• Troubleshooter

My husband does nothing for our family but says he’s ‘the greatest’

The Japan News

Dear Troubleshooter:

I’m a woman in my 40s. I have three children, and my husband and I both work. I have complaints about my husband, who does nothing at all to help with the housework or raise the children, but I don’t confront him about these things. Even so, he gets angry with me several times a year because I’m not good enough.

For example, when he goes on a business trip and I forget to pack something in his luggage, he’ll call me to point it out, saying things like, “You’re useless.” And then he’ll ignore me. If he faces any inconvenience as a result of money issues, he will take it out on me. He goes out on holidays and asks me for gambling money. He pushes away food he doesn’t like and complains like a victim that I don’t do anything for him, even though he doesn’t lift a finger to help around the house or with the children.

If I point out his unreasonable treatment of me, he only says, “I am the greatest.” It is appalling and is not worth arguing about. And I always apologize to him because the atmosphere would become bad at home if I make him angry. I’m scared of my husband but I’m also sick and tired of dealing with his behavior. The word “divorce” often comes into my mind, but it seems difficult to take that step because we have children. How can I make my life a little easier to improve my mental state?

S, Shiga Prefecture

Dear Ms. S:

Thank you for your letter. I want to commend your courage in having taken the first step forward.

Your husband doesn’t help at all with housework or raising the children. When he comes home, he orders you around as he likes. When he has complaints, he scurrilously attacks you. When he is driven into an inconvenient situation, he takes it out on you and then ignores you. You are driven into a corner mentally and are at a loss over what to do.

As you may have noticed, your husband is a typical perpetrator of moral harassment and emotional violence. There could be various factors behind how a man becomes a husband like this, including his developmental history and job stress. However, for whatever reason, if you feel you’re struggling right now, you need to act as soon as possible.

You seem to put up with the current situation for the sake of your children. But when children see a mother who is always afraid of a father, it affects them mentally, too. If someday his violence targets your children and you cannot help them out of fear of your husband, who then will protect them?

Local governments provide consultation services about such spousal abuse. If there is an emergency, they will be able to guide you to a safe location, such as a shelter.

Wives are neither husbands’ property nor slaves. Please seek advice from a counseling service as soon as possible with a strong mind to regain your damaged dignity.

Hazuki Saisho, writer