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October 21, 2018 - Welcome Guest!

Advice » Hard Knocks

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Abusive Husband


I am 26 years old have 2 boys and another on the way in less than 10 weeks. This is my second marriage. My husband and I have been married for 3 years, and we have been having problems from day one. He is very controlling. For the past year or so he has been calling me all sorts of names, telling me he can't stand the sight of me, I'm lazy, I'm fat - I could go on and on. He's putting me down to where I don't care about myself - I have no self-esteem. When he starts yelling at me my boys start yelling at me because they think that since he can and get away with it, they can. If he gets mad at someone else he will take it out on me and our boys. He has never hit the boys in an inappropriate way. He has pushed me and has threatened to hit me but that's it. He just has a bad temper and he can't control it.

In just the past couple of months he has been calling the boys names like brats, dumb _ _ _, telling them they're ignorant and constantly cussing at them. He has no time for us. He comes home, sits in his chair until supper time, and then gets back in the chair until bed time. He doesn't play or interact with the boys.

I feel he feels that he has the upper hand because he has all the money. He has always had control over the money because he says it's his money. I have tried working to make my own money but he would never help pick the kids up on time, causing me to leave my jobs. I have to ask for money for groceries or gas or a dollar to get a coke.

We don't communicate about are relationship at all. I have tried telling him how I feel but it doesn't do any good. I am tired of living this way. I am tired of going to bed in another room crying two or three times a week; I'm tired of him treating my boys this way. Please I need advice badly.

How do I get out of an abusive relationship with 2 kids and one on the way with no where to go and no money? How do I take my boys away from someone they love to no end? Do I stay and try working it out or is it time to go and leave it all? How is this affecting my boys ages 3 and 5? My 5 year old isn't his. When his dad and I divorced he was 6 months old; my current husband has been in his life since he was a year old, so how will this affect them if we did leave?

Shelly, 26 year old woman


Dear Shelley,

You didn't give any indication of where you live, what country even. However, in every place I know of, there are laws that impact on behavior within the family.

Legally, in most places, the money and other possessions belong 50-50 to the marriage partners. Usually, this is even true for de facto relationships. So, it's not HIS money, but yours and his, shared equally.

This is reflected in divorce laws. If you leave him and file for divorce, I would expect a court to award you 50% of the family's possessions, and your husband would be required to pay maintenance at least for his biological children while they are in your care but not his.

Even more important, domestic violence is not limited to actually inflicting physical injury. Again, I don't know your local law, but if you go to a legal aid center, or look up your State's Department of Justice, or call a telephone counseling line (locally this may be called "Lifeline¯," "Crisis Line¯," "Suicide Watch," "Samaritans," or even make an appointment with an attorney who specializes in family law, you will be able to find out the details of what constitutes domestic violence. This should cost you no money.

Where I live (Australia), domestic violence includes verbal abuse, financial control, intimidation and threatening behavior. And domestic violence is against the law. A person can go to jail for it.

So, you do have a lot of power. Bullies work by making their victims believe that they are powerless, but this is an illusion. You can proceed in one of several ways:

  • Organize a suitable opportunity to confront him. You should have the children minded by someone some place, and may want to have a third party present for safety. This could be your minister of religion, some person your husband respects, a domestic violence worker from a local health center or similar, or an attorney. Then, basically tell him the facts you have researched, and tell him to shape up or ship out. Offer to do couples counseling with him only if you want to continue the marriage.

    I cannot predict the outcome of course, but many such situations are a wake-up call. If he likes the home comforts, he may be willing to work for them. The main benefit will be that YOU seize the power over your own life.

  • Next time he is abusive to you or the children, you can tape record him and take the tape to a police station. Report him for domestic violence. Naturally, you should first research what the local law says, as I outlined above, and also about whether such a recording is legally admissible evidence. Talk it over with the local police. In many places, there are special police units to deal with this issue.

Having read my suggestions, you may come up with something along the same line to suit your unique circumstances. The main things to remember are:

  • Nothing anyone does ever justifies victimization. You are not at fault. And certainly, your children are not at fault.
  • You do have power. You even have the power of the law behind you.
  • From what you say, he doesn't deserve you.

Good luck,

This question was answered by Dr. Bob Rich. Dr. Rich has 30+ years of experience as a psychotherapist. Dr. Rich is also a writer and a "mudsmith". Bob is now retired from psychological practice, but still works with people as a counselor.

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