You've seen celebrity clinical psychologist Dr. Sherry Blake, author of The Single Married Woman: True Stories of Why Women Feel Alone in Their Marriages keep the Braxton sisters calm on the hit show, Braxton Family Values. Now it's your turn to sit in her chair...
I have been married for 16 years. The day of the wedding I knew I didn't want this marriage. I was 25 with 2 kids from a previous relationship and was pregnant. I talked myself into thinking it was right. He went to jail three months after we got married and served two years. I stayed and did what I needed to do. The problem is I have always been unhappy when he was around. I can't stand him basically. I told him that I am not happy and his response is that he's not leaving the marriage because we have been together 16 years. And have threatened to tell lies on me if I do decide to leave and hurt my relationship with anyone I want to be with after. My job just closed and I can't find work quickly like most people so I feel stuck. I have to ask him for everything. My kids even won't deal with him because of the way he treats me. My sister and friends tell me to just leave but I honestly know its just not that simple. How do I feed my daughter that has diabetes? Where do we go? I really think he will kill me if I try to leave. I am just lost and have no where to turn. My mom thinks I should work it out because he pays the bills. And my dad says call the police but I don't think that is an option. I just don't know what to do. Please help.
While your husband may have served two years in jail, it sounds as if you have served 16 years. Being in a mental prison is worst than being in a physical prison. When you are locked behind bars you see what is keeping you from being free. But in a mental prison, you don't see the bars but you still do not have your freedom. You have made excuses to remain in this marriage from day one. First it was the children, then it was the job or lack of, and now it is the money. Trust me, I realize that those things are real but are they really the issue? You had two years without him while he was in jail and you still did not leave. Your mental prison is more related to fear and a lack of trust in yourself than to money or a job. Your fear has paralyzed you and your husband knows it. If you really want to leave, plan to leave and leave. You must plan your exit like you plan for other things. I do not suggest that you impulsively leave unless you are being physically abused. Do your homework and develop an exit plan. See what resources including housing are available in the community and how to to access them. Gather documents that you may need later( e.g. husband's SS#, bank account #, tax returns). Place this information in a safe place outside of your house. Search and find a job even if it is not your ideal job. Save as much money as possible once you are working. Also, determine who is truly in your support circle and share with them what you are planning to do. If you honestly believe that your husband will indeed physically harm you, you really need to leave. I highly recommend that you speak with a lawyer before you do anything. I also suggest that you seek individual therapy to understand your fear and lack of trust in yourself. You have the keys to your mental prison. Free yourself! --Dr. Sherry
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