Emotional Abuse?


#1

Hello friends,
I am wondering if there is emotional abuse if it would be a sin to leave a husband?
In my case I am not sure if there is or not. My heart and mind tell me there is, but then I second guess myself.
Some of the things he has done-
[LIST]
*]puts me down
*]is rude to nearly everyone (except his best friend), but most espeically with me and my grown children
*]has cheated on me (it didn't go all the way but might as well have), with multiple women
*]has unrealistic expectations about how clean the house should be and expects me to have it spotless at all times
*]won't cook for himself unless it's microwavable meals, and acts as though I starve him to death if I won't cook for him. FYI-whenever I do cook for him he wants something different. He attemps to act as the victim when this happens, and refuses to eat all together.
*]is not supportive of me at all for anything I'm doing.
*]Ignores me unless he wants to be negative and rude, or wants relations
[/LIST]
There is more, but I guess I don't know if this constitutes emotional abuse and if it does if I can leave without being in sin.
When I go to Confession it seems that I'm always confessing stuff to do with an arguement or that I didn't remain silent when he was upset. I feel that this marriage is causing me to sin. I feel like I'll be sinning if I stay, or if I leave and so I am not sure what I should do.


#2

Why not ask a psychotherapist if this is emotional abuse? :shrug:

Jenny M


#3

I would go and talk to your priest in person, not in confession. From what you say, you have a reason to think that your husband (how long have you been married?) has committed adultery, that goes beyond emotional abuse. If the description is accurate he sounds self-centered and very immature, as well as violating your marriage vows.

Why would you choose to marry such a person? If he’s this bad, he probably wasn’t being a completely different person when you met him. I asked how long you have been married because you mentioned your adult children, so I assumed you had been married before.


#4

Ask yourself if Jesus would condone the way your husband treats you, and I daresay you'll find your answer in your heart.

The next question to ask yourself would be, do I believe Jesus loves me enough that I have value and don't deserve this? What did he do on Good Friday - gave His life for each one of us.

Then ask yourself, is this something I've been in a habit of letting people be unkind to me and just taking it, and for how long in my life have I been doing this?

Examine whether your husband was this way when you married him, or whether something like a head injury or something caused a definite change at some point. If he was this way when you married him, IMO you would have grounds for an annulment.

Finally, as others have mentioned take the answers you get from these questions to a priest (yes, make an appointment so you can be thorough) and then a counselor who respects your Catholic faith. I will be praying for you. God bless you. I know this is hard. :console::signofcross:

Something is prompting me to tell you to pray really hard to the Blessed Mother about all this.


#5

It sounds like you should look further into this thought of emotional abuse. It sounds like it to me.

If he is rude and puts you down, expects you to be perfect, and flirts with other women, there is something seriously wrong with your relationship.

To keep thinking it is your fault is just plain wrong.

This is a terrible environment for children to be in.

I agree you should discuss this with a priest in private, and not in the confessional. Be sure to tell him what you explained in the first post.

May the Lord bless you and guide you…


#6

Your feelings are not the determinant of whether abuse is occurring. Actions are the determinant. Do some research on personality disorders and how this affects behavior. Then you can make an objective determination of what to do.


#7

We have been married civilly nearly 6 years, married in the Church less than 1 year. He was not like this 6 years ago, but was like this when we were married in the Church, he is not Catholic, I am. The incidents of cheating did occur before being married in the Church so perhaps they shouldn't count?
I have spent the last few months attempting to figure out what is wrong with the marriage, is it a personality disorder, emotional abuse, or am I being over sensitive etc. I know that I am unhappy, and feel like a complete failure as a wife and to my vows which I meant. At times, I feel like this is a way of suffering for me to give to Christ and that I should just accept my lot in life, but then, I end up talking back to my husband, or telling my grown son & daughter how I feel (venting), which is sin. I am afraid I can not stop sinning in these ways as long as I am with him, and I have a real fear of offending God in this way.
I have set up counseling and got him to agree to go on Tuesday through our archdiocese but I fear that he will go there and put the charm on and they will think I'm crazy. I have attempted to hide how bad it really is (or how bad I perceive it is) from the world, but lately I'm failing at that as well because I can keep my mouth shut about it. I don't know how to stop sinning in this way, and I'm afraid that if I leave I will also be sinning because I actually meant my vows.
Forgive me for these posts, I'm only trying to figure all of this out.
~B


#8

You are in a FOG.

F fear
O obligation
G guilt

It is going to take time and information (either thru reading or via a GOOD knowledgeable counselor) to start to get clarity. Expect to be challenged yourself. Atrophied muscles need to be exercised and challenged to get stronger. Compassion must be balanced by realism and contemplation of your role.


#9

Dear Bernadette:

I am not qualified to tell you how you should proceed, but just wanted to tell you I am so sorry about your situation. I do understand to a point, as my husband has cheated on me too. :frowning:

No woman “deserves” to be treated with disrespect, however, what we think we “deserve” in life often times is an unreliable source to draw from in our decision making. There is much more to consider.

I would get some professional counseling the two of you together if possible. I hope your marriage can be strengthened in the Lord.

Corinne~


#10

[quote="BernardetteB, post:7, topic:222420"]
We have been married civilly nearly 6 years, married in the Church less than 1 year. He was not like this 6 years ago, but was like this when we were married in the Church, he is not Catholic, I am. The incidents of cheating did occur before being married in the Church so perhaps they shouldn't count?
I have spent the last few months attempting to figure out what is wrong with the marriage, is it a personality disorder, emotional abuse, or am I being over sensitive etc. I know that I am unhappy, and feel like a complete failure as a wife and to my vows which I meant. At times, I feel like this is a way of suffering for me to give to Christ and that I should just accept my lot in life, but then, I end up talking back to my husband, or telling my grown son & daughter how I feel (venting), which is sin. I am afraid I can not stop sinning in these ways as long as I am with him, and I have a real fear of offending God in this way.
I have set up counseling and got him to agree to go on Tuesday through our archdiocese but I fear that he will go there and put the charm on and they will think I'm crazy. **I have attempted to hide how bad it really is (or how bad I perceive it is) from the world, but lately I'm failing at that as well because I can keep my mouth shut about it. **I don't know how to stop sinning in this way, and I'm afraid that if I leave I will also be sinning because I actually meant my vows.
Forgive me for these posts, I'm only trying to figure all of this out.
~B

[/quote]

The adultery has not been repented of or confessed, so it "counts." Even if he had repented and confessed, it still occurred and needs to be dealt with in the relationship. He betrayed your vows! He is not taking his vows very seriously, IMO, which gives you a very insecure and unstable foundation.

Has he grown worse over the entire six years of your marriage, or just since you had your marriage blessed in the Church? Odd that he would go through with the blessing or renewal of vows if he was only going to be nasty about it...

You say you "have attempted to hide how bad it really is." That says a whole lot to me. Separate your sin from your husband's mistreatment of you. No one deserves abuse and no one should feel forced to bear such a cross. Jesus doesn't want this of you.

Perhaps a separation would be in order?

If you are seeing a trained counselor, that person will not be fooled by his charming personality. Just state what is going on and what has happened, be sure to mention the adultery, and let the counselor sort through it. Praying for you, Bernadette!


#11

I would recommend talking to your priest outside of the Confessional. The Confessional is for our sins - when we need to talk about someone else's and get feedback it needs to come out of there.

This is the CCC teaching on divorce and seperation -you have a lot of choices before divorce and you can explore those with your priest (the caveat I ask you to remember is that children will emulate the behavior they see in the home - so take a good look and ask if this is something that you can manage to raise your childen in spite of or if you need to protect them from or if the situation can be healed):

2382 The Lord Jesus insisted on the original intention of the Creator who willed that marriage be indissoluble.173 He abrogates the accommodations that had slipped into the old Law. 174 Between the baptized, "a ratified and consummated marriage cannot be dissolved by any human power or for any reason other than death." 175

2383 The separation of spouses while maintaining the marriage bond can be legitimate in certain cases provided for by canon law. 176 If civil divorce remains the only possible way of ensuring certain legal rights, the care of the children, or the protection of inheritance, it can be tolerated and does not constitute a moral offense.

2384 Divorce is a grave offense against the natural law. It claims to break the contract, to which the spouses freely consented, to live with each other till death. Divorce does injury to the covenant of salvation, of which sacramental marriage is the sign. Contracting a new union, even if it is recognized by civil law, adds to the gravity of the rupture: the remarried spouse is then in a situation of public and permanent adultery:

If a husband, separated from his wife, approaches another woman, he is an adulterer because he makes that woman commit adultery, and the woman who lives with him is an adulteress, because she has drawn another's husband to herself.177 

2385 Divorce is immoral also because it introduces disorder into the family and into society. This disorder brings grave harm to the deserted spouse, to children traumatized by the separation of their parents and often torn between them, and because of its contagious effect which makes it truly a plague on society.

2386 It can happen that one of the spouses is the innocent victim of a divorce decreed by civil law; this spouse therefore has not contravened the moral law.

There is a considerable difference between a spouse who has sincerely tried to be faithful to the sacrament of marriage and is unjustly abandoned, and one who through his own grave fault destroys a canonically valid marriage.178

Dark Blue for my emphasis remember that divorce does not mean the right to remarriage.


#12

[quote="BernardetteB, post:7, topic:222420"]
We have been married civilly nearly 6 years, married in the Church less than 1 year. He was not like this 6 years ago, but was like this when we were married in the Church, he is not Catholic, I am. The incidents of cheating did occur before being married in the Church so perhaps they shouldn't count?
I have spent the last few months attempting to figure out what is wrong with the marriage, is it a personality disorder, emotional abuse, or am I being over sensitive etc. I know that I am unhappy, and feel like a complete failure as a wife and to my vows which I meant. At times, I feel like this is a way of suffering for me to give to Christ and that I should just accept my lot in life, but then, I end up talking back to my husband, or telling my grown son & daughter how I feel (venting), which is sin. I am afraid I can not stop sinning in these ways as long as I am with him, and I have a real fear of offending God in this way.
I have set up counseling and got him to agree to go on Tuesday through our archdiocese but I fear that he will go there and put the charm on and they will think I'm crazy. I have attempted to hide how bad it really is (or how bad I perceive it is) from the world, but lately I'm failing at that as well because I can keep my mouth shut about it. I don't know how to stop sinning in this way, and I'm afraid that if I leave I will also be sinning because I actually meant my vows.
Forgive me for these posts, I'm only trying to figure all of this out.
~B

[/quote]

Let me ask you this...does he not acknowledge your unhappiness?

When a person (whether it be spouse, friend, family member or whomever) starts making another person question their reality (as you've somewhat indicated is happening here) - there usually is a large problem...very large.

It seems you are very sad, yes? :( I would imagine anyone who has been cheated on, would feel immense distress and unhappiness. Has your husband...does he ever, take responsibility for his actions? Has he ever apologized to you? Does he exhibit any remorse over his past behavior?


#13

[quote="BlueSprite, post:12, topic:222420"]
Let me ask you this...does he not acknowledge your unhappiness?

When a person (whether it be spouse, friend, family member or whomever) starts making another person question their reality (as you've somewhat indicated is happening here) - there usually is a large problem...very large.

It seems you are very sad, yes? :( I would imagine anyone who has been cheated on, would feel immense distress and unhappiness. Has your husband...does he ever, take responsibility for his actions? Has he ever apologized to you? Does he exhibit any remorse over his past behavior?

[/quote]

Sometimes he acknowledges how I feel, usually he will turn it back like he is the one that is unhappy. I think that he believes that it's all in my head as he has said this a few times.

I don't question reality, I question if I'm making this bigger than it should be. I second-guess myself a lot.

Yes I am sad, although not depressed so much. I feel as though I have failed in multiple ways.
He has said he is sorry for the cheating, but he says I need to get over it and that he has dealt with it himself. Most recently during an argument when he told me I need to get over it I explained that it's hard to because it's like a house on fire- I keep putting water on the fire to put it out, but he's throwing matches on the fire and lighting different parts of the house on fire while I'm attempting to put it out, I explained that I feel at this point that the house is completely engulfed in flames and I'm tried of running for water that won't help anyway-and he didn't seem to understand what I meant, so I explained that before I could get over the first incident of cheating, that he did it again with the same person. He attempted to tell me that the 2nd time never happened, until I confronted him with the fact that many witnesses were there when it happened and offered to call one.
It is confusing in that one moment he will seem sorry and the next expects me to just get over it with little to no compassion.


#14

[quote="BernardetteB, post:13, topic:222420"]
Sometimes he acknowledges how I feel, usually he will turn it back like he is the one that is unhappy. I think that he believes that it's all in my head as he has said this a few times.

I don't question reality, I question if I'm making this bigger than it should be. I second-guess myself a lot.

Yes I am sad, although not depressed so much. I feel as though I have failed in multiple ways.
He has said he is sorry for the cheating, but he says I need to get over it and that he has dealt with it himself. Most recently during an argument when he told me I need to get over it I explained that it's hard to because it's like a house on fire- I keep putting water on the fire to put it out, but he's throwing matches on the fire and lighting different parts of the house on fire while I'm attempting to put it out, I explained that I feel at this point that the house is completely engulfed in flames and I'm tried of running for water that won't help anyway-and he didn't seem to understand what I meant, so I explained that before I could get over the first incident of cheating, that he did it again with the same person. He attempted to tell me that the 2nd time never happened, until I confronted him with the fact that many witnesses were there when it happened and offered to call one.
It is confusing in that one moment he will seem sorry and the next expects me to just get over it with little to no compassion.

[/quote]

This is a point of reference question and not a judgemental question but were you able to hash all this out with a priest or deacon in pre-Cana before your convalidation?


#15

[quote="BernardetteB, post:13, topic:222420"]
Sometimes he acknowledges how I feel, usually he will turn it back like he is the one that is unhappy. I think that he believes that it's all in my head as he has said this a few times.

I don't question reality, I question if I'm making this bigger than it should be. I second-guess myself a lot.

Yes I am sad, although not depressed so much. I feel as though I have failed in multiple ways.
He has said he is sorry for the cheating, but he says I need to get over it and that he has dealt with it himself. Most recently during an argument when he told me I need to get over it I explained that it's hard to because it's like a house on fire- I keep putting water on the fire to put it out, but he's throwing matches on the fire and lighting different parts of the house on fire while I'm attempting to put it out, I explained that I feel at this point that the house is completely engulfed in flames and I'm tried of running for water that won't help anyway-and he didn't seem to understand what I meant, so I explained that before I could get over the first incident of cheating, that he did it again with the same person. He attempted to tell me that the 2nd time never happened, until I confronted him with the fact that many witnesses were there when it happened and offered to call one.
It is confusing in that one moment he will seem sorry and the next expects me to just get over it with little to no compassion.

[/quote]

OK, so he is not really remorseful and is making you feel guilty instead. It does not matter if the 2nd incident happened (although I'm sure it did) - the first was enough!!! Evidently he does not take your vows seriously if he thinks that a betrayal of that scope can be "gotten over" as if you were merely changing your shirt after he had spilled something on you. Trust is broken, for many people this can never be overcome, and they do end up divorcing. If the partner who strayed is willing to be 150% honest and accountable at all times, eating dirt for just as long as the cheated-upon spouse needs them to, it might work. It still might not.

If he is this blase' about your distress BECAUSE OF HIS ACTIONS, I am not encouraged about his desire to do anything about it. "Get over it" is a narcissistic, hostile response to a grave sin he committed against you and against God. Doesn't seem to mean much to him. Any possibility of a separation? Sometimes this is a good thing for you to get perspective, outside of that atmosphere of defensive hostility and anger.


#16

[quote="TheRealJuliane, post:15, topic:222420"]
OK, so he is not really remorseful and is making you feel guilty instead. It does not matter if the 2nd incident happened (although I'm sure it did) - the first was enough!!! Evidently he does not take your vows seriously if he thinks that a betrayal of that scope can be "gotten over" as if you were merely changing your shirt after he had spilled something on you. Trust is broken, for many people this can never be overcome, and they do end up divorcing. If the partner who strayed is willing to be 150% honest and accountable at all times, eating dirt for just as long as the cheated-upon spouse needs them to, it might work. It still might not.

If he is this blase' about your distress BECAUSE OF HIS ACTIONS, I am not encouraged about his desire to do anything about it. "Get over it" is a narcissistic, hostile response to a grave sin he committed against you and against God. Doesn't seem to mean much to him. Any possibility of a separation? Sometimes this is a good thing for you to get perspective, outside of that atmosphere of defensive hostility and anger.

[/quote]

I have thought about seperation, but I am afraid that I will be sinning if I do so. I also do not have a job, nor an income. I have no family to go to either. The fact remains, I do not want to sin by leaving him, and this is my main fear.
I do have every intention of discussing all of this with the counselor on Tuesday (he says he will go with me so I'm feeling very on edge to tell this all of this in front of him). I am so busy second-guessing myself that I have prayed and told God to please make the counselor guide me within His will, and I am trusting God with this counseling.


#17

I am numbering my thoughts to keep them ordered:

  1. Make sure you see a Catholic counselor that has the same view of marriage as you do.

  2. Talk to your priest for guidance - with emotional abuse it is not as clear cut. If it gets to the point where you do need to separate especially if you are doing this with your priests guidance with the right intentions of protecting yourself and your children (when you say grown - do you mean teenage or out of the house) then you are not sinning. It is the remarriage or starting to date as if you were single that would be the problem. This would be a decision that you would need to make for yourself. Whatever decision you make you will need to find Joy in it. (when I say Joy I am talkingabout the spiritual kind not the happy allthe time kind)

  3. If you want to see the counselor separately and together - why not

  4. There may be entitlements you have in your state depending on how long you have been married, what state, etc under separation that you will need to find out about.


#18

[quote="BernardetteB, post:16, topic:222420"]
I have thought about seperation, but I am afraid that I will be sinning if I do so. I also do not have a job, nor an income. I have no family to go to either. The fact remains, I do not want to sin by leaving him, and this is my main fear.
I do have every intention of discussing all of this with the counselor on Tuesday (he says he will go with me so I'm feeling very on edge to tell this all of this in front of him). I am so busy second-guessing myself that I have prayed and told God to please make the counselor guide me within His will, and I am trusting God with this counseling.

[/quote]

I do not make the suggestion about separation lightly. I wish that you had family you could go to. What about your kids? Even a temporary separation might help you to feel stronger and more sure of handling what you have to do. Do you have any money of your own? I understand your concern about sin, and I wish your husband had half as much of a conscience as you do! Take it one day at a time, try not to let him tear you down, he was the one who sinned by breaking his vows, not you.


#19

Well, from what I understand, saying negative things about others when it’s not your business and you have no valid reason for making it your business, even if what you’re saying is true, is considered gossip, or in Catholic terms the “sin of detraction”. However, it would not be a sin for someone to, say, witness a parent beating a child, and report the incident to CPS, even if the people are complete strangers to you, because you have a valid reason, to protect the child.

So, it might be a sin to complain about your husband just to complain about your husband. But I don’t think it’s a sin to ask people for advice, as to whether you are in an abusive marriage, and whether it’s prudent to physically separate.

From what I understand, the Church does not find it a sin to “leave” as in physically separate from a spouse, and even to obtain a civil divorce, if the purpose of doing so is to protect yourself or your children from abuse. What would be a sin, is if you moved in with another man, or “married” someone else outside the Church (unless of course, your current marriage was found to be null by a tribunal).

I’d recommend you read the parts of the Catechism provided by joandarc2008, which pretty much refer to the same thing.


#20

Yes, I made sure that the counselor is Catholic. It is a counselor through the Archdiocese. After meeting with the counselor, I also will be setting an appointment to speak with my priest about this situation.
I am aware that my perception of the relationship is confused at the moment as I continually go back and forth in my mind about it not being as bad as I’m making it, and then feeling like I’m minimizing the situation. It is much easier to see how a relationship/marriage is from an outside perspective, which I’m hoping that the counselor will be able to determine if I’m either making too much of this, or taking it too lightly.
If I am making too much of this then I need counseling to know how to not sin by talking back to him and venting about the situation.


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