The Oneida Daily Dispatch (Oneida, NY)
No reason is good enough to stay in an abusive marriage
DEAR ANNIE >> I’ve been married for almost 12 years to a man who is emotionally abusive. I had made up my mind to tell him to leave, but then he was suddenly injured in a car accident. I am his caregiver while he recovers, but he is facing two more surgeries. I will not ask him to leave in this condition, yet I am miserably unhappy.
He screams and yells at the slightest thing. If he drops or misplaces something, he shrieks and curses. He talks to me in a nasty tone of voice and yells at me when I ask him to stop. He screams at me that I’m abusive for saying he is.
We have very little income from Social Security — not enough for me to live without taking a job. I’m 72 and don’t have a decent car, and public transportation is not good here. It’s a half-mile walk to a bus stop. I have no savings. What job could I possibly get at this age?
He makes even less. He cannot live on that income or find a place to live because he has so little money coming in.
He tells me, “I don’t want to yell at you, but” and then explains why it’s my fault. He says he’s in pain and that’s why he screams at me. But this started way before the accident. That’s why I wanted to end things. After 10 years, I was done with trying to make him treat me with respect.
I feel trapped and desperate. He can’t see a psychiatrist or counselor while he’s facing surgeries.
I don’t know what to do, and I don’t even know where to start.
— Feeling Trapped
DEAR TRAPPED >> Don’t know what to do? It sounds like you did know what to do and were going to leave him and then he had a car accident and it put a wrench in your plan. While I am so sorry that you are both having to go through what sounds like a very difficult time, there is help available. No one should ever be allowed to emotionally abuse you. Being miserably unhappy is no way to live your life.
Just because he has surgery scheduled does not mean he can’t seek the help of a professional online. He could also join an anger management class online to help him deal with his emotional outbursts directed at you.
Saying that it is your fault that he yells at you is like saying to a child, “I hit you because it was your fault for eating the candy.” There is never an excuse for abuse, either verbal or physical. Ask his doctors if Medicare might cover some in-home care. If you were planning to leave, then leave.
That type of behavior is typical of a narcissist. Just look at the letter below to know that you are not alone.
DEAR ANNIE >> Please tell “Brokenhearted” that it is not her fault she fell for a narcissist. They are very good at what they do. My ex started to unravel a few years into our marriage, and then it exploded from there. I blamed myself for not seeing the red flags. To this day, my mother reminds me that he fooled us all. Tell “Brokenhearted” to be glad she didn’t marry him and to be glad that he is gone!
— Fell for It Too in NY
DEAR FELL FOR IT >> Congratulations for finding a way out. I hope your letter helps others know they are not alone.
DEAR ANNIE >> I feel disconnected from a society in which many people are disconnected. I see parents looking at their phones when they should be giving their children their undivided attention.
They think they are not disconnected because they have 500 “friends” or 1,000 “followers,” but most people have few real, meaningful connections with close friends and family members. Our children should not be competing with a bunch of strangers for our attention.
If you put away the phone, they will remember it, and that gesture will mean the world to them. And, while you may not know what is trending on Tiktok, you will know your children. You will have conversations and connections with them that phoneobsessed parents don’t have with their children.
If the kids are young, may I suggest that they get flip phones instead of phones with internet and social media? If I had anything to do over, it would be not giving my daughter a smartphone until she was at least 15 or 16. It changes us all, and not for the better. — Missing the Old Days
DEAR MISSING THE OLD
DAYS >> Thank you for your warning, which is a good one. Many of us are more addicted to our smartphones than is healthy, and we are just now discovering the number of negative consequences. We learn even more as the years pass.