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Dr. L
Dr. L, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 1165
Experience:  Psychologist, Marriage and Family Therapist
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I am married to a man who I now realise is highly controlling

Resolved Question:

I am married to a man who I now realise is highly controlling - always telling me he is trying to look after me. However some years ago he told me to sign some documents, little did I know that those documents would now become part of a criminal fraud investigation. I feel betrayed by him, angry and dont know how I can ever forgive him. We have had some good times together, but this I cannot escape. My adult children cannot forgive him that this is going to cost me my career, my public profile and will mean I lose everything I have worked for. I dont know what I should do with my marriage - can you help?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Dr. L replied 1 year ago.

Dr. L :

Hello,

Dr. L :

I am so sorry this is happening to you. I am very glad you are seeing a Psychiatrist...as absolutely the trauma of what has occurred..and what will occur in court - are significant.

Dr. L :

I can understand why you are unsure of your marriage and what your next step should be. You write that you cannot forgive him...and I see clear rationale for why you would say that. Certainly someone who has betrayed you so completely is not someone you would feel good about being with.

Dr. L :

First, I encourage you to examine your feelings for him. Knowing that you have one, and only one, life to live...is this someone that you feel you want to spend that only life with?

Dr. L :

Please consider this question carefully and honestly.

Dr. L :

I would also encourage you to talk to your attorney. There may be some legal reason that you must stay together...at least until the court matter is settled. There may be some legal protection that you are entitled to that would be erased if you were separated or divorced.

Dr. L :

No one can tell you what to do here. This man is your husband and only you can decide if there is a basis here to continue the relationship or if so much damage has been done that you no longer want to stay married to him.

Dr. L :

I see you are standing by....can we chat? How do you feel about what I have posted so far?

Dr. L :

I can only imagine the pain you are in...this is truly an unfortunate situation.

Customer:

I am not entitled to any protection under our law in NZ for what has been done. The police here see it as my signature and therefore it is black and white. As I look back over my married life I have often said over many business decisions or financial decisions - NO! this is not a good idea or rationale - and he has gone ahead and done it anyway. I believe this contributes to my feelings of being controlled and disempowered and will life continue the same if I stay.

Customer:

R u there?

Dr. L :

Yes. I am here.

Dr. L :

I am carefully reading what you posted.

Dr. L :

Yes...it would seem that the betrayal has been more longstanding and that you were not a "full" partner in decisions. What we often say is: past behavior is an indicator of future behavior.

Dr. L :

If you look at the situation under that light...then yes...there would be considerable worry that life would be the same. And...that would not be tolerable given what has happened.

Dr. L :

You need to be your own woman and to be able to succeed or fail on your own word...

Dr. L :

That is not what happened here...yet you will have to pay the penalty. How very unfortunate and sad.

Dr. L :

It seems as if you are being forced to swallow a very bitter pill...

Dr. L :

How to escape further harm and how to rebuild your life would seem important goals right now. Is that how you see it?

Customer:

Yes it is - but how do I get out of a relationship like this - when he is so controlling. This is my second marriage. My first marriage my husband was emotionally abusive and was a pastor of a local church. He was one thing in public and another thing in private. In the end I got up and left one day without telling him... as I knew he would oppose dramatically and I wasnt willing to bear the emotional cost of this...... now I have walked into another abusive relationship.............! how do I get out of this one.. When I talked about it recently - he responded to me saying "I hope that underneath it all you will see that I am not a bad person and we can get through this together". How am I meant to respond to this?

Dr. L :

The answer to his statement is:

Dr. L :

No! I do see you as a bad person. No! We can't get through this together.

Dr. L :

While you may feel powerless, you are NOT.

Dr. L :

As to your first marriage...I understand that phenomenon very well....the Jekyll and Hyde kind of person...and it would seem that you were wise in leaving. That you stepped into another deceptive relationship...well, that is unfortunate for sure and would suggest that some psychotherapy might be in order to break the cycle.

Dr. L :

Please don't beat yourself up about this...two men deceived you...okay...vow to be more careful in love...and in the meantime...put yourself as the priority here. If you do not love this man, if you cannot forgive what he has done, if the worry of further betrayal and deceit is stinging you, then file for divorce. You deserve a happy, content, respectful, and honorable life...

Dr. L :

You must do what is right for you...not what is right for him or what would please or appease him.

Dr. L :

You left one abusive relationship for the hope of a better life. And...for awhile you had that...but things have gone terribly bad and the courts will have their way.

Dr. L :

You must pick up the pieces of your life and live a life that has meaning and promise for you.

Dr. L :

And..yes...that may mean repeated what you did in the past by leaving.

Dr. L :

So be it.

Dr. L :

It is your life.

Customer:

So how do I pick up the pieces of my life - as a result of this I will lose my career, and all that I have studied for (my Ph.D) will be meaningless in the world because of a criminal record... I will be unlikely ever to have a career again. How then do I pick up the pieces. I have no friends (as I have pulled back over the last 18 months due to the shame of all that has been going on). I have 2 adult children and one grandchild.

Dr. L :

I can only imagine the fear that this evokes. Still...you must take strengthen from your own past. You were in an abusive relationship and you walked away...you were able to stitch together a new life. You can do it again!

Customer:

But last time I buried myself in my work and study

Customer:

this time I wont have either

Dr. L :

I understand the shame reaction...but it's time to put aside those feelings and to acknowledge to yourself and your past friends that you need support. There is no room here to feel ashamed...what would you do if a friend were in a similar place? Would you abandon that friend? Or would you reach out?

Dr. L :

While you may not have work or study...you CAN find other things to get focused on...such as getting some therapy to deal with all of this mess...reaching out to friends and rebuilding those relationships...looking for work...

Customer:

I would reach out - I always do - and that has been my archilles heel (my vulnerability). I am too gracious, compassionate and kind, always willing to give a person the second chance..... more so than any others I know. Most of my friends over the years have abandoned me - largely because of business decisions my husband made

Dr. L :

You might have to build a new career...and so get thinking/planning/researching that.

Dr. L :

And know it might be time to go back to those old friends and tell them that they were right and you were blinded by love/loyalty/commitment...ask for forgiveness...

Dr. L :

*now

Dr. L :

I'm not suggesting that any of this will be easy...it won't be...it might be some of the hardest work you ever do in your life...but you can - and will - grow! And that might provide the richest experience you will ever have.

Dr. L :

Think about volunteering as well...certainly your skills could be used to help others.

Dr. L :

Please don't think that you are worthless that no one will want you...that will not be true! You will have to find a new niche...but find it you will!

Customer:

At the moment all I want to do is HIDE..... KEEP AWAY from people....... the shame and the pain are too great.... I do feel worthless and as if my life has come to nothing.

Customer:

That its been 50 years of wasted life

Dr. L :

I can fully understand why you think your life is over...why the pain is so acute...truly this man has robbed you and sacrificed your self-esteem for his own gain. But don't let him win! You must fight the urge to run away and hide...let him be the one who runs away...don't let him take this from you as well.

Dr. L :

Absolutely your feelings are normal and reasonable....what has happened is shameful..you were tricked and duped.

Customer:

And I pay the price

Dr. L :

Since he has harmed others as well...there will be a sense of understanding...others will know that this was not of your doing...

Dr. L :

And yes...you are paying the price of his decisions...but don't let him take your dignity in the process!

Customer:

Yeah I hope so, but people can be very unforgiving.

Dr. L :

Yes...that's true that people can be unforgiving...but you must give them a chance to support you before you put them in that category! Truthfully...you have no idea how old friends will react...and you have no idea how new friends might act.

Dr. L :

It is only reasonable that your self-worth has taken a tremendous blow.

Dr. L :

And..it is only reasonable that it will take some time before you feel in control of your life.

Dr. L :

Please be patient and look upon this as a process...a process of grieving for what has been lost...grieving for what was stolen...grieving for the cruelty of this man.

Dr. L :

As you grieve...and face all the pain ... you will create new space in your heart to go on and the strength to make better decisions. Right now it is all overwhelming and confusing and hurtful.

Dr. L :

It will be a matter of one step at a time. One decision at a time.

Customer:

I have never considered this as grief..... I got so angry one night that I said I was leaving and I went to my daughters house.... after about 2 hours I was so upset I returned home as the crying over what was lost was so huge.....I therefore irrationally thought I should return to him..... whereas what I am hearing you say is that I might well cry and grieve over what has been lost and do that apart from him in the natural grieving of the relationship and all that was or could have been mine?

Dr. L :

Yes...

Customer:

So rationally I should not have returned!

Dr. L :

I see this as grief...as grieving over what has been lost - your career/your reputation/your years of study/your friends/your trusted,loving husband/your self -

Dr. L :

And yes...you must let the natural process of grief wash over you and carry you on its process towards healing.

Dr. L :

It did you no good to return. You simply returned to the very thing that you left...

Dr. L :

And you put a bandaid on the pain...

Customer:

and probably gave him the belief that I cant live without him and I will never leave and will accept his crap

Customer:

and see him as a good person

Dr. L :

You let a little of the pain out...and quickly acted as if it was healed...when in fact it wasn't and couldn't have been.

Dr. L :

Yes...you gave him your power...and gave further proof that you can't do life without him.

Dr. L :

There is much to grieve about here...and sooner or later you must face that reality.

Dr. L :

If we ignore grief...it just hangs around and inserts itself in life whenever and where ever it can.

Dr. L :

There is no denying it...no running away from it...no hiding...

Customer:

mmm not a good result...! I am in the position legally where I cannot stop living at our house now until the end of January because the court expects me to be living at this particular address.....so I will set my goal to be left by the end of January unless there is another way around this - I will need to check this out.

Dr. L :

I urge you to seek the support of a psychologist or psychotherapist so that you can address these many losses.

Dr. L :

And having that as your "legal" address doesn't mean that you can't be spending your days and nights at another location.

Dr. L :

You could legitimately be staying with your daughter, or in a hotel, or an apartment...or wherever. Those places just can't be your legal address.

Dr. L :

And certainly you could be using the time to pack up your things and sort out belongings and so forth...

Dr. L :

But you must be careful not to let him influence you...

Customer:

I know I have loads of grief to work through..... and I will seek therapy.. I have just not known who to trust as I have a high profile in my city as does my husband...hence why I am here today... I will ask about my legal position re residence as I am bailed to that address at present.... which means that if I don't live there then I can be charged for breaching my bail (another charge) under New Zealand law.

Dr. L :

Yes...find out what your residence options are...

Customer:

I know I must be careful about his influencing... and this is why I need to talk to my barrister about this

Dr. L :

As to getting a therapist..perhaps you will have to look at a nearby town. Remember that therapy is confidential...and you will want to stress this with a prospective therapist.

Dr. L :

I do hope you have found our chat helpful. It would seem that we have covered quite a bit of ground and that you have some good plans to go forward.

Dr. L :

Is there any last thing I can help you with?

Customer:

I have found it helpful... I will make a plan for leaving and get this ready to put into place maybe with the help of my adult daughter and her husband along with my barrister.

Dr. L :

YES! Very good.

Dr. L :

I wish you the very best.

Dr. L :

If you would like to chat again in the future...just put my name at the beginning of your question and it will be directed to me.

Customer:

I dont think there is anything else you can help me with today - its been good clarifying and making some discoveries as well. Thank you.

Customer:

Thanks so much. I will. Thank you for listening its been very helpful.

Dr. L :

It has been my honor to have worked with you today!

Dr. L :

Please take care!

Dr. L, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 1165
Experience: Psychologist, Marriage and Family Therapist
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