April 07, 2005
Hi Doctor Irene. Hi Elizabeth!
of all let me say I think I'm just looking for a little reassurance
and, of course, a little advice (okay, maybe a lot of advice). ;D
a 43 year old mother of a 19 year-old son. I've known for several years
that I have been verbally abused since probably before my husband and I
married, over 20 years ago. I've been planning on and off,
half-heartedly to leave him for years, but the appropriate opportunity
has not arisen until just recently.
My son just graduated and is
getting a job and moving to Nevada in the middle of April. I am
planning on making my move and leaving my husband not too long after
that. I am planning to move to New York where I have lots of friends
and supportive people (I currently live in Ohio). I have been
frantically preparing for this since it was firm that my son was
I know that when I finally tell my husband I'm moving (I'm not telling him where I'm going right away
Good! Don't!), I'll have to be gone at a moment's notice, because I really don't trust his reaction.
Good thinking! Check out the
Safety Plan here. (Not all
of it applies to you.) I'll
have the few things that I really want to take with me in the car – I
won't be taking any furniture or anything of the like with me – just my
dog, photos, mementos, clothes, and such. Sounds good to me!
night my son sprung on me the news that he has decided that he is too
young to move so far away from home and wants to get a job in the area
and live at home for a year or two. I felt like the wind had been
knocked out of me. I felt angry at him for ruining my plans (that
passed quickly -Good; no need.). My mind was still
running a mile a minute trying to digest what he had just told me. My
son and I had discussed the fact that I was planning on leaving his
father before, so I told him that I was planning on moving to NY when
he moved to Nevada. He told me that it was okay with him if I
moved (and I'm sure he meant it), but I can't help feeling extremely
guilty for leaving my 'baby boy' with this extremely volatile and angry
Your "baby" is an adult now and is able to take care of himself - and
perhaps able to beat hubby into submission! Regardless, "baby" is not a
know without a doubt that I need to leave him – there have been many
incidents that have 'convinced' me of this, but the final straw/nail in
the coffin was this past weekend when my VAH was in one of his road
rage moods, and I said something to him about his aggressive driving.
He turned around and looked at me with a look that terrified me, and
said "Do you like it?" OMG! I was scared to death. Even my son said
something to me about it to me later.
I am thankful that my son
was in the car because, even though my husband has never hit me, he had
a look about him that I have never seen before. The other day my VAH
called me at work to scream at me because he couldn't find the remote
control to the fan. I told him to get up and turn it on manually. When
I got home, he had knocked the fan over, broken the side off of it, and
was angry until probably noon the next day. Oh, by the way, the remote
was on the floor next to his chair (in plain site).
I can't stay in the area I
live in because my credit is shot and there's no way I could rent
anything right now. I also have a basenji dog that my husband doesn't
like and is mean (physically and verbally) to, although he treats his
three greyhounds like they were royalty. She has to come with me too.
My husband's in-laws have
offered to let me stay with them until I am back on my feet. I couldn't
sleep last night; my stomach is in a knot. I'm emotionally drained,
exhausted, sometimes frozen so badly that I just go home after work and
sit. I HATE my life, I feel guilty as can be. I offered to let my son
come with me, but he isn't ready for such a big move away from his home
and friends right now and I'm okay with that, but I feel SO guilty now.
Last night I believe I had my first ever panic attack. My
son was getting ready to tell my husband that he had decided not to go to
Florida, and all of a sudden my heart started racing and my left arm went
numb and tingly followed by my right arm. I've had anxious feelings
before but never anything physical like that.
Given the stress you're under, I wouldn't
be surprised that you are feeling anxiety/panic. But we never, ever
assume a panic attack unless you have been medically checked out.
March yourself to the local hospital ER right now and rule out anything
Dear, Dear Elizabeth, you came here
looking for a little reassurance. I am here to give you lots and lots and
lots of it: GET OUT! You are terrified of your husband, this long-standing
situation is obviously affecting your emotional and perhaps physical
health. Get out!
Many women stay in bad relationships
until the children are grown. OK. You did it. Now you can go. Co-dependent
people, like yourself, who think of others before thinking of themselves,
and who are very frightened of change often feel unrealistic guilt at
"abandoning" people they love. So, they stay in a painful situation out of
guilt and fear and suffer. OK, your job. Time for you!
Your "baby" is an adult! He can fend for
himself! At his age, friends are more important than family, so don't be
surprised that he got cold feet, electing to hang around at home for a
while longer. He can, of course, always decide to leave again. He can take
a job elsewhere; he can spend the night at a friend's; he come to you if he
gets to the point where he's had enough too. The bottom line is that he
knows his dad, and he's got a life outside of the home.
Look at it this way: if you don't leave
because of him, your son is likely to feel guilty that you stayed
because of him! Not that this feeling is rational, but Humans operate
this way. So, by going, you do him a favor.
Please go to the
CatBox Forum, if you
haven't already. The CatBoxers are a lively group and will give you all the
ongoing support you need! Watch them come here and help!
So, here's what you do:
|Get yourself physically cleared or do
what you have to do to take care of your physical health. If it's a heart
condition, follow the medical plan. If it's panic, don't walk out of the
ER and leave it at that. They may or may not advise that you see your
medical doctor, but go anyway. There are wonderful medications that will
help you during this time of crisis like Zoloft or Celexa, etc.|
|Get your stuff together and prepare to
leave. Pick your day. Cover your bases with your the parts of the
safety plan that relate
to you. |
|Have your son stay at a friend's that
day, just in case. |
CatBox; post here. (I'll be back a few times over the week to check
on you since this is a crisis.)|
|Pick your day, and GO! The sooner the
better since staying only prolongs the anxiety and anticipation.|
So, post! Good luck to you and may God
bless you and yours. Dr. Irene
Dear Readers: What do you think? Any
advice for Elizabeth?
You can no longer post. Thank you, Dr. Irene
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