Dear Mary: I can no longer bear to look at bullying, abusive hubby
My husband and I are both in our 70s. We are in a second marriage and been together for 27 years. He can be verbally very abusive and nasty. I have always handled it and just put it over my shoulder and got on with life. Recently he was very nasty and this time I can't shrug it off. It's as if I am frozen inside and can't thaw out. I can't even look at him. I don't want to leave my beautiful home and lifestyle. I just want help to be able to say "go to hell" and not hurt. My heart is sour and I don't want to live like this. Can you help me please?
Mary replies: You are absolutely right to seek help - you may have another 20 years together and that is a very long time in which to be unhappy.
Because you have always 'put up and shut up', your husband no doubt feels that he can get away with anything that he verbally throws at you. However, he has now gone too far and it is time for you to tell him that you won't take it anymore. There is no need to tell him to go to hell. Instead, tell him that even though you have put up with his verbal abuse up until now, you are no longer willing to do so. You put it very well when you tell me that you feel frozen inside, so explain how you are feeling to him. If he won't listen, tell him that you don't want to continue to feel like this, but if he keeps treating you this way, then you will have no option but to stop doing any of the things that you now do, such as running the home, taking care of the shopping, paying the bills, or whatever it is that is your contribution to the household.
He can't have it every way and you are supposed to be an equal partner in this marriage. Currently it sounds like you are very much the underdog.
So take on the bully, answer back and stand up for yourself. You will be glad that you did.
This is a good time for me to recommend the website www.whatwouldyoudo.ie which is run by the National Office for the Prevention of Domestic, Sexual and Gender-based Violence.
There is also information on Elder Abuse - 65 years is taken as the point beyond which abuse may be considered to be elder abuse. You may not find this particularly applicable but someone else reading this may well benefit from it.