Advice for Dealing With a Verbally Abusive Spouse

I have been married to my husband for 25 years. We started out rocky and it only got worse. By the end of the first year, he was staying out all night, drinking, and coming home and getting a couple of hours of sleep before he had to be at his post (U.S. Navy). He threatened me many times that if I gained weight, he would divorce me. One time, he didn't like what I said and he punched me in the arm. That is the only time that he has hit me.

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Three years after we were married, we went through divorce court, after he had called me from Australia and told me that he never wanted to see me again. Before the divorce was final he had begged his way back in and we were together for 5 more years, before he took an unaccompanied tour. There he got into trouble and was dismissed from the military. I wanted a divorce then, but he seemed to have learned a valuable lesson and I felt that our children needed their dad around.

Over the years he has gone through the usual cycle of calmness and then the verbal and emotional abuse, even to our grown daughters. Since our last move to San Antonio, he has gotten worse. It is almost to the verbal level it was when we first got married. My oldest daughter says that he acts like he owns everyone. My daughters are so angry with him, but they do not want their parents to split. I am at my whits end and I really just need the peace now. I'm not sure how or what to do. Is there any advice that can be offered?

By Lana R.

June 30, 20110 found this helpful

Just plain leave him and when he begs to come back don't take him back. I lived with a verbally abusive husband for 20 years and have been divorced since 1983. It is so peaceful. I am happier now, even though I am more hard up financially. I hadn't worked during the marriage and I haven't been able to get any job that could be called great, because of lack of experience. Education doesn't seem to count as much as experience and/or youthfulness. But to me being more hard up is better than the stress of never knowing when you are going to be swore at, etc., and always wondering if the verbal abuse could become physical.

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June 30, 20110 found this helpful

I agree with the first poster, he Isn't going to change and magically become loving and respectful. leave him, your children when they see that you are happier will be happier too. You deserve better and it is time that you showed that, when you look back at the bullying and unkindness you have put up with you will see that. Good luck because it is easier said than done, but take it from me as someone who has been there you wont look back.

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July 2, 20110 found this helpful

I agree with both of the other posters. It is hard for me financially too but am much happier without him.

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July 2, 20110 found this helpful

Girl tell him to kiss your rear and leave his bi polar butt! I have been divorced from my sons dad for 2 yrs last week after 18yr marriage and OMG my life has been so peaceful! Yes money has been hard and times really tight but we are making it. Our son is 16 and he is even at peace now, and if your kids really see and know how he is treating you then they will understand and when they see the difference it's made in you they will wonder why you didn't do it years ago, and baby you will wonder it yourself!

God has given me great new man in my life and I sometimes think how did I deal with my ex's crazy a** so long and live? When it comes to the money situation we went from living a month on what we were used to living a week on:-( but after them first few months and I got adjusted it made me a new woman! He will do as you said before and be mad and say mean stuff then he will beg you to come home and he will change well as my ex proved to me after years of his abuse they don't change and it just gets a little worse, my momma always says a leopard don't change their spots.

I really think your getting to the end of your rope, other wise you wouldn't have asked advice from total strangers. I loved him and I still do because I spent half my life with him and we have my only child with him, and still to this day when he calls me I never know what kind of mood he'll be in when I answer the phone.

You have to be strong sister! and when you do get away don't I repeat don't sit home and mope around do something even if its as simple as window shopping at the thrift store.

You'll be in my prayers and best of luck to you! Stay strong!

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July 5, 20110 found this helpful

It is not up to your children. Just as it would not be up to you if one of them wanted to divorce. I cannot immagine you staying with this nasty man for this long. Oprah said "when someone shows you who they are.believe them". You know what he is and you are getting nothing from this relationship. Get a divoece and make sure you get at least half of everything.

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Anonymous Flag
July 5, 20110 found this helpful

Leave him! Sorry to sound so harsh but it's too bad, too sad if your children don't want their parents to split up. That's childish and their selfish wants showing through and they are not the ones married to him! Don't they want you to be happy (and safe)? Why should you suffer any longer to make them happy while jumping the hoop living with an abuser?

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Honey, I live by a simple rule.

"The only difference between a rut and a grave is the length".

Leave. Fled. Be Gone. Escape. Go directly to a good divorce attorney, move out, and if you are the main bread winner and you both own the house, change the locks and get a restraining order because when he does figure it out, it might get ugly. Good luck, you will need it. Be strong and remember that you are entitled to be safe, sane, and happy.

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July 5, 20110 found this helpful

I was married to a controlling man for nearly 19 years and was never hit but both me and my children were called every dirty name you could think off. I cried most days and felt like a beaten and weak woman. Both my children are grown now but they are both struggling from the life they grew up in and just reading this brings tears to my eyes because of the guilt that I didn't protect them from their Father. My children love their Father but during the separation and in counseling they both told that they never wanted their Mother and Father back together. Get out and stay out. He will appear to have learned a lesson when you take him back and he knows you'll take him back the next time unless you get a back bone and never go back. Otherwise your kids will suffer more than you and the guilt will eat at you.

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July 5, 20110 found this helpful

I absolutely agree that you should leave but know it is easier said than done. I never left. Came home one afternoon after 23 years to find him dead on the couch. I will say tho that you have nothing to feel ashamed about. It took me a long time to realize that the only person that needed to be shamed was him. That helped me a lot. It's really a bad thing when you come home from work one afternoon to find that & have mixed emotions! Was also awful when the family spoke to the minister & not one person in the room had anything good to say about him. What a shame

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July 5, 20110 found this helpful

You do not have to be treated this way. He has a problem. You need to get out. Your kids should understand that you do not deserve to be treated this way. They may think this is the way it is supposed to be and they may also marry into an abusive relationship. You are a human being not a dog. He needs help. Please take care of yourself, you are worth it.

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July 5, 20110 found this helpful

I have to agree with the other comments here. Leaving him is the only answer. I was married to a verbally abusive man, lived with him for 20 years. When I left I went to another city more than two hours drive away. A couple of days after I left, I remember that I was going for a walk in my new neighborhood and marveling at the peace and the ability to breathe freely and not feel nauseous at the thought of having to deal with him when I got back to the house. I realized that it was just as if there had been a black cloud over my head, raining just on me, for 20 years, and now that cloud was gone! Yes, it is hard financially but so worth it to not be verbally assaulted every day! "Better a dry crust with peace and quiet than a house full of feasting, with strife." (Proverbs 17:1)

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July 6, 20110 found this helpful

You do not have the knowledge about why your husband is the way he is, nor will you be able to change him - ever. Only he can do that. You are only able to change yourself and your circumstances. Go to your local library and read a couple of books about abusive behavior. They will give you many hints on the steps you need to take on how to repair your self esteem and give you the confidence you need to stand up for yourself. You've been belittled for too long and you've endured too many years of abuse - you've "lost" yourself for awhile, but never give up hope that you can find the peace you deserve. Do NOT allow your children to dictate what you should do - it's time for you to stand up for yourself. You'll be so glad you did when you look back in a couple of years. And, more importantly, pray, pray, pray daily that God gives you the wisdom you need to make these important decisions - He will help you, I promise! Good luck and God bless.

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July 9, 20110 found this helpful

Lana, please find a way to talk to a qualified counselor! I strongly feel you need more "backup." You deserve better than you've gotten these past 22 years. So do your children. It's just my learned opinion, since I've been in your shoes, that separating permanently from this abusive spouse is the best thing you could do. I tolerated mental, emotional, financial, spiritual, even sexual, abuse for 15.5 years. When God literally opened the door for me to leave, I didn't hesitate. Of course my four children came with me.

14 years later, I'm living a peaceful life. One child graduated college this year, the other three are working while attending. They no longer have that haunted, half-starved look. (Yes, food was also a scarce commodity. My ex ate most of it. He weighed 385 pounds when we left)

I've since remarried, a longtime platonic friend who helped us escape my ex. And best of all, I'm finally growing the backbone I've never had. I'm praying for you, Lana and a sister who's in a situation very similar to yours.

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August 28, 20110 found this helpful

Leave him.

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November 7, 20130 found this helpful

I know it is hard, but the only way out is to leave him. My husband has cheated on me, called me names constantly, hit and told me " if you think this is abuse if haven't seen nothing honey." For nineteen and a half years I lived with him and I thought that he would change. But, it did not happened.

His parents won't talk to me or my children and I do not know the reason, I think they blame me for their son's behavior. When our first child was born he did not allow me to put my family name on her birth certificate, so I did not ask when I had our two other children. We are not together anymore, it has been eleven days today 11/07/13 that I have been free from a controlling husband and it feels great. I feel light, and happy!

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