Marriage advice needed badly

I need some really good advice concerning my marriage.

For the past year, my husband and I have been fighting nonstop. We have 4 young kids and when the baby was born about a year ago, he lost his job and I struggled with postpartum depression. Since then, he landed himself a very good job and I have definitely gotten back on my feet but the fighting hasn’t gotten much better at all.

Our fights can become violent in all aspects. I’m not going to pretend I’m perfect by any stretch but 99% of the time, he picks these fights. He is a very controlling (some would say mysogonistic) man and when things aren’t going EXACTLY his way, he can’t help but blurt out in a very abrasive way what he’s thinking. There is very little filter and most of the time he hurts me deeply with the things he says. More than anything, I’m tired of ticking him off in some sort of way 3+ times every single day. It is exhausting and I can’t do much more than turn on movies for my kids all day because I’m so emotionally drained. And to my core, I’m not OK with that. I desire so much to be a more present mother so the situation is heartbreaking.

Additionally, he absolutely cannot handle it when I tell him he’s done something wrong. He immediately not only becomes defensive but offensive as well. As quickly as he possibly can, he will deflect back onto me and oftentimes trick me into believing the whole situation is actually my fault. He is an extremely smart man and we joke he’d make a great lawyer because he’s so good at confusing and ultimately exhausting the opposing party to the point of winning arguments.

He tells me quite frequently that I’m doing a bad job raising our kids. He thinks I’m too lax and I don’t follow through with anything. The truth of the matter is that I believe he is way too harsh with them. He yells at them all the time and he picks favorites. I feel awful for them so I usually am compensating for the lack of love and affection they receive from him. They have stated multiple times that they are scared of him and he has heard it. It still doesn’t make a difference.

Here is where I’m at. I am not going to say I hate my husband but I really really resent him. He has honestly made my life a living hell. I live every single day in fear of the emotional rollercoaster he is going to take me on. Honestly I wish there were a way out, but I’m too devout of a Catholic for that.

I don’t know what options I have. I believe we were validly married so I don’t believe in even seeking the possibility of an annulment. I would love the chance to separate for at least a month just to give him a chance to reflect on how he’s been treating me and give me a chance to decompress. However, he has flat out refused to ever allow me to do that. Maybe that gives you an idea of the kind of control he has over me…

You do not have to ask your husband to agree to a separation. You need to get legal advice, as soon as possible, and keep yourself and your children out of danger. Divorce is allowed.

From the CCC:

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.

You and your children deserve better than to live in fear and sadness. He is abusing you, physically and emotionally. He is gaslighting you and forcing you all to walk on eggshells around him. If you are in physical danger, call the police.

I’m so sorry you’re going through this. Look after yourself, get legal advice as soon as possible. Speak to your Priest too, he will be able to help.

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Is your husband happy with the way things are going? If not, that might be a place to start–ask to sit down with him and work out consistent parenting plans, stress management, etc.

Don’t argue with him. Leave the room if you must, but refuse to engage when you see things devolving into useless argumentation. Be kind and loving, and when you can’t, be neutral.

How does he have time to get you into emotionally drained states all day? Even if he’s working from home, doesn’t he have things to do?

No, he isn’t happy. He’s expressed he wants things to be different. But he has this weird hang up with counseling. He won’t agree to it unless we talk about it when we aren’t fighting. However, we are always fighting. So I don’t see how we will ever get the help we need

He calls me names… awful names. He curses at me. In front of our children. It’s virtually impossible for me to just remain loving and calm.

Even if he won’t go to counseling, you go. A counselor will be able to help you see clearly. As he is gaslighting you, it may not be a good idea to have joint therapy. When a partner is abusive, it is often advised against.

This. Mama, you can’t change him. But you can change your response to him and you can protect your children from him. If you want a separation, you can make that happen. But don’t wait for his permission, because you know you’ll never get it. You have your own agency and you’re entitled to use it. Look after yourself.

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Is he physically striking you?

You need to get professionals involved here, including law enforcement if he is attacking you. This doesn’t sound like normal marital tiffs. Frankly, it sounds like you and your children are in danger. Please seek help immediately.

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If he is physically abusing you, or your children, you must get out…and get them out!

How much are you willing to risk? The man may be dangerous. And all your kids are young. Didn’t you call your youngest a baby? They don’t need this! Nor do you!

You and your kids deserve better. Please, see a lawyer. Many give free phone consults. We care about you here, but are very limited in what we can do for you. If all else fails, call the abused women’s shelter in your area. That can at least give you a way to physically separate from him! I’m sure they can point you towards some legal services, too. Things may be a bit slow in this quarantine time. Just be honest with them!

God has better things in store for you, and for your children. May He Bless you, and keep you safe!

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There are safe houses for spouses and children fleeing abusive situations. google them and call now. Call your priest, call your Diocese Catholic Charities office, call someone who can get you out.

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