You’ve seen celebrity clinical psychologist Dr. Sherry Blake, author of The Single Married Woman: True Stories of Why Women Feel All 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…

Q: Dr. Sherry, I’m a 41-year-old mother of two who feels stifled. I’ve been married for 20 years, and I made the conscious, yet difficult, decision to end my marriage after years of mental abuse and controlling behavior from my husband. I only have a high school education, and I have a 19- and 17-year-old. Can you please provide me with words of encouragement and empowerment at this time? God bless!

I can definitely understand how and why you feel stifled. After 20 years of abuse and control, I am sure you feel quite stuck. It’s easy to get trapped in a relationship that doesn’t make you happy. You are not alone. Women often feel they have to tolerate issues of abuse and control for the sake of a relationship. When this occurs, they lose sight of themselves and their voice in the relationship.

I am sure it has taken a lot of strength to make a decision to break free and end your marriage. While it is difficult, the great thing is you are in the process of moving forward. You deserve more than what you have received emotionally in the last 20 years.

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Change is always changes but you cannot grow without it. This is the time to dig deep within yourself and pull from your inner strengths. Develop a support system of family and friends that you can turn to when you need them. You should ignore anyone that is negative regarding your decision or suggests that you need to continue to deal with his abuse and control.

I would also highly recommend you receive individual therapy to process your feelings and discover where you want to go in life. This may also be the time to do a personal makeover in all areas of your life. A new you starts with you. Refocus, regroup and regain control of your life!  — Dr. Sherry

Email us your questions for Dr. Sherry now and be sure to include “Ask Dr. Sherry” in the subject line.