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Recruiting Duty Didn't Make Him Nicer

Ms. Vicki

Dear Ms. Vicki,

It has been a full year since my husband returned from 13 months in Afghanistan. He became very mean when he was gone. He has since become emotionally and verbally abusive.

My husband is now on recruiting duty and we are nowhere near a base. In addition to everything else, he often tells me how the house is “his.”

I thought this would clear by now but it is getting worse and worse. I cannot talk to him and now just try to stay out of his way. He is very nasty to his mother and my whole family as well.

From time to time he has panic attacks. I also have panic attacks so I know how to identify them.

What do I do? I do not want to get him in trouble with his superiors, or make him look like he has mental disorders and impact his career. If he is nasty to me now, I cannot imagine how he is going to act if I forced him to get help.

I do not want to leave him but he is destroying me and I am so tired.


Dear A,

You have to do something. It concerns me when anyone is in an abusive relationship because I cannot tell you it will get better. It could get worse.

Moreover, I cannot tell you what your husband will or won’t do to you. So you can’t pass off your responsibility to act just by saying you don’t want to tell anyone or get him in trouble.

No, here’s the other problem: You are saying that you don’t want to say anything to his superiors or get him in trouble because you fear how he will act if he finds out you spoke. You have to realize that you are describing an abusive relationship.

I think you should call Military OneSource. You can contact them 24/7 for phone support and they will connect you with a professional counselor in your immediate area. When you contact them you need to tell them your husband is emotionally abusive and you are isolated from a military base for support. Their number is 800-342-9647.

Secondly, you should also contact the Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-799-SAFE 7233. The will help you immediately and strategize a safety plan in the case of an emergency.

Again, I think there should be an intervention. I cannot make you contact your husband’s superiors if you don’t want to. However, I think you are telling me that you don’t feel safe in this situation you are in.

Please take my advice and call the resources I provided. Keep in touch with me and let me know how you are doing.

Ms. Vicki

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Ms. Vicki is a native of Dallas, has been the Dear Abby for the military community since her column began in 2005. A licensed therapist and licensed clinical social worker, Ms. Vicki holds a Master of Science in social work and a Master of Arts in clinical psychology.

Ms. Vicki appears regularly on and in the Fort Campbell Courier. Her column has also appeared in the Washington (D.C.) Times and in the Heidelberg (Germany) Post Herald. She has been featured on CNN, CBS, ABC and NBC.

Looking for advice about your military life? Email Ms. Vicki here. Find Ms. Vicki on Facebook here.  Find Ms. Vicki on Twitter here.

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