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Dr. Mark
Dr. Mark, Psychotherapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5087
Experience:  Dr. Mark is a PhD in psychology in private practice
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I have been married for 30 years. It has not been a happy marriage.

Customer Question

I have been married for 30 years. It has not been a happy marriage. My husband is a workaholic. I have also worked in our business, and brought up three sons and ran the household and our farm as well. I am now 60 and 6 weeks ago after another horrible argument, I walked out. I have decided that what years I have left are to be happy years, and not be influenced by my angry, verbally abusive, self centered husband. He also has raped me on a few occasions over the years.
Now that I am free, I find myself going over and over all the "bad" stuff that went on between us and I am finding myself getting increasingly angry at him. He keeps calling in and I am quite rude to him and cannot be civil. I don't like being like this. It is all consuming me. I want him out of my head. Is this a normal process that will take time to resolve? I am also finding I just want to hide away and not face the world.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Dr. Mark replied 1 year ago.

Hi! I'll be glad to be of help with this issue.

I can imagine how difficult this situation must be for you. You are experiencing what many people experience when they've left a relationship that was more of a "one way" relationship. That refers to the situation where the other person tended toward being narcissistic and abusive. You, then, tend toward pushing aside your emotional needs and your needs to receive because you focus almost exclusively on giving.

It sounds as though you've emerged from this type of relationship. And while this can be exhilarating, it can also produce anger and sometimes sadness and depression. What do I mean?

Many people (it is not always the woman in this position, though much more frequently in my experience, it is the woman) report that they feel like "they can finally breathe". And it is a great feeling. But it is not the only feeling the person feels.

At the same time as this positive awakening of self, there's also tremendous anger that emerges toward the former partner/spouse. This is because the person is now able and ready to think consciously about the neglect they felt all that time in the relationship. And so the accumulated anger can be very big.

But I'm most concerned for you about the sadness and the depression that can lurk behind the scenes. What do I mean?

If you think about the one way relationship, it meant that you were focused continually about giving. The problem was not in your giving; it was in that your giving was not reciprocated. It was only one way. But giving is still a human need. And it is why you're a good person: because you do feel that human need to give fully. Well, now you're on your own and that need to give still exists within you, but there is a vacuum, so to speak.

Your life was focused on giving to your husband, and while he abused that trust you bestowed on him, you now find yourself alone and the opportunities to give emotionally are not as frequent. This is hard to adjust to. And therefore I have found that people who leave a one way relationship will sometimes need to focus very much on not isolating themselves socially, on making new relationships.

It is okay to have a cooling off period with your husband, to not have frequent contact and to ask him not to call you. You seem as though you wish to stay on your own rather than to go to counseling together. And if so, then this would be wise so that you don't have to reawaken the anger so frequently. But again, my concern for you is that you make social contacts, new friends, go to programs and classes. And if you are planning on moving on from the marriage, to even meet other men who might not be selfish and abusive. You don't need to be looking right away for new commitments, but forming relationships, friendships and social relationships, that are two way relationships and are satisfying will help both with the anger and with the sadness.

Okay, I wish you the very best!

My goal is for you to feel like you've gotten Great Service from me and the site. If we need to continue the discussion for that to happen, then please feel free to reply and we'll continue working on this. If the answer has given you the help you need, please remember to give a rating of 5 (Great Service) or 4 (Informative and helpful), or even 3 (Got the job done) button. This will make sure that I am credited for the answer and you are not charged anything more than the deposit you already made by pressing any of these buttons. Bonuses are always appreciated! If I can be of further help with any issue now or in the future, just put "For Dr. Mark" in the front of your new question, and I'll be the one to answer it. All the best, XXXXX XXXXX

Dr. Mark, Psychotherapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5087
Experience: Dr. Mark is a PhD in psychology in private practice
Dr. Mark and 2 other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

For Dr Mark. Hi and thank you for your reply. It is really helpful advice thanks. I have asked him to stop calling in, but he say's it is his house too (we own 2 houses) and he has every right to come here. I know he is doing this to put pressure on me in the hope I will change my mind and return to him. Iv'e told him this will not happen. He has been watching my movements also, asking where did I go last night, you were late home last night etc. I find this creepy.

Expert:  Dr. Mark replied 1 year ago.
Yes, this sounds very consistent with husbands who tend toward the narcissistic, abusive side and expect one way relationships.


I don't know the laws in NZ, but I imagine that they are not so different than here in the US. And here, his statement is not accurate once there is a separation. Usually, husbands who say this count on wives not taking legal action. And I'm afraid that this is what I need to advise you now:


Sometimes it takes a restraining order. That means calling the police and explaining you've separated and your husband is stalking you and refuses to abide by your requests to not call or come to the house. Here, the police give you a form and the judge issues a restraining order. Then if he shows up within a certain distance of the house, you call the police and they do come and send him away. After a certain number of times they do arrest him. That is very effective with these one way people and sometimes it's the only effective means. I'm so sorry we're discussing this.


So that's important: self protection. And you have the right to treat it that way. The other part, though, is the moving forward discussion we had above so I don't want you to forget that!


Okay, I wish you the very best!

My goal is for you to feel like you've gotten Great Service from me and the site. If we need to continue the discussion for that to happen, then please feel free to reply and we'll continue working on this. If the answer has given you the help you need, please remember to give a rating of 5 (Great Service) or 4 (Informative and helpful), or even 3 (Got the job done) button. This will make sure that I am credited for the answer and you are not charged anything more than the deposit you already made by pressing any of these buttons. Bonuses are always appreciated! If I can be of further help with any issue now or in the future, just put "For Dr. Mark" in the front of your new question, and I'll be the one to answer it. All the best, Dr. Mark

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