Dear Dr. Archer,
I have been married to a physician for ten years, and have two children, ages 8 and 5. He is the most selfish and stingy person I know! He locks the phone in his satchel. In fact, he locks everything up in the house, and I have no access to anything!
My day begins with his scolding and ends with his shouting. He used to hit me badly, but two police complaints and a year of separation was a respite for me for a period of time. However, it has started again. He will wear the most expensive clothes, but won't buy a birthday dress for the children.
He will turn off the light when I'm in the bathroom. He will make up stories and put the blame on me. He cannot stand to see me feeding the children! He will shout at them if they eat a banana.
He keeps and measures the honey in the bottle. He won't buy any special food, like butter and biscuits for the children. He doesn't give me a penny; but he will buy provisions himself.
Whenever I give him the list of things to buy, it's a nightmare. He shouts when water is to be bought. Even though I keep track of the number of times I use the washing machine, he will yell, and tell me to have my father pay the bill.
How do I handle him? Is he suffering from some mental illness? What should I do? Please give me some psychological advice!
I can't determine if your husband has a mental illness and in fact I don’t care if he does. This is about you not him. He’s controlling and abusive, that’s all I need to know. What would happen if there was an emergency -- you do not even have access to a phone or money? Terrible!
Not only that, Asha, but you have two impressionable children that are witnessing this type of behavior and learning that this is ‘normal’. It's not; it's abuse. Marriage is a democracy, not a dictatorship, and right now you're living in a dictatorship.
My advice: First, talk to an attorney about your plight, line up a place to stay and tell him about the no money situation. Get everything set in advance. Then, talk with your husband -- no yelling, no getting angry.
Tell him what he is doing is unnecessary, makes you feel like a child and takes his attention away from his work, and that you would like to assume some responsibility in the family decisions.
If he refuses, tell him you are very sorry, but you can no longer live like this, and you want a divorce. Wait till he goes to work, pack the car and the kids and leave for your pre-set location.
Divorce is not fun, I know, but there are some things much worse, and one is being treated the way you are. Stand up for yourself and your children, Asha, and you won't regret it. I sincerely wish you well.