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Arundhati, Counselor & Psychotherapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 259
Experience:  Licensed psychotherapist, Published Wellness Author
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I think my husband is using my child to control me.

Resolved Question:

I think my husband is using my child to control me. Yesterday, I had an argument with my husband related to finances. When he did not get from me exactly what he wanted, he grabbed my son, said to him "let’s go" and headed to the front door. My son started to scream. I took the phone and I told my husband if he does stop it, I will call 911. My husband left my son alone and left the house. I felt much stressed and my hands could not stop shaking for an hour. I should also add that it was after 9pm and before the argument started I was putting my son to bad. He was already in his PJs. I am still shaking when I am thinking about the events last night. This is not the first time he (my husband) does something like this. I feel worry that it’s impacting my son’s well being.
I don’t know what to do about it. I tried to talk to my husband many times but he does not think he does anything wrong. I asked him to go to a family counseling with me and he does not want to. When I say, I am not happy with you, he replies that he will take my son and will go live somewhere else. When I tell him, I want a divorce, he replies that he will take my son from me and I will pay him spousal & child support. I feel trapped, stressed and depressed. Last night I woke up in scare because I stopped breathing and for a second I could not even recall how to breathe.
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Arundhati replied 6 years ago.

Thank you for writing in to Just Answer.

I'm very sorry to hear what you are going through. You are clearly in a very stressful situation and it sounds emotionally abusive to me. Such a relationship cannot be healthy or peaceful unless one of two things happen - a) your husband changes for the better b) you end the relationship.

It sounds like you have worked on option (a) and nothing really has changed so far. And it sounds like when you talk about option b he threatens to take your son away and extract spousal support from you. The truth of the matter is, should you file for divorce the court will make a decision as to who to provide primary custody rights of the child to. You can always hire a good lawyer to ensure the best outcome. If you are working and earning more than your husband, you might have have to provide spousal support as determined by the divorce laws of your state and as decided by the courts. But again you can ensure the best results by hiring a good lawyer. I am not a lawyer, so I'd encourage you to consult with one (there's a place on Just Answer) for legal questions to learn the implications for a divorce/separation.

Finally, it is clear that you are going through a lot of psychological stress, fear and anxiety due to your husband's behavior. His behavior does sound manipulative and very aggressive if not threatening. In order to best tackle the situations as they come up I'd recommend you to consider therapy for yourself on an ongoing basis so that you can learn the coping skills to best deal with situation with your husband.

I really do feel that the kind of behavior your husband exhibits and the impact it has on you and possibly your son is not at all healthy. I would encourage you to work towards option (a) above if you feel that you'd like to try some more, but to put a timeline on it for yourself so that you are not left working on option (a) for an indefinite period of time. If the timeline expires and there's still no significant change in your husband's behavior then I'd encourage you to consider option b.

Also do keep in mind that you or your son should never be left feeling unsafe. Please do not hesitate to contact 911 if you ever feel threatened or fearful.

I hope I have been able to provide some perspective.

Please do let me know if you have clarifying questions/thoughts or if I failed to cover anything you'd hoped I would.

Warm regards,

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