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Just looking for some thoughts and opinions.

1217 Views 13 Replies 10 Participants Last post by  turnera
Apologies up front for this being so long.

I have been married to my husband for 15 yrs. We have two children together. When we met, I didn't have many friends. I started dating husband, and he had student loans to pay, so we moved in together, didn't do much with other people, and saved money. He had friends, and we integrated ourselves into that circle for a bit, but never really had friends as a couple. Whenever I suggested we meet friends, he would make the excuse that he had enough friends, and we didn't need any more. He would shows up where I am at when I am out with friends, to "check up on me." He tells me that my best friend is a bad influence on me, and has me stop seeing her. He tells me to quit a job I love because "it is not good for me."

We married, had two children, and spent many years "homebound", as I became a stay at home mom. I was so entrenched into the lives of the children and the family, never did anything for myself, had no life of my own, and no friends. My husband had a life, friends, and often went out without me.

Fast forward 13 years. Kids are a bit older so I can have a life of my own. I start working outside of the home. I start working out. Husband likes how I look, and we meet a new group of friends. We start going out more, and having more fun. Husband is excited about this, enjoys flirting with other women, and the attention he receives from other women in our group of friends. I think it is harmless, as these women are my friends, and I am not a jealous person.

In our group of friends, I become friends with a man (who's wife is a friend of mine) who works at the same school as I do. We talk just when we are there, this man knows my husband, and has asked him to do things from time to time. Husband refuses to do anything with this man, and even stands him up on occasion.

Husband gets disillusioned with group of friends, and doens't want to hang with them anymore. I am suspicious because one woman in the group he really liked, and actually yelled at me one time for not wanting to go shopping with her, has recently moved and is no longer part of the group, and he doesn't get that attention anymore--so he doesn't want to hang with the group anymore? What is up with that? I never had friends like this, and I do not want to stop being friends with this group. Husband gets mad when people want to hang out with me. He gets upset if someone asks me to do anything. He gets upset if someone compliments how I look, or how athletic I am. Husband is jealous that girlfriends as me to do stuff, and want to me be friend. He starts preventing me from doing things, using the kids as an excuse.

We fight a lot. He accuses me of having an affair with our mutual male friend. He confronts male friend, and causes that relationship to end with him and his wife. He goes through all my possessions looking for said "affair" and finds nothing. He monitors home phone and my cell phone records, and quizzes me on why I text with certain people so much, asking "what did you talk about?" If I do get to go with friends, he will ask me what we talked about when we were together. He tells me I cannot text male friends, even though he can text female friends. I ask him if I am entitled to any privacy at all, and he says no. He will use the kids or money as an excuse for me not going to do anything with friends. He doesn't want my mom and dad to visit our home, even though they live only 5 miles away. I have to ask permission to do anything, and it is always a struggle to do anything I want to do. He will tell me that as long as he is the one working and making most of the money, I don't have a say in what I do. I get quizzed on $12.00 purchases for our children, but he can purchase $100 concert tickets.

My friends say he is emotionally abusive and controlling. I have suggested counseling, and he will use money as an excuse. He tells my best friend "I want to go to counseling, but she doesn't want to." Yet, when I call the counselor, he will use money as an excuse.

I suggest that I go and find new friends that he would like, and he says that is a good idea, but is not supportive when I want to go spend time to meet these friends. Again, he will use the kids as an excuse. "How could I possibly and selfishly try to make new friends when the kids need all my time."

He goes with his friends whenever and whenever he wants. He will just tell me "I am meeting so and so for a beer", and I will be supportive and tell him to go and have fun. I don't check up on him, nor question him.

And, he is just not nice. I get dressed up to go to a wedding, and he cannot say that I look nice. I tell him I would love to hear that sometimes, and he will say "I don't have to say that because everyone else will." He is cold, yet he expects me to be warm and loving toward him, and if I am not, he will accuse me of having an affair.

Not sure where I go from here. I purposely lie to him, about little innocent things (like I ran into this male friend at the store today, and I should be able to tell him, but I know if I do he will accuse me of something and make my life hell!) Am I crazy? What am I doing wrong?
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Just wanted to add that, even though I love this man, I don't like the man that he is. Sounds crazy, but he is critical, nothing is ever right. I don't keep the house clean enough, I don't cook good enough meals. I don't make enough money. I can't make a mistake without him lashing out and getting upset with me. Yes, I am a bad wife because I don't always tell him the complete truth. I just don't want to get yelled at an criticized, and told that I am horrible things just because I made a mistake, like I forgot to finish the laundry. :(
Print this out and show it to him. He needs to tell you why he is entitled to 'do as I say, not as I do' double standard.
sorry to hear this.

wish I had some advice but as a male this is beyond my (very limited) expertise

hope you find a way forward
IMO, the reason he isolates you from family/friends is he's afraid (this is what controllers truly are deep down) they will begin to make you realize the terrible situation you are in. They will build you up, encourage you, boost your self esteem; this in turn will give you the courage to stand up for yourself, put your foot down, and make the necessary changes (leave him if need be) to take YOU back.

I know this as, to a certain degree, my ex was the same way. I wasn't allowed to visit/hang with family members/friends unless he was right up my A#$. He had to be in the middle of everything. If he didn't like them, we didn't have anything to do with them. Everything was HIS way! That was until I started sticking up for myself; that's when 'things changed'; 'I wasn't the woman he married'; I don't even know you anymore, yada yada yada. That's also when the mental/verbal abuse really kicked into high gear. He pulled out all the stops, made threats, caused scenes, had his brother call me 'to talk some sense into me', he even got so desperate he tried to make me jealous by talking again with a GF he was seeing when I met him. Heck!! By that time I could care less; she could have him. It never turned into physical abuse; but I know from seeing him angry at his and my mom, that the possibility was there.

That was over 19 years ago. I did what I had to do to protect me and my 3 sons, I left with just our personal belongings. I did not want any of them turning out like him. I'm so thankful I did it as none of them are like him. It took the support of some really close friends (whom, at first, he had thinking he was the most wonderful husband in the world) and family.

Basically, what I'm trying to say is: I understand you love him, but you also have to love yourself enough to stop him before the situation gets worse. You do not want to teach your children that this is normal/acceptable behavior. If he won't go to counseling, do you feel safe enough to go for yourself?
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Please be careful. Your H is a highly controlling man, and leaving him (which you will probably eventually have to do in order to have a semblance of a life at all) will be very dangerous. Read what Katie Holmes did to break free of Scientology/Tom Cruise and consider doing something similar to protect yourself and your kids. Sorry to be so negative. Start with counseling so you can see how you keep yourself in lockstep with this form of dysfunction, and then quietly and carefully work on freeing yourself. Again, please be careful.
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I agree with your friends. As far as what you're "doing wrong" is simple: You're letting him get away with this and you're changing you and what you do to satisfy his demands.

I'd stop doing that. I'd tell him I saw that male friend. I'd insist on meeting up with my friends. If he made it a habit to check up on me after refusing to go with me, I'd tell him that I would pointedly ignore him if he talks to me when he does so, and I would not hesitate to explain my rudeness to the people I'm with.

Having said that, let me be clear that that's what I would do, but it's not necessarily the best answer. These are actions that will ultimately force a divorce and/or physical abuse in all likelihood.

If you want to "keep the peace" (which rarely does keep things peaceful) you can follow the suggestions in my article on narcissism, which is essentially to become a master at changing the subject, avoiding his criticism, never criticizing him, etc. (The article is linked in the thread about coping with narcissism.)
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You have to stand up for yourself in a way that builds up the reationship and does not tear it down.

He needs individual counseling to deal with his issues and you both need marriage counseling.

How do you get there? I believe you when you say you love him. If that is the case you must (at least in your mind) be willing to lose him for his good and the good of the marriage. That will help you with the resolve you need to draw a line on the unhealthy relationship.

Tell him that you remember your vows and as his wife you are telling him that your marriage is in trouble, tell him this is as clear as you can say it, so make sure to really hear what you are saying, "we need to fix this, We need to agree to go to counseling to become better partners for each other, I love you and I want to be with you forever, you will show me that you value our marriage by showing me that you are willing to work on it with me."

Then please, never cheat on him,please look in the coping with infidelity section here, and see the damage done to another human being when a spouse cheats. (Husband or Wife),, The husband is crushed, his esteem, confidence, happyness gone, suffers for years with flashbacks and can not look at his wife with out seeing the other man (om), its hell on earth. And the wayward spouse (ws) is damaged by the deception and the guilt, its terrible, and very stressful. Just a warning. If you have trouble finding some threads just say so here and I will find a few and post them here. The point is , leave an unhealthy marriage before you start a relationship with someone else.

Listen now, I dont know you and no one can tell you where the line is, but you have every right for your husband to understand your needs and to meet them otherwise what do marriage vows even mean!!

He will have a hard time beliving that if you seperate you are not doing it for another man, but You could try this. say "If you will not work with me on becoming better partners for each other, than I dont think our marriage can survive, if your answer is no than I will begin emotionally detaching from you to find some space and distance so I can consider what my chosen course of action must be."

This is a passive detachment within the home, but it has a clear warning and purpose so he is not in the dark. You will need to let this work for a bit so he can see you pulling away, and so you can truly try to find some objectivity in the situation.

Think about this, reply back and get some more feed back here.

Take care!
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ps I think Heavensangle above makes some good points. Do you believe there is a potential for phsical abuse?

also You may benifit from some individual counseling to help you navigate your role in this relationsip.
Your friends are right. He is emotionally abusive & controlling. You can't change him or fix him. You can read these books: " Why Does He Do That" "Walking on Eggshells" & "Co-Dependent No More." I feel bad for you & if my husband acted like your husband, I would leave.
IMO, the reason he isolates you from family/friends is he's afraid (this is what controllers truly are deep down) they will begin to make you realize the terrible situation you are in. They will build you up, encourage you, boost your self esteem; this in turn will give you the courage to stand up for yourself, put your foot down, and make the necessary changes (leave him if need be) to take YOU back.
This is exactly what controlling men do - they isolate you. So no one can convince you to leave them.

Read this book; it's the bible for people in your situation: Why Does He Do That? Inside The Minds Of Angry And Controlling Men, by Bancroft. It will explain a lot.
Thank you thank you all for the WONDERFUL advice. You are all right, I need to work on me (the ONLY person I can change and control) and figure out what I need to do from there. I will keep you all posted. Thank you! You have no idea what your words have done for me.
Excuse me, but what crime did you commit to be locked in your husband's prison?

He sounds narcissistic, only thinking of his own feelings, only caring for his own well-being and your only lot in life is to PLEASE HIM. What do you mean you want a life of your own? Why? So you can cheat? How dare you be happy when he is not? What kind of wife are you for wanting friends? Don't you know you don't need friends anymore because you are married now? DIDN'T YOU GET THE HANDBOOK OF INSECURE HUSBANDS? :rolleyes:
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Please read the book I suggested. You can get it at your library.
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