April 24, 2000
Dear Dr. Irene: I apologize for this not being orderly....as my life
right now is extremely out of order....please bear with me. Not a problem…
You've probably heard just about everything...here's one more horrid
Yesterday, my employer called me in his office...I was being laid-off.
Sorry! I immediately broke down, begging them
to reconsider. Why? I was going to file for divorce from my abusive
husband and needed that job to support me and my two boys (8 & 12).
Through uncontrollable sobs and tears, and literally down on my KNEES with
my hands on the edge of the desk and my head on my hands, I explained that
my verbally and emotionally abusive husband threatened many times in the
past that he would kill me if I ever left him, and therefore, I could not
leave him with his knowledge which would put me in danger. You need to go to the
I told them he requires me to deposit my paycheck into our joint account
every pay day. I take what I can and keep it and save it.
I have no money I can get my hands on. My company recently began a
new kind of insurance where legal assistance (including divorce) was FREE.
I was waiting for the busiest time of year (tax filing) of my job was
over, then I was going to diligently pursue a divorce. Two hours
later, I walked out, in shock, but with my job and assurance that they
would help me find expert help. Thank God… Accept
any help your employer offers. And, please, go talk to the police and see
what options they may have. Certainly an order of protection when you are
ready, shelters, counselor names, a support group?
I turned 38 in January. I have been married to him 20 years, and known
him 5 more than that. He cheated on me all the time when we dated,
and I believe he did the night before we wed (a gift from the groomsmen).
He has always abused alcohol. He has always verbally abused me. He
has always controlled me. On occasions he has pinched me and pushed me and
held me down against my will. This is physical
abuse. He is currently taking Zoloft for anxiety and panic disorder,
which was diagnosed about the time he confessed an affair to me. He said a "darkness" was over him and he could not leave the house and thought he
was having a heart attack.
He has called me every name in the book. I am always a "B"
when I stand my ground to him. He flips his middle finger at me when
I stand up to him, sometimes touching my nose with it. I try to
stand up to him and his words, but he always throws them back at me...says
I MAKE him do the things he does...if only I wouldn't do those little
things that "get him going". He never acknowledges my
feelings, whether happy or sad. If I cry, he gets mad. He lacks empathy and
compassion. If we pass an accident where people need
help, he will not stop to help.
When I am sick he shows no
concern. He doesn't like any of my friends. He has moved me
far away from my family due to a job
transfer. He finds fault with everything I do.
I am a "pig woman", "Sleeze bag Hoa_ Bitc_", "C__t
Lip", "Blair Witch", "bad mother", "bad
wife", etc. He has called me all these in front of our kids. He
belittles my office job and compares it to
that of a burger flipper at the local greasy spoon. My job is worthless.... and the
money I make not "worth the trouble of the commute and cost of
parking/gas/eating" (but he didn't own his fancy convertible until I got my job). Plus...it takes too much time away from HIM,
and away from "THE FAMILY".
He calls my
son "girly boy" when he is upset. He constantly
calls him "idiot boy" and emotionally
and psychologically criticizes all he does. He had literally told
him many times he's gonna take him out of "his will" and give
him no money for college because he is so stupid. Our daughter waits
on him hand and foot, so he pretty much leaves her alone.
My poor son looks
at me with the most hurt face, and at the same time I see so much anger,
it's scary. He grits his teeth and wants so bad to hurt his father
in some way. He calls the kids no good kids and cusses at them when in
public and they misbehave. He goes out drinking and forces them to stay
home alone because I have to go with him.... but I don't drink but he
almost always makes me have one beer because if I don't I am "not
being social". So sad… Also, if the
kids are minors, leaving them home alone is child abuse - though he is
already guilty of that!
A recent event: I was cooking a splendid meal for company the
next day. I'd been up since 7:00 AM working on
my project. I accidentally sliced my hand
across the knuckles with a kitchen knife. There was a deep puncture
that needed stitches. He showed no compassion when he saw the cut
and blood. I said I needed to get it looked at and probably needed
stitches. He said I didn't, that he'd had cuts worse than that and
didn't go to the ER. He convinced me it was not BAD ENOUGH and would
not allow me to go to the hospital, and instead drove me to the drug store
get band-aids. One-half hour later, I was
back in the kitchen chopping vegetables, with a terribly sore hand, wrapped in gauze and
plastic gloves. He said I had to FINISH cooking...period. So I did as I was told...and finished. The next
morning I was up at 6:00 AM finishing up my preparation that that evening, in pain. He slept like
a baby. My God…
Another incident: He took me out for dinner on my birthday. He then "confessed" he'd had an
affair with a woman at work. The relationship was not "consummated" (so he says),
but they did "everything" else (imagine the pictures going
through my head). He said he almost left me for her, (she wanted my
kids - instant family - and my house) but the kids were "at the
time" the reason he stayed. I was devastated.
always been a very kind, loving, sweet girl.... but somehow he thought I'd
"changed" over the years. (Maybe because I finally
got tired of making his coffee every morning (I HATE COFFEE), and ironing
his shirts/pants while he lays in bed. Yes, I'd
gained a few pounds. Yes, I was unhappy (from his constant
verbal and emotional abuse, and control issues). These were
his reasons for cheating. I was so afraid of loosing him and
being left alone, I CHANGED back into the perfect sweet little thing
he married, which was what he wanted. After dieting back to a size 5 (from
not eating), crying for months, going through severe anxiety and panic
I finally got better. I was with him night and day when not at
work (just what he wanted!!!!). I never left his side. I gave up
everything in my life that took time away from him (church choir,
part-time job, shopping).
A year later, I began to allow myself
to deal with the paid I'd buried. (I immediately forgave him upon his
confession and showed no anger, etc. for I was afraid to). I told
him I needed counseling to deal with the unresolved issues. It was
then that he said...."If you go, use your OWN
money, but I will save you the time and money by letting you know I REALLY
DIDN'T have an affair after all.... I only said that to get YOU to CHANGE
back to the sweet, innocent, 18-year old girl I met...and it worked!" Funny, as I was reading what he
told you, I wondered if he was making it up to manipulate you. It was all
too perfect, down to her wanting your kids! This man is a horror.
Dr. Irene...I suffered unbearable
pain for those 17 months. I bet. Again, with those words of ultimate
betrayal, I feel deeper into my pain. I must have written him 100
letters pouring out my inner most feelings of "how I could not live
without him", etc., that it was my entire fault he did what he did.
Now I realize all those letters did was feel his ego and praise him for
"not leaving me when he could have", etc. He lives for
that kind of stuff: unrelenting praise and admiration for all he does.
It was then that I really began to research my husbands behavior and
emotional psyche...and found your website. My husband fits the wife
batterer profile to a "T". Yes. He seems to.
Still another: My son got mad and threw a glass. Somehow, it
bounced and cracked the TV screen. When he walked in the door that night, he found out and lost it.
He yelled everything imaginable at his son, turned around and after
telling our son to get out of his sight, picked up a kitchen knife laying
in front of him on the counter, turned back to his son (now halfway up the
stairs scared to death), pointed it at him and said he should kill him for
breaking the TV. Our son ran back down right to his dad
and begged for forgiveness. I stood there in shock, a center island
in-between me and my husband and my son. Thank god he put the knife
down...but the damage to my son will probably be permanent.
All these things screamed at me to leave immediately.... but I fear doing
that in front of him! I feel they were my ticket out to justify
leaving...but at each moment I could not get myself to move! Why? Diane, this life is all you know…
To the outside world, he is a charmer and a responsible man who takes care
of his family. We have a gorgeous house, nice vehicles, and lots
of extras. But...there is tremendous debt. Debt he says will
be taken care of when we sell our house. His father, the
"divorce expert" of the family advised him that it's smart to create debt and have no
tangible assets so that if the wife ever leaves, she has 50% of the debt
which will take all the money she ends up with after the divorce to pay it
off - so in the end she is left penniless (so go figure, huh?).
He has a
significant amount of money in stocks and bonds and in his 401K.
All of this is in his name and he handles it. He took the checkbook
away from me and does all the bills now. He took all the credit
cards away.... but I got smart and have one he does not know about. If I open a checking account in my name,
and put money in there for me, is it considered mine, or if I divorce him
does he get half? I don’t know how legal stuff works, but I think you need
to try and get hold of some money. Worry about who it belongs to later.
have no savings at all! I make $25,000 a year. He makes much, much
more. He says since I don't make what
he does, I have to make up for the difference by doing things for him. Oh please… He's the kind of man who likes to even
the score. In
his favor, of course. Everything has to be balanced in his
eyes. He won't give gifts unless he knows he's going to get something
in return.... either a gift or HIGH RECOGNITION for his. He has to
be number one.
He doesn't like my family, and holds grudges from 20 years ago. I
have a wonderful big loving family, and he is always asking me, no,
telling me, that he is the "favorite son-in-law". He
always criticizes my sisters and brothers (he calls my sisters names - and my brothers
are no good since they will never make the money he does). Now that we have
moved away, it takes an act of
congress to get him to let me go home to visit. I don't like going
to visit with him because
I have to be by his side at all times and be the perfect, happy little
wife, doting on him. I am also a different person, unable to
be myself (carefree and happy), and be with my mother and sisters doing
the things we always do when together.
After his confession of his affair, he gave me a diamond bracelet for a gift. I had to call my folks
and tell everyone in my family in his what a wonderful gift/husband I had.
Every time I am on the phone with my family, he sits beside me and makes
me tell them things he has done to the house, or how well his job is
going...him him him!!!! I don't even talk to them from
home anymore because of this.... I call them from the office.
He refers to having sex with me in the following way: I wanna
"F" you, I wanna poke you, you want it in the "A"
don't you? I love to "F" your "P" and is always
pulling down my underwear while I am trying to get dressed. He never
respects my "space", always coming up to me and grabbing my
breasts either from under my blouse or from the outside of my clothes, he
sticks his hands inside my shorts or jeans and down into my underwear and
grabs my genitals...he even pokes he finger against my anus.
If I want to take a Jacuzzi bath, he comes in and touches me in the same
way.... and asks why I am taking a bath alone and that I must be a lesbian
because I did not invite him in and have candles lit and the lights off.
No matter how many times I say "No", he doesn't listen, and replies with
"you are my property". Even when I am menstruating, his hands are
in my clothes.
He is an alcoholic, but will never own up to it. He goes out
drinking with people he works with, and comes home
drunk. Lately, he goes out drinking, calls me to come and get him
late in the night, and I have to wake up my kids and go get him. Why
I don't tell him to call a cab, I don't know...maybe because he threatens
to drive home and if anything happens to him it would be
my fault. And he's even worse once he gets home...pawing me and
kissing me, and reeking of smoke and alcohol, which repulses me.
Sometimes he has me pick him up after work, and I am at his mercy because
he will get behind the wheel and take me to the nearest bar - and I have no choice but to go along.
He makes me sit and have a drink with him (I'm not social and boring
if I don't do this!). It's torture to have to sit there and
listen to him ramble and ramble and ramble (he never shuts up). He
lectures me, belittles me, talks to me as if I am a child.
He must say, "I love you, do you love me" 20 times a day.
He won't stop until I say, "I love you". I say it just to
shut him up.
Dr. Irene.... every thing in me screams GET OUT... Yes.
GET OUT! Why in the hell and I still here! What am I afraid
of? Women stay because of
financial reasons…and because that is all they know… He's the
only man that's been in my life since I was 18 years old. Exactly. I have no
idea any other type of man exists. I know they aren't all this way. No, they are not Diane. My
parents and family now know everything he's ever done. Good. They are supporting me in whatever decision I
make. GOOD! Whatever
I do...it has to be without his knowledge. Yes.
I am afraid to walk into
a lawyers office...I am scared to tell my story to strangers and in a
court. I don't know if I could hold up emotionally. Diane, if you walk into a lawyer’s office, you will be
scared. If you stay in your marriage, it is only a matter of time until
you are emotionally dead. Diane, get out! Do whatever you have to do to
get out. I am so glad you told your family – even your employer! Abuse
thrives in secrecy. If you are emotionally falling apart right now, who
can blame you? Your stress is incredible.