The Yomiuri ShimbunDear Troubleshooter:
I’m a male company worker in my 40s. I have a problem with my wife, whose terrible behavior to me is beyond my control.
She is a full-time housewife. When she gets angry, she becomes violent and throws things at me. In addition, she says such abusive things as “Die!” and “You’re useless!” every day.
Recently, I fell down and bled from several injuries to my body, so I came home earlier than usual. She told me, “Don’t come home — you’re a nuisance.” When our two children make trouble, she blames me, saying, “This is all your fault.”
When I was hospitalized for two months last year due to overwork, she came to visit me only three times — not voluntarily but because she was asked by the doctor to do so. Even now, she still constantly says sarcastic, unpleasant things to me such as “You’re just a sick person.”
On my days off, I take care of our children. But she doesn’t appreciate it, saying, “Other fathers are more dependable and helpful.” She doesn’t prepare meals for me, and I wash my clothes by myself.
I’ve thought of divorcing her many times, but I don’t dare to because our children are so small. Is my family environment abnormal?
Dear Mr. R:
You are in such a crisis that you can’t determine whether it is abnormal, and need to ask somebody else. To my eyes, you are clearly a victim of domestic violence. You suffer from physical violence, and also more serious emotional abuse. So you should take action immediately.
Typically, emotional abusers insult people to hurt their pride. They pass all responsibility on to others for certain problems and drive them into a corner. If people are constantly told, “It’s your fault,” they gradually lose faith in their feelings. They gradually come to think it is their own fault, and underestimate themselves. Then the abusers take advantage of their victims’ mental condition to control them.
Your wife can behave arrogantly because she feels sure you won’t divorce her while your children are small, and therefore she thinks little of you.
It’s good to have a strong sense of responsibility, but you should consult a lawyer or a support center for victims of spousal abuse at your local government for help as soon as possible to prevent the situation from worsening. This would be good for your children, too.
If you record her violent words or deeds with a recorder or a camera, this could serve as objective evidence of her violence.
It is said many men can’t report domestic violence they suffer but rather silently endure it, so it’s good for you to have asked for help in this column. I believe you have encouraged people who have a similar problem by writing this letter.
Hazuki Saisho, writer