Don't Stay In This Abusive Relationship

Beth is 52 and has been married for more than 20 years with two kids. She never worked, and now she feels impoverished by her husband’s control. He makes $200,000 a year. Dave thinks she’s in an abusive relationship.

QUESTION: Beth in Nashville is 52 and has been married for more than 20 years with two kids. She never worked, and now she feels impoverished by her husband’s control. She borrowed $10,000 from Wells Fargo four years ago to help her, and she’s paying $250 a week toward that. He makes $200,000 a year. Dave thinks she’s in an abusive relationship.

ANSWER: You’re not impoverished; you have an abusive husband. You’re not seeing the good in everybody. That’s called codependency. You’re being abused. Have you not figured that out?

Do you know what we run into when we discover domestic violence where a husband is actually beating his wife? Do you know that her script sounds almost identical to yours? “I’m economically trapped. I have no way to escape. There’s no hope.”

Move in with your parents. Start developing your career. Get a marriage counselor and see if your abusive husband will mend his ways before you have to divorce him.

Beth, in Tennessee, you can get a no-fault divorce. In Tennessee, you cannot be kept from filing for divorce for four and a half years by running out of money. Give him his money. Give him his life. Give him his precious abusive tactics and let him sit in his own poop. Walk away.

You’re going to have to do something. Your plan isn’t working. It’s not about whether you can pay freaking Wells Fargo or whether you develop a quality career. You’re not going to develop a quality career until you love yourself a whole lot better than you love yourself right now. Part of the reason is that you’ve been abused for 20 years. Your only option is to get away from it.

I don’t like divorce. I think it’s ugly, but I think your husband is one of the ugliest people I’ve discussed in the last week and a half. I think he’s a pitiful human being. I can tell you I don’t love him. I think he’s a twerp.

Tease and tease and tease. Manipulate and control. Darling, you need to seek shelter somewhere. You need to get in touch with your pastor. Make arrangements through your church, your family, your parents, a domestic violence shelter, Legal Aid for your lawyer—but you need to get out of there. Then and only then can you start to work on your career, because you’ve worked on you. And then and only then will your money stuff start coming together. I’ve talked to you now for five minutes and 46 seconds. I’m talking to an intelligent, articulate woman who intellectually grasps the emotional sewage she’s sitting in. You are employable once you are out of the mess and can see again. You’re valuable, kiddo. You’re not going to fix this by staying in it. You’ve tried that method. It’s a Dr. Phil moment. “How’s this working for you?” It’s not. Don’t be codependent, kid. Life’s too short.