Relationship Connection: My husband won’t protect me from his abusive son

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Question

I love my husband deeply, but his oldest son is so mean to me. My 20-year-old stepson is verbally abusive. I have almost committed myself to a mental hospital because of the torture I go through. My husband lets it happen because he is afraid he will lose his son.

The son is living with us because his mother and her wife kicked him out and had to change the locks. She usually enables him and doesn’t require him to be respectful to me. He calls me horrible names and says that this isn’t my home because I’m just married to his dad.

I have health problems and need to go to the doctor multiple times per week. When I leave, my stepson will lock me out and steal my stuff. He crossed my face out of all my photos on the wall and has even called the police to report that I assaulted him (I’ve never even touched him in anger).

I have cried and cried to my husband to please stick up for me, but he tells me they are his kids and he won’t choose between me and them. I’m not asking him to disown his children. I’m asking him to kick him out because of how he is treating me. My husband has been the love of my life since we were teenagers, and I don’t want to lose him. I feel alone, broken and, at times, believe that maybe even dying would be better.

I can’t stick up for myself because then my husband views me as the bad guy for saying anything. Yet my husband won’t kick him out and continues to let his son treat me this way. He just tells me that I have to get help because I have problems. 

Answer

It’s a tragedy that your husband has allowed himself to get caught in a loyalty split between his son and his wife. Your stepson is a grown man who is terrorizing you in your own home and needs to be stopped. Since your husband isn’t willing to protect you from his abusive son, you have to protect yourself. The abusive behavior has escalated to the point where your own safety is in great jeopardy.

I recommend you immediately contact the women’s crisis shelter in your area and begin getting help. Here is the contact information for two centers in the Southern Utah area you can contact: Click here for the Dove Center or call 435-628-0458; click here for Canyon Creek Services or call 435-233-5732. They will help you sort through your legal options and provide immediate mental health counseling to help you stabilize.

You may not see yourself as a victim of domestic violence, but this is exactly what’s happening to you. It’s not wise for you to stay in this environment, so please get the support you need so you can get to safety.

I recognize this is far from what you ever imagined could happen in your own home. You have cried tears of desperation to your husband to change this situation, but he’s made his choice. He may not feel he’s choosing sides, but when abusive behavior is allowed to continue, inaction is always a choice favoring the abuser.

This might sound strange to you, but your husband is just as guilty as abuse as your stepson. He’s communicating loud and clear that domestic violence directed at his wife is acceptable. It’s time to decide how you will act to protect yourself from this abuse from both men.

Even though he may not be physically assaulting you, living in constant fear of what he might do drains your limited physical strength. Also, the name-calling, stealing and other aggressive actions are all destructive to your mental and physical health.

Please don’t believe that your only option out of this abuse is to take your own life. You have plenty of other options. I imagine you question the value of your life since the man who committed to protect you has abandoned his responsibility. His inaction on your behalf isn’t a reflection of your worth and value.

As already mentioned above, please visit a women’s crisis center in your area and tell them what you’re experiencing. They will help you begin to make healthy decisions about your situation.

You are outnumbered in your home by two men who aren’t willing to protect and care for you. I know this is a devastating reality to face, as you’ve had a long history with your husband. He might be a wonderful man in many ways, but he’s currently failing you in a serious way. Your safety and life matter, but he’s not willing to create a safe and stable home environment for you.

Please take your own safety seriously and get the help you need. You don’t need to tell your husband that you’re going to get help, as he may talk you out of it. And you may decide you need to stay in the crisis shelter or a different safe location until your husband is willing to see the reality of this situation. Please don’t want for someone else to protect you any longer. You can protect yourself now.

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.

Have a relationship question for Geoff to answer? Submit to:

Email: geoff@lovingmarriage.com

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Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2019, all rights reserved.

 

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