I'm in a serious situation and need urgent advice. I'm 26 years old and two weeks ago I got married to my long-time boyfriend. Everything was perfect until a few days ago when his real personality began to show. He tells me how to dress, how to talk, how to act - it's like he's become my strict father. He screams at me for the slightest mistake and threatens to divorce me if I don't do as he says.
I never thought that I would be facing something like this so soon after a honeymoon. I'm scared, angry and hurt all at the same time and I don't know what to do. Even though I just got married, I'm thinking of leaving him because I can't bear the resentment anymore. I'm also worried about going to the police because of what people will say and the fact that I cannot prove he is a violent person, it's all psychological abuse.
It doesn't help that he is a lot stronger than me that I'm afraid of him. Wherever I go, he ends up following me or asking me lots of questions like he thinks I'm doing something behind his back. He's always checking my phone messages and emails and it feels like he's watching every little thing I'm doing. I feel suffocated and like I'm losing my freedom, which I thought marriage was suppose to enhance.
I'm confused and hurt and I don't know what's wrong with him. I'm searching for a solution for this but it seems like I'm just going deeper and deeper into an abyss. I desperately need some advice and guidance before I completely lose control of the situation. What should I do and how should I get out of this nasty spiral?
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The moment you realize that your spouse has somehow changed and is no longer the person who you fell in love with and married, can be both sad and frightening. You might be feeling a number of different emotions right now such as anger, hurt, confusion, sadness and fear. Domestic abuse or domestic violence on either side does not have to escalate to physical violence in order to be abuse. Psychological and emotional abuse can often be as damaging as physical abuse.
First and foremost, your safety is paramount. Moving out of the situation if it has become dangerously volatile is the most immediate and important step you need to consider taking. If it becomes evident that living the situation is likely to cause you further harm then you need to leave and find safe shelter. Domestic violence helplines such as those offered by Women's Aid, Refuge or in the United States, the National Domestic Abuse Hotline provide safe places, legal advice and counseling services to victims of domestic violence and abuse. If you are able to remain in your home, make sure you tell someone close to you who you can trust or confide in or seek professional assistance, such as counseling or therapy to help you through this time.
It's important to remember that domestic abuse doesn't occur just within marriages and romantic partnerships. It can happen in any kind of relationship where one person is controlling the other's behavior. Abuse can come in many different forms and includes verbal insults, put-downs, emotional manipulation, possessive behavior and threats. In order for any relationship to be healthy, both partners need to respect what each other wants and needs.
One of the best things you can do is to keep a journal of events and use that as evidence to strengthen your case if you make a decision to take legal action against your spouse. Without it, it's hard to prove that any kind of abuse or violence took place. You should also contact a lawyer to make sure your rights are taken into consideration and that you can take appropriate steps such as applying for a restraining order against your partner if needed.
It's also important to remember that no matter the changes your partner has gone through, it isn't your fault and it doesn't define you. Remind yourself that you deserve better and can still have a happy and healthy marriage. Talk to family or friends and join support groups, so that you have a safe place to talk and share your feelings without feeling judged or alone. If needed, you should also involve a mental health professional to help you assess your current situation, identify any underlying issues and assist you in developing a plan for how to move forward with your marriage.
It's up to you to decide how you want to proceed from here. The most important thing is that you do what's best for you and seek out the support you need during this difficult time.