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Trapped in a relationship with a PTSD sufferer, and psychological abuser

Community Member


I’m Clancy,


I have been trapped in a relationship that is becoming increasingly toxic by the day.

I have been in this relationship for 32 years. I have attempted to break free on three occasions previously, once prior to being married, where he threatened me with physical violence.In hindsight this should have raised a large red flag, however, when he broke down in tears I felt doomed.

My husband will not allow me to severe the ties. His controlling nature has intensified,

and he is constantly demeaning. He is careful only to do it behind closed doors.

I am currently recovering from a health issue, largely caused by my environment. 

I have a checklist of tasks, and just have to work through those.
Any advice from someone who has been through a similar situation would be particularly helpful. As well as general advice from supporters. So grateful to have signed up to this forum. 

1 Reply 1

Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor

Hi Clancy


I feel for you so much, given the incredibly stressful and depressing nature of the the relationship you're in. That's a lot to be coping with on your own. I'm wondering if you've got friends and/or family to support you at this time where you need to make a tough decision, to either leave of stay (with a plan).


While my husband would never be a physically violent person (it's not in his nature), I can make demands of him or pose ultimatums in the way of much needed change in our relationship. While I used to fear him becoming angry with me, when it came to certain requests or demands, the fear was more about verbal conflict and insults. I suppressed a lot of stuff so as not to rock the boat. Then things changed over time as my self esteem developed and I became less fearful and more demanding. 'I'm leaving, unless you begin doing some much needed work on yourself' was one of the demands. I imagine you can relate when I say - If the other person in the relationship doesn't work on what they need to be working on (when it comes to self development), we end up trying to accommodate their nature and problems. We end up trying to manage our self and them. Kinda like 'I'll manage my stress in this situation as I manage their anger, by not getting them angry'. They end up taking no responsibility for the development of themself or the relationship.


If you can't begin making requests or demands for much needed change in the marriage without facing physical threat, you need to leave. If the only way you can stay in a stressful and depressing relationship is by 'behaving yourself' in every way he wants you to, that's definitely not good for you in the way of physical, mental and soulful health. Completely losing our self in service to another can be deeply depressing. It can lead to looking in the mirror and asking the question 'Where have I gone?' or reaching the revelation 'I no longer recognise myself, who I once was'. I don't believe anyone is worth losing our self over.


Clancy, if he flat out refuses to change or develop himself in ways that'll come to serve you and the relationship, chances are he's never going to change as long as everything remains the same. He'll remain in his comfort zone while you manage what remains uncomfortable, stressful and depressing for you. That's not fair on you. You can't be expected to live this way. I'm wondering if there's someone you can go and live with for a couple of weeks while you start to get your head around things. Maybe there's someone who can lead you to see the way forward more clearly, especially if you need to start making plans to leave your husband. If you leaving him is what it takes for him to finally go and get help and he goes on to significantly change through that help, exploring the relationship much further down the track may be an option or maybe, after much needed time apart, you'll reach the conclusion there's no going back. I hope you come to hear from those on the forums here who can offer you the insight you need, based on their experience. ❤️