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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Control/Abuse?-- not sure what to do next

Hey all-- just want to hear what others have to say. Just at a loss here. Husband and I have been together 23 years so it's hard to know where to start. Husband wanted to open a restaurant so we did about 12 years ago-- I work there but don't get a paycheck -- we pay what we need to out of that account. In the middle of that time period I stayed at home raising our daughters until they went to school -- 7 years, but now I've been working at the restaurant a little over a year. It's clear he has anger issues but usually just towards me. Today he got so mad. He cooks breakfast at our restaurant -- he's better at it than me. Someone came in for french toast so I yelled up to the office "Jeff wants French toast". I got no response and after a few minutes thought he must be busy and hadn't heard me, so I went up there and said "How do I make French toast?" --I thought I could probably make it if he told me how much milk, eggs etc., but before I could finish the sentence he stopped what he was doing, slammed something, and said "I'm coming-- geez-- chill out!" -- except really loud and like I really messed up his day. I usually just walk away when he does that, but today I said f*** you and turned off the light of the office when I left. He yelled something about a bad attitude and told me to leave. I was shaking as I got my purse and coat together. I'm not good with any sort of confrontation -- anxiety gets the best of me. I grabbed a can of soda on my way out and he told me to go apply at Wal-Mart. I cried the whole drive home -- 40 minutes or so. I cry alot. Usually because I don't understand why he treats me like that. The same sentence that comes out of my mouth gets a completely different reaction if someone else says it. If my co-worker had gone up and told him he wouldn't have done that. It's like he gets angry whenever I open my mouth, unless it's to agree with him or say something that he wants to hear. Other than that, he doesn't seem to want to hear me talk. If I do disagree or have a different opinion he'll either laugh a little or just walk away, like I'm nothing. Everyone else seems to love him -- he's very personable and charismatic. I've added to his positive image by always trying to make him look good and cover up his faults-- I didn't want people to think I married someone so selfish/angry/controlling/self-centered. I know it was the wrong thing to do, but now 23 years into this relationship it's hard to have people see and understand how he really is. He's been like this since I met him, not just since we opened the restaurant. He makes me feel worse than anyone I've ever met, yet I stay. It's hard to look in the mirror because I always thought I was so strong. I can't believe I'm so stupid to stay in something like this. I can't believe I let it go on so long. We have 2 little girls -- 6 & 8. I don't want them marrying anyone like him, but they adore him. He's very good with them, although he's more of a goofy friend to play with than a parent. I do everything that has anything to do with them. Wake them up, get them to school, get them home from school, give them snacks and supper then baths, brush teeth, then off to bed. I read w/ them in their room for almost an hour every night. In the middle of all that I had been going to the restaurant from about 9-3 everyday. I'm pretty sure he resents me for staying home with our daughters to raise them -- he once told me I was on vacation for 7 years. We would go without talking to each other for days at a time when I was at home with the girls. He also resents me because he always used to smoke pot. I never have. It never really bothered me because he always said he would quit. He said that so many times. He was very convincing. He had cut down dramatically since our daughters were born, but about 6 months ago I realized he was doing it at home. We live in the country so we have a huge outbuilding with all his car stuff etc. He restores cars and races in his spare time, even though we're deeply in debt, but that's a problem for another time. I went out looking for glass cleaner and found a pipe made out of pvc and his pot. I left him a note telling him he could either continue to do it and move out, or he could quit and we could work on us. I don't want drugs around our daughters. I left a note because he usually doesn't let me finish saying what needs to be said when we have something to discuss. He left for a couple days then came home crying saying he doesn't know what he'd do without me. We talked alot. After that he quit smoking pot but started drinking a few beers every night, but we got along. He seems to only be able to tolerate me when he's high or drinking. Not sure what that says about me. He quit drinking beer about a month ago. Any-hoo -- just any words of advice would be nice. I know things can't stay how they are, but I'm not sure how to bring any of this up without making him mad and walk away, because then it will be another week etc. til we talk again, and it just keeps getting drug out. I'd consider anything at this point. I'd like to see what some of you have to say. I'd like advice on how to talk to an angry person. How do I prevent him from walking away as soon as I say something he doesn't want to hear? Thanks for any and all help-- I know this is long.
 

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1. Get a job somewhere else; clearly working with your H isn't going well. It is EXTREMELY difficult for ANY couple to work together and then go home together.

2. If you feel he will be angry and not let you talk (will walk away), then write him a letter. Be sure to leave ALL emotion out of it. Just state the facts plainly. Make sure that when you write it, it is in such a way that he cannot use it against you (throw it in your face) later on (you know, no name-calling, no threats, etc. so if he shows the letters to others, YOU don't look like a raving lunatic).

3. If you're interested in trying to make it work for your children's sake and the sake of having an intact family, then marriage counseling is MANDATORY for you & H. If one or both of you REFUSES to go, then you're done. One of you ALONE cannot make a marriage work!
 

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Thanks for that-- I wrote him a letter when I discovered he was smoking pot again. The letter was matter of fact and to the point. I told him he had to pick between doing drugs or being a family. I didn't try to change him. I just wanted him to know that drugs can't be a part of my life, but if he wanted them to be in his he had to let me go and move on. I was actually pretty pleasant about it. I told him if he chose drugs he could still come out and work in his outbuilding whenever he wanted and see the girls anytime, but he had to keep drugs out of the picture when he was here or with the girls. I'll try and see what he thinks about counseling but I'm not sure how us talking to someone will make him want to be nicer to me or at least respect me. I'm still thinking on things tho, so guess we'll see. As for the raving lunatic comment, I'm about as mellow as they come. I rarely curse, yell, and I never throw things. The raving lunatic aspect applies more to my husband. As for looking for a job, I started looking on the internet last night. I may have to look into daycare for after school for the girls, but not sure how I'd pay for it. I'd mentioned to him before that I could work somewhere during the night shift but he doesn't want to deal with the girls if they wake up in the middle of the night. My 8 year old wakes up 1-2x a wk. from growing pains -- her legs ache alot and I get an ice pack or rub them. He won't do that for her and I worry. I'm in the middle of doing sales tax paperwork for the restaurant right now, but will look at more job options this afternoon. Thanks again.
 
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