Abusive Relationships/Emotionally exhausted


Are these sort of marital problems normal? I feel like I am going crazy!My husband was in the military for many years, so I know tidiness must be order of the day, but I feel like my husband is controlling, in a freakish way. Worst part is I have nobody to talk to, so not sure if these problems I am facing are just part of normal marital issues or something bigger. Is it normal if he gets really upset over stupid things? Like I laid my spoon on an old piece of towel on the counter versus a new piece of paper towel. He doesn't want me to lay the spoon directly on the counter it has to be on a paper. He doesn't want me to eat potato chips on the couch. He's upset if I leave half a drawer open. He gets pissed off if I walk in the bedroom wearing shoes I used to go out earlier, but then our dogs are free to walk about in the bedroom! If I get pissed off because of his requests, he gets more pissed off and then says he tried to say it nicely. Lately though, I get really mad and slam the door in hopes that he notices how angry he makes me and would make it stop, but so far no method seems to work to make him stop. He always come up with something new. Today he said I should just leave. He says this all the time, but I am getting tired of hearing it and am thinking to leave for real. He has a history of getting into fights with his ex girlfriends as well. When he worked I thought it was stress, so I closed an eye on it. Now, that we both work at home and there's no real stress triggers, I think it's just the way he is. I am tired of fighting. Also, the more I try to comply to his requests, the more he comes up with newer ones. Once, I was helping my grandma peel tomatoes and my dad told him 'Aren't you going to help them out?" my husband got really mad for this remark. He refused to eat dinner with my family for 3 days. My dad was upset from his reaction and a big fight erupted. My husband told my dad " Be careful or I am going to break your last teeth." I never forgot those words. There was also a time I thought he was cheating on me, but he denied everything even though I found an e-mail that took me to a picture of a girl and then found a condom in his wallet. He swore the e-mail he created it for his boss who had an affair with that girl and that the condom was there since we moved and he put it there months earlier and forgot about it. This was like 10 years ago.

The only reason I guess am I still with him is I feel responsible to adhere to our marriage and I love our dogs. Even though we make peace every time, there's always another fight around the corner and my husband thinks it's normal and all couples go through them, but I'm starting to think differently and feel exhausted not sure if I need a break or to leave for good. I will be going to Italy in 10 days to visit my family and I am thinking maybe this is a good time to leave. Yet, I worry about how he will be able to live financially since I bring most of the money with my business. He would be left with a high mortgage.I watch dogs as a business and he doesn't like it even though it helps us survive. He doesn't lift a finger to help me and if I need to ask for help like watch a dog 5 minutes while I use the restroom it's like who knows what I am asking him. I also have a hard time thinking about leaving my dogs. How can people divorce and leave children, when I can't even cope with leaving my dogs? It must be terrible tough. We have been married almost 16 years, I was very young back then (21) and even though we would fight over stupid things, I could get over it. Now, my blood pressure raises high. Maybe, I feel I am old enough and deserve more respect. Maybe I got tired of it. Maybe I feel I deserve better.  He never really hit me or anything, even though at times he acted as if  he would and when he's very angry sometimes I feel like I must not react too much or it could escalate too much. I know tomorrow he will come to me to say he is sorry. He'll likely say he was stressed because I got a dog to watch in our home (and he didn't want me to) and it disrupts our routine. He accused me earlier of taking this dog not because we need money but because I am too weak to say no to the client. Yet, these dogs are what allow us to work at home and pay our bills.

When I met him, I remember the first time we fought it was over something stupid. I remember though I was surprised at how stupid it was. It was raining and I was holding the umbrella and he got mad that I wasn't holding it well. With his ex, he risked one leaving him because he told her she drove badly. Another one because he got pissed off at her for not listening to him on how to fix the computer. I have always known to be patient and understanding and I think that was what has saved our marriage. Today though, I am feeling how suppressed my behaviors are around him and how free and happy I feel when I travel without him. I think he is having a big effect on my self esteem. I started noticing I often swallow when I talk to him. I think it's a sign of me being nervous. His reactions at times scare me. I have a hard time admitting this. My mom once told me I am a saint to stand him. I need help to understand what is happening and how I should cope with this, sorry if it's long. I think if I must leave him now is the time as I will have support from my family in Italy. Thank you for your time.

Hi Maria,

Thank you for reaching out and asking what is going on and am very sorry to hear about such emotional abuse occurring in your relationship. Your question of are such martial problems normal and the answer is all relationships have struggles and disagreements. But when one partner starts to feel negatively impacted by these events, then something has to change otherwise that person’s self-esteem will continue to erode like you are experiencing.

Your description of how he wants you to behave and do things are definite signs of him needing control. His anger and abnormal responses when you or other people try to talk to him about these issues is also another sign of him needing control. Controlling situations and behaviors as such causes their partners to feel like they are going crazy, nervous, scared and become emotional exhausted along with losing self-esteem just like you described. Controlling and compulsive behavior as such usually does not EVER change. There is nothing you can do for him. This is his problem and he has to admit that he has a problem and seek professional help but most don’t because they can’t see that they have a problem.

My suggestion is for you to listen to your inner voice and intuition and stay with your family on your visit and see a professional counselor who understands controlling behavior.  Learning and understanding that your patience and understanding, which is a good trait, is being taken advantage of and learn ways to rebuild the self-esteem that has been taken away from you. You deserve the very best in life and living with someone who builds you up not tear you down.

Have belief that he can take care of himself financially and that you will do what is best for the dogs along with doing what is best for your health and well-being. If your husband sees a professional, then he will be taking the right steps to help himself. But these programs usually take a year to complete so I would suggest you stay away until he completes his program and then reevaluate the relationship if  you so choose.

Just remember, this is not your fault that your husband has this condition. He will act like this forever unless he gets serious help in wanting to change. But he MUST want to change or else he will NOT change. Working on yourself and rebuilding your life needs to be your focus and direction at this time for you to be healthy and whole again. Living with emotional fear and exhaustion will only continue and get worse if you don't take the proper steps of taking care of yourself.

Please write again with any more questions as you move forward from here. You have the power to turn you life around to be happy again.

Much peace to you,

Coach Cathy,
Cathy Backlund, Life Coach, Specializing in Abusive Relationships and Domestic Violence Education

Abusive Relationships

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Cathy Backlund, Life Coach in Abuse & Domestic Violence


Are you unsure if you are living in an abusive relationship? Are you feeling confused, angry or hurt and don't know what to do? I can help you determine if you are in an abusive or unhealthy relationship and provide suggestions on how to create a plan for your happiness, health and well-being! Please ask questions to find out answers today! Everyone deserves to live life with happiness and joy, and I am here to help you. Are you ready to find out how you can live a better and happier life? If you are, please ask your questions today!! Asking and finding the answers you are looking for is the first step to improve you joy and happiness!


I am a Certified Life Coach Specializing in Prevention and Education of Domestic Abuse and Violence.

•SPARCC (Safe Place And Rape Crisis Center), Sarasota, FL •CAT (Sarasota Violence Prevention Community Action Team) •Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence •Guardian Ad Litem 12th Judicial Circuit of Florida

Please visit my webpage for more information and articles about abusive relationships and domestic violence at www.LifeCoachCathy.com or www.DomesticViolence-Education.com. I am here with you, while you find answers that help you!

•B.S. from Evergreen State College, Olympia, WA •Core Competency Course from the Shelter for Abused Women and Children, Naples, FL •Life Coach Training from Changepoint Coaching & Consulting Association •Advanced Training from The Institute for Relational Harm Reduction & Public Pathology •Sexual Violence Core Training from Florida Council Against Sexual Violence •High Risk Domestic Violence Training by Lundy Bancroft and Sarasota Police Dept, FL •Court Assistance Training from SPARCC (Safe Place and Rape Crisis Center, Sarasota, FL •Principles of Prevention by The Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) •Guardian Ad Litem 12th Judicial Circuit of Florida

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