Psych Central

Abused as a Child, Now I Abused Wife

By Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

Q. As a child I had constant criticism from my brother and father about being overweight. I was sad and depressed as a kid. The verbal abuse got worse. All my cry’s to my mom about the abuse went unanswered. My father basically never showed his love,interest,praise for me or any of his kids. He just never cared. He wanted nothing to do with us. He gave constant criticism. All I wanted was to be Loved! I was angry at everybody in my family and depressed. I remember locking myself in the closet banging my head against the wall,crying,say I hate everyone and I wish I were dead. I started taking out my anger on the family dog by beating him. Well the dog started bitting me back. From the age of 10yrs old to 15yrs old the dog attacked me violently. MY father said that he would not get rid of the dog and that I deserved the attacks. They kept him tied up to the dining room table and for 5yrs he got off the leash and attacked me about 10 to 12 times. I am 44 yrs old now and I just becoming aware that I was an abused child and that I have very low self-esteem. What woke me up to this was because my wife for 10 yrs left me and file for divorced. She says that she is tired of the all the verbal abuse. I truly do Love her but I did abuse her because I was thinking that she did not Love me and that she wanted somebody else because I am unattractive,fat,a loser,etc… I have been having all sorts of negative thoughts about myself for a very long time, my whole life! The one thing I wanted was for someone to Love me and she did but my mind twisted everything around to say she didn’t and now she doesn’t Love and wants a divorce. I have believed lies inside of my head and I realize this now, and now I am sad and now I am sad and depressed. I destroyed the one thing I wanted the most and actually had it. I guess I want to know what is wrong with me??? Is there any help for me??? I don’t see any reason to keep living anymore! I have three children but I think they will be better off without me. I am tired of living this way. Can you help me?

A. There may be a silver lining in all your bad news. That is, you are aware of the abuse that you endured as a child and how that experience may have contributed to your verbally abusive behavior towards your ex-wife as an adult. It also seems that you recognize that it is time for you to seek help.

It does not seem that you have ever dealt with your past abuse. The abuse you endured most likely affected you negatively and perhaps led you to treat others in the same abusive manner that was unfairly bestowed upon you. It is not uncommon for people who abuse others to have been abused themselves. The good news is that once you become aware of your behavior you can work to change it.

There is help for you if you are willing to seek it. Therapy, if you are open to it, can help you immensely. You may not be able to go back and change the past but you can positively alter your future. Now that you realize that serious help is needed, there is a great opportunity for you to make overdue changes in your life. It is never too late.

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 22 Sep 2008

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2008). Abused as a Child, Now I Abused Wife. Psych Central. Retrieved on April 21, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2008/09/22/abused-as-a-child-now-i-abused-wife/