Abusive Husband

By Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

I believe my husband may have some sort of personality disorder or anger issue. He throws, what I call, fits of rage whenever ANYTHING doesn’t go his way or when someone (mainly me) disagrees with him. He screams, curses, breaks and throws things and generally goes completely insane over the smallest things. (He once called me a “Stupid F’n B*TCH” for disagreeing with him on the rules of a game of “punch bug” the kids were playing in the car. He repeatedly punched and broke my dashboard in my vehicle while screaming “SHUTUP YOU STUPID B*TCH!!” when I told him once that he should go easier on his father when they had a disagreement.

Around other people, he is the comedian, the life of the party, and puts on a “selfless, generous” face for friends. Yet, he has a separate checking account for his paycheck and if I ask for money for bills, groceries, etc, he tells me that he is “broke” and then will go and get himself take out for lunch the following day.

He only pays his “own bills” and doesn’t share household expenses or grocery expenses and we have 5 children, one of which is not mine. I am at my wits end and I think he may need professional help but he refuses to go to a therapist. What should I do? We have been together for 12 years, married for nearly 10 and have 3 “joint” children, but I am afraid to leave since he has a tendency to mistreat the children as well if I am not around to stop him. I feel trapped and I am unsure what to do at this point!

A: It looks to me like you have been treated badly for so long that it takes extremes for you to notice that something isn’t right. You’ve been worn down and emotionally numbed to your situation. No one deserves to be treated the way your husband is treating you. Kids don’t deserve to see their mother treated that way.

Your husband is a tyrant. He’s got you walking on eggshells all the time and somehow he’s managed to manipulate you into being the only responsible adult in the family. He’s acting like an out of control 13-year-old boy who uses tantrums to get his way and who expects to be totally financially supported. You’ve got five children. You certainly don’t need a sixth one who is a spoiled and bad-tempered brat.

It’s long past time for you to get some help. Fortunately there is a women’s program near you. Please check out the Women’s Resource Center. The hotline there is 404-688-9436. You and your kids need some counseling. Your husband does too but I’m not optimistic he’ll get it unless you make it clear he has to if he wants a family. You already support the whole family. The only thing you would lose if he left would be the abuse. Do consider it.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 3 Sep 2013

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2013). Abusive Husband. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 26, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2013/09/03/abusive-husband/