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Chanter
All I Ever Wanted Was to Love You
All I Ever Wanted Was to Love You

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I just want to be rid of it. And by "it" I mean the pain, the anger, the disappointment, the resentment, the dread, the doubt, and the guilt.

 

After several years of marriage to a man who was emotionally unavailable, controlling and emotionally abusive I just want out.

 

He has changed a lot in the last year, but I'm starting to figure out that it is only another attempt at controlling me. He use to control the finances. Once I became a stay at home mom he controlled all the money. We had no joint checking, no savings in both our names and most of the property titles where in his name. We did what he thought was best, we lived where he wanted to live.

 

I went back to school when our child was 5 and have since started a new career. Coincidentally, his change in behavior occurred at about the same time I got a job, and started earning my own money.

 

Now he is smothering. Constantly wanting to touch me, take care of me, and tell me how much he loves me. He sends me flowers at least twice a month, and is always home when I'm home. He follows me around making "puppy dog eyes" and if I even look at him he thinks it's an invitation to have sex. If I act upset or put off by his behavior he hounds me and wants to discuss/talk about it. He asks a million questions about everything!! My day, my job, my friends, my family, my health... it just never stops. I can't shake the feeling he doesn't trust me. Even though he claims he does 100% and I have never given him a reason not to trust me. (No infidelity).

 

He thinks we are on the road to repairing our marriage but I'm depressed/anxious and on medication. I have no joy in life; nothing excites me or motivates me. And I know I shouldn't, but I blame him for that.

 

My friends, my family... they have all told me that they think he is emotionally abusive, and controlling... but I just didn't want to see it.

 

So now what?

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Yep, she did. And I'm waiting for them to take effect. Could be weeks.

I'm not sure if my apathy is "real" or because of being depressed.

 

And he's not damned if he does, damned if he doesn't. He's damned if he keeps doing things that are aimed at controlling me! He wants me feel a certain way, think a certain way, do things the way he thinks are best for me.

 

I feel asleep on the couch at 6:30 the other night. He woke me up 4 times, despite me telling him I wanted to sleep right where I was, because he thought it would be best for me to go upstairs to bed!

 

Scratch that.... yes. he's is damned if he does, damned if he doesn't. He changed to fit what he thinks I want. He didn't change because he realizes what a crap marriage we had, and he truly wants me to be happy. He changed because he was afraid of losing this relationship, this life, his ideal. And fear is a crappy motivator. He's squeezing too tightly. It still feels like control, even if it is just his insecurities (which are what made him be controlling in the first place).

 

I really, really, really hate this expression, but in this case I think it fits. "If you love something set it free. If it comes back to you... blah, blah, blah." He needs to show me that he loves me by letting me live my own life. And I don't think he can do that. If he could, why hasn't he already?

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I suppose Chanter, this is where you need to take the "risk" and give him the benefit of the doubt that he IS or HAS changed not sim ply to pull the wool over your eyes, but because he is genuine.

 

These are some of the focus issues you need to talk with your counsellor about.

 

I am on SSRI's myself, and yes they do take some time to work. They are NOT a happy pill however, and the reality is, they will simply make you more level.

 

They won't make you feel as though staying in the relationship is ok if it's not. In fact they will allow you to make better judgements emotionally than what you can probably do now.

 

After a while, you may want to invite him to a session with you, so that he can hear some of what the counsellor says, this takes a great step of trust and faith to do this. Maybe something to work towards.

 

At the moment, it seems that no matter what he does, because of his past, you simply do not trust that his intentions are real or genuine. That is completely understandable, however, you need to realise that it will get to a point where it is YOU and only YOU that can change your view or feelings on his intentions.

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Chanter,

It seems that you do not trust him. You are carrying a lot of anger for him for the way he behaved in the past. Can you forgive him for the way he has treated you? If the answer is no then why continue. It is almost like you want to punish him.

I don't know if this is some game he is playing or if he truly is trying to change and learn from his past actions. Change is possible with learning and understanding.

 

Can you change your attitude towards him?

 

Lost

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I've tried. I really have. But every time I start to believe he has changed, and is sincere, he does something to make me question his motives.

The latest thing was something he said to our son about a month ago that was so cruel and heartless it scared me. If he did it to force me to stay in the marriage, well it worked. (At least temporarily) If he did it because he was upset and not thinking straight, then he should show some remorse and acknowledge the damage he did. But I think he did it to hurt me. I think he did it because he knows my past, and knows what my reaction would be, and knows how to manipulate me. It was the most God awful thing I have ever seen and I was shocked that he could be that cruel and heartless to his own child. So... I would love to "let go of the past" but it keeps creeping into the present.

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He said he was leaving, and I didn't try to stop him. (Which he so desperately wanted me to do). I told him I thought we should tell our son something, before he left, about what was going on. Tell him that Daddy was going to go stay at a friend’s house for a while, and that he would still get to see him whenever he wanted, and that sometimes adults need to work something’s out, and that we both still loved him very much. All the things you should say to your child to help them deal with such stressful things.

 

Instead my husband set our son down on the bed and said, "Daddy's leaving." When my son asked "for real?" he said "Yes. Daddy's leaving forever and won't be back." I freaked!! I begged him to stop talking but he continued. You don't say things like that to an 8 year old!!! He finished with, "Well I’m not gonna sugar coat it!!" By this point I would have agreed to cutting off my arm just to make him stop hurting our son. I think it was a defining moment, that showed his true character.

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I can see how you would doubt his motives. Perhaps a seperation would be best so you both can quit reacting to each other and clear your minds. If he has truly changed then he will be secure enough to separate and continue to work towards a stronger more healthy marriage. If while apart he returns to his old ways then you will have your answer.

 

((HUGS)) for your son

 

Lost

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Yikes, he really sounds controlling. These "changes" that came about after you started work sound like they're based in fear. He can't handle that you have your own independent life and ability to support yourself. So he tries to control you with (excessive) kindness instead of by controlling the money and decisions.

 

I disagree with Greedy Toad's advice (i.e., to give him another chance), or at least feel you should take it with a grain of salt. Controllers don't change - not unless they REALLY want to and have HUGE incentive to. Even then, it often doesn't last. Read Lundy Bancroft's "Why does he do that?" if you want more examples.

 

I spent 6 years with a controlling, manipulative, emotionally abusive man. I broke up with him at least 6-8 times in this period, but each time he swore to me he'd "seen the light" and had been shocked (by my leaving) into changing. Every single time I took him back, he was back to his old antics within 2 months (sometimes even within as little as 2 days!).

 

If he's really, truly, 100% changed then perhaps he's worth giving a second chance (assuming you can get over your own hurt from having dealt with this controlling man for so long. But that's a HUGE assumption in this sort of situation, and something that none of us here can determine for you. And from the things you've said here (his smothering, his comment to your son) it doesn't sound good. But ultimately, only you - well, really, only him - can know for sure.

 

Best wishes.

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....each time he swore to me he'd "seen the light" and had been shocked (by my leaving) into changing. Every single time I took him back, he was back to his old antics within 2 months (sometimes even within as little as 2 days!).

 

 

 

Viajera,

sounds like the scene that just played out here about 5 minutes ago. (and a dozen times before) Except I couldn't even get to the part where I left before he started swearing he's "seen the light". He even used those words. I'm so F*CKED.

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Chanter,

 

First, I am not trying to defend your husband. If he truly is controlling and mentally abusive then get out. No one deserves that kind of treatment. However, I read a lot of anger in your post, and you could be projecting a lot of negative thoughts and feelings into your husbands actions.

 

Based on the anger I detect from your post, I would guess that no matter what your husband does, you will look for him to fail. Even if he makes an honest good faith effort, I'm not sure you can see it. Without encouragement and reinforcement, no change will be permanent.

 

Have the two of you been to counseling? I didn't read that in your post, but maybe I missed something. It seems to me that you might have some serious communication issues. If the only time he "sees the light" is when you get ready to leave, it might be that he is not hearing very well, or you are not expressing your needs very well. Probably a combination of both. It might explain why he goes back to his old ways so quickly. He may not even realize what is happening, because the two of you are not communicating with each other. He thinks things are fine until you get so fed up, you want to leave. He realizes what is happening and changes. But old habits die hard, and people can't change over night. If you are not reinforcing his new behavior, or communicating any unhappiness so he can hear, then you fall into the same pattern over and over. He may truly not see how controlling he can be.

 

When you talk about your husband's insecurities, it sounds like he is trying to make a connection with you. He wants to feel loved, and he is treating you how he wants to be treated - which isn't the same on how you want to be treated. Again, this goes back to the communication issue.

 

Perhaps the fact that he tries to change (even temporarily) means he cares about the marriage.

 

Anyway, I would encourage you to get couples therapy before you quit the relationship. You are angry, which might be good, because it means you still care about the relationship. When the apathy kicks in is when you get into the real problems, because you won't care anymore if he changes permanent or not.

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we have been in therapy, together and alone. And I know he cares about the relationship. And I know he loves me. And I love him. But I really can't see how I could be any more clear in what I need from him.

 

When I say I need space, I need time, I need you to back off and let me be, I love you but you are smothering me. When I say "don't you see how you are behaving? Your standing in front of the door, refusing to let me leave, when you know I'm not angry. I'm doing this because the therapist said we need to 'walk away' and think before we have a discusion. I'm just trying to avoid a fight. We can talk when we both calm down. Why can't you see how you are trying to control me? You won't let me walk out that door because you have no faith I'll come back. You are insecure to the point of acting irrational and scarry."

 

Whoa... got off on a tangent there. Guess I do have some angry issues. ;-)

Anyway, I have been so clear, problem is he doesn't believe what I say. Maybe that is because I'm still here?

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It does sound as if you are being clear. I guess the question is, how can you make him feel loved, so that he is emotional able to give you space? Of course, he would have to answer that.

 

Sorry I couldn't be more help. It seems like you are where my wife was at 2 years ago, angry, frustrated, and ready to quit. I just wish my wife had communicated better with me. Apathy has set in, and she really doesn't care if I Love her, or not (no matter what I do). Keep fighting while you still care, because it doesn't sound like your husband is strong enough to be able to fight for the relationship if you give up.

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I do little things for him. Like picking up a soda for him on the way home because I know he likes a Cherry Lime-aid from Sonic. Or sending him a text every once and a while to say "hi". Sometimes a card mailed to him at work, he likes that Or keeping one "date night" a week for the last two years despite all the problems and stress.

I'm just so damned gun shy because every time I let down my guard he slams me with something hurtful or controlling. Then I pull away. It seems like a never ending spiral downward. I don't know that either of us are strong enough to make this work.

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Walkinnahaze, if he is a controller and emotionally abusive (as her words give me EVERY reason to believe, having been there myself and read a lot about these relationships), she will NEVER be able to speak clearly enough for him, and NEVER be able to make him feel loved, no matter what she does. Well, unless she gives up her entire life again and lives trapped in the house under his lock and key. These men are insecure and terrified of being abandoned. That's exactly why they control. Nothing - beyond years of counseling, and their OWN desire to change - will change that.

 

And of COURSE she's angry. She's put up with this for years. Believe me, I was angry, bitter, cynical, and - yes - eventually apathetic after putting up with my ex's antics for 6 years. But it wasn't coming from me - I was not previously and am not now an angry person, he is the only person who has ever been able to bring that out of me. Controlling relationships will do that to a person.

 

I'm sorry to hear about your situation, walkinnahaze. But too often, the onus to fix the relationship falls on the woman. The cultural perception is that the woman is supposed to be passive, to be the peacemaker, to internalize the hurt and still reach out and give up her own needs to fill those of her husband and family. That's especially true in these controlling situations - because 9 times out of 10 the man puts on a good face in public, and it's the woman seething in anger from some hurtful thing he said before they entered the room. The woman is made out to be a shrew, when quite often she's being a saint, but that's still not enough to please him.

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Viajera,

 

Wasn't trying to pass judgement on her being angry. A perfectly normal and rational emotion, given her circumstance. I was just saying sometimes that anger can get in the way of good faith efforts on her spouses part.

 

If her husband is controlling and emotionally abusive, then I absolutely agree that is a bad relationship that no one deserves to be in. I was only saying exercise caution - make sure it is not the anger projecting negative twists on her spouses efforts. Their relationship could be in a never ending loop of him not feeling loved, so he pushes her, she pulls away because of the push, making him feeling even more unloved, pushing her more, causing her to withdraw even more..... If that is the case, then probably something that can be saved.

 

But you are right - an emotionally abusive and controlling relationship is not something worth saving.

 

I would have to disagree with you on your statement the onus is on the woman to fix the relationship.

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Viajera,

 

 

 

Their relationship could be in a never ending loop of him not feeling loved, so he pushes her, she pulls away because of the push, making him feeling even more unloved, pushing her more, causing her to withdraw even more..... If that is the case, then probably something that can be saved.

 

 

walkinnahaze,

That’s what it feels like. Except the source of him not feeling loved isn't me... it's his insecurities. It's something that has been there forever. It is the source of his controlling nature, no mater what form it takes. It's only now that I am seeing it for what it is. Friends, family, even his own family, have seen these tendencies in him and I haven't. I've turned a blind eye because of my own issues. I do love him, and want us both to get better, but I am so tired of trying. I dread coming home. I just really, really thing that some time apart would be best. But he doesn't want that. He yells, begs, pleads, and badgers me until I agree to give him "just one more chance." It is destroying me and him. What will it take to make this hell stop?

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Sounds like he needs counseling.

 

Have you read the 5 languages of love? Shouldn't treat the book as a comprehensive way to save marriages, but I found it very enlighting. My wife and I have totally opposite ways of feeling loved. I've discovered my wife really likes it when I make quality time with her (although because of our physical separation, I've been unable to do that). Quality time is nice for me, but I really respond to affirmation - something my wife just does not do. We always get told to "treat others as you would want to be treated," but when it comes to loving someone, that just doesn't seem to work.

 

Anyway, the book may or may not help. It sounds as if your husband has some deeper issues that he needs to work through. If he is not willing to get help, and make changes to himself, then I would be surprised if things are able to get better.

 

If you do still love him, then I hope you are able to work things out.

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