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controlling husband/hard decision


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Old 24th April 2004, 8:37 AM   #1
lou
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controlling husband/hard decision

Hello
I have been married for 20 years and in the process of going through a divorce. My husband has become abusive (verbally and mentally). He has never gotten physical except to take away and destroy my things, prevent me from leaving the house. He has taken my cell phone, checks numbers and has called them, taken my computer and checked emails, cut up underwear, taken "slut" clothes and thrown them away, disabled my car, calls me terrible names and accused me of cheating, more but no sense going on. He wasn't always like this, only recently after he started feeling like I "don't love him like I use to". He was always a little controlling but that use to be ok with me bcause I am by nature a peacemaker and went along with everything. Things have been quiet lately since I have done all I can to not anger him. As long as I am home with him and do not go out with friends, he is ok. He doesn't trust me and accuses me of affairs and cheating. Feels that no married woman should be out in bars. to clarfiy, I only went out occassionaly, use to be once every couple months, then when marriage started falling apart every few weeks. Wasn't out prowling for men, just having fun dancing, talking and catching up with girlfriends. We have gone to a marriage counselor who recommended that I let him see cell phone bills, read emails, do whatever it takes to make him feel comfortable. I wasn't in agreement with that since I know that that would eventually not be enough for him. He eventually even started following me.
My counselor, friends and family members are afraid that even though it's quiet now, he may eventually hurt me.
I guess I have a hard time believing that. I can't even really admit to myself that what he has done to me classifies as abuse.
I have seen a lawyer, read books, gone to my own counselor, exhausted my friends and family and still can't send in the damn retainer for the lawyer. I feel that I love him but not enough. When things are calm, I love the security and comfort. But, I do not desire him anymore, do not look at him as my friend and confidant. I have tremendous guilt because he does not want this. He still "loves" me. All my married life I have been constantly reminded by him as well as family and friends, how lucky I am to have him. Good husband, good father, stays home doesn't go out...
NEVER have I been made to feel how lucky he is to have me. He even mentioned lately that I don't admire him or look up to him anymore. How could I with what he has done? My daughter has even started calling me some of the horrible names he calls me. Maybe I am going out to find attention? He has told me I am beautiful only twice in our marriage, unless you count the sexual groping as a sign of compliments.
I don't know why I am having such a hard time letting go. I don't want a new relationship for a long time. Want to only answer to me and my kids. But eventually, is it to much to ask for someone who treasures me as much as I do them? By the way, what "evidence" he has to go on is a few phone calls to an old high school friend I ran into while separated. I never met up with him just a few calls. I have found out he has set up profiles on at least 2 dating web sites, he admitted to chatting online with women while separted (I was ok with that one), kissed a co-worker - because I made him feel so rejected, and heard rumors of him cheating while I was pregnant, both times... which he adamantly denies.
Sorry so long, not even sure why I am writing anymore exept that I have been living on this roller coaster for the last 6 months and I feel like I am losing it.
thank you
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Old 24th April 2004, 8:43 AM   #2
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You are a strong person and you are not losing it! You will make it through! You have every right for a happy existence, and I hope you find it. Best wishes for you and yours!
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Old 24th April 2004, 8:47 AM   #3
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Good husband

He may say he is a 'good husband' and others may say he is a 'good husband' but the story you tell is not that of someone who has a good husband.

Why can't you leave? Because it's scary and because he and others have you convinced you're in the wrong. You're not. You'll only see clearly when you're away from him but you must get away. If not for yourself, do it for the sake of your children. Kids who grow up in abusive households (and make no mistake - he is abusive) are more likely to become abusive themselves - and that includes girls. Do you want your kids to grow up to be like him? Save them. Leave. Now.
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Old 24th April 2004, 9:45 AM   #4
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Some thoughts....

Although I wasn't married for as long as you, I can definitely relate a LOT to how you're feeling, and how you're being (mis)treated.

I suggest you contact your nearest Domestic Abuse Shelter. I know you said you have a counsellor. Is this a counsellor who specializes or has specialized training in helping those who are victims of abuse? (verbal, mental, emotional, etc) As someone who was in a very abusive marriage, I can tell you from my experience that for ME, the counsellor I was seeing wasn't very helpful at all. Why? Because she'd never been in my shoes. When you're dealing with this kind of abuse, it's very helpful to have the support and guidance of someone who's "been there"..... I am a firm believer that only a past victim of this kind of abuse can "know what you're going through."

Most, if not all, of the women who work and volunteer at these domestic violence shelters or hotlines, are those who THEMSELVES were once victims of the many kinds of abuse (mental, emotional, verbal, physical, sexual or all of them).....so they KNOW where you are really coming from.....your indecision, your guilt at the thought of leaving, your desire to just remain and do you best to 'keep the peace', etc.

Below is the link for the National Domestic Violence Hotline....it's a great website that gives all kinds of information and resources to women in your position. I'll also post the link which gives information on how to reach them specifically in YOUR STATE (I'm assuming you're in the U.S.?)

http://www.ndvh.org

Here's the one with links to contacting them in your STATE:

http://www.ndvh.org/helpstate.html

By contacting them in your state, they should be able to put you in touch with your local battered women's shelter and other related resources/groups.

Please know...that by contacting these groups/places, you can remain anonymous if you choose to. They're not going to go and call the cops on your husband. Many women are afraid to call because of fears like this...but there's no need to worry.

In my marriage, and in a subsequent relationship that was very abusive (though not physically abusive "yet"), I found a great source of support in these places.......whether it was just talking by phone to one of the female workers there......on several occasions, I'd go down to the shelter (these places are kept very confidential, the actual location of them...for security reasons for the women who are there)...and sit and talk...and get books to read to help, learn how to make "goals" for myself on how to "leave"........I learned so much, I really did. Family and friends thought my situation was "awful" but they didn't understand the inner turmoil I was going through. They thought I was just an "idiot" for not leaving..but they had no idea how "hard" it was to leave. Leaving isn't so simple as packing up your stuff and moving out. But I firmly believe that only women who have been in this position can truly understand.

I hope this helps. Please, contact them......it will help you to gain strength and courage and begin rebuilding your self esteem........and your love for yourself.
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Old 24th April 2004, 1:17 PM   #5
lou
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Thank you for your support and guidance. My counselor has told me that she very rarely says this but she is "very concerned for my safety and I need to get out of this situation". She feels that since he went as far as destroying my underwear, that is a very personal thing and that it's not a far reach for me to be next. She has pushed me to call Domestic Violence and I have. I talked over the phone and went to one support meeting. It wasn't too helpful since I was the only one there with the leader. But, I will go back. I sometimes think she is overreacting because things have been calm at home. But I guess he couldn't have really changed on the inside since he really believes that it is my fault and he only did those things because I "hurt" him so badly.
I don't know why I need validation so badly from other people to say "YES, this IS abuse". Maybe because he has turned everything I say and do around and also because I have always taken blame in our argumens over the years just to end the fight. I can count on both hands the amount of times in 20 years that he as actually admitted being wrong or apologizing.
Anyway, thank you again and who am I to second guess my counselor or those who have been in my shoes before? I have trusted her opion over the last 4 years of my on and off therapy.
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Old 24th April 2004, 1:57 PM   #6
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I will tell you something.....

Hello,
You asked WHY you feel you need validation and others to confirm to you that what you're dealing with IS abuse.......and that's very natural, believe me.

I know for me, when I was young and in nursing college, I had to do a major paper on Domestic Violence. In order to research it, I actually went to our local Battered Women's Shelter and was able to interview some of the battered women temporarily living there, in addition to the women who worked there (who were once victims of domestic violence themself). I was quite appalled at some of the stories I heard.....how these women had been beaten and mistreated and humiliated and abused. However...I do remember being all smug and cocky, telling my friends, "I would NEVER let a guy lay a hand on me, if he did, I'd be gone!"

I actually remember thinking how ludicrous it was, that women would put up with this kind of thing. How ironic on my part.

A few years later, I found myself in a very abusive marriage. Only thing was.....I didn't even realize it for the longest time. He was smooth, charming, a real manipulator. He had this uncanny ability to "twist things around"......to make me truly believe that *I* was the one with the problem. And that his bad treatment of me was "my fault." His favorite line used to be, "You bring out the worst in me." When you hear this enough, from the man you love with all your heart, the man who walked down the aisle with ya......you really start to believe it......that everything is YOUR fault, and he is the way he is because of YOU.

Violence always escalates. Starts out with nasty, cutting remarks. Insults disguised with humor. Poking fun at the person, at their expense. Constantly picking on the person. Belittling them in all aspects..."you're a lousy wife/mother/housekeeper/employee/friend" and "you suck at cooking/cleaning/folding the laundry/being organized/having sex/etc"

Then it can progress to their attempts at isolating you. They want to cut off all of your outside support systems: your friends, your family, your life and interests and hobbies outside of the home. It's all about control..and having control over you. And encouraging and manipulating you into breaking off all meaningful contact with people that are important to you.

It's about humiliating you as a woman, a person, a wife, etc. It's about slowly making you feel that you're worthless and a failure.

These kind of men are generally very subtle. They can "do this" over any period of time....from months to years. For some women, the verbal and emotional abuse can quickly escalate to physical abuse over the course of a few months.......for some, it can take many years.

My ex used to destroy my property, too. He used to bust up things that were mine prior to meeting him. When I met him, I had a brand new expensive sportscar. As time passed, he would drive the crap out of it.....had no respect for it. When we'd go out of town on a trip somewhere, we would always take my car. He would naturally have to drive it. He would scare the hell out of me with his driving. The speed limit was 100 kilometres and hour. He would drive 170 KM/H....and he'd get up right close behind someone on the highway..tailgate..going at such high of a speed..and I'd be sure we'd die because God help us if he ever had to slam on the breaks. He used to especially love doing this behind a big semi/tractor trailer. When I'd beg him to slow the hell down and stop driving like a maniac, he would laugh, then get mad....and tell me to stop being a backseat driver......It infuriated me that he would be willing to risk my life like that. On long trips, I couldn't relax and fall asleep while we were driving, because the minute I did, he'd be up to 180KM/H. I used to think to myself, "If I'm going to die, I want to be awake to see what's happening." This was just one of his controlling, disrespectful, abusive behaviors. I think he got a real sick thrill out of scaring the hell out of me.

And yes, the fact that he did cut up your underwear is a huge warning sign. That is the sign of a man who's losing control. It doesn't matter that you've been married for 20 yrs......it doesn't mean that because he's not been physically abusive to you yet, that he won't be.

A lot of women, including myself then, have a very hard time admitting that they're being abused....or even REALIZING that they are. Because to realize it and admit it, that in itself can be very humiliating and demoralizing. Because then we can't help but feel like we're a failure at picking a good partner in life. OR.....if you admit that you're being abused but aren't yet at the place to leave, then you will be more inclined to beat yourself up about why you would be "so stupid as to stay." You know?

If you do decide to leave, PLEASE make sure you have a good plan. The women at the Domestic Violence shelter can help you make up a plan well in advance..........so that you and your children (if you still have children that live at home) are SAFE. Safety is key. Many abusive men go ballistic when their wife finally leaves them. For most, they view their wife as "property" and they go nuts when she has the courage to leave. You likely already know this, but the majority of abused women who are killed by their spouses, are killed while they're in the process of leaving, or AFTER they have left. That is why it's critical and essential to have lots of support systems in place........ahead of time. However......this "fear" shouldn't be a reason that a woman feels compelled to stay in an abusive relationship.

The women at the Domestic Violence Shelters (or the hotline) can work with you to set up a plan to leave. From how to save up money, how to find a safe place to live, when the best time to leave IS, etc. Don't think you have to figure this all out on your own. Many women will even relocate, with their children, to the shelter.....for a few weeks or so.......so that they have a very safe place to live while they get things in order.

Life is short. Your marriage sounds miserable, and you are obviously not happy. HOw can someone be happy when they are being abused, and they must constantly walk on eggshells. There is much happiness out there for you...you just have to get to the place where you can admit to yourself that YES..you are being abused..and you DESERVE SO MUCH MORE...that there is so much more to life than being someone's doormat.

Post here anytime you need to, day or night. There are many women on here who are, or have been in your shoes. I'm sure, also, that there are message boards and forums (such as these) for women who are in your shoes........or have managed to "break free".
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Old 24th April 2004, 3:13 PM   #7
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I don't know if this will help at all but...

http://www.loveshack.org/forums/t23521/
http://www.loveshack.org/forums/t24318/
http://www.loveshack.org/forums/t26244/

I ceased posting about this situation here, but it's still going on at the moment. Fortunately for me, it is nearing its completion, as the judge assigned to our case seems to recognize that his behavior has been such that he is trying his hardest to prolong things as much as he possibly can.

Just so you know, I've returned to school now, and am feeling pretty darn fabulous compared to how I was feeling then. I've got my life on a track that I know is productive for myself AND for my babies. I hope that your husband does not resort to violence against you.

Remember, too, that you know the truth. Trust yourself, even though he does not trust you. Trust that you are able to leave this situation and that your life CAN improve.

Best of luck.
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Old 27th April 2004, 7:30 AM   #8
lou
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A little update.... It seems that I can make the decision to divorce easier knowing that he has started to come to terms with the fact that it is over. I feel so guilty wanted to end the marriage knowing he still "loves" me. I know that his love is the wrong kind, it's possession and obsession. things are very calm at home, no incidents in about a month. It was happening every few weeks. But, I have been a good girl and stayed at home and not done anything that would provoke him (going out with friends).
Last night he said that he can't stay in this marriage knowing that I don't "LOVE HIM LIKE I USE TO" and I don't "Look up to him and admire him" anymore. I said that I had done that all our married life. He always needed constant reassurance that he was a good father, husband, good looking, smart, great build......etc. But, he can't understand why it is that I need some of that too. He says that men don't show those things and I'll never find anyone who will do that for me. All men are controlling. I said that if that is the case, then I would rather be alone and answer only to my kids and me and learn to make myself happy. He never told me I was beautiful, smart, special, etc. and will admit that he can't stand that I have taken him off that pedestal. It make sense now after all he has done that I wouldn't respect and admire him but I stopped looking up to him way before this abuse started. I think that I started getting fed up with feeding his ego and gettig nothing back. I know in my heart that he loved me and thought those things about me (attracted to me etc) but never showed it until he came back after moving out for a few months. By then, he really tried to do everything to make the marriage work........ showered me with compliments, attention, affecdtion, gifts, but I think it was too late for me. I just couldnt' give anymore.
I am going to try to make the Domestic Violence support group this week.
Thank you for your support, It helps knowing there are others out there that I can talk to anytime day or night.
I appreciate it.
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Old 27th April 2004, 11:37 PM   #9
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Women in abusive relationships are worn down to the core by these types of men. I was one of them. I was married to a cop - he threatened to have someone kill me and he was verbally and physically abusive. Try calling the cops on a cop after he's shoved me into a wall and threatened to have me "taken care of".

Regardless I did call the police who sent out a woman domestic abuse specialist and they documented the incident. I left my husband the next day and never looked back.

It wasn't easy but it's been 7 years now and I realize how smart I was to leave and never look back. He went on to beat up other women - one who contacted me via email after he came after her with a hot iron. She wanted to know if he was crazy or she provoked him!!!!

My advice to all women in abusive relationships is this....

Trying to save a drowning man you usually go down with him.

Get out now and save your life.
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