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TherapistMarryAnn, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5763
Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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Thank you for your previous help - my grand-daughter is now

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Thank you for your previous help - my grand-daughter is now receiving counselling and is coping with life quite well. However, I have a personal problem. My husband of 6.5 years and been together for 8 years is not at all happy. I knew when I met him that he had had a very sad childhood, he never married till he met me (age 47), however had been in a relationship for some time prior, in which he had a child. Unfortunately after parting the little boy was killed in a accident outside of school (13 years ago) and my husband did not find out about his sons death until months later. My husband is a very caring, doting and considerate person, however he suffers badly from what I believe ptsd. We have been to counselling over the years and has been a great help and he has managed to move past a lot of his pain - but never quite leaving it behind. He has this awful person who comes out when he s triggered by some remark or action and it overtakes him. He is clever at putting on a façade in front of people to appear like all is ok - however behind the scenes he will not talk or will be abusive in language and takes a lot out on me verbally. He can threaten to leave or say something that indicates all is over, but never leaves! I understand the pain he has had and can only begin to imagine what he goes through privately everyday with his thoughts. I feel like I coming to where I need to make a decision about our future, however I do love him dearly and would love to see him more at peace, therefore eliminating some of this anger and sadness around him.
Can you please suggest anything more I could try.
THank you Elliott
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  TherapistMarryAnn replied 5 years ago.

Hi, I would like to help you with your question. Would that be alright with you?



Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Expert:  TherapistMarryAnn replied 5 years ago.

It sounds like your husband is emotionally abusive towards you. I know that is not an easy thing to face. But no matter how much pain your husband is in, there is no reason for him to take out his feelings on you verbally or be abusive in his language.


Taking responsibility for his pain is something he needs to do. He knows this situation was not caused by you and even if it possibly could be, you do not deserve to be treated in such a way. And since he is able to control how he acts in front of others, he is not suffering so much that he does not know the difference between acceptable and unacceptable behavior. Having PTSD is bad, but it does not mean he has the right to abuse you because of it.


Emotionally abusive people feel powerless, insecure and fearful. They do either do not want to accept how they feel or they cannot handle how they feel so they take it out on someone else, usually their partner or children. The abused person is made to feel powerless, worthless, question their own judgment and feel they are deserving of the abuse. They also may feel so controlled they are not sure how to get out of the relationship or even if they can.


You mentioned that you are considering the future of your marriage which says that you are seeing the situation you are in as harmful to you. This is good insight. Your marriage can continue to work, but your husband must stop using his son's death as an excuse to be emotionally abusive. If he can take responsibility for his actions, get help (therapy and/or self help) and make amends, your relationship can grow and become better. You also need time to heal from your experience. Being abused takes a toll and your self esteem can be low as a result.


The first step is to talk about this in therapy. You mentioned that you both have been in counseling over the years, which is a good thing. It means you are both open to asking for help when you feel you need it. You may want to consider going back to therapy, or bringing this topic up in therapy if you are still going.


You can also talk with your pastor if you attend church. Pastors are usually trained to help married couples with a variety of problems.


Self help is a great way for both of you to work on your own issues around the abuse and come together to help each other. Here are some resources to get you started:


The Secret of Overcoming Verbal Abuse: Getting Off the Emotional Roller Coaster and Regaining Control of Your Life by Albert Ellis and Marcia Grad Powers


The Emotionally Abusive Relationship: How to Stop Being Abused and How to Stop Abusing by Beverly Engel


The Verbally Abusive Man, Can He Change?: A Woman's Guide to Deciding Whether to Stay or Go by XXXXX XXXXX


You can find these books on or your local library may have them for you.


You have great sympathy for what your husband has been through. I can tell by the way you speak about his loss. You seem to be a kind and gentle wife. But you do not deserve to be treated in a way that hurts you. With some work and your husband taking responsibility for his behavior, you can have the marriage you deserve.


I hope this helps. Let me know if you have more questions.



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