The Yomiuri ShimbunDear Troubleshooter:
I’m a housewife in my 50s. I have no idea how to cope with my husband restricting my freedom of action.
My husband is a member of the elite, very proud of himself and work-oriented. After marrying him, I’d been devoted to raising our three children in a place totally new to me.
Now that the children have become independent of us, I want to enjoy my time. However, my husband tells me that only idle persons go out to take lessons in cultural activities. He also says to me, “If you want to study, do it at home.” He insists that the wives of the elite aren’t supposed to work part-time for a meager income and attending lunch gatherings is nothing short of stupid.
I once ran away from home after having a quarrel with him. As he never gave way, I gave in. My heart, too, gave in.
I’m a sociable person by nature, so I want to associate with people. In reality, I have nobody to talk to when my husband is out. I live like a recluse at home.
I do household chores perfectly to his request. Before preparing dinner, I read books over a drink. It’s the only pleasure in my life. Thinking about my days, I find myself shedding tears. But I’m free from worry about money and domestic violence. Please tell me how I can feel happy about this kind of life.
Dear Ms. M:
If I tell you my answer, you may immediately deny it and start defending your husband. But I’ll still tell you.
You’re a typical victim of domestic violence. More specifically, you are psychologically abused. Your husband has forced his sense of values on you and wounded your pride by taking advantage of your obedient personality. He’s looked down on your friends and deprived you of opportunities to learn diversified views and obtain new information. He’s forced you to act as the perfect wife of a man belonging to the elite and to obey him. Eventually, you’ve lost yourself and have no idea about your happiness without placing your husband in the center of your life.
Let’s make today a turning point for you.
Read books written by specialists in psychological abuse and visit similar websites to convince yourself that you are a victim of psychological abuse. If you can see the situation objectively, it will create the base for your practical efforts from now on.
You can’t easily free yourself from the shackles of your husband. You need a strong will and some skills to escape from his mind control regardless of terminating or continuing your marriage. Get your parents and friends on your side. You can also ask for help at the local government’s public consultation center for women.
When you feel discouraged, say to yourself: “I’m not stupid. I’m an individual worthy of people’s respect.” And hang on. You can find happiness after going through all of this.
Hazuki Saisho, writer