Pregnant, Separated and Confused


So, I’ve been married for 8 years, I have 3 children (6,5 and 2) and am currently pregnant with #4. My husband has been very verbally abusive since almost the beginning of our marriage and mildly physically abusive, with a big escalation back in February. We separated after that last incident and he agreed to go to individual counseling (I have been going to counseling for years both to address my own childhood wounds and bad habits, and to learn how to cope with this abusive situation). Things were up and down for those few months and I made the decision to let him back into the house even though I knew nothing had significantly changed because we couldn’t financially afford living separately. He has not hit me again since February, though the verbal abuse has been on and off (though less than before). Literally, the week he moved back into the house in June, he stopped going to counseling all together. Living together proved more difficult for me than I anticipated. Though he’s never been violent with the kids, it threw me over the edge when I saw him screaming at our 6 year old for no apparent reason a few weeks ago. The kids were on edge and I was always wondering when his temper would escalate into something more violent again. These factors, among others, made me decide to legally separate (last time, it was just informal). Though our priest somewhat knows what is going on, I don’t really feel I can talk to him because he is also my husband’s boss. I have talked to the priest who brought us into the church a lot, however, and his very strong advice was to legally separate until a real change is evident and I am convinced that I will no longer experience this verbal and physical abuse. He warned this would probably take a year at least, if not more. Though I have not talked to many people about this because I don’t want to tarnish his reputation or affect his relationships, every friend I have talked to has had the same advice. I feel horrible for saying this because I take the sacrament of marriage very seriously, but I do feel separation was the right thing to do. I feel at peace with that decision. I guess I’m just wondering how to move forward. My husband has not returned to counseling though he keeps saying he intends to, and our relationship right now is very tense - he blames me for all the financial strain this is causing, with no regard for the abuse that precipitated this or the fiscal irresponsibility that is aggravating it (ie. he nicely furnished his new apartment complete with flat screen TV, etc). I guess I’m wondering what I’m looking for to believe a change has taken place, how long to give it (I confess, I’m tired of being his verbal whipping post) and what the godly course of action is. If you have any advice, please share!


I guess I’m also wondering how to develop community during this difficult time. We are new to this state with no family and no real friends. Because my husband works for the parish, I don’t want to let news of our separation leek out and cause a scandal. I’ve even been leery of attending support groups for the divorced and separated because I’m scared of word getting back to parishioners. Maybe I’m taking it too seriously? I just feel very lonely - not for my husband really, but just for a friend or family member. Some of my friends (all very conservative Catholics) actually suggested that I move closer to where my family lives, but I thought the transition would be too difficult for the kids. I’ve attended some support groups at the Domestic Violence Women’s Center in town, but I’m afraid I will be prematurely influenced to give up on my marriage. Any advice?


No one is expected to learn to live with an abusive situation. He hits you, you leave. That is the way to handle this.

Call your pastor TODAY, ask him to get you Catholic Charities for a women’s shelter until he can assist you in moving back with your family.


When I separated, I think I thought that 18 months to 2 years of him going to counseling and showing that he had changed would convince me. It quickly became apparent that that was not going to happen. Any efforts on his part were short-lived and calculated only at getting us back to where we were before.

The fact that your husband can’t see that he is responsible for the financial consequences of separation is a good clue that he sees the separation as the problem, not his behavior.

Get the help and support that you need, whether it be from domestic violence groups or from your family. Don’t feel ashamed or scared of others finding out. While I wouldn’t go around advertising it, I don’t think it is a good idea to avoid getting the support that you need simply because you are afraid for his reputation. His reputation will be a lot worse if you stay together and the natural course of an abusive relationship is allowed to ensue.

Hold your head up high and do what you need to do for your children.


Please get the help you need. He has already hit you once and he is continually verbally abusive to you (and maybe the children) What happens when your children realize what he is doing to you and try to help you or protect you? Will he hit them? Verbally abuse them? Will your children grow up and think this kind of relationship is normal? I don’t want to sound mean or harsh, but there is lots of evidence about the cycle of abuse. :frowning:

The legal seperation is a good start, you are pregnant and need support. I would suggest you move back closer to you family. Your children are young, it is better for them to be loved and cared for by you and their grandparents then to witness this abuse. (I would suggest that it will be easier to move the children now, before they get older and start school) But I am not in your situation, so maybe finding help in the area is better.

I will pray a divine mercy novena for you. :crossrc:


Your children are young enough to take a major move with very little impact. You would be safer, and better able to cope with the situation if you went to be with supportive family and friends. You and the children deserve a better life; I would move away.


National Domestic Violence Hotline
1-800-799-SAFE (7233)
1-800-787-3224 (for the Deaf)
Information for all 50 states, Puerto Rico, & US Virgin Islands


Word to the wise:

I was married to his twin. I did everything I could to keep him from losing his sacred job. I didn’t report his physical abuse to the police so he wouldn’t lose his clearance. I let him move me far from my family. (For a fresh start.)

I didn’t tell the world the truth about him. I could forgive him but could they?

When all was said and done, because I didn’t report the abuse to anyone, when HE decided to get rid of ME, it was he said/she said on the physical abuse. I was far from my family and he got a restraining order keeping me from moving home. It’s been 11 years.

And he quit his job. His precious job. To keep me here.

You don’t want to pull the plug PREMATURELY? Just what are you waiting for?

You’ll wait till it’s worse and you’re stuck and THEN pull the plug? Or wait till he does?

Do what’s best for the kids. If you don’t think you deserve better.


Talk to your priest. Even if he is your husbands boss. The secrecy of the confessional is sacrosanct. Perhaps the diocese has a mental health counseling service that could help. But no matter what else, you must protect the children.

Perhaps the diocese can also help you with budgeting. If he is serious about making things work then he needs to be told that the apartment is supposed to be a temporary arrangement and that a big TV is not proper. If he truly wants the big screen, but it in the house and let him have the old one.

If he is not serious then there is nothing much to do but pray and protect the children.

Incrisis, you have my prayers.


closed #10

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