Broken Hearted, What can I do?

Posted by Native Floridian @nativefloridian, Oct 24, 2011

Is it really necessary to allow oneself to be mistreated for the sake of commitment? My heart aches because the man I am with is abusive. His mood swings often come in the early to late evening when he is tired. His eyes glaze over and he is angrier than anyone I have ever known. I don’t know what happened to him but he says things about his past that scare me sometimes. He won’t talk about it but he gets hateful at times and very mean. It is almost like he is taking it out on me, whatever bad things he has been through in his life.Although he does not physically abuse me, he does say alot of things that are very insulting, hurtful and mean when he is angry.

I do not know what to do anymore. I have taken him to medical doctors, psychologists and marriage counseling. He acts like a responsible adult during the daytime but when he is alone in the home with me things change. Sometimes it is like I live with a drug addict or someone with multiple personaility traits. I’m tired of walking on eggshells. I told him tonight after he lambbasted me again (out of the blue) that I do not want him to scream at me and point his finger in my face ever again. He scares me sometimes. It is difficult to love this man anymore. My heart was broken years ago when he first started this, now it is just numb.

@deliasanderson

hi, i’m sure the therapy will help because you want it to.

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I think that therapy is a good source for guidance in a difficult situation. Sometimes it is difficult to separate emotion from the equation. Confusion can set in when too much is going on and decisions need to be made. i’ve received professional advice this week and feel that I have all angles covered, psychological/emotional, legal, medical and finally, I’ve shared the situation with family and friends and am no longer flying solo on this. I appreciate all of your advice and support here on the mayo blog because it is good to know so many people have concern for others, even strangers that turn to the internet for help.

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This has been removed for violation of our terms of use.

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@peacekeeper

This has been removed for violation of our terms of use.

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Peace Keeper, I understand your philosophy but there are people that truly need this Master Physician to work through human physicians in order to heal them. I don’t think that discouraging others to seek medical attention is a productive thing to do on this forum. Not everyone on this earth gets a miraculous healing like you. I am not discounting your experience and believe your experience is your reality. Please realize this and know that although everyone’s opinion is respected here many have been helped by medical doctors. I am happy for you and happy to hear you are enjoying life again. Blessings!

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@debera

Sorry life is too short. How old is he? Has he been checked for bipolar. What time of day does this start?

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Just fyi, I’m an avoidant type with childhood issues. I’m trying to go to therapy and it’s just not working …I can’t talk at all. So, ultimately, I’m just ending up with a feeling that it’s just another thing I have failed at. The result is feeling worse. And then add to that, the fact that now I’m more aware of how screwed up I am and how much my past has affected me but with no resolve to go with it. Then take away the coping skills I have relied on to survive all of my life …because now they just look like it’s been a futile effort. That’s my summary of pushing myself into ‘therapy’ to ‘get better’. I don’t think this is better. I’ve been contemplating if addressing issues head-on is always the right thing to do.
I don’t know if this would interest you but Wikipedia true self & false self and read similar concepts. I found Alice Miller to be particularly interesting. I was also trying to find more information on Joan Riviere, negative therapeutic reaction, & “defensive organization” but general look-ups have lacked the detailed information I was seeking.
I guess my reason for commenting here is that the comments I’ve seen (either here or on the ‘loving someone with a personality disorder post’?) regarding people’s willingness to change have gotten to me. Willingness just is sooo not the issue with me and I wanted to add another perspective of what someone might be thinking.

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nf i think you are so right. quite often it takes more courage to seek human help than prayer alone. we are made of flesh and blood and even though we are aware of our spirit it is through our senses and cognition that we survive. from prayer, i believe comes the answers and the clarity of the next step in our journey and as humans we can see with our eyes God’s message in a number to call, an office to go to, a friend to unite with, etc…etc and then we use our ears to listen, our feelings, thoughts and voice to respond. God, I believe gives us strategies to help ourselves and these include reaching out to others. He expects us to deal with other humans in this world as both a helper and a helpee. everyone has their ups and downs and sometimes we are in a position to help and sometimes we need help. you are right perhaps miracles do happen but on a day to day basis, society is set up to care about its members and people should use these services if they feel they need them and quite often this is the answer to their prayers.

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@debera

Sorry life is too short. How old is he? Has he been checked for bipolar. What time of day does this start?

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NF, you comment on a lot of posts. Please, comment on the one above. I’m not looking for some big answer or a conclusion …just your thoughts. What you were thinking, if you looked up any of that, do you think your husband might have similar feelings? While sorting things out for myself, I also like to hear the opinions of others. Especially, those that come from another point of view.
The perspective I wanted to add is that maybe your husband doesn’t feel he has control over his emotional well-being. But, know that I admire the effort you have made to find resolve and work it out. I also whole-heartedly believe that you should put you and your family first if he treats you badly.

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@debera

Sorry life is too short. How old is he? Has he been checked for bipolar. What time of day does this start?

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Anon: Why can’t you talk? You see, I don’t understand that. If you really want to get better, you need to open up with a therapist and learn what it is you need to do to help yourself. I also think that you’re thinking and analyzing this to death, you need to just make a list of your issues and work down the list. Start with all of the people that have truly ‘hurt’ you and why and go talk to the therapist. They are great at giving you insight as to what you may have done to cause someone else to have the ability to hurt you. sometimes we are just innocent victims and other times we are just plain naiive about people, like choosing the wrong friends, spouses, etc. Like I’m not the best judge of character, well, I’m much better now than I was in the past but that’s because I learned the hard way. I appreciate you wanting to add another perspective to this blog because that is important. I’ll take a look at the Wikipedia references you mentioned and comment later. I’ve got a plane to catch early in the morning.

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@debera

Sorry life is too short. How old is he? Has he been checked for bipolar. What time of day does this start?

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I believe you are right about putting the family right if the treatment is not healthy. Strict boundaries are in place now and measures have been taken to protect my health and well being, as well as the children. My husband avoids life, in general, he is just someone with low energy, low self esteem and learned from his family of origin to ‘keep quiet’ and not make any waves. Sad, but true. We go to joint counseling and it is helpful, but he doesn’t always talk much there either. At least it keeps him in line, for now.

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Time will heal the pain.

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This is exactly my experience.
I have to get my husband to leave…he’s been threatening to do so for three years and has demeaned me, belittled me. I will tell him at the weekend. I can’t live like this.

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No one should be exposed to bullying from anyone. If you can I think you should leave him if you feel he is a danger to you. I know you may want to help him. But the best way is to protect yourself first and foremost. Once you are safe and secure than you can get him help. Protect yourself first and foremost.

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Dr. Jeckyl/Mr. Hyde. Sound familiar? I lived in a similar situation for 6 years. Make a plan to escape, even though it may not seem dangerous now, a person with an abusive tendency could become extremely violent if they think they might lose their mate.
It took me 5 years to leave (many emotional & physical scars). I thought it was me, that “if only I. . .” I believed I couldn’t make it on my own. I had low self-esteem and lacked self-confidence. I also battled with religious beliefs. It’s hard to find the courage to leave an unhealthy relationship, only you can decide if you should leave.

Below is some information you may find helpful. BTW, I ended my relationship with my abuser 32 years ago. Today, I am remarried to a kind, loving man. My baby son witnessed the abuse for 3 years, and he was what gave me the courage to leave. I didn’t want him to see his momma be abused any longer, it’s most often a learned behavior. I had to stop the chain.

For anonymous, confidential help available 24/7, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 (SAFE) or 1-800-787-3224 (TTY) now.

Anyone can be an abuser. They come from all groups, all cultures, all religions, all economic levels, and all backgrounds. They can be your neighbor, your pastor, your friend, your child’s teacher, a relative, a coworker — anyone. It is important to note that the majority of abusers are only violent with their current or past intimate partners. One study found 90% of abusers do not have criminal records and abusers are generally law-abiding outside the home.

There is no one typical, detectable personality of an abuser. However, they do often display common characteristics.

An abuser often denies the existence or minimizes the seriousness of the violence and its effect on the victim and other family members.
An abuser objectifies the victim and often sees them as their property or sexual objects.
An abuser has low self-esteem and feels powerless and ineffective in the world. He or she may appear successful, but internally, they feel inadequate.
An abuser externalizes the causes of their behavior. They blame their violence on circumstances such as stress, their partner’s behavior, a “bad day,” on alcohol, drugs, or other factors.
An abuser may be pleasant and charming between periods of violence and is often seen as a “nice person” to others outside the relationship.
Red flags and warning signs of an abuser include but are not limited to:

Extreme jealousy
Possessiveness
Unpredictability
A bad temper
Cruelty to animals
Verbal abuse
Extremely controlling behavior
Antiquated beliefs about roles of women and men in relationships
Forced sex or disregard of their partner’s unwillingness to have sex
Sabotage of birth control methods or refusal to honor agreed upon methods
Blaming the victim for anything bad that happens
Sabotage or obstruction of the victim’s ability to work or attend school
Controls all the finances
Abuse of other family members, children or pets
Accusations of the victim flirting with others or having an affair
Control of what the victim wears and how they act
Demeaning the victim either privately or publicly
Embarrassment or humiliation of the victim in front of others
Harassment of the victim at work
For anonymous, confidential help available 24/7, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 (SAFE) or 1-800-787-3224 (TTY) now.

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So sorry to hear you are going through this. You will never be able to change him, but it is hard to stop loving someone none the less. Take care of yourself, treat yourself, maybe talk to your pastor? The more you do on your own the less you will tolerate. Find your strength, then make the best decision for you! Do you feel safe leaving the relationship?

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@atljoe

Your husband has Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (“PTSD”). I know plenty about the symptoms. My PTSD has been under control for many years. Your husband needs professional help and he needs you by his side during his treatment program, otherwise, he will fail. I’m still extremely embarrassed by my past behavior. Divorce? I think not. Remember vowing “…in sickness and in health…”? To ignore his issues and divorce him is irresponsible. You will only send him into the world in an unbalanced mental state and both of you will be even more miserable. Without your support, it is HIGHLY LIKELY that he will give up and commit suicide.

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Presuming the worst case scenario, threatening suicide is no reason to stay in an abusive relationship.

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Hello broken-hearted,
I have read your comments and those of many others and here’s what I think. It is clear that you are working hard to be patient, loyal and committed, conflicted, fearful, and frustrated. The range of the feelings and experiences you shared says a lot about the consistent lack of fulfillment you are experiencing with your husband, a very troubled man. All the support you have given doesn’t seem to work to improve his understanding of himself and yours, despite the time you both have invested. Unfortunately, your spouse is falling short on his willingness to do the work to get healthy, which is unraveling your marriage and keeps you off balance — a very difficult and disappointing situation. So far, I’m hearing you are a victim of your decisions to stay with a husband who is a threat to you and robs you of happiness and safety.
Please give some thought to a few things, that come to mind: and don’t keep them in your head — get a journal and write them down – date your response and don’t edit!
What is it that you truly want from this relationship? What do you want from your husband? What do you want for yourself? What works in this marriage? What doesn’t? What about this relationship makes you happy? What keeps you in this relationship? What do you want more of, less of? Who can you trust to help you talk about your pain? You mentioned that you sought professional help. Are you continuing to work with this individual, since you said it was very helpful? If yes, what has been your learning? If no, why have you stopped seeing this individual?
Looking at the thoughts you documented, is this relationship working for you? What resources do you have or need, to help you move yourself from where you are, to where you want to be? Food for thought.
PS
Do you understand that you’re responsible for your own happiness? So, what holds you back from giving yourself this?

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