She’s afraid to leave violent husband.

By Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

My husband and I have been married for 8 years and have three children. He was divorced before, after a very short marriage, which was anulled for reasons he will not admit to knowing.

During the past eight years, my husband has become more and more verbally abusive toward me and our oldest son (age7). He name-calls, screams, wishes us dead, belittles us. Daily, he ignores us, watching TV, and yells if we speak to him. Every day, he has certain rituals and inspections he performs…he comes home and checks the walls and floor for any dents or marks we may have made (going on a screaming fit if he finds one), cuts the power to the garage nightly so no one could “get in”, has to be the only one who “arranges” the tab-top curtains because they must ALL be evenly spaced, and we are too stupid and messy to do it perfectly. And that’s just a few examples.

In the past, he has gotten ridiculously angry over normal childish behavior from my son and grabbed him around the neck, hit him too hard, or screamed horrible things at him. He has twisted my arms, knocked me down, and wished me dead. He tells the kids not to listen to me because I am “twisted” or “stupid”.

I believe he is hiding a mental illness diagnosis. He once mentioned that he had been out in Lithium but stopped because he didn’t like it. He now denies he ever said this. His regular doctor prescribed him Zoloft, which he took a few weeks, then suddenly quit and refused to return again.

Obviously, this has affected my children and I in a horrible way. I would love to get us all out and away from him, but I am terrified that he would get partial custody or visitation, at which time he is free to harm our children however he wants with no one to stand between them.

I don’t know where to turn next. I know he has been dignosed with OCD, but after that, he refused to return to a counselor ever again after they wanted to look into him further.
Help!!! I don’t know how long my kids or I can take this.

A: Your don’t need to figure out what is wrong with your husband. You need to protect yourself and your children. You also need to help the kids understand that the violence they have been observing for their entire lives is not normal or acceptable in a loving relationship between married people or between parents and their children. Otherwise, they are likely to repeat these behaviors in their own marriages some day.

Please call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 TODAY. You and the children have been living under this reign of terror far too long. There are counselors available 24/7 to help you figure out how to keep you and your children safe and how to maintain custody. Their web address is www.ndvh.org. Computer use can be monitored. If you fear that your husband will find out that you are contacting the hotline, use a computer at your local library or at the home of a friend.

If part of the reason you have been immobilized is that you love your husband: The most loving thing you can do for him is to prevent him from hurting or even killing someone. He does seem to be in the grip of something that is beyond his control. Once you and the children are not sharing a household with him, you may be able to pursuade him to get the help he needs. That means working with a psychiatrist and a therapist to address the rage that he is barely able to contain.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 4 Nov 2007

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2007). She’s afraid to leave violent husband.. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 28, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2007/11/04/shes-afraid-to-leave-violent-husband/