Dating an emotionally abused man

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The only halfway legitimate version of an abusive wife I could conceive was that of a 400-pound woman squashing her rail-thin, hen-pecked husband because he forgot to bring home the extra side of gravy she wanted from KFC—fodder for I knew who my baby mama was, and I didn’t need a paternity test to prove that the three boys born during eight years of matrimony were mine.

I had been an all-state athlete, an Infantry Captain, and an accomplished corporate executive—positions that required strength and mental toughness.

Early on we attributed it to the bumps that come after the honeymoon period—except there never was a honeymoon period to begin with.

Still, we rolled with it; during truces, we even joked about how I just needed to learn that timeless truth upon which every successful marriage is built: the husband is always wrong. Our arguments got worse, sometimes with me smashing whatever object was nearby—a reaction that, by its virtue, automatically negated my position, valid or not.

Consequently, you find yourself walking on eggshells trying to avoid problems, but it never seems to work. Interestingly, while he belittles you in private, he may be quite the charmer in public. Don’t assume that things will get better on their own.

I will never forget that day—my wife snoozing in her hospital bed, my wrinkle-skinned son nestled in my arms, and me, slumping to the side, one career ruined, another on the verge—friendless, isolated, emasculated …

October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and while most women would agree that physical violence has no part in a love relationship, what are more subtle signs that you are not being treated well? not just every once in a while, but most of the time. He never caveats his views with “I think” or “In my opinion.” He doesn’t show interest in how you or others see the world. He says you flirt with other men, even though you don’t. But, if you recognize yourself in these above examples, you should know this is not normal and it’s not okay. Seek the counsel of family, friends, clergy, online forums, professional counselors/therapists and other resources local to your town.

In time, my anger issues were singled out as the culprit behind all our problems.

Oddly enough, I never had any anger issues prior to meeting my wife, a detail that bothered me.

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