Comments for Failing Marriage: Is the childhood abuse my husband endured the reason?

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Jun 04, 2008
Childhood abuse and a failing marriage...
by: Darlene Barriere - Webmaster

I can certainly understand your feelings of betrayal and anger. For your husband to have put your children at risk by not speaking up about the abuse he suffered at the hands of his parents must have been horrifying.

As for your questions, I can only give voice to the child abuse your husband grew up with and how it may well have affected him into adulthood.

It is not unusual for abuse victims to block out portions of or entire memories of childhood abuse; it's a coping skill. There are varying factors with regard to how children cope with abuse. I suggest you read my page on this site titled physical child abuse effects for a better understanding of why abused children respond in the way they do. It's important to understand that although the information pages on this site detail effects on children, those effects can and do follow these children into adulthood.

While on the surface your husband appears to have been highly successful in his work, etc., based on what you've stated, it also appears that he is a perfectionist; a perfectionist who expects perfection from himself, from you, and quite likely from others. This often stems from growing up with unreasonable demands and expectations, and very often, with abused first born children.

You stated that you believe your husband is drinking and possibly having an affair; yes, these can be effects of childhood abuse. But it's critical to understand that although his behaviour now can be explained by his abusive past, it cannot be used as an excuse for that inappropriate behaviour. Your husband had no power to control what was happening to him as a child; as an adult, he has choices. If the people around him provide excuses for him, they are enabling his behaviour. He needs to take responsibility for his actions as an adult. He can't blame it on his childhood; and nor can you.

I cannot give you relationship or marriage advice, as that is beyond the scope of this website. What I can say is that you cannot change your husband or his behaviour. The only person you can change is you; which is why I strongly urge you to seek out some form of counselling. A professional may be able to help you determine why you feel the need to "protect" your husband. The "right" professional may well steer you in a spiritual direction. For example, consider a therapist who insists that you read a book such as two written by Eckhart Tolle, A New Earth, Awakening to Your Life's Purpose and The Power of Now. Even without the assistance of a counsellor, I highly recommend you read these books for your own spiritual enlightenment.

I wish you and your family all the best.

Darlene Barriere
Violence & Abuse Prevention Educator
Author: On My Own Terms, A Memoir

Jun 04, 2008
Don't give up!
by: Linda Settles

My heart goes out to you because you are dealing with the residue of abuse with a history. When abuse is left undisclosed, it will not just go away. It will eat away at the soul of the survivor and at the fabric of his relationships. I have known others that have much in common with your husband. I was a lay counselor in church for some time and trained other counselors. You definately need to set some boundaries, and unfotunately the only way to do that is sometimes through separation. If your husband is seeing a Christian counselor (you made is clear that you are a person of faith) then he may be making the best effort that he can to change. But that will not do it alone. He needs to experience the pain of his losses--just as you have. He needs to come up against boundaries that remain stable and are beyond his control. He needs to get to the place that he knows he must trust his Higher Power (the God of the Bible if you are, as I am, a Christian). What you MUST not do is try to protect or insulate your husband from the consequences of his actions. And you must not sacrafice your own dignity or self worth to try to make him better. It won't work and you will lose yourself in the process.
Hang on to God, my friend, and find wisdom in his Word. Educate yourself throught sites such as this. No web site that I have found offers more information (not to mention compassion and personal investment from Darlene) than the one you have found. I will exhort you, as the Apostle Paul did his son in the faith, Timothy: Study to show yourself approved.... Dig in. Settle down. And Let go. Let go and let God do his work. Keep the door of your heart and mind open, and seek Godly counsel. Then, no matter what happens, you will know that what you have done is right and you are not responsible for the rest.

Jun 12, 2008
To Name Undisclosed:
by: Darlene Barriere - Webmaster

I'm posting this in an effort to release the other comments currently trapped in queue for this submission; there is a system glitch that has yet to be resolved. My sincere apologies for the delay in getting these comments to appear on this page. I realize it's an inconvenience, but rest assured, I continue to work at trying to fix this problem.

Darlene Barriere
Violence & Abuse Prevention Educator
Author: On My Own Terms, A Memoir

Apr 17, 2010
don't put up with his abuse!
by: Anonymous

I put up with my husband's verbal abuse from 1999 to March, 2010, when he finally left me. He was physically and emotionally abused as a child and still uses it as an excuse for his behaving badly.

Before I married him, I was a strong, independent woman. Our first seven years were fairly happy. Sometime after that, he started to drink heavily and became verbally abusive. In 2004, he went on a major drunken binge, ended up in the psych ward of a local hospital, and quit drinking and drugging.

I thought our problems would finally be resolved. However, even though he stopped using drink & pot, he never went through the kind of transformation I have seen in 12-step groups. All he did was dial down the frequency and severity of his abuse.

I am appalled that I stayed with him so long. I always seemed to find a reason that he would return to the nice man I'd married in 1991, and enjoyed in our first seven years of marriage.

Although he attended AA, he never worked the steps or made any signficant changes. He continued to belittle me, to blow up over the most trivial of events, to frighten me with the violence of his words.

I am a loyal person, and took my wedding vows very seriously. I kept praying that he would go back to being the loving person I once knew.

I was a fool for staying so long and taking abuse for so many years. It was both devastating and a gresat relief when he told me on Valentine's Day of 2010 that he was leaving me for another woman.

It was humiliating and freeing at the same time.
I was angry that he would dump me after I stayed with him through so many years of his mental illness. I grieved the loss of the future that might have been, the good times we'd had many years ago, the hope of a returning to a real marriage.

Why do women stick around to be repeatedly abused?
I wish I could answer that. There always seemed to be a good reason - I can't leave because I'll lose my house and garden; I can't leave because he makes three times as much money as I do and I will fall out of the middle class; I can't leave because he is a suicidal addict and he'll kill himself if I do; I can't leave because my parents split up after 20 years of marrige and I'll be DAMNED if I do the same thing.

Now that he is gone, I feel like I've been released from prison. It is so nice to have him gone. He was perpetually irritated, angry and abusive. He blamed me for everything that was wrong in his life.

Like a good wife, I took the blame just to keep the peace. I put all my effort into saving the marriage. All he wanted to do was play music. He didn't want to get divorced, but didn't seem committed to staying married.






May 27, 2010
my husband was abused by his father too! need help!
by: Anonymous

hello! I can relate to all the comments above. I met my husband 5 years ago, bEen married for 3 1/2 years, I'm 28 and He is 40. I have a 7yr old girl from my previous marriage and a 9 month old baby. He was brutally phisycallu abused by his father from a very early age, when He was 5 saw how his father abused/harmed his baby brother, and almos killed her mom in varios ocassions. Now He is a very angry person, short tempered, always having troubles with other people, gets offended easily, thinks he is right, knows it all, have unforgiveness towards others, blames me for everything, he never recognizes his mistakes, waits for me to ask forgiveness always and then if he is in a bad mood he will smashed me and kill me emotionally with harsh words. He has been a good father though for my daughter, but we can never communicate without fighting, and then I'm the one feeling guilty always, also he is very unstable, we have moved 6 times in the 3 1/2 years, for not paying rent, etc. Also when we got married he switched all the bills from his moms name to my name without telling me about, He has ruined my credit and have so many debts, also monies owe to IRS. When I want to talk about this things, He shuts me off and get offended and angry, I know I have been so naïve and with low self- steem, we are christians and He call himself a Preacher of the word of God, that's why I'm so frustrated and get angry at him. He has never hit me but I did in 3 ocassions when He was so angry at me and telling me harsh words, he says he doesn't trust me at all, and used to quote me bible scriptures about a Godly wife, but He doesn't see his faults and how to become a Godly husband. I'm his 3rd wife, and he's past marriages failed for the same reason, I wonder why no? I know my faults and my out of control issues, but I don't know what to do. He just lost his son of 8yr old from cancer, 5 months ago, I have been through so many bad things, also the realtionship with the ex wife always was in fights constantly, thank God that's over now but now I'm the one paying all his frustrations????
I have threaded him with divorce, he says that's an excuse because he has never done anything wrong to me. He has put fear on me, if I leave him I will really see hell, he will fight for my baby custody because he will not loose another child, and I know he will do whatever he can to make me suffer the consequences, I have seem how miserable was his ex wife. I'm so dependent on him, I don't work, don't have a car, I have fear, etc.... You think he would change? I know he rejects counseling.. What should I do???

Jul 08, 2010
I married the samd type of man 30 years ago
by: Anonymous

I tried to leave on many an occasion but he always found me. I was 15 years when I met him and now I'm 51, I have a son 28 years old, I left him 3 years ago lived in a shelter for 9 months, went back to college to get my teachers diploma. I left with nothing he manulipated my brothers and everyone into believing I was the problem as I am a recovering alcoholic sober 15 years. I went to court for baring order and you know the rest......My son has had a baby girl and I went back to my family town to be a part of her life now I am setting up a new business as the recession has rendered most of my family unemployed My husband wormed his way into my life and I have allowed it as he went to anger management classes for 2 years to prove to me he had changed. I suffer with fibromyalgia and recently I cant sleep I discovered he had been punching kicking me into very tender areas of my body while I was sleeping.. I know this sounds crazy and if anyone has heard of such things happening I would be greatful to hear from you I do know this sounds all over the place. When he was 36 he got memories of being severly sexually abused at 2 yrs by his 18 yr old brother. I found out other members of his family were also victims. There was a Confrontation with 6 people present including a well known Doctor. I am still a fool as I have to be in my grandaughter's life in case someone might hurt her.........
I would be very greatful if anyone reading this might say a prayer for me. My wish is to be free of this man even though I still love the dream of a picket fence.. I know that is not to be
P.S he denies ever kicking me but I was awake.

Jan 04, 2011
Birthday Present
by: Anonymous

I have been married for 21 yrs and my husband just told me he had been sexually abused by his stepfather at the age of 12. I knew his brother had been abused and asked my husband repeatedly over the years if he had been but he always denied it.
I am now at a loss. Through the years my husband has treated me with soe much disrespect but because of my mothers verbal abuse when I was a child I believed everything was always my fault and took his abuse. But there were a lot of times that he treated me like a queen. He has never physcially abused me!
I loved him and always wondered why he could be loving one moment and then be mean and evil the next. All but a few of our holidays have been ruined by him. He is a drama queen and always insists that it is me who starts fights yet it is he that does. Today is my 52nd birthday and last year on his birthday because I didn't say Happy Birthday to him the moment he woke up I was at fault for putting him in a bad mood. Anyways I woke up today and he didnot immediately say Happy Birthday but I thought to myself he is just not saying it because he is giving me the same kind of treatment he thinks I gave him last year on his birthday. True to my words after 2 hrs and him realizing that I wasn't going to say anything he said Hey come here. I walked over to him and he said Happy Birthday and then he said I thought you would have said something by now but you didn't and I was just doing what you did to me last year. I just looked at him and said nothing. He went to go get ready to go to work and never gave me a card or a present and left.
Before he left I said to him why are you still holding on to something that happened last year and he couldn't give me an answer but I guess he couldn't let it go! I feel sad that he has held on to that make believe hurt for a year!
I am tired of living like this what can I do?

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Disclaimer: To the best of my knowledge the child abuse
stories on this site are true. While I cannot guarantee
this, I do try to balance the need for the submitter to be
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