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I think I am scared of my husband

Community Member


i have been married for nearly seven years and am contemplating leaving my husband. I am afraid to speak with him about anything to do with our relationship because I fear his reaction. He has always had a bit of a short temper with everything and I’ve always just accepted that’s just how he is, but this of course makes me cautious of the way I approach him.

The only time I find the strength to confront him is usually the day after he has come home from a night out and in his drunken state he has been verbally unkind to me and has on occasion made me afraid of what he might do next. He has never hit me (trust me I would be straight out the door if this ever happened), but I feel I have to just put up with his behaviour in order to avoid provoking him in case he did turn violent.

so usually the next day I speak with him about it because I am usually so pissed off. Quite often he says he doesn’t remember saying those things and apologies and for the next week he is as nice as pie, telling me he loves me etc etc.

i do feel trapped as he has a lot going on with his work and sleep apnea so I am trying to support him. But every now and then and when situations like the above occur I think what the hell am I doing. Surely this isn’t how a marriage is supposed to be.

Am I over reacting or should I just get the courage to say enough is enough! I have considered moving out a number of times but then things have always got better for a while.

what would you do?

10 Replies 10

Blue Voices Member
Blue Voices Member

Hi Tilly, and welcome to Beyondblue forums, a safe understanding and supportive place to be.

I'm sorry for what you are going through. To constantly feel you're walking on eggshells is so difficult.

Your ending question "what would you do"? is what I'll address here.

You see, I've been through all that, it sounds so familiar. I've been married now for 20 years to my husband. He was like you described your husband - mentally and emotionally abusive when drunk (which is often as he is an alcoholic) - but then apologetic afterwards. I stayed, mainly because I love him. Wanted things to be better of course, but I couldnt leave, I take my marriage vows seriously - for better and for worse, all that.

But over the years his abuse became worse, and evolved into physical abuse as well. I'm glad to read that if the abuse you endure was to turn physical that you'd be out of there. I left it too late. My husband is now seriously ill with a terminal medical condition, and I am his carer.

It could be worth considering marriage counselling, although I suspect your husband would object to that. Has your husband done anything about his sleep apnea, such as investing in a sleep study and possibly a machine to help with his sleep? From what you say it sounds like he is also in a somewhat stressful work situation. Has he ever sought help from his GP about any mental health issues?

I'm sorry I cannot offer much advice, but I wanted you to know that others have been where you are, and you arent alone. The decision to stay or leave is a terribly difficult one to make, and everyone will have different reasons in which they make that decision.

You did not mention any children, is that the case? One less consideration for you to contemplate if there are no children. I may be beneficial for you to speak to a counsellor to help you wade through the many issues in play here.

Please post here any time you need to get things off your chest. You will be met with kindness, understanding and non judgemental support. Wishing you the best, with kind understanding.


Thank you so much for your response. Yes fortunately he did seek advise re the sleep apnea and this area is getting better but likes to regularly complain about the whole thing as you can imagine!!!

No kids and as you say this does make things easier to then look at my options.

Tilly this hurts my heart to read. I have lived in two emotionally abusive marriages. The first was just like yours and I said the exact same thing-if he ever hits me... He did. When I told him it was over... Too late.

I however went on to re-marry. I felt my second husband was loving and kind, but over many years I accepted and learned to live with his odd nasty dig. He wasn't always like that. Sometimes he was loving. The worst was his abandonment, he gradually became more and more distant. I hated it. I tried. I thought he was depressed. I loved him and tried to help him. He was manipulating me. He was using me. He was cheating on me with another woman. I was completely blind-sided.

Why am I telling you my story? Because I have learned the hard way. Abuse comes in many forms. No one deserves it. My second husband and I are still together. He has had a massive wake-up call and we are working on our lives. He never set out to abuse me. I don't think anyone does. Sometimes people don't realise the things they are doing to their partner is hurtful...or they ignore what they know, because it hurts them to look at themselves.

You have choices. You are important. You do not deserve abuse of any kind. If nothing is done-it almost always get worse. Abusers can change, but they need to address their behaviour. They need to make the commitment to make those changes.

I wish you all the very best with what ever you choose to do. Look after yourself first.

Community Champion
Community Champion


I too welcome you to the forum. You have supportive replies.

It is hard when someone is verbally abusive but then they apologise and are fine for a few weeks.

Your title of your thread says it all .I think I am scared of my husband. No one deserves to feel scared.

How do you see your life in a few years if you don't leave?

How do you see your life in a few years if you do leave?

Would you ring the Respect line 1800 737 732?

It is confidential information counselling and support service for people suffering abuse. Just a thought that talking to someone trained in this area may help you sort out your thoughts.

Thanks again for your honest post.



I have left a person like your husband. Domestic violence is a cycle. They love you then they abuse you. I was scared of the guy I was seeing. I was fearful. I really didn't have a choice but to leave. As I was leaving he raised his fists but stopped himself. If he started I knew he wouldn't have stopped. He was puffed up, right in my face, threw my property,threatened to kill my pet....it's no way to live. I remember being so full of hurt and walking on egg shells, and listening to him make threats against others, he was aggressive... Had an attempt on his life the day I said I was leaving....horrible. After reading your story...I though...yep ..I've walked in your shoes and also thought what the hell am I doing...

Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor

Hi Tilly

Have you considered a 'compliment sandwich'? You could start by saying something like 'You're such a hard working man who obviously feels the stresses of work. I feel the stress is spilling into our marriage and we need to address it before the marriage become irreparable. I trust you will want to help fix things because you are loving and care about me.' You see, you stick the issue in between 2 compliments. I know it sounds a little like babying him but sometimes you gotta manipulate a little for the greater good.

Wondering if he drinks out of habit or purely for escapism. If it's escapism from stress then unfortunately his escapism/freedom is leading to your psychological imprisonment, which is unfair. It takes 2 people to support a marriage and if he's not willing to support the marriage and what needs addressing within it then you need to ask yourself if you're willing to take responsibility for both the marriage and his behaviour. That is a heavy burden to bear.

At the end of the day Tilly, you are deserving of respect and consideration and you have to remember that. If respect and consideration are things he will only give to you conditionally (when he's sober and receptive to your beliefs and concerns) then you need to begin looking in the direction of a brighter future, especially if he's not willing to invest in changing his behaviour.

Take care of yourself

Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor

Hi Tilly,

I just wanted to ask is if he is only ever abusive to you when he is drunk?

The reason why I ask is if it is only those times when he is abusive, maybe if you could persuade him to stop the drinking, as you have said he is apologetic and loving towards you when he isnt drunk. It may be worthwhile looking into anyway, and maybe look into why he is drinking if there is some issue there to solve that (which I feel would reduce his drinking so much and hence reduce the abuse).

Just my thoughts on this, hope all goes well


Hi all,

I've realised recently that my mum and sister are scared of my dad. He has tried to hurt my sister and often goes days without speaking to her. This is extending out to my mum now. He is controlling money and I'm not sure how much my parents talk now, but I'm noticing dad blames mum for everything and back stabs her to his family and friends. My mum has had a breakdown because of all of this. Dad walked out a couple of months ago and threatened to sell the house and take the money from the bank. Then when he realised he couldn't he begged to come back home and mum let him. She doesn't know how to be alone and has no independence. She asked if my adult sister couldn't stay with me for a while, which I struggled with beauce she doesn't do anything for herself. Won't help cook or clean and I think my sister has convinced herself that her physical illness means she can't do anything for herself and needs someone to look after her. Anyway I said last week that mum and sister need to think of the next step and get help or go to a refuge because I can't look after her and put my life on hold, it's making me feel really down. Sister now isn't talking to me because I 'kicked her out'. So now I feel guilty.

I'm hoping by reading other stories from you all that I can chat with mum and say women have left their partners and have been OK and got their life back together. I don't want her to stay becsuse it's easy. She has been saying for ages now that she wanted dad to leave, then when he did she let him back in. I can't stand seeing her like a shadow of what she used to be.

Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor

Hi Little-Miss,

I want to say that you should never feel guilty for doing whats best for you, sure, family is important, and so is standing by supporting them, but you will find it very difficult if you burn yourself out (or get yourself stuck in the middle of it all) to help any of your family.

It is a sorry tale to hear of a family breakdown like this, which I sadly know to well from personal experience both as a father being alienated from his children, and as a son being persecuted to the point where I have to "restrict" communication to my parents. Anyway, thats enough of my problems, lets get back to see if we can help you.

With regards to your sister, by the way you describe, you have done the right thing to maintain your own sanity, I would only suggest you keep offering an "olive branch" just so your sister knows that despite what difficulties you and her have, you are still family and are not totally abandoning her. Just make sure you stick with your guns, and make sure you look after your own mental health as well (and your immediate family's health such as husband and kids if you have them).

With regards to your mum, I suggest much the same as your sister, be supportive of her, show her that she can carry on life without having a husband there. Help boost her confidence in herself, go on outings with her, get her to temporarily "escape" the pressure she is under by simply going out and enjoying life, and with more outings this should help build her confidence that she can cope and be happy while being separated from a partner. Again, you still need to stick to your guns and keep your own sanity in tact, so when out, make sure the problems stay behind. This is no way a means to ignore the issue, it is merely a way to build her back up to a point where she can cope and deal with the issues with a clear head and happy heart, where she can make decisions on what is best for her to move forward, which she must discover what is best for herself.

I believe this is the best way, given the information provided, in any case, you seem a good sister and daughter to be thinking of them, so hang in there