Is restoration possible with a selfish, emotional abuser?

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    I have been with my spouse for 11 years, married for 7.5, and we have two lovely daughters together. Our relationship has been difficult from early on, and now as I look back, I realize that there were many red flags that I ignored or didn’t realize at the time. Since I have always loved him dearly, I have stayed and put up with emotional abuse for all these years. Unfortunately, I didn’t even realize that his behavior was abusive until we moved 4,000 miles away from home. He makes me feel guilty for the things I enjoy (like working and taking night photos) and doesn’t let me feel like I have a say in major decisions. I don’t feel like he really listens to me or even sees me or truly knows what matters to me. If I look nice for work, there are comments that I’m just dressed nice for work and not for him. When I wanted to work, I was “letting someone else raise our kids” and it would be on me if anything happened to them. When I wanted to visit home after being away for over a year, it was a huge fight over money and I should have gotten a job to pay for plane tickets. When I went home anyway, he made me feel guilty for not being here to help with winter prep, even though I was sitting by my stepmom’s hospital bedside and then helping my dad with her funeral arrangements. I was told to make sure I took time to grieve while I was there so I wouldn’t be “all crying and sh**” when I got home. The fights leading up to that trip and the things that happened while I was there broke something in me. That’s when I first started to think about leaving.

    I have stayed and tried to make things work for the sake of our girls, and last fall I told him I wanted to leave. We talked extensively about everything, he apologized and took responsibility for everything, he cried and begged me to give him one more chance, and so I did. He promised to change, and in a lot of ways he has. He has started helping me more around the house and with the kids, but he is still incredibly self-centered and prefers to play video games rather than spend time with us. He planned a weekend trip for us recently, and it really showed me that I don’t feel much for him anymore. We struggled to find things to talk about without the kids around. I appreciated the gesture, but I feel very numb and indifferent at this point. He is not all bad, and we have had some great times together. But in the big moments that mattered the most, I have felt so alone. I don’t even know why I’m posting or what I am asking. I’m just lost and feel guilty for not being more responsive to his attempts to be better. Sorry this is so long, and thank you for reading.


    Two words: Hell no.

    Complaining about winterizing the place while you were dealing with that stuff is just… um… err… um… Really, he couldn’t “winterize” by himself? Unless we’re talking an ag operation or similar, he should have been able to “winterize” by himself. Even if it was something like an ag operation, couldn’t get neighbors to help due to the situation (due to a**hole issues??)? I’m just without words. Maybe it’s a North Dakota thing, I don’t know, but sheesh.

    I am no psychologist, but I’m guessing that on that trip you saw the harsh reality of life. You saw somebody at the “end of the road” and compared yourself to them/saw yourself in that position. Then thought about all of the bulls*** that your husband was giving you.

    Hmmm, preferring video games over you/kids? Don’t get me wrong, video games can be fun (I play a few at times), they aren’t really a good substitute for interactions with people.


    Dear girlmom1115:

    You lost your loving feelings for him and you feel numb and indifferent. You want to know if restoration of those loving feelings is possible. I don’t know, of course. Best if you allow yourself to feel what you feel. If you no longer love him, let it be.

    I think that it is likely that you are emotionally attached to him even though you feel indifferent toward him. I think that you are likely feel that attachment if and when a very stressful life situation takes place in your life, if, for example, he gets sick or if a separation is really in the making.

    For now, you are disheartened. You’ve been alone for too long, unloved for way too long and during critical times in your life.

    Do post again, anytime. Maybe if you keep posting with your thoughts and feelings, a kind of a journal, maybe, things will become clear over time.


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