My fiancee wishes he could kill me, should I stay?

By Daniel J. Tomasulo, PhD, TEP, MFA, MAPP

I met my “fiancée” my first year in college. I had moved out of my home state and away from my parents a week after I turned 18. At home I lived with my older brother, little sister, mother and stepfather. My stepfather and mother never seemed to get along either he was yelling or she was complaining about him behind his back. I guess I’m afraid of doing the same thing she did.

Anyway, I lived in the dormitory at school two doors down from him. College was not what I expected. I hated my major, my roommate and I dud not get along, so all I did was work and spend time with him. After that year we moved to his home state together and transferred schools. I had planned to live by myself, but I could not afford it so we lived together. He had always said he wanted to marry me but never mentioned it in front of anyone else.

We began fighting all the time. I felt like I had made such a huge adjustment for him by moving to his home city and he wouldn’t help me get situated with anything. I sold my car for money for us and he refused to take me to any job interviews so I could support us. He also refused to get a job himself, he is middle eastern and has a lot of pride, so he made me take out hundreds of thousands of dollars in student loans on my parents names. He spent most of it on stuff for himself and fast food. He would flip out and even become violent if I refused to get the loans. He called me horrible names and would make me feel like I was ruining his life if I didn’t. After about a year I started planning to leave, I had no friends, as he was so critical of everyone. The only other people I spoke to were his friends with whom he would listen to every word and critique me later on what I should have said instead. He joined the army and left for 6 weeks. I planned to leave while he was gone, I had purchased a car online but it didn’t come on the expected date. Instead it came after he got home. While he was gone all the money (from a loan) that was supposed to be deposited in my account for me to live on while he was away was declined, as I had no car and no way to get to a job I completely fell apart. I had no one to turn to. When he called I told him all that had happened with the money and car and he left training early to come home, but now blames me for ruining it. I feel like all this could have been prevented if he had helped me get a job before.

We still live together. It’s been almost five years now. He is telling everyone we are engaged, he never asked me to marry him. I don’t think we should get married at least not at this point in time. I am way in debt and struggling to pay rent and for school. We were evicted from our last apt because I couldn’t pay rent and the apt charged it to his credit not mine. I am also desperate to find a job, which seems impossible. My student loan payments are piling up, my mom is paying my rent, and my “fiancée” continually reminds me of what a problem I am. I feel lower than garbage. I have a car and no insurance so he will not allow me to drive, but complains and calls me names if I ask for a ride somewhere even if it’s to a job interview. I’m afraid that my relationship has turned into the cold tension that my mom and step dads did.

Over the years I have felt so depressed, alone, and I don’t trust my own judgment as he tells me everything I think is wrong. He has broken my nose, and I feel like I need to get away but when I tell him it’s over he cries and begs me to stay. He says he will kill himself if I leave. He is wildly jealous and accuses me of cheating on him all the time, derogatorily of course. I would just leave without him knowing but I can barely afford to eat let alone live by myself. I feel guilty that pays all bills and most expenses now even though I did for the first few years of our relationship with my loans. I can’t ask him for help without him saying my problems or I am stupid. I get lectured or yelled at least once a day. Sometimes I cry when I’m by myself and just thinking. I feel like I deserve better but at the same time I feel like I deserve it. He says he wishes it were legal to kill me sometimes.

I feel tired all the time from not eating enough but he says I eat everything and am selfish and don’t give him enough. If we eat a meal it is expected of me to leave half of mine for him no matter how hungry I am.

I also feel that I am sick. I have dizzy spells, cannot stand for long periods, have trouble focusing, and we have been having unprotected sex for years and I’ve never gotten pregnant (knock on wood). We aren’t trying to but I just find that odd. I don’t really enjoy sex with him, but it’s easier than him becoming angry if I don’t. I thought with a degree I could get a good job and get away, but I can’t get anyone to hire me. I’m also afraid to go to the doctor because I don’t want him to get mad if something is wrong. He accuses me of cheating on him when I’m sick. He expects me to pick up after him, take care of his dog, and pretty much be his maid, be quiet, and just do what I am told. I feel so lost and trapped. I know if I can find work maybe I can leave, but is this all my fault? Do I cause him to be stressed enough to hit me and yell at me? He says he feels bad about it, but that I make him do it. I’m afraid to talk to anyone in case he finds out. I don’t know if I should keep trying to change or keep trying to leave. Neither is working. I’ve contemplated suicide but can’t bear leaving my parents with all my loans. His parents give us money too and makes me feel bad about it by saying they don’t have much money but my stepfather works 80hours a week to try to help me. I know he is angry about the loans though and that makes me afraid to go home. I tried to go visit once after I moved out and my boyfriend refused to let me go. I need a new perspective. I want to go to med school, I’m a psych major and want to be a neuropsychiatrist, but my life can’t continue like this. Someone Help. I feel like I’m losing myself. I can’t have any hobbies without being called selfish and he doesn’t see his anger as a problem and wants our future kids to be just like him. Other times I feel like he is all I have and I should be lucky to have someone who is willing to stick by me through so much as we have been barely getting by for years. He could’ve just left and went to live with his parents who live nearby. Also if something bad happens to him he says it’s out of his control, but when they happen to me or both of us. It’s always all my fault. Do I just brush off his insults, they hurt my feelings but when I tell him he says I’m being to sensitive. I need an outside perspective, help!

A: You are brave for confronting your situation by writing us here. This is very important. I hope you can follow through with my advice.

Nothing about this relationship that you have described has a loving feature to it. Nothing. He has:

  • Robbed you.
  • Lied to you.
  • Broken your nose.
  • Threatened to kill you.
  • Verbally abused you.
  • Abandoned you.
  • Blamed you.
  • Treated you like a slave.
  • Accused you of being unfaithful.
  • Insulted you.

On the other side:

  • You are not feeling well.
  • Don’t enjoy his company.
  • Don’t enjoy sex with him.
  • Feel disempowered.
  • Are in debt because of him.
  • Feel controlled and manipulated.
  • Are not allowed to have hobbies.
  • Controlled by how much he says you can eat.
  • Feel you are losing yourself.

If you are looking to go into the profession of being a neuropsychiatrist what would you say if someone came to you with this list? What advice would you have?

Three things I hope you would do now.:

  1. Get yourself to the local women’s center and explain to them what you have written here. The man you are living with has a very particular pattern of oppression they will be able to help you with. They can offer individual and group therapy, often for free or on a sliding scale. Let them help you get the support base you need for change.

  2. Either through them or a hospital, get a medical evaluation. Your symptoms must be checked out by a physician. Do not put this off.
  3. Do not tempt fate. You are having unprotected sex with a man who wishes it were legal to kill you. Having a child with him should be the last thing you want to do. Use oral contraception (“NO”) until you can get help from the women’s center.

You have taken a great first step by writing to us. Now is the time to take care of yourself and get the help you need.

Wishing you patience and peace,
Dr. Dan

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 28 Jun 2010

APA Reference
Tomasulo, D. (2010). My fiancee wishes he could kill me, should I stay?. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 22, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2010/06/28/my-fiancee-wishes-he-could-kill-me-should-i-stay/