How much did I contribute to my mom staying in her abusive marriage?
May 7, 2014 12:36 PM Subscribe
My dad is verbally abusive. My mother told me many times as a child that she want to divorce him but is staying for the kids. She said that when I grew up, she would leave my dad and come live with me forever. When I became an adult, I decided I don't want my mom living with me for the rest of my life. She is still with my dad, being verbally abused. Did I cause her to stay in her abusive marriage because I changed my mind?
posted by cheesecake to Human Relations (59 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
My dad is prone to suddenly screaming in public. He insults my mother, me, and my sibling. There were years in which he called my mother stupid every day. If one of us makes a mistake such as missing an appointment or incurring late fees, he will berate us for hours. He'll keep bringing it up for months / years. He makes personal attacks on our intelligence and personality, and predicts that the character flaw which caused this mistake will lead us to experience failure in life.
I'm in therapy for this, and finally starting to learn new ways of thinking. MeFi has also helped a lot. (Thanks, everyone.)
As I was growing up, my mother told me how miserable she was due to my dad's verbal abuse. She would cry and talk about how her marriage is unbearable, but she couldn't leave due to the kids. This of course made me feel guilty.
She said that when I become an adult, she would come live with me permanently and would escape my dad that way. When I was a child, this sounded great. I was eager to take on this role. She would say things like "remember to get an apartment with two bedrooms so that i can live in one". Or "won't life be great when we finally leave your dad in a few years, and it's just us?"
When I actually became an adult, I realized that I do not want this. I do not want her to live with me for the rest of my life and become emotionally dependent on me. She is retired and has mental / emotional issues, so she would always be at home, focused on me, without friends or a job of her own. It would be a big strain on me. I think it would derail my goals for my career and my romantic life, if she's living with me forever.
However, because she has stayed with my dad all these years, I feel guilty. I feel like because I changed my mind on our agreement, she stayed in an abusive marriage. If I had honored the agreement, then she'd be out of the abusive marriage.
I would like to hear from women who left verbally or emotionally abusive marriages.
1. Did you feel compelled to stay in the marriage for the kids, if your husband was also verbally abusing the kids?
2. Can it be true that if the woman has a home to go to, then she would leave the marriage, but without that home, she'd stay in the marriage forever? Could having a new home be the difference between staying vs leaving?
Thank you very much. MeFi has been so helpful during this tough journey.