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Unhappy in passive agressive relationship, or rediscover myself and lea...
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Unhappy in passive agressive relationship, or rediscover myself and leave?

I have been in a relationship for 22 years (married 18). I have 2 teenagers. When the kids were young, I was a stay at home mom and as a result my self esteem and self worth went down the drain. My husband made me feel like I was  a second class citizen because I wasnt bringing any $$$ in. He also has a short fuse and gets cranky and angry quickly so i found myuself constatnly on egg shells trying to prevent that from happening. He makes promises to our kids and then does not follow through, hes passive aggressive with backhanded compliments or just outright mean to me and the kids. As my kids started getting older, I started working part time - but only when they were in school so that I could still care for them and not have to pay for babysitters. Over the years I took on more hours and now work full time and still manage the day to day functions of our household. I make maybe a third of what my husband makes and he constantly makes me feel again like I am a scond class citizen - that my work and the $$ I bring in are nowhere near as importatnt as his job and income.

About 2 months ago he came very very close to hitting me (which he has never done before) in front of our kids and then told the kids that it was their fault and that if he did hit me he would have to leave and it would be their fault that we weren't together anymore (he knows that if he ever hit me or had an affair - we would be done). I have tried multiple times to talk to him about the severity of him almost hitting me and the severity about his words afterwards but he scoffs and avoids the subject - i cant get past it. He also shows me no affection (very little sex since September). Over the past year I have lost about 50 lbs and have gotten in shape and look pretty good for a mother of 2 in her forties - and again if he compliments me it is along the lines of "you look good... wow look at how saggy your *** is".

About a month ago - he used the threatening fear tactics on my 16 year old son and made him cry for fear that his dad was going to hit him. Again .. not ok!!!

We never know what mood hes going to be in when he walks in the door either and when he rants and rages - we all scramble trying to difuse the situation.

Over the years i have lost most of my friends becasue he would make me feel guilty going out with them and have been pretty isolated and alienated from my family. im tired and dont want to live like this anymore but fear that i wont really have any support if i  leave him. He will be very very mean to me and use our kids as pawns to manipulate them against me.

Ive made my bed... do I sleep in it? or do I leave?
3 Comments Post a Comment
You leave.  He isn't going to change.  What a crappy role model for your children, they are going to think it is normal to live with the elephant in the room of a domineering person's behavior that everyone is afraid of.

Do your work.  1.  See a therapist and work out how you are going to tell the kids.  You want them to know that you are doing it because nobody deserves to live in fear in the family setting.  2.  See a lawyer.  You probably need to establish a record of what your husband says and does, maybe even record him in some cases.  Write a journal.  You will want custody of your kids, so you will have to show he is a scary man.  3.  Save some money, this is going to be a fight.

What your husband is putting your family through -- manipulating through fear -- is pretty much no different than everyone in the family tiptoeing around the fact that dad is an alcoholic, or crazy, or a drug user.  The fact of having to always be on eggshells but never be able to admit it is very difficult and erosive.

Your lawyer will best be able to advise you about what you can ask for in a divorce.  I would want to be able to stay in the house with the boys, and to have support for them.
Thanks Annie!!

I'm ashamed that the biggest thing keeping me in this relationship is lack of money on my part, fear of how nasty he will be and fear that he will somehow get custody....everyone in our neighborhood thinks he is so calm and rational. He also has a lot of high powered friends in the community, where I have very few friends.  As for saving $$... He keeps tabs on it....and I'm not sure how I can.

I also feel guilty...like maybe I am crazy ( as he often tells me I am) and I'm the one who has the issues.

I feel pretty alone and isolated and thank you for your support :-)
Definitely leave.  My dad wasn't as severe as your husband, but he was emotionally abusive. All of us had to and still have to walk on eggshells around him because he is still judgmental as can be.  He has said things to my mother--especially recently because she's put her foot down about him NOT getting a motorcycle even though he wants one--that no husband should ever say to a wife.

All this has lead to plenty of problems for me emotionally that I've had to work hard to overcome through the years.  My sister is full of anger and further distrust of men than she would have otherwise despite what happened to her.  She also has some emotional issues that she's choosing to ignore and bandage with alcohol and drugs.

Even if it's just for your kids' sakes, leave.  I wouldn't simply let this behavior go ignored during custody hearings following the divorce either as how is he going to be with them alone?
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