I don't know how to heal
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|Fri, 08-08-2014 - 10:43am|
My husband and I have been married for 10 years, together for 13. I am a stay at home mom and I homeschool our kids. Up until about four years ago, my husband was very verbally and emotionally abusive. He yelled and screamed at me, destroyed my stuff, called me horrible names, etc. This really destroyed my desire to have sex with him, which would make him angrier and he'd be even worse, along with a healthy dose of guilt because he only did such things because I "wouldn't give it up". I wasn't one who took it laying down. I fought back, originally tried turning the tables on him, which didn't work and only allowed him to feel like he wasn't the only one with a problem. He also worked a lot, so he was very vocal about not wanting friends or family around because he doesn't want to have to share his family time. And I was guilted if I expressed a desire for friends or to see my family. It wasn't always bad. Major blow outs happened every couple months, but when they did it was absolute hell. I didn't have anybody to turn to, besides an awesome mommy group here on iVillage. Retrospectively, I know he was a textbook abuser, and I've become a textbook victim.
After six miserable years of marriage, I finally snapped, packed the kids into the minivan one time when he was out of town and left... for one night. He was really, really sorry, said he understood why I left, and promised to change. And for the most part, he did. He no longer yells and screams at me, doesn't tear stuff up anymore, or cuss or swear at me. He's big on WANTING to be a better person, and he does try. But I'm afraid that after four years of trying to get whatever it was that made me marry him back, the I must have actually just checked out permanently when I snapped. The little negative stuff that really just makes you feel like you're crazy continues. The jabs, the sarcasm, the guilt trips over my lack of affection for him and non-existant desire to be intimate with him, he guilts me to this day over taking the kids and leaving him because I did it ONCE, even tho, at the time, he said he'd deserved it. While that is actually really jerky, I'm sure he really does love me, but I am completely numb to him. He has tried, but I don't think he's really rooted out the problem, just learned to control his anger issues better. I hate sex. Hate it. Not because I actually hate sex, but because I can't handle him in my face or touching me. It makes me angry, or want to just cry when he starts touching me. I really try to just suck it up, but sometimes I can't. Then he's mad at me and pretty much ignores me for several days... which, sadly, I don't mind. He says it's how I get at him because I can control that. He cannot comprehend how much damage he did by abusing me for almost 10 years.
I've recently bucked the isolation system, found myself and the kids a very nice church (he won't go, but that's ok), and I am really trying to be a better person. But I am beating my head against a wall with myself emotionally because I really seriously have no emotional connection with him. He's not a bad person. He's a very involved, loving dad. He works really hard to support our family. Puts the kids' and my needs before his. He's fun and funny. And he's really great with people (in spite of the fact that he doesn't want friends). I feel bad for disliking him so intensely. As a person, he's fine. As someone who expects a right to my personal space, I have to force myself to tolerate him. Tolerance, is, I think, the best description of my whole attitude toward him. Thinly veiled tolerance.
I honestly don't think he knows any better. His grandmother was very abusive to his mother, and she raised him and three brothers right next door to them up until he was 8 and his stepdad came along, so he was privy to many ugly fights. I have reasons to think that his mother was mentally abusive to him and his siblings as well. Out of five kids, he's the only one who is still married and his mother can't stand me, which has, of course, caused a lot of problems between us.
I'm pretty sure counseling would help, but we can't afford it, and I'm afraid to even suggest it. As far as he's concerned, my "issues" with him are just because I hold grudges or to get out of sex. I don't know how to make him understand, but I am so unhappy about the "us" part of life. I don't know how to heal and move on.
That was really long. Sorry. I'm just not sure what to do right now, and I'm anxious.