Submissiveness vs control, and when does it become abuse?


#1

I was reading the thread about wives submitting to their husbands with great interest. This fits with a lot of the issues that my DH and I are struggling with.

For 10 years, I’ve done everything I could to be supportive, make a nice home for us, and submit to his requests and decisions. My “free time”, i.e. time not at work, has been devoted to doing things to please him and make life easier for him. It has been difficult to balance doing things for him with taking care of our 2 children. But I do things because I love him and want to please him and be a good wife.

He was showing no appreciation or loving responses in return. Mostly what I received was requests to do more, complaints that I wasn’t doing things right, and strict restrictions on what I was “allowed” to do/not do. I was also pinched and groped (he felt nipple pinching and squeezing my breasts was playful sexy touching), told that I had bad breath if I tried to kiss him right when we woke up, had my body criticized, and was used for his own sexual gratification.

His explanation is that he ***was ***showing his love by touching me in those ways. He was showing his love by critiquing to help me improve myself, and he was showing his love by correcting to help me do things better. He was showing his love by protecting me from negative influences and even saving me from myself! He was showing me he loved me by “fixing” the way I did things so that I wouldn’t get hurt. He ***was ***showing me he loved me when our sexual relations were me servicing him, because he was being intimate with me; he ***was ***showing me his love by his need for me.

When I told him that these methods were doing the opposite of what he intended, he reasoned that I just needed to lighten up and have fun, that I should simply take his words the way he meant them.

After his recent bipolar/BPD (still not sure which) diagnosis & 6 months of therapy, he has finally made some major changes. There was emotional and verbal abuse going on as well, cursing at the children and me, using retaliation or the silent treatment as discipline, withholding love and affection etc. But those behaviors have mostly been under control since he started on his meds. He has stopped pinching, stopped criticizing everything I do, stopped critiquing my appearance and has started doing a lot of things for himself.

He still likes to grope my breasts and thinks it’s okay because he’s my husband, he likes it, it’s fun, so I should enjoy it too. He still wants to tell me how to do everything, for my safety or to be helpful, e.g. every time I’m cutting apples he tells me how to do it right so I won’t cut myself, or when I’m making a presentation for work he’ll explain how he would do it better, just to be helpful.

Some friends and my therapist call his behaviors abuse. They say he is controlling and manipulative. Other friends say that it isn’t “that bad” because he truly loves me. Our couples therapist says that we just have to compromise; but he doesn’t understand what compromise is. If I have an idea that he doesn’t agree with, he will keep at it until I agree to “his way”. I’m having a lot of trouble with this – we definitely have a power struggle. But really, if I’m submitting to him, I should be letting him have the final say without putting up an argument, right? However, the one thing that struck me from the other thread was about the husband trusting the wife to let her have final say in some decisions. This is never the case with us. If he agrees with me from the beginning then he says “see, I let you make that decision.” But is it really my decision if we already agreed? I never feel that he trusts me to do things or make decisions, even things that have nothing to do with him.

Here’s an example of the ridiculous things that we disagree about: we told our kids we would build a clubhouse in the space under the stairs in the basement. I want to do electricity, drywall, paint, carpet, the works - we are pretty handy and have a lot of the supplies already so I think I could do the whole thing for around $50-60. DH is currently unemployed (laid off 5 weeks ago) so I will be as thrifty as possible. He wants to either: 1) rent a truck & buy 30 sheets of drywall (about $240+truck rental), we’ll use them eventually for other projects we’ve been wanting to do; his rationale is buy a lot to make the truck rental worthwhile. Or 2) buy sheets to hang up for the walls and give them flashlights. I don’t want spend the $ for option 1, and option 2, sheets could cost even more than drywall and I would rather make it special for them. I would ask a friend with a truck to help, but he won’t allow it; we can’t ask people for favors. He doesn’t have time to do it because he’s looking for a job but he won’t let me & the kids do it ourselves. He’ll go on and on about why we should just use sheets, then he’ll get mad and say he just “can’t win” and complain about my stubbornness. I ultimately agree to use sheets. He apologizes for arguing and tells me how bad he feels about not having a job and how he hasn’t been contributing to the household in a significant way for a couple of years now. I feel guilty for not acquiescing in the first place. Then I give him a big pep talk about finding a job and about my faith in him, etc.

The bottom line – the past has caused me to lose much of my respect for him. I often catch myself finding him downright annoying. I’m also very wary of his control and manipulation, which sets the stage for these power struggles. The controlling everything in our lives does inhibit the children’s creativity, self-esteem, and makes it very difficult for them to learn to make decisions. So when do these behaviors cross the line from being difficult to cope with, to actually being detrimental to me or the children?

This is only the 2nd thread I’ve started & you are probably all thinking, wow this girl is wordy! Sorry for the length of my post, again, but I’m just at a loss. The really bad behaviors, the ones that have stopped, I’m hoping don’t come back, and the ones that are still here, are they really “abusive”? I don’t know if I’m still just hurt and disappointed and so not trusting him, or is he really just a jerk? Does he need different meds, or if he really has BPD, is this as good as it’s going to get?

  One last point that I want to ask about – the part about the husband loving his wife as Jesus loved the church, i.e. be willing to die for her.  I definitely don’t feel I have that in my husband.  A friend asked me recently if I thought he “has my back”, unfortunately I still think the answer is no.  If that’s the case then should I still be sacrificing for him no matter how he behaves (aside from dangerous abusive behavior)?  

#2

*I’m so sorry for what you’re going through, and have been through. Your husband sounds like he has made some positive changes, but still has a long way to go. May I ask–was he like this whatsoever when you dated him? Condescending? Groping? Rude? Overly critical? *


#3

Your 10 years with him is about 11 years longer than I would have stayed. God has blessed your husband with a truly saintly wife.

What you perceive as “not that bad” or “not AS bad” as his “other” behaviors are ALL bad behaviors. You are like a dog that has been whipped for so long that he goes up to his master wagging his tail even though he is going to get whipped again. You don’t even see it for what it is.

I honestly don’t know what to tell you. If he has a mental illness it may be beyond his ability to change. Prayer is powerful, and can help you to endure and maybe help im to change. I don’t know.

What I hope you do know, or come to realize, is that NONE of what your husband does is normal, and other people do not live like that.


#4

*That’s a powerful analogy, but 1ke is so right! *

:frowning:


#5

I think your friends are wrong, partly: while I don’t doubt that your husband loves you in his own way to the extent that he is capable of it, that doesn’t make the abuse he inflicts on your family any less severe. Most people who abuse their families also love their families, and it is never all okay in the end.
I don’t think that submissiveness expected of wives has to do with submitting to needless nitpicking, criticism or emotional and sexual abuse. That is not what marriage was meant for. Submissiveness in marriage is part of a two-way bargain:
“Wives, submit to your husbands as is fitting in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them” Colossians 3:18-20.
“Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her” Ephesians 5:24-26.

Is no one in your lives besides you attempting to make your husband live up to his marital commitment to you? If your husband is making bad financial decisions that would cause your family to suffer, it is your right and your duty to stop him from doing that. If your husband’s behavior is causing you and your children to suffer, it is your right and your duty to stop him from doing that.
To love is actually a hard task - as we know, love is patient, it is kind. It is never envious, it is not rude, nor self-seeking or easily angered. It keeps no record of wrongs. A person cannot show their love through doing things for their own pleasure that bothers or hurts the other person. That is a perversion of the meaning of love. Christ laid down His life for His Church, and paid the ultimate price because that is how much He loved the world. He never forced His authority on anyone even though He certainly could have, nor did He ever hurt anyone or enslave any person, much less expect them to just suffer it because He was in authority. There is not a single instance in the Gospel in which Jesus did not give when He was sought out by His faithful, and He still does to this very day, in the Eucharist. This is the love husbands should model themselves on. They can never be Christ, or do what He did and what He continues to do for us, but He is their role-model.

It sounds to me as if your husband is incredibly self-absorbed, perhaps pathologically. If he has a personality disorder like BPD (or maybe NPD?) there is little chance that he will change with medication or therapy. All things are possible in the Lord, so I would definitely suggest not giving up on him, but now that you know that he is mentally ill, you will have to accept that all the things he does and says are results of that mental illness and filtered through the distortions of a sick psyche.

But, here’s the thing: you’re also doing a disservice to your husband by letting him get away with his sadistic behavior. If you love him, you will not let him slip further away from God. If you don’t want to be groped, you don’t have to be. If you don’t want to be treated as if you’re a small child or incredibly stupid by being told how to do simple tasks, don’t let him do that. If you don’t want to spend money you can’t afford on things you don’t need, don’t let him. If however, you are genuinely afraid of him and afraid to stand up for yourself lest he hurt you, then you might want to consider safeguarding yourself by getting away from him. However, it doesn’t seem as if that is the case.


#6

Would you submit to Jesus if instead of giving his life for you he was pinching your breasts, swearing at you, and telling you how to cut apples?


#7

Whatevergirl,

I know he was doing the pinching and groping thing back then, which for the life of me I can’t figure out why I let him or tolerated it at all. He has been telling me how to cut an apple and to be careful with a knife forever. He always comes across as so sincere when he says that he doesn’t mean for things to be condescending or rude, he’s just trying to be helpful… And he always seems so distraught when I tell him I don’t like something he’s doing, e.g. with the breast groping thing, he’ll say that he just doesn’t know how to do it the way I want him to or that my complaining about it makes him feel like he should just never touch me. Oh, and that it is just meant to be funny, and that I should just take it that way.

During the time we were dating I guess I thought of these things as little annoyances (???) and I don’t remember feeling demeaned, stupid and belittled back then. But the weird thing is that either I have really bad long-term memory or something has blocked or repressed a lot of my memories of our early years together. We dated for 3 1/2 years before getting married, which should be plenty long to really get to know someone, but I really only have fleeting memories of specific times. There are a lot of things that old friends will mention to me that I have no recollection of.

Ever since high school I kept a journal, I was still doing that when I met my husband. I recently went looking for those old journals to see if I could stir up some old memories on this exact topic – I found my journals from high school and college, and on up until 1990. I also found one more from late 1995-1996, the only pages it had in it covered about the first year of our dating. It was clear that there had been pages ripped out, both before and after that section. I thought and thought about this, why would they be ripped out? Why couldn’t I find the ones from 1991-early 1995? I finally had a very vague recollection of shredding them all. I think it was because we had talked about how much it bothered him to think about the other men who I had dated so I shredded them to “protect” him, if that makes any sense. And the pages from after I met him? I think those must have gone into the shredder too, maybe because they didn’t say all wonderful things about him? I don’t know.

I do know that around '98 I stopped journalling, I don’t know why, other than that was just another one of my “hobbies” that I gave up to spend time with him and doing things for him.


#8

*peach, I have put a link here, please check this book out when you can…if it’s at your library, or at your local bookstore. I was in a verbally abusive relationship before my husband, and some of the things your husband says to you, mirror the things the guy I dated said. I didn’t read this book until halfway into my marriage, because I think I tried to sweep the feelings I had from that relationship, under the carpet. Verbal and emotional abuse is ‘designed,’ to keep people off kilter. Your husband plays it off as a joke, ultimately…YOU are always left feeling like YOU did something wrong. He is only trying to help, he wants to help you be better, etc…:rolleyes: Please, you’re cutting an apple, is it really rocket science?

I think by themselves, these things are innocuous, but as they pile up, I see a verbal abuser in your husband. An emotional abuser…while he seems to have improved, he still doesn’t get that you are entitled to BOUNDARIES. Something many abusers don’t get, whatsoever. They grope (the guy I dated did this also :mad:) they are rude, they make flip comments…and when you react…Oh, I was just trying to be nice to you, or it was just a joke…

PLEASE read this book…you’ll swear the person who wrote it dated your husband and the guy I dated. It’s weird how abusers are similiar in their tactics. The isolation/silent treatment is another red flag to me.

I can’t tell you what to do, only you can decide when enough is enough. But I can pray for you, and I highly suggest you read this book, and others you run across on the net, that ring true to your situation. God bless you! *


#9

amazon.com/Verbal-Abuse-Survivors-relationship-recovery/dp/1558503048/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1249665484&sr=8-1

Sorry, there’s the link.


#10

Something you might find helpful is to read Proverbs 31:10-31, on the “strong woman” or “virtuous wife”, depending on the translation.

The thing is, the husband is supposed to trust his wife. He is supposed to regard her as someone clever and wise, who pursues her own goals as part of what she does for the household, someone worth listening to.

And yes, this too is related to how Christ loves the Church or loves the individual member of the faithful. Christ sends us out to do things and makes us all our own people.

He doesn’t micro-manage us, even though He knows all things and can do all things better than us.

St. Albert the Great wrote a commentary about this section of Proverbs. He talks about how, yes, women should submit to their husbands. But he also says that wives and husbands are to be friends with each other also, and that without that friendship and companionship, love goes away. He talks about how Eve was not created from Adam’s head or foot, but from his rib – next to his heart. This is a medieval Dominican friar talking. I think you have a right to be at least as feminist as a medieval friar!

I will pray for you and your whole family.


#11

Love and Respect

http://home.roadrunner.com/~annunciation/crazycycle.gif


#12

Are you sure you’re the one who shredded those journal pages? It sounds to me like your marriage has some major issues. And they won’t change unless something major happens. Have you thought about a separation? Even if only temporary. Tell your husband that you both need to think about this and see where the marriage needs to go. It isn’t just about him, or you. It’s about the both of you. And it sounds like a very unhappy, unhealthy relationship.

I don’t want you to do something just because I said it. I mean it as a suggestion. So, ignore it if you want. I think you’re already taking a hard look at the relationship. Just ask yourself if this is the kind of behavior you want your kids to learn.


#13

Buffalo – thank you very much for the link, I’ll be watching those videos this weekend!

Whatevergirl – I’m checking for that book at the library!

Christy Beth – I am pretty sure I did shred them, seems to be a vague recollection after he and I had an in-depth discussion about the men I had dated in the past, and about my male friends as well. We have talked about a separation, of course he doesn’t want to do it, and is unemployed right now so I’d be kicking him out to go live with his dysfunctional parents, which could make matters worse. Seriously about the separation, every time I think that this is it, we’re just going to have to do this separation thing, then he keeps improving his behavior. This is what deeply disturbs me about the whole thing – he seems to be clueless about everything that I say is bothering me, but when it comes down to it, he can change those behaviors - this is what makes me think more and more that he’s not bipolar, maybe not even BPD, unless he’s just that good at pretending, which from what I understand BPD people often are, but maybe he’s just a manipulative jerk.

Thanks everyone for your support and suggestions!


#14

peach–I encourage you to google “verbal abuse” and just look at all of the different accounts that women post on different websites. I googled it earlier today, when looking for the book title for you, and you will be amazed at how your story is another’s woman’s story–nearly identical. Peace be with you…


#15

As I was reading your thread, my first thought was yeah, whatever, that’s not such a big deal. But after reading the rest of it and the responses to your post, I had a wake-up call. My ex-husband treated me the exact same way. The inappropriate touching that he called “affection”. He would yell at me if the remotes on the coffee table weren’t in the center and perfectly aligned. We didn’t have kids but we had the same fights about the dogs that you talked about the kids. And his wanting to spend more money than we had was the same too. The only difference is that he had a “business” and worked from home and he always needed some expensive piece of computer equipment or whatever for his “business”. Your post sounds just like what i went through except for one big difference. I didn’t see it as abuse. And the reason I didn’t see it is because it was never pointed out to me. But looking back at my life with him after reading your post, everything fell into place. He was very controlling and he was always trying to make me better. I tell folks that I finally divorced him because of his drug habit that he would never kick but now I realize that there was so much more to it. The only thing that you didn’t mention that I always did was give in to him because I didn’t want him to get mad at me and lose his temper. And i would constantly be on edge that I was going to **** him off for whatever reason. I still have issues about that. I have a wonderful boyfriend and if we get in a little tiff I immediatly back down and start apologizing, etc. Don’t get me wrong, I am a very strong person and I don’t let people walk all over me but when it comes to my BF I am always apologizing. He is such a wonderful guy though. He knows why I do this and he keeps telling me that it’s OK if he gets mad at me sometimes. It’s going to happen and he’s not going to leave me or kick my dog. (my husband kicked my dog a few times and I woud put myself between them).

Anyway, thanks for that post. I now see things a lot more clearly.

Also FWIW, I am divorced and have been for about four years. It was a horrible horrible process. I don’t wish it on anyone. But I am a much happier and well adjusted person now. And you have kids so you have to think about them. Do you want them to think what your husband does to you is normal?


#16

noclevername (love your name! :)) – this is exactly how I was before he went in the hospital and got his bipolar diagnosis. I backed down for years, then it started really getting to me so that’s when I started arguing back, which caused fights. I would walk around on eggshells, hoping that I or the kids didn’t do anything to upset him. I had a knot in my stomach, surprised I don’t have an ulcer, constantly. Going out to eat as a family was a nightmare! He would be furious because the kids were talking too loud or they had to go to the bathroom, or they weren’t eating their food. He always wants me to have whatever he’s having and wants the kids to have what he tells them to have. If we go to an italian restaurant he won’t let them have chicken strips and fries. :confused: Sometimes he would just get up and go out to the car. I was left on more than one occasion to pay the bill, carry the leftovers and the one sleeping child, while trying to hold the hand of the other who was crying because dad went out to the car without him.

It has been so much better since he’s been on the meds, but I’m still really leery that once he doesn’t feel there’s any danger that I’m going to leave him, he’ll go back to his old ways.

The one thing that has improved dramatically is how he is with the kids. He has been SO much better with them, playing with them, taking them on walks, fixing dinner for them when I have to work late, actually showing that he loves them! But this takes me back to the part about how much is real behavior change because of the meds and how much is just his “acting”…it’s like whenever I mention a specific behavior with the kids, like the retaliation and silent treatment, I told him that it was childish and hurtful to them so he immediately stopped doing it…but somehow he just can’t bring himself to stop squeezing and groping me whenever he feels like it, no matter how many times I discuss it with him.


#17

*I think that is a very encouraging story, noclevername.

I don’t think anyone here would advocate divorce…but, living with an abuser, is like a slow death of the soul, in my eyes. And peach, when I was dating a verbally/emotionally abusive guy, I felt myself feeling sick over time…like physically, I was weaker, I caught colds a lot…stomach aches…couldn’t sleep. It was bizarre, when I ended things, it took a while, but those ailments disappeared.

I remember him saying things when he’d be angry…‘you’re an embarassment,’ and ‘why am I with you, you’ll make a horrible wife someday,’ and ‘what’s so funny?’ (if I laughed at something everyone else in a room was laughing at, a JOKE…) and…"why are you so sad?’’ (when I wouldn’t even be sad, he just wanted to keep me off center) and “women are good for this or that.” Another common thing he did was tell me what to wear, and why was I wearing makeup? When I didn’t wear makeup, he would ask why wasn’t I wearing it? In the book you’ll get that I mentioned, the author talks about ‘crazy making.’ The abuser typically likes to make the people he/she abuses, to feel like they are literally crazy. I knew I wasn’t crazy, but he would make me feel like he had a right to speak to me the way he did.

The ultimate thing that finally got me to break up with him, was he started shoving me…and getting right in my face and yelling…calling me stupid, and pinching my breasts…do they have a manual that these men read from or something? :mad: I would jump away from him, I was a virgin, and I was planning to stay that way, and his touching was very upsetting to me. He called me names accusing me of sleeping with men, and I wasn’t. He was a piece of work, we’ll say that. I think I became afraid of him, and I knew that was not normal. Regarding the groping…it’s a boundaries thing. Men who don’t have respect for women, don’t have boundaries with them…so, that is what he is probably struggling with.

Sadly, I guess when I recall all of it, even though it was so long ago, I still have anger with myself for allowing him to control me. Ultimately, an abuser can only abuse someone who is there for him to abuse. I know your situation is very different than mine was…you have children and are married to him, but I would try to figure out what to do, and not take the comments lightly whatsoever. You deserve better for yourself and for your kids. God bless…although, I’m editing (adding on here) after reading your reply to noclevername, that he is doing better with the kids. Again, we can offer our own testimonials, advice, books…but ultimately, you’ll know I think when you have had enough, or it it’s right to stay. God bless. *


#18

cookiesbyforce –

I had to ponder a bit on some of the things you said, you made a lot of great points.

I don’t know who else in our lives would attempt to make him live up to his marital obligations. His family has babied him his entire life, that’s a huge part of why he is the way he is. My family just doesn’t get it; we were raised to not talk about our problems so now as adults, they don’t know what to do with me when I talk about this stuff. Also, to the outside world, he seems very normal. He is great at putting on a happy face when we go to family gatherings or when people come to our house.

I also don’t know how to not let him get away with things. Asking him not to grope me or talk to me like I’m a child doesn’t work. He turns it back on me and says that it’s my problem because I take things too seriously. I don’t know what else to do with that, do I punish him like a child if he tries to grope me? Do I put him in timeout if he talks to me like I’m 4?

And as far as decisions about money go, if he decides that he wants to spend $500 on a trimmer/edger (yes, he did) – I don’t think I can win. He says what he wants to do, I can talk about other options, suggestions, compromises etc, until I am blue in the face, but he will KEEP AT IT until I just can’t take it anymore and give in out of sheer exhaustion from talking about it or listening to him talk about it. It’s interesting that if I say I want to buy a new pair of tennis shoes he can say that I should wait a few more months because we can’t really afford it right now and that is the end of the subject. If I bring it up again he gets upset because I “just don’t know when to stop.”

As far as being afraid of him, I don’t know what to think. Originally when I was trying to get him to check into the facility for the psych evaluation I was really afraid that he was going to go ballistic and do something really crazy and that I would have to end up calling the police on him. But he actually ended up crying and going willingly (it’s instances like this that make me hold out hope that he is just really mentally unstable and not just a bully). But now, on the other hand, I almost feel like he’s purposely manipulating me when he puts on his sad face and is all upset because now I’m hurting him and trying to change him and I’m supposed to love him the way that he is…

Ugh! I just get so frustrated thinking about it!! I just don’t know how long I can go on living in this limbo. I feel like I’m just waiting for the other shoe to drop. I know at some point it will be clear to me whether the changes he has made and is continuing to make are going to be stable. Eventually I’ll know that we can stay together because he is not going hurt me or the children anymore, OR, I’ll know that we have to split up because he’s started going back the other way. But when is it going to be ***clear??? ***


#19

Oh, I want to scream! This brings back so many bad memories. Stuff that never goes away. Was my ex a bigamist or something? How did he find the time to torment so many women?

Look back at what you wrote. NONE of it is really about how YOU feel. You are numb to your own feelings. EVERYTHING in your life is centered around HIS behavior and HIS reaction and what HE MIGHT do. Just the way he likes it. You never do anything because YOU want to do it. Your first thought is always "How will I handle it with him? " Right? You shouldn’t have to “handle” your husband like he’s nitroglycerin.

Yes, he can control it. Mine would be rude to the very people I needed him to be polite to. Then he would turn around and prove he could be charming to the people he WANTED to be charming to. It was an act.

And yes, for a while he was a model father. Because the children were of an age when daddy worship was the thing to do. He LOVED it! The kids gave his narcissistic soul all the praise and admiration it could ever want and more. But it was never enough. Guess what, though. 5 year olds become 12. And 15. And they stop seeing daddy as perfect. Then it gets fun. You going to wait around till he has a kid mouthing off to him and then he throws the kid across the room into a wall to “teach him some respect?” You going to wait till he makes mysogynistic comments to a daughter about her weight and ridicules her friends’ figures?

Or maybe your children will never do that. Maybe a lifetime of living with him will teach them how to take everyone’s emotional temperature in a room before they say or do anything. They’ll become so numb to their own feelings and emotions they won’t know who they are. Then they’ll be ready to marry someone just like daddy. Because they’ll be experts at managing difficult people. They won’t see a man like him for the prize he is and run like hell.

About 15 more years should do it for y’all. If you can manage. If not,maybe if he’s not too busy they can visit you at the nursing home. He’ll be the guy playing the martyr for having put up with your “mood swings.” “See, I told everyone she was crazy!”

No, that breast groping is not love. It’s repressed hostility, as he grabs the symbol of your femininity and treats it with disrespect.

And me… about two times of being told how to cut apples and I would have said, “Gee, how did I ever live all those years before I met you and keep all my fingers? Gosh. Thanks for the advice. I’ll give it the value it deserves.” Yeah, he’d hit me. Or call me an f-ing b in front of the kids. But I got my digs in. I stood up for myself. What a life… little victories like that.:frowning:

That kind of “caring” is an insult done in the way manipulative people do it best. They’re insulting your intelligence but if you call them on it, YOU look like the loon because “they were just showing they cared.” No, they weren’t. If he cared, HE’D be cutting the #$#$ apple!.

You’re making all your life choices on his feelings of the moment. They’ll change by tomorrow. When he gets tired of play acting or there’s nothing in it for him, he’ll revert to true form and stop taking the meds. Oh, and let him go live with his family. They need to see him for the loon he is. Otherwise, they’ll take his side in the custody battle and tell the courts how unstable you were and how their son should have the kids.

(I lived it. I’m not joking.)

Next time he’s sad, ask him “How come when I’m happy, you’re sad, and when I’m sad, you’re happy. Why don’t you ever cooperate with my moods.” Mirror his own talk back to him. It will make him nuts. Wait. He already is. Well, it might amuse you. You need to find your sense of humor or you’ll never make it. You need to find a way to laugh internally at this man before he drives you to drink poison.

You need to find who you are. Or you’ll end up standing in a store someday unable to buy a church dress because you won’t know who you are and how you dress without his carping and critiques and “helpful input” in every decision. I bought $10 plastic shoes at Payless and he bought Florsheims. Never even. And all the money for his stupid hobbies of the moment. I didn’t get a hobby. I didn’t have time to waste with all the housework… while he sat around and played. But don’t complain.! A life lived to keep a false peace is a life lived as a lie.

Ask yourself how long you think you can live having no opinion of your own, being treated like a fool and what will you do when your children start talking to you like you’re a moron because daddy does.

I lived it, sweetie. Please don’t make the mistake I did. Go back to journalling and HIDE THEM WITH A NEIGHBOR! You may be shocked at the things you find you write. You need to find yourself somewhere behind all the smoke and mirrors and BS.

When will it be clear? When you step away from the fakery and look at it realistically and realize he knows EXACTLY how to play you to do the bare minimum to keep you coming back for more.

One day you wake up and realize that if it’s till death do you part, you want the death part to come really quick. Get out before you reach that point. Do you want HIM raising the kids?


#20

Such a variety of advice here. I went through a very nasty divorce many years ago because I wasn’t “good enough” for my ex and his family. I refused to be his sex toy and the family slave, so I got kicked out. Because he had liberal visitation rights with our daughter, I kept in contact. If I had had a choice, I would have just dropped him. But I didn’t want to give him any excuse to stop child support payments.

Also, I’m mentally ill myself. And, yes, it does affect other people. I’ve been in treatment and on medication for years. And I probably will be for the rest of my life. It isn’t easy to live with. Not for myself and not for those around me. I don’t want to make excuses, for there really isn’t any. But sometimes the stupidest stuff sets me off. Like one day I noticed my daughter had a picture of her dad. Now, she’s getting married nest year. I couldn’t stop thinking about that stupid picture. So I emailed her to see if she was in contact with him. And I let her know I wanted nothing to do with him because I was afraid of being hurt all over again. Well, that led to some harsh words. But we finally worked through the issue.

But I think that in your situation a separation would probably be the best thing. Is there a homeless shelter in your town? Try to get him to go there instead of to his parents house. They can, hopefull, help him get work and learn to better deal with his issues. I know it isn’t easy, life isn’t easy. And is sometimes feels like we are wallowig in misery. I pray that God leads you to the right decision and all works out for the best.


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