Emotional Abuse - I feel like I'm going crazy

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-12-2013
Emotional Abuse - I feel like I'm going crazy
Tue, 02-12-2013 - 1:05pm

I'm new here on the boards and still learning protocol, so please forgive me if this post is long.

I was first married to my husband in '96 and we separated and divorced in '04.  This was due to his anger issues.  After counseling and therapy, we remarried in '06.  The first couple of years were great...no major arguments, no incidents.  We also have two children (they are 14 and 11 now). Things have progressively gotten worse over the years.  I know, I feel like one of those people you see on Dr. Phil where you yell at the TV, but it's hard when you are living in the midst of things.  

He is extremely charming to those outside of our marriage.  He can certainly charm the pants off of just about anyone.  He's completely different when at home with the kids and me.  He was let go from a 10-year job last year, then took another job and quit because he was "bored" there.  Since he quit, he didn't qualify for unemployment and has not worked since.  I am working full-time and only bringing in about $425 a week.  We still have a mortgage, braces payments, bills, etc.  He says he is "working" our firewood business, but it's certainly nowhere near what we need to survive.  He's even mentioned that I go get a part-time job in the evenings and on the weekends to help out.  So far, I've refused.  He does nothing to help me with the household while not working.  In fact, he adds to my work.  The house is trashed when I get home from work.  Before I can even cook dinner, I have to clean, and then he still complains that the house isn't showcase perfect.  He belittles me, calls me names, complains about how "lazy" I am, etc.

When his parents visit, I am supposed to drop everything to cater to them.  I don't mind being with his parents, I really get along well with them.  However, when my family comes to visit, he either disappears outside or just ignores them.  He gives me the silent treatment because I'm entertaining them and gets very jealous.  Last Saturday, my mother took my daughter and her friend to the mall to spend all of their birthday and Christmas money (we'd been planning the outing for a couple of weeks).  We were at the mall for about an hour when he called me to tell me to come home soon because I'd already been gone too long and he needed our vehicle.  We rushed home because I thought he needed to deliver firewood, but he wasn't even home when I got back.  He gave me the silent treatment the rest of the day...three days later, he is still barely talking to me.  When I go away for the weekend to visit family, he calls me constantly trying to guilt me into coming home.  He can't stand for me to be around friends or family.

When he gets mad, it's always over something petty and is quite frequent.  He will get in my face, curse, call me names, etc. One time, he got me outside and then screamed at me for half an hour because I didn't "lay the rocks" perfectly around the pool (we were landscaping).  The pool looked amazing, but it didn't stop him from screaming at me (I was babysitting at the time, too) and "bowing" his chest out to me to indimidate me.

These are just a couple of examples.  I'm physically and emotionally at my wit's end.  I have recently developed high blood pressure, which my doctor and I are convinced it's stress-related.  I'm depressed and, if it were not for my children, I wouldn't even want to go home.  I'm not asking for answers, I'm just needing to connect with others who are going through, or have gone through, the same thing.  I'm just tired of being sad and tired.  I deserve to be happy, and typing that makes me feel selfish, but my kids deserve to be happy, too.  Both of my kids have asked me if I'd ever consider divorce again.  I hate that it's on their minds, too.

Sorry to type so much.....


iVillage Member
Registered: 02-12-2013

Thank you for your bluntness and directness.  I hadn't been back in a while because of so many different reasons, so I'm just reading your response today.  I am currently looking for a place to live with my kids.  Thank you for responding to me.

Community Leader
Registered: 05-14-2001

Sockmonkey, you are dead wrong.  This is not a two party issue and you do not add into it.  Your husband is verbally and emotionally abusive THAT is the problem.  Regarding you playing a part in this.... if you're saying it's because you fight back, lose your temper, etc., are you saying anyone should just accept whatever he dishes out?  Are you saying you're not entitled to defend yourself?   If you're saying you play a part because you aren't doing what he wants you to do, I know that you know that nothing you do is right or good enough and if you ever are actually able to do what he wants correctly, he simply finds fault with something else.

Your children suggesting divorce should be screaming at you that this is an environment they need out of ASAP. Please think about the fact that this is what their memories of childhood will be -- a home that they wanted out of.  Not exactly the warm, loving, happy childhood we want for our children.  Be aware that their home sets their standard for "normal".  This is the kind of environment they're learning how to be a part of.  If you want them to have happy, healthy adult relationships you'll need to get them out of this one because while they may want happy, healthy relationships as adults they won't be able to navigate in one if they continue to grow up here.  The only skills they're learning is how to live with domestic abuse.  Yes, abuse.  When you see posters about children who grow up in abusive homes, they are talking about your children.

Is it easy to leave?  Yes and no.  It means getting your guts up and getting out the door, but it's as "easy" as walking away.  Is there a reason to stay?  No.  Abusers don't change.  Sure, he held it back for a few years to make sure you were locked in solid, then he went back to his abusive ways. 

I do recognize what you're going through, my ex-husband was verbally and emotionally abusive too.  Read "Why Does He Do That" Inside the Minds of Angry Men" by Lundy Bancroft.  You'll see your husband there in every chapter. 

I've had some medical issues and have not been able to post as I'd like for a while, but I'm back to posting more now so please come on back and talk to me some more.

~ cl-2nd_life

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-20-2009

It sounds like your children are more honest with you than you are with yourself.  You divorced the man once.....do it again!  Your kids want out, and if you care about them, listen to them.  But, you don't want anyone to tell you to divorce him, you just want someone to tell you to be happy, and live with it.  You know that will never happen.  Face the facts, as in most cases, he had some therapy, and he seemed better, but once the therapy stops, eventually the monster comes out again.  It was always there, and it's back in spades.  Get him out of your life......even your kids can see that's the only answer.

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-16-2002

Unless he is willing to change, I don't see that you have any alternative than to stop living with this man.  You have no idea if his aggression could escalate, and he ends up hurting you or your kids.  You did not mention how he is with the kids, but this is tatamount to child abuse.  You mention you are mature but your kids are not, they are not as emotionally tough as you are, and so if you are feeling emotionally abused, how do you think your kids feel?  You yourself mention that this is on their minds too, of course it is, they live with it every day just like you do.  Now things are even worse because he's not even contributing to the household and yet wants you to get another job?  I hope you can get the strength to walk away from this man again, for good this time.

Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

.  -Albert Einstein

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-12-2013
I don't consider myself being the biggest problem. I am part of a two-person marriage, so yes, we both contribute. We went through counseling and things were a LOT better for those first couple of years. Things have progressively gotten worse. And "venting" doesn't get me to a better place. In fact, nothing I'm living through right now gives me a sense of being in a better place at all. You do not know me, so I respectfully ask that you don't assume these things about me. It's always nice to find support from others who have been there. I know now that things aren't going to get better. I'm also older and more mature than I was when I "picked him" the first time (as well as the second time). I'm just trying to come to grips with the hand that has been dealt. I just don't see how your message is supportive. I was hoping that this message board would be supporting.
iVillage Member
Registered: 11-25-2003

You need to get yourself healthy. 

The biggest problem I see here is with you.  (This will be unpopular, and it may anger some folks,  I know.)

Quite frankly, you picked this man twice.  And now this relationship is harming your physical health, and probably the well being of your children.  Okay, I get it - the marriage relationship is bad.  It needs to end.  But again, you've been through this once before and picked him again.  You need to understand how that happened, and without the focus on what a bad man your STBX is (he is, I know that, I get that).  If venting about his faults and behaviour is what gets you to a better place, so be it.  But that time has to come to an end at some point in time.

You need to get healthy - mind, body, and spirit.  

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-04-2006

If you & the kids need to be in an environment where you aren't nervous and walking on eggshells all of the time...that environment needs to be away from your husband.

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-02-2008


I would not wait until you think your husband will get fixed.. I can bet it would take a very long time and alot of work for him to manage this and that is if he even has a mental disorder.. I was married to a man just like this and although he did try medication and things he never quite really wanted to change so instead I had to change myself and leave him.. It was very difficult to say the least but what I have read and learned is that these people are just not easy to live with...You can attend domestic violence workshops and they will tell you how to live with someone like this until you can get a plan in place for short term living and long term living.. So after I left my ex I felt a million times better and I healed and that took about two years.. and I stopped being his vicitm... There are alot of dynamics with these ty pes of relationships and education is the first key to it..

Right now fast forward since getting divorced back in 2007 my ex moved in with his gfriend of a few years and weirdly enough he called me (long story) and lo and behold they are breaking up because he is still a NUT Case..and mentally unstable.. So you see they rarely change unless they go through extreme programs.. I have heard of something in Boston for men like this but I forget the name of the program... I hear the success rate is very low though so I never looked into it because I found out that I am codependent so it was more beneficial for me to get out of the toxic marriage...

I would start with contacting the dv agency and finding some womens support groups and see how you can deal with this..or like OP said go over to the domestic violence board on Ivillage and the great ladies there will help you..

Good Luck

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-12-2013

Thank you both for the replies.  I've thought for a long time that he could be bipolar, but I'm scared to bring it up to him since he does anger so easily.  I know something has to be done, though.  After talking to one of his sisters (about the family in general), I do know that there are mental disorders in the family, so the idea is definitely not far fetched.  How do I open up a discussion about this?  He needs to get help, but the kids and I also need to be in an environment where we aren't nervous and on eggshells all of the time.  Thanks again.

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999

He really sounds like he has a mental disorder.  I feel very sorry for you cause I was in a bad situation myself being married to a guy with bipolar disorder.  It was the 2nd marriage for both of us and we both had kids from the 1st marriage.  He would also engage in these kind of crazy arguments about nothing, yelling, intimidation (although he said there was no reason I should be scared of him cause he never actually hit me or threatened to do so--I guess the fact that he was in the Army special forces and had 2 black belts was not supposed to be at all scary).  I also used to get physical symptoms--in my case it was stomach aches.  I was thinkikng about leaving basically since we first got married but the catalyst was really when my son, who was then about 12, asked me if we had enough money to go live someplace else w/o him--my DD was in college already.  I thought about it and figured there was no reason that I should be messing up my kids' lives and subjecting them to this kind of thing.  If your kids are basically asking you to get divorced, you know that it's not a good environment for them and it's really the only answer to get rid of this guy permanently.  And if you do get divorced, ask for a psych evaluation & supervised visits between him & the kids--if he is like this to you, he'll probably be like this to them too.