So if you are in a marriage where you are enabling your spouse, what would you do?
I married before I became a true Catholic. I married a Baptist who does not attend church. He went to church with me faithfully when we dated, and has rarely went since we said “I do”.
He shows no mercy to me or the children. He is hyper-critical and thinks that punishment is the answer to everything. Sometimes spanking our 16-year old daughter because he thinks she is “disrespectful” when actually she may just be telling him how she feels. He will provoke and say “do you have something to say” and when something is said he tells you that you are wrong or disrespecting him. He has never hurt anyone in the family physically. The spankings are not hard enough to bruise or anything like that. He also grounds the children and will not tell them how long they are grounded, just until he says and it goes on for months.
For a very long time I have thought that I should just love him as best I can and submit to his authority over the family and God will deal with him. However, nothing ever changes and I feel exhausted and I am not being a good parent myself. I am so preoccupied with how to deal with this that I have very little patience with the children anymore. I recently decided to start asking him to change and look at his own behaviors and get some help. He is not receptive. He says I need help. We have been through this cycle 5 times where he tells me to get help, I go to counseling alone and he does nothing. I really feel that I have my own problems with being codependent and confused, but I do not have serious psychological issues. I feel he has been gas lighting me all these years and I know he is the one who needs to get some help but he refuses. He says he nearly perfect as a father/husband and that I am not being a good wife. I have exhausted all resources, no one understands. I just want him to get some help. He has severely tortured by his father as a child and now he is torturing us emotionally by controlling and punishing.
Please know that I realize I could be better. I frequent confession, mass, rosary, chaplet. I have a devotion to the blessed Mother and that is why I am still trying to figure this out. When I married him I was immature and stupid, now I am not sure what to do to help my children.
Before you ask, yes we have been to therapy together, to priests, pastors and counselors. He used to go only so that he could tell them what was wrong with ME. We went on a marriage encounter once but there is such a lack of empathy and emotion, emptiness, that is all, nothing sinks in. He is like a shell of a person.
We live separate lives. The kids and me, and he does what he wants. I am not sure what to do but if you have any advice I would appreciate it. I would not divorce him, but I think I am going to ask him to start praying with us and going to church with us. If he refuses. I am thinking of asking for separation only as a tool to persuade him to get help.