I’m Afraid to Live with My Short-Tempered Husband After Our Kids Leave Home

Dear Troubleshooter:

I’m a female part-timer in my 40s. I need advice about my abusive husband, who is in his 50s.

Whenever we discuss something, he completely rejects everything I say and becomes enraged; it’s very scary.

We have three children. Each time I gave birth, he got angry with me. Our oldest son had health issues when he was born and my husband said it was my fault. He also vented his spleen when our second and third kids were born. His behavior undermined me mentally, and was I diagnosed with an adjustment disorder. I still go to the hospital on a regular basis.

My husband handles the family finances and only gives me ¥70,000 a month to manage the household expenses. I supplement this cash with a part-time job, but I always end up in the red.

Fortunately, my kids are great, but we all fear my husband and walk on eggshells around him. When I intimate these facts, he snaps and won’t listen at all. I even sent him a text message saying the children are afraid of him, but his response was, “You’re a bad mother!” This hit me hard. I don’t know if I can continue living with him after our kids fly the coop.

— U, Niigata Prefecture

Dear Ms. U:

You say you don’t think you can live with your husband after your children move out, but if you’re considering living on your own, there are issues you should start addressing now.

Firstly, consult with your local government office or a support organization about what you need to do to become financially independent. It’s vital to make to take this kind of concrete action, as well as steeling yourself mentally.

Regarding your children being frightened of your husband: Are you sure it’s not just you who’s afraid? Instead of speaking directly with your spouse, you send him messages. That sounds like a big problem.

You note that his temper scares you, but if he becomes violent after getting angry, you can speak to the police about the issue and get a divorce.

I’m sure it’s tough to have a short-tempered husband who rejects everything you say. However, if he says something unreasonable, you need to clearly and firmly tell him, “no,” otherwise, your life will be a long slog.

It seems as though you get on well with your children, so I would encourage you to work together with them on this issue.

Tell your husband that you’re not afraid of him, that you won’t try to please him and that you need more money to manage the household expenses. Doing so will help you take the first steps toward a new life.

— Junko Umihara, psychiatrist