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After 14 years and five kids, I took my cracked half of the marriage and walked out. My husband was verbally, emotionally and spiritually abusive, and on occasion physical. He took my passports, car keys and phone on several occasions, and would buy me clothing he wanted me to wear and go through my closet and throw away what he felt was not appropriate. It took me years and the help of good friends and a therapist to see that all that control and coercion and stifling of my identity, was, in fact, abuse. Things escalated when he took my car keys, enraged that I had signed a lease on a new apartment and was not inviting him to come along. He wrestled me down and threw my phone and accidentally hit me hard on the forehead with it. I sat outside for an hour and finally got the courage to call the police. He ended up spending three days in jail, which as he says was the most traumatic thing he’d ever experienced. He has since “woken up” and begged me not to take action but to extend the separation and not file for divorce so we can at least try to fix things. He says it makes no difference if I no longer love him, that it’s all about the kids. I’m obviously grieving (also feeling guilty still that I put him in jail with my own two hands), but I cannot see continuing to live with a man who I no longer love. I don’t even have the desire to try to repair. I’m not angry…I want him to start therapy (he has) and become the healthiest person/father/cop aren’t he can be. Yet, I still feel heartless and cruel.
I'm sorry that you have gone through this.
One, you did not put him in jail - he did that himself through his actions. Actions and choices have consequences and you are not responsible for the consequences that he has brought upon himself.
You are not at all heartless and cruel - if you were then you wouldn't even care what happens to him.
You do not have to stay in this marriage to wish him well and want him to get better. You 100% need to leave this abusive situation and take care of yourself!
You do not have to stay in this marriage in order to have a positive relationship with the father of your children. Don't let him manipulate you! IF he has really "seen the error of his ways", then good for him, but he still needs to take responsibility for his actions/abuse of you. He needs to prove that he will seek help/therapy; not fight the divorce, start to make amends to you and his children. Words are not enough.
Good luck! Stay strong!!
Thank you for your words of encouragement. Real, deep, lasting change will take years and I know this. He will tell me over the phone, (or in the car if he brings the littler kids down when I pick them up), right in front of the children, “I cry all day. I love you and miss you. When are you coming to visit”?…
It’s astonishing how after so many years of coercion and control, I have become the mother who has abandoned their dad, and he has become the victim. On occasion he will bring flowers or ask to take a walk. I decline. I’m very aware that my leaving has triggered his own fear of rejection (a narcissists worst fear) and abandonment. I also know that had I been brave and courageous back in my 20’s, I’d have have married him in the first place. I knew, even as we were engaged, that something was off. But I swept my own concerns under the rug, mostly because I was 33 and desperate to marry. Now, 14 years and five kids later, I’m cleaning up the mess I am partially responsible for. Even if he actually did wake up and change, I don’t think I can be with him. The marriage was dead long before I walked out. I find myself virtually completely detached from him. Thank you again for your words.
I understand completely! There were so many warning signs before our marriage that I ignored or didn't really know to be scared of. But, I can't regret my kids, so some good came out of it and I am a much, much stronger person now, so there's that :)
Stay strong! You can do it! Boundaries, Boundaries!
You can tell him you love him, tell him you want him to be okay, encourage a positive relationship with the kids-- and still not go back to him, stay strong in your decisions!
All the best!
No, I can’t tell him I love him. Because I don’t. 😪
Sending hugs and prayers!