I think my husband is emotionally abusive
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Old 04-22-2011, 09:59 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default I think my husband is emotionally abusive

Hi, new to the site but really need some unbiased perspective.

I was married last June to a man I thought was my love, my best friend and my number one supporter. We had been dating for 4 years and living together for around 3 at the time we got married, and even though we'd had fights, they were few and far between so I never really thought of them as problematic.

Cut to now. My husband lost his job in November 2010. He has been looking for employment but hasn't found anything yet and is very depressed. I have been unemployed myself before and can definitely understand this. What I can't understand is how he treats me.

There have been episodes before where he has gotten mad at me over some perceived slight or indiscretion and even though he's always caught me off-guard with these outbursts, I've always been able to handle it. He never takes responsibility, however; I'm always the one who has to apologize even if I haven't done whatever he accuses me of, but I've accepted it as a crappy part of his personality because, God knows, I have my own.

As I was saying ... cut to now. Since November I have been working full-time--I have always worked full-time--while he looks for jobs. During this time we haven't been able to make ends meet, and I've had to turn to my parents for support. Long story short, they're giving us his lost income. Without them we would not be able to keep up with our bills (which my parents and I are paying, along with some of his personal bills). My husband is 13 years older than me and his parents are on a fixed income so I understand that they aren't in a position to help, and I do know they send money to him when they can.

What is upsetting is during this time he has become increasingly irrational and prone to picking fights. For example, two weekends ago I was asleep and he woke me up shouting. I have never password-protected my phone because I trust (trusted?) him, and he started going through it and reading my text messages, including one from several months ago to my friend in which I was venting about our current situation. He was so pissed he said he wanted a divorce. He was talking about moving in with his brother and sister-in-law and all kinds of things. He didn't leave, but we didn't speak for two days. We stayed in separate areas of the house until he exclaimed I should let him know if I intended to keep it up because, as he put it, he refused to "live like that."

I told him I wasn't planning on living like that, that it had only been two days and he hadn't spoken to me, and asked him what he expected me to do. He again began screaming about never being able to trust me again because I'd talked about him; I said I was sorry, and that it was wrong, but that I was just venting. I also told him I was having trouble trusting him since he had gone through my phone and read my private texts.

We got through that--without him apologizing--and everything seemed OK until tonight, when we were going to get dinner and I told him I needed to run a couple errands first--I didn't want to tell him I needed to call my mom about our finances--and said I'd be back. I was gone probably 20 minutes. We had planned a night at home, but after he let me have it about my "suspicious" trip before we went to the grocery store, he refused to speak to me on the way home, during dinner, and when I put on the movie and poured myself a glass of wine afterward, he vacillated between silently going online on his phone and sleeping. Then he randomly got up and left the room as if he were going to the bathroom, but after 30 min. I went up to check on him. It was completely dark upstairs and I said, "Did you go to bed?" He said, "Yes." I said, "Why didn't you say goodnight?" And he answered, very shortly, "Goodnight."

Am I overreacting? I really feel like I'm kind of going crazy and maybe this is my fault, or I'm making mountains out of molehills. All this crap is giving me emotional whiplash and it's making me a nervous wreck who feels like she has to tiptoe around her own husband. Is this a normal rough patch or does it seem like something more? Basically, I just need feedback. Please help.
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Old 04-22-2011, 10:40 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: I think my husband is emotionally abusive

Drug and alcohol testing would be in order.
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Old 04-22-2011, 11:35 PM   #3 (permalink)
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This is a really tough time for both of you now but for different reasons. He is very unhappy with himself and has lost his self respect. You two need to sit down and talk. Agree before hand that there will be no yelling and no accusations. Remind him that your both on the same team. Tell him you still respect him and that "we" can get through this but that the way he speaks to you needs to change. After all, your not the enemy and you won't accept hem taking out his frustrations on you.
Be sincere and DON'T CRY ~ doing so makes you look weak in some mens eyes. Be strong and confident during the conversation and don't re-hash old fights.
Good luck.
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Old 04-23-2011, 12:00 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: I think my husband is emotionally abusive

Thanks. I know he doesn't have a drug problem and he only drinks occasionally, so I truly believe he is taking his frustrations out on me as whatshisname said.

I've cried enough when I'm alone--out of hurt feelings but also out of frustration--that I don't think I would break down during a talk. I only hope he will listen. In the past he has interrupted me, spoken over me and brought up things I've done (or he feels I've done) in the past instead of addressing the issue at hand.

I thought about writing him a letter so he won't have an opportunity to interrupt or change the subject, but I decided against it because it seems impersonal and a little immature.

Still, I have to do something even though I'm afraid to discuss everything with him because I don't want to create a situation where there's an opportunity for more silent treatment, yelling and/or character attacks. But I can't take this anymore. It's gotten to the point where he checks up on everything I do, and everything I say he questions as if I'm lying. I have never, ever lied to him, although he feels situations like the one tonight (when I went to run errands alone, which I did although I included calling my mom in those errands) are instances of me lying. And I suppose I understand why he sees it that way because I did omit the fact I was going to call my mother so as not to make him feel bad. But I still don't think that's enough to warrant him researching everything I say to see if it's true.

Sorry for the tangent, I just don't have anyone to talk to since I promised him I wouldn't share any more private relationship info w/my best friend/friends or family. I suppose I shouldn't be doing so on here either, but I feel like it's OK because it's anonymous.
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Old 04-25-2011, 02:05 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: I think my husband is emotionally abusive

This does sound abusive and manipulative, especially since it has you questioning yourself.
You sound like you are intelligent enough to know there's something very wrong with how he's treating you.
I'm sorry you're going through this.
I've come to the realization that my husband's unhappiness with his current unemployment, and his general insecurity, cause him to lash out at me. I'm getting to the point where I realize it's not always "about me," no matter how much he wants to pin his frustration on me.
I hope you can stay convicted of that too.
His need to control you sounds like a reaction based in insecurities---no job, lowered sense of manhood, need to "be in charge" of something, so he controls you.

Read "The Verbally Abusive Relationship" and see if it resonates.
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Old 04-25-2011, 06:31 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: I think my husband is emotionally abusive

Yes, he went overboard, but it is not easy learning that you can't trust the one you married to the degree you assumed. I think you two need to work through trust and his behavior through a counselor, but not every one of your friends.

Personally, I wouldn't care if my wife vented to her best friend, or sister, but I have one basic rule that I hold myself accountable for. I will not vent in any way that will cast her in a negative light to anyone who knows her, unless it is a therapist or my brother. These are people that we clearly established to be acceptable years before we married. Certainly not parents, or friends. To me, its just a personal choice. My point is to suggest that you two should've talked about each other's needs for security prior to marriage.

Both of you are going through a tough time, and his actions are extreme, but I have a hard time supporting that it is abuse, considering that he learned that the whole world (in his view) knows that you are frustrated with his inability to provide, as many men want to do. Its bad enough to know that your parents have to help, and to be unsure of where you draw the line with revealing details. If he apologizes, and works to earn your forgiveness, he is still going to have the issue of trust, and wonder where you draw the line on telling others about your relationship.
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Old 04-25-2011, 07:15 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: I think my husband is emotionally abusive

This is not your fault. Even if you vented to your best friend it is obvious form your post that his behavior started long before he found the text to your friend. And we all need to vent to someone sometimes, especially when you are under stress and being treated badly. Don't ever let someone tell you it is your fault if you are being treated badly, your husband's actions are his responsibility, not yours.

Check out this site for a very good list of sign you are in an abusive relationship.

Dr. Irene's Verbal Abuse (Site)!
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Old 04-25-2011, 09:34 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: I think my husband is emotionally abusive

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Originally Posted by whatisgoingon View Post
He never takes responsibility, however; I'm always the one who has to apologize even if I haven't done whatever he accuses me of.
This is a very bad dynamic to have in a relationship.

Your parents shouldn't have to fund his life. He needs to get a job. Today.

You need to start standing up for youself and stop apologizing when you have done nothing wrong. He needs to own what he does. Don't take responsibility for him.

My marriage was full of emotional abuse and I would not wish it on anyone. Ever.
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Old 04-25-2011, 09:35 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Still, I have to do something even though I'm afraid to discuss everything with him because I don't want to create a situation where there's an opportunity for more silent treatment, yelling and/or character attacks.
Is this a common occurrence?
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Old 04-25-2011, 01:12 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: I think my husband is emotionally abusive

It is impossible to underestimate the frustration, stress and feelings of hopelessness both you and your husband must feel as a result of his unemployment. This is a crisis. I don't think much will change in his mind until he gets a job.

Your parents shouldn't have to support you. That's not fair to them. what happens if they become unable to pay their own bills? I would do everything I could to get him into a job and then work on the relationship issues. I don't think he will be able to act rationally until he finds work.
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Old 04-27-2011, 12:53 AM   #11 (permalink)
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WOW! several things listed are in my marriage. No wonder it's falling apart.
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Old 04-27-2011, 05:37 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Default Re: I think my husband is emotionally abusive

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It is impossible to underestimate the frustration, stress and feelings of hopelessness both you and your husband must feel as a result of his unemployment. This is a crisis. I don't think much will change in his mind until he gets a job.

Your parents shouldn't have to support you. That's not fair to them. what happens if they become unable to pay their own bills? I would do everything I could to get him into a job and then work on the relationship issues. I don't think he will be able to act rationally until he finds work.
When my husband was out of work, he was very moody and depressed. We still supported ourselves though.

Unemployment is still no excuse for being abusive!
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Old 04-27-2011, 06:08 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Still, I have to do something even though I'm afraid to discuss everything with him because I don't want to create a situation where there's an opportunity for more silent treatment, yelling and/or character attacks. But I can't take this anymore. It's gotten to the point where he checks up on everything I do, and everything I say he questions as if I'm lying. I have never, ever lied to him, although he feels situations like the one tonight (when I went to run errands alone, which I did although I included calling my mom in those errands) are instances of me lying. And I suppose I understand why he sees it that way because I did omit the fact I was going to call my mother so as not to make him feel bad. But I still don't think that's enough to warrant him researching everything I say to see if it's true.

Sorry for the tangent, I just don't have anyone to talk to since I promised him I wouldn't share any more private relationship info w/my best friend/friends or family. I suppose I shouldn't be doing so on here either, but I feel like it's OK because it's anonymous.
I strongly recommend individual counseling.

The clarity from an outside perspective is very important for you in this situation.

You sound afraid of his reaction if you are open and honest.

It can be very mind-warping to let that alter your reality.
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Old 04-28-2011, 11:30 AM   #14 (permalink)
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When my husband was out of work, he was very moody and depressed. We still supported ourselves though.

Unemployment is still no excuse for being abusive!


I have to say that since joining this form I have been surprised at the number of posters who are willing to make excuses for a man behaving in a verbally/emotionally abusive manner. And I don't mean just responses in this thread, I have noticed a pattern in the forum. But there is never an excuse for behaving like this. I don't care how long he has been out of work or how many people she has texted about it. You don't verbally/emotionally abuse other people - you just don't - it is not acceptable behavior.
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Old 05-01-2011, 06:26 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Default Re: I think my husband is emotionally abusive

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Check out this site for a very good list of sign you are in an abusive relationship.

Dr. Irene's Verbal Abuse (Site)!
wow. I hit 24 on the first list and 10 on the second with how things were before I left.

As far the actual thread. My husband went a year and a half on unemployment, which cut our funding significantly then, enrolled in school, used money from his parents weekly, and refused to get up to go to school, refused to participate in our daily lives, and did nothing but play video games until I got him a job at my place of employment. It only went down hill from there.

I can't tell you a right or wrong action to take, but your husband sounds like he's traveling a very similar path mine did, the behaviors are almost identical. I walked on eggshells for over a year, did nothing for myself, and ended up terrified to go outside of my house and do anything. I didn't want to wake up, I stopped cooking, I forced myself to clean, I could barely function to take care of my animals it got awful fast. And every attempt I made at talking it out was turned around on me, turned into a fight, or turned into him "moving out." I had religion used against me, everyone in my life at the time turned against me, and would even walk in to being questioned at work.

Don't let it get the point mine got to.
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