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    This Exchange simulates the original Couples Coping Support Group. It is designed to help persons with concerns in their relationships, family, marriage, seperation, divorce, etc.Offering a wide range of real world, personal experiences, information, knowledge, suggestions, & views from real people.
    What do I do?
    Jade2012 posted:
    Hello...I am new to this community. I'm writing here to see what some of you may have for feedback about what I do in my situation. I'll try to keep it as brief as I can. So, basically, for the past couple of years I haven't been happy in my marriage. I actually think I've been unhappy longer than that but now its to the point that I have a hard time overlooking/ignoring things that I used to be able to. I feel like I am not living the life I want to and I am not being myself.
    I am 41 years old, been married for 20 years and we have two beautiful teenage daughters.

    A lot has happened over the past 3 years. One of my daughters was suicidal and went into crisis, my alcoholic father passed away suddenly on Christmas Eve, and I finally started dealing with some painful childhood memories of being sexually abused when I was 5 as well as some traumatic memories of watching my father beat my mother. Now, my daughter is doing very well about to graduate from high school and excited about college and I sought counseling the beginning of this year to sort through all this stuff I've been through.

    My husband is a great person. He provides very well for us, always has. We have a lot disagreements - I don't agree with his perspective on things about half of the time. Each time we argue, I always end up conceding (if you will?) and am coerced into agreeing or semi-agreeing with his point of view, whatever it may be. I'm just not good at arguing and he's very good at twisting words or wording things so I can't disagree....does that make sense? Anyway, most of the time I feel micromanaged..example: If I am not home within a reasonable time frame after work, he calls...every penny we spend is recorded in a financial software...he doesn't believe in buying new vehicles and can't understand why I would want to. He says we will not pay for our kids' college - they have to pay for it or most of it. Its frustrating because we are not poor! In fact, we are sitting very well, financially - no debt whatsoever and substantial savings and investments. I feel angry....I work full time yet I do not feel like I can spend money on what I WANT to spend it on.
    Sorry, this is longer than I wanted it to be.....I don't know - I guess maybe I'm at the point where I just don't want to be controlled anymore. When I try to talk about some of the issues mentioned above, he gets very loud and I am intimidated....I can't handle yelling (must go back to my childhood). Lastly, he is an alcoholic and his words can be pretty harsh when he's drinking. He knows it, our kids know it....I've definitely known it for quite some time. Evenings in our home look like this: we have dinner, the kids retreat to their rooms to "do homework" until bedtime, I try to get some work done and sit down to either read or watch tv...he has his beer and couple of shots of Gin...falls asleep in his chair. I try to wake him up unsuccessfully...I go to bed to be woken up around 3am because he's climbing into bed.....I just don't know how much longer I can do this.....I'm afraid to tell him how I I REALLY feel........any helpful words out there? Your feedback will be most appreciated.
    queston responded:
    This statement seems key to me:

    "Its frustrating because we are not poor! In fact, we are sitting very well, financially - no debt whatsoever and substantial savings and investments."

    I think you have put your finger on what, to be blunt, is important to him.

    If you were to divorce him, half of those resources would be yours. Maybe you need to remind him of that?

    Seriously, I think the two of you need professional counseling--badly. My advice would be to invite him to participate with you with the understanding that if he chooses not to , you will be consulting with a divorce attorney.
    sluggo45692 replied to queston's response:
    I agree with queston. I think you both need individual and couples counseling. If he won't go, you go. I would find an AL-ANON support group also. I'm afraid it sounds like you married your father. Alcoholic and abusive.
    I don't know what your job is, but it's your money. Some should be for the home and bills, but you should have some control over it also.
    I have to say, I agree with your husband about college in some ways. Your children should get the loans and help pay for the cost. Nothing ever given is respected, but what is earned is golden. Why try if mom and dad are always going to bail me out. If mom and dad give the kids a free ride, their most likely going to throw a lot of money away. It's like a car. Give a kid a car and they don't care about it. If they earn it, then they take care of it.
    My father was/is a drunk. My ex-stepfather was/is a functioning alcoholic. Work,drink, pass out, then get up and do it again. Mom kept him for 5 years.
    Get some help. We all need it sometimes. Good Luck
    queston replied to sluggo45692's response:
    On the paying for college thing--there's plenty of middle ground between "the kids are on their own" and "Mom and Dad will pay for every penny." We help out as much as we can with our college kids. I wouldn't pay for every penny, even if I could, for the reasons you cite, but college is tremendously expensive these days: to me, to saddle your kids with huge educational debt when you are comfortable and debt-free is terrible.

    (When I was in college, if you had a good summer job and a part-time job during the school year, you could pay for college. That is most certainly not the case now.)

    But the main thing for the OP is that it's not his money, its their money. And she should be an equal partner in deciding how it will be spent.
    Jade2012 replied to sluggo45692's response:
    Thank you for your and queston have given me some things to think about, as well as the words to articulate - something I'm not very good at with him.

    I don't think we should pay for ALL of college but he makes it sound like we will be of very little help. My daughter wants to go to college out-of-state but feels like she can't because she won't be able to make it financially. She is a smart young lady....2nd in her class....after all she's been through (crisis 2 years ago) I am so proud of how far she has come. I don't want her to get discouraged and sacrifice going where she has her heart set on....I feel like she deserves enough help to allow her to go out-of-state.

    queston, your statement:
    "college is tremendously expensive these days: to me, to saddle your kids with huge educational debt when you are comfortable and debt-free is terrible." really hit home with me because it is exactly how I feel!

    Whenever I think about talking to my husband about this stuff, I feel nauseous....even as I write this my stomach feels jittery. Ugh If I could only get some strength and confidence.....
    sluggo45692 replied to queston's response:
    Each family is different. My mom was a single mom with 6 kids. College was out of the question for me. I and my 2 next brothers chose the military. I have years of military training and education.
    My gf's son is going to a large state college. She works at Walmart. He has to get the money some way.
    I never said the children have to pay for it all, but they have to have an investment in the cost. They have to know what things cost.
    Don't let your husband bully you. Marriage is to be a 50/50 partnership, not a dictatorship. Just because he has a penis and you have a vagina, doesn't mean he's in charge. If you have questions about your money, have him explain it to you. If it makes him upset, then explain to him you have a right to know where your money is going.
    Explain to you husband that you don't like the change in him when he's drinking. If he's a mean drunk, be careful. I don't know if he has turned physical towards you or your girls, but if this occurs get out. My father was/is a whiney drunk. My ex-step dad was told he had better not be an abusive drunk toward my mother. I was 14, my brothers were 12 & 13 when they got married. I think he was a little nervous when we boys explained it to him. No one hurt mom and we were still pissed at dad.
    You have to stand up for your self. I'm sure there are many good things in your marriage. If you husband wants to know where you are, it might mean he does care about you. My gf worries when I don't call, but I won't accept the 3rd degree. I am over 21. Don't let the bad overide the good. Good Luck
    Jade2012 replied to sluggo45692's response:
    Thanks sluggo45692 for your words.

    No, he has never been physical with my girls or me when he's drinking. His demeanor, the way he talks to us can be harsh though and he cannot be reasoned with - my mother always said, "don't try to argue with a man when he's drinking." I have told him he's a different person when he's drinking but he denies it and said he would say the same things sober. I've told him its not what he says but how he says it....most of the time, anyway.
    sluggo45692 replied to Jade2012's response:
    It seems he has gotten very comfortable with everyone leaving the room and drinking himself to sleep. This is not the example you want your children to follow or accept as the normal. I know it's his home and he can do what he feels is right. It's YOUR home also. You have the right to expect better behavior from your family. A couple drinks are ok, but passing out every night and leaving the family to fend for themselves is not a good behavior. Your kids are missing out on a real dad. I have to hold back the tears every time I hear the country song "Walk a little straighter, Daddy." I would never subject my children to this. Yes, I have drank in front of my children and had a buzz on. I REFUSE to be a slobbering drunk in front of them.

    I got into an aurgument with my 17 year old daughter a few years ago. She wanted a soda, (pop in my area). I told her no. she didn't need one. She told me, "Why not, you drink beer." That pushed my button. I stated to her I drink a beer or 2 when the bills are paid, the food is bought, and I have money to get back and forth to work. I asked her if she had a soda earlier that day and did she have one the day before. Both times she said yes. I told her I hadn't had a beer in over 2 months. I again told her, she didn't need one. That's my views on drinking.

    Find an Al-non support group. Alcohol can do bad things to good people. You already said you end up conceding to his views. Even though they are different than yours. Sounds like your just keeping the peace. If he doesn't want to change, at least you have some support. Your girls will benefit from them also. I, my brothers and sister were very lucky we didn't become alcoholics. Don't let your children go down that road. Your the daughter of an abusive alcoholic, as you stated. Now your the wife of an alcoholic. Do you want that for your girls. Sorry to be blunt, I have very strong views on this subject.

    Good Luck
    Jade2012 replied to sluggo45692's response:
    I have thought about checking out an Al-Anon support group before but I'm not sure I dare and this is why.....we are known in not only our local community but throughout the state as well, because of our involvement in a certain cause and because our name is fairly well-known around here in a certain "field" or "realm" -- trying to be evasive here so that I don't identify myself/my family. I am so afraid that because we know so many people and people know us, that I am going to run into people I know. I know its supposed to be anonymous but I also know there are breaches of confidentiality all the time......people do talk.....I really would like to go because I know it would help us a lot but I am scared.....
    queston replied to Jade2012's response:
    Do you have a friend who could go with you? If there are two people sitting together, no one needs to know which one is just there to support her friend.

    Also, your concern for discretion is admirable, but at a certain point you need to worry not so much about him and his reputation and more about yourself.
    fcl replied to Jade2012's response:
    To add to what queston said, you don't give your family name at these things. They only ask your first name. Secondly, remember that if anyone recognizes you there ... well, they would be there too. So you'd be in the same boat. Please don't be put off. Just go. It's absolutely nothing to be ashamed of.
    There's nothing inherently dirty about sex, but if you try real hard and use your imagination you can overcome that.
    Jade2012 replied to queston's response:
    Thank you, queston.....yes, I do have a good friend who could go with me...I know she would be willing to help as she knows I haven't been happy.

    What exactly happens at the meetings?
    Jade2012 replied to fcl's response:
    Thank you FCL.....I hadn't thought of it like that.
    mbeetlebug responded:
    Hi, I hope I can help. I am 52 and have recovered from abuse, especially psychological. Control and intimidation is abuse. There is also financial abuse, that is when an abuser does control all the finances in a controlling way that hurts someone. Does he let you buy anything you want? Marriage is a partnership and if you can afford something and all, you deserve it. You contribute to the marriage financially, so you have the right to make financial decisions, for example, if you want to help your girls through college, you should be able to. does he misuse funds? Controlling is an insidious and a much hidden form of abuse. He is obviously making you unhappy and he is aware of it. Of course he fails to understand your point of view, if he did he would be relinquishing his control.
    Withholding the money is financial abuse. Even his drinking alcoholically and results that are hurtful thereof are abuse.

    You mentioned you are afraid to tell him how you feel. You should never be in fear of your partner. Fear is a sign that there is something wrong. Why are you afraid? When you have asserted yourself in the past does he double up, if you will on his controlling? Does he insult you, tell you in other words that what you feel is not important by getting angry? By yelling? If he yells and hurts you, it is abuse. Any demeaning behavior to you is abuse.

    I am so sorry for your loss and your memories. I can only tell you that when I lost my daughter, it triggered memories of my childhood abuse. Stress can do that. Please keep working on you, you deserve that.

    Intimidation is wrong. It is a form of scaring you into submission.

    I was like you in that I was in denial about domestic psychological abuse: the controlling, the downplaying or the blatant disregard of my needs and wants. I did not want to see them for a long time, then I had enough. I had been controlled, etc. to a point that I had just had enough and my denial began to lift and I knew that it was wrong. I began therapy for another issue, and like you I began to see the reality of my situation. I made a plan and all and left and stayed in therapy and became an advocate for vics of domestic violence. I have grown and now I am married to a wonderful man.

    You deserve happiness, love, freedom, respect, and permission to be yourself. You have the right to be a mom, and help your girls.You seem like a good and wonderful woman, and you need and have the right to manage your life without hurt, blame, control, intimidation and all.

    You sound as though you know you are unhappy and for good reason.

    Having been an advocate for victims of all domestic violence, seek out support. Tell your therapist. As far as money, make sure your name is on everything, and if you can, make arrangements to leave. Then, get a good support system going by seeking the advice of shelters, your therapist, support groups, your minister, community outreach programs. There is a wealth of information on the internet. But stay safe. Gather your important docs and all, make a second set of house and car keys, have a plan, have help and a place to go. I would start putting money away, if you cannot, have legal counsel at least deal with it for you. Shelters and advocacy groups have legal services. If you can afford it get an attorney experienced in this sort of thing.If there is any history of physical violence, be especially careful. I had to move out of state with the help of a relocation programs for victims for severe psychological abuse.

    Please take any measures to know that you do not have to live like you do. You do not have to be a victim anymore. Also, remember as moms we must set a good example for our girls, even if it is changing and leaving, it is showing them you care for yourself enough to not be abused. I know it is scary, but you can do it and when you get through it, it is so worth it. I am happier than ever and my abuser tortured me verbally, starved me, etc. Im at my Best ,Mary
    Jade2012 replied to mbeetlebug's response:
    Mary, thank you so much. I keep rereading your response. I'm actually a little emotional because several things you said hit home.

    To answer your question: "Does he let you buy anything you want?"..... the majority of the time, yes. But, when it comes to significant purchases, like a car, or something expensive for the house or a trip, its usually a debate and there's always a certain $ amount that ends up getting put on for example, I wanted a new living room set and I showed him what I had in mind. Of course, he recommended I "shop around for a better price." So, we spent about a month going to various stores, including the one that had the set I wanted. Well, we found something "comparable" for about $1000 less. I settled on that because by that time, I was tired of spending a lot of time on it and just wanted to make a decision. I am not totally happy with the set and I feel that it is not the quality of the one I really had my heart set on. When I look at my friends, they are able to make this kind of a decision on their own - the husband could care less. I suppose I should've put my foot down and demanded the set I really wanted but its always put to me in such a careful, articulate way with justification as to why we should spend less.

    Currently, we are planning our winter vacation. My mother and step-dad and other family members are planning to go out of the country on a an all-inclusive tropical vacation. It was discussed one day when my daughters and I were at my mother's house. I mentioned it to him and he got angry, saying we were planning a trip without consulting with him - I was doing it "behind his back." All I did was join in a conversation with my family and expressed interest - in no way was I "planning a vacation behind his back." He refuses to go out of the country right now and he says for the amount of money we'd spend, we could go to FL and back twice. And, because I had been the planner of the last vacation we took out of the country, he says he wants to go somewhere of his choosing. Now we are talking about sending our daughters to FL to stay with my mother-in- law, while he and I go to Manhattan for a week. I am excited to go to Manhattan - I love it there. I would like to stay right in the city. After looking at hotel prices, he said it would be better to stay somewhere just outside of Manhattan. Now, we can easily afford to stay right in I've said before we are sitting very well, financially. I told him I really had my heart set on staying right in Manhattan. So now he has me looking at apartment vacation rentals instead of hotels. I am tired of this. Why can't we just spend the damn money for once?
    So whenever we are going to make a significant purchase, its a struggle. I realize that part of the reason why we are doing so well financially is because "we" don't spend our money foolishly but I just wish everything didn't have to be such a huge deal - with so much time and energy expended.
    So to answer your other question "does he misuse funds?" I really have to say no.
    I don't know why I'm afraid....other than when he gets angry his voice gets loud and inside I instantly shut down - feel extremely anxious. I can't take it....I want to just leave the room and drop the whole subject.
    He does not physically harm me in any way. He does sometimes throw things or push objects around....something my real dad used to do in addition to beating my mother. So, maybe thats why I shut down - I'm scared that the louder voice or yelling is going to lead to more? Which takes me back to my childhood memories of seeing and hearing my father and mother fighting........
    Sorry this has been such a long entry.

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