I don't know how my life went so wrong. I grew up in a decent, middle class family and never dealt with any kind of abuse in my family. I did, however, have a weight and self-esteem problem growing up and was picked on incessantly throughout school. It was hell. I used to dream about the day when I would have a nice husband that would tell me I was beautiful and would love me for me. Flash forward to now. I'm almost 35 years old and am still the 12 year old being bullied every single day. I have been called every name in the book...fat, ugly, stupid, nasty, !**@!, dumb, idiot, liar, disgusting, you name it, he's said it. I met him almost 13 years ago. I had a 3 year old daughter when I met him, from another relationship with a man who didn't really love me and just used me for whatever he could get. I felt horrible about myself at the time and was thrilled that someone wanted to hang out with me. My best friend was married to his brother, who I didn't like because he was abusive to her. That should've been my first red flag. But I thought that he was different from his brother. Now I think he's worse. I didn't plan for things to get serious, but they did and we ended up marrying and have 3 boys together, plus he has raised my daughter. We always had bumps in the road, small arguments where he would say things and I would probably say things too that I didn't mean. There were times when he would get physical, but nothing like the battering you see on TV, just mainly pushing or shoving or a slap here and there. He's a very big guy and could literally kill someone if he hit someone as hard as he could. But still, the good times outweighed the bad. We moved out of state and things were going well. Then my mom passed away. He found out that I had been keeping a journal online about all my feelings about him and hit the roof about how I couldn't be trusted and was such a horrible person for doing things online behind his back. He found that I had a myspace account that I kept from him (because he would blow up) and assumed I was talking to other guys. He stayed with my dad for 2 months and wasn't going to come home, but did and started going crazy. I worked from home on the computer and he would always say I was talking to someone else online. I had to have a phone meeting with my boss and he came into the room and accused me of talking about him or doing something behind his back. There were times he would smash my computer so that I couldn't work and wanted me to quit my job. My dad and his horrible new girlfriend came to visit and he accused me of whispering things to her and making sexual gestures to her from across the room (nothing remotely like that even happened). He kicked both of them out, then physically hit me and dragged me across the room. Also opened my car door so hard that he smashed the fender of the car. That was around the time he accused me of sleeping with his brother (who lived nearby). He's also accused me of trying to sleep with or sleeping with his other brother, stepbrother and sister (I'm totally straight and have never done anything with any of them). His sister ended up coming to visit a few weeks later (he wanted her to visit). I told him before she came to please not start up with his craziness. We picked her up at the airport and on the way home, he accused me of whispering to her in the rearview mirror. When we both denied it, he said I was a liar and made the whole visit horrible. I had to keep my head down and not talk to her for fear he would think something was going on. He ended up making her leave early and thought that she or me had put something in his drink. A month later, he said he was changing. He didn't want to lose me. He called me beautiful and said all kinds of nice things that were very rare for me to hear. We got married, something he said he would never do, but he did it for me because he knew how much that would mean to me. Yes, I know, it was stupid, but I wanted to believe it. We drove to Vegas and the whole way there, he was accusing me of looking at truck drivers. We've been married now almost 7 years and things have gotten so bad that there's no going back. I work while he stays home with the kids. I have an office job, which he constantly demeans and says isn't a real job and it's just a break from the kids. He and my daughter don't get along and everytime there's a fight between them, it's my fault for not sticking up for him or disciplining her enough. There were many days when he would refuse to watch kids so that I could work and I would end up having to call out or have my daughter stay home to help. He threatened to smash my car all the time. When I was pregnant, he got mad because I was moving stuff out of our old house and only brought my things, not what he had asked for and started throwing things at my car to try to break a window. I was in the car and opened the door so that the tube of toothpaste he was throwing wouldn't break the window and it hit the corner of my face and split it wide open. I had a black eye for 2 weeks and still have a scar. Last year, a girl at work tried to help me leave (I came home from work and he locked me, my daughter and my 4 month old out of the house in January in the pouring rain). He refused to let us in. I left and came back the next day and took my 2 other sons and left him. My boss paid for a hotel for us and was going to help us leave. My husband came to my job the next time that I worked and wanted to talk, brought flowers and told me how sorry he was and how he'd get counseling and change. I was shocked because he only ever told me how much he hated me and couldn't wait till I was gone and always refused counseling. I never thought he'd want me back. So like an idiot, I went back. I felt our situation was hopeless anyway. I was trying to look for an apartment, but no one wants to rent to someone with 4 kids, horrible credit, an eviction and not a lot of income. So I went home. We never went to counseling, which he blamed on me for not setting up. He promised he would let me go to work with no problems. A few months ago, we got our tax refund and he insisted that I needed another car. My van that I had been using has 250k miles and barely runs. He has an SUV that he paid the down payment for, but I make all the payments on. He says he deserves something for watching kids all day. Most of our money went to weed because I would buy it just to keep him sane. Then he'd blame that on me too, saying that he didn't really want it. But if I didn't bring it home, he'd scream at me for not getting any. I knew we couldn't afford another payment until his car was paid off, but there is no reasoning with him, so he went and picked out a car and brought it to my job. It was nice, but he made sure he put it in his name. Anytime there is an argument or a fight, he would threaten that I wasn't taking HIS car. At that point, my van's battery was completely dead and he would refuse to jump it, refuse to watch kids, refuse to help with anything just so he could show me who controlled it all. One night, he tried to make me give him the keys and I ended up walking 25 miles all night long just so I could go to work. He says that I lied about that. He never came after me and I tried calling him when I was 10 miles away to pick me up and he didn't answer or care. I stayed at my sister's house for a few nights and he refused to pick me up and said that if I came home I'd better have weed for him, so I bought some and took a cab home. I missed my kids and didn't want them to be at home without me. He was awful when I got home, of course thought that I wasn't at my sister's, that I lied about everything. A few days later, he told me to give him his keys again and when I wouldn't, he took the battery out of the new car and locked his car so I would have no way of leaving. He got into my facebook account and saw that I was messaging another guy (who was just a friend) and again blew up, saying I was cheating on him, I was a liar that lied about everything, kept telling me to ask this new guy to use his car or pick me up. I stayed at my sister's house and came home and he tried to take my keys (to the old car) and I told him I would call the police if he didn't stop. He told me he didn't care and to do it and so I did. I had never done that before. That just made him hate me more. He says that that is the worst betrayal that I could ever do and I am horrible and he'll never be with me again. He used to tell me he hated me every single day before, but now he wants to ruin my life. He wrote to the guy that I was writing to on Facebook and asked who the hell he was and said all kinds of stuff to him, so now I've lost him as a friend. He told me to quit my job and I won't, so he said he'll stop at nothing to get me fired. He came to my job and tried to make a scene and just made a fool of himself (and of me). Luckily my job is very supportive, but I'm sure they're sick of all of this too. It's ridiculous. He said he had no money and said he was coming to my job if I didn't give him my debit card and that I didn't care about my kids, just left them with no money. So I gave him my card just to make him go away and he cleared my whole account out, including money that wasn't even mine that was supposed to be used to pay my health insurance. Now he's taken off and taken the 3 older kids out of the state to visit his uncle when I told him not to take my kids. He of course, left the youngest here so that I couldn't work. He said he would be back, but now is calling saying the tire on the car is messed up and I need to send him money and that I'm just leaving him by the side of the road and I don't care about my kids. And telling me to go borrow money from someone. I'm sorry, but I told him not to go in the first place. We didn't have the money for that. And he took all of my money, so how am I supposed to get any? He keeps telling me how horrible I am for leaving him stuck there (even though he left me here with nothing and made sure to lock the doors of the other car out of spite so that I couldn't take it). and I'd better not be here when he gets home or I'll see what he does. He's going to smash my car, rip apart everything he's fixed in this house (we live in a fixer upper that he's totally rewired and replumbed), etc. It's the poor kids that he's hurting and he is so intent on hurting me that he doesn't care. I know I'm not perfect. I've never been good at cleaning, but since things have gotten so bad, I guess I am just depressed because after work I am exhausted and definitely don't help out enough around the house or with the kids. I know that needs to change. And a lot of his abusive ways are rubbing off on me, like I get so frustrated with him that I do call him names too. I am willing to get help and change those things, though. I don't know what else to do. I can't go on living like this and he wouldn't care if I left, but he refuses to share the kids or let me take the kids. He wants to punish me by taking the kids away. And says that everything in the house is his and the cars are his because they are in his name. I don't know how things have gotten this bad or how I can lose everything I've worked hard for. I don't want to go to a shelter because I'm afraid of losing my kids and afraid of the unknown. I have a sister that lives nearby, but I know she is sick of hearing all these problems and just wants me to call the police, which just makes things worse. She also doesn't have the means or the space for me and 4 kids to come and stay with her. She keeps telling me to go to a shelter, which also hurts because if it were reversed, I would move her in with me in a heartbeat. My dad lives 500 miles away and hasn't talked to me in 2 years. He just took his girlfriend and her grown kids and their girlfriends to Disneyworld, but hasn't even spoken to my kids. He is still mad at something my husband said to him and that I didn't stick up for him. My husband tells me all the time that I don't stick up for him, so I just can't win. I called my dad crying and left a message begging him to help me get out of this situation and he never called me back. My sister talked to him and he said he never got my message, but he would call me to try to help that night. That was a week ago and he still hasn't called. That's all the family I have. I feel so alone and don't know what to do. If it weren't for my kids, I would kill myself because I have nothing to live for anymore.
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replied April 28th, 2014
Extremely eHealthy

I am sorry to read about your troubles. You have told us how you got here from there and to some extent it is your own fault. I know that seems unkind and unreasonable but you have spent years appeasing your husband for a short-term quiet life that never seemed to materialise but instead ultimately made things worse.

The British Prime Minister tried appeasement on Adolf Hitler back in the late 1930's and the result was the second world war and the deaths of millions.
It is quite simply impossible to reason with or appease somebody who isn't quite right in the head because they will keep moving the goalposts around and changing the rules of the game.

I expect you realised this quite quickly (you would need to be blind and deaf not to) but I expect your courage wouldn't allow you to take the steps you needed to get a better life.
I wouldn't like to guess what your husband's maladjustments are; a touch of megalomania perhaps, schizophrenia perhaps, bipolar maybe. Whatever they are I think it would stretch the abilities of a psychiatrist to sort them out. I suggest you forget counselling because it would do no good until his personality defects and maladjustments have been identified and treated by mental health professionals.

Counselling can only help those who want to be helped and who aren't going to keep moving those all-important goalposts.

You say calling the police makes things worse so you don't call the police. If you had called the police the very first time he assaulted you and every time he assaulted you and refused to be manipulated by him and have your dignity taken away by him you would have laid down some important ground rules and as long as you preferred charges and never dropped them he might be a better man today and a better husband.
Your husband would have got tired of being arrested long before the police tired of arresting him...

You proved to your husband he could beat you with impunity and manipulate you to do anything he wanted and he does because he hates himself and you make a ready and willing target for his discontent and self-loathing. Nothing you can do now to stop it and you need to make your own plans to live apart from him until he has had suitable treatment, if you don't decide to divorce.

The first thing you need is an assessment of your legal position and some help. Perhaps your current boss can fix this for you or you could access some help from a charity or a woman's shelter. Because you have kids it should be possible to legally exclude him from the family home with a court injunction or restraining order to prevent him approaching you wherever you are. Perhaps you could go back to working from home.

You have to stop feeling sorry for yourself and ask a lot of questions of a lot of people to learn everything you need to know; there will be time enough for feeling sorry for yourself later. You have to be strong for the good of your family and seeming to be cruel to your husband now is really going to be kind to him in the long term.

He will typically make all sorts of pleas and offer guarantees that he will do this or that but you must be deaf to every one of them. You must not allow him to come back too soon and as a rule of thumb you should be living apart for a year minimum before you even begin to consider taking him back. That doesn't mean later on you can't go on a date or that he doesn't get to see the kids with a suitable chaperone but you shouldn't allow him into the home under any circumstances until he has proved he has successfully had treatment.

As for your kids that are stranded with your husband; I suggest you go along to your local police station and find a nice sergeant to talk with. Tell him your story and about how your husband has been acting crazier lately and you are worried about your kids. Tell the officer your husband put you under duress to give him money and he took everything you had and so you haven't anything else to send him until your next paycheque. An experienced police officer will undoubtedly have some suggestions and will help you if he can or at least point you in the direction of help.

I hope this provides you with some food for thought. If you are strong now and refuse to be manipulated any further your life could easily be very much improved in a few years. I understand the prospect of facing unpleasantness and hardship for a time is daunting but if you don't your life is likely to get so bad you will have lost everything.

Please comeback if you need to discuss anything further.
Good luck!
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