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Reconcilation with abusive husband?

Donna wrote:

I have been married for 16 years and have a beautiful seven year old daughter. My husband is an alcoholic and has verbally and emotionally abused me the entire time. I only recently recognized this as abuse. He drinks every day and when something is bothering him he picks a fight with me and then goes into a rage - he has thrown things and broken his hand punching a cupboard, though he has never laid a hand on me.

He does nothing to help around the house, and during his rages he demeans me, hurls insults about me and my family, and doesn't stop until I have broken down in tears, at which point he is suddenly over it and doesn't understand why I am upset. He tells me it is nothing personal and I am taking it the wrong way. I have realized that I can be strong and am a much better and happier person when I am not with him. I can make a good life for me and my daughter, and do not want her to learn that these type of relationships are normal or acceptable.

The thought of trying to reconcile just makes me ill. I have been in this relationship for nearly half of my life, feeling like I have had everything take from me emotionally and do not have another ounce to give. When I kicked him out, he immediately quit drinking and is showing a real commitment to changing, but this doesn't make any difference in how I feel. After all, he had 16 years to change. I have agreed to counseling because I know we both need to understand why things were this way-- why he treated me like this and why I allowed it, and to get our daughter through this.

But I have no interest in reconciling and have made this clear to him. He tells me he can't live withouth me and it's best for our daughter if we try to reconcile. When I hear this, I feel like it is just another way to try to control me and I d on't agree that it's best for our daughter.

My question is this - Am I wrong to close my mind off to any possibility of reconciliation?

Dear Donna

Sadly, no - you are not wrong.

While he demonstrates remorse on a regular basis, it means nothing as he just does it again. Everyone has their limits, and you have reached yours.

It will be tough, he will not give up easily; but so long as you never forget your daughter's needs, you will be strong.

Try not to close your mind to the possibility of friendship with him - once he truly understands what has done - and is still doing - but I'd certainly not even think about saying that to him.

He needs to learn what 'no' means, and he needs to look into himself. He cannot do that so long as he can convince himself he's 'getting away with it'. Only he can start the process of change; and until he's a way down that road, just keep him at a distance. A considerable distance.

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