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amnj

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Hi all,
I am in my second marriage. I have three children from my first and my husband has two children from two different marriages before me. Forgive me if I get long winded, there is a lot to say. My 16 yo daughter decided to live with her father after my new husband moved in and my 10 and 11 yo sons live with me. My husband has a 24 yo son with whom he's had nothing to do with since the child was 3. He also has a 9 1/2 yo daughter who he has custody of. We have been together for 5 1/2 years and have been married since May of 2001. The main problem in the relationship is that he treats my children much differently than he does his daughter. He has the mentality that boys don't have feelings and don't need love and affection like girls do and the result is that my sons are constantly "on the outside looking in". His mother also plays favorites which is very hard for me to understand and accept. I have tried several times to discuss with him how he and his mother make my children and me feel but instead of discussing it we end up fighting. The fact that I have issues with the treatment of my children makes him very angry. He's resorted to calling me derogatory and sometimes downright offensive names, spitting in my face, and throwing me around and trying to choke me (this he's done twice now). The last time he told me that he was going to kill me as well. I don't feel I can ever tell him how anything makes me feel without worrying about being verbally or physically attacked. He also tells me he's leaving every time which is getting old. At times I wish that he would just do it. He's told me, in no uncertain terms, that he is a good man and the problems we have are my fault, and the way he reacts is also my fault and that I need help. I don't know maybe I do but am I wrong to try to protect my childrens feeling? I don't want them growing up thinking that they aren't good enough because they are boys or because they aren't biologically part of his family. My family has treated his child like she has always been a part of the family since day one and he has admitted that it would anger him if they had not so I don't understand where I am wrong. Please help!
 

David Baxter

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amnj said:
My 16 yo daughter decided to live with her father after my new husband moved in
My husband has a 24 yo son with whom he's had nothing to do with since the child was 3.
he treats my children much differently than he does his daughter. He has the mentality that boys don't have feelings and don't need love and affection like girls do and the result is that my sons are constantly "on the outside looking in". His mother also plays favorites which is very hard for me to understand and accept.
The fact that I have issues with the treatment of my children makes him very angry. He's resorted to calling me derogatory and sometimes downright offensive names, spitting in my face, and throwing me around and trying to choke me (this he's done twice now). The last time he told me that he was going to kill me as well. I don't feel I can ever tell him how anything makes me feel without worrying about being verbally or physically attacked.
amnj, read the parts I have quoted above, not from the perspective of someone who is living with this man and in these circumstances but from the perspective of what you would think and want to say if it were your daughter or one of your sone in these circumstances. He is abusive. He is not only abusing you -- he is also abusing your sons. As your sons are watching this relationship, this is part of what they are learning about relationships and about women and about parenting -- obviously, these are not healthy messages for them and not the ones you want to give them.

He also tells me he's leaving every time which is getting old. At times I wish that he would just do it. He's told me, in no uncertain terms, that he is a good man and the problems we have are my fault, and the way he reacts is also my fault and that I need help.
A good man? Who spits at, throws down, chokes, and threatens to kill his wife? And then blames her for his unacceptable behavior?

No. He is not a good man. He is an abusive man. Indeed, he fits the classic profile for a male domestic violence perpetrator. HE is the one who needs help. You need rescuing from a completely intolerable situation.

I don't know maybe I do but am I wrong to try to protect my childrens feeling?
Of course not. But if you do not either find a way to ensure that he gets help for his problem -- and changes as a result of getting bthat help -- or take your sons away from him and leave him, you are not protecting them -- you are allowing him to damage them even further.
 

amnj

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Thank You for such a quick reply and also for reassuring me. He tells me I'm crazy all the time and that he'll make sure everyone knows it if I leave. I guess I needed to hear someone on the outside say that I'm not.
Thanks again
 

David Baxter

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That of course is part of the syndrome of the abusive man: Intimidating you and "brainwashing" you into almost believing it is your fault, or at least to the point where you are no longer certain. A lot of the abuse is about keeping you off balance -- that allows him to feel incontrol and better about his life. But don't be misled or fooled by this: This is NOT about you or about love -- it is all about what will make his life better for him.
 

sammy

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Amnj
You are not crazy.
I totally agree with David.
Keep in touch, if you can.
Let us know how things go.
 

amnj

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Just curious. I know that if I am able to get him to go to counseling and they tell him the same thing that you have said here, he will not go back. He'll say they're full of bs. What should be done then, if that happens? I'm not sure why but I would like to make this relationship work if it's possible.
 

David Baxter

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amnj said:
I would like to make this relationship work if it's possible.
Can you make it work by yourself? If he chooses not to make the effort and not to make the necessary changes on his part (obviously not all of them -- you will be making changes too, no doubt), then your options are pretty limited: (1) accept things the way they are in perpetuity, changing whatever you can in yourself to make it easier to accomodate to him and to the situation, or (2) end it.

I do understand that the options you see are not very palatable. I wish I could tell you there was another easier more palatable choice. Sadly, there isn't.
 

Buddhatech

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I would like to make this relationship work if it's possible.

Do you feel that way because you feel if it doesnt work you have somehow failed? I think a lot of people stay in what are BAD BAD BAD situations because of that.

As a father of three in my opinion you have to do something your children need help. They need it now.

I also think a lot of people stay in bad abusive relationships and sometimes think that "the children are almost grown" or that eventually the children will leave and it will be (the abuse) all over for them.

Your in a bad spot and I sure feel for you. I hope you can get help for yourself as well as your kids. Please keep everyone posted on how you are doing.

Just curious what line of work is your husband in?
 

amnj

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He works in a factory. He never finished high school, he was kicked out for going drunk. I'm not sure what grade, I think 11th. He does have a GED though. He's ten years older than I am and I know things where a little different when he was in school than when I was. Yes, I think in part that I'm having a hard time leaving because I'll feel like a failure. I have been divorced once already after-all. I also am a full-time student and not working so he's our sole support. I think also that I'm a little afraid of what he will do if I try to leave. There's many things that play a part in making this decision very difficult.
 

Kanadiana

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Ouch :(

amnj said:
Thank You for such a quick reply and also for reassuring me. He tells me I'm crazy all the time and that he'll make sure everyone knows it if I leave. I guess I needed to hear someone on the outside say that I'm not.
Thanks again

Hi Amnj,

I'm sorry to be so blunt, but you don't sound crazy at all, you sound in danger, because the actions and threats are there already ... this doesn't sound like a man whocan, or wants, to control himself.

Belive me, I know how hard these things are to look at when love and loving feelings, and even wonderful momnts cloud the picture.

Sad to have to throw out the baby with the bath, but the good stuff with the bad stuff, inseparable.

Please be strong ... it wouldn't take much, from the sounds of it, for this man to add more force and loss of control to his actions. Rage ...

You ain't crazy ... and I feel for you. He's got baggage and problems that hurt you and your kids. Is this how you want to continue?

Tough choices? yes.

Be well.
 

amnj

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Buddhatech: Yes, before I went back to school I worked as a bookkeeper but the business folded and I found myself "laid-off". I looked for something else only to find that, even with my 12 years of experience, no one wants to pay a bookkeeper more than $10/hr which is not enough to pay the kind of rents around here after electricity, groceries, phone, heat, etc. Also, if I were working I essentially would not qualify for any kind of help from the state and if I am not working, I wouldn't qualify for enough to make ends meet that way either. So I went back to school, got into a nursing program and only have about 1 1/2 years left to get my degree. Seems a waste to quit now and go back to work when I know that I'll be financially secure after I've finished.

Kanadiana: No, this is not how I want to continue. Either for me or for my children. The fact that I worry about my children as much as I do is why I find myself "on the receiving end" in the first place. But I also don't want to have them living out of a cardboard box on the side of the road scrounging for food. I feel like I'm in a no win situation. I keep telling myself, "if I can just make it through school". I do realize that there will be a point of no return for him eventually. All I can hope is that I can finish school and get out before it goes that far. Ironically the sister of a good friend of mine was beaten and strangled to death by her boyfriend just last week and so it's been on my mind more than ever now. Not that I think he would actually take it THAT far but no one ever knows right?
You're right about the "good with the bad" thing. He apologizes profusely after one of his episodes and he is so sweet for a while afterwards. It's those times that make me wonder if it's something that I can fix. Unfortunately, his promises to never get that angry again never seem to hold up.
 

David Baxter

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amnj said:
You're right about the "good with the bad" thing. He apologizes profusely after one of his episodes and he is so sweet for a while afterwards. It's those times that make me wonder if it's something that I can fix. Unfortunately, his promises to never get that angry again never seem to hold up.
No... I'm afraid that is classic "abusive spouse" behavior and it won't change until he gets some therapy for it himself, which doesn't seem likely to happen.

See http://www.psychlinks.ca/pages/domestic.htm.
 

Kanadiana

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amnj said:
Kanadiana: No, this is not how I want to continue. Either for me or for my children. The fact that I worry about my children as much as I do is why I find myself "on the receiving end" in the first place. But I also don't want to have them living out of a cardboard box on the side of the road scrounging for food. I feel like I'm in a no win situation. I keep telling myself, "if I can just make it through school". I do realize that there will be a point of no return for him eventually. All I can hope is that I can finish school and get out before it goes that far. Ironically the sister of a good friend of mine was beaten and strangled to death by her boyfriend just last week and so it's been on my mind more than ever now. Not that I think he would actually take it THAT far but no one ever knows right?
You're right about the "good with the bad" thing. He apologizes profusely after one of his episodes and he is so sweet for a while afterwards. It's those times that make me wonder if it's something that I can fix. Unfortunately, his promises to never get that angry again never seem to hold up.

Hi. :) I'm REALLY glad I didn't offend. I know how heart-tearing it must be for you ...you also sound very empathetic to your partners pain and his seeming powerlessness overhis bhavior when reactions are triggered. He probably lashes out much out of having that triggered and blames the triggerer... nOT the triggers.

I wonder how many domestic fights end in a death because of accident. A little push, a little fall, a little slip while trying to run away or releasea grip, avoid a hit, ... had hits just so ... dead. Can't fix. When someone has threatened to kill someone else ... and has shown the ability to hit and attack... well, I'd err on the side of caution and leave ASAP just to try gaurantee that that will NEVER be an issue. Leave NO room for it to ever arise as a potential.

I know how hard it is to disentangle gracefully and carefully, and as unreactively as possible. I also know the pushes and pulls of the heart and mind when someone you love "loves" or is dependent on you (or even just thinks they are)

I know how it can feel like abandonning the loved one when they most seem to need your support etc.

I also know how hard it is to think objectively, emotionanlessly, and clearly ... to realistically assess the issues, and what you've got to work with to make changes, leave, whatever. It also all takes money, helping hands, and sometimes protection....

You need a roof, food, and help to get from here to there.

Do you have those helps???

I hope, truthfully, that you won't wait until its too late :( It seems there is enough info for you to know that your partner is capable of losing it, and there are no gaurantees that he will be "cool" until you finish school, or anything else.

Something, even knowledge you're thinking of leaving, could escalate his powerlessness and reactivity. I worry for you and the kids.

Your partner needs to do some major inner changes before he can hope to gain control over his own reactions and mindsets. This all takes a LONG time and great efforts ... AFTERAWARENESS and COMMITMENT TO CHANGE hits home with him.

Prioritize ... and do what must be done thats right by you and your kids. Trust that your partner will accept and change only when he is ready, and not a minute sooner. You can't afford to wait for him... thats my take on the situation.

Love Kanadiana! (I'm with ya girl!
 

Kanadiana

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Hi Amnj,

So ... how goes your inner struggle with all this today?

You know, I wish, all the time, that I was a multi-milionaire to help
people who don't have the money to disentangle and get set up
in a new mentally healthier and physically safer environmnt and place,
especially when kids are involved.

People usually can't afford loans either... and givens are more realistic
to help them "start again from at least ground zero" not below ground zero.

I'll be online today. Soon to be disconnectd at home though, so
won't be online often for some time until my own economics are
better (argh)

.
 

amnj

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I'm very glad that I found this site and am very appreciative of the support and advice I've gotten. You all are right I know. I always said I'd never find myself in a situation like this and that I would leave if I ever did but I never realized how hard that is. I'm not sure that I love him anymore, sometimes I think I do, other times I don't. He did have me believing that it was me, that I was crazy or at least questioning myself even if I didn't believe it. I know now that he's wrong. I am looking for a way out but the options just aren't there right now. If I didn't have children to think about I would already be gone. It isn't that easy when you have to worry about how you're going to feed them and keep a roof over their heads. It's easier, right now, for me to shield them as much as humanly possible and to reassure them that they are great kids and loved very much than it is for me to get them out since I have no income. At least they are being kept warm and fed. I never leave them with my husband so I don't worry about him laying a hand on them. I think he knows that that would be the last straw for me but I don't let there be an opportunity for it either.
Anyway, Thanks again for all the advice and support. It helps to know that there are ears and shoulders there for me :)
 

Kanadiana

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Hi,

Why don't you try some local womens centers and church groups?
Explain your situation and that you don't have the funds to move
yourself and little family to a new and safer environment.

Even the crisis line may be able to refer you to some local community
resources. There may be crisis housing and financial assistance available
to you as well. Womens transition houses is a last resort in an emergency
if you realize you have to get out immediately etc.

Use your time when the partner is at workor sleeping to scope out
all of these possibilities. Womens groups are a very powerful source
of support and info, and sometimes actual help!

The ways and means are simply to be found ... go for it!
 

amnj

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Sep 29, 2004
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Hi all,
Just checking in. I mustured up the courage tonight and told him he needed to leave. I don't know where I'll go from here but I think it's a step in the right direction. Thanks again for all the support!
 

David Baxter

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Wow. Good for you, amnj. Good for you!

It is a step for sure. Some of the next few steps are going to be difficult but they are taking you in the right direction.
 

sammy

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Amnj... let us know how things are, as and when you can.

Be strong, be firm, you can do it.

Get help if necessary....police, social services...

I will be thinking of you and your kids.. (((hug)))
 

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