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Dr. Keane
Dr. Keane, Counselor
Category: Relationship
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Experience:  PHD LPC
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I am really unhappy in my marriage. For many years my husband

Customer Question

I am really unhappy in my marriage. For many years my husband abused alcohol, never really got involved with friends, kids activities, would not help homeschool ... there's more too. Now that I have threatend divorce because of years of psychological abuse and neglect, he has quit drinking, lost weight and is trying to say it is my problem and menopause is not helping. He has a way of trying to control me to get me to do things for him. I have asked him repeatedly to leave me alone but he continues to act as if nothing is wrong. He wants me to seek counseling because I have the problem, not him. In the past I have tried telling him to quit drinking but he did not. I have stayed with him only because of the kids. Years ago he threatened that if I divorced him he would take the kids and hide them so I would not find them. This is what I have had to deal with, plus more. He is now trying to do things with the kids and to rub it in my face that he is a changed man. There is more to the whole story. I just want out. What is my best course? I can't afford a lawyer but yet everyday I am here, I get more miserable with him.
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Relationship
Expert:  Suzanne replied 4 years ago.

Thank you for writing to Just Answer

Since you can't afford a lawyer, and you are miserable, you may want to go for support to Al-anon while you are saving every dollar you can to hire a lawyer.

 

The people in Al-anon have lived with the manipulation and self-absorption of alcoholic as you have. You will find supportive friends to help get you through this.

 

It doesn't matter that he has stopped drinking--in fact, family life often gets worse the first year of sobriety

 

You'll need the support to stop being bullied by him. Al-anon is about supporting you--your serenity and mental health while having to deal with him. (It isn't about getting the drinker sober, as many people seem to think it is).

 

One of the things alcoholics often do is try to keep their spouse isolated from others; Since he is or was, AA, he won't be able to try to keep you from Al-anon without being a complete hypocrite.

 

Tell him alcohol is a family disease...and that you are suffering from the effects of his drinking. e other important thing to do is to get your children into Ala-teen They too have lived in this hostile environment in which alcoholism caused their parents to stop loving one another. For the sake of their future relationships, please get them help too

 

Some towns have lawyers that are willing to take cases for reduced fees to help people who don't have money. Also, call your local battered women's shelter or help line. They often know of resources for women who feel trapped in abusive relationships--and it sounds as if you have suffered from emotional abuse for many years

 

Sleeping with someone because he brings you flowers will damage your self-esteem over time. Only sleep with him at times when he treats you with respect, and you feel warmth toward him. One way to help a husband learn more appropriate behavior is to only respond when he reacts like an adult. Ignore the rest. He has to learn that acting like an emotional bully won't work.

 

There is a great article called What Shamu Taught Me About a Happy Marriage that I will give you a link to. This woman learned about behavior modification from animal trainers and applied it to her husband, who liked to rant and bully like yours does. She was able to shape his behavior by selective ignoring.
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/06/25/fashion/25love.html

 

If you can't get a divorce, the only course of action left is to make life where you are more bearable. I hope this has given you some ideas about how to make that happen...

In the meantime, save your money for a lawyer! Just knowing that you are saving toward your freedom from this situation will make it easier to bear.

 

I wish you all the best,

Suzanne

Suzanne, Therapist, LCSW
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 919
Experience: Experienced in treating trauma, relationship issues, co-dependency
Suzanne and other Relationship Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  Dr. Keane replied 4 years ago.

Hi, if you are looking for help in order to leave this abusive, alcoholic husband there are women's advocacy groups that can help you. They are composed of lawyers, therapists, financial ad visors who help women in your position. I would suggest you get in touch with one of these groups who will give you the guidance you need. As for the children and what he is doing to show he is a changed man, you are saying that is coming a bit too late. Don't buy into the manipulation. You need to find youself and get the help you need to live the rest of your life happily, and with you in control. Where do you live? If you tell me your zip code I may be able to help you find a group.

PLEASE CLICK ACCEPT AND LEAVE FEEDBACK.

Dr. Keane, Counselor
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 1700
Experience: PHD LPC
Dr. Keane and other Relationship Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  Dr. Keane replied 4 years ago.
Hi, thanks. Let me see what I can find via colleagues and professional organizations. I will get back to you asap.
Dr. Keane, Counselor
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 1700
Experience: PHD LPC
Dr. Keane and other Relationship Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  Dr. Keane replied 4 years ago.
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