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Help, I need to separate from my husband due to abuse but he has a MI...

Community Member

I'm new here and very scared of posting on a forum.

My husband has been a long time sufferer of anxiety and it has impacted on our relationship and life for well over 10 years. I've always tried to support this as best I can to the point where I've missed family events, functions and just general day to day life events that most take for granted. It started as general depression and manifested in a phobic anxiety. The phobia is mainly illnesses and getting sick (cold and flu). This has made going out hard. I have tried to respect it and help but by helping all I've done is enable the issue. I've now made it ok to control me, tell me not to go out with friends during winter and tell me not to hug my son when he's sick so I don't get sick too. If I get sick, the whole house falls apart as it triggers his anxiety.

He's sought treatment a long time ago and doesn't like medications because he doesn't like his reactions to them. He feels he is coping and he can function in life. And he can. He can hold down a job (quite good at his job) and no one is ever any the wiser. He always touches stuff when we're out so I don't have to. I'm the chauffeur and shag on a rock most the time.

My family and friends have been telling me I'm being controlled and emotionally abused into thinking I have to give up these things to support him. When I bring it up I constantly get told I'm being selfish by asking to go to a function as I'm not considering how it affects his illness or what happens if I get sick.

Our child is now affected by this and can sense there is an issue. When your child asks for a cuddle and you can't give it until he is well again is a big problem and one I can't accept as ok anymore.

He has also become angry and violent over the last few years. Our arguments are heated and he can blow up in the space of minutes. I'm always the instigator apparently. I make him angry or I came home 15 minutes late from a party I was once allowed to go to for 1hr and he told me when he gives an inch I take a mile. I keep apologising and saying sorry to keep the family together. I'm at the point where I can't do it anymore - for me and my child.

My question is, what do I do? When he is not stressed or angry and living by the rules things are ok. But I'm just one anger episode away from another outburst. How do you leave someone who is suffering MI when they say you're not supportive?

92 Replies 92

Hey emotionallydrained, thanks for reaching out to the Beyond Blue forums. We know it can be so stressful to make the first post so thank you for having the strength and courage to do so. We're are so sorry to hear of the stress and anxiety you are going through. From what you are saying, it sounds like you are experiencing domestic violence and we know that living with this abuse would be so very difficult. We can hear that this is a really tough and confusing time for you in that you want to feel happy on your own but also feel quite scared at the prospect. Please know that you are strong, valuable and you have a right to live free from abuse.

We would strongly urge that you contact 1800RESPECT. They offer confidential information, counselling and support 24/7 for people impacted by sexual assault, domestic or family violence and abuse. The lovely supportive counsellors have a lot of experience offering advice to people in your situation who just want to be happy on their own. You can contact them on 1800 737 732 or https://www.1800respect.org.au/ 

You might also find some ideas in reading the stories of others. Some threads you might be interested in reading include:   There are also a number of really informative and helpful websites you might like to look at: 
And please remember that If ever you feel unsafe to contact triple zero and ask for the police. 

We know it has taken so much courage for you to share your story, so thank you. We hope that you can find some comfort in the forums and please feel free to keep us updated here on your thread throughout your journey. 

Thank you so much for your comments of support. I needed to hear that.
The links are very helpful as well.

I just feel so guilty even feeling this way. He has no idea I am thinking this and I feel like I am betraying him and deceiving him. He has been nice and calm the last couple of days since an incident on the weekend where I came to this decision. I know he won't understand or see any fault. I have no documented evidence because I never really accepted there was a problem until recently. I guess I was in the "it'll get better bubble". I'm so confused.

Community Member

Hi emotionallydrained.

Welcome to the BB Forum and for reaching for support. These a re tough times and from what I have read, you must be feeling very emotionally overwhelmed with support your husband's care needs. It sound like you may have enabled his bad behaviour and that can make things really difficult. Unfortunately, IMO, as I can relate, when you don't respect yourself or give compassion and love yourself, you allow others to walk all over you. Having a mental illness and health concern is not a right to treat you poorly. It's probably best for you to seek professional support for yourself. Try not to think about leaving your Husband at this point in time, that's not a solution to what [you] are experiencing. You need to be mentally healthy to be able to care for someone who is not well and if you don't look after yourself, you will having a lot of difficulties in the future, even after you leave. him.

Just to recap, this is about you, not your Husband, this is about you having an understanding that you need to look after yourself so you can be healthy enough to look after others. If you can make sense from this, it will click.

Good luck and let us know how things go.

Hi emotionallydrained,

I think you need to pop that bubble. From what you've written things have gotten worse and they usually do in these situations.
The fact that he doesn't understand or see any fault is a major problem and definitely not a catalyst to change.
You've done everything you can to support him. You have made so many unreasonable sacrifices and have probably lost parts of yourself in the process. These men are irrational and nothing's ever good enough.

You said he's become angry and violent over the last few years. This is giving me major red flags and I'd do my best to get out of there. For your child's sake as well. He sounds like a sick man who needs the support of professional's specialising in this sort of thing.

Sophie has given you some excellent resources. Please use them.

Worried about you.

Thank you. It's so hard because when things are settled and I don't have any reason to remember the restrictions on life it's ok. No pressure and little reason for him to be stressed or agitated. But as soon as something comes up it's triggered.

I just don't know how to bring it up without flaring anything up or do I hope it miraculously changes or will it come to a head next time?

The resources were great.

Thank you. Whenever I'm alone during the day I feel relaxed and happy. No one asking me to do anything or get them something. I get drained because I'm always asked to do something... not something done for me. Well, not something that is out of the ordinary. It's hard to look after my mental health when the things that make me happy I'm not able to enjoy like going out for a coffee, shopping, going to the beach etc.

I know there is no right answer in any of this and no easy solution.

You are being controlled and the relationship you are in sounds abusive. For example, you should not need permission from your spouse to attend a function. In normal circumstances you would discuss it.

Making sacrifices for the people you love is normal but it cannot all be one way.

Hello emotionallydrained..

I have been reading along and wanted to call in..

I lived a very abusive marriage..(38years)..hoping my late husband would change, plus afraid to leave him...

I have 2 sons that... well I raised and my husband yelled at and abused....One of my sons is struggling with his own mental health now...I am sure if I left the marriage he wouldn’t be struggling so much..

Yes my hubby had his good times when he treated me nicely, which were very rare..I held on to those times thinking maybe he will change and be a nice person...that never happened, the older he got the worse my life was..

He totally controlled my life..not letting me go out, not letting me have friends..choosing and buying my clothes..what to eat or what not to eat....I’m sharing this because I care about you and your beautiful daughter..

What I’m trying to say...is please put yourself and your beautiful son first..I remember my husband stopped me from tucking my children in at night..they were only young...it broke their hearts..not being allowed to cuddle and comfort your son when he is sick..is so very sad...It’s the time when our children need us more..is when they sick and feeling uncomfortable...

No one can tell you what to do dear emotionallydrained, but I just wanted to share my story in the hope that it may help you in some way...

Sending you my care and kind thoughts..


Hi emotionallydrained,

Are you able to elaborate more on when your partner gets violent? Are you talking about emotional and/ or physical violence? What does he do? Just so that we're equipped in helping you better and can understand more. This is an annonymous space here.

Like Grandy I too have had abuse in some of my relationships. I'm free now, thank God and will never accept that treatment ever again.

You are no doormat emotionallydrained and deserve to be treated the right way.

I really hope we can talk some more.