Post Mortem: Used and Abused

Today we’re doing something a little unusual for Ask Dr. NerdLove: we’re conducting a post-mortem on an ongoing relationship. Part of what makes it unusual is that we’re talking about an abusive marriage. The other part that makes it different is the fact that it’s a man who’s being abused.

You may notice that today’s post involves a lot less snark or the usual quippy-captioned photos. That’s because, frankly, this is an incredibly serious topic and levity would be distracting and, in my opinion, disrespectful.

One of the ugly secrets of abuse is that men suffer from abusive relationships, just as women do. Emotional abuse -whether perpetrated on women or men is incredibly destructive and damaging. However, just as with cases of male sexual assault, men are much less likely to report the abuse for fear of not being taken seriously, or for being mocked or shamed; their masculinity gets called into question and the “hen-pecked husband” is a long-running synonym for being pathetic. It can be incredibly difficult for men to come to terms with the fact that they are being abused and I applaud Tony for being willing to come forward about it.

Before we get started, I want to make something abundantly clear: I will be coming down HARD on any mockery or blame-the-victim bullshit in the comments. Do not push me on this.

Let’s just say my name is Tony and I’ve got a problem. I’m not sure how to start with this so I’m just going to go straight into it. Doc, I feel like I’m in a crazy and abusive type relationship.

You need to trust your instincts. You already know that things are fucked up; this tells me right from the jump that you already know what you want. At this point, you’re looking for outside permission to do what you already know you need to do.

Let me just get the important facts out of the way real quick.

I’m thirty and she is thirty-nine. We have been married for going on ten years now, so it’s not your typical boyfriend girlfriend problems. I have three children total. Two step kids, one eighteen year old son and a twelve year old daughter. I have my own daughter with her that is now four.

Kids make any break up or divorce more difficult and traumatic under the best of circumstances. And this is rather decidedly not the best of circumstances.

I’ve seen the signs for a long time now but I’ve chosen to ignore them in the hopes of “making it work” but even with my ungodly patience (or stupidity) I can only take so much.  I have grown, matured and changed a lot since she and I first got together and I’ve had about as much as I can take.

 My issues with her stem from a lot of things. First of all, she is EXTREMELY jealous. I’m not talking about the healthy amount either.We’ve had two major fights over this and a lot of smaller ones in between. The first major fight was when I  was working a few years back and apparently there where rumors that a lot of women that worked where I did wanted to fuck me. This led into a passive aggressive ‘interrogation” each day after work.

I think my first question here is whether you work with your wife. Because if you don’t, I’d be really curious to know how, exactly, she heard about these rumors.

I was asked how my day went which is cliche but normal, then the conversation went into who I was working with, what she looked like, had she ever seen her before, what I did for lunch, etc, etc. At first I didn’t pay it much attention, but this went on for about a month or two straight. One day I was transferred to another department that let me do a specific job that let me come home early. According to her, this department had many “disreputable” women that just gave it out like candy. She made it out to be an orgy practically. Anyway, I volunteered for this so that I can get home to her early. Well when I got home she exploded and started accusing me of all kinds of shit. I called her out on her interrogations and we went at it for a few hours.

This right here is one of the classic relationship warning signs. Trust is one of the prerequisites for any relationship – and she clearly doesn’t have any for you. More than that however, she’s using her lack of trust as a cudgel; it’s part of how she’s exercising her control over you, by making you justify everything you do. It keeps you off balance and too worried about upsetting her to realize that this is really fucking unhealthy. She gets off on the control she has over you and the last thing she’s going to want is you to realize that you need to get the fuck out.

That night I almost left her but instead I stuck with it. At this point I just wanted to say, that since I’ve been married I have never been with another woman. That being said, she admitted to me years later that she still thought for a long time that I had been with someone else and chosen her over that “other woman.”

I think that situation seriously messed my head up.  After that I wouldn’t look at a woman straight in the eye and  I barely talked to them when she was around. She will notice someone checking me out and then get pissed off at me for it.

There’s really no “think” about it. She got in your head and fucked with you. She made a point of breaking your spirit and keeping you cowed. This is how she controls you. It’s a classic abuser’s tactic: to make everything your fault and keep your spirit broken so that you are always worried about her disapproval and do whatever she wants in hopes of avoiding a fight.

A few female friends have told me they get the “stink eye” from her.

I’m going to be honest here: I’m kind of surprised that she let you have any female friends at all or that she hasn’t tried to drive them off. You will find behavior like this in abusive men all the time: they will try to isolate their victim from their friends – especially any of the opposite sex – in order to keep them from being “influenced” (that is: realizing that they’re being abused).

We had fights off and on about it, but they were small by comparison. That is until I started a new job.

I started this new job and made a lot of good friends there. There was one in particular that was the cause of the next BIG fight…and you guessed it, she is a woman.

Here we go…

Let’s just call this new friend “Dora.” Dora and I became pretty good friends after a few months of my working there. She was just about to get married at the time when a rumor started about Dora and me at the work place. This caused some issue with her and she stopped talking to me, thinking that I had started the rumor. I explained that I did not start it and promptly put a stop to it. The damage was done however and she stopped being my friend for some time.

OK this is a sensitive subject and I don’t want this to sound like I’m blaming you for anything but stick with me here: this is the second time in this narrative that rumors have started about you and women you work with. Is there something about the way you interact with your female co-workers that might prompt outside observers to think you’re flirting or that you’re unusually – possibly inappropriately – close? This isn’t an excuse for your wife’s abuse, but if it’s a recurring issue for you at work, you may want to do some examination of how you’re coming across while on the job.

I, not wanting a repeat of the previous instance decided to tell my wife thinking it was the right thing to do. In retrospect, that was one of the biggest mistakes I have made. Hind-sight can be a bitch like that. Telling her about the Dora rumor made my wife HATE her. She quickly thought that Dora was the one who started the rumor in the first place. I made the mistake of defending Dora knowing full well she didn’t do it which of course made me look bad.

I want to you to look at the language you’re using here. You’re indicating how worried you are about what your wife might think about something that is in no way your fault and that standing up for an innocent party was a mistake. This really should be a wakeup call to you about just how much your wife’s abuse is affecting you and your self-esteem.

At that point in time everything died down. It really wasn’t a fight then but a prelude to something much much worse.

Me and Dora over the course of a few years became friends again. Honestly, she became one of my best friends. I was friends with her for a long time and lied to my wife about it. I shouldn’t have lied I guess, but I just didn’t want to deal with all the bullshit.

OK once again: you’re blaming yourself for things that are not your fault. Under normal circumstances – if your wife wasn’t abusing you – then yes, lying to your wife would be a bad thing. With your situation, you’re stuck with a catch-22: if you lie to her about your friendship with Dora, you’re confirming to your wife that she’s right to not trust you. If you’re straight with her about it, you’re going to be accused of lying and have to endure even more abuse and scorn. You’re in a no-win situation that “validates” her treatment of you no matter what you do – and it strengthens her control of you because you’re tacitly accepting that this is something you did wrong.

Again, I can’t emphasize this enough: YOU DID NOTHING WRONG. She is abusing you.

I think me and Dora became real close, probably too close. She has a flirty type personality to begin with but it was much worse with me. I figure this because she would barely ever talk to me when her husband was around. Everyone else saw it too because those pesky rumors started popping up again. Her husband must have heard or figured something was going on because he used to stare at me from across the store when I worked there. My wife said that Dora would give me a longing and “checking me out” look every time I went shopping at the store we worked in. I will admit this even though it makes me feel like a shitty person. I think we might have had mutual feelings for each other.

Let’s cut this off right here: it is absolutely normal for people to get crushes on others. Even in happy, emotionally fulfilling relationships, people will find themselves with a little crush on somebody on occasion; a co-worker, their barrista, a member of their book club, their stylist, whomever. It’s perfectly fine to enjoy those feelings; they can be pleasantly intoxicating because you’re feeling the rush of novelty, but it’s ultimately harmless and will go away. The only time they’re a problem is when they interfere with your real relationship. Feelings are one thing and are ultimately harmless unless acted upon. It’s how we act that makes the difference in these circumstances.

These aren’t normal circumstances by any stretch of the imagination.

She knew I had a bit of a crush of course; I can’t hide that look on my face for shit. I can only speak for myself but there are a lot of reasons why I think those feelings were returned, although I don’t think she would ever admit to it. I can be naive about these kinds of things, but after I got to really know her, her signals became a lot clearer, more so looking back on it. Anyway, this went on for a few years and then I made another huge mistake and added her to Facebook. This is what led to the next big fight.

I’m going to sound like a broken record, but I want to pound this into your head until it squishes out your ears: this wasn’t a mistake.

My wife’s jealousy is pretty crazy and can go into weird extremes. She even once got pissed at me for using a body wash that had pheromones in it. Funny thing is that she picked it out. She even gets pissed over me admitting some famous actress is cute. She hates Felicia Day for that reason. She also says that she looks like Dora and that’s why. This translates to Facebook of course. She is the type to get pissed when I “like” or comment on a females post, my family being the exception.

This is, again, classic abusive behavior: she’s extending her control over you into every aspect of your life, including your brain. She’s trying to dominate you to the point that she has control over your fantasies. Her getting pissed over your pheromone body wash1 is just another way of using her disapproval as a means to control you; she’s trying to train you to believe that you are only able to act in ways that she approves of.

I started friending women that I was friends with in high school and she got pissed over that.

Small wonder. Having friends outside of her runs the risk of diminishing her influence over you.

My wife refused to even be on my friends list until we had a fight about her prudish and jealous tendencies which I will get into later. Dora had been on my friends list when I finally added my wife. This of course caused a big problem that got a lot worse. Seeing Dora on my friends list, she went to add her too. Dora accepted and my wife began to facebook creep her. She went through months and months of posts to see if Dora said anything about me and to get whatever dirt she could. She started going through my posts as well, but I was smart enough to delete them before hand.

I’m beginning to run out of ways to point out that a) this is not acceptable behavior in relationships and b) the fault is firmly on your wife. Seriously, if the genders were reversed, there would be absolutely no question in anyone’s mind that this is profoundly disturbing and abusive.

This led into a lot of fights for a month. My wife wanted me to drop her on Facebook and pointed out that she was flirting with me. I refused.


I told her that me and Dora where just friends and that nothing was going on. Eventually I couldn’t take the bullshit anymore and I dropped Dora.

And thus your wife gets what she wants by wearing you down. This is a continuing pattern and helps inoculate her against resistance from you. The more she breaks down any signs of defiance, the less likely you are to defy her in the future.

Dora understood but put my wife on her block list for all the drama she started. Me and Dora did still communicate via private messages on occasion. It got worse from then on. My wife demanded that I not be friends with Dora anymore. She wanted me to say it to Dora, right in front of her. I refused that for a long time. She threatened to get her fired and threatened to leave me if I didn’t.

Once again we see her trying to isolate you from anyone whom might diminish her control over you. The fact that she’s added threats to the mix means that this is no longer a marriage, it’s a goddamned, motherfucking hostage situation.

And YOU’RE the hostage.

I didn’t want to get anyone fired because of this, which I was in danger of as well. I also didn’t want to risk losing my four year old daughter either. I told Dora about the situation and we put on abit of theatre for my wife. She bought it. The damage was done however. I almost left her because of all this.

Pardon me while I address the readers for a moment: there are undoubtedly a lot of you who will be wondering why Tony didn’t leave right then. I imagine there will be a few of you who will blame him for not leaving sooner. I want to remind you all just how hard it is for anyone, regardless of gender, to leave an abusive relationship. Part of the abuser’s arsenal is to make it difficult for the abused to leave, both psychologically and practically.  The fact that children are involved – children who the abuser might very well hold hostage, metaphorically and literally – makes it even tougher. It can take a long time for someone to leave an abusive relationship – and even then they may well go back to them. It may take several attempts for someone to leave their abuser for good. Giving someone grief for not having left earlier or for going back only makes it harder for them to leave; in fact, it can make it harder for them to want to reach out to the people who might help them get out. Abuse survivors need the support of others, not judgement.

When I told my 18 year old step son, He said he was surprised I had stuck it out for this long and didn’t blame me at all. That really blew me away honestly.

Your step son is right and clearly cares about you.

I eventually left that job to start pursuing my career as an artist a few months later. I kept in contact with Dora via Facebook private message for awhile but that stopped after someone sent an email to my wife disguised as a forwarded love letter from me to Dora. It’s hard to get into that one. I know the guy who sent it but the story between him and me could take up a whole other letter and I’m writing you a book as it is. Long story short, he hates me, wants to sabotage my life, knew about the bullshit between Dora and my wife, and sent that email.

I didn’t know who did it at first and asked Dora if she sent it. Dora got pissed and asked that I never message her again. I apologized and told her that I didn’t think she did it but I had to ask to make sure. It didn’t matter though. You mix all that, with some hateful looks from my wife across the store, and now Dora has me blocked on Facebook and barely acknowledges my existence, Although on occasion she will make a funny face at me when my wife isn’t looking, albeit that’s rare.

This actually makes me literally quiver with anger. The bag’o’dicks who sent the letter has made himself an accessory in your wife’s abuse of you and cut you off from someone who might very well be an ally in getting you out of this relationship with your wife.

I have other problems with the woman, but the above have been my biggest and I just felt the need to tell the story about them and unload abit. Since I unload a book on you I will just throughout the rest in rapid succession to save you time.

She is jealous but she is also very prudish. She does not like me to watch anything with nudity. She practically accused me of watching porn in front of her when I watched 300 for the first time. She didn’t want me to play the God of War series because of the same reason. She does not want me to finish a very important and required nude figure drawing class for my illustration degree. I had the first Game of Thrones book thrown at my head while I was sleeping because it had rape in the book. I think she accused me of being ok with the notion of rape because I read it in a fictional book. Those crazy Dothraki huh? She accused me of being ok with kiddy porn because I friended someone on another social network that had some questionable but probably 18+ nudes on his profile. Again, not my profile, but someone I friended. I can’t go to the gym because of the possibility of being hit on. I can’t even watch a ten minute Phillip DeFranco video because he occasionally, for a minute or so, has news about sexy ladies. I think you get the jist. I still of course watch, play, listen to what I want but have to do it all ninja like to avoid the bullshit.

Oh and did I mention she hasn’t held a job in a few years. Doesn’t help clean the house and is jealous of my personal accomplishments. I have made some strides in becoming a professional illustrator. I’m networking with other artists and she is sabotaging that because she has these imaginary slights.

All of this is how she exerts and exercises her control over you. The more she gets you to fall into her frame – that the only acceptable behaviors and beliefs are hers and you must conform to them or else – the more she solidifies her hold on you. She is trying to extend her control into your very thoughts, where it can be the hardest to excise her.

Please don’t mistake this for hyperbole. I’m being utterly serious when I say she is trying to control the way you think; she is telling you what you are and are not allowed to find entertaining or attractive and that you will be punished for having thoughts she doesn’t approve of.

She thinks that the artist groups I belong to are stuck up and snubbing her because they won’t let her into it the group but will let me. She tries to do the same things I do, but hates that I am achieving my goals. Hell, I can’t even lose weight without her being jealous of it.

Anyways, I’m a guy who knows his own faults. I admit whole heartedly that me having feelings for Dora while married is wrong, Even if her and me never where together, it was wrong. It was wrong for me to lie about the friendship for as long as I did, a fact that my wife loves to through in my face.

Once more with feeling: YOU. DID. NOTHING. WRONG. Your wife is abusing you. There was nothing wrong with your feelings for Dora. Lying about your friendship with her was the only way you could maintain it, and I suspect that if someone hadn’t thrown a spanner in the works, she may well have provided support and motivation to get you out fo this relationship.

I have to deal with alot of bullshit when it comes to her and sometimes it feels easier to lie. It’s better to ask forgiveness than permission and all that. Dude, I am at my wits end and not really sure what I should do about it. I jumped into a marriage too young and before I really got to know the woman I was with. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

All apologies for the book and the inevitable spelling and grammar issues. I wrote this in a hurry 

Tony Stark

Here’s what you do: you document everything. If you have any emails to anyone about the way your wife treats you, make copies of them  – print outs if at all possible – and put them somewhere. Same with any Facebook messages, emails, everything. Change all of your passwords – email, bank accounts, Facebook, Twitter, everything. Then you hire the best divorce attorney you can find and get the fuck out. Start divorce proceedings as soon as humanly possible, sue for the custody of your daughter and fight tooth and nail for her.

want to say that you should take your daughter – and your stepdaughter too – with you when you go, but a) not only is Doctor NerdLove not a real doctor, he’s also very decidedly not a lawyer and b) in all likelihood it would backfire on you.

You need as much documentation as you can manage to bolster your case because my Spidey-sense is telling me that this would likely be ugly.

You also are going to want to get help: you’ve been emotionally abused for years and that is going to leave some major scars on you. Find an abuse survivors support group, find a therapist you think you can work with and reach out to your friends for their support. You’re going to need it.

I won’t lie to you: it’s an incredibly difficult path you have ahead of you. Escaping from abusive relationships, especially long-term ones, is difficult. I have faith in your ability to be strong and make it through.

Best of luck to you.

Have you escaped an abusive relationship? Do you have practical advice for Tony? Share your stories and your support in the comments section.

  1. total aside: pheromone “enhanced” colognes, body washes, etc. are complete bullshit. Don’t waste your money on them. []

  • Robert

    I wonder how many of the comments here are gonna be akin to death threats to Tony's wife, since whenever I've seen stories of abuse before, there's always been a good portion of such comments afterwards.

    Also, the Doctor is absolutely 100% right about documenting everything. You're going to need to make many claims about what has gone on, and unless you back them up with cold hard evidence, it is all too easy for someone to refute them.

    • Bethany

      I don't know if anyone has said this because I didn't read all the comments, but this is my honest opinion.

      Isn't there something about this story that seems a litle off? I am not victim blaming or dumping on the guy, but the whole thing is so dramatic, so over the top, so up and down and back and forth…it's very difficult for one person to pull madness like that off without some help. Yes, his wife sounds like a vindictive, jealous, highly emotional, abusive person. However, look at what this guy is doing. Adding, blocking, adding again, flirting, private messaging, developing secret friendships, lying and then confessing, sneaking around, etc., etc. Isn't it possible that some of her suspicions were not completely off base?

      I don't like seeing women labeled as crazy so much these days. It's everywhere. Honestly, I have a jealous streak myself and anyone dating me (and certainly married to me) would pick up on this pretty quickly. I wouldn't act out in the extremes that she has, but I would expect a little sensitivity and basic respect. And, to a jealous person of any degree, the development of a secret relationship of almost any nature (but certainly with a member of the opposite sex) is going to read as disrespect and disregard.

      I'm not saying he asked for it or deserved it, but something isn't right with this. I agree that this marriage doesn't sound healthy or functional, but I disagree that it's all her fault. Emotional abuse is very hard to define because it comes in many different forms. Control, manipulative, verbal assaults and insults, passive aggressive pokes and prods, mockery, insensitivity, etc. Tony's wife probably feels a little emotionally manhandled herself, if you think about it. They are BOTH contributing to the dysfunction of this relationship.

      When your wife says, "Don't be friends with that woman on Facebook", you have options, yo. Do it anyway with the understanding that it will cause problems and discomfort (his wife does have actual feelings, by the way) or, at the very least, a need for a very long, un-fun, emotional discussion about it. Or, don't do it and…suffer the emotional trauma that is not having everyone you know or ever knew in the world on your friends list, I suppose? Not have another way to develop a deeper, possibly more dangerous relationship with someone you know you probably shouldn't assuming you want your marriage to work at ALL? Or, talk about it, fight it out, see what's up. Why is this "Dora" woman worth all of this hassle?

      I read between the lines a bit…and maybe I am making assumptions, but I just think there are other possibilities here than that Mrs. Tony is abusive monster.

      • Tony


        Her one and only "suspicion" was that Dora wanted to be with me, which is just an assumption at that point. That fueled this entire ordeal. She says and I quote "I trust you, I just don't trust her." She actually thinks that way about most women. In my old job, she assumed every woman wanted to hook up with me. Here lately she focusses on just the one woman. The response to that assumption about Dora, was to put me through hell for almost 4 years. I added her on Facebook because she was my friend and sent me a request. I dropped her because the wife made my life hell for a month and I couldn't take it anymore. She Facebook creeped us, she made screenshot of whatever posts she deems as flirting. Then she took screenshots of her complaining about work to try and get her fired. My sneaking around and lying was so that I could try and maintain a very important friendship. I do feel some guilt for that, hence the confession. YES, Dora was important to me and worth the hassle. She was a friend I could always count on. She was always a sympathetic ear to all the crap I took. I admittedly developed a crush, and some very real feelings for her but at the end of the day it was just a crush, and we were just friends.

        Let me get into arguing and talking things out with my wife. It's impossible to argue with a person who thinks their right all the time, no matter what. I'm not talking about some jackass friend who argues how they are right about some useless fact. I'm talking about someone who puts your feelings and thoughts aside because they contradict what she thinks or believes to be true. ALL her actions, everything she did, was based on the assumption that Dora started a rumor. The rumor that Dora and me were together in some way. She doesn't think I slept with her, but she thinks that Dora started this whole thing. She doesnt know her and this whole thing is based on NOTHING. She doesn't know her, I on the other hand do, and I know that she wouldn't do that. My opinions are based on a 3 year friendship and hers are based on ZILCH. No matter how hard I defended my friend, it's just made things worse. Jealousy is fine and normal to a degree. What she does is entirely something else.

        I'm emotionally man handling her? I generally put my entire life aside to accommodate for her. My friends, my family, even my career to a point. Everything you just listed: control, manipulative, verbal assaults and insults, passive aggressive pokes and prodes, mockery…is a great, text book like way to describe her actions to me. I might not be handling her in the best way, but im handling it in a way that lets me have what i want and keeps me sane. I really do feel like your clique, pathetic, hen pecked husband sometimes. I recognize this and I wanted a change. That's why I wrote the good Doctor.


        • Bethany

          I'm not blaming you Tony, at all.

          What I'm saying is that it's important to take everyone's feelings into consideration, even those of people who play the villian in our melodramas. You even just described that this friendship was "very important". Why? You have to ask yourself why the particular relationship that makes your wife fly into a rage and throw a jealous fit is the one that is so very, very important to you.

          Question: You knew she had a suspicion that Dora wanted you, so why DID you add her on Facebook? To your wife, that very likely came across as: It is more important to me to be nice to and friends with this other woman than it is to make sure you feel secure and comfortable with our relationship and my behavior.

          It's not hard to flip the script, but most people refuse to ever do it. I think it's really important to growth to accept responsibility for the things we do, ourselves. Not in the "Well I wouldn't have done that if she hadn't done this" way, but in the flat out, in all seriousness "I shouldn't have done that, period" way.

          Monsters have feelings. I don't get the feeling you have stopped to consider hers or that those feelings might have fueled her irrational behavior. It might be that she is crazy crazy crazy and awful and abusive and sick…but you still added the girl on Facebook. YOU did that.

          Your post reads as, "My wife doesn't want me to have friends…my wife is mean to me…my wife yells at me…my wife is jealous and crazy." Why is it all about her? The only person who you can control is yourself. Work on that. If that means leaving, do it. If that means staying, fine. If that means reevaluating your behavior, your thought processes and your needs and wants, I highly reccommend it.

          The world is full of crazy people. You will work and ride the bus and be in the same swimming pool with lots of them along the way. You might even find yourself married to one. The crazy people in the world don't justify bad behavior on your part and they don't deserve mistreatment.

          Straight up? If I asked my boyfriend not to add a chick on Facebook and he did it anyway, it would be an issue. Regardless of my reasons for disapproving of the friendship, his concern should be my happiness and security and avoiding causing me pain. I don't have a right to abuse or manipulate him with my needs or demands…but he does have an obligation to show me some regard.

          • Dr. NerdLove

            Monsters have feelings. I don’t get the feeling you have stopped to consider hers or that those feelings might have fueled her irrational behavior. It might be that she is crazy crazy crazy and awful and abusive and sick…but you still added the girl on Facebook. YOU did that.

            You realize that this right here is you telling Tony that the abuse is his fault because he's not humoring the person who's abusing him, right?

            Because that is, to use the medical term, pretty fucked up.

          • Kira

            Hi Bethany –

            I respect than in many if not most cases human nature tends to black-and-white things that really are shades of gray. Most things that happen? It takes two to tango, baby. And I think most of us have a tendency to justify ourselves by invalidating the other guy, so we can be all right and they can be all wrong.

            But reading "Tony"s post gives me a completely different feeling. Not just because of the behavior involved; but also because I know what that whole "I'm desperately trying to find some way to make this my responsibility, and I am running out of ways to do that" thing comes from, and I know what it sounds like. Of course I am not there, I am not involved. But what I *hear* reminds me of situations I have personally witnessed and/or participated in where there was FAR too much effort to take responsibility that didn't exist.

          • James (Thortok2000)

            @Bethany – It reaches a point where the time to "consider each other's feelings" has ended and separation needs to begin. They both need to get the heck away from each other.

            It doesn't matter what the wife's feelings are, what matters is the result. Everyone gets hurt from time to time, what matters is how they handle it. She's being abusive, Tony isn't.

          • Bethany

            No, it is not me blaming him or holding him responsible for anyone's behavior…but his own.

            There are lots of things at play here…manipulation and enabling come to mind immediately.

            Many victims begin to identify themselves ONLY as victims and that's counterproductive and actually harmful to their well being. When you identify yourself soley as a victim, you relieve yourself both of the responsibility for your own actions (which you are always, always responsible for in reality) and the ability to make change. It's unfair to the victim, really, because they are allowing themselves to surrender control and autonomy. "I did this because you did that" is not an adult mindset, nor is it beneficial. Where will that get you, thinking that all of your own behavior is a result of the behavior of someone else? You are essentially enslaving yourself to them.

            Tony accepting responsibility for his actions doesn't have to entail making allowances for her poor or abusive behavior. It should involve acknowledging his own mistakes and the results that they yielded and then giving himself permission to rectify those mistakes and achieve his own happiness, whatever that may require.

            Just as his behavior does not allow for hers, vice versa. No matter how crazy or unreasonable or whack she might be, he made decisions that contributed to the relationship derailing. No one else can take the blame for his choosing to add "Dora" on Facebook. No one else can take the blame for his moments of dishonesty or deception. He admitted to them here, but in a way that deflects they responsibility to her. He lied because he HAD to, he added "Dora" because she was SO IMPORTANT, he continued to private message her only to avoid the wrath of Mrs. Tony.

            If all of his behavior has been reduced to a reflection of his wife…what is it that's going to motivate him to be independent from her and leave, as you've all suggested? One has to see themselves as self-sustaining, capable and responsible in order to make such a big decision and end a relationship. His mindset at this moment is not going to allow him to wash his hands and walk away, it's hindering him. And the reality is, without her…who will he blame when he makes poor or questionable decisions on his own?

            Just my opinion.

          • Tony

            I should say that I'm a huge asshole for friending someone she doesn't like right? I should have regarded her feelings when it comes to Dora or anyone with lady parts for that matter? I should blow off all my friends and family, put a stop to my budding career? I should bend my entire life around her feelings and beliefs? Conform my entire existence to making her happy while simultaneously sacrificing my own?

            NOPE. I've been doing that my entire marriage and I'm kinda tired of it. If that makes me the bad guy for wanting to be happy…then so be it.

            As another famous Tony said…"Make Way for the Bad Guy."

            I've learned something from sending this letter. I've learned that maybe, just maybe I'm not the one who is wrong. I'm not the asshole I'm always made out to be.

            Pop Quiz: You want your boyfriend to do what you want regardless of his feelings on the matter. You didn't want him to add a women on FB because you just didn't like her. You think she wants to sleep with your BF although there is NO real evidence to prove that. What if he refused. What if you've been doing that your entire relationship and he finally took a stand and said NO.

            What would you do?

          • Bethany

            You're still missing the point.

            You added the woman. Period. PERIOD. You cannot and should not blame your wife for THAT. And it was, in my opinion, a rather senseless and irresponsible thing to do. Her reaction to your behavior is HER responsibility…but the behavior itself is, and will always be, yours.

            What exactly is your logic, here? "She's nuts, so I added someone on Facebook that she didn't want me to"? What exactly were you hopin' for with that one? If your wife is as crazy and abusive and over the top as you have described her to be…you really should have just been expecting it. I hate to use the term "asking for it", but I don't see how you could have been surprised when she flipped out? In that way, you contributed to the dysfunction of the relationship.

            If my boyfriend added someone I had asked him not to, I would be hurt. Fact of the matter is, you were at the time in a relationship with your wife. Generally, when you are in a relationship with someone, you try to acknowledge their needs and desires. Did you just pick and choose which of her desires to approve of or stamp "VALID"? You are looking at her through the Crazy Lens…meaning everything she does and says and wants and feels is going to look unreasonable.

            I'm not justifying her behavior, but you are justifying yours. All I'm saying is that, as an adult, you should own up to the good and the bad things that you do. I'm glad you feel…vindicated and happy and like you're standing up for yourself? Is that how you feel about it now?

            There are always two sides to every story. This could just as easily be another tale of an unfaithful husband painting his wife to be a lunatic in order to take the heat off himself. We really have no idea.

          • Bethany

            Oh, and if I asked my boyfriend not to add someone on Facebook, I would hope he wouldn't require me to provide him with an essay and evidence in order to consider my request as valid.

          • Ana

            @Bethany I really think you're missing a key point here. Yes, Tony friended Dora of his own free will. However, Tony has the right to a life and friends separate from his wife. If the relationship were healthy (and not abusive), then the wife's jealousy would be something for them to *discuss* (heart-to-heart chat, therapy, whatever). That is drastically different from how it was actually treated.

            Any relationship is going to have boundaries, yes. But these boundaries should be discussed and a product of mutual agreement, not an ultimatum. Not only that, the boundaries have to be within reason – "You're not allowed to have other sexual partners" is a very different boundary from "You're not allowed to have friends of the opposite gender"

          • Devicat

            at this point whether or not he added a female friend to facebook is nitpicking; the big picture is he is in a relationship that is not working AND is abusive. He needs to get out and pick up the pieces of his life and work towards regaining a balanced lifestyle, which won't happen while he continues to stay with his wife. The wife's behavior is abnormal and abusive, lets hope Tony leaving will give her a wakeup call to deal with her own issues which seem to be many and deep.

            If my boyfriend told me not to friend a male friend who was close to me I would tell him to get over it and the same with him with me. it's a trust issue – if I'm with my boyfriend then that means I'm with him and I'm allowed to have friends of both genders without him getting bent out of shape. again, trust and a healthy relationship means I can socialize with whomever I want. If you're telling your SO 'no you can't be friends with her, it hurts my feelings' that doesn't work. talking out why it makes you feel that way does work. telling your SO who they can and cannot socialize with is a bad thing.

            It just seems like you are projecting your own bad experiences onto someone who needs support and encouragement right now, not nitpicking on whether or not he added a friend who happened to be a woman on FB. He didn't sleep with her, he didn't cheat on his wife. Ease off a little on the guy, he's already got enough trouble without you jumping down his throat over something trivial.

          • Patrick

            Bethany, attempting to exercise that level of control over one's spouse is inherently fishy to me. The only situation in which I would consider *suggesting* (not browbeating, suggesting) that my wife avoid friending someone on Facebook is if the "friend" has been harmful to her in the past. Because she is a grown-up adult, because it's none of my goddamn business, and more importantly because I trust her.

          • Bethany

            So why not address the trust issue? Why is it okay to respond to a trust issue by violating trust further and disregarding feelings?

          • Ana

            @Bethany "why not address the trust issue?" From my reading of Tony's story, he did in fact try to address the trust issue, only to be met with fights and more blame, neither of which are honest communication and neither of which actually address anything. Tony should not be blamed for taking his social life and friendships into his own hands at that point, especially since by most social standards there was nothing inappropriate or wrong going on. Outside friendships != cheating

            While we're talking about understanding the other side's feelings, how would you feel if your boyfriend told you you couldn't be friends with another guy, even if said friendship was entirely platonic? Further, how would you feel if your efforts to discuss his mistrust were met with nothing but anger and blame?

          • Tony

            Oh just to clarify before you even say anything, it was just a friendship. Yes I had a bit of a crush and she might have to but nothing came from it. She was just my best friend.

            I also resent the fact that you chok me up there with an unfaithful husband trying to justify his actions.

            Let me make this clear: I have NEVER cheated on a woman, ever. Regardless of whether I'm in a shit relationship or not, I would never do that. That includes my wife btw

          • Bethany

            Ok 🙂

            I always like to consider every perspective and possible angle of these situations. It's enlightening, but difficult. I don't expect anyone to share my opinion…or for it to matter, really. But I wanted to offer it and I did.

            Good luck Tony! Wish you the best.

          • Ana

            @Bethany I understand where you're coming from. The fact that everyone else is a person, not just you, is sometimes a surprisingly difficult fact to internalize. In order to have respect for other people, we have to first understand that they, too, are human beings (no matter their race, gender, upbringing, religion, sexual orientation…)

            Part of that understanding often does come with trying to understand the world from the other person's point of view, and the world would probably be a much better place if we could all take a deep breath and better recognize that the other people behind faces and usernames are not so different from us – they too have feelings and opinions.

            I think that where you ran into trouble in this comment thread is that it becomes a lot dicier when we say "let's take a moment to understand what an abuser is thinking." For one thing, this legitimizes the abuser. Although it's fairly easy to understand the feelings and emotions (who here hasn't felt jealous or mistrustful at some point in their life?), it doesn't erase the fact that the actions based on those feelings are morally wrong. I don't know if you read or watch crime fiction, but a common thread in the genre is to illustrate the possible motives of the suspects – jealousy, anger, financial hardship, love… The thing that's brought home, however, is that the emotion is justifiable and understandable, but the action is not.

            Your discussion also has another problem in the discussion of abuse. You are speaking from the standpoint of "let's recognize that the abuser is a person too". In abuse situations, though, the abuser is inherently treating their victim as sub-human. Nobody has the right to dictate who their partner is friends with, where they work, what they watch, etc. Any of these things could be discussed in a healthy relationship, but in Tony's relationship there is no discussion. In controlling who Tony can and cannot be friends with, where Tony can and cannot work, and what Tony can and cannot watch, his wife is treating him not as an equal, but as an inferior.

            tl;dr: thinking about the other side of an argument and understanding how other people think is usually good, but it gets really touchy around the topic of abuse.

          • @Bethany

            You bring up this being an issue of trust and you are right in a way trust is an issue.

            where you are wrong is that Tony isn't not the person with trust issues it's his hopefully soon to be ex. If someone has a problem with the person they are with being friends with someone of the other gender then they have trust issues.

          • Bertie

            Ordinarily, I'd just second the doctors warning and leave it at that, but there is something in what you're saying that bothers me especially. It is the assumption of what a typical abuse situation looks like. You're saying that Tony's story looks too dramatic to you. That is because these kinds of situations ARE dramatic. There is a fair bit in common between those in abusive relationships and substance addicts. Emotional abusers don't keep their victims hooked via unremitting emotional torture. Almost no one would fall victim to an abuser long term if this was true. What keeps most people hooked, besides actual physical fear, is the high-low cycle of abuse and forgiveness. The feeling people get when their abusers just let up for a minute is such an incredible high, it is addictive. Not kidding. The feeling of relief is orgasmic. The fact that Tony's story is dramatic doesn't make it atypical, it actually makes it pretty standard tale of an emotionally abusive relationship. And while in healthy relationships it is effect ly reasonable to consider a partner's feelings when making a decision, that is true only as long as the partner's feelings are, themselves, reasonable. I would never think to ask my long-term partner if adding an opposite sex friend from high school to my facebook would be ok, because it NOT being ok, in most circumstances, is a gross overreaction. It's fine to accommodate your partner's feelings but at the same time always ask yourself if the accommodations they are asking for are reasonable. There is no true give and take between Tony and his wife here. None. Saying "well, on the one hand, she told you not to add her, but on the other, you did add her!" is the worst kind of false equivalency, because it implies that these two points of view are both entirely reasonable when one is decidedly not.

          • Ruthie


            You said in your first post that you have a "little bit" of a jealousy problem. You have a LOT of a jealousy problem. You are projecting your own tendency to want to control people onto Ms. Hopefully-Soon-To-Be-Ex-Tony. This paragraph:
            "If I asked my boyfriend not to add a chick on Facebook and he did it anyway, it would be an issue. Regardless of my reasons for disapproving of the friendship, his concern should be my happiness and security and avoiding causing me pain. I don't have a right to abuse or manipulate him with my needs or demands…but he does have an obligation to show me some regard."
            is MIND BOGGLING. His "concern" for your happiness, security and avoiding causing you pain is about HIS actions and behaviors, NOT those of his friends. If him having a certain friend is causing you pain, YOU ARE THE ONE WITH THE PROBLEM, not him, and YOU are the one who should deal with that problem, NOT HIM. You say you don't have a right to dictate his actions, but then you declare that he must show you regard…THAT IS DICTATING HIS ACTIONS.

            Tony, Bethany's Boyfriend, ladies in similar situations: Your comfort is NOT primary. It's a priority, yes, but it is NOT primary to the point that you can dictate who your partner sees and talks to on HIS OR HER OWN TIME.

            Let me show you an ALTERNATIVE example:

            My fiance and I roomed with another couple for a few years, and when they suddenly weren't able to pay their half of the rent we had to vacate the apartment very abruptly due to their irresponsibility. They owed us $400 that we'd loaned them for house things; they refused to pay it back. Flat out said, "It's been 10 months, can't you just drop it?" like owing friends money expires after a certain time period or something. So I scratched them off my friends list. My fiance forgave them a few years later and wants to hang out with them. I do NOT forgive them. The result? He can go hang out with them whenever he wants. He can invite them over whenever he wants, he just has to warn me first, and I will leave and occupy myself for as long as he wishes to hang out with them. He warns me if they might be at a gathering of friends so I can choose whether or not to attend. The end. Since I'm the one who does not like them, I do what I choose to avoid them, but I do NOT dictate what he wants, who he hangs out with, his beliefs about his friends. I only ask that he give me the information I need to do what *I* want to do.

            THAT is a healthy response.

        • Bethany

          It's hard to discuss this without somehow being offensive, but I will say this: abusers are people. Furthermore, truly abusive people are sick. I am not convinced that Mrs. Tony is abusive, I'm just being honest. There is so much drama here, on both sides, and back and forth…who is to say where is started, who escalated it, why it started, etc, etc.? There could be years back story that we are missing (or that we're not being given).

          Abuse is a cycle. Abusers become stuck in their roles, as do victims. Abusers tend to become engulfed by their identities and it's a very hopeless feeling. Likewise for victims. I see it with Tony. All of his actions are excused or explained by hers. If Mrs. Tony could speak for herself, I suspect that the things she would say would be similiar, but vice versa. Again, it's the "I did this because you did that". Do you know how difficult it is to trace the origin of blame in those situations? Each party will cling to their own story and perception of events as justification.

          I'm not going to get on a soapbox, but I truly believe that abusive people need to be treated as actual people in order to ever recover or heal or change themselves. It is not excusing her behavior to say that she has feelings. It's a fact. Something has happened, whether it was when she was three or sixteen or in her marriage with Tony, that has lessened her ability to express her feelings in an appropriate way. The way in which she expresses her feelings does not make those feelings invalid. Calling her a monster and villifying her will never yield any real results…for anyone.

          Real talk? Tony made a mistake. He made lots of them, actually. How much can you complain about your abusive spouse when you are deliberately doing things to enrage them? We are not talking about a spouse who gets mad and sets your clothes on fire because you ate the last pop tart. We are not talking about a spouse who locks you up in the basement during the day so you won't cheat. We are not even talking about physical abuse. A woman, who you identify as irrational and emotional unstable and "abusive", asks/tells you not to do something that is in fact totally unecessary to do and would be considered by many other "rational people" to be counterproductive to a relationship, and you DO IT ANYWAY? What exactly is the point?

          Tony seems to be reaching a point (or long ago reached) where he thinks he should leave. Good, go. But however badly his wife has acted and whatever issues she has, she doesn't deserve to be in a relationship with a person who waves her feelings aside like that. I would even go as far as to say that part of Tony gets a small sense of satisfaction out of this. He's pushing her further into that role and setting the stage for disaster. She is the bad guy, time and time again, and he has another paragraph in which to tug at our heartstrings.

          You have choice: leave or stay. If you choose to leave, great. But if you choose to stay, there is nothing to be gained by continuing to do things that you know will anger your wife. Again, she asked you not to friend a female that she felt uncomfortable with. You did it anyway. I say your bad. I know lots of people in non abusive relationships who, for one reason or another, are not comfortable with certain relationships their partners have with the opposite sex. It's really, really not that crazy or uncommon.

          Also? Everywhere you go, there are rumors about you sleeping with coworkers? And that's, again, no fault of your own? Huh. I'm a very flirtatious person myself and I've never had anyone in the workplace accuse me of sleeping with someone I wasn't, much less multiple people in different departments and workplaces. Come on…where there's smoke there's fire. And if your casual acquantinces and coworkers have enough to be suspicious of your behavior…why is it so hard to believe that your wife does, too?

          • Dr. NerdLove

            Real talk? Tony made a mistake. He made lots of them, actually. How much can you complain about your abusive spouse when you are deliberately doing things to enrage them?

            Do fuckingwhat?!

            I'm sorry, no. No, no, no and also fucking NO. Your argument is "She wouldn't hurt you so much if you just would quit making her angry," and that is so much goddamn bullshit I'm absolutely goddamned astounded.

            You are now reaching the point of condoning an abusive relationship and I strongly recommend you choose your next reply with great care.

            Especially if you think that "Baby, why do you make me hurt you?" is in any way acceptable in a relationship.

          • Cat


            You seem to have ignored the huge chunks of Tony's letter where he consistently blames himself for everything bad that's happened in his relationship and for all of his wife's actions, EVEN WHEN THEY ARE NOT HIS FAULT. (not meaning to yell, I just don't know how to put bold or italics in this.)

            He constantly apologizes for bringing her abuse on him, which is a classic sign/reaction of someone who is being abused.

            Also: You seem to think that the emotional and psychological abuse Tony and others like him are suffering is somehow less destructive or harmful than physical abuse. I can tell you from experience: it is not. It is much harder to identify as abuse, and much easier to excuse or explain away, or blame yourself for "bringing it on yourself." It can take a very long time for someone in an emotionally and mentally abusive relationship to even realize what's going on; sometimes it's only after the person is out of the situation that they look back and say, "holy fucking shit… I wish I'd had more perspective on that so I could have gotten away sooner."

            Yes, abusers are people, and they have feelings and problems, too. But that's no excuse for how they treat other people. Tony isn't doing things to "deliberately enrage" his wife. He's trying to live a normal life and SHE WON'T LET HIM. No, he's not locked in the basement, but he might as well be. It's not HIS responsibility to change her behavior, it's HERS. He has tried modifying his own behavior to make her happy and to placate her, but it doesn't (and won't) work, because she is not abusing him because of what he does – she is abusing him because she is an abusive person.

            He's tried to fix this. He's tried to talk to her on multiple occasions. He's tried to show her that he's not having an affair. Heck, Facebook is an awfully public place; I'd think that she'd actually appreciate being able to see their interactions. But if she constantly interprets any interaction with a woman as "evidence of cheating" on his part, then there's really no way around that except to cut himself off from 52% of the population. And I think we can all agree that that's not in any way a realistic or healthy expectation on his wife's part (and it seems as though if she had her way, that's how it would be).

            I really question why you are so keen on defending the abuser in this situation. This isn't a question I need or want answered, but I think it's one you should ask yourself.

          • Mike

            While understad you wanting to see both side if the gender roles were reversed and the letter was from Mrs. Tony and detailed this type of behaviour from a male abuser and female would ypu still feel as such. This is not a generalization of "all women are crazy" story but one of an unhealthy relationship.

          • Bethany

            Oh…so I'm wrong…because you say I am?

            Huh, funny how that works.

          • Jenniison

            Everyone has explained why your wrong and you don't listen and are just using worse excuses for Mrs.Tony. So yeah at this point your wrong cause we ALL say you are

          • Any Mouse

            >"It's hard to discuss this without somehow being offensive, but I will say this: abusers are people."

            I have to say, as someone who has been in a relationship in which both parties (both I and my partner) were abusive and manipulative to eachother– Yes, it's very important that we realize that Mrs. Tony (and abusers in general) is a person with feelings. But just because someone CAN be emotionally hurt by something does not mean she should be coddled and catered to. It's perfectly natural for people to feel jealousy. You want to protect a relationship that is precious to you. But it's how you HANDLE those feelings of jealousy that's important. Lets take a good hard look at what jealousy really is. Jealousy is fear. Fear that the person who you love may love someone else more than you, may leave you.

            A healthy relationship is one in which both partners can voice their fears and get support. Assuming friending Dora was their only problem, Mrs. Tony should be able to say "I don't like that girl. Here's why." and yes Tony has an obligation to attempt to assuage her fears. But ultimately, those fears, those issues, belong to Mrs. Tony. And in a strong, healthy relationship you respect and trust your partner. And ultimately, Mrs. Tony would just have to TRUST Tony that he is faithful and RESPECT his decision to friend Dora, and he needs to respect the fact that Mrs. Tony doesn't agree, but that doesn't mean he has to cater to her.

            I'll add that I suspect from the letter's evaluation of Mrs. Tony as prudish (she admittedly has a very conservative opinion of sexuality: aversion to any form of porn or talk about sex) while Tony has a more liberal view, probably reflects a difference in personal values that simply makes Tony and Mrs. Tony incompatible. And I'd wager this has been a long-standing problem between them on an even deeper level. [I don't know you, Tony, so no offense/judgement meant, I'm just guessing].

            >"Again, she asked you not to friend a female that she felt uncomfortable with. You did it anyway. I say your bad. I know lots of people in non abusive relationships who, for one reason or another, are not comfortable with certain relationships their partners have with the opposite sex. It's really, really not that crazy or uncommon."
            This also sounds like you may share some of Mrs. Tony's more conservative values. And there's nothing wrong with ANYONE holding those values. The problem lies in that Mrs. Tony is trying to force those values on Tony. If they had discussed it before-hand and Tony had consented (willingly, not out of badgering) that he would give Mrs. veto-power on girl-friending because Mrs.'s emotional security was more important to him than his ability to choose his own friends, then yes, Tony might be in the wrong for friending Dora. But instead what we have is 2 people who hold differing values that they each consider deal-breakers. "I can't be in a relationship with someone who friends girls I distrust." and "I can't be in a relationship with someone who feels they have a right to tell me who my friends are." Instead of simply acknowledging that they aren't compatible and taking a step back and just giving up on the relationship, Mrs. started trying to force her values on Tony, using abuse to do so.

          • Any Mouse

            > "Furthermore, truly abusive people are sick."
            Let's be clear here: Abuse is an action (or series of actions). Being mentally ill is a handicap that makes it more difficult to operate in daily life. A person can be sick and be abusive. A person can be sick and not be abusive. A person who is not sick can be abusive. A person who is not sick can be non-abusive. They are not mutually exclusive.

            There are people who have been abused, and this mentally damages them. All that means is that it is more difficult for those people to act appropriately. It does not come naturally to them. It is something they have to work at. It does not give them a free pass to act inappropriately to other people.
            and I think that's actually what you're also saying here:
            >"I'm not going to get on a soapbox, but I truly believe that abusive people need to be treated as actual people in order to ever recover or heal or change themselves."

            Yes, Mrs. Tony does need to be treated as an actual person, and that means that she needs to be held to the same don't-abuse-others standards everyone else does. It is the only way that she will heal.

            >"Also? Everywhere you go, there are rumors about you sleeping with coworkers?"…."And if your casual acquantinces and coworkers have enough to be suspicious of your behavior…"

            I have to say all the rumors raise a red flag for me too. I don't know Tony, so I won't engage in victim blaming and say that he's causing the drama, but I can say this, it sounds like Tony has a lot of drama in his life. It might be healthy for him to re-evaluate who he talks to and hangs out around. You can't help who your coworkers are, but your work place sounds so rumor-mongering, that alone sounds unhealthy.

            Good luck Tony! Cheers to big changes and moving on from an old chapter and into a new one. The journey's not easy, but it's worth it.

        • Bethany

          I will choose my reply with as much or little care as I please. Then it's your move. Again, responsibility, I gots it.

          Let's play. Let's paint a hypothetical scenario:

          Rob and Roberta are in an emotionally dramatic, jealous, tumultuous relationship. They argue a lot, over both big and petty things, there in mistrust and lots of miscommunication. Rob begins to feel like he is being emotionally abused. Roberta loses her temper and behaves inappropriately during arguments.

          Rob has an affair.

          Does Roberta not have a right to be upset? Does her inappropriate behavior and inability to control her temper justify his infidelity? It's a slippery slope. I know I am going to get the, "but…but…but he didn't cheat!" replies, but in my opinion, what he did was akin to cheating. He betrayed her trust and pursued a relationship with a member of the opposite sex that his spouse did not approve of. How, in any light, is that productive? Until your bags are packed, that's not fair game, whether your spouse is a lunatic or not. You married her, right? So now it's your job to un-marry her, if she's that unbearable. But sneaking around like a tenth grader on Facebook and sharing private messages and all that stuff is just lame and counterproductive and disrespectful. Also, how can anyone (including yourself) say that YOUR behavior was warranted because of HER behavior…but not vice versa?

          A wife does not just stop being your wife because you don't like her behavior or you are unhappy. Don't want to play by her rules? Get out. Then you and Dora can do whatever you want.

          I came from an abusive household, I have been abused in my adult relationships and I have been the perpetrator of abuse. There is a LOT more to it, on every side, than "You hurt me, you're abusive". If that's the defintion of abuse, then everyone falls into that category. Not a single one of us can say that we have not, both deliberately and otherwise, inflicted either emotional or physical pain on another person.

          You know what helped me, as a victim? Recognizing my own faulty patterns and behaviors and giving myself permission and power to change them. Realizing that I had contributed to the dysfunction of the relationship helped me make better decisions in the future. Learning to navigate through disagreements without expecting or facilitating escalation has been a wonderful skill to have. I do not identify myself as a victim anymore. If I did, I would probably still be in the abusive relationship. Where else is there for a victim to be?

          People leave abusive relationships when they begin to see themselves as worthy individuals. Worthy individuals who have good AND bad qualities, have made mistakes and missteps and have growing to do…elsewhere. You will not allow yourself to grow and be a seperate person until you acknowledge that you're even capable of it…and you can't very well do that if you're holding another person responsible for your misery, acting as if you are literally trapped in a marriage, dependent on another person to justify your behavior and therefore carry the burden of your unhappiness, and continue to participate in the cycle of abuse that you both have become strangely accustomed to.

          • Bethany

            That's really all I have to say. I've had conversations like this before and my opinion has remained unchanged.

            My personal experiences have given me an insight into the nature of abuse and what it actually feels like to abuse someone. A terrible, sickening, evil-in-the-pit-of-your-stomach feeling that seeps and oozes throughout your whole body, your mind, your life until you feel like all you will ever be is abusive and awful and unworthy and dangerous. And I know what it's like to be scared and unsure and insecure and lonely and embarassed and to feel trapped and totally unlovable.

            I know what was done to me. I can't change those things. All I can and will ever be able to change is me and my behavior and that's what I chose to do. And it's "worked". It never would have if I hadn't let myself believe that I could be more than that person, that monster.

            Good luck Tony. Doesn't sound like any of this is working out for you and I think you should do what makes you happy. Not in spite of your wife or because of your wife or to escape your wife, but for yourself. It's about you and your life. It's possible and it's worth it.

            Good day.

          • Max

            I guess there's no point in responding, because Bethany has employed the cmon tactic of refusing to admit she is wrong, despite every other person saying so. But whatever.

            Tony did make a mistake. He got onto a relationship with a woman with serious trust issues and insecurities. That's it. That's the only thing he did wrong. Having a female friend, friending her on facebook, having a crush on a female friend, none of those things were mistakes. Those are all thongs that adult males have every right to do.

            I'm a little worried with how much you are identifying with Tonys wife. Like her, you have major problems with admitting that you are wrong. I'm suspecting that you have similar issues, which is why you are defensive.

            People like Tonys wife will never be in a successful relationship until they admit to themselves that they have issues and CHANGE.

          • Ryan

            But your missing a huge plot hole in your made up situation TONY NEVER CHEATED. I read your early stuff about how pretty much your boyfriend cant add girls on Facebook and it sounds kinda like you are using the same Methods that Tony's wife is using. Tony is a person who can choose to have a female friend if he wants to cause it's HIS life and HIS DECISION. His Wife CAN'T say what he can read play write or enjoy because he has his own life and a little thing called FREE WILL. he doesn't need to really consider her feelings when it comes to his own personal stuff.

          • Ryan

            i was talking about Bethany

          • Avery

            Okay, these last couple of comments gave me could chills.

            This idea you describe of accommodating an abuser is a classic survival mechanism for abuse victims. Reading that you were abused yourself, I’m not surprised that you think that’s the appropriate way to handle it. But here’s something I learned through years of post-abuse therapy–it isn’t. Keep your head down, don’t step on her toes–that’s how abuse victims survive day to day. And it doesn’t even work long term–there will always be something. It’s certainly not a way to make an essentially dysfunctional relationship functional. That’s like saying slapping a bandaid over an infected wound fixes it because you can’t see the wound. Really it’s still there, eating away, poisoning you.

            I don’t think Tony was deliberately enraging his wife–I think he was taking tiny steps to try and make himself happy. And you would think that as an abuse survivor, you would know how desperately important a friendship can feel–a tenuous foothold on normality and stability in the face of chaos. So I’m sure it felt hugely important to maintain his friendship with Dora.

            I’m so sorry for the things you’ve suffered, Bethany. And while you have a point that we don’t know anything about Mrs. Tony’s side of the story and there could have been more give and take that we don’t know about, if the facts presented to us are true she was abusive. Even if he was untrustworthy or abusive in turn, that doesn’t give her the right to abuse him. And of course he made mistakes–everyone in every relationship does–but I think he’s taking more than his fair share of blame already. My gut tells me that your own issues are clouding your judgement on this–because the idea of tiptoeing around an abuser being touted as the right way to handle things tells me that you have not truly recovered from your own abuse. I hope you continue working on your own emotional health.

          • Jennison

            I'm starting to think you are an abuser and that's why you are siding with Ms.Tony

      • Robert

        From what the letter said, it sounds like the suspicions were there before he did any of the stuff you mentioned. Note that the 'passive aggressive "interrogation"', the first sign we know of of any suspicion, came after nothing but rumours. Unless there is something Tony isn't telling us, but we can't really know whether or not that is the case.

        Either way, it doesn't change what needs to be done now.

        • Kira

          Completely agreed.

      • Sheena

        Although I've never been an abusive relationship personally, I have a very dear friend who is.

        She's a delightful person, charming, caring, and downright hilarious. She's always been outgoing, and fun-loving, and loyal to a fault. That's where the problem is. I've tried to convince her to leave her boyfriend, as have her mother, and at least one other friend that I know of. But until she makes the decision on her own, all our arguments fall on deaf ears. She tries to defend him to people who already know what kind of person he is. So all I can do at this point, is be there to support her, and happily help pack her bags when she finally sees reason.

        Her boyfriend is controlling and demeaning, and is constantly emotionally blackmailing her with the line "You need to start showing me you want to be in this relationship" which is usually brought upon by her going out with her friends, or not doing the housework. He wants her to sit home all the time and watch him play video games, and accuses her of cheating on him when she doesn't. He's even accused her of cheating with one of her closest friends, who is a woman, because they go out for coffee regularly.

        I know she's not cheating, and I'd like to believe that he isn't either, although the likelihood is there. He even asked her for a "hall pass" once, so he could sleep with another woman, which he stated was "so [he] could see how it really felt to be valued in a relationship." Which in my personal opinion, is emotional blackmail, in the worst way. "Start doing as I say, or I'm going to sleep with another woman." is NOT something you say to someone you love…

        Just like "Tony", she's started hiding things from her boyfriend, like her smoking habit. They both smoked when they started dating, but when he quit, she tried too, and when she started again, he got mad. She's not allowed to smoke, and again, this is my personal opinion, but I don't think the word "allowed" has any place in a relationship.

        She hides texts, because even the most harmless ones, could be deemed inappropriate by him in some way, and could be the one thing it takes to send him over the edge. She hides Facebook messages, because even ones that she doesn't reply to, become ammunition which he uses against her.

        I don't honestly blame her for hiding them, because I know how much she hates confrontation. I blame him, for being so unbelievably controlling and mistrusting, when she's never given him any reason to be that way…

        So long story short. In a healthy relationship, I would question someone hiding things from their partner. But I think in an abusive relationship, there's an issue with the person who's being abused just wanting to keep their partner happy, out of fear of retribution in some form or another. It's not logical, and they don't necessarily have to be doing something wrong to keep it a secret. The abuser has simply convinced them that it's wrong. So, hiding a Facebook message isn't a sign of guilt in the normal sense, but rather a sign defeat.

      • Talbiz

        so I was in a relationship where I was doing something that my now ex didn't like in front of my friends, and he told me so, I kept on doing it, then he hit me. Was it my fault that I didn't take his feelings into account and stop what I was doing? Because that's exactly what you're saying. Same guy didn't like me saying things he didn't agree with, and when I did, he told me I was crazier than his ex who ended up hospitalized because of a break, was he right to say that? Abuse is abuse, there's a point where it stops being taking someone's feelings into account and starts being justifying their behavior by saying "well I was the one to make him/her mad, so I guess it's my fault"

      • laura

        uhhhh… honestly, i make guy friends all the time, i usually tell my boyfriend about them, and he doesn't care. i have some really good guy friends too. it's never been an issue, even if he knows some of them have had crushes on me in the past. likewise, he has lots of female friends. i've met and befriended some of them myself, but i really don't mind if he talks to them on his own… because i trust him. if you don't trust someone, you leave the relationship. you don't put them through crap because of your own securities. SHE was the selfish one. true story

      • Commonly known as X

        It is one of the problems for abuse victims that their stories seem are so extreme by normal relationship they seem unbelievable. Generally there is a pattern early on of the abused person knowing something is wrong with the relationship but wanting to save it, and not wanting to tell anyone else at that point because they know, deep down, how it will look to an outside person. Also, being abused makes you doubt yourself/ Then, because no matter what the abused person does they won't be able to satisfy the abusers crazy needs, the abuse escalates. By the time they can't take it anymore and it all comes out, normality has been left far behind.

        Maybe you haven't had any friends yet where things have got as bad as the story above (and sometimes these stories end with murder, remember), but I'm sure you've known of relationships that seemed troubled, but what came out after the breakup was shocking. I had a friend I had no idea was being abused til she ended up in hospital with a pair of scissors in her legs, and a jeweller whose girlfriend was so irrationally jealous of a female customer that she cut the power cords off his tools with an axe so he couldn't finish a commission.

  • Kate

    Tony, I am afraid I don't have any practical advice. But I wanted to chime in to say that you did nothing wrong. Document everything you can. I really hope for the best for you. Contact an abuse hotline or support group – at the least, they should be able to point you to legal resources.

    • Under0range

      I'm with Kate on this. I just want to lend what support I can and say I'm so sorry you're in such a tough situation. No real advice, just want you to see how many people are sure that you are not at fault here.

  • Joni

    Please, please, please get out of this relationship. PLEASE.

    I watched my mother get verbally abused by my father throughout my childhood. Don't let the same thing happen to your daughter. Do whatever you can and get her and yourself out of there.

    My father did the same thing, threatening to keep both me and my brother away from my mom, as a result she didn't leave him until I was 17 but not before leaving a job because HE didn't like her talking to men all day. Being yelled at for cutting her hair to short, for what she was wearing, for what she was cooking, the list goes on and on.

    Don't put yourself or your kids through this. YOU deserve a better quality of life, THEY deserve a better quality of life.

    Good luck.

    • The Scoot

      I urge the same, for much the same reasons; My father trapped my mother in this exact situation for as long as I could remember.. .and when she finally broke away, the abuse continued; it was her doing it to me and my sister, to the point where our "family" is now simply three people who share a common set of genes and nothing else. To the point where I'm scared of taking up a relationship myself for fear of "passing the curse" as it were.

      As the good doctor is saying Tony, you did nothing wrong. You are a human being and are entitled to live the life of one. For your sake, and the sake of your kids, get out of it.

      As for documentation… They make some awfully small video cameras these days.

      • ARC

        Have you considered therapy? It might help you through your fears, especially if they have some basis in reality. Plus, you could try a relationship with a moderating party to catch serious sketchyness. It's worth a try, if you haven't.

  • Olivia

    Good luck! I'm so sorry you fell into this.

  • Anonymous

    Fuck, reading Tony's story is telling me that I'm in a similar boat.

    My wife does the same crap, not trusting me when she's not around, not trusting me with female friends, insisting that no matter how much or how little I do around the house that I don't do anything well enough.

    The only saving grace, in my situation is that we don't have kids, only a house, and that's only temporary.

  • Beverly

    I sympathize. I was in a string of abusive relationships. The last one was verbal and with someone who was obviously trying to control me via constant criticism all the time. My friends pointed it out often and became frustrated that I didn't seem to do anything about it. Finally, that person moved out of state for a job, which allowed me to get the help that I really needed. I went into therapy and learned that my tendencies for hanging out with extremely critical people and dating abusers stems from a lot of physical and emotional abuse from my parents. I was addicted to the abuse and sought abusers out because it was the only thing I knew and understood.

    It's extremely difficult to get out of an abusive situation when you've been accustomed to this treatment the majority of your life. Just know this: that sick feeling you get in your stomach, that gut reaction of trying to avoid your wife and make sure you don't piss her off, that's the sign that things aren't right. Do the best that you can to leave the situation. Pack your bags, find a place to stay, and go. Saying that you're unhappy and making the promise in your head to leave isn't good enough. You have to take a deep breath, grab your stuff and walk out the door. Then, go and seek out a good therapist to work out your issues and concerns in a healthy environment. This includes leaving behind a lot of your so called "friends" who appear to also increase the amount of drama and stress that you're dealing with. People in abusive relationships have them in more than simply the romantic ones, at least from my personal experience. You will eventually learn to figure out who your true friends are versus those that are causing you a lot of suffering.

    The road to recovery is long and hard, but the rewards are incredible. You can have a good life and healthy relationships. You can feel like a good person that deserves these things. You can also have a life that is without all these crazy people in it.

    • Ruthie

      Hey Beverly,

      Thanks for this; it's a great perspective. Just throwing this out there, so forgive me if it's insensitive because it's not trying to be, but you might be able to answer this. Your point that you were "addicted" to the abuse is interesting. I've never thought of it this way before. It made me think about other addictions, such as alcohol or drugs…they are generally used as an escape so that you don't have to deal with your own baggage, because that's actually really hard, as is admitting that maybe you don't have your own shit figured out. Is it possible that people who are addicted to abuse…people who aren't literally trapped (some victims are, physically or financially), but actively avoid leaving when they could or even seek out formerly abusive partners (have an acquaintance who's one of those last; she actually broke up with my friend who is a super nice and great guy to return to an ex-boyfriend who had hit her and threatened her with a gun…she returned to him years after she'd gotten out and deliberately left a good relationship for it; so confusing to everyone involved)…is it possible people like that are, in a way, doing it to avoid the hard and painful process of dealing with their own stuff? Which might be easier in reality if they actually did it but they're so afraid of trying that it's better somehow from their perspective to deal with someone where it's clear they're the sane, closer to normal one, because they prefer that to trying to go through all the therapy BLAH?

      Just a thought.

  • Squirrel

    Don't just change your passwords, change your passwords *frequently*. You also need to check your computer for any kind of keylogging software/hardware or other spy software. You should never leave yourself logged in to any of your accounts, dump all saved passwords from your browsers, and double check your e-mail account to see if any of the settings have been changed to allow someone else access in any way. This includes the password reset options being set to anything she has access to (phone, e-mail, etc) and forwarded e-mail settings. You will need to establish an e-mail address completely separate from the ones you have now. Different username, different host, everything. And you should never, ever log in to this account from home, or use any of your current accounts to e-mail the new account. The new account should be the one used to contact the lawyer and any support groups you join. This is your "safe" account.

    Documentation is good. Write everything down that you remember, and keep a *detailed* journal from here on out. Keep electronic copies if you can but also print everything and store it somewhere that she has absolutely no access to. A safe deposit box, a storage locker, or the home of someone you trust absolutely. In addition to anything talking about the way she treats you, you'll want information on the family budget, and any accounts that have either of your names on it. Credit cards, utilities, bank accounts, car notes, mortgage, everything. If someone has to send money to it each month, you needs to be aware of it. You should also talk to your lawyer about being notified if any new accounts (especially credit cards) are set up in your name. Sometimes banks will do this as a free service, sometimes they will ask for a small fee.

    If there is anything in the house that is of sentimental or otherwise personal value, you need to get it out now. As an artist, I would suggest you take any sketchbooks, originals, or particularly expensive supplies. Get a small portable hard drive and back up anything and everything on the computer you might want. Family photos, important documents, etc. You'll want your passport if you have one, your birth certificate, social security card, and a copy of the marriage license. Family heirlooms that were yours before the marriage. Nothing that might be considered "hers" like jewelry, even if it was your mother's. You need to look at everything she has access to and imagine how you would feel if she decided to sell, smash, burn, or otherwise destroy it. Ideally you shouldn't take more than a small suitcase worth of stuff. While you're at it, you'll want to pack at least four days worth of clothes, including at least one nice set of shoes/clothing. Plan all of this well in advance and you should be able to sweep through the house, pack up and be gone in a few hours, ideally while you're alone in the house. Be aware that you may have to do this on a moment's notice. It's possible to slip a few things out of the house at a time, but if it comes down to it, you may have to do it all at once.

    Whatever you do, you should NOT take your daughters with you. It sucks, but a woman running away with her children is seen as protecting them and a man running away with his children is seen as kidnapping them, regardless of why. You haven't given any indication that she is physically abusive, so they should be safe for a while. You'll need to be careful about anything you say around the girls, as they are likely to repeat any negative comments you make about her. You should be open with them about what is going on, but stay focused on them and stay positive. You shouldn't lie to them, but you also shouldn't tell them everything. Mommy and Daddy are splitting up because [insert vague platitude about growing apart] but you still love them, etc. Above all, don't ask them to keep secrets for you.

    You need to reach out to some *non-mutual* friends. It can be rough discovering that the person you thought was on your side the whole time is actually really more her friend than yours. And don't discount the importance of family in these sorts of situations. Friends or family who have previously tried to help will be the ones most likely to lend a hand if you reach out.

    No matters what happens, you should never, ever, ever threaten her in any way. Physically, verbally, anything. Once things get ugly, you should try as much as possible to have a witness accompany you to all in person meetings, and record all phone calls. Depending on the state, you may have to inform her that you are recording, but most states only require that one person be aware that recording is going on (ie, you). You should be aware that she may be doing the same.

    Finally, understand that leaving will take strength. Staying away will take even greater strength. More than one survivor has left their abuser only to go back after a time. I left mine several times before I finally got out, and even then I was tempted to go back to him a number of times if only to make the harassment stop for a little while. Going back won't stop the abuse. It will only make things better for a little while, and then things will be worse than before. Have strength. Know that you are not alone.

    • Cat

      Yes. This. Everything.

      Please, Tony, for the love of God, for the love of your children, and for the love of yourself: GET OUT of this situation! I know how hard it can be to leave an abusive relationship, though I've never been in one that was at the horrific level your relationship has reached.

      Start making your plans now, follow the instructions that Squirrel gave you above, and contact a divorce lawyer immediately.

      Best of luck to you, and stay strong!

    • saraha

      Yes. Agree with everything here.

      I would just add that you should get in touch with a divorce lawyer asap, lay the whole situation out, and also get his advice on what you need to do to protect yourself and your kids.

      Things are going to get better – there may still be set backs – but things WILL GET BETTER and keep on getting better the further you go in your journey.

    • I got out of a crazy abusive marriage, in fact a good friend of my ex's got me out of it, spoke to a friend to get me a job, and another to get me a crappy apt. I completely agree that Tony needs to leave.

      A couple suggestions to add are: Family herlooms can be reposessed by family. When your sister/mother/aunt/etc requests that you hand-over grandma's china for their new expensive display no one questions it. Expensive things can be loned to friends. Portfolios (Incld. digi copies!) can be left with instructors. A number of creative things that will get your things out of her way.

      Alas, I left my home, got a job, and went back for my kids to find that they weren't there. He had run off. He then convinced the divorce judge that my leaving my children with him was saying that I thought it was a safe environment for them. I didn't see them again for 5yrs. Then CPS took my starved & neglected children for another 2yrs before I regained custody. Get an injunction. Get your daughter ASAP. You can't take your step daughter; I'm sorry. But her brother can.

    • Sheena

      I agree wholeheartedly.

    • Cliff

      The only thing I can think to add is to a make an appointment to see some sort of family counselor or relationship therapist.

      Maybe not to work through your problems, but to have verifiable documentation that YOU tried.

      In a case without physical abuse, one of the first questions (especially if the person asking is a man) is going to be "what did you do to help the situation?"

      Showing up to divorce court with a stack of affidavits from a family counselor stating that you tried your best before leaving will go a long way to making an already tough row to hoe a bit easier.

  • metalraygear

    Sounds like ya gotta tough situation on your hands. Follow the advice that the Dr. gave to you and leave her.

  • Mike

    This letter breaks my heart, Tony. It's not my blog but I don't think it's out of line to suggest you're welcome to check back in any time for further support; you've got a difficult road ahead, and the comments posted thus far suggest that you can come here for encouragement. You haven't done anything wrong, you deserve better, and I sincerely hope you get it.

  • djteslarose

    Oh Tony. Full love and support in leaving her. She is so abusive is makes my heart sick. I will say on your daughters, don't take them with you when you go, but fight for them with every ounce of strength you have. She may hurt them (verbal, emotional) to get at you or in her frustration about her inability to get at you. Perhaps she is doing it already. BUT DO NOT STAY!!! LEAVE!!! You can only protect them by protecting yourself and finding a safe environment for all three of you. And yes, document everything. It's really hard for a father to get full or primary custody and you have a long row to hoe. Get your daughters into therapy as well and do family therapy as the kids+you. A parent's verbal and emotional abuse can have major consequences for them as adults. Good luck Tony and my prayers to you and your kids.

  • Paul Rivers

    One other thing – the cultural stereotype is that someone who is *extremely* jealous to extent describes – is "projecting" –

    "Psychological projection or projection bias is a psychological defense mechanism where a person subconsciously denies his or her own attributes, thoughts, and emotions, which are then ascribed to the outside world, usually to other people. Thus, projection involves imagining or projecting the belief that others originate those feelings…

    …In one example of the process, a person might have thoughts of infidelity with respect to a spouse or other partner. Instead of dealing with these undesirable thoughts consciously, the subject unconsciously projects these feelings onto the other person, and begins to think that the other has thoughts of infidelity and that the other may be having an affair. In this way, the subject may obtain 'acquittal by his conscience – if he projects his own impulses to faithlessness on to the partner to whom he owes faith'."

    It's like "Angela" in the american version of "The Office".

    It reminded me of that when this was written in the above letter –

    "She is jealous but she is also very prudish. She practically accused me of watching porn in front of her when I watched 300 for the first time. She didn’t want me to play the God of War series because of the same reason."

    …who gets upset over a straight man playing a video game with topless men in it? It's the kind of thing that someone gets upset about because *they* can't handle it.

    Stereotypes and generalizations always have exceptions, but that was the first thing I thought though…

    • Paul Rivers

      Thought I put this in there but I didn't – point being that there's a good chance that someone *that* jealous and controlling has already cheated on him. Why is he being undercut by this other guy? Why is she talking to this other coworker behing his back? – maybe there's another reason…

      • It may just be that she is a controlling abusive person but you are right some of thing she has done sound like she may have cheated to me.

        I think the bit about her freaking out about things like him playing video games or watching movies with topless dudes in it and stuff, makes me think that she has some issues with sexuality.

        in fact the fact that she's upset with things like 300 and gears of war make me wonder if she maybe a bit homophobic

    • Ruthie

      Not to deny the whole projection thing because I think it's totally valid, but don't forget that God of War has the main character actually have sex with other characters as part of the story. Like your screen suddenly points another direction and you hear explicit sounds of the characters…"having a good time." I suspect it was THAT part that upset her, not the main character having no shirt, just as I suspect her issue with the 300 is the blatant boob scenes, not the rippling abs of the fighters.

      I wouldn't personally know, but that's what I'm assuming.

  • I'm very lucky not to have experienced anything of the sort. My heartfelt support to you, Tony, and anyone else in similar situations.

    I don't have practical advice either, sadly. I'd say 'listen to the good Doctor', his advice looks sound.

  • Sam B.

    I understand what u r going through….. I was in one as welll. even after I left, she was not able to let me go. Coming to my home as if nothing has change, making me feel as if her sadness was bc of me leaving, ect. It is really hard to move on, but u can do it. U have her kids on your side. Please try everything in your power to gets those young ladies out of there. They should be allowed to live in a household of love, not abuse. Good luck tony!

  • Brad

    While everyone is rightly saying to get out now, I think it is worth explicitly saying this:

    Get help first, get out second. Be prepared. Talk to a lawyer (and an abuse support network) BEFORE you breathe a word to your wife about leaving. Do this all as quietly as possible.

    You need to know the answers before she knows the questions.

    Best of luck. And remember that wherever you land, you will find friends on the other side.

    • James (Thortok2000)

      There's a lot of good advice in the comments, but Brad's more than anything else is what I'm going to agree with.

      Step one is get help.

      Call a shelter. There are very few men's shelters out there (most are women's shelters). It's also unfortunate that most women's shelters will not help a man in your situation. However, some will. None of them will let you stay there (they don't let any men stay at all, even if the men are also victims) but some of them offer counseling and therapy and help in other ways than a place to live. They can help you get out. So call a shelter, and if they won't help you, call another, call another, call another.

      Lawyer and divorce is the second call, but help with an abusive situation is the first call. If you really can't find anyone to help in that capacity, then call the lawyer and have the lawyer help you find someone to help with the abuse side of it.

      When you start making those calls, it's suddenly going to 'get real.' The most important thing you have to keep in mind is that you need to stay true to yourself. There are lots of people already telling you that you should leave. Don't listen to them. Listen to yourself. Like the Doc said, even in your opening paragraph you're admitting this is abusive.

      However, your self has lots of different voices. It's tempting to listen to the voice of your rationalization, which she has corrupted by the way, which says to stay, worry about the kids, worry about what people will thing, avoid conflict, it isn't worth the trouble, don't do anything to piss her off, this is too much hassle… That's her corruption of your rationalization. Don't listen to that voice.

      Instead, listen to your heart, your soul, your intuition, your /feelings/ and not your thoughts. Inside, you know that you /feel/ this situation is not right. That's what you should listen to, and let the rest go from there.

      It's going to hurt like crazy. But there's another side to it, and 'end goal', which is a much happier and healthier place for you to be. It's not even 'light at the end of the tunnel.' There's no tunnel. You're going to have to punch your way through a wall. But sometimes the only way out of a jail cell is to punch through the wall.

      Good luck. Please get help. You're worth it.

  • Nick

    That all sounds way too familiar. I think I've been on both sides of the equation, and sometimes simultaneously. Male 31, for reference. The last two relationships I've been in have left me completely unsure of… everything, really. It sounds weird, but it could almost be considered the same relationship as even they would comment on the uncanniness of the same habits, quirks, intonations, reactions… really just about everything but appearance. They even shared a mutual ex, who is as likely a victim as he is the "monster" they made him out to be. I wouldn't point that all out if it weren't so distinct and commented on in passing during the time I'd known each prior, about five years. We each met around the same time in different contexts. They even went on to be assigned the same room in the mental hospital, where I would have wound up if the visits I paid them hadn't been a solid reminder of why that would be a really unpleasant way to spend weeks.

    I can't blame myself for their mental *history*, and knew that at the time, but I felt like a failure for not being able to be an entire support team to the point of losing it myself and assuredly not providing the environment that any of us needed. The first time (for me as a visitor) was due to an offhanded comment from her to a therapist on a cranky early morning appointment that was taken too seriously, in my opinion and hers. Complete shock that she wasn't coming home. Up to that point, it was honestly one of the most well established, balanced, and well-communicating relationships and I had really just started breaking away from the "Oneitis" that has only intensified since. I felt like I'd broken out of my shell for about a year, and have never been able to find anything remotely like that self-confidence since.

    After she got out of the hospital, I feel like that's when things got bad. We were both getting rather dependent on each other for a while, and I suddenly couldn't function while she was gone, which, combined with the coming winter led to a lot of "go away, come back" between us. I slowly lost perspective, as she is one to be so self assured in mania that she is convincing of just about anything. I got depressed and lost the will to even question how bad of a situation I was keeping myself thrust into. I still don't really know if I'm manipulative or if she just convinced me I am so I'd question myself first. By late winter, I'd mostly lost touch with "normal". One morning, she popped up from bed, ran to the phone and called the hospital to have herself admitted again, I was just waking up when I realised, and was kinda surprised by the suddenness. I've since learned that it happens to her when seasonal mania kicks into full gear like clockwork, and again, I couldn't blame myself, but I felt abandoned, which sets off everything irrational I can possibly think or do. I visited her every possible moment I could, even getting off of work early so I could visit on Easter as a surprise, after she was sad that I'd probably have to miss seeing her that time. She didn't tell me when she got released, just a day of wondering what happened. She had created a "support group" of the people who had been in there with her, and as she got more distant, she began sleeping with pretty much anyone and everyone as long as I wasn't around. That by her admission, as I was so confused I was nearly oblivious. I still visited her almost out of habit by that point as it was obviously nothing like a relationship. The last time was when she called me to come over on my Birthday… apparently so I could meet her new boyfriend. I calmly walked right back out, drove home, and promptly went mad. After that… I crumbled. Forgot to show up for work a lot. Withdrew even more. Memorised every second of "The Wall" and closed myself in. I can't relate how badly that messed me up, but I sought to overcome it, and had some success for a while. I was learning to make friends with members of the opposite sex with a casualness that even surprised me, considering I've always struggled with that.

    Then the second of the two suddenly happened. She and I had been rather significant friends for a while. She had always been the one to come dye my hair some weird colour, for instance. Or to just show up one day wanting to dance around to loud Electronic stuff and just play and go for a walk. Never talked about attraction. She moved away and back. Friends throughout kind of thing. So I never really expected she'd show up one day, having just ditched her boyfriend, who she left living with her parents. I thought I'd had enough history with her that I was taking up a well-considered relationship with someone after mutually leaving the friend zone. Because I'd never been with someone I'd actually known pretty well for a while, it was way too easy for me to have her up on a pedestal, then become dependent, then possessive. I'd get wildly jealous and suspicious easily, not being able to fully trust anyone after the end of the previous. It turned out to be somewhat warranted, but sleeping around on me kinda seemed insignificant, as it wasn't… constant. Again I was in my irrational abandonment mode, and for the first time couldn't control welling rage to the point that I felt like rather than doing something stupid to someone else in a fit of fury, I'd do something just plain stupid when no one was around. I've never been in what I'd call a fight in my life, but the first time I felt threatened she was gonna ditch me, I shattered my hand punching a doorframe repeatedly and left it as a… um painful… reminder of why I need to keep my cool. If I'd known how it would effect game playing then…

    There's a lot left out, as you've all just read an entire article, and I'd only have you asking "why didn't you leave/let her leave?" for the next six hours. That pretty much marked the tone of over a year following that. She and I were erratically hot and cold.There was a morning she woke up, ate all her antidepressants, and walked in to wake me up to tell me she was already mid-suicide. She spent weeks in the mental ward. In that and various points of being or feeling abandoned, I went on to break the other hand a bit, my foot, and by this point have scars from the number of times I spent clawing at my face in the midst of arguments we'd have. Then, she started to help out with attacking me, too. As I recall there was a time she bit my nose, and I got at least one sucker punch. For all that, there was a night where, after she'd thrown two function-oriented glass objects at me, one a heavily appreciated gift from her that shattered, she followed up by jumping up from bed straight toward me and somewhere between defending and enraged, I didn't stop what I realised was about to be her face hitting my forearm hard.

    You feel like a POS when you know there's no amount of the discussion of inertia that doesn't sound like "I hit her" and that it was a matter of not stopping something that I could have rather than being the aggressor. I hated myself instantly. I'm bleeding, she has a bruise that she'd have to look close to point it out at someone, but "I'm abusive and she's a victim". I didn't really need the one sided phone calls from random people to feel like crap. She had to remind me that she, might have instigated it a little, as I got locked on the memory of that one moment, nearly forgetting anything but hating myself. It was still 7 months before she'd end up leaving me, a day or two before Christmas, and both of us went to some pretty hefty extremes, though more like screaming outside of each others' house at 4am and all that maniac kinda stuff. I wish I'd even come close to describing all we put each other through, that's maybe 5% of what I could recall.

    I'm kinda coming back to life just recently, but I'm so lost by this point. I'm hesitant to just even make friends or acquaintances, male or female, for being so out of perspective. Talking about females even around guys makes me uneasy. I literally have gotten to the point where reading this blog and in particular how females have the right to "be safe rather than sorry", I'm lost with how I'm supposed to get over the feeling that I need to be reassured that the "cute shy girl across the coffee shop making eyes" isn't going to attack me if I were to be in a room alone with her…

    By this point, I don't know how to handle all that. I don't know what attracts me, or even what my own interests are. I've been approached by pretty girls and found myself trying hardest not to tense up so much I get cramps. I don't know if I'm an absolute psycho or got talked into thinking I was til I snapped. I got myself pretty isolated in general and most days, I don't even know how to relate to people. I guess it's the way the subject of this article has messed up his head by being quick to blame himself that made me just ramble all this out. There's moments of feeling like a worthwhile person, but the days I just can't even convince myself have been outnumbering.

    Dude, get out while you still have social radar. It doesn't get better with time. Therapy and a psychiatrist aren't even getting through to me at the moment. You deserve better.

    • Kira

      Hi Nick –

      It sounds like you really climbed down the rabbit hole. I'm sorry.

      Please don't look at the endgame. Please don't wonder about whether you'll be able to read flirty signals from strangers or play it cool in a social situation or trust someone with your heart. You have much more basic and fundamental things to do first. Please start with the immediate things, like breathing. Take baby steps. I would suggest you're years away from figuring out what you want or who you want or how to treat them well.

      Baby steps.

    • Nick,

      When someone jumps at you and you throw your arm up in self-defense and then that persons face hits your forearm … YOU DID NOT HIT THAT PERSON. This is one of those times when – really and truly – their face hit your arm.

      Get the hell out!

  • Kelly F.

    Tony, I hope you get through all of this! Follow the Doc's advice and remember that none of this is your fault!

  • Tibbs

    Wish you the best, Tony.

  • Kira

    I'm with the gang on this one. Please get help, and then get out, and know you did nothing wrong and we're as 'here' for you as internet commenters can be….

    One more thing: It is highly likely that she will make shit up in an attempt to make you look bad. Don't just document what she did; document what you did, so that when she starts alleging an affair or that you hit your kid or whatever, you have counter-proof that she's psycho.

  • anon

    I wonder if I'm overreacting (I do alot) but while I'm no where near the level of this woman, is it unhealthy of me to fear at times my other half is cheating on me? lately a lot of my friends have been cheating on each other and it kind of freaks me out. (the fact that it could happen to me and I would never know) I get scared and talk to my other half about my feelings. Is it unhealthy to have these fears? (as if theres no trust) I don't exhibit behavious of this woman but I do occassionally ask who a friend added on facebook is (if it's a girl) then leave it at that.

    point is, I don't want to become like this woman and abuse someone I love. so are my behavious normal or red flags for building psychological problems?

    • Just like having a crush is normal, having fears is too. The big difference is the communication part. You talk to your S/O, right? Or is it really you screaming/accusing/silent treatment? (No need to answer me. Just answer for yourself.)

      Asking who's a part of your S/O's life isn't a bad thing, you might meet them at some point & you'll be able to say: "OH! I saw your photo on FB! I love that party hat!" (or whatever). I bet you also ask about guy friends, but since you're afraid of being abusive you're only remembering about the things you're afraid of.

      Is this the ONLY fear you have? Do you fear other, completely different things/situations? If you have fears that you are noticing overly-much or these fears are taking over your life, go see a therepist, clergy person, a long-standing friend or a trusted family member. Even your physician can offer a different point of view that you may not have concidered and will help set your mind at ease.

      Just remember: You trust your S/O enough to talk about your feelings, you can trust them to behave themselves. Don't lay blame if your S/O hasn't done anything wrong. Some people believe that if they're going to do the time anyhow, they might as well do the crime.

    • Any Mouse

      As someone who has been where (it sounds like) you are, here's what I learned after getting past it:

      First lets take a good hard look at what jealousy really is. Jealousy is fear. Fear that the person who you love may love someone else more than you, may leave you. It took me months to come to this conclusion, but I finally realized that there is nothing to fear. IF my S.O. really does love someone more than me, I WANT them to leave me. I love my S.O. I want my S.O. to be happy. If someone else is a better match for my S.O. than I am, I WANT my S.O. to be with that other person instead of me. If my S.O. found someone else and left me, yes, it would be devastating and horribly painful for me to go through. But ultimately, all it means is that my S.O and I were not as compatible as I'd hoped. I would wish them well and hope and work to find someone else good in my life whom I am more compatible with.

      OK, now that we've looked at the worst possible scenario (your S.O. runs off with someone else), and realized even IF that's the case, it will be a tough situation, but it will still be the best thing that could happen in such a situation. You will have crossed a failed would-be-soul-mate off your list and you can move on to looking for the real-mr(s).-right. So there is nothing to be afraid of. Keep reminding yourself of that, to help eliminate that fear that's at the root of jealousy.

      Second, realize that jealousy is based on assumptions. It is essential that you step back and look at the situation logically. Facts kill assumptions. Knowledge cures fear. He came home late last night, and that makes you worry. That little fearful, insecure voice in your head goes "Why is he late? What was he doing that made him late?" And then you have to make the logical side of your brain kick in and answer "It could have been any number of things. He could have been with someone else, but it's much more likely–logically, statistically– that he got stuck in traffic, or that he stopped to pick up beer or rent a movie."

      You talk to yourself and make yourself realize that you are overthinking the situation, making yourself paranoid. And that is a fault of yours, not his. You try to talk yourself through what you can, and there will be times when you can't. When that fear is just overwhelming. When you really CAN'T imagine any logical reason he did something that made you suspicious. And that's when it's imperative that you communicate.

      You ask. "I'm so glad you're home. I couldn't wait to see you. Why were you late?" You let him know that you value him. You don't accuse, not in your wording or in your tone. He didn't do anything wrong. All you want is information. Information you can use as an arsenal against that fear in your head. And he'll answer and clear the whole thing up. "I almost forgot my mom's birthday is tomorrow. Had to do last minute shopping." or "I promised a friend I'd drop by her place to help her get her computer running, a virus killed her hard drive."

    • Any Mouse


      Now, if your like me, the fearful, jealous voice in your head goes off on that second answer. Instead of assuaging your fears, its making them grow "He went to some girl's house?!" So now we take the next step. You are in a fearful emotional state that you can't pull yourself out of. Now, its time to admit that you need something from your partner. You need their help. Remember, jealousy is not a problem with HIM, its a problem with YOU. And you don't blame or accuse, you don't project that problem onto your partner.

      I can't tell you what the right words are for you, but here's an example of what you could say: "Let's sit down for a minute. I'm really stressed and I want to talk to you about something. I need your help. I'm scared. I really care about you and about our relationship, but lately I'm scared that you've got eyes for someone else. I love you and trust you, and I need to hear from you that that's not true. I know my fears are probably unfounded, but I just need to hear it from you, so I can tell myself that I'm being dumb." And then he tells you "I'm not cheating on you". Or he tells you "Well, I do have feelings for this other girl, but I haven't acted on them, because I love you". And then you go from there.

      A healthy relationship is one in which both partners can voice their fears and get support. Your partner should not reject you for sharing your feelings, but that doesn't mean that hearing that you are having trouble trusting them is easy for them. They may get hurt, and that may make them defensive or mad. They need time and space to calm down. They need space to process the bomb that you just dropped on them, and then they need you to remind and reassure them that you came to them and talked to them about this because you love them. Because you WANT to have an honest, open, trusting relationship. Because you love them so much that you couldn't bear the thought of losing them. Remind him that at the start of this, you told him it was your problem, not his, and that you just want his help, his patience, in fighting off those fears.

      It's perfectly natural for people to feel jealousy. You want to protect a relationship that is precious to you. But it's how you HANDLE those feelings of jealousy that's important. You control them, you do not let them rule you. You do not let them make you a different person, a girl who lashes out or invades the personal space of her partner. You do not let them change your views of your partner. If you took a good hard look at your S.O. before this started, and judged him to be a trustworthy, truthful, caring person, just remind yourself that he didn't turn into a different person overnight.

      And I agree with everything reaLeigh replied with. Trust and communication are the two bedrocks of a good relationship.

      [At some point, I started referring to your partner as male and you as female, just because it was easier than saying S.O. this and S.O that. I apologize if that's not the case.]

  • Corsair

    I'm so glad to see that all comments here are very supportive! This is a very serious issue, and even though I have never been in such a situation, I understand it can be incredibly hard to leave, especially if children are involved.

    I just want to add some support and hopefully remind you that this is NOT your fault, and you don' have to take your abuser's feelings into consideration from now on. Please, don't be afraid to seek help and make your (and your children's) safety a priority. The advices from the Doctor and the other commenters are very valuable.

    I wish you can do what's best for you and your kids!

    Good luck!

  • Jesus, I'm so sorry man. This is just SAD. People aren't meant to live like this. Get out of this situation as quickly (and effectively) as possible before this shit ends violently. do what you have to do to protect your kid(s) and gtfo! Sorry you've been through all this. Makes me genuinely sad.

  • Yuki

    Mr. Stark:

    1. You did nothing wrong.

    2. Get whatever you can that shows what an abusive bitch your wife is

    3. Divorce, and prepare to fight for custody of your children. If you can, ask your friends and the people you network with for advice (discreetly) because many people these days have a link– however distant– to someone who was in this situation, one time or another, and will be able to give you some idea of what to expect, to look for, and what is and isn't useful. Some even recommend good divorce lawyers.

    Your wife is the real-life and uglier, younger, twisted sister of Edward Cullen and other abusive figures. That kind of stalkerish, creeping, controlling behavior is something that sets of a million alarm bells at once. Nothing she did was remotely okay, and I know other people will be saying it, and it'll be hard to believe, but it's not your fault.

    Read over that letter you sent to Dr. Nerdlove, and take to heart those moments where he makes it very clear that you are, in no way, shape or form, in the wrong. Hightail it out of there as fast and safely as you can.

  • Raven

    Good luck to you and your kids. A good lawyer can hopefully tell you a lot about what steps to take to protect yourself and kids (or at least hopefully refer you to someone who can while the legal stuff hashed out).

  • Tony,

    Check the laws in your state. Make sure it is legal to make audio recordings of your conversations with your wife without her knowledge. I believe they call it a "single-person notification" rule, meaning that only one person needs to be "notified" that the conversation is being recorded. That person can be you.

    If the law in your state allows, record as many conversations as possible, as often as possible. You will eventually get enough proof that she is abusing you. Now, don't tell her you have this proof. Wait for her to lie about it in court. Then produce the proof that she is lying. This will ruin her credibility as far as the judge is concerned and she will be done. (There is one caveat, in that it may be required by law to divulge any evidence you have before any trial starts. If this is the case then don't break those rules because it will just end up being worse for you.)

    If the law says all parties must be notified that the conversation is being recorded, then use a trusted friend as a secret witness. Yes, have them sit at a nearby table at a restaurant and eavesdrop, Have them stand outside an opened window and listen. Call them on your phone and then "forget to hang up" and lay the phone down on the table while your wife berates you.

    If you are truly a nerd: Become a nerd for divorce law. Learn everything you can about the divorce laws in your state. Also pay attention to things that aren't in law but have judicial precedent. You would be amazed how much of the "law" is actually not written in the law at all but is, in fact, judicial precedent. Learn what you are and are not allowed to call the police over. When it gets closer to the time when you are ready to take action, start calling the police if her abuse ever escalates to anything you can reasonably have her charged with. (Though don't intentionally goad her beyond stating any facts that are actually verifiable.) This will add to your case. DO NOT be ashamed to call the police if it is necessary. It DOES NOT mean you are weak. It means you have a strategy for documenting every last thing in as official a manner as possible.

    In Texas it is illegal for either party in a divorce to disrupt the life of the other party or the children. This can protect you from having her steal all your money out of the bank account. However, it can also backfire if you take any money out of the account, even for a cushion to live on after you leave. Double-check your state's laws about this as well.

    Finally, do not just trust your own research. Nerds can get a little arrogant and think they have figured out everything there is to figure out. Definitely consult with a lawyer. But don't let them push you into doing anything until you completely understand all aspects and possible consequences of that action.

    Remember, you are in charge of your life. Not your wife. Not your lawyer. Not us people on-line. It is now your responsibility to take that control back and use it wisely.

    Good Luck.

  • I have to side with everyone else and say that you need to get out of this relationship.

    I would like to think Dr. Nerd Love for bring this issue to everyone's attention and stated earlier that he will go down hard on anyone that makes light of this situation because sadly when it come to men being the abused person in a relationship far to many people seem to make light of that.

    here are some things Tony and people in similar situation may want to look at….

  • NekoHitori

    No advice to give, but Tony, just know that I (and several other readers I'm sure) am praying that you and your children get out of this horrible situation as quickly and as safely as possible.

  • Glen

    Normally, I wouldn't say something like this without hearing the other side first.

    But Tony? GET. OUT. NOW. It's better for you, it's better for your kids (all of them), and it's better for all of your friends. I know it's hard to leave someone behind when you've loved them for so long, but this is not what love is supposed to be like. This is not a healthy relationship. This is a poisonous mire, and you need out as soon as possible. You've done nothing wrong. You've felt nothing wrong.

    Organize your documentation, do your research, and get yourself a lawyer. Take back control of your life. Trust your instincts. We can all see from your letter what they're telling you.

    Good luck. I know I'm rooting for you.

  • parrotchic

    "It’s a classic abuser’s tactic: to make everything your fault and keep your spirit broken so that you are always worried about her disapproval and do whatever she wants in hopes of avoiding a fight." – this is SO TRUE!


    It's going to take you a while to get over the programming but it's entirely possible for you to get away from this woman and create a happy life for yourself doing what YOU want to do, making YOUR own decisions.

    I grew up in a home where my mother was abusive to both me and my father and trust me, you don't want that for your daughter. I don't know jack about laws but hope you can get the minor children away from your wife. I don't know anything about psychology either but in my experience, once a controlling abuser, always a controlling abuser and it won't stop when you leave – she'll move on to the kids if she hasn't already. It wouldn't surprise me if violence entered the equation as well. I think your 18 year stepson is a likely strong ally – he's seen her crazy and has probably been on the receiving end of it too.

    Please get out. Best of luck to you Tony.

  • Tony

    Hey everyone,

    I appreciate the support. It's nice to hear that I'm not crazy for thinking the way I do. I'm still going through some craziness. Brand new and improved craziness. It's nice to know their are supportive people out there. You guys are awesome.


    • Anton Vanko

      Tony – As someone who was in a very similar situation for over a decade, let me tell you that you absolutely need to get out. I'm not saying it will be easy – it won't. It will be hard. She'll do everything in her power to hurt you. She will focus her rage directly at you and you'll have days when you feel like giving up. BUT – if you stay strong and surround yourself with friends you can trust and people of quality who actually care for you and treat you with respect, you'll eventually get through it and you'll be able to find happiness. I can't speak for you, but when I finally reached my breaking point with my abusive ex I spent months trying to find a way to leave because I was deathly afraid of what she would do to me. When I finally filed for divorce and kicked her out of my house, there were months that I couldn't sleep because of a recurring nightmare that she would break in and kill me. There I was, a fairly fit man with hand-to-hand training… and an emotionally abusive (and manipulative) woman scared the living hell out of me. It can be scary, but in the end you have to do what's best for you and your children – break it off with her.

      It's hard to understand just how damaging her actions have been to you (because you're still in the situation) but trust me when I say that staying will only make it worse. Every time you let her push you down, every time you submit to one of her crazy demands, every time you sacrifice your own happiness for hers, you are only validating her abusive actions and making her that much more confident that she is "right" and you are "wrong". You don't owe her anything. You aren't indebted or responsible for her in any way. Not only has she given you nothing, she's slowly taking things away from you. If you stay, sooner or later you will have nothing left. In my situation, I stayed for way too long for fear of being thought of as a "deadbeat dad" or that leaving my wife made me a bad person. But when you're in an emotionally abusive relationship, the only healthy thing to do is to get out of it (for everyone involved). My heart goes out to you and your family because I know how hard this can be.

      As for "new and improved craziness", it will always be like that. The longer you stay, the more ways she'll find to hurt you, break you down, make you feel worthless and scared, make you second guess your every thought and action. I'm so sad to hear that you (or anyone) has to go through something like this, but I wish you the best of luck and I know that if you stay strong you will be able to break her hold on your life and be free of her toxic influence over you.

    • ARC

      There's not much I can say that hasn't been said already, and I reiterate everything else that has been said. What I didn't see but thought of is this: Google Chrome has an incognito mode that doesn't record browser history or store passwords. You shouldn't work from a home computer, but if you must that might be useful.

      I believe in you. Godspeed.

    • Ryan

      Good luck to you man and i hope everything works out for you

  • Darrell


    I truly feel for you. Getting out of a relationship like that can be the hardest thing you've ever had to do. But, I just want to say, there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

    I was in the same type of situation about a year ago. The girl was with, we'll call her Jen, had all the EXACT same signs. She would go completely off the handle if she knew I was going to be hanging out with friends who were of the female persuasion.

    I had never before dealt with an abusive partner, so I was a bit naive. I thought "hey, I'll bring Jen to one of these get-togethers with my friends so she can see that there is absolutely nothing to worry about". That couldn't have been a bigger mistake…… It was then that she became controlling and childish.

    She fixated on the idea that my coworker at this party, we'll call her Pam, was sleeping with me on the side. This caused the biggest fight in the whole of my adult life. Not in a knock down, drag out kind of way. I tend to talk things out in a calm and collected manner, so the fact that we were yelling at each other raised a huge red flag for me. Its not that I'm afraid of confrontation, per se, but I'm not a fan of loud, hurtful fights.

    So, a few months go by and I'm ignoring the issue. I never speak of Pam while I'm home (Jen and I were living together) to avoid having a fight. I had lost contact with a good portion of my female friends, which was my own fault, admittedly. The ones I did continue talking to (while Jen wasn't around) were trying desperately to get me out of the relationship. When I let it slip that I had talked to one of these friends, Jen completely turned off. Here we are, living together, and for days at a time, Jen would not speak to me or even look at me. This really pissed me off. Its one thing to be upset about something and talk through it. Its another thing to act like a child and play "the silence game". We had another fight a few days later.

    In the end, there were 2 things that made me snap out of it. First, though, you need to understand that I HATE lying. I despise lying with a passion because of a past relationship.

    1.) So, the first straw was 3 days before Christmas, while shopping for my godson's christmas present, I let Jen know that I was going to my DM's Bachelor Party. I told her that we weren't going to any strip clubs, just hitting up the local bars in Gotham City. Worst Christmas EVER. Its hard to have a good Christmas when the person you're with isn't speaking to you. The only good that came out of that day was seeing my godson.

    2.) A few weeks after Christmas, Pam got engaged. And, still being a friend that I talked to, she invited me and Jen to her place for a "he finally popped the question" party. So what did I do when I got home? I lied. I lied, and it tore at my gut. Not because of guily, but the absence of guilt. It was then that I realized something was terribly wrong.

    I sat Jen down, explained to her that I lied, why I had lied, and what she had done to cause it, and finished it up with " your shit is at the front door, please leave"

    I've never had to do something so hard in my life. But I knew that if I didn't do something drastic, I would cave in to her, and (god help me) things would only get worse…. That day was the best day in the whole 9 month relationship. It was like someone took off a blindfold that I didn't know was there. I felt free! I hung out with my friends! All of them!

    Hopefully this helps you, Tony. I'll keep my fingers crossed for ya. Remember, be strong for yourself, and for your daughter.


  • Jay

    Tony, the CYA precautions everyone else has recommended sound like terrific advice.

    I didnt see in your recollection of events that she has any other psychotic or irrational behavior, so assuming she's of right mind in other areas, when the time comes to have the sit down, it may be important how you do that. I can't help but thinking charitably, and that her main problem is fear of loss of real Love. If that's the case, then maybe there's hope? But if it's the fear of loss of … other things… like intimacy, security, etc… in other words things other than YOUR singular and unique companionship, then you have a real problem. Because then she doesnt care about your own happiness, only hers. And frantically self absorbed people are difficult, to say the least, to reason with. Whatever you decide, I recommend a heart to heart with her on how she defines Love. Real Love encourages independence, and trusts that independence because of full acceptance, making it unconditional, and in itself is liberating.

    A heart to heart of this type may not turn the light on, but you can bail on this terrible situation in clean conscience, and leave here with something to mull over, as she works out in her own head what her loneliness is all about. Some people only know one way, as its the only one they've seen. Lot of mindsets like this are learned. Don't return her resentment with any of your own.

    Life is short, guy. Your own happiness is important as a beacon to those around you, not just for your own sanity. I wish you well.

  • Jess H.

    Tony –

    First things first: what an awful story. I am so sad for you, and I hope you are successful in getting out of this abusive relationship. It is not your fault.

    The only thing I want to add is this. You briefly mention a guy that you have a bad history with, who sent the faked email to your wife. I worry that you have other "friends" like that who will actually undermine instead of support you. Please do reach out and get help, but I hope you are careful about who you start with. It seems like you are unfortunate enough to have several toxic, cruel people in your life, and I don't want you to be blind-sided by having anyone else treat you badly as you work through the process of getting out. At the very least, talk to a lawyer or a therapist first, so they can guide you about who to trust and who might sabotage you.

    I truly wish you all the best.

    Strength and courage,


  • Raewyn

    I just want to thank Tony for being man enough to admit his abuse. There is no shame in being abused. I noticed people saying that she was trading your happiness for hers. It seems to me that she wasn't happy no matter what you did. I've known people like that. You should be happy because at this point she will never be. I'll just reiterate it's not your fault. Best wishes to you.

  • Jess

    Hey Tony,

    I'm wising you luck as you take whatever steps are needed to lead you to a happy and healthy life.

    I had a couple of red flags go off in my mind, and I'm not sure if I'm full of insight at this point, or something else entirely, but I thought I'd give you my two cents.

    When I read your letter, only looking at the behaviors you spelled out, what I saw was a woman with very very little self worth. I'm willing to bet she is the kind of woman who either placed all of her self worth on looks or virtue. She was either "best" by being prettier than all the other girls or "more holy than all you filthy heathens."

    It could go either way. What I hope you understand is that a lot of her behavior is not about you at all. When a woman completely defines her self worth by her relationship to a man, either "look at how hot I must be to get this guy" or "Marriage is sacred above all and this relationship is my duty to GOD!" Then if anything shakes the bond to the man, her entire world implodes and she has nothing, because she has no sense of herself as an individual and no strength as an individual.

    A woman with this sort of low self worth will do ANYTHING in her power to sink the hooks in and keep them there, including abuse, getting "accidentally pregnant" on purpose, and other vile nastiness that I'd rather not think about. It is the same sort of desperation that leads an abusive man to kill his SO because "If he can't have her, no one can." And the Dr. is right, it is abuse.

    I'm deeply suspicious of this because she is nine years older than you, and married you right before a significant "birthday" and now she's coming up on another one. If she is the beauty type, then she fears her flower is fading and it leads to hyper suspicion that your eye will turn toward more beautiful and younger. If she is the "holy" type, then her chance at her God ordained marriage forever and ever is passing by as she gets older. Either way, her paranoia that she is about to lose what gives her "worth" has become the foundation of her jealousy.

    It's not about you, dude. I'm willing to bet if you ask your stepson, he could tell you this exact behavior led to the downfall of the last relationship.

    Once you are out, you have to do double time to protect your daughter from emulating her mother by instilling in her her own sense of self worth by being a person, and make sure she knows she always has her father's admiration and love.

    Good luck, dude. I hate to see situations like this. I wish you the best.

  • Wow! I am SO looking forward to reading Bethany's bouyfriend's upcoming letter to this forum:
    "Dear Dr. Nerdlove,
    My girlfriend is a jealous shrew who thinks it's justifiable that her insecurities and feelings control my behavior…"

    • Courtney

      I would pay money just to get him to post his story here.

      @Tony Stark…I think it's safe to say everyone (I won't mention HER name) is on your side, and we're rooting for you. The fact that so many people here have had similar experiences, and have managed to find ways to free themselves, shows there is always hope. Fortunately, you seem to have a very good grasp on what the situation is. Good luck, man.

  • @Bethany- why are you convinced that Mrs. Tony Stark is a precious little snowflake? Do you self-identify as a jealous person and take offense at the suggestion that the abuser in question, jealous woman that she is, is a villain? Jealousy isn't justified when you start regulating who your spouse can and can't be friends with when that person is a faithful spouse. Tony's OP is wrought with how much kowtowing and head-bowing he's done for this woman who expects him to 'fold himself in half until snaps.' Unless he's just *lying* and the entire letter is a fabrication, on the assumption that his letter to DNL is as true as it can be, he's in an abusive relationship with an emotionally desctructive, manipulative woman. If you don't trust your partner enough, or they aren't faithful enough to let him or her *have friends* male or female, then you don't need to be in a relationship with them. Why is that so hard to grasp? She needs years of therapy. And Tony's probably gonna need a few. That doesn't excuse her behavior. To blame him for trying to carve out a normal life with PEOPLE in it, in secret from an abusive spouse, is tantamount to blaming a rape victim for giving a guy all the right signals. If she didn't want to get raped, she shouldn't have been wearing that skirt. If he didn't want to get yelled at and emotionally beat on by his wife, he shouldn't have friended his coworker(s) on facebook. That's ridiculous! You keep saying you don't mean to blame the victim but that's exactly what you're doing. She attacks him without provocation. And you're blaming him for making it worse for trying to obtain some kind of normal interaction with the people around him. Any of his misbehavior or 'stepping out of line' is in the context of and in response to an abusive woman. Nothing pleases this woman because she cannot be satisfied. Her behavior is predicated by fear. Fear is what causes her to lash out in jealousy and anger. She needs to address the fears in her heart and snuff out the jealous streak. It's destructive to you and the people she (claims to) care about. She isn't going to do that as long as he sticks around. So don't point fingers at Tony like, well it's your fault for behaving like an abused person. FFS. Tony, get out asap.

  • Jen

    In the victim services center I work at, we get more men then one would think. They have some different disadvantages than women; the primary ones being that they do not have as many outlets to get out, nor people who are willing to listen to their abuse stories. The first question is always "well… what did you do to her to warrant the abuse?" Nothing. Nothing warrants abuse. Male or female. Just because it's a woman doing the dirty work, doesn't mean the man's problem isn't valid. When male rape victims come in, that problem is multiplied tenfold…. It's so stupid. I see it everyday.
    People think it's funny or empowering for women to hit or constantly put down at men when they do something "wrong," but being a strong person is walking away when you are upset. Not trapping others in a cycle of emotional and physical pain. It is important to understand the other side. However, the fact the actions taken were illegal, violent, and emotionally scarring must also be taken into consideration.
    There is a pretty famous social experiment that poses the problem to society:–Wome

  • Hawke

    Tony, it won't be easy getting out… but I promise you, if you take steps towards leaving and finally get out, you'll have a much better quality of life. You will feel a change in yourself and begin to do the things that make you happy. The healing process is slow but it can finally begin. For the longest time I was in an emotionally abusive relationship where I felt like I was imagining my feelings – that something wasn't quite right. I ended up going to a psychologist at my partner's behest. We thought that I was going crazy. I wasn't sleeping or eating properly. I was deathly afraid of always letting him down and the comments and abuse and fights just kept on coming. I always blamed myself. It had to end. I reached the point where (trigger warning) I had plans to take my own life instead of ending the relationship. Looking back on everything I KNOW that I did not imagine these things. They were real. Getting out was the best thing that's ever happened to me.

  • Susie Baker

    I can let the Dr. and the readers know that this behavior on her part has always been there. Like most relationships when it is brand new its hard to see things clearly. I believe thats why dating for a good amount of time is a good idea before making the marriage commitment. I hate that this doesn't always happen and later in the relationship things come out such as this. Life is to short to feel miserable all the time. Tony is at home all the time and dont really have friends to talk to other then the support that everyone here has given him. And I know that this support means alot to him also. I think his family doesn't live close by and not having your family or friends there to help you, makes it even harder to make the actual move. Not having any alone time makes it also hard to get to a or even call a attorney. Any one have any ideas? Tony, you have to decide whats best for you and make a plan. Then act on the plan. Things will happen while your caring out the plan but try to anticapate her moves before you begain. Much love and prayers to you and your kids.

    • Erin

      Keep everything. Every correspondence, every little thing that looks bad on social networking gets the screen shot treatment. Even if he can't get out right away, he can use the time to gather evidence. It is exhausting, but it also has a way of letting him hold onto his anger, and that motivation can help propel him through the process and avoid backsliding. Just remember to let it go after all is said and done. No need to let her have more of you than necessary.

      As for getting in touch with an attorney, a good tactic is to lump that in with non suspicious activities. A trip to the grocery store can give you half an hour or more of phone time, etc.

  • Erin

    I won't comment on the legal battle he is going to get dragged through. I've discovered through my own that there is so much minutiae involved it is ridiculous. But I will give some moral support. It took me nearly 12 years and 3 kids later to finally have enough and get away from a man who told me in every way ,except the actual words, that I was worthless, cheated on me and gave me a cancer causing STD, and told people I was having our last baby by someone else(the straw that broke the camels back, though you'd think it would be the STD).

    I thought I needed him, was scared to lose time with my kids, and didn't want a sociopath to have unsupervised time with my kids, so I stayed. I looked back later and realized that I was teaching my kids that his behavior and my acceptance of it was normal. Which is crazy fucked up. Even if you don't get your kids as much as you want, it is important to put your foot down and teach them that people shouldn't be treated that way.

    But the absolute biggest breakthrough for me was realizing that he needed me far, far more than I ever needed him. You'll be OK, fantastic in fact after a while. Just get the fuck out of there.

  • Kristi

    I would agree that this guy's wife's behavior is completely inappropriate, probably abusive, and definitely inexcusable. She's using power and control to get what she wants from her partner. But I don't think her terrible behavior is much of an excuse for what seems like a married man maintaining a relationship with a married coworker that, just based on his description, carries into emotional affair territory at least sporadically. Understandable given his emotional vulnerability and growing desperation for calm acceptance? Sure, but not ok. That doesn't mean that he is any less of a victim, or that he could do anything to make his wife stop vying for control. I think we can say he did nothing to cause the abuse, cannot be blamed for that at all, but to say he did nothing WRONG in this long, drawn out situation may be a stretch.

  • Spirit

    Tony, I just want to wish you all the best, and I hope you can find a way to get yourself and your daughter safely out of this situation. You have made a very brave first step in admitting the situation, both to yourself and to other people. Please take care.

  • Dora

    Hi, I'm Dora. Not this Tony's Dora, but another Dora. I know a Tony. He broke up with me as a friend for exactly the same reason Tony broke up with Dora in this sad tale. It happens. There was nothing I could do, even though he is very clearly being abused and controlled, and his wife is isolating him systematically by driving away all the friends closest to him (male and female). My Tony's best male friend moved to another state. . .not to get away from her, per se, but his move seemed to function as a good excuse to be less close to the entire situation, which was pretty messed up.

    I've seen this. It's really sad. I don't know what else to say. I'm Dora, and when it's time for Tony to get out, I'll be here, and also in court testifying on his behalf, but until then, I can't do a goddamn thing 🙁

    • Tony

      Honestly, I know it might be weird but I read this and I kinda wish you were my "Dora."
      Keep supporting your friend, he will appreciate it.

  • Ryan

    If Tony is still looking at these comments I have to say HE DID NOTHING WRONG. In fact from what I'm reading he handled things very well under the circumstances. I Really hope that everything turns out well for you and that later down the line You and Dora can be friends again, and good luck with all your present and future endeavors.

    • Tony

      Oh I'm still paying attention

  • FINnymous

    Tony, first, the best of luck to you in doing what is right and must be done and also my feelings go with you.

    I actually feel ashamed even sharing this story of mine, given that it is next to nothing in comparison, but still I'd like to tell you a story of an abusive relationship that I went through. It only lasted for 8 months but well, in some ways it very much resembled your situation.

    To start this off lets point out some facts. First, I'm now a 21-year-old male. The story starts five years in the past, so I was 16 back then and turned 17 during the relationship. So yes, I was a kid and still am, very much, I accept that but I'd want to say that it doesn't make this story any less true or similar to Tony's.

    So, the story starts with saying that she was a passing acquaintance of mine from Junior High. A year into High School I ran into her in a bus and during the trip we talked and she confessed to having had a crush on me back in Junior High and even kissed me on the cheek as she left ("Ooooh!" goes the crowd, eh?). I hadn't been interested in her back in Junior High (I had noticed her feelings.) and I wasn't interested then. However, some months later I, for some reason, found myself thinking about her and got in contact with her.

    I talked and visited her (living with her mother) a lot for a week or two before we actually started dating. During that time I already learned that she was a depressed young woman (same age as I was, by the way), had had a habit of cutting herself and had had relationships where some very bad stuff happened to her. She didn't say she had quit cutting her, but at least for the first three weeks or so (maybe, my memory fails) she didn't.

    She started cutting herself again at some point. At first I was quite distressed or even angry at her doing it again, but of course just tried to comfort her and talk her out of it. Also somewhere along this point we actually started dating, even following some (at that time not-yet-given) good advice by good Doctor here and started dancing as a common hobby.

    She had her fair share of problems, especially on the intimate part of dating, which I will not disclose here because it has no sway over the actual story here. We however worked around those problems as best as we could and for some maybe 3 months of dating everything was mostly okay.

    Things started to change after that. I spent a lot of time with her, most of the time at her house. I didn't see my friend that much anymore, though then again as an active WoW player at that time, I guess that was quite normal. She had bouts of anger and general bad spirits every now and then and would cut herself in response. Also she had a skin problem that would've required intensive care but especially during these times she didn't really care about caring for her skin. It didn't take long for me to start doing that for her. And no, that was not an erotic thing to do, it was actually frequently done with her family members in the same room, though not perhaps viewing the situation.

    She started getting annoyed of the dancing hobby. We still went there and I especially liked it a lot (on good days it truly was very fun) but she tended to seethe with hatred after the practice.

    She actually danced as my pair in my school ball, even though she wasn't in the same school. I do think I asked her to be my pair, though perhaps because I knew she wouldn't like me dancing with someone else. The practice for that made her especially angry.

    During the last third of our relationship it started getting way out of hand. She would get angry at me for not being at her house (which was happened maybe three days a week, I practically lived there during the working days) and cut herself for it, quite nicely making me feel responsible for it.

    She would be quite positively seetheful towards me after I'd been home for a day or two. She kept calling, texting and messaging me over the Internet to know what I was doing and where I was and who I was with. Additional part to the text messages was a whole lot of poison about how bad she felt with a more or less veiled implication that it's because I'm not there.

    Two occasions of particularly aggressive control come to mind, both admittedly very close to me breaking with her.

    First of all, coming back from school. The school I went to wasn't that far from her home and there was a single bus line running from the school to her home. She always got home before I did and would of course know the timetable for the bus. I remember very well one day when I was going to her home after school, but stayed to talk with friends before I went to the bus stop, missing the first bus. 20 minutes later the next bus comes and I head over to her place only to be greeted by a Fury from Hell.

    We had a kind of a fight where she demanded to know where I'd been and I questioned her on why I'm not allowed to stay and talk with my friends, but I really don't remember how it ended in the end, aside that I stayed with her and in the house so I'm kind of guessing that I apologised and consoled her. I'd want to say I promised never to do it again but I honestly don't remember

    Another case was a LAN party held with at my friend's place. We had about 5 guys there, all good friends of mine and after reading a couple of her messages complaining how horrible she felt I closed my phone and logged out of all Internet messengers to avoid from having to think about her or talk with her for the weekend.

    Later I claimed that my phone had run out of battery and that the LAN party was LAN only with no Internet access, despite us really playing WoW…

    As mentioned it took me 8 months to finally break away from her. I remember it took place only maybe some days after the LAN party ended.

    She tried to reapproach me some three months after I broke away, but I (luckily) didn't budge, though I was somewhat attracted.

    A year from that she sent me message telling that she was sorry for what she did to me and I can, with some pride, say that I truthfully responded to her that I don't think she has anything to apologise for.

    The truth is that she was in more need of acceptance and help than I was, though she already was in therapy when I started dating her. What she did is understandable in her state, even though it still is not acceptable.

    I also learned a lot from that relationship, starting with trusting myself and my feelings, leaving behind my White Knight Syndrome (Why did you think I didn't flinch away from the thought of dating her?) and all kinds of other stuff.

    Nowadays I'm very well over it alerady, or at least so I think. The memory is mostly something to grin at, the fact that I've actually been through something like that. Also when I heard that she'd moved out and (hopefully) started taking care of herself, actually got a job and all that, I was purely happy for her. I did love her, or like her, however you want to call the feeling in a young relationship like that, and I do still care for her, somewhat.

    And that's exactly I want to say to you Tony: our situations have their similarities, even though you obviously got the short end of the stick, but you can get away and you can get over it. Even though right now it can feel like hell and you may feel that the pain will never pass, it will. One day you will look back and grin like stupid because you know you're over it and those painful memories are just ghosts from the past.

    Another thing that I must point out that some of the most important people that helped me get out of my situation were my cousin and his girlfriend, especially the latter. She basically told me that I was an idiot for still staying in the relationship and told me to get the hell out of it. At that time I didn't listen to her, but when I finally did get out it was still very much because of her voice nagging at me, telling me that I really should do it, that I should finally think about myself first and foremost, not about my girlfriend or anyone else.

    All the best


    • INITimus

      I'm currently in the middle of something similar, if even more mild of an example.

      Familiar factors: am 17, SO is 16, three months in, she has much darkness from past relationships and is struggling with self harm, I seem to set off negativity every time I associate with other females. While I wouldn't go as far as to consider any of her actions abusive, I have noticed my emotinal health plummeting, and am experiencing an uncomfortable(though probably justified) level of restriction over communications.
      The situation is complicated by her being open about admitting her issues, and though she refuses to seek professional help, is usually receptive of any attempts to console and comfort. My question is this: do you have any advice on helping her overcome her problems, besides "stop White-Knighting"? I truly do love her ("or like her, however you want to call the feeling" lol), but sometimes feel like I'm in over my head when trying to undo years of past harm.

      • Dr_NerdLove

        1) You're supposed to be her boyfriend, not her therapist. Unless you've done 4 years of med school and psychology studies, you're not qualified to fix her.2) Your emotional healh is important too. Especially if she's dragging you down to her level.3) She admits her issues but won't seek professional help and prefers to be consoled and comforted instead. These are not signs of someone who is in a good place for a relationship.The obvious answer is “Break up with her already”.To be perfectly blunt, the odds of the relationship surviving past high-school are minimal anyway, but it's better to do it sooner rather than later since getting out now would mean fewer emotional scars for you.

        • Jason

          I've read most of the comments. To those who are in a relationship and are being psychologically abused, read these….

          … and if bells start ringing in your head then do more research on this and similar disorders and see if your partner is willing to get help.

          • Jason

            and if they won't then GET OUT!!!

            P.S. I've made a more general comment myself for Tony about 3 posts below this one.

      • Any Mouse

        I agree that the obvious answer is break up with her, but knowing situations like this, I think there's a good chance that even after hearing that advice, you might not take it.

        Keep in mind that her issue (jealousy, self destructiveness) are her own. Don't let her make them yours. Catering to her being illogical will just allow her to justify her ideas and expect more ridiculous requirements of you, and that won't help you or her.

        When she's trapped in a cycle, this is when it's time to change her environment. You can get her out of the house, or overwhelm her senses with something else comforting like a warm shower or a favorite meal.

        Self destructive people often use self destructiveness as a coping mechanism. The best thing you can do is create new, healthier coping mechanisms. Many people who self harm fall into a cycle. If she starts repeating herself while arguing, or being self-destructive, that's when its time to say STOP.

        Very firmly reassure her "I might be hanging out with Jane Doe, and I'm sorry if that upsets you, but I'm not going to stop, because despite what you might think, I DO care about you, and I AM faithful to you. That's why I am here right now, trying to enjoy my time with you. So lets not waste our time fighting. Let's get out of here and let me show you how special you are to me, let's grab dinner at that pizza place. I want to smile with you, not fight with you."
        or "I didn't do anything wrong, so I'm not going to stop talking to Jane. I'm sorry if you disagree, but I choose my friends. You need to trust me, because I am faithful to you. Now, we can continue fighting or we can go grab some pizza."

        Deep down, there is something going on inside your girl that makes her very insecure, and her behavior probably won't change until that insecurity changes into something better. It's not up to you to MAKE that happen. It's up to you to be there beside her while she does it. All you can do is tell her the truth and hope she listens. If she doesn't, cut your losses. Don't let yourself get hurt by someone who isn't willing to heal.

        A good book for you might be Too Good to Stay, Too Bad to Leave by Mira Kirshenbaum.
        A good one for her might be Trauma and Recovery by Judith Herman.

  • Ainuvande

    Oh, this sounds exactly like my ex-fiance. Except instead of just my guy friends, he managed to isolate me from everyone but our housemates (and didn't succeed at those because it's hard to force me not to talk to people we live with). Less of a "jealousy" line and more just insulting the person behind their back and making me feel like I had to justify my friends to him (all great people, most friendships repaired).

    Tony, if you're still reading, this is CLASSIC emotional abuse. TEXTBOOK EMOTIONAL ABUSE. The only reasons I can think of for not packing a bag and fleeing into the night are the children and that it sounds like she doesn't have her own income. So follow the Doctor's advice. Collect as much evidence as you can possibly muster, then find a good lawyer and a friend you can crash with or shitty apartment you can stay in during the divorce. My parents recently divorced, and because the courts move slowly it took most of a year. So be prepared for it to take time.

    Also, GET THERAPY. This woman has messed with your head in ways you can't yet see. Having someone who can guide you through putting yourself back together is worth every penny.

    Good luck.

  • Avery

    I'm so sorry, Tony. As a fellow abuse survivor, let me offer you this–which is going to be pretty hard to swallow at this point:

    To really move on, you have to forgive.

    To clarify, forgiving does not mean condoning. It does not mean excusing. It does not mean forgetting. Forgiving means letting go–which is every bit as hard as it sounds. But here's the thing: until you let go of your past with her, she will always have power over you. As long as you let her effect your future relationships, she has power. And yes, it takes a lot of time, first to heal, then to stop being raw. And to truly, truly move on, you have to take that power back.

    Best of luck–I wish all the best for you.

  • Jason

    Hi tony,

    I can very much relate to your story. My circumstances were a bit different, but the gist is the same – I was in a relationship where I was being psychologically abused. We lived together with her two kids at time and i knew it was unhealthy but I always said to myself "i'll wait and see if things improve". If you want me to give you the full story I am happy to, but for the sake of brevity I'll just say – eventually I got out of it and my friends were great because they saw what was happening and told me to get the hell out of there. I was quite psychologically damaged at the end of it and I saw a psychologist for months afterwards to get me head straightened out again. Thankfully my high self esteem helped.

    You wife's issues may be different to my the partner's, but I would recommend doing some research on a thing called 'borderline personality disorder', which I eventually discovered my partner had. It explained a lot! You wife might not have this, but she is definitely psychologically unwell. This is not your fault. Your wife needs professional help. If she is unwilling then Please please please get the hell out. It will be very very hard to do and it will take a while for you to rediscover yourself again. But it will be worth it, trust me. Live and be you tony. All the best. If you want to talk with me let me know.

    Best wishes…. Jas

  • Jagged Pieces

    I know this is a little late, but… I was in a very similar relationship for five years, up until this June. It's over now, and for anyone in a similar situation… it DOES get better, if slowly. Those friends who you lost over the course of the relationship, many of them will come back. They'll be happy for you and happy to have you. It will take time to get over, especially since no matter how much abuse there was, this was still someone you shared your life with and cared for to some degree.

    But take the step. Get out. Get to where you can be yourself and rediscover who that is, not just go along with someone else's flow.

    It's hard, but it's worth it.