Sent: Wednesday, November 17, 1999
Subject: Your Site
I have been married over 20 years.
This is difficult to say, but I think I am abused. Having
read ahead, YES. I have been thinking this for a few years. I
believe it has always gone on, but I did not realize how much. From
the outside of our house you would never know that inside is a man who can
seemingly care so little about his wife and children. I try very
hard not to do anything that would cause a tantrum or to shield any
unpleasantries so as not to cause one. So, Dear
Donna, you walk on eggshells...
My husband can rant and rave
about small things for so long. He tells me I am "just" a woman
and that I don't know as much as he does about just about anything. Really? What do you think I might say to him if I were in
your place? He says I have raised the kids poorly and they are bad.
Everything that is wrong, from a dirty dish to the trash not being taken
out is my fault. You bad, bad girl! I spend
too much, don't save enough, am reckless with everything. I am
constantly afraid of what to say or do. I get very depressed at
times because I feel so alone. You are alone.
You have no partner. If you are depressed, please try some St. John's
Wort, SAMe, or see your doctor for a prescription. If we create
"runner's high" with exercise, why wouldn't a defeating home life
create a chemical depression? So, get a little chemical help to get
balanced until you get to a place where you are more OK!
My three oldest daughters live at
home and are in college. My youngest is in high school. I have thought for
several years of leaving when the youngest goes to college, but sometimes
I don't think I will make it. That is your
depression. Get some chemical help. After all, we are nothing but a bunch
of chemicals! The reality is that you can go now. Right now. Your kids
will respect you for your strength whether they approve of your actions or
not. Part of me feels like I am a
failure because I even think of the D word. Don't
make yourself responsible for your husband's inability to be a husband and
a partner. I am afraid for myself if I
even were to bring it up to him. So don't. Just
do what you need to. The kids know how he can be and they don't
He thinks they are so bad. They will never do well enough to suit him. Well, one skipped two grades and is in her second
year of college as an honor student at seventeen. She was all
district in two sports. She has a full scholarship from (big company).
Wow! (And, do you see
your healthy anger?) The eldest has struggled with college, but is
trying harder. Good! None are bad kids.
They play sports and go out with friends and have never been in any
trouble. The youngest is 14 and does need to clean his room, but he
is a good student. The way he talks to me about them is that they
are horrible and bad. He doesn't like it because their rooms are
dirty and messy. They are teenagers. Yep.
Teenagers. Shut the doors.
About seven years ago I went back
to school. !! I got my bachelor's degree and
now I am in Law School. !!!!!! It
seems hard to believe that a would-be lawyer would be writing to your
site. Abuse-victim issues are equal opportunity
employers. My problem is I have no one to talk to. I have few
friends. I feel embarrassed/afraid to bring things like this up, plus what
does it say about me? It is "normal" for
victims to guard the abuse secret. Unhealthy, but par for the course. You
over-responsibly feel as though you are doing something you are ashamed
of! You are not. Your husband is. He should be ashamed of himself! Don't
take responsibility for his misbehavior! You don't have to hide his
misbehavior. First of all, his actions are no reflection on you, second,
if you hide it, you enable his actions. I don't want people to
think badly of us or that we are bad people. It doesn't matter what people think. See how your codependence is showing? Understand that. I have never been hit. That's the biggest problem with emotional and verbal
abuse. No scars. No "proof." Once a few years ago, he
threw something at me, but that was the only time. It is the voice.
That demanding, yelling, put down tone. Not OK! I have tried to talk to him and
every time the first thing out of his mouth is, "If you want me to do
that then you are the problem, you are the one who must... " I have
given up trying. Sure. You can't win.
Sometimes it is very good. Things are going well and you think, OK,
this is going to be OK. You wish. Don't
confuse your wishes with reality. Abuse
is cyclical. There are good times, very good times. It gets worse over
He worries so much about money, yet
he never seems to have enough of it. We have quite a lot by just
about anyone's standards, but he never wants me to spend any money.
He does not keep me from having money. In fact, I pay the bills, but
I am a nervous wreck all of the time because he wants believes it is his
right as a man to control the investments and tell me what we can spend
on. Yuk. Not to the exact penny, but it is
close at times. He has the right to impose
restrictions on himself. You have the right to prevent him from imposing
his restrictions upon yourself and your children. You have allowed him to
violate your boundaries.
Maybe I am crazy, Crazy as a fox. The
craziest thing you do is doubt your very sharp sense of reality. Donna is
trying to tell Donna what's up and Donna wants to pretend that it is not
so. Donna: it is so. but it seems like I am verbally abused. Yes. YES! I cannot
tell you the last time he said a nice word to me or told me he loves me.
We have no friends together. I have friends, but he will never go
out with them for the most part. He withholds, among
other things. He knows just about no one here and we have lived
her over 10 years. He only talks on a regular basis to one of his
He refuses to help with any house
work or even carry a basket of clothes up unless I beg. Don't. His reaction, is that the kids should do
it! Perhaps they should do more, but I don't want them to think they
have to serve. He wants
them to "serve" and to live as hard a life as he lived when he
was a child. Two wrongs don't make a right.
Well, I better stop if everyone sent emails like this you would never get
anything done. Good thing I get to answer those I
choose, huh? You don't have to reply unless you would like to. You bet! I have no answers, just a feeling of being
lonely. Thanks for listening...Donna
Dear, dear Donna,
God bless you. You
have so much going for you: smarts, intuition, heart... You have a big
heart. A big questioning heart. Even though you have a hard time
accepting the reality you see, you do see it. Bless you for your ability
to protect your kids from their dad's sadistic standards and for your
ability to use the time and resources you have to educate yourself.
Please do something
about your self-esteem. You have no reason not to feel not OK!
You are about an
inch short, no more, of owning your power and your life. Your husband is
acting like a big, spoiled brat. He is making everybody miserable because
he chooses to be miserable (that's what he learned; all he knows). Yet, he
makes little effort to use his free will/freedom of
choice/self-control/call-it-what-you-will to change that. So be it. You
can't change the way he chooses to live his life.
But, you don't have
to accept the rigid, punitive standards he imposes either. The price you
pay for lacking the courage to stand true to your inner self, the self
that knows exactly what is going on, is depression, despair, and all that
other awful stuff. But, you are too smart and too aware to fall for it.
You try to stay in denial, but you can't. Good!
Get yourself into
counseling. Now! You don't have to live your life by your husband's
difficult standards. Neither do your children, who are healthy enough to
not like the situation. Also, join a support group like Codependent
Anonymous or a Women's Group or .something! You need to go
somewhere you can talk all this...someplace to help you take away your
You are lucky.
Unlike too many women in similar circumstances, you have financial
resources. You are educated. Your kids are not taken in by his shenanigans.
Use the gifts you have been given to your advantage. Take care of yourself
and of your children. Your husband may or may not get the message, but he doesn't
stand a chance of fixing himself unless you put your foot
down. My very best wishes, -Dr. Irene
Look at a comment a reader sent Donna