The following comment was left on a recent Widower Wednesday post.
I hope you can help me. I’m at my wits end. I’m a WOW for 2 1/2 years now. His deceased spouse died 4 years ago of cancer. They were married for 40 years and had no children. We have had a very difficult marriage and I have been talked down by his in-laws. He has never stood up for me in any situation. I had told him right after we married, I did not want to be around any of her family. It makes me very uncomfortable and I feel like I’m swimming with sharks. I told him I would not stop him if he wanted to visit them, but do not try to force them on me. Well, this past Monday, we were discussing him sending out Christmas cards by himself and only to his family and friends. I was upset and he told me he had sent some to his in-law family. He said he signed both out names. I was not upset and told him that was fine. He started in about he wanted a relationship with his old in-laws and wanted me to be involved too. I told him I wasn’t there and didn’t want to be forced. He got very upset and said he didn’t think he should have to associate with my Mother’s side of the family.(???) So, I told him that I’m a part of my Mother’s family and since he felt that way, he did not have to be with me, but could spend the holidays with his old in-laws. He started screaming and cursing me, as usual. I think he has anger issues and will start calling me names. I left and haven’t been back and he hasn’t bothered to call. I am feeling he has never had any respect for me and I just want out. Please help.
Sometimes it's easy to confuse widower issues with bigger relationship issues. Based on what you've described, it sounds like there more here than him simply making room in his heart for you.
If screaming and cursing at you is normal, there are serious anger issues that need to be addressed by a professional. It's not a widower issue—it's a verbal and emotional abuse issue. You can't help him overcome this. You made a wise decision to leave and not go back. Returning won't improve anything. Odds are he's had this problem long before you came into his life. Yes, he needs to stand up for you with the (former) in-laws, but that's not going to change until he gets his anger issues under control and treats you like you like a queen.
So take a deep breath and start adjusting to live without him. It may be a heart-breaking struggle to get yourself out of this relationship but long-term it will be the best decision you ever made. You'll be in an emotionally, spiritually, and physically better place once you're able to put this behind you.
Readers, what advice would you give Help?