I’m 28, and married a man only after seven months of dating long-distance. I met him online. We had an instant connection. I was very naive and vulnerable to rush into it; I hadn’t experienced much dating or relationships beforehand.
He said he loved me and was so persistent for us to marry. So I moved 2,500 miles away from my hometown, job, family, and friends.
During only 18 months of marriage, I couldn’t find a job, had to stay at home, and we fought every other day. My life was hell. He had so much control. I kept trying to gain my independence but always failed.
We recently got divorced and I don’t know why I’d tried to make it work and why my love wouldn’t subside. I didn’t leave until he kicked me out of our apartment.
Yet he’d abused me physically and verbally. I had an abortion when I was four months pregnant because he threatened to vanish and never take care of the baby. I didn’t want to bring a child into this world without a father or in that turbulence.
He told me in front of a mutual friend that he hated me and cheated on me.
I let him destroy my confidence; I have anxiety and depression now. I keep blaming myself and I’m attempting therapy soon. How can I move on from this?
Hoping to Heal in Chicago
Get help as fast as possible. See your family doctor for the depression and anxiety, and ask for a good referral to a therapist who’s experienced with abuse and manipulation cases such as yours.
Re-connect with family and friends. You need comfort and support from people you trust. If any offer criticism instead, avoid them. Your healing requires positive vibes from others, and determination from within yourself.
You were taken in by a master controller. Don’t blame yourself; being naïve is no crime. Now you’re older, wiser, and know you must protect yourself emotionally, and walk away from those who’d harm you.
My stepdaughter’s getting married and has opted for an adults-only wedding. Her father and I have been together eight years, I have a daughter, 12, who’s not invited to her stepsister’s wedding.
I understand how much time, effort, and planning my stepdaughter’s putting into her wedding, however, I cannot get over this seeming act of selfishness.
I believe it’s better to be happy than right, but I’m really torn on this, and feel terrible for my husband as he’s caught in the middle.
The person who matters most here is your adolescent daughter. If you haven’t already made a fuss and raised the concept of exclusion, she’d likely accept that some weddings are “adults-only.”
You may even be able to come up with a plan e.g. her coming to witness the ceremony only. Or, her being invited to attend a showing of the wedding video.
However, if you’ve already batted this topic about, try to undo any damage. Explain to your daughter that brides do have a right to plan their Big Day and many do choose the no-child option.
I agree that it’s an unhappy choice from your perspective, but if there’s only one stepsibling and she’s the only child of the family that could be excluded, it’s a fairly pointed choice, so there must be some history to it.
Meanwhile, better to try to look happy and keep harmony in the home than to be the only one who’s “right.”
FEEDBACK Regarding the woman whose in-laws wouldn’t babysit (Dec. 13):
Reader - “I’m a mother of two boys, now teens. My husband and I worked full-time throughout their childhood. We juggled drop-off/pick-up, homework, dinner, family time, and running a household.
“It wasn’t easy, but about giving children a secure, happy, home life and all the support they need.
“Grandparents are NOT surrogate parents so that you can still carry on living like you don’t have children. It seems some people expect their parents to be built-in babysitters, like it’s their obligation.
“It’s NOT. The woman’s parents have made their sacrifices and raised their children. There’s no need to pawn children off for the whole night to attend a wedding.”
Ellie – The issue is expectations. Most grandparents love to be with their grandchildren, but should NOT be expected to take over regularly or for long periods, unless they make it clear they’re willing.
Tip of the day:
Healing from abuse calls for professional counseling, caring support, and personal determination.