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My husband always puts me down, and now ive had enough, need some advice please..

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Question - (26 August 2007) 15 Answers - (Newest, 22 February 2010)
A female United States age 41-50, *eeinWA writes:

Can't get past it....

Recently I told my husband about his constant pointing out my "faults". Over the last three years he has repeated the same sentiments or arguements have started that began with something that he felt I should be doing but wasn't.

I am a SAHM and he's hinted many times of me getting a job. I've worked, have a college degree, so it has nothing to do with "laziness". He complains about me not wearing dresses alot to look good for him, or not keeping the house clean enough. He points out the fact that he's unhappy sometimes with me. Now these sentiments are repeated off and on throughout the six years we been married, we've been together for 15.

When I confronted him with his constant ridiculing, it is more than the above but I don't want to fill up alot of space, he gave excuses for each one. The dressing, (is it so bad for me to want to "show" off my wife. this is his answer) The job..(You always seemed happier when you were working) Me frustrating/making him unhappy--(are you telling me that I don't piss you off sometimes--that I don't make you unhappy with the things I do or don't do--no, i tell him...i accept you for who you are and love you for you.)

It was like every thing I pointed out, he broke it down and had an answer to it. I was left feeling like maybe I was overreacting and maybe I was being too sensitive. But a part of me knows that I wasn't imagining this.

Anyway, I can't get past this since it has been going on for so long and I finally just woke up and decided that I couldn't listen to these same words any longer. I told him I wanted to seperate and he went on about not wanting to lose me and I should give him another chance since he gave me one when I left him six years ago. So I am still here trying to find the emotions to get back where I was.

I was happy with him and until this last two arguements and the realization that this may never stop, I am more afraid of continuing this cycle. Waiting for when he forgets this conversation as the others and I am right back here.

I don't have anything and I regret that, since I've never depended on any one for anything, including him. I'm over seven thousand miles from my immediate family. Now I feel stuck and totally undecided. I just can't get past this. I can't get past the emotional trauma that he's inflicted on me for the past few years. I don't know if I even want to....

I don't want to kiss him or have sex with him. I don't want to be in the same bed with him. I have totally shut down emotionally to more or less protect myself. (I'm a survivor of physical/verbal/and sexual abuse that I've dealt with from loved ones) Now I feel I'm the victim again and I'm so disappointed in having to feel that way again when I've worked so hard to keep it out of my life.

Any comments/suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

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A reader, anonymous, writes (22 February 2010):

Well, this post is about “failure to leave and cleave”.

Until six months ago I had no idea all the writing on this topic. The bible, a few books, and reading lots of internet posts later I kinda get it.

Here is the situation. First of all this has nothing to do with petty things like: dishes in the sink, who takes out the trash, who does the laundry, who cleans, who buys the grocery’s, who pays the bills, we have that all figured out “no problems”.

We have been married for five years and are in our late late thirties. The year we dated and the first two years of marriage were a cake walk. Candle light dinners and breakfast in bed almost every weekend.

The only time we fight is a about her family. I knew her for six months when she worked for her brother and frankly I would not entertain the thought of a serious relationship. She quit her job with her brother and co-managed a restaurant with her girl friend, that is when we started the relation ship.

Like I said above, the first three years were great. Then her older brother had some money embezzled from his business by the book keeper. First person he called was my wife, her brother wanted her to “just come around part time”. I vigorously opposed this BUT I told my wife that family is family and I would support her, but I was totally against her working for her brother.

Three years later my wife is the “go to” person for the company, now smokes a pack + a day and works more than forty hours a week. When her brother asked her to go from part time to full time I SAID NO WAY, NO HOW, NO NO NO.

My wife’s father died when she was 8, so her brother is kind of a father figure. My wife is still emotionally attached to her brother. She gets giddy like a school girl around him.

What is up with that? Why would a mature woman get giddy, and I mean giddy, around her brother.??????????????????????

When ever I bring up that it is not fair that the brother-in-laws wife is at home full time raising the kids and my wife is working full time against my wishes, my wife looses it she gets unstable and screams about how I should respect her brother, how great her brother is, how lucky I am to be part of her family, how good her brother is, and how this is so not all about me but how she has to be there for her brother and family. So I just drop it.

Again the only time we fight is about her family, when my wife and I have been with other couples I will comment “look how so&so does it, she puts her children and family first, in front of her parents and brothers. All I get is a blank stare from my wife.

Yes, counseling soon. But should I confront her brother? I know that he “pushes my wife’s buttons”. He did it to other people, I’ve seen the people and my wife even told me about it. But she can’t see how he does it to her(my wife).

My brother in law is a salesman type, he did “motivational” seminars and runs a pyramid/boiler room based sales company.

I’d like to confront him head on and call him out. I could let him have it with “both barrels”. I am a construction foreman and can make words cut like a razor blade. I have no problems taking on difficult people verbally and making small work of them. It’s just that I don’t want to go “nuclear”. The fall out from that could carry on for a few years.

Brother in law is a “one upper” type. Always the better car, better beer, better summer vacation……..To date I have been avoiding him, giving “non answers”, laughing off insults, and avoiding avoiding avoiding.

Now I have to make a move. Honestly I’d love to lay in to him good, I want to take him on soooo bad. But should I continue hold my mouth? This has been going on for years with no end insight. Should I just think of my wife’s feelings and start counseling and not say a word to B-I-L.

Please let me know what YOU think, what ever you write will make a difference, so thank you stranger for your insight and time……..

I just want this over with and move on. I want kids, wife at home, and work five days a week.

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A female reader, DeeinWA United States +, writes (2 August 2009):

DeeinWA is verified as being by the original poster of the question

I've left him over a year and half ago, moved back home and me and my children are enjoying a very quiet life back in my home state. He is still trying to get me back, but our relationship is irreparable.

It's great to have the expectations off of my shoulders. Good luck to the other ladies that posted.

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A female reader, phylodia United States +, writes (10 May 2009):

I have the same problem with a husband who puts me down all day. After seven years I just figured out a perfect solution! Whatever he says I turn it around 180 degrees, repeat it as a compliment and thank him for it. I sound like I have gone off my nut, but who cares? He is driving me crazy anyway. I feel fantastic after, he is a little confused.

Here is an example:

He says," You never close back door and let all the hot air in while we have the AC on,"

I say," Thank you for reminding me that I am very conscientious and always remember to close the doors."

He may come back with: "I don't understand you, I just said you left the door open again."

I say:" Yes, I do close all the doors in an efficient way, than you for pointing it out."

Somehow this not only neutralizes the negativity, but actually makes me feel good about myself! Try it!!

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A female reader, 25yrsMarried United States +, writes (1 May 2008):

RUN....RUN....RUN...As fast as you can! I have been married to the man you described for 25 years, except I was a career women from the time my 1st was 9 months old till he turned 10, then stayed at home. I have to tell you it is only going to get worse! The more you give, the more they take from you.... till there isn't anything left! If you work or not, they will always find faults with you. My youngest child is now 19 and she begs me regularly to leave. She has even told him that he is emotionally abusive to me in a very nasty under-handed way and of course I must have put that into her head (that's what I was told by him)! Life is way too short to be unhappy, I wish I would of kept going when I left him for six months at the 10 year mark. I see in the next five years me leaving, but I sure wasted alot of year, that I could of been happy. But at least I'm gonna die alone and VERY VERY Happy. Either set his ass straight or get out--

Good Luck!

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (30 January 2008):

i have now been married for three years and i am very unhappy with my married life. My Husband puts me down in whatever i do in life and always talks about me to his family behind my back. I have no confidence in myself anymore and i hate myself. i feel he controls me and i cant do anything. I married him becuse i loved him andw wanted to make a life with him. but thats not the way it has turned out. why is my life this way?

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A female reader, DeeinWA United States +, writes (12 December 2007):

DeeinWA is verified as being by the original poster of the question

Well, it seems like this went from bad to out of orbit worse.

After the last post, he met someone else a week later and began a relationship with her (which he said was just friends).

Over the recent holiday, I finally got tired of the "secret" phone conversations and him not coming home. I was willing to work things out if we got counseling, especially him. He even made appointments and such. Then when I started noticing the changes in behaviour, I realized he wasn't doing anything but getting his freak on with another woman. When he left Thanksgiving afternoon to be with her, that was the last straw. I called her, then him. He told her that we were getting a divorce. We hadn't even seperated legally! We were sleeping in the same bed until I couldn't take it anymore. He would ask me why I was sleeping out in the living room (duh, you are screwin' another woman, why would I want to sleep beside you?!)

Now that I've packed my bags and told him that if he had wanted a divorce, he should have said so instead of making it seem he wanted it to work. The next day, he was saying he was sorry and wanted me to forgive him. This is the day after mind you! He said he misunderstood what I was asking him to do...etc, etc... I was not talking in tongues guys! I was talking English and being honest about how he made me feel and this is what I get!


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A female reader, DeeinWA United States +, writes (6 October 2007):

DeeinWA is verified as being by the original poster of the question


Well, I guess none of this matters. After talking at least once a week, it seems I'm reduced to repeating the same thing over and over again.

He somehow thinks that I'm overreating. He confessed that he'd purposely set out to hurt me the last time we argured, but it was done to get a response from me.

I seriously don't believe he loves me as a woman. I don't think he likes women period. Although he says he wants to save our marriage and I'm the "love of his life" his actions and words have made it painfully clear.

He cites that this criticism that he has put me through for the past few years has been "encouragement".

After telling him that his verbal abuse had damaged my emotional connection to him, he played confused victim and feels that I'm blowing the whole thing out of proportion. I suggested counseling for himself, not just as a couple. He then wrote me an email, then turned around and posted on a board that he was sick and tired of me and my emotional issues.

So, I've decided that there is no one to forgive, because I've been forgiving him for his treatment of me for years now. I've been making excuses for him and basically telling him that I was fine with this treatment. Thanks for all responses, but I'm not dumb, nor stupid. Just lost a bit of common sense. Life is too short and no love is worth my emotional health and self-esteem.


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A reader, anonymous, writes (5 September 2007):

Alright so ownership is key when it come to forgiving and asking forgiveness.

That you have endured abuse in your past would explain why you would endure your husband's militant/controlling ways-its what you are used to.

I still say counselling for yourself is a good start to getting stronger and learning new coping skills as well as communicative skills.

Your husband may have admitted to his faults but I doubt he put in his letters the things he will commit to changing for the better. Most people egoes get in the way of their relationships.

If one has great difficulty humbling themselves and asking for forgiveness they demonstrate emotional immaturity. This is the great adversary to healthy adult relationships.

Couple's counselling for 6 months + would do your marriage wonders.

You could always let your husband know that you admire him for his strengths and with this; it's why you feel in love with him and why you still stay-that he can do good. You could let him know that you desire to remain married but it will require work on both your parts and that you have committed to change for the better and desire him to commit to changing for the better.

Critism is a tatic emotionally abusive people use as a means of controlling another. It is a means to intimidate and usually has verbal insults attached to them as well anger management issues.

I say getting Hubby enrolled in anger management course(s) would be a start.

I think there is a point in one's life where one needs to reflect on what they deserve.

You deserve a loving, supportive husband, that uplifts you and wants you to be strong, healthy, and happy. You can have this and you deserve it.

Please seek counselling to gain the skills I have mentioned.

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A female reader, DeeinWA United States +, writes (27 August 2007):

DeeinWA is verified as being by the original poster of the question

First,to the second poster, I don't wear frumpy clothing. I'm more or less very casual. My head is always done, so the typical Muu Muu and such is not me. I'm only in my early mid-thirties and the last thing I'm thinking about is dressing like my grandmother--god rest her soul.

Second, maybe I didn't explain well, but yes, as a family we depend on him, but I do have a small side business and I'm also a writer. So whenever I want spending money, it's usually through this.

Thirdly, when I left him six years ago I was dealing with my past abuse. I did depend heavily on him during those years--emotionally that is. So when he left me for the first time on business, I had a complete and total breakdown. I left him to better myself and our relationship. I do think this change has affected both of us and the relationship we have now. I'm not the same person. You are right on that count.

This time around, I can see that I really don't want to break up the marriage because of this "second" chance. Maybe you have a point there. I can't get past these few years of the on again off again pointing out my faults.

Letters---I have a couple of them that he's written (he doesn't remember suddenly) all of them have pointed out how unhappy he is and each of the faults he has voiced.

Thank you for your responses. I really appreciate them and the different takes. It's when you know this is happening and you're torn. His father is the same way and if I point this out to him, he gets pissed. My husband's job is basically (military) to find faults with his subbordinates. After pointing this out, he admitted to bringing the same mentality home. I don't know if him admitting that will help. I'm still unable to forget/forgive.

I'm not entirely helpless, just so far from family that would be there for me if I needed them.

Thanks again....

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (27 August 2007):

In response to the person (I assume it's a man) who said this "what do you do on a daily basis that is fun and interesting to your husband? you cook, clean, raise the children, grocery shop, wash clothes? from a guys point of view... a guy who has been with you for so long, don't you think that coming home to a wife that does pretty much the same thing everyday is pretty damn lame? and i'm sure he appreciates this, but not changing things up a bit can really turn things sour."

What do you think women find interesting and fun in men who goes to the same job and does the same thing for years, comes home, bitches about work, leaves his dirty clothes on the floor, dirty dishes on the table and gets fatter and older and balder over the years? Give me a break!!

Relationships are repetative, if they weren't they would not last that long. What do you want a woman to do to make her husband think she's fun and interesting, go be a hooker? What if she worked the same job for years as well, is that fun and interesting to a man? From your perspective, a woman has to be wild and crazy and constantly changing for her husband to love her through the years? That is really messed up logic there. And something tells me you are single.

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (27 August 2007):

The anonymous person's remarks were very rude and I don't believe true at all. Some men prefer the woman to be home with the kids, and have dinner on the table, and have the house clean and needs of the family taken care of. This is how it was in the past, and there were a lot less divorces then..

Women cheating on their husbands with men at work, men cheating on thier wives while their wives are at work.. My dad's 2nd wife quit working when they got together and my dad doesn't want her to work and they don't even have kids together...He believes someone should be home. That could be due to the fact that his 1st wife (my mom) cheated on him and left him for someone she worked with..Also, if your kids are little, the cost of daycare alone just so that you can work can be even more than you earn depending on how many kids you have and how much you make. I know where I live, it is $200.00 a week just for one child! Now, if your kids are grown, there is no reason you can't get a job if that's bothering him. Maybe you'd be happier too because you could be more independant. But if he is a controlling guy as others have said, it doesn't seem as though he'd want you to get a job.

So that doesn't make sense on that level, unless it is insecurity from him like he isn't making enough and he thinks you getting a job would ease the pressure off him. If you left this man, he would have to pay you child support on every kid under 18, and if you haven't been working for a certain period of time, he would also have to pay you spousal support. Then if you got a job as well you'd be making enough to do o.k. by yourself, so don't listen to what that other person has said.

I believe if you want it to work without him, it can. I have a few single mom friends who don't even get child support b/c thier children's fathers are jobless losers and they make it on their own. You don't have to endure abuse from this man just because he "has the upper hand financially" as that person put it. Why make yourself miserable?? If you want to leave him though, you are going to have to find a job. Since you have a college degree that shouldn't be that hard. Then work on being independant..take it in steps. It doesn't seem like even if you did change that he would quit ridiculing you, I think the issue is with him being unhappy with himself, not you.

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A reader, anonymous, writes (26 August 2007):

Gaslighting, making you doubt yourself, constantly keeping you off balance, critising, yelling, put downs, insults...he is an emotionally abusive man and I wouldn't put it past you that he has an addiction of some sort, porn, alcohol, gambling...perhaps overly obsessed with order, neatness-so no matter how well you do, how clean you are, he will find fault plain and simple.

15 years? Why did you allow yourself to endure his disrespect of your person? You enabled him to have a lesser view of you so you have even harder work to re-teach him boundaries.

Start putting your foot down. When ever he puts you down, tell him you are going for a walk for an hour and when you come back, he better be in a better mood. If the house isn't to his liking, tell him you will go to a movie and when you get home, he can have the house clean the way he likes it.

Walk away when he starts his rants. Tell him he needs to start writing a letter to you if he wants to communicate needs to you.

Counselling for yourself is a needed thing. A counsellor will have ways for you to deal with your abusive mate.

YOu need to get strong and wise and start loving yourself. Learn why you believe putting up with his crap show just how much you love. Being a marytr doesn't do anyone any justice.

Keep us informed on your progress.


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A reader, anonymous, writes (26 August 2007):

Basically this is what's happening here: your husband is losing interest in you because you're probably not the same woman you were when he fell in love with you.

For one: you're a stay at home mother (don't get me wrong, guys like this until his wife becomes boring and frumpy) if it's not out of laziness, then why do you feel the need stay at home? It's not like you can't work and still give your children the proper care and affection they need. You said you have a college degree--you're an educated woman. Then you should see this point: what do you do on a daily basis that is fun and interesting to your husband? you cook, clean, raise the children, grocery shop, wash clothes? from a guys point of view... a guy who has been with you for so long, don't you think that coming home to a wife that does pretty much the same thing everyday is pretty damn lame? and i'm sure he appreciates this, but not changing things up a bit can really turn things sour.

Two: what do you mean you've never depended on him? Let's get real here. You stay at home--all day, everyday. Unless you have a large trust fund that you use to help your husband pay the bills, you do depend on him to take care of financial matters. If you didn't depend on him for anything, him telling you that you're pretty much not the kind of wife he wants wouldn't even phase you. You'd be doing your own thing girl.

But wait, that's not to say that your husband is right in criticizing you. He's not. The thing is, you're both not getting what you want. I think at the root of the situation, your husband is tired of the same old crap everyday. That's how guys are. They are visual creatures--turned on by an accomplished, sexy woman. Are you still that woman? And what drew you to him? His potential to support his wife and family? His ability to provide, conquer, and protect? Is he still that man?

Whether you want to believe it or not, your husband has full control over the situation. If you leave him, what will you do? How long have you been out of the work force? Will you move back with your parents until you get on your feet? I mean, you don't make any money! At least he will be able to support himself financially if he's lost you.

I'm not trying to be mean to you, but hunny you've got to get it together. I mean, what if your hubby dies? What if he becomes paralyzed. I'm not convinced you'd be able to be strong and stand on your two feet.

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A male reader, duce00 United States +, writes (26 August 2007):

duce00 agony auntMy advice may be completely off base but Ive dealt with abuse before and heres what I did.


This doesnt mean fighting it just means take pride in youself and dont let it be somthing that is dished out to you at theyre discretion. Find your sense of who you are and not who somebody wants you to be.

That being said: Abusive people dont like it when you become independant. It means they are not in control. That made things harder on me for a while because they became more abusive when they started to lose control. I dont have relationships with any of those people anymore, there was no way I was going to become a punching bag again.

Get some good advice and please dont think my input as anything more than one persons experience.

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A reader, anonymous, writes (26 August 2007):


I can totally understand why now you have cut off emotionally and its not more or less to protect yourself its TO protect yourself....

You can only take so much, quick question you mentioned that you had left him before and he gave you a second chance, has that got anything to do with his on going mental bullying...

First you wear what makes you feel comfortable... If you do want to make yourself feel more confident do it for you, as a confident woman is a stronger woman but that comes from within you.

My ex husband was the same he wouldnt let up, I got to your point and I completely changed my look FOR ME NOT ANY ONE BUT ME!!!!!!

Hair clothes and anything else that added confidence to the person I saw getting stronger in the mirror, as over the years although ive always taken care of myself I felt id let myself down because of all the negativity around me, it completely understanderble...

I read books on spiritual help and guidance self help books, There is a site and many more to help I will give you one that may help it has a list of things to make you understand yourself and others


And its not your fault its his insecuritys life stress name it what you will but you can and will get better and not feel this way all the time whether you decide to leave or stay...

My husband was not only mentaly abusive he was also phycical and I was very lucky to get away with my life in the end...Make your self that stronger person, Dont sit and think of all the pain from what he has said get up and do something about it for you, To fight back does not have to mean at him, you are fighting for your sanity and health and because you are a person in you own right who has needs and feelings and strength that you just need to find... Its there you have to stand up and start doing something about it now, Let his coments go over your head as long as he knows he hurts you he has something to do it for, You Im sure have talked untill you are blue in the face and nothing ever comes out of it but more abusive crap, Well if it cant hurt you he isnt achieving his goal, every time it starts imagine he is speaking out loud about himself hunny turn the tables, and become a tough cookie to remarks of a childish nature......

And every remark makes you stronger its like your insentive to be the woman you know you are deep down and dont be a victim to this EVER! As you no this is not you at all... If you need a chat mess me anytime......TAKE LOTS OF CARE GOOD LUCK I HOPE THIS HELPED AND YOU CAN START REBUILDING YOUR SELF WORTH LOVE MANDY XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

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