Accepted I Have Been Emotionally Abused for 11 Years - Scared of Next Steps

Updated on May 15, 2017
B.S. asks from Morgan Hill, CA
7 answers

I don't want to repeat all my prior posts because it's a broken record. I will try not to be repetitive. Last year after another huge blow up and he threatened divorce we went to see a therapist for several sessions. I have been on Lexapro from her urging me to get additional help for my physical reactions to everything going on at home. It had taken 9 years to see someone because he always convinced me that I had the problem and seeing a marriage counselor was useless and meant that I was giving up on our marriage. After several sessions she went over his history and evaluated him and said that he may have ADHD and suggested he get evaluated further and possibly take medication. Our whole family: my 3 kids, my husband, my mom (87 years old) and myself caught the flu. My mom and I are not vaccinated this year and it completely destroyed me for almost 3 weeks. My elderly mother collapsed at home and we had to call 911 and she was diagnosed with Influenza B, then pneumonia needed oxygen, then she went into A-Fib ( a heart dysrhythmia). I was in the hospital with her all 4 nights. I would go home for an hour 1/2 to shower and change, do laundry, make sure the kids had their homework, uniforms for school etc. and head right back to the hospital. Husband didn't do any laundry etc. My mom was finally discharged. I was still so sick and from the stress of seeing her so sick, staying in the hospital and feeling the commitment to my family I was so exhausted. That evening I went to bed early and asked my husband to put the kids to bed. (I always put the children to bed since he usually is on his iPad or watching TV). I could tell he was annoyed at something. The next day I had to go and take a nap in the day to function and also go to bed early from being so exhausted. I noticed I still had a low-grade fever and was concerned. While in bed he was angry, came over to me, took his own temperature and showed it to me (to prove) that he also had a low grade fever and was fine. I thought "Oh my God what an a*hole. Did he just do that?" I was so tired I just went to sleep. Then next morning was our most recent fight. He claimed that I had been 'distant' and that he can't take it and that we really need to talk to the kids - meaning divorce etc. It's probably the 3rd or 4th time in our marriage he's brought up divorce as a threat. (read prior posts if you have a chance). I was in awe - I explained I have been so sick and with taking care of my mom I'm out of it. Then....I just gave up...called him selfish etc. Made an immediate appointment with my therapist again. I don't know if I can take it anymore. I have 3 children 10, 8, and 6 and it breaks my heart. But I know I have to take care of myself. We've 'discussed' things like him going to see someone alone in addition to seeing a marriage therapist again...he says he'll only go with me because what's the point he says. I said he may need to take medication and he said he will not. etc etc etc. He said I have betrayed him by taking medication myself. So I had a long discussion with a friend here who is very supportive. (Aside from my mom - my extended family and close friends etc are on the East coast). So I feel isolated here and that has also played a role in my being hesitant to take steps towards a separation since it's scary to have my marriage fall apart with children no family around to help me. But it feels like I have reached the end of my rope. I'm planning to see an attorney next week. If anyone has any advice or insights I would greatly appreciate it.

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So What Happened?

I want to thank everyone for their advice. I know we are all busy and there was a lot of information from prior posts spanning 8 years that may give more insight. Just to clarify...I never mentioned divorce...my husband has used it as a threat throughout our marriage. I am heartbroken this is what may happen. Also, I wanted to see a therapist together starting 8 years ago and he said I was betraying him. We saw one together last year and he feels it is useless but will go now just to appease me. During those sessions it was found that he has classic ADHD which I've never heard of but he admitted that maybe he had something. At that point the therapist suggested he may need medication and should be evaluated for it which he refused. Last month he lost $30,000 day trading yes that's not a typo.... I was a bit numb not knowing if I should be upset or what. My therapist said that from all these years I've lost my ability to just FEEL something. Well I didn't want to kick him down when already he was upset at himself so I was supportive and said that at least it was not more and I wasn't mad. Now another blow up during a stressful time and there is no support for me. It's been ongoing in our marriage. Him taking his temperature is not a big deal at all. This was a minor incident but I wanted to add it to the post because it was part of what was happening when I got back from the hospital. We both take our temperatures when we are sick...he was angry with me and came over to 'prove' to me that he was sick as well but did not have to go to bed early or he was functioning fine. It's very hard to add so many details to an already long post. I pray to God everyday to guide me in this. I'm hoping that in the future my posts here and my experience with all this will possibly help other women too.

More Answers

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H.W.

answers from Portland on

I am sorry. It sounds like you have been through a lot and nothing is changing.

You can try counseling. Go by yourself if he won't go with you. If he will go, then go. If he won't go, you go to keep getting support for yourself. You are right, from your description, this is an emotionally abusive relationship.

I have been in one of these relationships where everything was my fault, none of it was his... we did the counseling thing. The only thing I can say is, listen to what your gut is telling you. It's sad to split up, but do you think is is wise for you, your health and wellness, to continue trying to work out something that you don't have any support from him on? You can only control your actions.

It took me a year from recognizing my ex-husband was not going to change, try to better our lives, or want to improve things-- a year before I left. It hurt like hell at the time and I'm so much happier now. At some point, we have to make the hard choice of putting our own selves--and the example to our kids of what a healthy relationship looks like-- first. Sometimes divorce or separation isn't so much a failure of marriage, it is also the progress of a person moving toward health and healing.

Hopefully, someone else will take the time to give you some advice regarding legalities. I did not have children with my ex, so that simplified things quite a bit. I also took time after our splitting up to continue in therapy to find out why I had chosen my ex, what I'd needed from him at the time, how to make better choices regarding relationships. This time healing was really key for me. Being okay with being alone was a new thing for me at that time, and it is an adjustment.

Best wishes as you go forward.

5 moms found this helpful

B.C.

answers from Norfolk on

You need to start imagining a better future for you and your kids.
A future that doesn't have your husband in it.
Imagine not second guessing yourself and no one playing head games with you.
Imagine being an adult just taking care of your kids and not catering to a husband who acts more like a whiny child than a partner in life.
It will be tough getting through it - but eventually it's going to be like a great weight has been lifted off you - no, not lifted - you are going to THROW if off.
Eventually, you are going to feel so much better without him.
See the lawyer, get the divorce then celebrate your freedom!

4 moms found this helpful

D.B.

answers from Boston on

Nervy Girl said it very well. This is so hard, and you must trust your gut. You can't stay where you are, so you have to move forward. Do go to counseling, either alone or with him. Resist the urge to discuss medication with him (not your use, not whether he might need it, none of that). Those are medical decisions best made with professionals. If you can get your husband in the door, start there, and let the therapist guide things objectively.

You need support - go get it. If he'll go, great. But you probably need your own counselor as well, and consider that someone who counsels you both cannot be your primary advocate in solo counseling. So perhaps you should get your therapist to refer you both to someone who does couples work. And you can give them permission to talk to each other.

You are stronger than you think, and you know better to raise kids in this environment. So start out changing the nature of your relationship - with outside guidance. Telling your husband what he needs to do isn't going to work - you've tried that.

Family can be supportive, but not always. There are other forms of help you can get. Start locally, and go from there.

If you need to take a day or two to go to your mother's house (if she's well enough that you won't stress), and you can go and just sleep with your cell phone off, do it. You've got to get well and get your strength back.

4 moms found this helpful
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K.G.

answers from Fort Myers on

Not to take sides but could your husband be feeling jealous or left out? You are taking care of 3 kids and your elderly mom. When was the last time you guys did something just you two?

1 mom found this helpful
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F.T.

answers from Portland on

That's one of the possible big problems of being married to a person with ADHD. Often they will be in denial about it. They don't understand their failings, so they blame others for them. To them, it's the only thing that makes sense.

If he is willing to accept that he has a problem, and agree to work on it, then you have a good chance of keeping your marriage together and eventually having a good one.

Two years ago, at the age of 54, I was diagnosed with severe ADHD. Up til that point, I had absolutely no clue. Neither did my husband. He admits now that he thought I just wasn't *trying* to remember to do things, and that I was being self indulgent when I would go and "hide" myself in a book or computer game.

Counseling, and the diagnosis, has caused great improvement in our marriage. When he calls me up to remind me of things that are important, I no longer get irritated and snap "I know! You don't have to keep telling me." I have learned to appreciate that I *need* those reminders. And when he insists that I start getting ready for things early, and tells me he is going to take control of a situation because if he doesn't, it won't get done, I firmly squelch any resentment because I realize that he is right and I meekly thank him for taking over. He deserves that. We both know that no matter how good my intentions are, something just gets short circuited.

If I was the sort of person to blame others for my own shortcomings, I could easily find ways to make these things his fault. It sounds as if that is what your husband is used to doing. Until he "grows up" and learns to take responsibility for his own issues, your marriage will never be what it should, or could, be. It may be that the threat of losing his marriage will cause him to be willing to do what he should. For your sake, and the sake of your children, I hope so. But if he refuses, he is saying that his own pride (and perhaps fear) are more important to him than his family. In that case, you may have no choice but to separate from him before your own exhaustion and anger robs you of the ability to be as good a mom as your kids deserve.

No doubt he threatens divorce because that is the only weapon he feels he has at hand. What he doesn't realize is that he's fighting the wrong enemy. ADHD is the enemy. It's this condition that makes him run and hide from things that he knows he *ought* to do. ADHD can be...overwhelming. Sometimes even the thought of doing something as simple as taking the garbage out or getting the mail can literally paralyze me. At times like that I have learned to tell my husband that I am feeling overwhelmed and I need some help. If I wasn't a self aware person, I'd get angry and feel sorry for myself and invent something else that I "needed" to do instead of the things that were causing me stress.

It's critical to understand the difference between things that you are responsible for, and things that he is responsible for. That's why therapy is so important. You should continue to go, even if he won't, if only because a therapist can help you not to blame yourself for things that aren't your fault. And to help you understand the things that are.

If you do decide to stay with him, it isn't going to be totally fair. My husband is a patient man, and a very considerate and loving one. I know I don't deserve him. He bears a pretty heavy burden of responsibility in our house, because I can't. Just to give you an idea of what I mean when I say I have severe ADHD...twice, in the past month I have driven to work, gone into my building, worked my eight hours, left the building only to find the car still running, with the key still in the ignition. The second time, there were two parking lot security guys standing there looking concerned and confused. When I explained to them that it was my ADHD, they nodded affably and told me to be sure to register my license plate (it's a new car and I had forgotten to register) with the security kiosk so the next time it happened they could call me right away. Problem solved. As much as it can be.

I could tell you a hundred stories about how many times I have forgotten things that normal people would *never* be so dumb as to forget. I hate that I forget things. I hate that I'm late to almost everything. I hate that my husband has to be responsible for most of the important stuff in our lives, but I Just. Can't. Remember. The funny thing is that I'm not dumb, per se. I have a 150 IQ. But I can't remember to turn off my lights. I can read a page of text and memorize it on the spot. But I can't remember my son's dental appointment. Go figure.

I've learned a hundred coping strategies. My keys are always attached to my belt loop. I wear a fanny pack because I know if I carry anything in my hands I will lose it. I never wear my wedding ring. I lost it twice in the first week I was married, and now it sits in my dresser drawer, safe and sound. When my daughter and I were out shopping the other day she had to remind me that I was going the wrong way. Three times. You can't imagine what a relief it is to be able to explain what is happening to me in a way that makes sense. My life never did before I got my diagnosis. Make sense, that is.

I don't know if this helps you at all, but I sincerely hope the train wreck can be averted. If not, I hope you and your (eventually to-be ex) husband will each be able to forgive yourselves and each other, and grow into better lives.

1 mom found this helpful

T.D.

answers from Springfield on

start by having him see the counsleor with you. they might b able to open his eyes and help him understand that it is not all about him, you have kids, you have an aging mom and you were all faced ith illness. he needs someone else to show him that divorce is not the answer to this minor problem.

1 mom found this helpful

C.T.

answers from Santa Fe on

I'm so sorry. My opinion is divorce is not the end of the world. In fact, it can lead to such positive things. It sounds like you would be much happier without him in your life. I'm glad you are planning on seeing an attorney.

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