His Problem or Mine?

By Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

I have been married to my husband for 9yrs. I believe he is abusive though i am not entirely sure. he constantly criticizes me and belittles me. i can’t do anything right. he makes me feel like i am so stupid and i should be thankful for him staying and putting up with me.He never loses his temper or yells or even swears. he is always in control of his emotions. his favorite thing to tell me is that i am worthless trash even for something as small as forgetting to buy a tomato for our hamburgers. i was on antidepressants for awhile. He called them my crazy pills. he told me that was proof that i was a mental case. i quit taking them cause i got tired of his jokes. he controls all our finances i never know how much is in the bank or what our debt is. he gives me an allowance. he is very jealous. he constantly accuses me of having affairs. he calls me a slut. he has threatend to go to my work and beat up the guys that i work with.

I want to leave him but the catch is he is a preacher. he is well known and loved in the area. nobody would believe me. he knows all my wrongs and shortcomings and threatend to tell the church and turn them all against me.he told me once if i thought living with him was miserable wait till i try to live without him. he said he will make it a nightmare for me. i am really confused. sometimes i think i deserve it cause i am really that stupid. sometimes i think its not so bad at least we have some good days together. i am just not sure. i don’t want to ruin his reputation as a preacher if this is really just a normal marriage.

A: This relationship isn’t normal. It isn’t healthy. It isn’t okay. Your husband controls you by undermining your self-esteem, isolating you, and making you overly dependent on him. If that weren’t enough, he threatens to make your life even more miserable if you leave him.

Just because he is a preacher doesn’t mean he’s holy. In fact, in my opinion, it makes his behavior even worse. A man of god is supposed to be a role model for a relationship built on kindness and love, not a model for how to control a person by manipulation and contempt.

Fortunately, there is a women’s center near you. For your safety, delete your correspondence with us. Use the computer at the library or at a friend’s house to look into their services. You need to leave and you need to leave safely. Stop worrying about his reputation. He is being inappropriate, not you. You absolutely do not deserve to live like this. A few good days is not worth a lifetime of unhappiness.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 4 Aug 2012

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2012). His Problem or Mine?. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 26, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2012/08/04/his-problem-or-mine/