After 4 Years I Finally Realize I'm in an Abusive Relationship

by Jerry
(Pittsburgh, PA)

My wife and I have been together for nearly 20 years. After many years of happiness, about 4 years ago our relationship starting turning very negative.


We attended counseling, joined a church, took up a hobby, made other lifestyle changes, and my wife started attending Al-Anon meetings. Her therapist diagnosed her with extremely co-dependent behavior - a result of her dealing with an alcoholic father when she was a young child, and an alcoholic son when she was an adult.

It's now 4 years later and our relationship issues continue. This week I had a epiphany that this wasn't just a long standing disagreement, but that I felt like I was in an abusive relationship - although there had never been any physical abuse.

I started doing some research, and came across the quiz about verbal/emotional abuse on this site. The quiz stated that answering "yes" to more than 3 answers indicated an abusive relationship - so I was floored when I answered "Yes" 19 times!?! The only questions I did not answer yes were primarily related to physical abuse.

These issues are really starting to take their toll on my self esteem and general sense of well being and happiness. I no longer enjoy things that used to bring me great happiness, I find myself being anxious almost all of the time, and for the first time in my 50+ years I fear I'm falling into a state of clinical depression.

Considering a score that is 6X+ the suggested threshold, and the fact that my emotional batteries being almost empty after struggling with these issues for 4 years with virtually zero success - is there any chance I will be able to save my relationship with additional (more specialized) counseling - or should I cut to the chase and and start building a new life?

I know there are no guarantees in life, but I am interested in what the research data indicates for being able to rehabilitate a relationship with this level of abuse over this period of time - with a partner that has been diagnosed with major co-dependency issues. I'm willing to make one more attempt to save my marriage, but I need to figure out when its time to turn the page.

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