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Do I stay or go? I need to decide for myself and my daughter... Please help!

Community Member

My husband and I have been married for almost 20 years. Though I didn't actually want to get married as I didn't love him, I grew up in a family with no love or affection but lots of emotional abuse (drugs/alcohol) so I latched on to him as he told me he loved me. What I believe now is that maybe I was just getting into my own abusive relationship?

Our 13 year old daughter has a disability and requires full time care. It's so tiring and I know I've been depressed for a very long time. My husband helps with her a lot but there are other problems:

He is very loving in lots of ways but also very controlling. Something is always my fault and I have to agree or I'm being a 'c*nt' or a 'bitch'. If the conversation doesn't result in him being right he says he won't talk to me until I act maturely.

He's manipulated me to get thousands of dollars from my family. When our daughter was younger neither of us could work because of the care she needed but now he can work he avoids it as much as possible. He says the money is for our daughter's future but when I got money from my family he made excuses to not work for almost a year after that. We could have invested it but we spent it all while he watched TV.

He manipulated me to get my elderly Mum to sell her house and move in with us so we could have the money. I feel so horrible that I've done this to her. Now she lives with us he is civil to her face but calls her horrible names when she's not in the room, and if I defend her I get told I can take her and go find somewhere else to live, and I won't see my daughter.

We don't have any friends. No-one is ever good enough for us so after he tells me what he thinks all their problems are I have to start ignoring their texts. But he can have a friend who sends him porn videos which he just laughs off.

He thinks we should be working on getting rich to provide for our daughter's future so he decided to start a very-expensive-to-run business in a field he had almost no experience in. It went broke and we lost thousands of dollars.

If I disagree with him about certain things then I'm 'going against him' or 'going to war' with him. I'm so afraid to leave as I know he will try to 'destroy me' (his words).

I feel that if I don't do something soon I'll be broke, living with my Mum in a rented unit, fighting to see my daughter.

I don't trust myself to know what's right. Am I being too hard on him? Is he really just trying to help us? What do I do?

3 Replies 3

Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Hi Skoi and a warm welcome to the forums,

I'm sorry to see your post got lost in the system. Really do hope you come back and keep talking to us here.

I don't really know where to start. Maybe the easiest place is to say no his behaviour is not normal and no it isn't acceptable. And I do really understand why you would feel frightened to even try to stand up for yourself.

I feel like the most appropriate place to get advice would be from your local women's health care place, women's refuge or a medical professional. If your husband is openly saying he will destroy you this is not just abusive... But threatening.

I wish I had advice to give. I do care and hope you can stay and talk more but I also feel that you need practical help offline from people who can make sure you and your daughter and Mum are protected.

I am uncomfortable of the idea of us encouraging you to stand up to him or making changes given that I feel very strongly that you are not safe in this environment.

Would you consider asking for help offline? Please take care of yourself.


Community Champion
Community Champion

Dear Skoi~

We've been looking out for your post since your brief message in the Welcome area. I'm very happy you have manged to post and like Nat am very worried about you as your situation sounds terrible.

Having a disabled child to look after can be a very hard thing, can take all one's energy and most probably is the focus of one's life. In an ideal world a husband will pull his weight and be supportive.

Here you sound very much as if you are stuck in an abusive relationship. Your husband is using threats and other means to control you. Being told you will be 'destroyed', and being told to you would be made to leave with your mother is just not on, under any circumstances.Being discouraged from having friends is the way he makes you even more dependent on him.

So no you are not being too hard on him. It is very hard to see things clearly when you are so close to the situation. It is also too easy to blame yourself and make excuses for him.

Although the way out of this predicament may not seem straightforward as you have your mother and daughter to think of I suggest the first thing you ought to do is get advice from those that are used to dealing with this sort of thing.

I'd start by ringing our 24/7 Help Line on 1300 22 4636 and asking them to point out the best services in your area. They are friendly and professional, talking with them is not a hassle.

Please feel free to talk here as much as you would like, we do care


Community Member
Hi Skoi
This is a massive and unfortunately not uncommon problem. You show a lot of insight in the beginning of your post. You state that you may have unconsciously been drawn to a man who in some way provided you a forum to replay the old scenarios from your childhood . Maybe having to put all your needs aside for those of others, or maybe only feeling loved when in the service of others or maybe only feeling special when connected to someone difficult.

These old patterns from a dysfunctional childhood can run deep and if not really dealt with can keep repeating often to the bewilderment of the person involved .

There is a great book about this very topic which is really easy to read and I think you will get a lot out of it called “ Women who love too much” by Robin Norwood . Its an oldie but a goodie on this topic.

Your partner sounds like he may need to work on a few things in order to step up to being a functional partner. He may be willing to do this work but i am thinking from your post that he may be that sort of person that doesn’t think that HE has any issues and that all the problems in the relationship reside with YOU.

If i’m wrong and he is willing to accept some responsibility for the unhappiness and wants to work on it , get to a counsellor via your GP and try to sort things out.If you is really willing to change he must do it with actions not only promises.

However ,if his mindset is that its all your fault , it is extremely difficult as you can’t make someone want to change or be empathic if they don’t want to or see no reason to.

The feeling of being stuck and afraid to leave and having no power and feeling threatened that if you do leave he will “destroy” you is NOT OK . That is emotional bullying and I categorically stand against this. If you need some support to make some changes , please contact the services like -

https://www.safesteps.org.au/ ( look under “types of abuse” and the “early warning signs” .. I think you will see some things that look familiar)


Skoi, you also mention issues that indicate possible financial abuse and psychological abuse- the beginning to doubt yourself and whether your assessment of things are ok “ I don't trust myself to know what's right “ .

I really think you should get to your GP or on to a help line and get to a counsellor so you can find your strength and work out what is right for you and your daughter ( and your mum) with someone who will really be on your side.