Reader Victimized writes,
My husband and I have been together for nearly 10 years (4 years married) and we have 1 amazing 7 year old daughter together. I am 27, he is 32.
Before we had our child I had always had a stable job, worked full time outside the house and did all of the providing. I literally worked for 7 hours while I was in labor and went to hospital after shift, my husband (whom was out of work) showed up hours later, but he did make it in time for her birth. When our daughter was 1 my job site closed down with no notice. My husband had also just been fired from another job (he has been fired from 7 jobs in our time together) so we were forced to move in with my parents. In order to have more time with our daughter I started doing daycare from home from 6am - 6pm, Mon-Fri. Most of the time my husband would leave to look for jobs, hang with friends, or ride his bike. When he would arrive home he'd complain to me about any type of mess (not related to the daycare) and the fact I hadn't cleaned yet. He said my job wasn't a "real job."
Since our daughter was born if I need a break or to do something that she cannot accompany me, I have to ask him to watch our daughter, and it always seemed like an inconvenience, most the time he can't and I have to reschedule to when it's convenient for him.
He finally has a job again that he has kept for 6 months now. I also work full time and am in school full time. I ask for help around house and it's always a blow up fight, he says "either do it all myself, or do nothing and he will do it" so I tried the do nothing but that resulted in him having a huge blow up, and leaving for 2 days. I even asked for him to just put away his own laundry, I wash, dry, fold all of it but that was a huge fight. He threatens leaving if I do not have sex at the exact time he wants it. We have sex at least 6 times a week and I give him oral almost everyday.
He keeps telling me if things don't change he is leaving, but I do not know what I'm doing wrong. He wants the house clean but it's never clean enough, he wants sex but it's never enough, he wants to be able to hang out with his friends as he pleases and I let him go but he says he never gets to leave. He literally leaves every night after work, I haven't had an evening to myself or seen one of my friends in almost 11 months. I literally do everything by myself but he makes more money than me now so he feels he works harder.
When he is upset, he calls me names, or brings things up that hurt. For example, I was raped as a child and have herpes as a result, and he let's me know all the time how he deals with that, and doesn't say anything. I have never gotten over the embarrassment of it and he knows this.
What can I do? I love him so much and so does our daughter. He is amazing in front of her, and she adores him. I really don't want to lose him or have to fight for her.
When children are victimized, they often grow up into adults that unconsciously seek similar types of relationships. In your case, the horror and trauma of your childhood sexual abuse was compounded by the fact that you (either then or later) ended up with a sexually transmitted disease, which probably made you feel even more tainted and damaged.
There's good news and bad news. The bad news is your husband is a narcissist, even worse than this guy, and seems to almost take sadistic glee in giving you impossible hoops to jump through in order to gain his favor. The other bad news is that you are masochistic and an enabler, allowing him to treat you like garbage. You even give him daily blowjobs in exchange for his nasty behavior and disregard of you as a human being. Oh and the third bad news, the Really Bad News, is you are raising a daughter with this man. Even if you say he doesn't act bad in front of her, there is no way in hell that your daughter doesn't sense his blatant disrespect of you, overhear some of the fights, or hear the tone in which he speaks to you. She is learning that this is what marriage is about.
What's the good news, you ask? First, herpes is not a terminal disease, and it is very common. Let me assure you and all of my readers that I have many many clients who have herpes, and many of them met their eventual spouses while having it. I bet you anything that you think that you couldn't get another guy because of your herpes, and you are 100% wrong. The other good news is that therapy is very helpful in allowing people who struggle with codependency and low self-esteem to gain the strength and perspective to assert themselves in and/or leave abusive marriages. And make no mistake, this is the definition of an emotionally and verbally abusive marriage.
I do not know the details of your childhood rape or other traumas in your life, but somewhere along the line, you started to think of yourself as a victim, and as someone who doesn't deserve to be treated well. Then you met your husband, who seems to be a classic narcissist and has trouble getting along with everyone, not just you (note his inability to keep a job). You were drawn to him because of other narcissists in your life (likely parents) and now you continue to maintain a fantasy that one day he will change into a loving and giving person. It is extraordinarily unlikely that this will happen. However, you are only 27, so more good news here is that you have the rest of your life to find yourself a new partner, who treats you with respect and kindness.
I suggest you get into both individual and couples counseling ASAP. If you have no time or money or he refuses couples (which is likely) then go to a lawyer and figure out how to leave him while maintaining your finances. If he's good with your daughter, split custody. '
Divorce is extremely difficult, and you will miss your daughter during your husband's time with her, but it is a small price to pay for regaining your self-respect and getting out of this abusive marriage.
Good luck and thanks for writing in. Till we meet again, I remain, The Blogapist Who Says, Get Out Get Out Get Out.
This post was originally published here on Dr. Psych Mom. Follow Dr. Rodman on Dr. Psych Mom, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest. Order her book, How to Talk to Your Kids about Your Divorce: Healthy, Effective Communication Techniques for Your Changing Family. Learn about Dr. Rodman's private practice here. This blog is not intended as diagnosis, assessment, or treatment, and should not replace consultation with your medical provider.