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TherapistMarryAnn, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5762
Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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Hi, my problem is pretty simple, yet complicated. My husband

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Hi, my problem is pretty simple, yet complicated. My husband and I have been married for 5 years. I have a son from a previous relationship age 16. We also have 2 of our own kids ages 2 and 4. My husband has a very dynamic personality and he swept me off my feet. Such a contrast to my dry passive aggressive ex. My ex was mean and overly strict to my oldest son. I was so happy to leave my ex. I met my husband and though he would be a great dad to my son. It was a bit awkward at first, but it seemed like we were all trying and on the right track for a happy family. My ex did everything he could and still does to spit out poison about all of us and confuse my son. On top of it, my current husband seems to target my son for the source of all of our problems. As my son has gotten older, its more like he is a rival, not a son. There have been some ugly and mean shouting matches. My son is a good boy, regular teenage ups and downs, but mostly out of trouble. He has been accused of doing drugs, stealing and picking on his younger siblings. My son is a lot more like me. Passive, and gentle. I know my son is not doing drugs. I know his friends and we keep in close contact. I am a nurse and I know what being high looks and smells like. In contrary, my husband is an addict, though clean and sober for many years. I recognize those addictive personality traits when he loses it. Though he also stays clean. His addiction seems to be switched to work and the internet/cell phone use now. I also am being accused of having affairs and other nefarious activities for very innocent reasons, we all have modified our behavior to suit his needs and prevent outbursts. I think the answer to leave would be very clear if it was not for our little ones. They adore their dad and he does not ever treat them as he treats me or my son. He work a lot from home. I work night shift and he takes good care of both of them. My older son refuses to leave his room when I am working night shift and I rarely see him because he stays away from home purposely. I am the primary wage earner in the family. My dad also lives with us. My husband is good to my dad too. I just don't know if I can break the hearts of my younger children. My older boy is so tragically effected by my first divorce even when it was clearly the right choice. I think my life could be happy with my husband if my older son could also be happy, but as it is, there is no way I can conscientiously allow him to be miserable and therefore I am miserable too. There are a lot of good things about my husband. But the way he treats my older boy is unforgivable. I need help to see if I can get things right one last time before a second family break up.
Hello, I'd like to help you with your question.

It sounds like there are a number of concerns in your situation. The main one is that your husband is behaving in such a way as to make you and your son feel you cannot be yourself when you are near him. Having to modify your behavior to prevent outbursts, accusing you of affairs and treating your son poorly all point to someone who is emotionally abusive. You should never have to modify your behavior or put up with being accused of something you didn't do in your own relationship.

The fact that your son from another relationship is treated poorly by your husband is also telling. It could be that he doesn't see your son as part of your family because he is not his own child and therefore he treats him differently. The fact that your son feels better hiding away in his room says a lot. Teens can be difficult but their behavior in response to someone is often genuine.

The other concern is that even though you want to stay together for the sake of the children you have together (which is a good reason), there is still the issue of how your children will see the way your husband treats you and your son. They will eventually be old enough to see that your husband is emotionally abusive and that will affect them.

You may want to consider seeing a family therapist to help work on these issues. A therapist can help your husband and son bond as well as help your husband see how detrimental his behavior is on the family. However, if your husband will not go, go on your own or with your son. You need the support to decide how you want to respond to the situation.

You may also want to try a controlled separation. This allows you both to be apart but without a divorce. It can help your husband to see how damaging his behavior is and help you both focus on the marriage and the issues between you. Here is a resource to help:

I hope this has helped you,

May I please request that if you find the service I provided helpful at all that you rate me with three or above? Your rating is the only way I am reimbursed for my answer. Thank you so much!
TherapistMarryAnn and other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you
Thank you very much for the positive rating and bonus! I appreciate it.

My best to you and your family,

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