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Lori Gephart
Lori Gephart, Licensed Psychologist
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 259
Experience:  Psychologist, Hypnotherapist & Divorce Coach providing marital therapy for over 20 years.
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I have a lot of anger inside me which I feel is due to living

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I have a lot of anger inside me which I feel is due to living with a verbally abusive controlling husband who of course doesn't accept that he is. I feel he has controlled me for the 30 yrs we've been together and I try to "keep the peace" because I can't be bothered to argue with him as I never win because he is always right. I know I should leave him but I'm scared of being on my own. Is there any way I can get rid of my feelings of anger , rage and hopelessness ?

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I am sorry to hear about the problems you are experiencing. It is extremely difficult to be in an abusive relationship, particularly because things are never all bad or all good. Your husband may at times act in ways that are not abusive, making it difficult to tell when he may revert to abusive behavior, and perhaps making you think that things may get better or that you should stay. Abuse is often about controlling the other person. It is understandable that you would react with anger to this type of treatment. I am glad to hear that you have been using your faith and support system to help you through this. You may want to consider individual therapy as well in order to get some support for yourself, build up your self esteem, help you to set boundaries, and work on deciding what is best for you. Remember that no one deserves to be abused. You may find the following website helpful:


In the meantime, be sure to take care of yourself through healthy eating, exercise, rest and reaching out to supportive people in your life. As you have discovered, affairs are not helpful as they typically only serve to complicate matters further. They are generally only a symptom of the problem.


One thing I would add is that it seems that you have been doing quite a bit of emotional work about this relationship. In order for this to be a healthy relationship, we would expect your partner to do a relatively equal amount of emotional work (if you balance it out over time). This may be one way to evaluate if someone is committed to a relationship and to changing in order to make the relationship work. You deserve someone who will put the work into the relationship as well, since it takes two people to make it work. Also, I definitely believe in trusting your gut. It is often a very good indicator of red flags that should not be ignored. Feelings of love tend to be very irrational, while the gut is a good barometer of danger, both physical and emotional. I hope this answer is helpful. Please let me know if I can clarify further.

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Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Thank you for your words of wisdom Lori. You really hit home when you said that it's not all good or all bad and that sometimes he acts in ways that are not abusive making me think it's going to be ok. That is exactly what it's like.You'd think by now after 30 years I would realise things aren't going to change dramatically and I do accept that but for now while our daughter is still at home (only until Feb 2011) I'm going to stay so I suppose what I want to know is how to cope or what to say when he says things that upset me. Which sort of ties in with an answer to a query you raised which was how much does he put into improving the relationship which is nothing as from day one of our difficulties he maintains that I'm the one who causes all the problems and it's me who argues - not him. He always has a a list of things that are wrong with me and always starts the conversation with "you know waht your problem is......" which of course makes me want to bash his brains out. He is a very dominate person and very strong mentally and always gets his way in busines ( we run a business together) and in personal thngs. Over the years I can see that there has been a pattern to his abuse and control.When he realises that the thing he's nagging me about (for example my weight) doesn't bother me anymore or I've found an answer to shut him up he'll pick on something else to get to me like at the moment he tries to get to me about my exersose program. I have a friend that I train with and nearly every day we'll go for a run or a bike or a swim and than we enter events like half marathons and get a buzz out of completing them as well as it's so good to feel fit again. But every day I have to tell him the night before wht I want to do cos he might have something for me to do in the office (which was what he did for a long time) - now he's given up trying to stop me cos he knows I won't stop so he makes nasty sarcastic remarks about my running or the time I spemd away from home dooing my exercise or that I care more aboput running than I do about my family and his biggest joke is that he calls me "horse" ha ha cos I run like horses do. Even when other people tell him that's not funny he really thinks they are joking and that htye really do think it's funny to call me that. I even laugh myself soemtimes but really he's putting me downand belittling soemthing that's important to me. He actaully thinks he's being very generous "letting " me do all the exercise cos he pays for all the gear etc that I need cos he "makes all the money and I just spend it" Some days I just feel like giving up and staying at home forever which he would really love. He has no intersets except work and tv . He is an Indian who was bought up by a very abusive older father who made them work when they weren't atschool and they had no down time - a very abusive childhood - Social welfare became involvedwith 2 of his younger siblings when the school became aware of how the chn were made to work on the farm and the father was ordered to stop doing that which he did but my husband had alreadylefthome by then (11 chn). However he's onto wife no. 3 so he's well aware of what makes a relatinonship work and if it wasn't for my strong faith I wouldn't have come back to him the times I did leave. But with the chn younger it wasn't fair on them as he bad mouthed me to them all the time and talked about me to them behind my back which really upset em as they now know all about my affair . Anyway as I saidaerlier wht can I say to make him shut up about my exercising. I don't feel I should have to "ask" his permission allthe time as he knows my routine and I've been doing it for about 4 years buthe still has to have his little digs. He says I make it my priority and of course work and family should be my priority. Again he's telling me what to do - all the time he tells me what to do - how to vacuum, how to cook dinner, what to say, where to go, the list goes on and yethe denies doing any of that.

Thank you for sharing this information. It certainly sounds like a very controlling and emotionally abusive situation that you are living in. I can understand your wanting to stay there for your daughter's sake, although you may want to consider whether she would also be better off out of that situation. Whatever you decide, the healthier you are emotionally, the better it will be for her.


You asked how to cope or what to say when he says things that upset you. The first thing to remember is that past behavior predicts future behavior, unless someone really works on changing, so it is extremely likely that he will continue in these abusive patterns. The only control you have is how you respond to him and how much power you give to him to hurt you emotionally. When he makes hurtful comments, you can choose to walk away, not take them to heart, remind yourself that this is the abuse talking, etc. Remember that the more you respond to him, argue with him, or let him see that these comments bother you, the more they reward his behavior and make him more likely to continue. As you have seen, when he sees that the comments don't bother you he moves on to other topics. The key is to not let him have that power over you on any topic. As soon as he starts with any negative comments you can simply end the conversation by leaving the room or calmly stating that you are not going to discuss it. Use as little emotion as possible with this.


You asked what you can say to make him shut up about your exercising. The first step is to stop asking him or even discussing your exercising with him. Exercise is healthy and positive for you. There is no reason that you need to share your exercise plans with him. You can begin to take on the power for yourself to stop debating your exercising and just do it. I hope this answer is helpful. Please let me know if I can clarify further.

Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Yes what you say makes sense and looking back I can see that this is what I do try to do. It helps to have your feelings verified by an objective person who can stand back and see both sides. When you are in the situation it is difficult to see what's really happening. As you said before your gut is a good indicator and I will follow that advice in the future. I just want to clarify that our conversation is completely private as obviously I don't want other people to be able to read my questions and answers. I notice that there are questions and answers that can be viewed publically

I am glad that this information has been helpful. I certainly do not share your information with anyone. Please note that, as per the privacy and security statement on the JustAnswer site:


As explained in the JustAnswer® Terms of Service, information provided by you in the content of your questions, answers, and other posts on the Site, in Expert profiles describing your experiences and qualifications, and in signatures attached to postings on the Site ("Posts") is not private or confidential. This is an Internet-based forum (akin to a modern version of a radio call-in program) and information submitted in Posts may be read, collected, and used by others, and JustAnswer is not responsible for it. For example, search engines may index your questions, answers, and other Posts to allow them to appear in search engine results (e.g. if someone does a search on, your questions, answers, and other Posts on that relate to the search may appear in the search results list). Protect your anonymity by not including your real name or any personally identifying information in your questions, answers, and other Posts on the Site.


I hope this is helpful.


Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Thanks for that Lori - yes I understand about the forum being like a radio talk show. Just a bit paranoid about anyone recognising it is me talking. I'm feeling very happy and calm today cos he's been away for the last few days but is coming home tonight and alrady I feel the dread in the pit of my stomach - not because he might be abusive because he'll proabaly be too tired at first but he is such a full on overbearing sort of person that when he's not here I feel free and when he is here I feel like I'm in prision. I suppose it's normal in a relationship that people let each other know where thay are going and what their movements are as obviously you need communication in any relationship but I just don't want to talk to him at all let alone tell him where I'm going, why, with whom and for how long. I suppose I just want to be free to do my own thing when and where. I know lots of ladies love a few days on their own when hubby goes away - a break from the routine of cooking and cleaning but are my feelings normal - do all wives feel like this after 30 years of marriage or is it just that I've come to the end of the line. I really feel that my life is just passing me by doing the mundane things when I want to have a bit more adventure and fun now that the kids are gone (almost). I don't want to just keep on doing the same old same old of working, eating, sleeping. We've got the money to really enjoy a bit of fun and adventure but he just wants to stay home and do the same old thing. He often says " all I care about is that the kids ar happy" and lately I've been thinking that if he really doesn't care whather I'm happy then he won't care if I'm here or not. Me being home makes the kids happy so that's probably why he wants me to stay. I know you won't say to me leave your marriage but latley I'm thinking more and more that if I stick around will I regret it in 20 years time and say " I should have followed my heart"
You are correct that no one should tell you whether to stay in your marriage or leave it; only you can make that decision. However, I can tell you that no one deserves to be in an abusive relationship and it is when a marriage is abusive that it becomes overwhelming to need to justify where you are going and what you are doing. I wish you the very best no matter what you decide to do.
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