Domestic Violence/Is my marriage over

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Question
Hello I have been a happily married women to my high school sweetheart for 20+ years. In the past 6 months our lives got extremely stressful as my husband took 2 jobs in another city. And was working from 8 am till midnight most nights.  Before this we usually worked together and were together as much as possible as we have always been best friends. This sudden change was extremely hard on us we never saw each other or had time to talk anymore as I was working full time as well and taking care of all home life and kids as he was un able to help with anything anymore. We had many arguments about him quitting and the stress it was causing everyone. Before this we hardly ever argued. My husband and I went to our family doc to get medicine to help deal with the long days and depression we both were feeling. Doc put us on adderall and anti depressants.  The med my doc gave me made me feel worse and suicidal so my doc switched my med and after a month I was feeling worse again.  My husband also tried 3 different drugs as he was continuing to feel down and sad.  My husband also had a serious closed head injury about 6 yrs ago which made it very hard for him to remember day to day what happened and his mind would go blank and black out at times, which we were told that symptoms with his head would get worse during extreme stress and or depression. As the months went on he was feeling that there was no making me happy and that he had failed me. One night we were getting along great and things were feeling better I had just stopped taking all meds and my husband had just stopped taking his as well. He feel asleep on the couch and I woke him up after 30 minutes to go to bed. He woke up and was really angry and telling me he hated me, I thought it was a bad dream and he would be fine if he just went to bed so we headed to bed and he got violent and said he wished I was dead. I kept asking what's wrong what are mad about and he would just say it was none of my business. I thought he was having a mental break down he did not seem like he was even inside his body, it was so strange! I called the cops hoping he would get some mental help, but they just took him to jail. This is the first time in 22 yrs that he has ever been that mean and we had never had any violence before. Now he hates me for calling the cops and I believe he has filed for divorce as well.. Please help I am so confused to why this happened he claims he just snapped.  I don't want my marriage to be over but I don't know what to do........
Help,
Allie

Answer
Hi Allie,
I am so sorry to hear what has happened.  Long distance relationships can be very hard to maintain and it sounds like this was very hard on both of you.  

You ask if your marriage is over....that is hard to say.  You did the right thing in calling the police because your husband was out of control and you were in danger.  I believe the TBI is a likely culprit for his actions.  Individuals with brain injuries have difficulty with stress and I would tend to believe your husband when he says he just snapped. What I will say is that there is a very high probability that in his present condition, this could happen again so you are not safe if he doesn't get the help he needs.  You will need to set some boundaries with him if there is reconciliation and he is in the home with you.  This could look like an understanding that in the event he gets violent, you will leave..or you will call the police...or he will leave.  Whatever you both agree is a good boundary, it needs to be set.

My recommendation would be for your husband to work closely with his neurologist to identify what might have happened on a biological level.  Perhaps the doctor can explain to him the reality of the situation, why you did what you did and refer him to a counselor who understands TBI.  Your husband needs help, but as with any adult, it is his decision.  He is not making good decisions, but that is a symptom of TBI as well when people are under stress.  

I don't know if your marriage is over...it depends on your husband and what he is willing to do to help himself and the relationship.  

I wish you all the best as you face this difficult situation.  Please feel free to contact me again if I can be of any further assistance.

Domestic Violence

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Kriss Mitchell, M.Ed, CRC, CNHP

Expertise

I am able to answer questions with regard to problems that result from emotional abuse or physical abuse in both dating and marriage relationships. Having been in an abusive relationship for many years, I know first hand the feelings, the questions and the doubts we go through as we try to make decisions about our lives. Often victims of abuse have deep faith based concerns regarding staying in these kinds of relationships which I am able to address as well.

Experience

My background started as a victim of an emotionally abusive relationship as well as having family members who were victims of violence and physical abuse. I have gone on to become a professional counselor and I work with abused women.

Organizations
American Mental Health Counselors Association, American Association of Christian Counselors, International Association of Prayer Counselors

Publications
I currently maintain a blog at www.livingwellcc.blogspot.com. I also have links and currently written articles on my website at www.livingwellcc.com. You can also follow me on TWITTER @livingwellcc, or on facebook at Living Well Counseling and Consulting. My writings have appeared in The Good News Northwest and the North Idaho Business Journal

Education/Credentials
Licensed Professional Counselor, Board Certified Professional Christian Counselor, Certified Rehabilitation Counselor, Certified Natural Health Professional

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