LI - posted on 03/08/2011 ( 4 moms have responded )
My husband has been emotionally abusive for our entire 17 year marriage (I will explain more below). Whenever I explain how his words hurt me, shatter my self-esteem and make me fear him, he blames me at first, but eventually says he will try to stop. Within a few hours, he's making sexual advances toward me or making sexual jokes, using sexual innuendo in our conversations, etc. I pray daily that God will help me with the emotional pain and fear toward him as well as that He help me have sexual feelings toward my husband again. I used to submit to my husbands advances even though it made me feel like I am prostituting myself by having sex out of fear (my husband gets hostile -- overtly and in subtle ways if I don't give in to his advances). My question is: should I have sex with my husband in order to keep the peace in our household, even though I'm emotionally battered and afraid of my husband's emotional abuse?In the past 2 years, I have been trying to figure out why my husband is so unhappy with me, why he screams at me, unprovoked and blames me for everything, only to apologize weeks later after I ask him to help me understand why he treats me this way -- he then says its actually his fault, that he thinks he has a personality disorder and he basically doesn't like anybody. During my search for answers the last 2 years, I have come to learn that he is being verbally abusive, that it stems from his desire to control and that I am codependent (definition: I care too much about someone who is dysfunctional). I've learned that if both are willing, they should go to individual counseling and then to joint counseling or if both are not willing, then therapeutic separation is a means where they live in separate homes and try to heal (and attend individual therapy, even if only one of them) with the goal of eventually reconciling after healing. My husband says he doesn't want to spend the money to live in separate homes and that it would be too "weird" for our child to go that route, yet he will not initiate the individual/couples counseling route. Since I now realize that I am codependent and must deal with my problem of codependency, I am committed to seeking counseling for that. My question is this: has my codependency caused my husband to be able to continue to treat me this way? Meaning, if I had not tolerated his behavior for the last 17 years, would he have stopped long ago and we would have a happy marriage? Is my staying with this marriage and living under the same roof stopping him from realizing his problem and from seeking counseling for himself? Should I leave so that I can breathe again and heal and so that he will see the seriousness of his behavior? I don't think he means to hurt me. We have been married for 17 years and my husband has had such an anger & controlling problem that he has spent much of our marriage telling me how disappointed in me he is, how I should dress, wear my hair, what I should like/not like, what family I should spend time with, how I should drive, etc. He blames me for everything he perceives as wrong in his life, even though he is highly successful and is financially very secure. He says he is mad at God and walks around all day complaining about everything, every ethnicity, etc. He has had a porn addiction that he has stuffed (not looked at it for about a year) but replaced w/fantasizing about sex. On our recent wedding anniversary, he couldn't stop looking at other women in front of me even though I wore a great outfit and tried to look nice for him. I asked him if we could leave b/c I was so hurt that he was looking at women. He ignored what I said and then 10 minutes later, he handed me the car keys.
I'm scared to leave after 17 years of marriage. We also have a 2-year old son. I feel like a shell of a person, yet I know I have to heal -- especially if I hope to show my son what a healthy woman is, so someday he knows as he dates and chooses a woman to ask to marry him. I don't know how to asses the impact the whole situation has/will have on our son if I stay or if I go. We don't yell or cry about these things in front of him, but he sees a dad that is intense and who has somewhat of an angry baseline. He also sees a mom who has fun with him (our son), complements him and gives her all to him, but I wonder if he senses the empty, sad shell of a person that I am outside the role of being his mom....