Monday, January 14, 2013

What are My Options When My Husband is Mean?

I get this question over and over on my other blog.  The post that gets hit the most by internet searches is My Husband is Mean to Me and the Kids.  Women who are struggling search the internet and find my blog.  They are in ugly situations and don't know what to do.

They read what I wrote.  They understand too well because it fits their lives.  They ask me what to do.

And I have no idea how to answer them.

When I was in the middle of it, I didn't know what to do.  And I didn't dare talk to anyone about it to try to get answers.  I didn't think anyone would believe me.  I was afraid it would make my husband angry.  I thought it was a sign that I wasn't good enough.  I didn't try enough.  I was a quitter.

I don't believe those things now.  I'm better and he's better and I wish that for everyone who reads my blog and feels a kinship.  But I don't know how to make it happen for you.  And it's not the only correct outcome.

My husband had a breakthrough moment.  Then we both had a lot of therapy.  He got better.  He got worse.  I got better.  I got worse.  We even separated for a while.  And after years of hard work by both of us we are good.  Almost all the time.  But I don't believe most abusive relationships will work out like this.

And I remember feeling like I didn't have options.  I was trapped.  I couldn't support myself and the kids without him.  If we divorced, he would have the kids some of the time on his own and I wouldn't be there to protect them.  What if I was wrong and things weren't as bad as I thought they were?  What if he was right and I was blowing things out of proportion and it destroyed our marriage?  What if I ruined his life because I didn't work hard enough at our marriage?  How could I handle the embarrassment of a divorce?  How badly would I damage my children if we divorced?  How badly was I damaging my children by staying?  If I divorced him, he could choose to make my life a living hell.

I was so scared of taking the route of divorce.  I didn't want to be with him.  I prayed he would leave me.  On really bad days I prayed he would die.  Anything to relieve my suffering and protect my children.  Without me having to take that horrible step I didn't want to take.  There were too many things I couldn't predict and control.  That's what made it so scary.  And after so many years of abuse, I didn't believe in myself anymore.  I didn't believe I could make it.

I didn't know my options.  I know them better now.  But I don't know all the options.

I know that I can leave without explaining myself.  I know I can call the police and have him removed from the home if he is threatening us or in a rage.  I know I can get a restraining order against him.  I know I can get therapy and become healthy myself even if he chooses to never change.  I know I can talk about it to others.  I know I can tell him how I want to be treated.  And I know I have to be willing to stand behind my words if none of this changes him.  Because he won't change unless he wants to -- no one will, no matter how much someone else wants them to.

I'm asking for help now.  These women cry out to me.  Often, they post anonymously so I can't even respond to them.  But I'd like them to have answers.  I like them to see options.  I'm asking for help from anyone who reads this and knows something.  If you've had experience with an abusive marriage, and know options, please share them.  Any info is welcome.  Therapists, lawyers, religious leaders, police officers, and those who've been there.  Please comment and share what you know.  Please share this with others who may know and ask them to help.

Please comment with respect.  Please don't judge or preach.  Please don't tell these women what to do, just help them see options.  Each woman needs to listen to her heart and choose for herself.  I recommend lots of prayer if you're a believer.  I recommend therapy if you possibly can.  I recommend writing if you don't dare talk to anyone yet.

Please try to believe in yourself again.  You do have options.

49 comments:

Christa aka The BabbyMama said...

I don't have answers other than that I'd like to tell these women that it's NOT YOUR FAULT. You can't make someone be mean - some people are just (temporarily or permanently) just mean. If it wasn't you, they'd be mean to someone else. IT IS NOT YOUR FAULT! That's what I know as someone who has been in an abusive relationship and figured it was 'me' for a long time. Turns out, it wasn't me.

Alecia Simersky said...

I don't have any answers either. I was in an abusive relationship in high school, but thankfully had my parents to help me find my way out. I think you gave a lot of good options. And wise advice. And I'd like to second everything Christa said above!

2busy said...

My husband used to have anger issues. I never knew when he was going to explode. I kind of diagnosed him myself as manic. I gave him an ultimatum. Get help and or medication or I leave. He sought help and medication and our marriage has never been better. It was really hard because I loved the husband that he was when he was nice.

Lara said...

My current husband is my second husband. My first was 22 years ago, it isn't hard to talk about now. My ex was mean, really mean. Ellen wasn't even 1 when I left him. Alone with a baby, hardest thing ever! I survived but Ellen still wonders what really happened. We will have to "chat" sometime. It's too long for a message. I always tell women in that situation that they need to decide what they will put up with and what they won't. I wouldn't put up with him throwing Ellen in her crib and hitting the wall. Once was enough. I ended up in the women's shelter 3 different times. I left and he threatened me and Ellen until she was 9. It was scary! I hope you can find some answers.

Dez said...

Insanely honest...thank you.

xtraleo said...

First, let me thank you for caring enough about your readers that you would reach out to others for suggestions. That is very kind and responsible of you. I am a huge proponent of writing - in any situation. I would certainly suggest writing to the abusive spouse. Sounds corny, but it is a form of communication that allows someone to be vulnerable, honest, and uninterrupted. I would not be above beginning the "letter" off asking that he be open to truly absorbing the words. Try not to state "you did this, this, and this." Just speak of your feelings in reaction to his actions. Be SPECIFIC in consequences without sounding threatening. Write from a place of love although you may be angry. If you want the relationship to work. Write from a place of love. Start the letter off stating the good..."I love you. I want to be with you"; place the bad in the meat of the letter; and end the letter with more "good." Be SPECIFIC. I hope this is helpful. I give these suggestions from the perspective of a wife, woman, and social worker. Andrea @ www.be-quoted.com. Thanks for visiting!

mandi said...

My husband is mean to me and my kids. He has no patience for our kids. One is 2 and the other who is 4 is special needs. He's never physically abused me besides shoving me down a few times. He gets pissed over stupid stuff. He hardly ever calls me names just continually points out my flaws. And he has a major drinking problem. He spends about 200 dollars a week on alcohol. But it's always my fault we have no money. I guess I don't make the situation any better because I argue back. Sometimes I do so just hoping I piss him off enough to hit me so we can leave. I love him but I'm tired of walking on eggshells. He can bitch about his job all he wants but if I want to vent after a hard day he always turns it around on me that his day was harder, his job is harder. I just get sick of it. When he drinks his temper explodes. He screams at me and our kids. Breaks stuff punches holes in the walls and doors. Our little ones are terrified of him when he's like that. I think he resents our children and me that if he didn't have to support us he'd have a great life. I've told him to leave go have his great life but he never does. There's always a half ass apology and I always accept it. He constantly ridicules me for everything. I'm not aloud to spend money on anything unless like a lawyer I make a valid case for it. The other night he threw a fit in the grocery store because he had to buy pediasure for our special needs daughter who eats through a feed tube. I'm just sick and tired of being treated like shit but obviously I don't have the balls to leave. When does it get to be enough? I've asked myself this? When our kids start imitating his behavior? This is very hard to admit, that you have a mean husband. When is enough enough? Why do I keep hanging on hoping the drinking will stop? He always admits he has a drinking problem but never takes any steps to change it, I guess he just manipulates me into believing all this will stop someday but you know what? In my heart I know it never will. There will be no happily ever after with him. It will be years of emotional abuse. Why can't I convince myself my kids and I deserve better? Even in writing this I'm in denial. This isn't my life, that's not my husband, but it is and that's a hard pill to swallow.

Julie Moore said...

I have not been in this boat, so I cannot give advice on it. I've had my own ups and downs, but nothing like this. What got me through my moments I know was the prayer of others...and so that is what I can offer. I can pray.

I am so glad that you write about these hard things, Robin. I know you do it for you, but it sounds like you've helped others in the process, too, and that is a blessing too big for words. You, and your readers, are in my prayers! Feel free to stay in touch via email if you wish, and know that I am praying!

The Dose of Reality said...

I have so much respect for you. I love that you are dedicated to reaching out to people with a sincere desire to help them. I also love that you totally understand that there are different options and one size doesn't fit all when it comes to what works for people in their unique situations. (and that you approach it all without judgment)

Anonymous said...

Oh yeah I am going through it now. Husband
Well long story but again said he hopes I die and I'm pregnant with
Our fourth. We have cultural differences and I've tried to narrow the gap as much as possible. But yeah if I say anything in a wrong tone or anything jumps on my throat. He's done a lot of violent things and because of all this citizen Stuff I was confused and there is no good option out there. I am just tolerating everything. Had a restraining order but then he coerced me to drop it down because I was a out to give birth. Well for him I hate to say was about his papers. He is very short tempered and is not religious or romantic. Just all buizness and made my life a little fake. Not the ideal person but no one is.

Lyn said...

Robin, you know that I've been through this. The abusive marriage, with kids. The isolation, the self-blaming and shaming, the whole ugly ball of wax. What saved me (very literally) was an online support group. The group in which I am involved is called Our Place. It it completely free and completely confidential. There are lists of books to read about abuse, phone numbers for domestic violence help lines, and best of all OTHER PEOPLE who have gone through it or are going through it. Just knowing that I wasn't ALONE meant so much to me. I have met a number of the people from this website in person. They are from all over the world. If you don't mind, I'll post a link to the website. The online forum is where all the members hang out, but there is a lot of great information about abuse throughout the rest of the site also. http://www.our-place-online.net/

Thank you for your blogs. Love you!

Lyn

Dawnelle said...

I learned something, well several things, through my breakup with Darin. One, and the most important, is that my relationship to the Lord is paramount, in this context, for one simple reason. I have worth~ because He made me and God doesn't make mistakes. (THANK YOU, Robin! I needed that book this Sunday! "You Are Special" by Max Lucado. It's so worth buying!)

Another thing I learned is that I teach people how I want to be treated. In that, I have to take responsibility. If I feel poorly about myself, I let others treat me poorly because that's how I feel I deserve to be treated. It's my responsibility to "visit Eli" every day so that the stickers will fall off.

So in response to Robin's call for some options for women whose husbands are mean to them.

1. Visit Eli (God) every day.
2. Work on figuring out how you want to be treated.
3. Carefully teach those around you.

Alli Smith said...

What a powerful post! My husband and I pastor a church and we deal with this type situation often through marital counseling. I totally everything you wrote. Most women do feel trapped due to the fact that they have small children and can't support themselves. And we try to instill in the teens and twenty-somethings to actually get to know someone before they become engaged. Seems to me that things always escalate after marriage. (If he was a jerk while dating, he will be an even bigger jerk, once married.) Seems people overlook caution signs when they are dating because they are so in love. And we always encourage women to get out NOW if they are being abused in any way. It's sad that we tell them to get out but can't offer them a solution as to where to go (small town).

Tish said...

Incredibly honest and heartbreaking post. Praying for you and others in this horrible spot in life for courage, strength and protection.

Mothering From Scratch said...

{Melinda} So many women will be blessed by your honesty and vulnerability on this subject. There are no easy answers and not all answers fit every situation. I am so glad you and your husband were able to work through this very difficult issue.

Susan Cook said...

Sorry, I don't know anything helpful with this. My marriage is strong, but I am a child of divorce. My biological father was an alcoholic/manic depressive and was physically and mentally abusive. the only benefit to me was my parents got divorced when I was only 5 so I really didn't have to deal with it or remember anything about it. (well not too much) Not like my older sisters.

I hope others can help more with this or find out some answers from your post :)

Bonnie said...

I saw this earlier but I've needed to process some old stuff and that's okay. We have to do the thing that works for us.

For me, it wasn't talking. For me, talking is a drug and I never come to solutions and I never make decisions if I'm talking. I have to think. I need alone time to work things out. When I falter, and I did and almost let my abusive husband return over ten years ago, my sister telling me, "NO YOU CAN NEVER NEVER NEVER LET HIM COME BACK," was crucial, but the rest of the time, talking was bad for me. I prayed a lot.

It was a different situation than yours. He didn't change. He grew worse, daily. He has not changed since, and it's been 12 years. I had to do it alone because, I suppose, I'm wired that way. But it was very hard, and this weekend's anxiety attacks have exposed the toll it took on my psyche to sleep with one eye open to protect my kids. Listening to someone talk talk talk was what triggered a lot of memories of being talked to death, trapped with everyone's opinions and no space to think for myself.

I'm glad others have support groups. The keys already shared are great: you are of worth, people have no right to treat you badly, we all make mistakes but that doesn't justify abuse, and you need to get some place safe if you stand up for yourself and it doesn't stop. If a support group works for you, then that's great, but for me it was just another group of people telling me what I should do.

Heather Jo said...

THIS RESPONSE MAY EVOKE SOME TRIGGERS SO DO NOT READ IF YOU ARE AT RISK!!! My abuse situation was different, as it wasn't spousal abuse. It was my stepfather. He molested me from the time he married my mom, when I was 6. He raped me from the time I was 10 until I got out. He held the threat of killing not just me but my mother, and little brothers as well. He held that threat in place by periodically loading a gun in front of me and holding it to my head or that of my baby brother. I put up with it until some time between my 16th and 17th birthday. I found out that my mother had always known what was happening and had done nothing. I hit bottom at that point, and finally did something I had never done before and told someone what I was going through. It ended up she was enduring similar circumstances, so, to be honest, we couldn't really help each other at that point in our lives. I had however, recently purchased my own car, and I had a steady job, in addition to high school, so, I left. I didn't tell any of my other friends what I was going through. They assumed that the times I stayed overnight at their houses was okay with my parents. I lived in my car and tried to stay in school, but eventually realized I was too far behind from all the many issues I had. I then got my GED. Sometimes I stayed in shelters in really awful neighborhoods when the weather was extreme. I got lice and other pest issues. Sometimes I didn't have food. I almost never fully slept. But, I survived. I feel that sometimes, you have to let yourself hit the bottom in order to claw your way back to the top. Remember your worth as a human being. Remember it's not your fault. You do have options. They may not be particularly appealing, but they're out there. Get help. Please get help. No one deserves to be abused. No one!

Sorta Southern Single Mom said...

This post is so important and such a gift. I don't have anything to add, but just in your post itself, the things you list are a help to anyone in need.

Organized Island said...

I wish I had the answers but I know that there are ALWAYS options. My advice would be for one to go to someone they absolutely trust and ask for help. Robin, I admire how you are helping so many with your blog!

ilene said...

What a lovely, honest, caring post. My husband and I are in the middle of a divorce - and everyone has an opinion on what my choice was - but as you said, I had to listen to me heart on this one. Only the heart knows.

Christina Morley said...

Hi my friend! I'm visiting you from the Sharefest and one of your followers. I like everything you wrote. Your advice is strong enough, but I hope the comments you receive will help you to write part 2 to this one.

Praying for you and your family!

Tina - mom of 4
Amanda's Books and More

Ugochi said...

I believe these women should view the situation to know if it is life threatening or not. If it is not they should pray and believe God to give them solutions because every marriage may not be handled the same way since each has its peculiarities.
I pray it works out for them like it did for you.
Have a super blessed day.
Thanks for coming by TESHUVA
Have a super blessed day!
Love

Betty Manousos said...

thank you so much for your honest post.

and i like everything you said here.

sending prayers your way.


hugs

Alethea Etinoff said...

I spent years with an emotionally and mentally abusive husband. I don't have all the answers but I trust God and know He has all the answers. I was able to surround myself with wives standing for their marriages. They blessed me tremendously. I actually blog about my testimonies at http://www.blended4purpose.com. My husband and I are not perfect but we are committed. Stopping by from SITS sharefest.

Blessings~
Alethea

Just Jen said...

Thank you so much for writing this. I don't have any answers other than to talk to someone - anyone - about what is happening. Don't be alone. Don't be so filled with shame that you cut yourself off from everyone and everything. The only way we find clarity in our lives is with the guidance of other people's perspectives. Will pray for continued peace for you and your husband!

Azara said...

This is a wonderful post that I'm thankful I can't relate to. It's so important to put the hard stuff out there and talk about it, to help those who are still struggling in areas where you've been able to find a better place.

Jenna said...

Hi. I'm Jenna. I have a website that deals with DV, women's issues, culture, etc. - but mostly DV. Right now, we're in the middle of a couple of conversations that may help, namely a blog series called "Heroic", and an exchange with a woman I'm calling "Sarah" (that's for post-DV parenting and personal issues).

I found you on Lundy Bancroft's site. God bless you for the work you do.

Best,

Jenna

CM said...

I have been in this situation. My life ten years ago was exactly as you described in your post My Husband Is Mean. Since then, I've found that people who want advice about what to do when they're in that position, is that they really want to know what to DO. My advice: 1. Talk to Someone who knows. That means a clergy member, an abuse center staffer, a therapist, a hotline staffer. Talking about it with someone who understands is the BEST way to understand that other people understand. That you're not alone. That there are options. Maybe they aren't perfect options, but when you're sick and tired of being sick and tired, there are options. 2. Plan. Plan secretly or just in your own head if you have to. The next time he throws a tantrum and says he'll be back tomorrow, or when he's good and ready, or when you've come to your senses, put your plan in action. For me, he said he was going to spend the night at a hotel since I was such a witch. I watched him drive away, then calmly drove to Home Depot, bought new door knobs with new locks for the house, and went home and installed them. I called the police to let them know, called the attorney I had picked out, and charged all of it on a credit card I got secretly. 3. KNOW you are not alone, and develop your support. Find someone - your mom, sister, best friend, someone who used to be your best friend before you walled yourself off from the world, anyone - and let them know what you are doing. Ask them to support you when you call them crying. They will say yes, I promise. 4. Listen to your gut. Even if you don't know yourself that we'll now, the real you is in there somewhere. Whether you choose therapy with your spouse, or divorce, your true self will talk to you and let you know you're making the right decision. It doesn't have to be the easy, or the hard, or financially difficult decision to be the right one. Your gut will let you know when you're walking the right way.

My two cents.

Anonymous said...

Thank you.

Anonymous said...

This is EXACTLY how I feel. Please help.

Anonymous said...

I am in this same boat. Vindictive husband that gas lighted me into doubting my opinions and perceptions early on in my marriage.
Now 35 years and 4 kids later I have an older 21 yr old daughter who has no natural fear of manipulative men, predators, and abusers. They are drawn to her, and she believes they wont hurt her. She is not triggered by their ways because she has grown up around these same tactics from my husband-towards me when I was in the FOG during her growing up years. And today she rarely takes my advice because I was openly undermined by my husband/abuser in front of the whole family during their growing up years. My thoughts and ideas were continually invalided, and my opinions disregarded, and I was belittled, and my parenting skills were regularly undermined. It is hard to undo what children have learned and witnessed growing up in life. It is all they know about relationships. My best plan would have been to get out sooner, but I had little or no support from people to help me. My situation was just "too preposterous" for many people to believe, and my abuser told people that I had mental problems to keep them from helping me. I am now through the knowledge of some great books on exposing abuse, working on gaining my independence from the situation, but am continually finding myself helping my now older children with making healthy positive choices in life because they have no clue- ( even as adults) Due to growing up with the family abuser.
Like I said,- in hindsight if I could do it all over again, I should have left him early on when I could have removed the children from his unhealthy influence on their lives.. Now I am left with children that are continually making unhealthy choices in life.
( please read Lundy Bancrofts book called why does he do that?)
Another excellent one is A Cry For Justice written by Jeff
Crippen subtitled-how the evil of domestic abuse hides in your church)

Laura said...

I am struggling with this type of husband. We've been married 21 years. The last few have been really hard. We never see eye-to-eye, and most times, I don't know how to act around him. My happy place is---anywhere he isn't. Looking for answers and desperate help.

MrsPk3 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tami said...

This is not my story but I am amazed by my friends story. I recently realized that my husband is verbally and emotionally abusive. After a lot of seeking help through talking to people (it took a lot of people and some people distancing themselves from me to find someone who could understand and not excuse him) Sitting with a trusted couple, we discussed me leaving and set some boundaries, he is now in therapy. We shall see how this ends

As for the friend who helped me get a grasp on our reality. Her husband was a different level of abusive as all situations will be a little different. She ended up separating. What is beautiful and something I have never heard is how she allowed the relationship to be restored.

She did file a restraining order. She specifically detailed what she wanted. No contact at that moment. She then amended it to allow email to see if they could start to rebuild. This took a while and finally became successful. She read books on boundaries and literally had people help her script how to lovingly communicate the boundaries and responses and it was all in writing in case she needed evidence. Then the order was amended to allow text and him being near her only and specifically for them to have couples counseling. And so for amending step by step while she got counseling and asistance in restoring their relationship. I think there were amendments that rook back some privileges. All according to how it went.

Things that she said that impacted me: #1 Sometimes the motivator is not love but fear of the law. Obviously there was s desire to be with her or he would have gone the other direction, but the motivator to change wasn't always pure, doesn't matter. #2 Sometimes people will only accomplish the changing because it has become too uncomfortable to stay the same.

The success: She used the law to protect her so she was free to be loving and gracious within boundaries. They are not becoming great friends and helping my husband and I see success and a path to it, and really get us in our struggles along the way.

The God perspective that helped me decide to not leave but set boundaries as an alternate option for him to have me here: She said that she believed that possibley God brought them together as the only people that would help them both become who they needed to be. Her a woman who had healthy boundaries and relationships and I guess him the same. I hope this helps someone (and me...)

Anonymous said...

My mother passed away last year and life has been really difficult shortly after her death I lost my Job. An in November I found out I was pregnant with our first child .. My husband makes me feel like I'm worthless he would fuss at me daily cause he felt I was at home purposely not looking for a job . I eventually got a part time job wasn't much but it was something to still help around the house . I worked still I was about to give birth. I would be in so Much pain but I did whatever to try an make him happy ... My husband is so abusive it's hard to even explain ... I never feel I've done anything right .... I just with I would of listened to my mom before she passed away . She told me not to marry him .... I'm just so embarrassed an scared . I don't even feel as if I love him anymore . Life is just def throwing me curve balls the biggest Break I have gotten is giving birth to my daughter .. I don't know what else to do I've prayed about it but I really feel I want a divorce

Anonymous said...

Hi, I've never posted on a blog before....but here goes. I love my husband very much, but he makes me feel awful. Yes, it does feel like my fault. He is too tough on my son, his step son, and hates my family. He moved his mom in only months after we were married anf that made everything so much worse. So many things you described he does. He told me pants were too tight ri hhhh ht after I had our son and I cried so hard. He became angry with me and made me apologize sayibg I was an overly sensitive person with no sense of humor. Im always wrong, and always scared. He is borderline abusing my son, never lets him near our baby. It breaks my heart. He makes my son an outcast and I hate it. Ive always thought I was just being soft, which is what he tells me I am constantly, but. I think it has gone too far. After reading this, my eyes are opened by my hands are tied. I have no job or any source of income.he never gives me any money. I sit at home with his mother all day, like she's watching me.

This was more of a vent session but thanks for listening.

Anonymous said...

I have a story to be told that both my child and I are in. I so desprately need help. I'm ready to talk but would rather write a letter the old fashion way. Who may I write to ask for help? My email is sarvis764@gmail.com

Sarah Kipling said...

This is my life. I wish it wasn't but it is.

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Robin. I am one of the many women who found your blog by googling "My husband is mean to me and kids," and I cried realizing that I may be a "victim of emotional abuse." Just hearing the words makes me feel like a failure. My husband and I have been married six years and have two kids, 4 years and 17 months. We are both attorneys and make decent money, have a nice house in a nice neighborhood, our kids are beautiful, my husband is very personable and charming when we are around others. But I constantly question my marriage and this life we have - he has a plethora of his own issues - anxiety, OCD, anger issues, etc. I think my situation is not as bad as yours was, or as many others' are - or maybe it's just different. He doesn't do everything on the list, but he is just moody and negative all the time, yells at me and the kids over nothing, takes his anger and frustration out on everyone else, blames me and the kids (and his parents, co-workers, society, day care, etc.) for everything wrong with his life. We recently saw a marriage counselor who, only to me, diagnosed him as likely Narcissism/borderline personality disorder. Like everyone else here, I struggle with whether/how much I still love him; the effect on the kids of staying/leaving; how I would financially cope being on my own (even though I am the primary earner and our house is in my name); what might happen if we divorce and the kids are with him alone; etc.

I can't say I have found a solution, but at least maybe some options. I have gone by myself to see a counselor my husband I saw together. She acknowledges that he will not change if he doesn't want to, and that he will not see his flaws, and that it is basically impossible to reason with him because he is so self-centered. But, knowing that I don't really "want" a divorce, she she has begun giving me techniques to deal with my husband's anger and set boundaries. Obviously her advice is tailored to me and to us as a couple, but for what it's worth, maybe it can help others who don't have access to a therapist. Basically the goal is to make him see that his behavior is not acceptable, limit the yelling/fighting in front of the kids, and empower me to control the situation instead of letting him always control it. She tells me to interrupt him when he is in a fit of anger and essentially tell him, calmly without yelling back, that it's not acceptable, and that I expect an apology (she said I should first tell him I understand that he's frustrated or relay what I perceive without judging/criticizing). Of course, that will make him more mad, but she says it's important for me to stand my ground, and that forcing him to learn my boundaries is a first step. More importantly, she says it's important for the kids to see that I a) don't simply fight fire with fire, and b) stand up for myself and don't tolerate the anger. Another tool she offered is that, after he is cooled down from an anger episode, calmly ask if I can talk to him for a few minutes, and tell him how it made me feel (again, without criticizing him). I realize these are baby steps, and it is difficult to hold back from wanting to lay all the issues out on the table once I have his attention, but I am at least going to try this and see if it results in any change in his behavior. I know all of this is not really possible for those who fear physical harm from standing up to their husbands, but I have made the decision that it is worth the short term unpleasant (non-physically violent) reaction to see what may happen in the long run.

I am not religious and not one to pray, but I wish for strength and empowerment for all the women who have found you and all of those who haven't yet.

P Wags said...

My husband is mean. I don't know how to pick the situation apart and find these proofs of it.
He's mean. He's bossy. He's controlling. He's hugely judgmental. He acts like he's better than me. He seems to be the most miserable human being I know. When he is "happy" then he's nice and wants to be friends - but only ON HIS TERMS. So I 'feel' horribly abused. I feel unappreciated, used, persecuted and hated.

I am a Catholic so divorce is only allowable for the protection of the family members. I have prayed and prayed about it and Jesus is helping me. Jesus taught me to tell my husband he is hurting me. To tell my husband he is not appreciatig me, that he is disrespecting me, persecuting me, and hating me. Jesus says to be simple about it, sincere and stick to the point. Jesus wants me to remind my husband that God loves us and supports our family. Then walk away. And it works when I do it exactly. I still can't communicate with my husband how I feel or be at all precise about my specific grievances. And we aren't totally happy. But we weren't promised happiness in this life. God wants me to be safe and my human dignity respected. God doesn't want me being sucked into fighting nor does He want me being abused. Jesus wants me to be holy and content with peace and let Him handle the rest. So I am learning how to belong to Jesus alone.

Jesus will never abuse me. And if Jesus thinks I have to leave for safety (this includes physical, psycholocal, emotional, and spiritual) , then Jesus will help me. Jesus will take care of me.

I encourage prayer and safety as the number one priorities. We can't be married without God. We can't be safe without God. God is the answer.

Unknown said...

I'm in these shoes now.. I don't get it.. I want to die
Tired of hurting and hoping.. For no apparent reason..
We even went to church had a great service and still he manipulates ..
I am not they strong..
I feel worthless

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing @anonymous attorney. Thank you for sharing the suggestions of your therapist. As a therapist myself I find myself in this situation of being married to an intelligent, charming man with something diagnosable. ADHD, borderline personality disorder, narcissist personality disorder, alcohol dependency, anxiety, depression due to hypothyroidism. Unfortunately I cannot diagnose him nor will he ever believe or accept that sonething is wrong. Almost verbatim the stories posted here. I almost stopped scrolling through responses and then I saw yours. I needed to hear this. I have been working on creating boundaries with him a bit at a time with some success. I needed to hear that I needed to stick with it. I have two daughters, the oldest who bears the brunt of her father's disparaging humiliating remarks. I have started standing up for her when he does this. It's really a tricky place to be. He accuses me of not standing with him in coparenting when I call him out on his behaviors and comments. I believe it is degrading to sarcastically make comments to a 6-year old who is still learning. He laments some nights about being the reason our daughter has problems yet is unaware when he is dolling out the actual harm.

tleigh said...

I am here because my husband is mean to me and the kids. He takes it out on the kids by withdrawing affection, calling our son names such as brat. I feel he will teach our kids that love is conditional. His love for them comes with conditions. He has a mean face and I feel so much anger towards him and it is just building but I am stay at home mom and I do not say anything. I like it better when he is at work.

If I bring things up, he gets mad, makes me feel it is my fault, is the first to raise his voice. I really hate him at times and sometimes, I think he feels guilty, he must know that what he just said was so wrong, he must feel bad....but then I try to have a conversation about what was said, there are no apologies and it's like he doesn't feel bad or guilty at all. I fucking hate him.

Can't talk about it with anyone because my sister and mother think he is so great because I get to stay home with the kids and my mom was poor when we were growing up and work is all she ever knew. So, based on the fact that he comes from a family with more money and he fixes things and all that she thinks I am so lucky. My mom was or is narcissistic as well, so makes sense I would go for a man like that.....Fuck!!!! Wish I knew what to do. Wish I was stronger than that and I fantasize that I would have an affair and be with someone else that doesn't care if I don't work and totally willing to be with me and love my kids.......dreams, wish it would come true and then I could leave.

jessica geale said...

I am so happy to have stumbled across your blog. It's true, I searched "mean husband" and came across you. Like you and your husband we go through our really good patches, and then the bad ones. Little things set him off: like today it was putting up a gate that has needed doing for two months. The screws were the wrong size. ive been on eggshells since. I've tried talking to him, I don't know why! After 8 years
Together you would think I would know how that goes! "I'm not mad" basically trying to make me out like I am a crazy person for thinking it. Then the comments under his breath start. The kids are playing to loud so he gets snappy, which in turn makes me snappy trying to keep them quiet and away from him. Then when they're in bed, I sit in my room, in the dark, crying. Finding myself on google looking for women who are like me so I can feel though I am not so alone. If people haven't been verbally or emotionally abused, they tend to not understand. I am at a loss. I really do love him, but when he's like this I find myself just wanting him to leave! If it wasn't for our children I would have left a long time ago... Ahhhhh! So frustrating!

Anonymous said...

I found this site looking for "why is my husband so mean" and I see that I am not alone. My husband is verbally abusive to me and the kids, so much that I know when they are grown and leave home they will not come back. Not as long as he is here. This is awful but sometimes I wish he would just die already. Then I wouldn't have to deal with this crap all of the time. I've spent so many years wasted on him walking on egg shells. And my poor kids don't know what to do with his rapidly changing emotions. They never know what to say, always afraid of the reaction from him. He's so much better than us, or so he thinks. I hate to lose my kids because of him....to have them leave home and never come back is unimaginable while I'm stuck here with this load of crap. You readers out there please say a prayer for us and the millions of other women and children in our situation.

Maria said...

I'm lost. Don't know where to go. What to do. Stuck.

Anonymous said...

I really hate the comments when someone claims that you will be treated the way that you "allow" the other person to treat you. Yeah, that's just what a person needs to hear. I disagree. How many times have I said to my husband, with his mood swings and explosive temper. "This is NOT acceptable."
And I mean it. However, to some people it doesn't register. Or, they will argue against what you are stating.
Gosh, women don't need to be told that phrase, as though they are allowing someone to be mean to them.

Anonymous said...

I'm in the midst of it now and, yes, I found your blog after searching "My husband is mean to my daughter." He is much better than he used to be. He used to be outright emotionally abusive to me. He got some psychological testing, has been to counseling many separate times, and we learned that gluten triggered moodiness in him so he's off that. All of it has helped. I don't know that I'd call him overtly emotionally abusive anymore, but he is disconnected from me and my daughter. He barely does anything around the house most of the time and barely takes part in any caretaking activities as a parent. The interactions he does have with his daughter are often him trying to get something from her (he wants a kiss or a hug or for her to repeat something she did that he thought was cute) or him trying to make her obey him. There's very little warmth. She's only 3 and she doesn't like him and doesn't want to be around him most of the time and that angers him. He blames me (because of course he does).

He frequently implies that he wants a divorce because I'm cold and distant and adversarial (interpretation: I keep my distance emotionally because I don't trust him and I've gotten brave enough to confront him when he starts his blaming and his nitpicking and his lecturing).

So here's how I'm getting through it. I'm working on my own issues. My intense anxiety, my fear of being needed and needing others, my lack of self-worth and appropriate boundaries. I need to do that work whether I'm married to him or not. It may help us stay together or it may help me stay sane if we get divorced.

I'm giving myself permission to mess up. I know that maybe it's a mistake to stay with him. Maybe it will be harder on my daughter if we divorce when she's older, maybe not. Maybe it will be harder to deal with my anxiety and health issues when I'm dealing with this unhealthy marriage, maybe not. I'm making the best choices I'm currently capable of making. Some of them are bound to be the right ones and some of them aren't. That's okay.

And I'm trying very hard to show him love, not because he has earned it, but because we all deserve love. That doesn't mean accepting his blame or his anger or his disapproval of me, it just means working on forgiving and being kind in the way I confront him and co-exist with him.

I don't really know if it's "working" per se. My anxiety has spiked badly in the last couple months because of health issues I've been dealing with that have brought up my intense fear of illness and death (after all, dying or being bedridden are the ultimate failure to meet someone else's expectations, right? and disappointing other people is my biggest fear). But it's where I am and that's okay. We're currently in an okay spot. Not great, not terrible. Not liking each other much, but not loathing each other, and finding moments throughout the week when we actually enjoy each other's company.