I have been in a relationship with my husband for eight years, married for three. The problem is that my husband has become abusive. We have children together — a five-year-old girl, and a three-year-old boy who has been diagnosed with a developmental disability. My husband became less interested in the relationship when the baby was being diagnosed with the disorder, then he and his family started to reject the child. There has been more than one instance where we had fights as he became controlling and abusive. The police have been involved and I feel as if enough justice wasn't done. Now I am fearful for my life and I think I need a divorce, but he has refused to give me one as he fears I will marry someone else. What would you suggest?
It is most unfortunate that your husband and his family have opted to heap more psychological challenges on a child who, through no fault of his own, must endure the psychological distress of being different from his peers. The parents must love and protect the child from insensitive adults who do more harm than good by rejecting him. I commend you for expressing love to the child despite his disability.
Intimate partner violence of any form cannot be condoned and so the abused must seek to protect him/herself, and the abuser must seek help to control his offensive behaviour.
What the abuser fails to realise is that as young as the children are, they will be negatively impacted by the violence that they witness and/or experience.
You mention that you are fearful for your life, which suggests that you are at risk and you must do what is necessary to safeguard your life. You need to reach out to a women's crisis centre or any such agency that caters to victims of domestic violence in your locale. Just do a Google search and find one near you.
Some jurisdictions have special police units that attend to sensitive issues like this. You need to be proactive and formulate a plan that will safeguard your life.
Concerning your inquiry regarding a divorce, again you need to do the legwork and contact a lawyer who can better advise you, given the circumstances of your present situation.
The suggestion is therefore that you continue to lovingly care for your children, especially the one that is developmentally challenged, and protect yourself from any apparent personal danger by seeking help. You must never be a victim or a survivor but a victor over your life.
Take care of yourself and your children.
Wayne Powell is a relationship counsellor. Write to firstname.lastname@example.org. Check his Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/MFTCounselor/.