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Prisoner in my own home! Help!

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Relationship advice Feel like my life has become a real life soap opera! Movie worthy material! To begin to convey my situation I must begin by saying that I have been in a emotionally, physically, and mentally detrimental marriage for 15 years. My husband is the real life representation of "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde". On a good day he is so kind, generous, and loving. He can almost be overly loving and affectionate to the point where I feel that I'm gasping for air. On a bad day he exhibits extreme emotional instability. He can become jealous, possessive and controlling to the extent of which he looses all rational. When he is at a point of lost control, he becomes physically abusive. He can rapidly transition from one emotional extreme to the next. He has always had a jealous streak but things have gradually progressed to this extent over the last 5 years. I believe I was in denial about that extent of the abuse in which I was submitting to.

I was apparently blinded by the false perception of happiness and tainted outlook on what my life consisted of. I had engulfed myself into a fully conscious dreamlike existence. Dreams are often more ideal than the cruel reality. Truth is I'd been living as a prisoner. A prisoner of my thoughts and emotions, a prisoner of my physical limitations, and mostly prisoner of fear. Fear of change, fear of failure, fear of what others may perceive, fear of the boundaries that I had manifested into my life.

The beginning of bad to worst began when I went back to college to finish my degree program. My husband would occasionally meet me for lunch at the campus. He began to fixate on a male classmate that he said gave him a "bad vibe". He could never quite communicate what it was that he didn't like about him. With time his paranoia increased to a point of which every argument was centered around this one person. I can honestly say that I wasn’t attracted to this individual and couldn’t understand where my husband’s insecurities were stemming from. Ultimately, I ended up dropping the class in order to avoid the constant accusations and finally have peace of mind.


Two years later while working at my dream job, one of my colleagues decided to leave the company. Her position was posted and off-site interviews were conducted. The position was filled a short time after. My boss arranged a time for my colleagues and self to introduce and welcome the newcomer. As a sat in the conference room, here walks in….. Yes you guessed it! The same guy from the class. My heart sank into my stomach and I knew that my already unstable home life was about to get a whole lot worst. I immediately masked my grief with a forcefully concocted smile and greeted him “ John its so good to see ya! It’s been a while! Welcome to the team!” I walked away feeling defeated. I drove home consciously aware that the conversation I’d be having with my husband would send me full force into a shit storm.


Of course his initial thought was that I’d been in contact with John all along. He suggested that it was me that got him the job and we had been having an affair for the last 2 years. Arguments were intense and often ended with me physically abused. He would text and call throughout the work day and if I was busy and didn’t answer he’d go on a tangent! I often cried while driving home from work not knowing what I’d be facing once I got there. With every argument and fight I grew further apart from him. Seems like all the love that I had for him dissipated leaving me empty and broken.


My job became my refuge from my home life. It became my “happy place”. John and I worked very closely as we were assigned the same projects. He and I worked together for about a year and a half and became quite close . Feelings began to consume me. How did I miss this before? “Not now” and “not him” I thought. A part of me felt like my husband subconsciously spoke the situation into existence. Or just maybe God was trying to tell me that he was the one and my husband received the message before I. I mean, this was our 2nd encounter. I felt like maybe there was some deep rooted intuition that my husband was feeling when he first met him back at the university. I never imagined that there would ever be validity to my husband’s worries.


The timing of all of this couldn’t have been any worst. I had just began to search. Search for aspects that I couldn't identity but, knew were missing from my life. Unimaginable hopelessness. Where do you begin to locate what is obviously not tangible? Realizing now that my search had to begin in a realm that is not physical but, spiritual. Feelings of emptiness and un-fulfillment. What could I offer John when I was not whole? I would just end up extracting the energy from him, sucking him dry to fill up what was missing in me. Despite never truly reaching gratification because as I said, what was missing could only be obtained from the spiritual realm. I was beginning my journey of "self discovery" and slowly beginning to gain a sense of self worth. Through this discovery, my perception of everything around me became altered. This awakening was abrupt and disheartening. I was beginning to build myself up from the lows I endured as a result of years of volatile treatment and abuse. It wasn’t the time to heavy my load with the emotions I began to feel for John. I'd never felt so conflicted.


I am naturally a guarded and reclusive person. I believe that I discovered aspects in john that I seen in myself. This type of familiarity made me feel safe. Felt like "home". Feelings of warmth overtook and satiated me. I've never experienced conversing with someone that seemed to understand me on such a deep level. Felt as though the words I spoke merely complemented the unspoken understanding that he already had. I had the misconception that by withholding myself from him physically I'd be safe and no wrong would be done. How naïve of me to think that a physical bond takes precedence over an emotional bond. I now realize that what I had invested was much more expansive. I opened up my soul to him. I told you things about myself that I never acknowledged until the words left my mouth and those deep thoughts were manifested to realization. I felt so comfortable and at ease. Why did I feel so comfortable? I don't share aspects of me that leave me naked and susceptible. I carelessly allowed myself to step into a place of precariousness and uncertainty. He had this forceful pull over me. Never felt quite that way before.


I could no longer suppress my emotions and decided to tell john what I was feeling. Not to my surprise, the feelings were mutual. I think that saying what I felt out loud magnified it's intensity leaving us both engulfed in emotions. I acted as the captain of ship and the initiator in submerging us into a rolling sea of emotions. Despite having the awareness that if the ship sinks one of us, if not both of us may drown, I continued to proceed. I lead him down a path to a fork in the road and then with reluctance, decided to just stand there. Selfishness. I lured him down a path with a blatant cognizance that I was disinclined and unprepared to continue on. How self-indulgent of me to impose on him. I fell in love with him and all rational immediately dissipated. The initial mistake was allowing myself to be driven by my emotions and not by God’s will.

My marriage has sucked the life out of me leaving me numb and empty. Being with him made me suddenly feel alive again. I was consumed by the need to feel even a smidgen of the energy he radiated. I crave him emotionally, intellectually, and spiritually. He challenges me in a way that stimulates my thought process and has transformed me. Now that I have experienced the bliss of his precarious depth, I don't know how I can re-acclimate and encapsulate myself to wallowing in shallowness.


I often talk to God about him. I try to gain clarity by trying to find answers as to why he brought him to me (not once, but twice). Coincidence? I think not. God has carefully crafted the sequence of events and encounters that we experience in a lifetime. I believe that he gives us the decision making ability to choose the direction and route in which we take. I believe that on this journey called "life" we choose our path and with each turn we either venture closer or further from fulfilling Gods purpose for our lives. Every step that we take along the way is of such great importance. One step in the wrong direction can spark a series of unfavorable events that could not only impede growth but, cause regression. For this reason the notion of John seems so uncertain. I can’t decipher if he is Gods greatest gift or most carefully calculated test.

After a over a year of mental and physical abuse, I left my job and the notion of pursuing things any further with John. I left to appease my husband and to prevent myself from reaching a point of no return. I’d already gave john so much of me. If things were to become physical, it would only solidify the need for a divorce. I felt that I had to get out while I still had an opportunity to make a choice. I’m not sure that my marriage is worth saving but, if I do leave I want to do it with dignity.


I have been seriously contemplating divorce but I am afraid that my husband will become even more emotionally unstable. I care for him enough to want to protect him from pain that may take a toll on his already fragile mental capacity. I am afraid of what a mental breakdown may cause. His hours were recently cut at his job and currently I am the bread winner in our home which, has already negatively effected his self esteem. I have children and I don’t want them to be subject to witnessing their father have a meltdown but, I also cannot continue to live in his tightly sealed box. He is extremely temperamental and I am often walking on egg shells. He wants to have control over every aspect of my life. I have become isolated from my family and friends and my whole life revolves around him and our children. I feel trapped and imprisoned in my own home. I feel so helpless.

Prisoner in my own home! Help!

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I've been in a very similar relationship, we also have children together. I can tell you right now, that no matter the choice, your husband will make you feel like you are less than nothing either way. If you stay with him, there will be no end to it. If you leave and take your children, there is at least a light at the end of the tunnel. If he is physically abusive, my advice would be to get in touch with victim services in your area first to get an emergency order in place, they can help you out. It's very very hard to leave this type of relationship because even though it is toxic, it has become the norm and no one likes change.

Prisoner in my own home! Help!

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I think 15 yrs is enough time to spend in hell. You seems to think that being in a mentally and physically abusive relationship is better for your children than seeing there father having a melt down. You need to regain control over our life and show your children that you deserve to be respected and they deserve to be in a healthy environment. Yes get out to save your sanity. You can't live you life based on what he will or will not do.

Deal with life as it happens, if he has a mental breakdown then he will have to get through it the best he came. You need to put you and your children needs first. It will require you getting your backbone back. It will take courage, it will be hard at times, however the end goal is to take control over your life so that you can still have a chance to have a life.

Be smart and plan your exit, seek legal advise so you know what to expect. Never allow yourself to be alone with him you must be mindful of your safety.

Prisoner in my own home! Help!

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yes - listen to Marty1984 and Skinnygirl and take their advice - act now : don't wait - but plan your exit very carefully - strategically - get in touch with victim/abuse services, social services, legal advice, banking info - everything you need to plan with great detail your exit - do it in a cold, factual, objective way : no feelings

separate your feelings from the facts - the facts are only too obvious of a toxic relation for you and the children - when in such a situation - indeed one gets sucked in a way of life always made out of drama - it becomes addictive - then habitual : you have become conditioned to the point where it seems more important to you that your husband doesn't get a meltdown and that your children don't have to witness that - you getting bullied and abused mentally, emotionally and physically apparently is not important - you have made yourself to become a doormat - forgoing your basic essential fundamental self-esteem and self-respect : this must stop

I understand that when in contact with a disordered individual - one can find "interesting" things to the relation : indeed these people are not like us and one can indeed have some interest in finding out how it is these people think, feel and what their values are - but once you've taken the tour one too many times - you realize their fundamental values are opposite from any "normal" human being - these people lack empathy - thus a capacity to truly love (even if they may try to) - they don't have the intellectual capacity to understand - often because there's denial coming from pride and the unwillingness to change - and most of all - don't forget these people have been living their life this way for several decades : so a certain way of living, thinking, feeling and doing things has become ingrained

any conditioning needs at first a deconditioning before reprogramming - you too have been conditioned after 15 years to see life this way and deal with it the best you can : do you remember how it is to have a happy, stable, healthy life with no drama ? do you remember how it is to feel good about yourself and your life ?

and what about your children ? is this the kind of life you want for them ? is this the way you want them to learn and know about how it is to love ? if so they will copy these behaviors and integrate them and reproduce them with their own children - and so the vicious circle continues

realize you're literally drugged : when living in such volatile conditions - one may develop ptsd, paranoia, a numbed brain, dead feelings and an overall feeling of not existing anymore - these are the chemical/hormonal components that get triggered over and over again until you don't know anymore how it was before or if it ever has been any different and in the end you totally loose touch with yourself : you don't know anymore who you are

don't go there - don't let things get worse over time (because they will) : step out now - for your kids and for yourself - but please do it with the utmost care and very precise and detailed strategic preparation - and get all the help you can : start now :)

Prisoner in my own home! Help!

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oh - and God wants the best for you : but you have get up and do it :)

Prisoner in my own home! Help!

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Since you mentioned soap opera in the first sentence, I think you should drop everything you’re doing right now, and start writing scripts for “Days of Our Lives.” But prior to “Act I, Scene 1, Rome….” the way our junior English recording on the play "Cesar" began.

I’m a manic-depressive and it sounds like your husband might be.
You wrote in your third sentence, My husband is the real life representation of "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde". (manic-depressive—my guess)

And then you added, “On a good day he is so kind, generous, and loving (hypo-manic – meaning he’s in an elevated state, but not yet manic; he has perfect balance, but not for long-—my guess).

"He can almost be overly loving and affectionate to the point where I feel that I'm gasping for air. (still hypo-manic, but it won’t last-—my guess.)

“On a bad day he exhibits extreme emotional instability" (he’s agitated manic, reaching full-blown mania, no longer the super nice guy of hypo-manic. This stage won’t last long, either, if he doesn’t get lithium, like I take, or some such medicine--my guess.)

“He can become jealous, possessive and controlling to the extent of which he looses all rational." (He’s getting more and more manic. He’s out of reach now, no one can talk to him that he’s sick. That needs to happen before he hits this stage. –my guess.)

“When he is at a point of lost control, he becomes physically abusive.” (Full blown mania. My guess)

“He can rapidly transition from one emotional extreme to the next.” (I think that’s why they call it manic-depression. –my guess.)

“He has always had a jealous streak but things have gradually progressed to this extent over the last 5 years.”
You said, “his paranoia,” that may be part of manic-depression.

(You said you had been married for 15 years. If you got married at 20 (round numbers), and both of you are now 35. And it started 5 years ago, at age 30, and there may have been signs at c. 28. That would be about the average age for manic-depression to start breaking out, my understanding.)

I broke at about age 27 or 28. I had the depressive state from being out of a job.I was depressed for about 3 weeks, and I had a nervous breakdown. Still was not diagnosed as manic-depressive, but was put on stelilzine, which reduces all emotion to zero, with anger being the emotion they are trying to stop, since I was very angry for 2 or 3 weeks, and then had a breakdown, which is where he's headed.

But was not diagnosed as m-d, and would not be for another 10 or 12 years or so. I was having panic-attacks off and on for a year or two, and was then put on lithium and it stopped the panic attacks cold, and I’ve never had another one.

As soon as I took my first lithium, I felt like a balloon in which all the air had been let out. Like my entire body was filled with tension, and the lithium released all of that. I didn’t have a clue that I was so up-tight.

It made me wish I had been on that medicine many years earlier.

If your psychiatrist miss-diagnoses you, you can’t get on the right medicine, so the diagnosis is very important, and it can be easily missed, mine was. These doctors have from 15 to 45 or so minutes with you. You have days, months to look into this on your own. Bring any findings to your doctor, and if you feel strongly that he or she has miss-diagnosed, you have to decide if you give his view a try, get another doctor, or what.

You can go to the web, look under manic-depression in the search engine, and answer the 10 or 20 questions on some of the sites and see if you think he is that.

I don’t see any place where you mentioned that he’s ever depressed. If he has that illness, he’ll also be depressed much of the time. Lithium helps reduce the mania and anger, and lift up the depression. Plus, as with me, they can also prescribe an anti-depressant.

You can also look on the net for a list of other psychiatric conditions, and determine which one or ones you think your husband may have, and look up the symptoms for those illnesses.

Now, as for this writing flare you have, "Slow it down, honey. Put a cap on it, baby. You’ve hit a gusher!" ("Days of Our Lives," 2005)

You write, “Truth is I'd been living as a prisoner. A prisoner of my thoughts and emotions, a prisoner of my physical limitations, and mostly prisoner of fear. Fear of change, fear of failure, fear of what others may perceive, fear of the boundaries that I had manifested into my life.”

I’ve heard the saying, “Most men lead lives of quiet desperation.”

In some ways, it’s typical life. In other ways, you may feel trapped by him, by yourself, or by both. I’ve been in such situations where I couldn’t figure out what to do, either. My brother had anger personality disorder, and he could be so convincing that I was worthless, that a part of me probably believed it. When I got free of him, I probably didn’t think that way of myself.

I know when I did get free of him, when I got to be an adult and reached a certain stage of I knew what was going on, I was so glad I had gotten free I didn’t know what to do. I haven’t seen or talked on the phone to him in 15 years.

Same with my sister who has similar problems. Haven’t seen or talked to her in 6 years. No regrets. No regrets. Absolute necessity for me to survive. They were toxic personalities and needed some meat to chew on. Basically no one has anything to do with them, except their children, who are trapped like they had me trapped when I was their younger brother living at home, and at family gatherings for some years after.

You said, “I am naturally a guarded and reclusive person.” I am too. I can feel very strongly about something, but so reticent, not want to come out of my shell, feel safer in an environ that may be detrimental to me. I’m also conflicted and see both sides of almost every issue.

You said, “I have been seriously contemplating divorce but I am afraid that my husband will become even more emotionally unstable. I care for him enough to want to protect him from pain that may take a toll on his already fragile mental capacity. I am afraid of what a mental breakdown may cause.”

Why don’t you see if you think he is manic-depressive. Or, at the least, try to get him to a psychiatrist and see what the psychiatrist thinks. The more he gets to feeling bad, the less likely he will want to get help. Of course, if he’s not feeling bad, he won’t go for that reason. I’ve been that way, also.

People most often go, probably, when they’ve had a complete break. But a break can be damaging, so ideally, we want to go just for a second opinion; just hear what the doctor says. We don’t have to take any medicine if we don’t want to. Just hear the doctor’s opinion.

Maybe set up an appointment with a psychiatrist yourself, with him invited to go in by himself, but perhaps you go and tell the psy. what’s going on, and see what he thinks. At least you can expend some nervous energy doing that, and maybe some good will come, you husband may go with you, you will have tried at least.

You said, “I have children.” Uh, oh. I thought I saw that sentence in there somewhere. Tell your husband to go for the kids’ sake. But I think you should go ahead and make an appointment. Maybe take charge, as I advised someone else. If he’s down you might can pull this off.

My helper could get him to go. You can set him up with the speech. Inform him from the start, that his marriage and his children’s well-being is at stake, and he needs to think of someone beside himself. You can use voice inflection if necessary, “I’m SICK of this!!!!” You’re dragging this whole family through the mud." (Hey, “Days of Our Lives” 1981.)

Really put it on the line. “The only person you care about is yourself. Well, I’ve just about had it. I’ve seen our children suffer enough. If you can’t even go to see what the doctor thinks might be the problem, then you can just forget about this marriage.”

Hey, please, don’t make me write your lines for you. "I'm telling you, you're good, Helen. You're good! Helen, Helen!!! (“Days of Our Lives,” 1995).

I would do a combo of attacks, and offers of caring help. I would inform him at the start of the speech: The appointment has already been made. You don’t have to tell him, you’re going if he doesn’t. Tell him the children will go to the appointment, whether he goes or not.

Oh, I just re-read the part where you said near the top that he would physically beat you.

Uh, oh. I just put that together with your saying near the bottom of the letter, "He wants to control every aspect of my life." That to me is lights out.

We're in re-write now. Stand back. OK, OK, this is what you say, "If you ever lay another hand on me, it will be the last time you stand up to me. If me now, maybe the children later. Not going to happen, you little piece of shit. You miss this appointment, and you've got no chance." And walk out of the room.

It's called the changing of the guard. You're taking over, because he's out of control, but you're letting the inmates run the asylum. But you can't do it. You have to take over, for the good of the group.

It would be better to keep the family together. I was faced with the same situation. My wife cheated, but I wanted out son to be raised by 2 parents in the house, I wanted both paychecks in the house, I wanted to keep the house we were buying, so for one thing, we wouldn't have to pay rent when it was paid for, and so our son could inherit it.

So, if he can get treatment and the right medicine, that could work. It is imperative that you get him to the doctor. And let him know, this marriage is on the line. These kids future's are on the line. They're going back and forth every Friday from one of our houses to the other. What kind of life is that? You need to start thinking of these kids. You need to start thinking of somebody beside yourself.

I had a problem with my colinostophy, and I told my helper. I didn’t really want another one, and didn’t know what to do. I was 50-50. You know, like some other people I know.

I told my helper about this, she said, “You have an appointment with your general practioneer in 3 weeks. We’ll ask her and see what she says. See how quick and decisive she moves?

In 3 weeks we’re at the appointment, my helper is in the exam room with me, much to the chagrin of my general practioneer. About 3 minutes into the appointment, my helper says, “Yeah, Bill here wants to know if he needs a colinosphy." I had forgetten it.

My doctor said, “When was the last time you had one?” I said 5 years. She said, “Yu need one.” She said what’s your doctor’s name. I told her, she typed on her lap top, and said “You have an appointment in 3 weeks.”

OK, does anybody see the point here? It went from me not having a clue, to telling my helper, who basiecally solved the problem. Notice, I never did decide whether to have one or not. My helper said ask you doctor, and my doctor set up the appointment. I wasn’t even in on that process. Good thing. I’d still be debating it.

So, do like my helper. Tell him he has a choice between a colinostophy and a visit with the psychiatrist. I guarantee I know which one he'll pick. Set up the appointment. With the psychiatrist. Don't get those two mixed up.

Talk to the children about when they can go. Then last, give him the speech, tell him about the appointment already set, then walk out of the room, never listening to his reply. Or, I could send my helper over to your place. She’d get him moving. She charges $20 an hour, and it will be the best $20 you ever spent.

You said, “He is extremely temperamental and I am often walking on egg shells.”

That’s what my boss said about me shortly before I was fired. So the same terms are being used about us.

You said, “He wants to have control over every aspect of my life.”

You said, “I have become isolated from my family and friends and my whole life revolves around him and our children”

You said, “I feel trapped and imprisoned in my own home. I feel so helpless.”

I read a column 15 years ago on being positive before trying to solve a problem, and how it helps you to solve the problem.

Unconsciously, I had been negative all my life, and was tripping myself up from solving my problems.

I would come up with a perfectly good solution, and my uncon. would say, “that won’t work, and I’ll tell you why.”

And then it would come up with the most idiotic excuse as to why a good solution wouldn’t work, and I would believe it.

So I had to learn how to conquer my unconscious. It was easy, just kick its ass.

Or, since I know what the problem is now, I simply say, over and over before trying to solve a problem, “Think positive, think positive, think positive.” And then before too long, a solution comes to me and my unconscious can’t slip up on me.

All you're dong is re-setting your unconscious. It got set on negative as a youth, and since it's in your unconscious, you don't know it.

You're the one who set it on negative, so re-set it. Your conscious is the one which controls your unconscious. And then it acts without your knowing it. So reset it to positive, and before each problem, repeat over and over, "Think positive, think positive, think positive," to make sure it's on positive, and only then think about the problem.

As for if you are negative in your unconscious, you wrote above,"“Truth is I'd been living as a prisoner. A prisoner of my thoughts and emotions, a prisoner of my physical limitations, and mostly prisoner of fear. Fear of change, fear of failure, fear of what others may perceive, fear of the boundaries that I had manifested into my life.”

That does show some negative unconscious. But you're doing well at your job, so you seem to be thinking very well there.

What also helps me is, "One problem at a time, and be positive about that problem." Be positive you can get your husband to go to the doctor.

This thread has expired - why not start your own?

B-2