advice here that there is little to add. Your situation sounds extremely dangerous and you will need to stay with the shelter until you can find a place where you are safe. When I worked at a shelter, a woman called in the middle of the night. She asked if we had a bed, and when I told her "yes", she said she was at the bus station and would be there in two days. She was married to a very abusive state policeman and traveled from I think Georgia to Boulder Colorado.

Being sad is a very normal reaction to the death of a dream. And it is heart wrenching to watch someone you loved destroy himself and those around him. And being angry and confused is also normal. Give yourself some time--if you have a way to do that. Some shelters have long term living arrangements until you can get financially stable. Also try temp agencies for a job. Some of those are extremely supportive. I have done temp work when things were difficult.

You have been through a lot and you are doing very well. Just keep reaching out and you will find what you need. The people here are very supportive and helpful. Keep in touch.


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Janet, I am sorry to read of your struggles. Sadly, it happens all too often in our society. :D I did not have an abusive marriage but one which was poisonous nonetheless and, like you, made the decision to leave. It was, as much as anything, a decision to protect my children from the poison. I agree with the others that right now you have to focus on yourself and get the help you need. It may seem like forever before you are on your feet and caring for your children, but one day, you will look back at what you have accomplished and know it was worth it. Life is definitely hard as a single mom, but I would not change my decision for anything and I have a feeling you feel the same.

Please to continue to come here and allow us to support you during this difficult transition.

Please don't feel like you have not contributed to society because you have been caring for your family for 7 years! That is the single biggest contribution you can make to our society, despite the public perception to the contrary.

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Hi Janet,

You are in a very hard spot rate now trying to place your life back together after so much hard times. But you are so incredibly doing the right thing!!! and you should be so proud of yourself for getting yourself out of this abusive situation. There are alot of people that don't and the situation gets worse or they give up trying because they are afraid. You are doing the right thing and in time you will get stronger and stronger and stronger. You will become more of yourself again. You will get your life together and then you will be a together, strong incredible independant person. I wish I could say more. Know that you are very strong and will get through this.:)

take care.

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