A Reader Writes:
Message: Hi, my partner has issues with anger and deep regrets in his life. He says that if he hadn’t met me his life would be completely different and he would have been a success. He seems full of hate at times and says terrible things about me and his family, and goes into a rage and I feel scared. He has little contact with any friends and seems bitter and resentful. I feel guilty because maybe it’s true and even though I didn’t intend to cause him harm he seems desperately unhappy with his life with me. I am a nurse and work hard to provide for us, we have a ten year old beautiful daughter and we live in a nice house in a picturesque location. This he says is a trap and he wishes he had a more exciting adventurous life. He does not work as he can’t seem to do an ordinary job. I forgive him time and time again for his behavior and insulting things he says. I try to be compassionate and understand that he must be in pain. I worry for my daughter having to see him being very aggressive and bullying. His doctor says he probably has bipolar disorder and needs medication. My partner says he wants $50,000 from me to start a new life, which I’ve said he can have if I add it to the mortgage. I don’t know if he will really leave. Do you think this man has been sent to me to test my ego and for me to learn loving kindness, and how does my daughter fit into this, is it fair on her? Thank you for any response, I truly appreciate it.
(Note: I wrote this about two weeks before posting it online. I know it doesn’t sound especially charitable, but after a two weeks thinking about it, I have a hard time changing anything. Maybe you guys can school me a little bit on this one.)
I teach college, and I heard this kind of story regularly from my female students. What part of my Buddhism do I draw on in this case? None. Sometimes a little down-to-earth tough-love trumps enlightenment.
“Do you think this man has been sent to me to test my ego and for me to learn loving kindness?”
No, I think this man has found you because he’s a leech.
“He does not work as he can’t seem to do an ordinary job”
I see how you didn’t mention any kind of physical disability. I repeat: he’s a leech.
“This he says is a trap and he wishes he had a more exciting adventurous life”
Homelessness is very adventurous. I’d recommend you help him on his way there.
“I worry for my daughter having to see him being very aggressive and bullying”
As you should. You didn’t say he hits you, but abuse comes in many forms.
“My partner says he wants $50,000 from me to start a new life”
Sounds like blackmail. Start the divorce proceedings and see if you end up owing him that much. I suspect not. If you aren’t married, there are other options: restraining order, throwing him out, etc.
Between letters like this and stories from my own students, more and more I just cannot understand why women stay in abusive relationships. You say you are the breadwinner in the house, so you aren’t dependent on him. Why, WHY would you keep this up? If there’s no real way to get rid of him, get yourself and your daughter out of there. Move.
I’m sorry I have nothing particularly “Buddhist” to say today. Maybe the readers can assist with that.