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Married with an Abuser for Decades - How to Leave Print E-mail

 

Hi Maria,

I have been married to him for more than 40 years, loved him since I was 16. About a year ago he announced his intention to take to lunch a woman he briefly dated in high school before going out with me. She had "issues" with both of us since he stopped dated her abruptly and went out with me for the next several years before we married.  He was determined to find out why she had an "issue".  I suggested dinner, all of us, and he declined and chose instead to fire off an email to her thanking her for being "the adult" and telling her what a "loveless, uncaring" spouse I had been.

This resulted in over a year of sneaking, lying and emotional infidelity. He had multiple email addresses, they both bought throwaway phones to stay in contact. He invited her to our marriage counseling and regularly reported on the sessions to her, stayed up into the wee hours emailing and chatting with her and met her at least twice out of town. There was a brief period of time when he admitted the phone, apologized, professed his love for me and begged me to accompany him to the high school reunion for which he was the chairman.

He has been extremely verbally abusive to me, declaring that I was a Lesbian and accusing me of multiple Lesbian affairs. He has been severely verbally abusive to our youngest child, who suffers from eating disorders/bipolar disorder. He tolerates no criticism, constantly talks about what a "good man" he is, and requires constant thanks for all things he does at home.

He met with a psychiatrist and subsequently had one-time appts. with at least 2 other psychologists. He came home and told me that all 3 had urged him to leave me because I needed psychiatric help. He also stated that he'd met with the psychiatrist for 3 hours and she had diagnosed me, without ever meeting me, with Narcissistic Personality Disorder. I was able to confirm with the psychiatrist, without violating the patient/doctor privacy, that what he'd told me never happened.

Last month he took more than ten thousand out of our savings and had a complete facelift.

If I develop any friendships he accuses the woman of being a Lesbian and has even accused me of sex with a neighbor's dogs and coworkers. He equates love and adoration with sex and believes that sex in the only indicator of love and devotion. He has no relationship with his mother, stepfather or sister. He develops strong relationships with women in their late 80's and 90's and goes out of his way to incur their love, praise and approval. His stongest male friendship is with a high school classmate with extreme physical impairment making my spouse the "alpha" in the relationship. He has replaced me in all the activities we enjoyed with this man.

In marriage counseling he went to the first session armed with a stack of index cards of ultimatums for me including: admitting I was a Lesbian, reading a book he and his online girlfriend had shared about love relationships, forcing our Bipolar child to move out immediately, getting a physical to "rule out a brain tumor", apologize to him for not giving him the respect and adoration he deserved, thanking him for everything he had ever done for me, and the list goes on and on. He will come in at night and immediately attack the youngest child, going for all the weak points, i.e., body image, self-worth, and when our child says "maybe I'd be better off dead" he will reply with comments like "don't let me stop you." Then he will come to bed and want sex and wonder why I can't respond lovingly.

After he has scored a verbal victory with any of us he will go through the house whistling as though he's the happiest man on earth. His personality can change on a dime. In one instance he verbally berated me and declared "you ARE a Lesbian" and then told me that he only had to wait it out and "where are you going to go? What are you going to do?  You have nothing and nobody." This tirade went on for quite a while before he retired to his "man cave." About 15 minutes later he came back, wanted help on a computer issue, began caressing me lovingly and wanted sex.

Once, on a family trip, he got angry because the children wanted a little time on the beach. He walked off and left us, packed and started for the airport. This would have stranded me and the children because we were flying WITH him on the family pass. We begged and pleaded and he finally stayed but would not talk to us all night nor sit with us at dinner. By the time we got to the airport together the next day, he was whistling and singing.

He will put a "spin" on things to turn the conversation his way.  For instance, he strongly encouraged me to leave 2 jobs that were going nowhere and pursue something else.  Now he repeatedly says I was "fired", which is absolutely untrue.  I've never been fired from a job in my life.

He has, on occasion, most recently about a month ago, told me not to "buy any more food for myself or our child with his money."  He instructed me to divide the refrigerator, freezer and cabinets into "his" and "ours" (our child and me).  He marks his milk carton with hash marks using a permanent marker so he can tell if we drank any of his milk.  He does the same with the laundry detergent.

When he feels I've caught him in something, or if I question any of his behavior, he moves downstairs into the extra bedroom.  I cannot discuss the hurt or pain caused by this over a year emotional affair with the other woman.  I cannot discuss the hurt caused by his Lesbian accusations.  He justifies everything he does and says by asking "why have you been so mean to me for so long?"

Growing up, his father was not around much and although he worked regularly, he was an alcoholic.  My husband was the center of his mother and grandmother's world.  He could do not wrong and his mother even attempted to undermine the wedding and marriage, early on, because she felt no one was good enough for him.  They pampered and petted him and made him head of household.  His grandmother supported the marriage and, unfortunately, passed away just before the wedding.

Several years ago there was a falling out with his mother and stepfather over the will for which he was executor.  Apparently my husband's mother left most everything to my husband.  Her husband felt somewhat cheated and in the showdown she had to make a choice and she chose her husband.  My husband cut off all contact and when questioned he would say, "see this piece of paper (holding up and imaginary sheet of paper)?  Do you see her name written there?"  Then he would take an imaginary pencil/pen and draw a line through the name.

As I look back over our long courtship and marriage I realize that he's always been difficult and headstrong.  I chalked it up to his desire to get ahead and stress.  it was never this extreme.  He seems to be having a lot of difficulty with getting older, hence, the facelift.  I don't want to give up on him but it has been more than 40 years of "I'm good, you're bad" and extreme put-downs.  I don't know where to turn, nor what to do. I have chosen to not "feed the monster" by engaging, questioning nor answering his tirades. This seems to throw him off track some.

What advice do you have for me?

___________

The goal of this website is to give support to people who are facing problems in their relationship related to cheating, abuse and narcissism. I am living in Europe and English is not my native language, I wish you will excuse me if I make some grammatical errors. I decided to write in English because I wish to reach as many people as I can around the world.

____________

 

Dear Friend,

 

Thank you for your letter, I am so glad that you found my website and decided to write to me. Based on everything you mention in your letter, there is no shadow of a doubt that your husband has some serious issues. I am very glad that you were able to talk with one of the psychiatrists who he claimed told him that you were narcissistic, and that the psychiatrist was able to tell you that such conversation never took place. Even though it is not possible to know what was going on at the sessions, it is possible that these people told your husband something unpleasant about himself, and he got upset and later told you as if they had described you instead.

 

Your husband's behavior during your family trip is not the behavior of a normal, responsible father and the head of the family. Furthermore, his behavior regarding your youngest child is simply mean. If a person can be mean towards his own child and make such statements when the child says that perhaps he/she is better off dead, there is something seriously wrong with the person. This man is clearly incapable of experiencing normal emotional responses and empathy.

 

I am very worried about the mental well-being of your child who is emotionally very vulnerable. It is not healthy to be exposed to this kind of treatment by one's father. I strongly encourage you to consider leaving this man as soon as possible, in order to protect your child. Even though your child is an adult (based on your letter), living in a same house with a person who belittles, talks in cruel way and is generally unpleasant and uncaring can be very harmful for your child's future development.

 

Dear Friend, I understand that you feel that it is difficult to leave and are not sure what would be the first step to take. Perhaps the best thing you can do is to go to meet a lawyer to find out where you stand legally and what your options are should you choose to leave. When you know exactly where you stand and what you need to do if you make the decision to walk away, that alone will give you a sense of strength as you feel you are in control of your own life, instead of allowing your husband control it.

 

I understand the pain you feel because of your husband's emotional affair. The overall way that he is treating you is not respectful and loving. You need to ask yourself, if you truly want to spend the rest of your life with a person who does not truly love you (and who perhaps is incapable of loving anyone). The way this man is treating you is not the way a loving man treats the target of his love. Many of his behaviors sound very childish, and he is a grown-up man.

 

You said that you would not want to give up on him, and I understand that there can be many reasons that make you feel you want to remain in a relationship with him. Dear Friend, I do understand your feeling, but I still feel obliged to tell you my honest opinion, which is that you should not subject yourself to this kind of treatment in the years to come. It is very hard to recover from infidelity even after one's spouse is being kind, supportive and patient. Your husband appears to be incapable of providing you with emotional support that you need to get over his betrayal. For this reason it is likely that if you remain with him, you are unable to fully trust him in the future and in a long run living with a person that one cannot trust will cause one stress and misery.

 

I order to be able to live with a person like your husband, one needs to be able to ignore the insulting things he is saying and convince oneself that even though he says such things, it does not mean one is truly like that. This is extremely difficult, and also it might eventually lead to a situation where one is forced to suppress one's normal emotional responses, and that will lead to all sorts of problems. This is why I would not recommend this kind of a life for you or anyone else: If you are unable to be happy with your husband, I encourage you to consider very carefully if you want to spend with him the rest of your life.

 

Many people feel that after spending several decades with someone they cannot imagine leaving that person, no matter how badly they are being treated. But those who do choose to leave seldom regret their decision. I have not heard of anyone who, after being strong enough to leave, would later regret that decision. On the contrary, as time passes they see even more clearly the mistreatment they endured in their relationship and feel strong relief that they do not have to live like that for the rest of their lives.

 

Dear Friend, I understand that leaving feels very difficult. If you are unable or unwilling to leave at this time, I warmly recommend you to start to see a psychologist on your own, on regular basis (perhaps you are already doing this). You have endured emotional abuse for a prolonged period of time and it has influenced you (it would have influenced anyone who is in a similar situation). I strongly believe that it will help you to deal with your current situation better if you are able to talk with a professional about your feelings on regular basis. It is very important that you are able to discuss this situation with another adult who is not in any way connected to your family circles, that will help you to put the matters in right perspective and hopefully will help you to come to a conclusion that the best thing you can do for yourself and your children is to leave this person who clearly is unable to put your happiness (and that of your children) as a priority.

 

To conclude, if I was in your situation, I would consider carefully if I wanted to spend the rest of my life the way I have spent the last several decades (with a person who cannot make me truly happy but who instead is causing me emotional suffering). It seems quite likely that your husband's behavior is not going to change as he grows older (in many cases abusive behavior can actually become worse as the abuser ages). If you keep receiving this kind of a bad treatment, there is a danger that you will slowly become very depressed. I do not wish that kind of life for you, you deserve so much better than that. You deserve to be happy.

 

So please Dear Friend, consider carefully if it is better in a long run for you and your children if you leave this man. If you, however, decide to stay, the most important thing is not to try to deal with the situation alone. I wish you are able to go to see a counselor and talk freely about your emotions, without your husband. You need to learn to detach yourself emotionally from the evil things your husband is saying to you. Again let me repeat: this is very difficult task, and I do not feel comfortable recommending anyone that they should stay with an abusive partner. So again I encourage you to seriously consider leaving. However if you choose to stay, I will continue to support you and help you any way I can. Never hesitate to write to me.

 

Warm hug,

Maria

 

If you wish to submit your own story and get feedback and support for your situation or if you wish to contact me for any other reason, send me email to  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

 

 

 

Comments (7)
  • Amber  - there is hope
    hi I have been in your shoes I was with my ex husband for seven years. I call it the seven years of pure hell. when we first got together he seemed like the perfect guy. six months into our relationship he was lying and cheating on me when I tried to leave him he would call srs on me and tried to get our son taken away more than once he also called the police on my parents falsely saying they were selling drugs because he believed they were the reason for our break up he would never take responsibility for his actions during our relationship he cheated on me seven times a few I knew about a few I found out about recently he gave me a std. he also broke into my apartment and stole a thousand dollars worth of stuff. they whole time we were together he never paid one single bill didn't buy one single diaper for our son. It emotionally destroyed me that I was working two jobs too put food on the table to provide a life for him and our son only to find out while I was at work he was sleeping with any one that would give him the time of day in our bed he even gave another give my wedding ring when we were together told me that I must of lost it. We slit up for a while about six month last year and I let him come back thinking that the time apart would change him boy was I wrong a few months later he was up to his old ways. he keep telling me that I was just paranoid and that he loved me those days were over that all he wanted was to be a family again I believed him again till one night three months ago he got drunk and said something that really peaked my suspicion that he was cheating on me again so when he passed out I looked at his phone sure enough he was telling this other women how sexy she was and how much he missed her. I couldn't take it anymore I snapped I woke him up told him to leave he refused then started calling me names then he pushed me down at this point I have had enough of the physical and emotional abuse that I started welling on him the cops showed up we both went to jail. I am not a violent person but he brought out demons that I didn't know I had. he has been arrested 9 times for domestic violence. I should of left long ago I regret not doing it sooner it took seven years for me to finally wake up and see that I have to leave before one of us ends up dead. the very next day when I got out of jail I went to the local court house filed a protection order from stalking and abuse. I went to court on it last month and received full custody of our son as well. he has been calling me and trying to contact me put I have ignored his every attempt. I have gotten a wake up call that I much needed and I am now focusing on going back to school which I start in two months hooray me I am so excited I also enrolled in a local gym. I am engaging in healthy actives to keep me busy and my mind occupied. for so long I put everything in that relationship I neglected myself for his needs I have become a stronger person and if I can do it so can you. My message to abused men and woman everywhere get out while you can you cant change someone that don't want to change you cant help someone that don't want to help themselves. you can be happy and you deserve happiness.
  • Kathy  - Hang in there, you can do it
    I left my husband of 30 years after he professed to not loving me or our beautiful daughters, said we were not real to him, that he was an artificial husband, and revealed he'd been diagnosed as a psychopath as a youth.
    How I did it: I made the decision in my heart. I shopped for groceries and stocked up the place. I bagged up my toiletries and a few personal items of clothing.
    I said good-bye to my dog's grave, at the home I will never be able to replace nor forget (later, he let it go into foreclosure after he'd inherited close to a half-million dollars. Guess what?--inherited money belongs solely to him. On receipt, He Became a cruel and abandoning God.)
    I showed up at our daughter's home and begged for refuge. I could have stayed at a domestic violence shelter instead. I called a lawyer and my friends. I cried. I starved. I shrieked and still do, every single day (it has been over two years since I left). And I prayed, prayed, prayed he would "see the light" and that I was wrong about him. This never occurred.
    Every time I approached the Divorce issue, he threatened to commit suicide.
    Finally I didn't care anymore.
    If this isn't a living Hell, what is it?--this man lives in a mental sewer and won't be happy until the rest of us have drowned in his piss. Having failed at everything else, he's succeeded at making us all hate life just like he does.
    I am sixty years old. No parents, no extended family, and all alone except for two devastated daughters, one of whom scares the heck out of me with her depression and anxiety. If I can do it, so can you, so start to make plans today -- and meanwhile, just don't listen to his BS, blaming or bullying: just say "whatever" and keep planning. He won't be sorry later, he'll only get worse, so just accept this and remember that God can see you and him, and will not forget.
  • Beth  - I applaud you
    Kathy, Our lives could be interchanged with the exception that you stood and left. I am still married but separated, he will not speak with me or give me any information. But the tough thing is that after 38 years of neglect, angry, abuse, etc. he leaves me for another woman, knowing that he is about to inherit several million dollars. I have discovered he sucked all the money out of our marriage and has blamed me for everything that ever went wrong in his life. I knew nothing about a narcissist and believe he is also a psychopath. He has no empathy, no understanding of how his actions impact others. The ow he met on line, on a dating site and she is as scary if not more then he is. Knowing all this, I still have doubt that I am not to blame, the he dumped, I was not worthy enough. My head knows that is bunk, but my emotions overrule and the hurt is tough. I wish I had the strength to leave him. I am in the same place, little family, and was isolated because it was easier not to worry what he would do and stay home. You are right, they do get worse, and his evil is almost touchable as he now has the power, money and property. I do know that his life will not be better, and mine will be, but honestly the healing at this time of my life is hard and there are days that I yearn for some release from all the memories of his abuse and the knowledge he is still capable of continuing his abuse from a distance. No one knew who he was, I protected our family from him, but he is not able to sustain his good face and has already alienated his siblings and some friends. Thank you for listening and we are sisters through experience. Take care and stand strong.
  • Angela  - difficulty leaving the abusive narcassitic husband
    Hello I can relate to Maria I have gone through this kind of treatment for so long and I am tried of being belittle and degraded and walk on like a Door Mat disrespected and I have told my husband personal sacred things about me and what happen to me in my childhood and he use it like a weapon to be hurtful and degrading towards me and I just find it very hard to get away because I don't have no income of my own he has control of everything when it comes to the finances and I fill so scared to come out of this comfort zone that is so unhealty and abusive. I don't know what to do But I want Out.!!!!! Please give me some suggestions.

    Angel
  • dana
    hi

    WOW..... get out, or get a restraining order, and yes you can hes abusive...he doesn't care about you or your children... I know the shame you feel for continuing in the relationship. I was myself in a bad one for too long...you can do it.... he really has no power!! go no contact!!! If you have to move or start over.. its ok.. its only stuff.. please.please the end for you is the beginning for you and you adult children . you have dreams? and things that make you happy? he stole them from you and he will never stop....we put labels on behavior, narcissistic, drug addiction, alcohol ect, the problem is him!!!!!!!!!!!!call it what you want , its his problem... you cant fix it, your codependent......he wont change, you cant change it,,,, you can change what you do about it.. leave and don't look back
  • jo  - narssassitic husband
    He sounds a lot like my husband. Every time i disagree Im a loud mouth bitch, if my daughter says something he doesnt like he tells her to " eat shit and die"... After 13 yrs ive had enough. I realize he will never change. When we first got together i thought after time he would learn to trust me and thats why i wasnt allowed to socailize...13 yrs later i realize its not that he doesnt trust me Its all about control.
  • Jay
    To the writer of the above story,

    I find your story disturbing. Your husband, at the very least, sound as if he is a disturbed individual.

    Lies, bullying, cruelty, strange accusations, odd relationships - he sounds like a man whose emotions are out of control and who is reverse finger pointing at you.

    Considering the extremes of behaviour you and your children have experienced, have you ever asked yourself why you have put up with it for forty three years? I'm wondering about your own self esteem, whether it's an addictive relationship or whether perhaps you were brought up to expect no better.

    I understand how difficult it may seem to break away after so many years but this man sounds unbalanced and extremely damaging.

    You mention marital counselling - have you considering in-depth therapy for yourself to explore why you are still trying to cope with him rather than ending the relationship? Do you still love him? And if you do, why love a monster? Because that's what he sounds like.

    I write with much experience of the damage that such cruelty causes, the self-doubt, the brain-washing and distortion of perception that can reduce our ability to take action to help ourselves.

    My own story is horrible and it wasn't easy to extricate myself. It took much physical and emotional energy plus the ongoing help of a good therapist. I finally escaped to my own home three weeks ago but it wasn't without damage along the way. My ex is a Narcissist, yours maybe but I think he may also have a more serious disorder.

    As I write, the sun is shining and a breeze is coming off the sea. Free at last but I am exhausted. The longer it goes on, the greater the toll. So please, look for help for yourself, find out why you have put up with this appalling behaviour for so many years. It may be your starting point to freedom.

    Good luck and best wishes.
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