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TROUBLESHOOTER / How can I handle living with a violent, abusive husband

The Yomiuri ShimbunDear Troubleshooter:

I’m a homemaker in my 40s. I live with my husband and two daughters. I need your advice about my husband.

My husband barely talks to me after he comes home from work. He only says, “Itadakimasu” before he eats and “Gochisosama” after he eats. He frowns and ignores me when I talk to him.

If there’s something he doesn’t like, he just explodes with rage. He shouts loudly and attacks me. He lies without hesitation if it serves to protect his position, and even blames his daughters from time to time. I once put him in a bad mood for unknown reasons and he choked me. Since then, I have always had the fear that he might resort to domestic violence, and I’m worried about what he might do to me.

I want to work outside the home because I don’t want such a man to run my life, but he doesn’t let me. I think it’s because he thinks his position would be endangered if I gain more economic power.

If I take my daughters into consideration, it’s probably better not to divorce him, but I also wonder why I have to put up with this situation. What kind of attitude should I take from now on?

N, Yamaguchi Prefecture

Dear Ms. N:

What kind of man do you live with? Even if you talk to him, he doesn’t respond. He’s always in a sour mood, lies to you as soon he opens his mouth, suddenly gets mad and attacks you violently. His act of choking you constitutes a crime.

He probably doesn’t allow you to work because he doesn’t want to let you interact with people outside the home and wants to protect his position. If you consulted someone about your situation, you would realize that you are a victim of serious domestic violence. It’s more convenient for him to keep you ill-informed — just like keeping a bird in a cage to make it obedient.

It’s indeed a torture to live in fear of somebody if just thinking about his return home frightens you. You shouldn’t use your children as an excuse. I wonder how sad your daughters would be when they realize their mother has endured pain for their sake. You’re the only one who can protect yourself. Local governments provide consultation services for domestic violence victims. You should gather information.

Your husband is a man who utters words of gratitude before and after meals. He probably is not an intrinsically evil person. But it’s too late if something happens, as it were. I propose you suspend your married status with him and reflect on how your family should be. If you think you can’t expect him to better himself, that’s the moment you should make an important decision.

Hazuki Saisho, writer

(from Oct. 17, 2018, issue)Speech

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