I am a 33-year-old married woman, and a doctor by profession. I have a three-year-old son. My problem is my abusive husband. He flares up, and most of the time without any rhyme or reason. He hits me when he is angry, and apologises when he cools down. Then he gives me expensive presents to win my heart.
Nadine, last time he hit me so hard that I started screaming. My neighbours came to our house as they thought that our house was being burglarised. I had to be taken to Emergency and I had two broken ribs. At that time, I wanted to leave him. I earn quite well and am not dependent on him financially even, but my parents forced me return to him when he came to apologise. Since then, he has not hit me that badly but still hits me and uses foul language when he is angry. The problem is that I want to leave my husband but am afraid of what my parents, relatives and friends would say. I am also concerned about the impact of my divorce on my son! I cannot continue to live with my abusive husband because I have tried everything in the past four years to change him. I even consulted a psychiatrist for him, but he only went for two sessions and refused to continue with his treatment. Should I stick with him for the sake of my son and hope he will change, or bail out?
Dear Traumatised Wife,
I am sorry to say that men like your husband don’t change. In our society, unfortunately parents, relatives and friends make it very difficult for women to leave their abusive spouses. Women also put up with torture from their mentally sick husbands for the sake of their children, but what they don’t realise is that children who grow up in such a bad environment are affected adversely by constantly observing their fathers beating their mothers. This behaviour is very toxic for their emotional health. So, to save your son from mental trauma, you should tell your husband to either continue with his treatment with the psychiatrist or to leave you. If he refuses to go to the psychiatrist, just save yourself by leaving him. He broke your ribs, and is quite capable of doing even worse. You should not continue to risk your life by living under the same roof. And, if he agrees to undergo treatment, you should still stay away from him till he gets a clean bill of health from his doctor. Best of luck
Hello Professor Nadine,
I am a 51-year-old married man. I have been married for 21 years, and am blessed with a 19-year-old daughter, and a 17-year-old son. Mine was an arranged marriage, and my wife, D, is my first cousin, who is the daughter of my paternal aunt. My aunt and my mother did not have a good relationship, and my mother did not want me to get married to her nand’s daughter, but my father prevailed and I married my cousin against my mother’s wishes. To be bluntly honest, my mother did not accept my wife from day one. My mother is a very insecure person and she still thinks that her daughters-in-law wish to separate her from her sons. She was very mean and insulting towards the wives of my brothers, and her behaviour with my wife has been even worst because she hates my aunt. The result – both my older brothers had to leave the family house, and now live happily with their families. I am the youngest and also the son my mother says she loves the most, so I had to stay with her. Needless to say that I have had a very unhappy married life so far, because of the constant fights between my mother and wife. D is an excellent wife and a loving mother, but does not get along with my mother. My mother has a very sharp tongue and has never been able to control her temper. She shouts at D in front of servants, even. Initially, D used to stay quiet, but now she gives as good as she gets, which has made life unbearable for me. For the past few years, my wife has been pestering me to get a place of our own. To divert her mind, I have taken her on multiple leisure trips overseas, but she has now become adamant about moving out from my parents’ house. I am very upset because my parents are old and I don’t want them to live alone. My wife says if I don’t get her a separate house, she will leave me as she cannot take any more insults from my mother. My marriage is on the verge of breaking up and I want to save it any cost, except to leave my parents. I know D is not wrong, but I can’t just leave my mother! Unfortunately, my father has not been of any help, as he cannot control my mother. So, on the one hand is my wife and on the other hand, my old parents. What should I do?
Dear Upset Son,
You are between the devil and the deep blue sea, so as to say. You cannot leave your old parents to fend for themselves even if they are at fault, but you have to save your marriage as well. The only way to save your marriage is to give your wife her right of having her own home. Talk to your father and create a separate portion in the family home for your wife where she has the sway. You should also speak to your mother and tell her that you will have to move out because of the unending fights that she has with your wife, unless she agrees to give your family a totally independent portion in the house. If your mother does not agree on this compromise, you should get another house for your wife and children and ask your brothers to look after your parents, as it is their duty, too. Best of luck!