Question: Dear Luise: My husband and I come from African where any memeber of the family leaving abroad are automatically considered to be the bread winners of the family. We are both in Europe and fortunately for me,virtually all my siblings had been to visit us.However,the cost of all thses visits are paid by my dad inclusing the visa applications which my husband and I had no hand in. My mum visited recently,and she bought her ouw ticket because things are quite hard for us. Yet,my husbands family in Africa thinks I am controlling everything and he is only sponsoring my family to travel to Europe. This is causing a big rift between us as my husband now wants a family member to come over to assist in looking after our kids. I am not comfortable with this as they all do not like me and even when they call him,no one says hello to me.Moreover,we do not even have the means to sponsor them yet,he is putining soo much pressurev on me and even once told me I only want my family to come and not his.My mum and my other siblings came to assist me with childcare but never asked anything in return ,however,his family put monetary value to everything and I’m afraid that we may not be able to meet their expectation financially when someone comes over to assist us.And if this happens,they will blame me. It seems like my husband is siding with them yet he know very well that he had never even a penny to my family through our ten 8 years of marriage. He is also very abusive and disrespects me so much that I even lack confident outside,yet his family see him to be gentle and laid back and I once overheard his cousin saying that ‘we know you are very calm and laidback that you will agree to everything your wife says for the sake of peace’. However,this is very wrong as he is very controlling and I have no say at all in the marriage that sometimes I do not see myself as a woman.He never consults me in any decisions and when i approach him he tells me what do I know that will make his decisions any better. He even chooses school for our daughter without my knowledge , yet I will be doing the school runs. This is just a snapshot as I cannot write everything here. All these are affecting me and he avoids open communication.I cannot speak to a family member because they all hate him.Please advise as I have got to a stage where I feel like moving out. Thanks, N.
Answer: Dear N.: The customs where I live are different but the situation is still familiar. I know of nothing that will change your husband’s basic nature. My take is that he is a bully to those who fear him and a good guy to those he wants to impress. Bullies abound world-wide. There are many women that live their lives out in the circumstances you describe. Hope that things may get better hold some, hopelessness holds others, taking the blame for it is the victim stance…and still others are motivated by fear and custom. No one can tell you how to fix it because it isn’t fixable. Whether you stay or go is your call and depends on how highly you value the gift of life that has been given you.
I was in a similar situation and chose to move out after thinking I could fix it or myself for eighteen years. But that was my solution; you have to find your own. I thought my life was worth saving and acted accordingly when I finally got that nothing was ever going to change. It was very hard for me because I had low self-esteem. That’s what bullies prey on. My guess is that your family will help you if you sincerely want to get out of what I see as a life sentence in a prison that you don’t deserve. Blessings, Luise