Dear Thelma: My husband is short-tempered and hits me

PHOTO: The Star/Asia News Network

My husband is short-tempered. We have been married for 15 years and have four children. Throughout our marriage, he has constantly insulted me verbally.

About 10 years ago, he hit me while we were at home and I made a police report. Since that time, he has never hit me. Until recently.

My husband also occasionally hit our children whenever they performed poorly in school. As a result, our children are not very close to him.

I hate going on vacation with him because he can fly into one of his tempers easily should something happen.

My husband resents my success. Because of that, I feel that he is often happy when I fail at something. I am financially very stable and do not depend on him. I don't like to waste my time and instead, spend time generating income, unlike him, who only plays video games or watches YouTube videos. That's why I don't understand why he should be jealous of me when he doesn't want to do it himself.

He also doesn't help me much. If I want to go anywhere, I will just have to go by myself. If I need anything, he hardly buys it, unless it is for my birthday when he sometimes gets me a gift. Otherwise, nothing. I feel very cheap.

Recently, my husband watched YouTube for many consecutive days for weeks. I tried to talk to him but he shouted at me. I took my phone to film the verbal abuse and he slammed the phone to the floor, witnessed by our daughter. Then, he delivered a punch to my face. My face hit a table.

I saw that he was going to punch me again. I managed to reach my phone and called the police right in front of him. He suddenly smiled and put his arms out to hug me. However, I still left the house to make a police report and to go to the hospital.

I called his mother on the way to the police station to tell her what had happened. Instead of commiserating, his mother scolded me for making her son angry and asked if he was all right! I was the victim here, and her words made me feel worse. Instead of saying sorry, my husband blocked me from texting him.

In all of our fights, whether he is the one in the wrong or I am wrong, I have always been the one who has to pacify him. This time, I didn't calm him down since he severely injured me. And now we have not been talking to each other for more than two months but we are still living under the same roof! The children know why this happened, though - they say, "because daddy hit mummy".

I don't feel safe with him because he has hit me several times, and he can hit me again in the future. He is currently just helping to get the kids to school and with their other activities. In my eyes, he doesn't do anything.

I don't know what to do. Am I stupid to remain in this pointless marriage? My parents don't like him. Please advice.


Dear Hurt

My dear, this man has a long history of violence and from what you say, he has no intention of changing his ways. You are already hurt and if you stay, he may kill you. He also has a history of violence towards your children, and he may hurt them again, too. Get out and do it now.

I am happy that you have the support of your parents and that you are financially independent. That is a double blessing, and you must make sure you keep this intact as the next few years are likely to be hard for you.

If you were childless, you could just walk. But as he is the father of your children, it is likely that he and they will want to maintain contact. The trick is to do that while keeping everyone safe.

My advice is to consult a lawyer as soon as possible, one who is used to dealing with separations and divorces where one partner is violent. She can help you work out a visiting/contact plan that is fair and safe.

You may or may not want to divorce. I don't know how you feel about that, but at the very least you must also learn what you and your husband's legal obligations to each other and your children are. You will need to figure out what happens to your property and how you work out maintenance for the kids for starters.

Also, and this may never happen, men who are violent with their families sometimes stalk and harass them when they leave. If this kind of situation develops, you need to know how to deal with this. Ask your lawyer for advice. You already have a history documented with the police, so hopefully they will offer support.

Now, looking to the future, I strongly suggest you find yourself a therapist and to get one for the kids as well. You are going to have to adjust to a new life, and that's not easy. As for your kids, they have witnessed violence and they need a safe space to talk through their feelings. Doing this with a stranger means they can open up without feeling that they are being disrespectful to mum and dad, or picking sides.

I can see this is a very tough time for you, but you appear to be a strong, competent woman. So please don't despair; positive change is in your grasp. And know I'll be thinking of you.