New Here

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
New Here
8
Wed, 03-26-2003 - 10:22am
I have posted on several different sites and someone suggested I post here for some advice. I have gotten alot of good advice from other sites so I thought I might give this one a shot. I have been married for 7 years. I have 3 kids,ages 6,3, and 1 so I'm very busy. I work full time and basically there is no extra time at the end of the day. My husband and I are having problems. I've never looked at our problems as being domestic abuse I guess because when you hear that word you think physical. He has never laid a hand on me(but I'm sure he's had the urge) but he is verbally abusive. I've recently realized how controlling he is to. The reason I started posting here is because after 7 years of marriage he has decided out of no where to not let me go out with the girls anymore with out him. He doesn't mind me going out to eat with them just don't go to the bar dancing anymore with out him. This has always been my release from home,work and the kids. I enjoy getting together with my married girlfriends and meeting after work to have a drink and do some dancing and venting of course. He has never made a big deal out of it until now. Nothing unusual has happened that I know of to change his mind. I've never given him any reason to worry if I'm cheating, or getting loaded or anything like that. I think I'm very responsible when I get together with my friends because I know I have chores at home waiting on me. I like to get together w/my friends every 2-3 months. He picks the kids up from school, brings them home, bathes and puts them to bed. I make sure it's not a night he has plans. He's a hunter. He hunts 3 nights a week and sometimes on the weekends. That was an agreement we worked out years ago when he was never home. He has basically given me an ultimatum of give it up or get out. When I asked why all the sudden and what made him change his mind he said that he's never liked it and he thought this would be something I would out grow. He says I'm a mother w/3 kids and I need to act like it. Those places are not for married women and nothing good can come of it. We have argued for the past 3-4 weeks about this subject and neither of us is budging. My kids have started to show signs of anxiety and that breaks my heart. I don't want to hurt them. I suggested to my husband that maybe we seperate until this problem is resolved and he says it would be more unhealthy to have the kids living without both parents. I have been seeing a counselor about this and she completely understands where I'm coming from. I've only met with her once but she could see that we don't have a very healthy marriage/household. I am meeting with her on a weekly basis now and have asked her if I should bring him. She said maybe later once she spends a little more time with me. Any advice would be greatly appreciated:)
Avatar for cl_mizlizzy
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-19-2003
In reply to: jthinton
Wed, 03-26-2003 - 10:51am
Welcome to the board jthinton................

I'm so glad you found us, but sorry for the reasons that bring you here. Abuse is about power and control, but many equate it with blatent violence. The dymanics of abuse are very complex, and so are the tactics.

Your situation is very familiar to me. My ex made some of the same comments about his "reasons why" I was not "allowed" to go out with my friends, while he hunted, and did whatever with his friends, whenever. I never said anything about him taking that time, in fact, I encouraged it. He didn't feel the same way about me having time "away with friends" or even family, however. This is a major power and control move, and he is disguising his "reasons" with irrational "excuses". It's all about HIS insecurity, along with his intense need for power and control. This comment really reinforces this: "He has basically given me an ultimatum of give it up or get out." When he wavers when you suggest you separate further reinforces this. He is trying to "force" you, using many tactics.

It's not surprising that your children are showing anxiety due to you and your husband arguing. Children are very impacted by this, whether or not they are the *direct targets*.

His comment that "it would be more unhealthy to have the kids living without both parents." is as off as his "reasons" for not wanting you to go out with your friends. Children do not benefit from being in an unhealthy, unhappy home, where the father abuses their mother, in his attempts to exert his power and control.

It's great that you're already seeing a counselor, and that she supports you. When abuse is an issue, joint counseling is not recommended, however. There are many reasons for this, including: joint counseling takes the approach that this is a "couples issue" with fault on both sides. With abuse, the issues lie with the abuser. An abuser will use these sessions in many ways, from saying "I'm cured! I went to counseling", to "I am trying, you aren't" when you still don't budge; to using things said in therapy against you later, to intimidating you during therapy (or before or after) so you don't bring up "certain issues", and more.

Please, click on the link for our board website, and read all you can. You will find tons of information, resources, and links. There is a page specifically about counseling also, for you, and for an abuser. Please be sure to follow the links within those pages also.

You will learn so much by reading the other posts and replies here, and in our deep archives also.

Please post as much as you want/need to, and know we all care and understand. We have an awesome support group here, that can relate to everything you wrote.

Hugs!!

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
In reply to: jthinton
Wed, 03-26-2003 - 11:15am
I agree. The ultimatum he gave you isn't really an "ultimatum". It was an "order" that he fully expects you to obey. If it were an ultimatum, either choice you made would be options for you, but he's balking at you making the second choice of leaving. He really has only given you one option which is to give it up. Or else. And when you refuse, they just keep upping the ante in their punishment until you are in so much pain that you have no choice but to give it up. Or they sabotage or whatever it takes to get their way. They are totally focused on that goal of what they want and nothing else matters and they will hurt you to get it. Abusive men don't allow you to leave. Threatening to leave, end the relationship is a very common tactic used to force you into or out of things. But that's all it is, a tactic. If you were to leave, he'd be extremely angry and become focused on regaining control of you. Abusive men consider you "theirs" and don't believe you have the "right" to leave them (no matter how badly they treat you) unless they have given you permission to. However, THEY can leave anytime they want. But if you do, then they go nuts. And though it sounds like he has granted permission to leave with his threat of give it up or get out, clearly the get out part is not something he's going to allow. Abusive men often will try to cut your friends off at a point where they feel that their power over you is threatened. For example, if you have started calling him on some of his inappropriate behaviors towards you, standing up to his bullying, he might assume that other people are influencing you and threatening his control. So his priority becomes to cut off those sources you have so that he will be your only point of reference and he can regain power. He doesn't have the right to make you give up your friendships, friendships are necessary to our emotional health, and they are a normal, healthy part of life. He's wrong, as you already know. All these double standards these men think they have the right to force us into are just beyond ridiculous. They don't have any rights that we don't have ourselves. But they sure think they do.
Avatar for cl_mizlizzy
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-19-2003
In reply to: jthinton
Wed, 03-26-2003 - 11:39am
SO very well said!! Hugs! (nt)
Avatar for zippity_dee
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
In reply to: jthinton
Wed, 03-26-2003 - 12:47pm
You are so lucky to recognize this as being controlling and abusive before you give up everything of your personal life and give in to demands. I sure wish I had seen my husband's controlling moves for what they were before 27 years of marriage had rocked by. Believe me when I say there will always be something else that you do "wrong" and another issue around the corner for him to control. After so many years my husband was having to dig way deep to find a problem because I had basically given in and given up everything that was fun for me. Once he became jealous of my time on the computer and demanded I give that up. He told me I had an addiction and made him feel neglected because I would rather be online at night rather than spending evenings with him. (I was doing homework for two computer classes plus building websites at night in my spare time...DUH!) I did stand up to him that time and told him that I would turn the computer off if he would turn the television off...that quieted that issue right down, but another demand quickly came up to replace it. They just have to create a conflict to win even if they have to dig deep to find an issue. It is so amazing looking back now at what all I gave up over the years to keep the peace. Stick to your guns, Sweetie!
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
In reply to: jthinton
Wed, 03-26-2003 - 12:58pm
One more thing...I understand from your posts on another board that your counselor suggested that you leave and leave the kids with him. This was a "suggestion", not a law you have to follow just because she said that. She might not realize that your husband is abusive or the extent. But it's never a good idea to leave the kids with an abusive man. Kids become weapons for them to use against you. Your husband's attitude about this is disturbing. This is a completely unreasonable demand yet he is not willing to consider ANY other option, it's his way or no way. There are a lot of things that are rightfully ours, needs and wants, that we give up when living with Hitler dictators like this. Not only you, but your children too.
iVillage Member
Registered: 05-27-2003
In reply to: jthinton
Wed, 03-26-2003 - 1:19pm
Welcome to the board, Sweetie....

I agree with all of the above posters, they all say it so well, but I wanted to jump in here and let you know you are very welcome here!

Hugs!

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
In reply to: jthinton
Wed, 03-26-2003 - 1:26pm
Thank you so much for your advice and support. It feels so good to know I'm not crazy!
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
In reply to: jthinton
Wed, 03-26-2003 - 2:15pm
I don't plan on leaving the kids with him. I explained to her I just simply can't do that. I wouldn't be able to function. He knows what buttons to push with me and the kids are the only way he can hurt me. I hate him when he uses them againist me like when he says, well there my kids and I want to spend time w/them too. Another reason I dread leaving is b/c where I live he doesn't have to give me a divorce unless I sue and I have no reason to. Domestic Vilonence is too hard to prove. He doesn't have to sign until I agree to his wishes as far as visitation with the kids. I know he loves our kids but he doesn't need them like I do.