Q. I will be honest, I do not want to be talking to a counselor but my manager strongly suggested I make an appointment. She thinks I am being abused in my marriage but its been this way for a long time and I don’t think it is abuse. So I feel forced to be here. Can you tell me if you think my husband is abusive? —Andrea

A. Here is the Domestic Violence questionnaire that educated Andrea about abuse:
(These are the ones she marked yes)
1. Jealousy or possessiveness
2. Controlling or limiting contact with friends and family members.
3. Controlling of finances, making the abused partner ask for money, or refusing access to money.
4. Undermines parenting
5. Forces sex when the abused partner doesn’t want to or makes the abused partner perform sexual acts he/she doesn’t want to do.
6. Threatens with harm or acts in ways that scare or make the abused partner uncomfortable.
Andrea, “My husband has been engaging in these behaviors for a very long time. I have not shared my situation with anyone until my manager became concerned about me and began to ask questions. She said she noticed that I was withdrawn, quiet, uninvolved with others, just basically looked sad. I tried to deny everything then I began to cry and told her it was bad at home.
She told me we had an EAP and I needed to talk to a counselor. I procrastinated for awhile, then she asked again. She finally encouraged me to call while sitting in her office.
I realize I have been in an abusive marriage for many years. I thought I could stay in it, telling myself I can wait until our children are grown then I will leave. As I have been involved in counseling I have learned a lot about domestic violence and its long term affects. Recently I told my husband he was being abusive. He said, “You don’t use that word, who are you talking to? This is not abuse, if you would do what I ask I would not get upset. You are supposed to give me sex, that’s what wives do.”
I don’t know when I can leave him. He has told me I better not think of leaving or it would be bad for me. Even my children want me to leave him.
Domestic violence is real. It steals the lives of victims on a daily basis. Leaving may be a slow process. If you are in an abusive relationship seek out services to build a support system as you make a plan for leaving the abuser.