Dear Two Views,

I don't know where else to turn and I hope you can help me find some answers. I have been married to an emotionally, verbally and physically abusive man for the past fifteen years. The emotional abuse and controlling behavior has occurred almost daily, and the physical abuse occurred sporadically. For the first years, I cried, begged, pleaded, wondered what was wrong with me, tried to win his approval and acquiesced to his whims and wishes. After our daughter was born (she is now 10), my heart began to close off to him. I spent all my time, energy and emotion caring for our baby, doing volunteer work,tending to our home, being the "perfect wife" in public and filling up my time with lots of activity.I ceased being vulnerable to him and shut him out. I basically just went through the motions of life with him, sleeping with him only when I had to and avoiding conflict at all costs. Whenever I would try to confide in a family member for help, they would tell me to stay with him for the sake of our daughter. In their eyes, I needed to learn how to deal with him so I wouldn't break apart our family. He has continued over the years to be very critical, tempermental, and neglectful. Anytime I would accomplish something (win an award for the work I do, successfully complete a fundraising project, etc.) he would go on a tirade. He told me he was jealous of the time I spent away from him and wanted me at home. I became more and more emotionally distant. I finally got the courage to confront him about my unhappiness. He went on a complete rampage, throwing objects, breaking glass, plates, antiques and whatever he could destroy. He pushed me into the wall and left a bruise shaped like a palm print on my chest. He grabbed my arms so hard he left hand and finger imprints around them. This wasn't his first violent episode, but it was definitely his worst. He actually called my mother and my sister in the middle of this rampage and told them to come get me, he didn't want me! Believe it or not, my mother and sister took his side and told me I needed to find a way to work this out and I was just being selfish! We have been separated for seven months and he has gone to counseling. Several told him not to come back until he got on medication. Mostly they told him that I wasn't the problem. One therapist finally told him I was probably just having a midlife crisis, and that's the only advice/statement he chooses to believe. He cries, pleads, tells me he has always loved me and didn't know I felt neglected or abused. He says he used physical force with me to keep ME away from HIM! He says he never "hit" me or "slapped" me, so I couldn't possibly be an abused wife. His mind is so twisted up, he actually believes all of this! He tells me I will ruin his life, our daughters life, my life and my families life if I divorce him. He constantly sends me cards, flowers, gifts, and comes over often, begging me to love him. He tells me he is physically ill, overwhelmed and distraught without me. During our estrangement, I became close friends with another man who treats me with kindness and compassion. He has shown me unconditional love and understanding, and I would like to pursue this relationship further. I have thought about relocating to another state with my daughter to be closer to my friend and to gain some independence in a new environment. My husband knows about "the other man" and believes it is because of HIM that I want a divorce! He wants me to cut off all communication with my friend, truly believing that would solve all of our problems. He actually told me he wants to stay married to me even if I never want to sleep in the same bed with him again! It's like he wants to own me rather than share life with me. Instead of feeling mad at him for all the things he's done (and there are many), I start feeling empathetic and sorry for him. He cries, and I feel like the villain for bringing on the tears. I go back to my same pattern of avoiding issues to keep him from demonstrating erratic/violent/abusive behavior in front of our daughter. I have no support from my family. They say to wait until my daughter is 18 and then do something! They are fearful I will leave the state and the town I was born and raised in. I want to change my life, but am afraid of what he'll do, what my family will think, and the effect it will have on my daughter. I am a university educated, professional woman. I am attractive and in shape and I have tried to always nurture myself emotionally and spiritually. I love the person I am and I know I have the potential to be even better and more productive, but I remain in a state of limbo. I can't believe my personal life has me so paralyzed. Please, please, please help me. Thank you for listening. Paralyzed and Confused

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