Relationship Connection: My husband tells me I’m not fit to be a mother

An abusive relationship. Photo undated | Photo (or image) by Ivanko_Brnjakovic/iStock/Getty Images Plus, St. George News


My marriage was fine before we had children, but as soon as I got pregnant he began trying to control very personal choices like where I birthed and who would help me deliver. Now, he shoots down how we originally agreed to raise our child. On top of it, I’m in trouble for not completing chores on time.

He wants to send our child away to daycare so I can devote more time to housework. He tells me I’m not qualified to raise our child and that my instincts as a mother are dead wrong. He says he gets extremely anxious when he sees another child do something our child can’t do.

We’ve already been to counseling and both counselors said he’s very controlling and wasn’t willing to work on the anger he admits he has. One counselor said at this point I’ve got to do what I feel is right and ignore his desires, but that doesn’t feel right. Plus, our child will pay for it dearly with increased tension in the home.

Our boy is already grumpy because my husband snaps at me in front of him for little offenses like me holding him when he says he needs to be held. I’m not sure what can be done, but change isn’t happening very quickly and our son is growing up.


Your counselors are correct that his behavior toward you is controlling. My guess is that you already understand that his behavior is completely out of bounds. The bigger question, then, is what are you going to do to protect yourself and your son from these abusive patterns?

Please remember that knowledge isn’t the same as understanding. You’ve had multiple people tell you the same truth and now it’s time to take action. This doesn’t mean you need to divorce him today, but it does mean that your relationship with him can’t look the same anymore.

You are worried about the tension rising in your home if you stand up to your husband’s controlling behavior. The truth is that the tension is already high and will only get higher over time as he exerts more control. I don’t know how old your son is, but as he becomes more independent, there will be more power struggles as your husband works to control his behaviors. He’s already controlling you and will expect to be able to do the same with your son.

I recommend you seek personal counseling for yourself to get ongoing support as you begin to change your responses to your husband. Even though marriage counseling may seem like the obvious choice, it’s not a good fit when there is controlling and abusive behavior. You need a protected individual space to clarify what you need, how you feel, and understand why you’ve allowed this controlling behavior to continue for so long.

The goal isn’t for you to have things your way and completely disregard your husband’s input. That would be the same thing that’s happening right now. Instead, the goal is for you to claim your spot in the marriage as an equal partner to your husband.

He is dominating you and your son by refusing to allow you to have input on parenting and home decisions. If he shuts down your voice and completely disregards you as an equal, then this is abuse and needs to be stopped.

Please recognize that your husband may become more verbally or even physically aggressive as you become more assertive about your preferences. Physical and emotional abuse should not be tolerated in marriage and family life. If this happens, make sure you have a plan outlined with your therapist and other supports so you can find a stable and safe place for yourself and your son.

I have no idea if your husband is willing to do what it takes to change his behavior toward you and your son. Though it’s possible for individuals to change, your husband is showing patterns that are often highly resistant to changing. Regardless of what he does, nothing will change if you don’t expect to be treated like an equal.

Your son doesn’t need to be raised by parents who believe that one of them is less important than the other. Hopefully you can recognize your own worth and value as a woman and reclaim your rightful place in the home.

Stay connected!

Geoff Steurer is a licensed marriage and family therapist in private practice in St. George, Utah. He specializes in working with couples in all stages of their relationships. The opinions stated in this article are his own and may not be representative of St. George News.

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Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2018, all rights reserved.

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  • desertgirl February 21, 2018 at 7:50 am

    Completely agree with Mr. Steurer. Personally, I believe this marriage is a step away from physical abuse and endangers both mother and child. Staying with this man puts the child at risk of becoming an abusive controlling adult.

    Too often people are willing to throw their hands up and walk away from a marriage because it is not perfect, this is not that type of situation. Do what is in the best interest of both yourself and children when angry spouses are not willing to get help.

  • comments February 21, 2018 at 11:33 am


    end of story.

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