Our relationships counsellor answers your problems: My husband is abusive and lazy. So why can’t I leave him?
- An anonymous person says that she struggling to leave her abusive husband
- She discovered that he takes a young woman from his office out for lunch
- Turning to Caroline West-Meads she says that he denies that there is problem
Q I have been with my partner for eight years and married for five of them. I know in my heart that I am not being treated well, but I need some outside guidance as I can’t be sure if I am or not. My husband left home over a year ago after a spiteful argument in which he slammed my hand in a door, hurting it so badly I ended up in A&E. I asked him to leave, which he did.
Then, five months ago, he came back – full of charm and apologies. But this soon lapsed. He expects me to do everything around the house (even though I also work), including clearing up after his huge dog, and he gets angry and abusive if I don’t. He goes to the pub with his friends all day long on Saturdays and Sundays, and gets home drunk around 1am.
An anonymous person says that she struggling to leave her abusive husband. She discovered that he takes a young woman from his office out for lunch
I also recently discovered that he takes a young woman from his office out for lunch every day – she is 25, he is 50. Recently, he was invited to a friend’s wedding and said he wouldn’t be taking me because his friends hate me and think I’m a liar. When I try to tell him how unhappy I am, he denies there is a problem and says it’s all in my head. I can feel myself going downhill and am worried that I’m about to have a breakdown.
A You say you are not sure if you are being treated badly. Actually, you are being treated appallingly – and this situation has to stop. It is not clear whether you are in physical danger and if the injury to your hand was accidental and an isolated incident.
However, it is deeply concerning that your husband is displaying such a high level of uncontrolled anger. It also doesn’t sound as though he showed any sympathy or remorse for hurting you. In fact, he is using coercive control to undermine your confidence. He belittles you, manipulates you and emotionally bullies you. Abuse of this sort can turn into physical violence over time.
This behaviour is against the law. You already know that you have to get out – but you need help to do so.
Please contact Refuge’s National Domestic Abuse Helpline (0808 2000 247, nationaldahelpline.org.uk). It can be dangerous at the point of leaving a potentially violent man, so Refuge will help you make a plan to go safely. If he poses no physical threat to you (and do discuss this with them), then you should not have to be forced out of your home. Contact Citizens Advice (citizensadvice.co.uk) or the charity LawWorks (lawworks.co.uk) to find out your rights regarding your home and finances.
Making these changes will not be easy but, with the right support, it will be possible. Once your husband is no longer in your life, I recommend counselling to help rebuild your self-esteem so that if he tries to come back, you will be able to say no and mean it.
He wants me to end my friendship with his ex
Q My brother and his girlfriend of six years have split up after she left him. I always thought she was a bit of a saint for putting up with him. He doesn’t have any glaring flaws but he is a total workaholic and has always ducked out of gatherings with family and friends, even holidays.
The last straw was that he wouldn’t commit to marriage and children – she is 34 so feels that time is running out. I have never been particularly close to my brother – he’s seven years younger than me – but I had become close to his ex. We used to enjoy spending time together, and she’s sweet with my children. Now, however, my brother is demanding that I end my friendship with her. He says that to not do so would be disloyal because I’m his sister, not hers.
A I know your brother is only speaking through pain, but he is being unreasonable. Yes, his girlfriend has hurt him – though he has hurt her too. She has received very little attention from him over the years and, while I’m sure that he might say he was working hard to provide a lifestyle for them both, he has failed to listen because his absence was not what she wanted.
Perhaps he sees himself as the only injured party because she was the one who left – but she must have felt hurt that he would not commit. Tell your brother that while you love him and will support him, you are not prepared to end your friendship with his ex. If he tries to make you choose and threatens not to talk to you if you keep her friendship, then choose her. He is only calling your bluff and will come round in due course when he feels less bitter.
- If you have a problem, write to Caroline West-Meads at: YOU, Northcliffe House, 2 Derry Street, London W8 5TS, or email [email protected] Caroline reads all your letters but regrets she cannot answer each one personally