Dear Fiona: My husband is abusive towards me and our children, but I’m too scared to leave
“I know everyone has found the last 18 months or so difficult, but for me they’ve been a complete nightmare. I’ve been married to a monster for the last 15 years and in that time, all my needs have been completely subservient to his.
“He does absolutely nothing for himself and regards himself as the lord of the house. He snaps his fingers and expects me and the children to jump. If we don’t or we are a bit slow, he flies into a violent rage and shouts at us – he’s beaten me so many times, and he has also beaten the children.
“He is so short-tempered, and it hurts me a lot, especially when it’s directed at the children. I feel so helpless during these outbursts. He scares me so much that I can’t stand up to him and dare not show any defiance, in case he gets violent again.
“The children are terrified of him and the youngest wets the bed every night. I have tried to talk to him, but he won’t listen and just gets angry again. I am sick of what he is doing to us but lack the courage to end it.”
“I do feel for you, tiptoeing around a bully like this for 15 years must have been sheer hell. I cannot imagine how awful it must have been for you, stuck at home together during the pandemic. For your sake and for that of your children, it is a hell you must call an end to.
“Over the years, I have often tried to tell people that no matter how bad a relationship is, it is often worth one last attempt to correct matters. Where violence is concerned though, as in a case like yours, my attitude is always the same – you need to get out as soon as you possibly can.
“Enough is enough, and while starting life afresh is never easy, especially with children, with support, it can be done. Many women before you have managed to escape this sort of destructive relationship and have gone on to lead fulfilling and happy lives, without the constant threat of violence. You and your children have a right to feel safe, secure, and happy, and you are never going to feel this way whilst you are with someone like this.
“Your youngest is already clearly showing signs of emotional damage and needs to be protected. Chances are that your other children are equally at risk here. They cannot leave on their own – they need your help to do so, and so for yourself and for them, even if you think it’s hard, you need to do something and soon.
“Do you have any friends you can trust and talk to? They could help you to plan a strategy for how to escape this violent cycle you are in. And I’d really urge you to contact Women’s Aid (womensaid.org.uk) who can give you the support, advice and information you badly need. Not only could they be your trusted friend, they can also help you to find emergency accommodation for you and your children.
“With your husband at home all the time during lockdown, it was probably very hard indeed to make any plans or get help. Now lockdown is easing, hopefully you can find a safe place to talk to somebody who can help you, and the National Domestic Abuse Helpline number is 0808 2000 247. That website too (nationaldahelpline.org.uk) is full of useful and helpful advice and information. Truly, you are not alone – you and your children can be safe and happy away from this man.”
If you have a problem you need help with, email Fiona by writing to [email protected] for advice. All letters are treated in complete confidence and, to protect this privacy, Fiona is unable to pass on your messages to other readers. Fiona regrets that she cannot enter into personal correspondence.