Panic and Anxiety

“I’ve been in a verbally and emotionally abusive marriage for 16 years. He’s bullied and tried to control…

“I’ve been in a verbally and emotionally abusive marriage for 16 years. He’s bullied and tried to control me…

Calls me awful names. Starts fights over ridiculous things. He’s always angry about something and doesn’t talk to me for weeks on end. Now it’s the pandemic and I lost my job. He still has his very well-paying job but fights me tooth and nail on helping me keep up with bills such as electricity.

So, I’m always stressed. He’s a narcissist and it brings out the worst in me as I find myself getting wrapped up in it and saying mean things and I hate it! I just want a happy and most important, a peaceful life.

I’m going to put our house up for sale in the spring. That’s the only way I can afford to move out. He’s agreed as he wants to also move on and “ find a new girlfriend and be happy.”

My problem is I’m having complete panic/ anxiety attacks over living on my own. (he’s completely convinced me I don’t have the ability to do it and I’m to old. Also tells me I have dementia… I don’t. I’m 61). He tells me I’m well on my way to Alzheimer’s.

My question is, has anyone else had these panic/ anxiety attacks in a similar situation? How did you handle it?” -Anonymous

  1. I’m sure you have no idea now, but you will be amazed when this “weight” is lifted from you. I divorced after a 25 year marriage with a similar narcissistic person. I was rather naive about the actual emotional toll it was taking on me, other than a therapist telling me I had “no self-esteem.” You can have a wonderful life on your own! Please, do all you can to leave this marriage!

  2. A narcissist will never tell you the truth. He/she only tells you the “truth” that serves their purpose. I, too, was in a long term marriage (22 years) and believed that I could not support myself and that I would never have a good relationship because “no one would want me with three children”. Funny thing was that when I finally filed for divorce, he would not sign the papers for four years until I agreed to not get any spousal or child support. I ended up finding a great job and supporting myself and my children on my own. It wasn’t easy, but we never went hungry and always had a decent roof over our heads. Now, I am married to a wonderful man (almost 14 years) and we are enjoying our grandchildren, none of which my ex (blood grandfather) has even gotten to know. YOU ARE STRONGER THAN YOU THINK!!

  3. How sad you have wasted 16 years in a miserable existence. How much worse could it be to live on your own?

  4. So sorry that you had to experience this from your husband. Change is always a stressful event. Seek for therapy. One of the things I started doing during an anxiety or stressful attack, is meditation. There are some good apps out there that can assist with guided sessions. This helps me breathe and focus on myself even with mess right in front of me. You don’t deserve this treatment. Also get you a lawyer and get him in his pockets. Don’t worry about how others view or think about your decision. Take care of yourself! It is ok to live on your own. A peace of mind is everything!

  5. You need to realize that everything he said was false and designed to tear you down. You had a life BEFORE you met this jerk, right? You can have one again. It sucks that you have to start all over at this age; I’m 57 and I just had to do it. Starting from ground zero, all over again, at this age….. But, the good part is, you CAN do it. And now you know what a narcissist is, and how to avoid them. I put up with MY narcissist for 23 years. And the minute I started resisting, having learned what he was, I got dumped and exchanged for one of his mistresses. I was angry, but, in reality, he did me a favor. I was too scared to leave on my own. Why I was too scared, is because he convinced me that I couldn’t make it on my own. I was professionally employed at the time (now retired) and made more money than him, but I was scared I couldn’t make it on my own…that’s what narcissists do to your mind. They convince you you are helpless, so you stay, and they can continue to use you. It’s all a lie. I am living my dream life now….log home in the mountains, lots of forested acreage, plenty of peace and quiet for my soul to heal. I chop wood every day now; if you had asked me if I could chop wood while I was married, I would have been scared to try, convinced by a narcissist that I was unable. I now know I can do anything I need to do, and I’m twice as strong as a narcissist. I can do things on my own, but a narcissist has to have people do things for them. The narcissist in my life was truly the person who was unable to find a life, not ME!!!!! Girl, you can do this. Get a counselor, get your self esteem back on track, and LIVE, honey!! You’ve wasted enough time on that narcissist!!!

    1. I would suggest in addition to Deb’s comment that you located a very qualified divorce attorney. You will need it.

  6. You can do this! I did at 62. I was with my ex for 40 years when I left and my ex was like yours. I’m not going to lie, it’s not easy at first but its been over 2 years now and I am thrilled with my new life. I even did it without any financial help from my Ex. I didn’t even ask for spousal support. Stay focused on what you’re leaving and what is ahead. No more listening to him! It’s glorious!

  7. Yes sweetie, I did for 23 years. Put up with his verbal abuse, psychological abuse, and sometimes physical. When he found a girlfriend and moved in with her here in this small town, the humiliation and rejection caused me a mental breakdown. When I look back on that period in my life I am so shamed and embarrassed at myself. Two years of therapy showed me how miserable my life had been, opened my eyes to what kind of monster he was, and gave my old and true self back to me. I was brainwashed just like you into thinking I couldn’t make it on my own, but here I am 20 years later happier than I have ever been in my life. I’m not wealthy or well off, but I’m 66 and retired and living my best life ever. Break away from him hon. And get some help to allow you to untie the knots in your stomach and be free. I promise you its the hardest thing you’ve ever done, but the rewards are triple and so opposite of the pain you’re in right now. Many prayers for you for strength as you will need it, but you also can be a Phoenix arising from the ashes of your old life into an entirely new and happy existence! I promise you it can and will happen if you allow it. Best of luck to you.

  8. For 26 long years I was married to a man just like this. When he was happy the world was a when mad there was hell to pay.
    My advice…SELL the house move on to someone new and great.
    Enjoy yourself and let him go continue to aggravate and stress someone else out!

  9. I had my first panic attack when it became clear we were divorcing after 39 years. I saw my dr and he prescribed Cymbalta which helped me walk through that very difficult time. There are all kinds of aids snd don’t be afraid to use them.

    1. Go to your local women’s shelter. They will also provide counseling and may help with your job search.

      The sooner you are away from this abusive man, the sooner you will begin to heal.


  10. The brain is a funny thing. After leaving my abusive marriage, I had terrible anxiety for almost a year, even with counseling. It was nearly crippling. I couldn’t bring myself to leave the house, except to go to work. You just have to know that you will feel panicked and anxious until you don’t. It is okay. Just keep on plugging along. YOU WILL FEEL BETTER! Sending hugs and prayers for you.

  11. Anxiety lies.

    He needs you weakened and doubtful so his worst nightmares don’t become glaringly true.

  12. I am so sorry you are going through this. I had crippling panic attacks and once couldn’t leave my house for two years!! Dear precious lady, he is not worth this suffering! Sure it is scary to leave and start over but you will be able to breathe and live!! Change is hard but please do it!! You have a whole wonderful life to explore! Yours!! God bless you!

  13. I too am 61 and in the same place. My husband would be classified as a gaslighter. I am suffering from lack of self esteem and major anxiety and know it’s time to pull the plug but am frozen. My husband was sexually abused as a child and has just gone through prostate cancer. Both these things I have stuck by his side accepting his issues due to what he has been through. He constantly lies and cannot communicate at all. He takes everything out on me and knows how to push my buttons to the point I loose it. When I get to that point the gaslighting starts. Everything becomes about me and the state I am in rather than what he has done to cause it. Gaslighters are master manipulators and do everything they can to take attention away from their actions/issues and make their victim look out of control and even insane. I know he has a horrid past and the cancer has not helped but he can’t keep taking out his issues on the one person who has been by his side for 35 years of marriage. Everyone supports him because of his past and his health. They don’t see what he is really like….he even puts my kids against me.
    I am left lost and alone. Councilling doesn’t help in this situation unless they have experience with sexual abuse. Try finding someone ….it’s very hard. Trust me, I have tried.
    We women need to start taking care of ourselves rather than everyone else. However I hear you about the anxiety and inability to feel we can do it. You are not alone.

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