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Question
Posted by: cathy | 2007/11/29

Husband verbally abusing me.

Dear Doctor.
I am a 52 year old woman. Running a business with my husband for about 10 years now. This December we will be married 33Yrs. I have a problem which lately has been getting worse. If anyone just dares to slightly sound like they are speaking "cheeky" to him he will sound off to them loud and clear. That is his nature and always has been!.
I called him to the phone on Monday to help sort out a difficult customer. He incidentally hates ever taking a phone call. But after speaking to the customer in full view of the other staff he put the phone down and shouted at me at the top of his voice. "Why do you call me to the *^^$# phone!, I dont even know what the call is ***$$ all about!, I dont even know what **^^$$ printer she is talking about!!!. You will call me to the phone if someone's $$$## is ****## skew!!. The most gross, foul mouth words and statement!. He turned to my son and said, you know your mother can make me so mad, and my son said, I think the way that you have just spoken to her is nothing short of disgusting. He then said, I dont need my children to me how to speak to my wife! and my son walked out.
I was very very humiliated. BUT the problem is this is NOT the first time. In fact most people would have taken their bag and walked out. BUT I have had to endure so much of this already that partially I am becoming immune to it. I even cried only a little bit. Now we have the "silent" fight on the go. He has already about ten minutes after it happened began apologizing (as usual) and expects me to just say "oh ok", dont worry about it. But each time it gets harder and harder for me to just accept his apology and carry on as if nothing has happened!. When he apologized I told him to get away from me as I though he was the most dispicable human being on the face of the earth. Now this morning he says to me, the way I "drag" a fight on like this is making him "hate" me. He thinks it is more disgusting than what he does. He says I am over reacting because he is NOT SWEARING AT ME, but rather just swearing cos he is angry. He thinks that makes all the difference. And I say, if you are shouting at me and you are angry at me then you are swearing at me, and he will not accept that. And he says, that the guy that works in the same office as him said to him yesterday "oh I see you are still in the dog box", and it is things like this making him hate me for carrying on with the fight like this. You know it will be hard to beleive but we are supposed to be a Christian family. NEVER EVER miss a service, and never leave our house in the morning without saying a prayer for the family and the business first. To me, how your live your life though has always been more important than a bible under your arm and a seat on the pew. Problem is I dont know what to do now, I dont want to just "make friends" because that means that in a weeks time it happens again. This morning when he said me dragging the fight on like this makes him hate me, I said to him that I am enjoying the silence because it makes me feel protected from his verbal abuse!!. But I dont think he paid much attention or took in what I was saying. If I do try and talk nice to him to sort a problem out he will just tell me, he does not want to talk rubbish and I must push off or somthing like that. Please help, I dont know who else to talk to as I feel even ashamed for people to find out how my husband behaves!.

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Our expert says:
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IS it at all possible to persuade him to join you in mariage counselling ? He probably also needs some CBT-type personal counselling, so as to learn how to cope with his anger issues. Possibly POWA may be able to advise, too, though I have heard some complaints lately that some branches are not responding well to all calls.
Don't YOU feel ashamed of people hearing his bad behaviour --- it is HE who should feel ashamed of the shabby way he treats you

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Our users say:
Posted by: RESPECT | 2007/11/30

It is not worth the pain, I am from a family where my dad used to get drunk on a Saturday and then beat up on my mom. His verbal abuse caused me to run to my room and curl up under a blanket while closing my ears so I could not hear the shouting. My self esteem was non existent at school and I carried it through into my adult life choosing the wrong partners thinking that it is okey if men disrespect me but by the grace of God I stumbled across a great guy and we have been together 4 yrs now. Only when you experience someone treating you with the true respect and dignity you deserve will you realise how wrong the abuser was treating you. You owe it to yourself & your son to leave and have a better future. The reality is it won't get better; the damage has been done to your heart and your soul, from here on out you will only become a martyr if you stay and let the abuse continue. Emotional scars are deeper because the physical once can still heal, but if you get scared as things progress you will only feel less worthy and more weak to stand up to him.

Reply to RESPECT
Posted by: HB | 2007/11/30

I grew up in a home where my dad verbally and physically abused my mom. I often got involved in an attempt to protect my momw both from the physical and verbal abuse. It is extremely difficult for the children involved. I feel for your son. You need to speak to him about it and if needs be he needs to see a therapist to help him as well. I am in a marriage now and unfortunatley my wife is extremely impatient and when things dont go her way she starts verbally abusing me. It has become so bad that our marriage is almost over. We have tried counselling but to no avail. The point is that your husband's behavious is undoubtedly going to impact on your son and his life. This is something that your husband needs to understand.

Reply to HB
Posted by: libby | 2007/11/29

I WAS married to a verbal abusive husband. We have seen as many docters as possible. It didn't help, because he believed the problem was with his wife. Not him. I divorced him. Verbal abuse are hard.

Reply to libby
Posted by: John | 2007/11/29

We are in the second (or third?) national observance of 16 days of activism against gender violence. This 'violence' extends to the verbal abuse you refer to. It is not the gut-wrenching beatings that take place in squatter camps, it is not the shaming rapes that occur every 4 minutes - it is this insiduous cancer that eats at the marrow of our society, that swear word that that leaps from the lips of those whom we love.

We, those who do not commit violence upon women or children, are like Nixon's Silent Majority. We are innocent of the accusation but are guilty of condoning it by our inaction.

cathy, if not for your own sanity and safety, you need to make a stand: you are beholden to those who are unable to do so, who lack courage, who lack alternatives, who lack self-belief.

You owe it to them to do something - anything - and if your single action is merely a gesture, it is far better than this silence that covers the shame.

Reply to John
Posted by: Lolo | 2007/11/29

i regard u as one of the strongest woman and they are very rare this days, but no one deserve to be abused, once you let him continue he won't see any wrong in doing that, start now to react before is too late, sit down with him and be polite no matter how angry he can be remember be polite and tell him how you feel about all that is happening, tell him straight to an eye and don't leave a piece.

Do'nt leave show him no one is perfect but if you work as a team u will be perfect, wearing of no swearing shouting is bad, even a kid won't apreciate that.

he need help, you both need councelling and i think he is depressed. go councilling or take a trip to somewhere just the two of you, away from the business.

Reply to Lolo
Posted by: J | 2007/11/29

Oh wow, I almost cried when reading this! What you are describing Cathy - it feels like my own mother talking here. My dad has been verbally abusing her since I can remember. After 26 yrs of marriage she is still hanging around. I am really sorry to read of what you are going through Cathy. I can't give any useful advice but I can tell you I know exactly what your son has to go through.
Good luck!!

Reply to J
Posted by: RP | 2007/11/29

Has he always been like this? Sounds like he needs help, if its not too late already. Tell him to get to therapy or on medication or you are out of there! Go with him to therapy if necessary so he can hear your side of it with a mediator, and so he can hear how badly he is behaving from an objective person - my guess is he wont want to go though. He is a bully and he will carry on as long as you let him and he thinks he can get away with it.

Reply to RP

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