Dear Margo, My husband and I are constantly fighting about how my family treats me. I do admit that I let them take advantage of me, but it doesn't bother me. He says he can't sit by and see them make a fool of me and "what type of man is he if he allows it?". He screams at me at the top of his lungs, with bulging eyes and red face. Sometimes I feel he might even hit me. He threatens that if I don't "cut them off", he will either leave me or hurt them. However, if I make plans to do something without him, he's offended and angry, saying that I don't respect how he feels. He will not allow me to do anything without him. He says that marriage is a commitment and I am not taking it seriously enough if I need other people in my life. I have already cut my brother out, now my husband is looking for my sister and my aunt. I get headaches and my heart feels like it is going to explode. He doesn't think anyone else should matter but us. I'm so worried that if I do what he demands (cutting off everyone), and if something happens to him, I will be all alone...too embarrassed to reach out and try to mend relationships that I did not want to end in the first place. Believe it or not, he is a psychologist, and doesn't feel he's wrong and won't compromise with me. I'm even afraid to accept invitations to family functions for fear that he will start an argument and insist on walking out and demanding that I leave with him or else. I really miss socializing with my family on a normal basis. Any advice? - Maybe a Doormat
Dear Maybe, The fact that your husband is a psychologist may surprise some people, but not me. There's an old joke that psychiatrists (and by extension, psychotherapists of all stripes) are all a little bit screwy, and that they go in to the field to get answers to their own problems. Your spouse, who screams until his eyes bulge and his face becomes red, is not, let us say, well-adjusted. He also displays signs of the classic abuser: trying to extract you from your family; not allowing you to do anything without him; feels you need no one in your life except him. There is too much wrong here to be fixed, He is a damaged personality and your are his pinata, with the emphasis on HIS.
You did nothing "wrong" to him but he has done plenty "wrong" to you. Because he's threatened to hurt your family, my advice would be to get a restraining order against him, institute a divorce, and keep your whereabouts a mystery to him. I don't want to be dramatic, but I don't think your leaving him is what he has in mind, which is why I hope you will get your ducks in a row and run for it. Good luck. - Margo