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I want to stay in my home even though H is abusive.

(54 Posts)
Antoniabegonia Sun 31-Aug-14 21:41:48

H and I have both retired recently. We have been married 40 years. Throughout most of that time he has been verbally, emotionally and occasionally physically abusive (shoving, hitting once, threatening etc).

My children are grown and do not live with us. After our last child left the abuse quietened down and I was working while he was not. I know he knew the balance had shifted in my favour and he was more careful and backed off from much if the abuse. I actually though we might find some type of happiness!

Over time though the abuse restarted slowly and escalated when I retired. He now has regular verbal outbursts over nothing but knows if he ever touches me again I will call the police and go for a restraining order and divorce.

Frankly the ranting is just boring for me and I don't give a damn. I don't like him or care about him and I don't hate him. He is just nothing to me. My eyes were opened a couple of years ago by an incident and I found a therapist and books and saw how abusive and manipulative he was and as a result can see through all the lies and manipulation so it just has no affect any more.

He started ranting this morning about my leaving the dishwasher open and I told him it was because, as the only person in the house doing any housework and I loaded and unloaded the dishwasher while I was having my breakfast and multiple cups of tea (!) I could do what I want and he could either walk round it of shut it if he wanted. In the middle of this rant he hit my arm (not hurting me at all) but sending my precious tea all over the kitchen with splashes on the ceiling! He semi cleaned it up himself but I did the rest.

He didn't apologise (never does as it's all my fault anyway !) and expected me to call the police which I didn't as I wasn't hurt, intimidated or scared. Just contemptuous of him. It did make me think he was maybe starting to ramp it up again as he gets nowhere with me anymore and minimal reaction.

We have a son with mild autism who lives alone and functions in society but needs a lot of support from both of us, especially practical things like his car and managing his money. He will never be able to manage alone and may need care in the future but basically won't get 'better'. My daughter has a physically disabled child who needs a lot of my time and money to support her. Mainly my time. I can't go back to work because my job was very physical and my time is taken up with my GS.

I love my house and garden and don't want to leave it. If I decide to divorce I will be financially much worse off and may lose the security of a home of my own. I would probably be able to buy a small house but it will take all my savings too. My H would most likely move back to Scotland where his family are and would not be here to help my son. He would also probably cut my daughter and GS out of his will (threatened this) so my GS may never live independently. I would struggle financially and the additional stress of dealing with my son and grandson would be very hard for me to cope with as I have arthritis. I can't walk away from either so that is not up for discussion, sorry.

If he divorces me I will cope. I don't need another man in my life. I just need a plan to live with someone I loathe at the moment but usually am totally indifferent to. Has anyone else been in this situation? I would love never to see him as long as I live but my children are still keeping me tied to this man.

War and peace, sorry again.

StevesBollockAnalogy Mon 01-Sep-14 07:07:46

I don't have the answers or the legal brain to help you, but I am hopefully bumping your thread in case someone wise like Cog turns up! I will say this though, I think he is violent and abusive to you because in his eyes it gives him power and hurting you and making you vulnerable makes him powerful. It is really really good that you can see right through him now, and I would urge you to divorce him as soon as you can. Because you are no longer reacting in fear, it will not be giving him that same buzz so he may escalate in order to frighten and intimidate you to get his power-high back. I fear that you are putting yourself in an increasingly dangerous situation by staying with him. I can understand why you wouldn't want to leave your home, but it isn't a choice between putting up with a grumpy husband to keep your home, and losing your home. This man is very dangerous. Your safety is the most important thing. flowers

EhricLovesTheBhrothers Mon 01-Sep-14 07:09:21

If you sold the house could you afford to buy somewhere outright for you? Assuming you're around retirement age and a mortgage is unlikely?
If he goes to Scotland you will cope. Things would be harder for a while but you would cope. And a house is just a house. Of course you would be sad to sell it but it would be worth it for a safe haven of your own.
Have you got legal advice yet?

CogitoErgoSometimes Mon 01-Sep-14 07:28:09

Dilemmas like this are always a balance of judgement & no-one can decide them for you. I understand how important a house and garden are for a sense of security - especially when everything else is going wrong around you. On the other hand, living with someone such as you describe is very draining, wearing and ultimately will shorten your life.

I'm currently dealing with parents, now in their seventies, who have had a very (verbally) bad tempered relationship for many of the 55 years they've been married. Raging arguments over leaving a dishwasher door open sound very familiar to me. DM is angry, bullying & now has a paranoid version of Alzheimer's which has exaggerated everything times ten. DF has Parkinsons, is acting as carer and looks worse every time I see him. When I asked DM in the past why she stayed married to my DF (and giving him hell on a daily basis) the response..... 'I don't want to lose my house and garden'. Their dysfunctional relationship is the biggest source of sadness in my life

My suggestion is that you get legal & practical advice on the ramifications of a split. You're making assumptions about houses, wills etc which may or may not be the case. There may be financial support or other aspects that you haven't factored in. In short, work with facts rather than stay hamstrung by fear or misinformation.

You, not your children who have now left home, are keeping your own self tied to this man. You've always had a choice re him.

Seek proper legal advice and do not remain stymied by inertia, fear or lack of knowledge.

Rebecca2014 Mon 01-Sep-14 07:36:03

I am so sorry you have put up with this for 40 years. I was in an abusive relationship like this and I could have easily seen us being like this till the day one of us died.

The abuse will escalate because he will want the power rush of being able to control you. He is a nasty little man who will never change as I am sure you are aware by now.

I am sure there have always been excuses you have stayed and even now you have included your grandchildren in your excuse! your grandson has a mother so please stop worrying about him, your son will be fine and surely you can try get some outside help to help with his condition so it won't fall all on you.

pilates Mon 01-Sep-14 07:51:26

I'm presuming the mortgage is paid off and so how much equity have you in the house? Is there enough for you both to split and buy properties independently? I know you say you love your house but your happiness should be taken in to account. Why would he cut your DD and GS out? Do you think it is an idle threat to keep you from separating? I think you need to get some legal advice. What a horrible position to be in. Is your DD aware of the situation?

tribpot Mon 01-Sep-14 08:16:23

Do you think that you did the right thing by not calling the police? You told him you would if he physically abused you again. He did. You didn't. Your reason may sound brave in your head but to him all it's told him is the balance of power is shifting back into his favour. He could live for another 20 years, do you really want that for the sake of supposedly protecting your children's inheritance?

I understand that you don't want to leave your home and garden. But think forward 10 or 15 years, and you may not be as physically well as you are now. Both may be too much for you to manage, and you end up having to move into different accommodation - and you lose the garden anyway despite having tolerated his crap for an additional decade and a half.

Perhaps the time is now. Sell up and find somewhere in a retirement community that will be able to support you as your needs change. I don't want you to feel like an old lady in a Zimmer, but having seen the difficulty in persuading my grandparents (much older than you - 90 this year!) out of their own home when they were well past the point they could manage it, it's better go before you need to than after. I have a vague notion there might be shared ownership schemes available but hopefully someone knows more about that.

I don't think anyone is going to suggest you walk away from your son or grandson, but all the problems of the world are not on your shoulders to solve. Eventually, although hopefully not for a long time, your son will need to find support from another source. Likewise if you are physically caring for your grandson the time will come when you are not able to do that. Over time the day-to-day aspects of their care will have to move away from you, so in making your decision about your DH you need to be looking not at the present but 10 or 20 years down the line. I hope you can act now to make that a brighter future, free from this horrible man.

LEMmingaround Mon 01-Sep-14 08:24:08

If it was just the house id say staying isn't worth it. I can see the other issues would be a major factor. I wish i had the answers for you but maybe arming yourself with legal advice will make any decisions easier.

You talk alot about what other people need from you but very little, if anything,about your own needs. You are entitled to be happy.

Antoniabegonia Mon 01-Sep-14 10:03:28

Thank you all so so much for replying. I thought war and peace would put you off!

I think you are all totally right and the time to leave is now while I am still fit and able. I look (so I'm told) and act 10 years younger, my arthritis is pretty mild. I am otherwise very active and busy. I came nearest when house prices were high and I was working and earning a good salary which is of course when he calmed it down.

The mortgage is paid up and I could afford a small house on the equity and my savings. I was worried and posted about him taking half my savings but i now realise he has assets (sports car, estate car and a jetski) which almost equal the value of my savings so that is not a major worry any more and one step nearer divorce.

I promise you I am not tied emotionally to H in any way, it is purely for practical reasons I stay. Even the house is now not so important and yesterday doing the gardening was more a chore than a pleasure though seeing the GCs playing on the grass in summer is lovely. sad. But I can now face leaving it. But H 'punishes' me by not cutting the grass or watering plants and this, as you say is wearing me down.

I always make light of the situation to DD even though he hit me once in front of her when she was a teenager (never since). He used to phone her ranting about me and my abusive behaviour confused until he upset her so much she told him a few home truths and he didn't talk to her for 3 months.

Thinking about this more and looking at everything I've put I can see I deserve better than this. I thought it would all calm down as he got older and it has to some extent. But I've learned that he will escalate things and eventually could turn violent again. The tea incident is the first for many months and it's because he knows there is nothing more he can do or say to hurt or control me. I really stay calm inside and it doesn't upset me but I can see that actually makes him more angry.

I'll just have to hope that he doesn't turn against DD and DS as a way to hurt me so will ask them to not take sides. If I just say worst case scenario is he cuts his children out of his life (he will find a way of justifying this) then it's easier to look at what we can do instead, especially DgD having an independent future.

I will look into the cost of a cheap divorce but cannot afford huge bills as it will take away my ability to buy somewhere to live and the thought of working all my life and having to rent with no security is awful.

I could live without love and affection (get plenty from family) but in peace and calm if he just pulls his weight (does almost nothing in the house and again 'punishes' me by withdrawing that) and lives his own life without the verbal traps and manipulations.

I will go through the filing cabinet and remove all my financial stuff and get evidence of his assets and sort out my finances and give him an ultimatum. Do his share of housework and stop the gaslighting. Leave me alone basically.

thanks

CogitoErgoSometimes Mon 01-Sep-14 10:17:49

If you even think that he would turn against his own children and grandchildren out of spite then that's a damning character assessment all by itself. I'm sure your DCs would not want you to remain in misery and danger for her sake. I'm certain they'd be the first ones to say 'look after yourself Mum and we'll manage' - especially the DD that told him the home truths.

Divorce costs what it costs. If he's uncooperative and obstructive it'll cost more than if he's willing to negotiate and settle amicably... that's just the reality. But do get an appointment with a solicitor so that you have all the information and that it is relevant to your case.

Antoniabegonia Mon 01-Sep-14 10:39:59

I suppose if he dragged out the divorce to run up bills I could get a loan or a part time job of some sort to help finance it. He has a few influential friends (drs) and his brother and I would tell them he was doing this so that might be leverage.

I will give him an ultimatum just to live his own life but pull his weight and leave me alone. I know this is a risky strategy but I am not afraid of him when he is not in a rage. Even then I am sorry to say I only feel contemp now that his mind games no longer get to me. I doubt he will respond and do this but at least he has had an opportunity.

I now have a plan and seeing others POV has made me see more that I deserve a bit of peace in my life. Xxx

Twinklestein Mon 01-Sep-14 11:39:25

I would never in a million years want my mum to stay in abusive relationship to protect my inheritance. If I were your daughter I would be telling you to get out & bugger the money.

A few things - if you're under 65 you can still get a mortgage. If you're over 65, you can take equity release on your property - which is essentially a lifetime mortgage paid off after your death out of your estate.

My mum is 76, has arthritis, and up until this summer was working 3 days a week & helping with the grandchildren, it is doable depending how fit you are.

EarthWindFire Mon 01-Sep-14 11:59:52

If your mortgage is paid off then would there be enough for the both of you to buy a smaller property (1 bed) each along with your share each of your savings?

Even if there isn't you shouldn't stay in this sort of relationship.

Quitelikely Mon 01-Sep-14 12:53:01

If I was you I would book an appointment with a solicitor. You have got no guarantee that he will leave his money to your gs when he dies. He sounds quite spiteful and you can't guarantee that he won't do something with his money just to spite you.

Don't be beholden to this man. I wonder if you realise how nice life can actually be without living with the weight of your husband in your shoulders. You might even meet someone else.........

I know you are dedicated to your children but believe me you have more than done your duty towards them by staying with this man for so long.

Please don't waste another minute existing as you are now. You are worth so much more than this.

however Mon 01-Sep-14 12:54:44

I'm sure you could live quite nicely in peace and quiet if he stepped up.

But perhaps with your own smaller, manageable place, you could live in peace and quiet and happiness and joy at doing what you want, when you want, without having to tolerate a nasty man who has put a stain on your otherwise nice life for the last x amount of years? Imagine your life with a little spring in your step? How great would that be?

HaroldLloyd Mon 01-Sep-14 12:59:02

Yes you do deserve peace.

I really think you should leave him. What if your arthritis got a bit worse and you were in that house with him? See a solicitor and start making some plans before he is aware what you are thinking.

Good luck thanks

Whocansay Mon 01-Sep-14 13:09:43

Do you want to be caring for this man in his old age? Or would you like him being in charge of caring for you?

My mum was married to an abusive man for many years. This was the thought that finally made her make the break.

CogitoErgoSometimes Mon 01-Sep-14 13:24:03

"I will give him an ultimatum just to live his own life but pull his weight and leave me alone"

An ultimatum usually involves a consequence to not doing what has been requested. If he doesn't live his own life, pull his weight and leave you alone (which you're anticipating), is that when you start the divorce? That's the part to be confident about before you say it.

Antoniabegonia Mon 01-Sep-14 14:57:05

H started carrying on about something (head messing as usual, so much so that I can't even think what it was!)

Anyway, something snapped in me and thinking about all you've said I said I will start divorce proceedings!!

I am quite shocked with myself but feel a sudden peace. Won't last I am sure as I walked out of the house to help my DD with her DD and do a bit of decorating for her.

Dreading the return, but H said it was what he wanted and as I'd threatened it so many times before he would believe it when he sees the papers.

Guess what, he will believe it!

pilates Mon 01-Sep-14 16:23:31

Stick to your guns and please carry it through.

Good luck.

CogitoErgoSometimes Mon 01-Sep-14 16:41:07

I'm glad you've stood up for yourself but please get that appointment and start asking all the questions that are bothering you first. Your home, the fund for the granddaughter etc.. Please don't let MN or him bounce you into a course of action. Get well-informed, go at your own speed, and be confident that you are in control. That's the way to achieve peace. Good luck

tribpot Mon 01-Sep-14 17:18:29

You can't stay married to this man - that much is certain. The chances of him winding his neck in and agreeing to live amicably as co-habiting strangers is never going to happen. The only way you can secure yourself a peaceful life is to make the break.

rainbowinmyroom Mon 01-Sep-14 17:25:44

See a solicitor tomorrow. You CAN do this. A much better life awaits you once you are away from him.

whatisforteamum Mon 01-Sep-14 17:50:04

Antoniabegonia i fully understand where you are coming from regarding the home and garden you love (im the same) but what would happen if god forbid you became ill and dependant on him!! I say this as although my parents bicker when they both were diagnosed with rare cancers they often were housebound to ill to do much.Also all the appointments they went together.I hope you have a long happy healthy life but how would you feel if your DH was your carer ?.

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