Dear Abby: I was single for four years and recently remarried. I didn't intend to marry again, but then I met "Bob." He was so kind and attentive that I was attracted. He proposed to me every day, several times a day, and eight months later I married him.
Bob moved here from out of state and hasn't been able to find work. It has been challenging. My daughter lives with us and is in college.
Bob's mood swings have been drastic lately. He doesn't want me to talk to anyone else, do anything without him (hang with my friends, my daughter, etc.). I have a great job and work part time in the evenings to make ends meet. I try to stay calm, but he yells, uses profanity and is highly manipulative.
I am at a loss. I would like to help him, but his depression is tearing us apart. I also believe he is addicted to marijuana. He has threatened suicide, but I don't know if he would actually go through with it.
Abby, I have worked very hard to get where I am. I know I need to take care of myself and my daughter, but I don't want to just throw this away, either. Help! -- TORN IN TWO IN TEXAS
Dear Torn in Two: Without more information, it's hard to tell whether your husband's depression makes him act the way he does, or whether you have been seduced by an abuser.
Among the warning signs of an abuser are:
- Pushes for quick involvement;
- Isolation: tries to isolate you from friends or family members;
- Makes others responsible for his/her feelings: The abuser says, "YOU make me angry" instead of "I am angry," or, "You're hurting me by not doing what I tell you";
- Hypersensitivity: is easily insulted, claiming hurt feelings when he or she is really mad. Rants about the injustice of things that are just a part of life;
- Verbal abuse: constantly criticizes or says blatantly cruel things -- degrades, curses, calls you ugly names. May also involve sleep deprivation, waking you with relentless verbal abuse;
- Sudden mood swings: switches from sweet to violent within minutes.
This is only a partial list -- there are 15 in all, which is too long for this column. However, they can be precursors to serious physical violence.
Urge your husband to get counseling for his depression and insecurity. If he refuses, then be smart and contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-799-7233 or online at thehotline.org for help in safely separating from him before your husband's behavior escalates.