Advice please - I haven't a clue what to do(28 Posts)
Hello, I've changed my username to ask for your advice. So sorry for long post for any advice would be very much appreciated. I am a mum of four, the three eldest have left home and the youngest is 13. My husband has always been fairly verbally volatile and his flare ups aren't as often as they used to be but they still happen. He stopped being physically violent ten years ago but he is still verbally very horrible when he is angry.
I daren't ever challenge him on anything as he just loses his temper and shouts and screams for an hour or two. For example, he has been a house husband for 13 years while I work full time, only getting a part time manual labouring job with a friend recently (casual basis.) While he does clean a bit in the week if he is at home all day and not doing any work, he expects me to deep clean all weekend (bathroom, kitchen, hoover, clothes, etc) and cook when I come home during the week and do all the shopping. If he ever does 'cook' (oven chips) he expects to be thanked and made a big fuss of and his 'cleaning' is very light - washing cups from night before. If I ask him to do more or do some DIY, he simply screams at me and calls me ungrateful. I end up doing all DIY or it doesn't get done. He says that all I ever do is bring him down, which isn't true. I hardly ever dare mention what he hasn't done and end up praising him for any minor thing he does.
On top of that, he gets moody and just acts like he hates me some months. He will mutter under his breath about me if I say leave a cup on the kitchen side or kick off if he say has to let the dog out of the back door, saying he is 'going to stab it' if it wants it one more time and that it's 'my f**in dog'. I hate having my child listening to this. It doesn't just happen when he is in a bad mood. That is all the time actually. everything he says is littered with foul language.
Last night I did say to him while I was cooking dinner and trying to talk on phone to my dd after her own bf had dumped her that he was selfish for not dealing with something that happened while I was doing this. Our son needed a lift but as I was too busy I had forgotten. My son would not ask his father for a lift as he would have gone mad at him and instead walked two miles in the freezing cold and rain when my husband knew. I felt so upset that I said he was selfish. I probably shouldn't have but that sent him into overdrive, saying I was a b*tch, etc., and that he was 'sick of my mouth', pointing at me aggressively and saying 'come and say it closer to my face you coward.' He told me to pack my bags and get out of the house. He then started screaming that I'd threatened him with a knife (I was chopping chicken in the kitchen) for benefit of listeners. I obviously hadn't done this but he makes things up. My son (eldest) was listening now having arrived in the middle of the row and so was 13 year old. They just looked sad as they have heard it all before but in a strange way they never comfort me when he has gone to our room in his temper (slamming doors and swearing at me.) In fact they both treated me as if I'd done something wrong after - not talking to me etc.
I have learned to just get on with things quietly and that he will eventually calm down. He eventually did and I slept in spare room. we have not spoken today. However, I think I have finally come to the end of my patience. I really hate him but don't want to show it as it will ruin the kids Xmas and I don't have anywhere to go. The kids all have tiny accommodation and I won't be able to see them all tgether if I go. Plus my 13 yr old and I are very close. I can't leave her.
The other thing is that I have a full time professional job and if people knew what I was going through I'd be so embarrassed. I earn quite a bit, but because he has not worked all this time we ran up a lot of debt and most of my wages go on that. He knows I won't leave kids and that I'm terrified of work finding out about him. I know they wouldn't be very understanding about having time off to sort it.
I've paid for everything all these years but he says he wants the house and me out when we row. He has kept all the money he has earned (for Xmas but makes me beg for it if I do spend anything on kids) so he could actually use that to get a flat and move out.
What should I do? Is it me? Should I just take it until daughter is 16 and then leave? Don't know if I can do this though. But where do I start otherwise? So confused. He is not rational at all so it's no good saying talk to him.
Leave him. Or rather, make him leave. Nobody needs to put up with this shit. And, given that you are the bread winner, you won't lose out financially, but chucking him out.
I am concerned that he might turn violent tho. My ExH beat me up twice when I was in the process of leaving him. And in the 20 years we'd been together, he'd never previously been violent. But being out of control triggered something in him.
I would plan it all carefully (finances etc) and then when you are ready, make sure someone else is with you, when you tell him he has to leave.
Please don't put up with this for any longer. It's not good for you or DC. I'm amazed you haven't left already? I mean, I really could not stand this for a day, let alone a lifetime. You will be so much happier without this waster. xx
Thanks ILiveAtTheBeach. I feel a bit ashamed that I'm still here but he won't go. If I go to a solicitor now though it'll wreck Xmas and I really don't have any money to shell on their fees. I feel so pathetic. Where do you think I should start? I don't have anyone who would tell him to leave. My lovely dad died in May and I think my husband knows that it's even worse for me now I have nowhere to go. Everytime I try to even phone a solicitor I start to cry. I really am ridiculous.
Take your 13 year old and leave. Christmas can only be better without him in your lives and I am pretty sure your other 3 children would rather not have this abusive excuse for a man in their lives.
Do you have legal advice as part of your house insurance or as a work benefit?
You're going to get a lot of good advice here, listen to it.
You deserve so much better, make him leave. How you do that, I'm not sure but this is certainly the place to gain some ideas.
I checked my union legal advice today but it seems to be only for work. Might have it on insurance. The other problem is that I have to work with public all day and if I went off and made the call I'd have to go off site at work (which I would have to lie about and say I had an appointment). Then I think they call you back but you have to wait a while. Maybe even a day. I'm not sure I can get time off to take the calls. I think I might just say I have a hospital app and then book in with a solicitor. I wish I could just magic him away. 13 yr old seems to feel sorry for him. He is quite charming with other people - laughing and joking. It's just me he does it to now older kids have gone/
God please make plans to do. You have no life and your daughter is witnessing this.... You can have free advice from a solicitor and tbh next time he is shouty and sweary and pointing at you I would phone the police.....
You need to take a stand and get the ball rolling.
If you can pull together enough money for a deposit, perhaps rent a flat for you and your dd, (and work at getting your share of the family home through the divorce, as a long-term thing?)
I imagine he stopped being violent because he has got you so under control shouting is enough. This is still a domestic abuse situation. You can look for support from women's aid, refuges and social services.
Your debts can be sorted. You can work something out with your creditors over time, they really aren't important in the scale of things. Don't let that keep you in such a horrible relationship.
Oh Vinci, your situation sounds awful. You must separate for your sake and your 13 year old's.
Check with Women's Aid. He sounds right on the edge of domestic violence. Certainly he is emotionally abusive and physical abuse is a very small logical step away.
I hope you can sort this out. Good luck.
This sounds a lot like my life. No advice but lots of love xxx
Thank you all so much. You are the first people in twenty four years who I have told about this. I feel so stupid and ashamed for not getting out of it. He ruined the older kid's childhoods with his horrible bullying behaviour. He is surprisingly nice to younger one - I suppose because he stayed at home to look after her. Everyone thinks he's lovely. Tried running away to my mum's a few times over the years but she didn't believe me about his awful behaviour. Last time I went (5 years ago) she said that she was too old for all this bother and sent me home. You can imagine how much he loved that. She isn't that great so I've distanced myself from her too. My mum and dad weren't together btw but he lived in Spain. I never wanted to worry him about what was happening here.
This year has been so horrible (my dad came home to me when he had cancer and died in my arms after just three weeks at my home) that I just feel I can't carry on putting up with him anymore. I will try as hard as I can. Btw my children are lovely - none of them are like him. Thank you so much for your support. It means so much xxxx
but in a strange way they never comfort me when he has gone to our room in his temper
Why do you expect your dc to comfort you, and why are you surprised that they don't when they have spent the whole of their young lives watching you kowtow to their violent and verbally abusive lazy twunt of a father? Has it occurred to you that they may be terrified of attracting his wrath if they appear to be sympathetic to you?
I have a full time professional job It never ceases to amaze and depress me when otherwise intelligent and competent women are willing to demean and degrade themselves in relationships which are grossly dysfunctional. I don't have a problem with that being their choice, but I do have an issue when that choice is inflicted on dc who have no choice but to live in psychologically damaging environments.
I really am ridiculous It is ridiculous that anyone should contemplate living in the conditions you've described for a moment longer than necessary but, if it is your serious intention to end the nightmare that is your current home life, I will do whatever I can to assist you to.
That said, let's start with the marital home. How long have you lived in it? Is it rented or mortgaged and in whose name(s)? You say that he's been 'a house husband' for the past 13 years. Was this an agreement you reached when your 13yo dd was born and, if so, who cared for your older dc while you worked or were you a SAHM during their younger years? Did he care for dd full time when she was an infant and does he/did he do the school runs etc?
What input does he now have regarding 13yo dd's care? If this is minimal to non-existent, when did he cease attending to her needs? If he was working full time or you were living alone with her, how would she fare after school and during the holidays?
How old are your other dc and are any of them financially dependent on contributions from you, i.e. if they're at university or in further education?
With regard to the debts you've mentioned, whose name(s) are they in and would it be fair to say they've been racked up in part or in whole because your income has been insufficient to sustain a family of 2 adults and 4 dc?
During those years that he was physically abusive towards you did you at any time report him to the police? Were any injuries he may have inflicted on you treated by health professionals such as your GP and what, in your opinion, made him stop being violent?
I'm terrified of work finding out about him Is this because you feel your professional judgement may be called into question if any of your colleagues should discover the truth about your dysfunctional marriage and home life? Or is that you would feel embarrassed if the crap you've put up with became publicly known?
If you should need time off work to attend solicitors etc, is there any reason why you can't take this as annual leave rather than pulling a sickie or inventing hospital/doctor's appointments?
I hope you can appreciate that I'm not unsympathetic to your plight, but it will take a lot of straight talking and clear thinking to get him out of your home and you are going to need to grow a backbone and be willing to bite the bullet in order to belatedly give your dc the life they so desperately need and deserve.
I am very sorry for your loss. A greatly loved relative died in my arms and in my home and, many years later, I doubt that I will ever fully come to terms with losing them.
I was feeling so determined and your post has bought me crashing back down. It's all a lot more complicated than what I post here but I'm too tired and weary to go through it all.
Professionally and apart from him, I have been everyone's 'rock' - I am there when people need me, I give advice, I am their support. I guide and train many people and I feel they may feel bad if they know what I've gone through and not told them. I don't want to burden people.
Believe me, I've shielded the kids a lot. It could've been much much worse but I don't think you'll understand.
I don't think you've been entirely supportive but perhaps you're right. This is my fault. I'll not bother with asking for support here again.
I really don't think that goddess is asking all her questions to have a go at you. I think she just wants to understand the specifics so she can give you the best advice.
Er, Vinci74 You know what you are doing there don't you?
You are scared of making the change so you are making excuses to stop yourself doing what you know you must.
One poster points out you could have handled your life differently and you want to flounce. Will it be goddesses fault if you don't leave now? If your MN support is cut off (by yourself!)? No, no, no.
That's your fear taking over and making you hide from the change.
I am totally unsurprised that you are everyone's rock. A lot of codependent rescuers are. They rescue others instead of themselves. They are a rock to others while being jelly to themselves.
Have you got yourself a counsellor?
Too many questions all at once - I'm not surprised you're overwhelmed. That was only one post, though, so take some time, deep breaths, and come back if you're brave enough.
You don't have to stay in the family home. A smallish flat would be enough for you and DD. You have to take legal advice before leaving, that's all.
And the debt will be shared, more fairly than at present. Would selling the house help?
It takes many small steps to reach freedom. Don't look at the whole journey. Concentrate on each step when you have strength for it.
There is still legal aid for divorce if there is domestic violence involved. Domestic abuse doesn't have to be physical - emotional, verbal and financial abuse also count. Have you called the Police on him in the last two years?
You can get information on citizensadvice.org.uk . A visit to the CAB might be a good starting point.
In our area of London there is a one stop shop for victims of domestic violence run by the Police. There may be something similar in your area.
You do not have to stay.
It is a big step to leave - but there are agencies who will help you; womens aid, the police, CAB, solicitors, CAB. But you need to contact them
Please stop going on about how you will 'ruin' the dc christmas - havent the past 24 christmases been ruined by him?? Act now - and you could be out by christmas and in your own quiet, calm place.
Please don't stop posting. There is a huge amount of help on this board - but you need to do something, not just talk about it. Please do it, for your dc, if not for youself (at first)
vinci I felt for you with that post too and I think it was well meant but you are already feeling vulnerable and your husband sounds a terrifying bully so it must be extremely hard to see clearly and be strong.
I think you need to find the strength to leave him and work out the safest way to do it- i wish I had legal knowledge but I'd start with Womens aid and ask.
Your circumstances sound so far from normal and awful I really feel for you so much and wish you well and that you can change them soon (and don't worry about Christmas, timing is the least of it as things need to change)
Courage Vinci you just need to take a small step towards freedom, then another one and another one. It all seems insurmountable from where you are standing now.
Six years ago I was in a position not too far from yours. I was unhappily married to a bully but as a pillar of the community I couldn't bear to admit the mess I was in. When I did leave him I was absolutely overwhelmed by the kindness I received from everybody. It was the talk of the town for a week then it all blew over.
Here we all are several years on and it has all settled down. Everybody accepted the new normal and I continue to work in a job I love with people who respect me. If it helps you, they all say I am much more approachable and easy to talk to now than when I was playing the role of perfect wife. And I am happy and settled and enjoying a whole new life
Don't take what your mother thinks as an indication of what others will think. She has her own agenda.
Most people will be very much on your side. Most people, on hearing your story will believe you. Your husband is abusive and vile. You know this, your children know this. The main thing is to stop him abusing you and the only way to do this is either to get him out of the house or to leave with your daughter.
Don't dwell on your 'fault' in this. It's not constructive but you have also been conditioned for 25 years into gradually accepting worse and worse behaviour. It is not your fault that he did this to you. He is the monster here.
Also, don't dwell on your children's reaction as well - the fact that they don't comfort you. He has made your house a war zone, his method - apart from putting the whole family on edge all the time - is to divide and conquer, weaken alliances and pick on people. It is mainly you he picks on, but he has bullied the elder children and the prevailing mood must be 'Who's next?' That kind of stuff would only engender a survival mechanism and isolate all the victims from each other. Everyone is thinking 'I hope it's not me next'... and that stops you from supporting each other. Don't blame your dcs, they sound just as terrified as you are. That's where he wants you to be - in a state of terror.
On that basis, don't worry about 'ruining Christmas' for the dcs - that, really, would be the least of your problems. They would probably be delighted if you made this Christmas the first one where they could breath easy and get this abusive fucker out of their lives. He is a disgusting excuse for a man - don't have him in your life. Everyone you know (apart from your mother) - and anyone that he hasn't alienated over the years - will be cheering you on.
It never ceases to amaze and depress me when otherwise intelligent and competent women are willing to demean and degrade themselves in relationships which are grossly dysfunctional.
goddess, I know you were trying to be helpful, but comments like these are exactly why women find it so difficult to come forward and seek help when they are victims of domestic violence.
OP, I think you know you have to get out. The actual physical violence may have stopped, but he is still being physically intimidating and threatening as well as verbally and emotionally abusive. Nobody deserves to be treated like that, and your kids certainly don't. Please get in touch with Women's Aid as a first step, they have seen it all before and are unshockable. They will help you make a plan that keeps you and your kids safe.
Don't put this off. You deserve so much better than this.
If I go to a solicitor now though it'll wreck Xmas and I really don't have any money to shell on their fees
What can I say? The statement you've made above doesn't inspire confidence that you are 'determined' to change your circumstances, and it seems to me you may be looking for the type of sympathy and support type that tells you this situation is not of your making and you shouldn't hold yourself in any way responsible for the less than harmonious environment your older dc were raised in and your youngest continues to endure.
I am also a 'rock' to many in my professional life and I don't "burden" colleagues or clients with my problems because I do not cross the boundary I've set between my professional and personal lives therefore, other than taking a minimal amount of time off as annual leave should you have to attend solicitors/court etc, I see no reason why your marital problems/issues should adversely impact on your work and more especially as you have clearly been able to compartmentalise them to date.
I've shielded the kids a lot. It could've been much much worse but I don't think you'll understand I understand only too well that it's not possible to 'shield' dc to an extent where they are not harmed by living in an environment where they see/hear one of their parents physically/verbally abusing the other on a regular, if not daily, basis.
I also understand that abuse can be insidious; it can break the spirit and grind the recipient down to a point where they feel powerless to bring about any change in what becomes an 'existence' as opposed to a 'life'.
In addition, fear of retribution has kept many trapped in abusive relationships until death has ended their suffering and, sadly, some have met their deaths at the hands of their abusers because they felt unable to leave.
Economic dependence plays a part in many abusive relationships but you are not financially dependent on your h, nor are you restricted to your home in the way in which many other victims of abuse are constrained from interacting with the world around them.
Of course it's "all a lot more complicated" than what you've posted here; it always is because, other than in the obiturary columns, no life can or should be reduced to a few short paragraphs, but there is no unhappy marriage so "complicated" that it cannot be ended by the divorce courts.
The questions I've asked in my earlier post (above) are no more than will be asked by any solicitor you consult and were intended to enable me to help you gain the most successful outcome which, in your case, would be for your h to leave the marital home thus alleviating you of the need to find alternative accomodation and reducing the possibility of your youngest dd wishing to remain with her df, which may require you to pay child maintenance to him while struggling to repay debts that may have been accrued due to his idleness.
Your post reminds me of others on this board from women who have, in effect, spent half their lives tolerating and appeasing their abusers but who balk at taking the first steps to freedom because they lack the courage to do so.
If you would only realise that you have shown immense courage in building and holding down a career while living with intolerable abuse from a selfish twunt who treats you with the utmost contempt, nothing anyone says here or elsewhere would be able to dissuade you from getting out from under at the earliest opportunity.
Fwiw Women's Aid provide accomodation for women who wish to leave abusive relationships but, as you are unlikely to be placed in a refuge anywhere near your home, going down this road may mean that you would need to take an extended leave of absence if you are unable to commute to work. However, I would suggest you make contact with your local branch to ask for recommendations for solicitors who are experienced in dv cases and who offer a free initial consulation. www.womensaid.uk
Alternatively, you could ask friends/colleagues for recommendations using the guise of doing so on behalf of 'a friend', or post on the Legal board for for details of solicitors who specialise in divorce and family law in your general area, central/south/east/north/west London, Surrey, Northumbria, etc etc.
Be prepared to be especially tearful as the loss of your df is still raw. Grief can overwhelm us with sorrow, but it can also give us moments of great clarity and you may have experienced an 'epiphany moment' where you were able to see that there is no compelling reason why you should continue to live as you have been doing and, indeed, that life is far too short for you to do so.
Make your mantra 'i CAN and i WILL' and take heart from posts such as that from TopOfTheCliff who has proved it is 'do-able'. Many here will hold your hand as you go through the various proceedings but, as is so often the way, only you can do it..
Just sending you support, and wishing you all the best.
My situation is different. Posting on here helps me, some are good, some are things I don't want to hear. But I take it all in, just having a place to vent is therapy. Everyone has different opinions. Good luck xx
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