‘Help! My wife is verbally abusing me!’

THE SEX ADVISOR - Eppy Halili Gochangco (The Philippine Star) - September 14, 2015 - 10:00am

DEAR EPPY,

I read your Philstar 9/1/2015 column about verbal abuse and I’d I like to share my own experience about abuse.  Not only women can be abused.  I think I am also a victim of abuse even if I am a man.  My wife has a bad temper and I thought I could handle it.  I also thought that my wife would change after the adjustment period in our marriage.

My wife always tells me to get out of her house.  It hurts when someone tells you to leave your home.  In time, I learned to ignore this.  But things got worse.  We regularly argue about the littlest things due to stress at work.  I can’t communicate with my wife as she’s always preoccupied with her phone, playing Candy Crush or chatting on Viber.

Throwing me out of the house has taken a toll on me.  My self-worth, self-esteem, and confidence have diminished.  Every time my wife would resent me, she would leave me and go to her parents’ house, which is beside our home.  It has become a regular thing that my wife would end up staying in her parents’ house for days or even more than a week.  I was expecting that my in-laws would advise their daughter to come home.  It seems my in-laws have tolerated this without thinking that their son-in-law is just living beside their house. 

A talk with an expert made me forgive my wife as it wasn’t her fault that she didn’t grow up to be a mature person.  The expert attributed her behavior to the child-rearing practices of her parents.  My father-in-law shared with me that his wife also treated him like that before.  Maybe my wife witnessed this situation. 

My wife is the best wife a husband can have.  She is the most thoughtful, caring, and sweetest person I know.  I hope she sees that she should change.

TROUBLED HUSBAND

DEAR TROUBLED HUSBAND,

You sound like you are a battered husband.  However, the history of your problem is not fully clear to me.  There might be something that you might have left out that may tell me and my readers (I discovered through interaction with my readers that they make their own conclusions and solutions before they read my response) that the fight between you and your wife is equal.  You have highlighted only what she does to you, but you have not told us your response to her. 

What makes me doubt you?  First, you say your wife is, “...the best wife a husband can have.  She is the most thoughtful, caring, and sweetest person I know.”  How can an abuser be that?

Second, you say she insults you, disrespects you, and uses harsh words on you, but you have not given specific situations.  I learned through practice that people who imagine things will say things that they can’t back up, “... He/she thinks low of me.”  Then when you ask for specifics, they can’t remember but swear that’s how the other person treats him/her.  Third, you complain she is preoccupied with her cellphone.  For someone who is battered, you complain about her habits?  Abusers always feel disrespected and ignored.  Lastly, you complain about her parents encouraging her to stay at their house and not even thinking about you.  It’s kind of strange that as a battered person, you complain about someone “...not thinking about you.”  You’re hurt.  Continue thinking like a hurt person, not like some god that someone has ignored.  You sound more like a narcissistic person, not a battered one.

Let’s look at your story another way.  It looks like you and your wife are playing, “.... I am more powerful than you,” and you always feel like you’ve lost because she screams, “... get out of my house.”  Maybe you didn’t really lose, it’s just that you didn’t get what you wanted and she didn’t want to give you what you wanted.  You can’t handle the fact that you can’t make her do your bidding and use, “... she throws me out of her house,”  to make it look like you were abused.

But for the education of our readers, let’s say you are truly battered.  You are right, then.  Husbands can also be battered by wives.  There are times when wives would verbally and physically assault their husbands and the husband would not retaliate. 

But because the bad treatment continues, as you said, it will take a toll on the husband.  Then one day, the husband will hit his wife and she will have marks.  The wife goes to the parents, friends, and authorities.  As a result, the man becomes the wife batterer.  But in truth, it is the wife who has battered the husband.  You’re right not to hurt your wife physically. 

I disagree with the professional who has helped you.  Forgiving your wife and allowing her to continue abusing you is not the solution to your problem.  Your wife must be made aware of her effect on people.  In this case, the person affected is you.  Your professional should’ve suggested for your wife to join you or seek help for herself.

See?  Even your professional made it look like you are the one who needs to adjust, not your wife.                                                    EPPY

* * *

Email eppygochangco@gmail.com.

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