He Emotionally Destroyed Me

by Janet
(Washington)

He was so mentally and emotionally abusive over a two year period that I woke up one day and saw that he had gradually all but destroyed me mentally and emotionally. It was a gradual planned package and I didn't realize what was happening until I suddenly realized one day I was no longer ME. He now tells me, he is sorry for doing this to me (he only tells me this in private). In public he says he has never done anything to me and that it is all in my head!!! Man, I just cannot believe one human being would purposely set out to mentally and emotionally destroy a partner he had been married to for 17 years. He retired 2 years ago and a few weeks after retirement I noticed a change in how he was treating me and his emotional disconnection. I tried to talk to him about it several times but he would tell me it was all in my head, I was crazy, what was the matter with me........

I also cannot believe I allowed someone to come within an inch of mentally and emotionally destroying me. The sad thing is I am a mess. I am in the middle of divorcing him. The first attempt was one month away from being final when after much marriage counseling we dismissed the divorce. It only took 5 months for the same actions to start all over again so I moved out and filed for divorce again.

Washington state is a no fault state and as with many states the legal system does not recognize abuse unless you are bloody (physical abuse) so too bad for you. I guess you are supposed to realize what is happening and if the fire is to hot get out of the kitchen before your brains are fried.

Comments for He Emotionally Destroyed Me

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I want out
by: NotAppreciated

I'm 27 years into a marriage that has slowly become more and more emotionally abusive, like the proverbial frog being boiled in a pot. 6 months ago I told him I wanted a divorce. My whole family turned on me. My adult sons said I was being unbiblical and destroying the family and it was my fault. My mother said I shouldn't leave because there was no guarantee I will find something better (I told her being alone was better than being treated like this). They were more concerned about how they were going to live if we get divorced (because they live in our home) than about how I was being treated. The message from them was that I don't matter, I can suffer through it as long as they get what they want.

Most of the marriage advice out there says the same--try harder, be better, be understanding, and do more to show him you care. I've spent the last two decades with all of our lives revolving around him--family dinner at 1:30 in the afternoon to accommodate his schedule. Keeping the kids quiet until after noon. Doing the single-parent thing for all evening and weekend activities. Listening to him complain about how he doesn't get to participate in anything, guilt trips to "have fun without me", but being told no every time we ask him to go with us or to join us for a board game or to play basketball in the driveway. I didn't make food I like for twenty years because he didn't like it. Hearing him complain about how much it sucks that he has to work the holidays, then finding out years later that he has actually volunteered to work every holiday for the last 15 years.

The day I said I wanted a divorce was 3 days after our grandchild was born. I had been included at the birth. They had asked my advice on a trivial matter. I was feeling appreciated, and I made the mistake of telling him so. I told him it was nice to know after all these years of being a homeschool mom, a housewife, and working childcare, that somebody appreciated I had some experience and knowledge. His response was that it was good that WE had all that experience to share and that he had told our daughter-in-law that he would watch the baby all night if she wanted because he doesn't go to bed until I get up anyway.

I was putting on my shoes to take the trash out to the road and had said out loud that it was garbage day (my mistake). I walked into the kitchen to grab the trash and he took it out of my hands, saying "this is the reason the kids don't do their chores" and he walked the trash out leaving me wondering why me taking the trash out is enabling the kids but him taking the trash out is not. When he came back up the steps I snapped at him, "You don't know how much wouldn't get F*****g done around here if I didn't do it." He shook his head, leveled his eyes at me, and told me to watch my mouth. Saying that I am the reason our adult sons and teenage son have foul mouths. He was letting me know that I was not a good parent and that I had nothing to be proud of.

I just said, "I want a divorce. I want you to find somewhere else to live and move out". He emptied the bank account, called a divorce lawyer, and didn't talk to me for 3 days. When he came back he listened to what I had to say, and eventually dismissively said, "I apologize for all that stuff you say I did". We aren't divorced. He has slept in the living room for the last 6 months and I won't talk to him behind closed doors anymore. I told him I was done protecting his image, its high time people know the truth. I don't even try to talk to him about anything more important than what's for dinner anymore. If I do, I'm told I don't understand anything, I always take everything the wrong, I'm too sensitive, I overreact, he was joking....

We haven't had sex in 8 years. For the 7 years before that we only had sex if I asked him "Can we please have sex?" I stopped asking him because it was killing me to beg for sex, and he has since accused me of "teaching him a lesson" because I wouldn't ask anymore. I reminded him he hasn't initiated sex in 15 years, and he said, "No, I haven't".

When I married him he worked a daytime job. After our first 2 kids were born, he changed careers and took a night job. A few years later our 3rd child was born, and I told him we missed having him at Scouts, sporting events, church events, holidays, etc... And I asked him if he would consider getting a daytime job. His response was, "why the hell would I want to do that?" It's been 20 years now that I've gone to bed alone every night (yes, even on the weekends when he's off. He has to maintain his schedule which means staying up until 4 a.m.). He started sleeping in the living room when I told him I felt deserted because I'd been sleeping alone for 20 years, and that I don't want to share a bed with someone who doesn't want me to be his wife. I think he's teaching me another lesson, this is what deserted really looks like.

When my brother died and I cried he asked what I was crying for, after all I didn't like him anyway. When I was prepping the house for the home inspection for adopting our youngest, he didn't help at all. When I was prepping the house for our home appraisal a few years later, he was busy building squirrel feeders in the garage. When I was making room for our newest child, I moved everything and assembled everything. When I asked for a shelf in my closet I waited 7 years for it to happen, and then it only happened because I asked in front of his brother. When I've asked him to do anything for me it either isn't important or I can wait weeks or years for it, except the divorce. When I asked for a divorce he called a lawyer within the hour, and then told everybody he didn't want a divorce but was just giving me what I want. Teaching me lessons. I wish he had followed through and really given me what I want.

I want out. I want out so bad. I'm almost 50 years old and my job went away with Covid. We still have a teenager and preschooler at home. I am biding my time so I can get a job when the youngest starts school next year. In the meantime, I told him I will call him out every time he gives me the silent treatment, every time he is mean to our kids, every time he is "just joking" about how stupid we are, or lazy, or whatever. I called him out when he told our preschooler who was running a high fever to stop crying because it wasn't that bad.

And other people are starting to see it, finally. They didn't believe me, but now that it isn't behind closed doors they do. They see him say he doesn't want to hold his grandchild because "I just got rid of her". They see him tell me he's cleaning the kitchen while he's sitting in his chair in the living room and then tell me if I want it done any faster I can just do it myself--so I do. They see me cleaning up all the Thanksgiving food and when I asked for help he said "You don't want me to do that..." They see him sleeping in the living room. They saw him tell me how stupid I am, how uncaring, how irresponsible, how I have an anger issue and all the personal attacks when I try to address a specific issue with him. They see me apologize for my very existence because there is nothing right about me, while he sits there and admits no wrongs. And maybe, when I do leave, they will see it's not my fault. But even if they don't....I want out.

Ugh
by: Brandi

I left my narcissistic husband 2 years ago and I moved into a garage. Everything I have is gone. I lost friends, I lost family, and I lost jobs. And he was not worth it. The moment I moved into his house he started kicking me out every weekend… Accusing me of cheating and accusing me of stealing. Telling me I'm fat and I'm ugly, that I'm a barfly and a who*e.

But the worst part is, he kept bringing up a night where I was severely beaten, causing me flashbacks, stomach problems, concentration issues and sleeping problems. I cannot believe that someone would repeatedly remind me of the worst night of my life… a night that I that I thought I was going to die. After a terribly cruel attack of 4 days, I blacked out and laid on the floor for 3 hours. When he came home from work he yelled and screamed at me I didn't scream that much. And then he got his truck, leaving me there hurt, scared and in need of medical attention.

I left him, but I'm still not the same. I'm never going to be the same. He told me he loved me even after he did that to me. When I was leaving him, he asked me if there's still a chance for us. He left me there to die! I didn't know what was wrong with me, but it was the lack of sleep and the fact that I couldn't keep any food down and the stress that he had been causing me those 4 days. There are days that I wish he had killed me. Does it ever get better? Will I ever get better?

Emotional abuse
by: LeAnn

I walked out of my home of 22 years! I knew something was going on; his behavior was weird! After being married for 26 years I know him better than anyone! There is the girl that I was told he was seeing but he denies it! She was everywhere in my phone! All 3 of us were sharing my iCloud! Also I noticed that find my phone kept showing someone leaving where he was working! Well last week he and I both get this "I’m walking to your destination" because of our iCloud connection! Her name popped up on find my friend.

We had a family member die of Breast cancer a while back and she was using that phone number. When I told him what happened he just said F-it, the marriage is over! Guilty! Any normal human being would have said omg that’s awful! Also her address popped up and was connected to his IP address!

He still denies knowing her! He told me he thought I had early dementia! My daddy died from dementia and my mother has it and lives in an assisted living! Horrible mind games! The girl reached out to me and said he doesn’t love you, he’s lying and he always told me I could not take care of myself… again mind games! She said show him you can make it on your own, so I knew they had talked! She always said "if you only knew"

I left and filed for divorce and he has not checked on me one time! Well he texted me when I took money out, that’s it! I told my attorney that he really f-ed my head up! I wonder if he will treat her the same way! I’m so beaten down emotionally and she’s still spoofing phone numbers! I’m in a hotel hoping to find a place. He knows I’m hurting and she said he didn’t care! Again, how did she know that?

I’m in shock, I can’t eat, and I can’t sleep well! After 26 years you would think he would check in! He’s a sick individual. He also had a vasectomy and didn’t tell me (I should of left then)! Guess they are in love! I’m calmer since I left! He lied constantly saying I’m just reading a book when all along she was connected to his IP address I’ve shown him a lot of things but he still denies it! He told me if I brought up her name one more time he’s shutting the door! Says beyond my fault! I swear karma will get him!

Almost 70
by: Sophie

I can so relate to almost everything you women are saying. It’s amazing how in America, behind closed doors, things are never as they seem.

Emotionally exhausted
by: Madelyn

I have been married for 9 years now, I have been condoning this treatment for years and I finally think it’s time to break free. I have come to realize that this punishment is not worth my mental well-being and my babies’ upbringing. This man had turned into poison and I regret giving him so much power over me. I am finally seeing his true colors and I hate the man I see now. He has always been a womanizer and a nauseating creep. I feel hurt and broken with the treatment I get from him, but I am now finding a way out.

If you are looking for the page, you already should have left
by: Suzanne

This is what I am telling myself. He's never been easy to live with, but I dealt with it. We've been married 15 years and together 19. In January he started accusing me of cheating because I was talking to my brother's friend who was concerned about dementia in my brother. When he couldn't make the cheating stick (because I wasn't), he went back 20 years to when we were dating. Just beating me down.

I've got to get our house sold so that I can make decisions. I don't want to take him away from the grandbabies, but I can't risk him ever showing this side to them. I don't think he would, but they would eventually see our interactions as they grow and no one should think that is normal. I know I am a good person. He doesn't even SEE the damage he has done and is doing. How are you that blind? You say you love me? Nope, that's not love.

I'm a man who made the changes too late
by: Jimmy

I was married for 26 years. My wife had bipolar. She was being harassed by men and hooked on prescription drugs. She would hide in a closet and cut her arms. I once stood up to 8 men in a street gang to protect her at work. I fell in love, gave up a military career and plans to be a teacher. I worked many hours at low pay jobs to be near her family. I bought her a house and paid for her college. We had three kids. I nearly died from a disease.

I agreed to stay home with our first kid who is autistic. He was non-functional and I worked hard with specialists. They were amazed at how he progressed with me and suggested I write a book. He was an honor student in a typical class for the last 5 yrs.

I had aneurysms and developed PTSD & OCD. I became distant. She yelled at me every day for 26 yrs. I just stopped talking & slept alone. Now we're divorcing. I'm giving her the house and kids, even though I raised them. I had a recent transplant, no home, live on disability, and agreed to take a lot of debt. I'm living on bread and water & have no idea how I'm going to pay all of my bills. I had $30K in retirement to buy a trailer with, but she convinced me to pay bills with it weeks before divorcing me. So I have nothing and all my possessions fit in a couple of tubs. She, on the other hand, has a great job.

I raised my kids but haven't seen them for 6 weeks. Yet I blame myself because I became bitter & distant the last few years. She offered a trial separation. I changed all the things she said that bothered her. I accepted full blame. Yet she still divorced me. I see no hope in my life, nor any purpose to it. I admit I was at fault; I changed, but it was too late. I wish God had never made me.

He ruined me
by: Karla

I have been in a relationship for 7 years. He never worked and I have borrowed from friends, family, and have taken out loans to help us survive. I have lost all the assets I have had since I was 20. Finally, he pawned my gold jewelry and managed to lose that money as well. I found out rent wasn’t paid, so I was facing eviction on top of everything. He begged me not to leave, saying he would find a job. But he can’t work because of his Visa and he still hasn’t found a job.

He wasted 7 years of my life, leaving me thousands of dollars in debt and no place to live. I am ruined and he’s to blame. I am in my late 40s and don’t have a job. I don’t know what to do. I was so naïve and stupid. Now when I asked him what is going to happen next, he said it’s my fault. He said he can’t make it because he’s thinking of me and he gets wild when I ask him to leave. What can I do? How can I walk away?

Thank you
Karla

Emotionally destroyed
by: EmilyG

I'm rocking in the same boat. I want out as well ugggghhhh, it's sickening to my stomach. He's no damn good!

It never ends
by: Amanda

I also was abused by my so called husband and put up with it for over 25 years. I had no family because he hid addressees from me. My relationship with his family consisted of being ignored and rejected. I was subjected to name calling and told I was fat, unfit, mad, crazy etc. until the point I actually developed mental health issues and starved myself. I was a vegetarian (that was never accepted) and they would try to say I had an eating disorder, until I actually developed one.

My wedding was all arranged, not once was I asked if I wanted to marry him. Countless times I wanted to die, I couldn't accept that I failed my kids. I started to dream about locating my dad and followed through until I found him. Unfortunately he was dying and two calls later my father died. I never got to see him in 25 years, and then I found out my husband hid his address. He refused to bury my father, took all the money and called police saying I was harassing him.

That bitter twisted man would use his own son to abuse me, his so called love of his life ... My youngest son now lies for him to get me to go places where my ex is with his girlfriend. I saw him for what he is; no one who's truly happy needs to show his girlfriend off. He uses his own son to trick me so I am on my own for him to get maximum impact. I learned a hard lesson. No matter what, my ex will never use my son to hurt me or get me to attend any more events where my ex will humiliate me. I will not allow him to use my son to abuse and lie to me just like he once did. I told my son I would not be able to see him until he stops doing what his Dad requests. It has been the hardest thing I ever had to do, but the alternative is to allow this man to destroy me.

There is only so much peace I have; I pity my ex, not hate him. He has enough hate to eat him up. Although his moved on with his girlfriend, has he really? He is not at peace with what he did, he hates me because he has to hate in order for him to try and move on. I only think of how he abused me, used each of my dark secrets, used social services, and even the police against me. Yet he feels like he is the victim. How dare I leave, I ended our marriage, it’s all my fault the kids are petrified of me.... Then I recall ever single thing he ever said was about the boy he was. The only ever question he ever asked was about his bedroom skills, that's probably the only time I lied throughout our relationship.

My message is it never changes and despite everything he did during divorce including using his mum to lie, hiding property, lying in court, keeping me from my father, using my son against me, and the countless times he called the police, I've never ever regret leaving him. I only wish I did it years ago. Marriage is not a license to abuse and subject what is meant to be your soul, to the most horrific crimes against humanity, to take and crush someone who depends on you, who has married you for life, whose vows you not only laugh at but used as a weapon to control her. Marriage is not a license to destroy.

The hardest thing is, if you really love someone and they treat you this way, you owe it to them if not yourself to leave. Love does set you free.

I am emotionally destroyed
by: Alyssa

I met my husband when I was 19. We got married and those first couple of years we had a lot of family troubles. Due to all that he started to harbor a lot of resentment against me. He has pushed me, slapped me, tried to choke me and grabbed me by the back of my head and tried to smack me against a mirror. This has happened in a matter of 8 years; it is not consistent but is it seems to be getting worse. He says I annoy him and I start the problems, but he refuses to admit he has an anger problem.

Although he tells me he won’t do it again and that he did wrong, but I don't believe it for one second. The worst part is I need his approval, his attention, his affection even if my mind tells me otherwise, I can’t seem to listen to my mind or only friend that tell me to leave... what should I do?

I am now 30, with a steady job but afraid to move forward or alone...

This is your sign to leave.
by: Jan

If you're looking for a sign, this is it.

You need to get out. You need to go.

You need to heal.

Walking dead
by: Suzanne

I'm going through this 12 months after breaking up with my partner of nearly 5 years. I was a young bubbly woman when he meet me at a naive age of 21. He destroyed me, controlled me, and took control of my mind, my heart, and my fears. I would rather he had stuck a knife through my heart and murdered me, at least he would have been punished for what he did. For the last 12 months I have used strength to pick myself up, but some days the pain (mentally and emotionally) is making me feel like not continuing on in life. I believe in God but I don't understand how such a nasty evil person can get away with this type of behavior. Nobody knows truly what he put me through either. And I have lost friends and trust in everybody because of him while he sits back and laughs. He’s a murderer in my eyes for destroying a gentle loving soul like mine.

Oh, yes.
by: Renee

I can't believe that I didn't know what was happening. Maybe I saw it, but was too co-dependent to realize it at 31. I was raised by a narcissistic father but didn't realize I had married a narcissist. Regardless, I am diminished after 33 years of marriage and am trying to find my way back to the person I was in my late 20's. She was strong and a delight to know. It's been 2 1/2 years, with tremendous family stress thrown in, but I'm hoping for a reprieve from the hurt and soul-crushing pain. He, of course, moved on quite quickly. Ticks me off.

Emotional Abuser, Narcissist and Minister
by: Preacher's Wife

I am divorcing my husband of almost 15 yrs. I've suffered Public humiliation at the church. They would say he was just protecting me from other men because I was beautiful. I have been kept away from friends and family because of his behavior, it’s so embarrassing. I had no friends to come by the house. He had an affair, but I was always the one accused of cheating.

He would talk to me like the dirt under his shoe, then an hour later want to fool around. When I didn't want to, he would just pull my clothes down and do it anyway. We fought all the time. We'd fight until he'd convince me that my position in the argument was wrong and his was right. Eventually, I just shut down and went into a deep depression for years. When I began to fight back, that's when he started using any tool he could against me, even our own children.

Divorce can drain you but you have to go through it. It hasn't been easy because he is going kicking and screaming the entire way. But, I will not give in. Although some days, my heart (which I hate to admit) is still foolish enough to want to. He's just that good at being a manipulator.

Mentally separate
by: Summer

To survive an emotionally abusive marriage where you have no funds to leave, you must emotionally and psychologically disengage. Be there in body but not in spirit, guard your hearts! Stop depending on this person to fulfill your emotional needs. Stop looking for his attention and approval. Doing so and not getting it will destroy your self-esteem.

Be and live in your own mental bubble, a bubble that he can’t penetrate. Don’t be the wounded dog that whimpers and begs for attention, that's degrading and annoying even in healthy relationships. Last but not least pray like crazy for God to change your circumstances. Take solace in him and forget the jerk.

30+ years with a narcissist
by: Claude

I was so busy with my career and our son, I wasn't paying attention. Until I realized that he had destroyed my friendships, my career and my copycat son (if Daddy does, I do).

He would sneer or put down whatever I was doing or how I was doing it, but never made a mistake himself. He is the super hero of his own life. I decided to hang on until our son was out of the house. Getting there and dreaming of leaving everything behind, at 65.

My father had left us a good inheritance but he took the whole package and wasted it, refusing to let me decide to do with what was mine.

So, at 65, with no confidence or self-esteem, and with not much to my name, I must leave very soon or give up being me forever.

I am in a trap
by: Lynn

When I met my husband I had just been sexually assaulted and lost the love of my life. I thought he was my white knight because my self-worth was so low. He was so subtle about it, I did not realize he was doing it. I had a miscarriage which further drove me into severe depression, leaving him to talk and treat me anyway he wanted to for several years. We had children so I was busy with them.

I noticed his verbal abuse to me and the children, but when I tried to get out he told me he would have me declared an unfit mother because of a pill swallowing incident due to the depression. Well now I have been in this marriage for 29 years! Through therapy I am finally seeing the person I was 35 years ago. Even though I am disabled, I am still worth loving and deserve to be treated with respect.

He talks down to me. I am there for his pleasure when he wants it. Otherwise he ignores me and/or emotionally abuses me. I am sick of it. He now says that if I divorce him I will not get any money because I wanted the divorce. Our state is not a no fault state. I do not know how to GET OUT.

Abused
by: Sara

Hi, my husband has been abusing me for 5 years. He won’t sleep beside me or give me any affection... none. And he sleeps with every easy piece he can get. And yells and screams at me every day. He talks down to me. I have to jump to service him. I caught him in bed with his best friend’s wife. I hate him, but I have no money to leave. He says I’m old, ugly, and fat. And every day he has a list a mile long about everything I do wrong around the house. How can I get free help?

Mine was a Womanizer
by: ER

I too feel the same way. My husband always tells me it’s in my head. He has been a womanizer all our married life. I was just told how terrible a mother and housekeeper I was. My kids are 29 and 30 and their own. I feel he has poisoned me with my kids. I always feel like leaving him but have nowhere to go.

It used to be that I would stick it out for the kids, but now its "where do I go and where do I begin". He’s told me if I don't like it here to leave and there are lawyers out there. I am tired of always being depressed and seeing my husband drool over other women. My kids don't call me either.

Sympathy & empathy
by: Lexie

Sorry for what you're going through. I went through something similar with my ex. It was so subtle over a period of many years that I didn't even notice it happening. Now that we have been apart for a while I've been through the stage of "I can't believe I allowed him to do that to me for so long!" and I'm moving on to trying to figure out what is really me out of what is left. It's a slow process of rebuilding myself, but it took a long time to get broken down. I'm sure I will make it through & be so happy being ME & I wish the same for you.

Broken
by: Sandra

I completely agree. It breaks you down to where you don't even recognize the person in the mirror.

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