Tired of walking on eggshells

by Wanting to move on without him
(United States)

I have been married for 27 years. My husband is nine years older than I am. From the very start of our relationship, my husband was very controlling and had a very serious anger problem.

I am a minister and have been very successful over the years, allowing our family to have a lot of perks, cars, money, etc. When the real estate market crashed, we lost everything. I was somewhat relived because I carried a lot of weight for many years with having to make sure we maintained this lifestyle.

I have since then started other businesses. The businesses are doing well which means we will be back in position to enjoy the perks we once had. My husband has a stable job that takes care of our current living situation and mainly takes care of our health care benefits, which is much appreciated and necessary for our stable foundation.

I feel like I need to divorce this man because he still has not learned to respect me. When my daughter was younger, he was always impatient, verbally and physically abusive, bullied me and was very arrogant and selfish. Although he is no longer physically abusive, he is still very verbally abusive.
He treats me like I am the enemy, when he feels like cursing me out, he does just that. He is loud and feels like he can disrespect me in front of his sister and his brother-in-law (which he considers his best friend).

Now that I am in a different season of my life I am not going to allow the disrespect ANYMORE. I have bent over backwards to make sure my husband feels respected, cared for and loved. I encourage him, I always speak very highly of him and I am always available for him intimately. I'm just tried and I have a strong desire to move forward into my latter years without feeling like I have to walk on eggshells around him.

I understand there are no perfect relationships. But what I will not continue is to allow my husband to continue to verbally abuse me. Over the years, my husband has done this many, many times. I would threaten him, he would get better and then he goes back to the same behavior. His negative energy is contagious and it is draining me. If I say the glass is half full, he says it's empty. If I say it's black, he says it is white. He constantly wants to be right and is too controlling. And I am tired. I feel like I need to call his bluff and prove to him, I will no longer tolerate his behavior of calling me words that I do not deserve.

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Sweetheart turned Evil
by: Kristy

I have been married for 19 years and have known my husband for 21 years. We were best friends for 1 year, then dated for 1 year, then decided we should get married right out of high school. Before we were married it was amazing. He was super nice, he would bring medicine when I was sick, or flowers just because. He even went out and bought all the CD’s I used to listen to so he would know the songs and we would sing them together.

Well, I thought I knew him pretty well until the day after our wedding, he completely changed he became very, very controlling. He ripped up all my clothes, disconnected the phone so I couldn’t call my family or friends, wouldn’t let me wear makeup. He would say I have no family, that he was my only family. Then he started with verbally abusing me and physically abusing me and emotionally abusing me. I would get mad at his parents for not saying anything to him. I found out later that his mom went thru the same thing with his dad, so his mom would tell me that she didn’t want to get involved.

I have tried to leave him several times then the guilt sets in. I tried divorcing him but then I would have to pay him alimony. He has told me he would take me for everything I got. So I stay quiet and I pick my words wisely because any little thing sets him off. I work nights with 12hrs shifts and when I get home in the morning I’m extremely tired. One morning when I got home, he was mad that I forgot to fold his clothes. And me being tired, I said in a tired voice Oh I forgot I’m sorry. He got so mad I thought he popped a blood vessel. And today before I went into my shift he came home early and saw me just glance outside our bedroom window. He said "oh who are you trying to get at, are you expecting someone, maybe your boyfriend". He was sooo mad it scared me.

We have 4 kids together and they even have told me they hate it when he is home because we all have to walk on eggs shells around him. If I am acting silly with my kids he tells me to stop and act my age. My kids and I have a code for when he is around. I am very tired emotionally, physically. I want my old bubbly, happy confidant self back. I know she is still in there somewhere.

Still walking on egg shells
by: A Year On

Reading everyone's stories and mine is exactly the same. It just been over a year and I can say I actually am happy. I have been to counseling and I still feel the anxiety of walking on eggshells. Reading these stories helps me process why did I stay and put up with it for so long? The weeks and months of constant stonewalling, being called every name under the sun, not providing enough, not being good enough, never making people happy no matter how hard I tried, demanding money, it was so exhausting.

If you are feeling this way. please walk away. Life is too short. These type of people don't have the guts to say they are unhappy and to do something about it. They will chip away, taking your self-esteem away and identity and wait for you to act crazy. Only then do you realize there is no hope, by then you have damaged the family unit beyond repair. All I now want in life is for my four sons to never to treat their partners this way, I would be truly heartbroken. I wish everyone luck and happiness.

by: Shines

Love shouldn't be exhausting. Once my husband decided I was cheating, just because I was speaking with another man regarding my brother. It just seems to morph into all kinds of jealous and controlling behavior. No one was left out. Male friends from high school, someone I went to lunch with (and left because I felt uncomfortable) and GOD forbid the fact that I did cheat on my first husband. You start wishing that you have NEVER confided these things when you were "in love". Who knew it would all be thrown back at you. I've never looked at another guy since we decided to get married. Probably will NEVER be with another person, because I can't let someone have that control. It's an awful feeling. We've been together 20, married for 15. I lose his wonderful family and he loses my grandkids that do not know they are not his blood babies. It breaks me apart, but I must save myself.

Killing me softly but still killing me
by: NM

I’m literally in tears because all the responses on here sadly familiar. My husband has me walking on eggshells around him at all times. He gets angry over nothing and has been physically and verbally abusive. Prime example of this is recently my daughter removed her makeup in our bathroom and he saw the makeup wipes in the trash. Mind you my daughter is a darker complexion than myself and I had been in the house all day but it still lead to a horrible fight. He says the nastiest things about me and always accuses me of cheating. I work full time at home and we recently moved out of state so I don’t know anyone. I feel alienated, lonely and alone. This man who is supposed to be my partner is more like my biggest enemy. I’ve told him over and over how I feel but he doesn’t care or seem to understand and will never change. I’m leaving.

From a younger viewpoint
by: Kyree

So I am 34 and haven't been married for the years that the others have on this post. I have been married for almost 4 years now and even though my husband is smart and successful and has always shown up for me, he has this other side to him. It's scary and ugly and so confusing to me.

When we first started dating he would constantly spoil me with trips and expensive gifts and he was super gentlemanly and to be honest I guess he still is. He always opens my door on the car first for me and opens doors for me when we are out. He always does things that would say to an outsider that he is just protective of me, but now I know that it's really just because he views me as his property.

He has an explosive temper and had been physically violent with me at times. He never acknowledges my issues and he doesn't even give me the consideration of acting like he is listening to me when I am pouring my heart out trying to explain how these actions make me feel. He not only doesn't listen, but he scoffs at me like I'm so ridiculous and I am the one with the problem. It can be as little as crumbs on the kitchen floor that sends him into this rage.

I don't want to sound like a victim here because I did choose to be with him and I have chosen to stay up until this point, but that's because we have really good periods of time when everything is great and it can last for months at a time. Thing is, even when it's going great I still always feel like I'm walking on eggshells because I know that it can change any second. I can't tell you how many times I have said 'let’s wait to see what kind of mood he is in first' or 'no that won't work because he just came off of a long shift and if I ask him now he will blow up'. It's exhausting at times and I have started to question my own sanity.

I don't think I have mentioned that he is also 14 years older than me. He is also a doctor and so he is under tremendous pressure at work and I get that and I try to be sensitive to that. Thing is, that doesn't seem to be the issue because it's not the big things that sets him off, it's the small things like asking him to go to get groceries or my dog not being affectionate to him. That's another thing… he bullies my dog, not physically but he tries to intimidate her and make her feel uncomfortable. That really scares me because I have never been around anyone before who would treat an animal that way. When he is home I always feel like I have to keep them separate for her sake.

I'm just not positive the great times are worth the rest. It's really not all of the time but it's often enough I am writing this post and often enough that I am constantly walking on eggshells now. That's what my life has become, always wondering what mood he will be in from one day to the next. He has even told me before that he bought me so he can do whatever he wants. He apologized later and said he didn't mean it, but he meant it.

If you’re in a situation like this and are in a position to leave I would say to run. I just doubt that I will ever be able to take my own advice. Like I said though I don't want to be viewed as a victim because I stay. I just think that regardless of how afraid you are of being viewed by society for being divorced or whatever the reason, it will be better if you leave and you will be free. That's worth it I think.

Also to the guy who posted from the other side. Men need to remember that even if you 'only' exploded every once in a while it just takes it happening once and your wife will feel from that moment on that she is needs to walk on eggshells around you for fear it will happen again. She will at that moment start to fear you and your moods and when it will happen again. From that moment start on you have changed how she will forever feel around you.

Stripped of my identity.
by: depressed and lonely

WOW! There really are people out there that feel similar to how I feel. I have been married for over 20 years. Now that I am in my last season of life I have come to realize that it was all such a mistake. It is not my first time around the block so to speak, but the first in this sort of narcissistic relationship. Before in all my relationships I just walked out; sure of myself and knowing I would pick myself up and continue on in life.

Now I have put up with a functioning alcoholic who can't go a day without chipping away at what is left of my self-esteem. He has truly broken my spirit by controlling "everything". Money, grocery shopping, bills, what car I drive, down to telling me I use too much toilet paper! Can you imagine that? He will argue with me about everything and anything. I am always wrong. He tells me every day how much he hates being married and would have a real life without me.

I am financially dependent upon him because I am older now and it has made me insecure. Really, if it was 20 years ago and I knew then how he was I would have been long gone. So I walk on eggshells, but still if I say or do the wrong thing in his eyes World War 3 breaks out. The problem is I take so much, then I fight back. He resorts to going to bed. Same thing the next day and so on.

I don't know what happened to all the happy times; I think I was always just kidding myself that it would get better. Kids are all grown, I hate being alone… I am every day until he comes home from work. I am so trapped. Not sure what to do. Money does make the world go around... because seeing as I no longer work or have any money is keeping me from making the decision I should have made long ago. Since I don't work any longer I can't even confide in friends or have any interests. I feel like I am just waiting for the final calling...

Signed: depressed and lonely...

Women who are Divorced do get treated differently.
by: Tired Too

I been told this many times, "If you leave your husband at an older age, don't expected to be treated the same".

I too walk on eggshells, sometimes. My husband and I barely speak. We hardly go anyplace together. He gets upset over things that make no sense. For example, his friend and wife are going to vacation for ten days. And he seemed to start getting an altitude about it. Usually it starts out with I'm tired of being poor. Well when I see the attitude pop up, I become the enabler by making light of everything.

I been putting up with this for a while. Now 30 years later, I'm getting tired. I gave it my all. I always tried to make him happy and put his needs first. Now, I put my needs first. I got asked to lunch once. It was so nice to be with someone where I didn't feel like I'm walking on eggshells. So I thought divorce. There is something or someone missing in my life. But I have been told to be aware.

Once you’re alone and have that title of newly divorced, people will treat you differently.

Same story
by: Michelle L

Reading these stories is like a mirror image of my life...in a way. However, I am totally dependent on him financially and if we split, I will be homeless and penniless. I am 52 years old and made the mistake of being "old school" by allowing the man to earn the money while I was the full time home maker and full time mother.

Disabled now due to serious back problems, I am trying hard to at least get approved for SSI even if it’s just $700 a month at least it’s a start. He always said he would leave and hide somewhere on this planet before he would pay me alimony.

We share pets, not kids, thankfully, but that saddens me too because he would keep the pets (where would I put them??) we have five cats and one dog and they all love me and depend on ME. He would not know how to care for them. I am sick over this. Even more sick is that I wish he would just get sick and pass away Is that TERRIBLE or is that TERRIBLE?

Emotionally manipulative
by: Julianne

I've been married for almost 27 years. The first 15, I was so busy having babies and taking care of everyone it was easy to go with the flow. And I had enough energy and good will in me to forgive and forget.

Eventually, the cycle of abuse and manipulation got clearer. He'd get stressed out and just start ignoring me, not touching me, not interested in me, was overwhelmed and pessimistic, depressed and aggravated by everything. He needed everything to go his way - if I tried to talk to him, he twisted everything around to make me think I was crazy. I started doubting my own thoughts - was I so unlovable, so insane?

My self-esteem eroded and I blamed myself for our problems until I realized it wasn't me. When I'd had enough I'd let him know - and he'd apologize that I felt that way - or that I had interpreted his actions in such a negative way, (not apologize for what his did, though) he said he'd try, he didn't want to lose me, he loved me. He'd be sweeter, he'd be more physical and affectionate, he would try to be more attentive and kinder for a week or two, but it didn't last.

Eventually, the sweeter times got shorter and the controlling mean abusive times got longer and I had less and less to give. And it took more and more of his trying to make me feel anything. He broke me. I am numb and emotionless now. We decided to separate after the holidays because we can't afford two households right now. I've been sick with so many things over the last 10 years, I almost left him then. I should've listened to my body and my soul - it knew he was going to drive me nuts! Now I can start over and finally take care of myself, if I can remember how!

From the other side
by: Jim

I disagree, a divorce may not be the answer. 2 and half months ago my wife of 21 years came to me and said she wanted a divorce, she was walking on eggshells. I was devastated. I never expected it. In fact we just came off a wonderful weekend in NY and 24 hours later she wants a divorce.

The eggshells? I never heard this before, I did not know. I have never been physically abusive but looking back I was verbally. About once a month I would blow up about something stupid and turn an issues or small argument into a giant fight always trying to prove I was right. I have always been faithful and to me we had a good marriage. But I never knew.

She met a man and began an emotional affair that gave her the strength to want to divorce me and with that, my life, the woman I truly adore, our family were gone.

I wish I could speak to the men here, those few weeks were darker than any I have ever imagined. Hurt by the surprise, the loss, the infidelity, the loneliness, and now, with the knowledge of the hurt I caused (the eggshells if you will), I made the commitment to step up and fight for my wife.

It’s only been two months but here is what I have done:

Vowed to tell my wife how much I love and adore her every day, many times a day. I send her every morning a "Love text" telling her how I appreciate her. I call her, I ask her about her day, I do something nice for her every day.

I connect with her each day; drinks out of the house, just talking at night, in bed.

I talked to the doctor about anxiety meds and started them.

I am seeing a counselor to help with the anxiety and help me forgive the infidelity knowing the bigger picture, the marriage, is more important.

I am getting out of my comfort zone so I don't slip back - I switched sides in the bed so I wake up every morning reminding myself that things must be different. I hated to dance but she loves it, so I dumped $2k into dancing lessons for me.

I carry in a small containing in my pocket of eggshells so I never forget.

I WOULD HAVE done all of this without the declaration of divorce if I only knew. We men are dumb creatures; if you want the marriage to work find a way to get through to him. Have a friend help, anything, but you need to tell him how you feel.

Things are on the mend but it will be a long road. We are both hopeful and excited about the potential new future.

Tell him!

Tired of walking on Eggshells
by: Leslie

Yes these type of men are night mares to divorce (Usually your passive-aggressive or Narcissistic personally types) I am still just now after 15 months and 7K later coming to a settlement. He filed the divorce on top of it and created the run up of costs to lawyers. Has lied throughout the whole discovery process, covered up his assets to debt ratio, and to think I loved this man broke my heart. I don't know who he is after 12 yrs.

But also you have to be true to yourself. I will admit I got so tired of coming home after work after my kid texting me at work that my husband's in a bad mood again; coming home IN a good mood just to let someone with negative emotions shoot it down. After a while I admit some nights I just drove home slower. And I gave up on walking in happy.

They will suck your happiness if you allow it. That’s why I let the divorce ride and didn't really try to make it work towards the last year, nor tried real hard to get back together. It hasn't been easy and I have my moments I do miss him. But again, it’s no way to live, walking on Egg shells, riding the roller coaster of emotions. One day this it OK, the next it is not.

For MY self, no company is better than bad company. There are all kinds of things in the world other than dealing with a negative person who wants to suck your joy down as they are. So true: Misery loves company. Best to all, and find your inner peace. God bless!

Feeling the same way...
by: Allison

Reading your story is like a mirror image of mine! I am struggling with the decision to divorce or not to divorce. My husband is exactly as yours in that in the beginning, there was a lot of physical abuse (on both sides) but as we grew, that died down but not his verbal abuse.

Now, I am just tired of the intimidation. I have done all that you have done: he is on SS disability has had cancer, bypass surgery, and other medical issues and yet, I completely supported and took care of him through all of this. My husband's 36-year-old son died last May of a drug overdose and although he was my stepson (we have been married for almost 29 years), I seem to be feeling the loss more than my husband, who simply "blames" my stepson for having a drug addiction.

I am like you...tired! I love my husband with all my heart but I am so tired of not being able to tell him things that are bothering him without him blowing up at me, especially where he is concerned. He tries to control me in certain situations (not always) to the point that I am scared to even move sometimes for fear that he will physically stop me as he used to. His brother is the same way and my sister-in-law has lived like that for over 40 years!

At 50 years old, I feel that I have had enough no matter how much I love him. I would rather be by myself for the next 20 years rather than live like this. My husband does do a lot for me but it's his anger and control issues that are completely destroying who I am...

Prepare to be alone in a couple's world.
by: BeenThere

You are making a very difficult decision, however, most likely a positive one. Please be prepared for this man to make the divorce process very difficult as "what is his is his" and "what is yours is his" in his mind. My ex (after 25 years) got a Harvard attorney to attempt to extort me, and yet he was the one cheating, lying and abusing. I was happy with a 50/50 split but he probably spent thousands of dollars attempting to destroy me for three years. The court saw through him and his blowhard attorney though.

Our friends remained "his" friends due to his lies about me and "my behavior" designed to cover up his affair at his work. It was his behavior that didn't pass the smell test. As strong as I was, our society isn't designed for including women married over 25 years and then single.

Prepare to be excluded from most social life except with the other single women. And the men, like your ex, are looking to refill their job description for a wife to take care of them and their "needs." Married couples don't socialize with divorced women and there aren't very many singles out there, male or female.

Ten years later, I am not at all lonely, but I am very much alone in the social sense. It took a while to get used to and was disorienting for quite some time!

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