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When in a heated argument my husband sometimes throws things at me (baby bottle, cups, etc.) & corners me like he's going to hit

Oxnard, CA |

I don't know what i should do because i am a stay at home mother and wife with two children and he is in the military and we live on base and my home state and family is across country.

I don't have the money to move either. he said he would go to marriage counseling with me but we already tried it in the past. He also said he wont go to anger management classes because he says its me because I am the only person he does it to! he also slams around furniture (all this in front of our children).

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Attorney answers 5


Check with local agencies that help battered women. There is also a Family Advocacy Program on every military base where you can speak with a victim advocate.

Blaming you and saying you are "the only person he does it to" are both common behaviors of abusive men He's trying to control you by making you feel like it's your fault, and he is also putting your children in danger.

Get help.


This is a very serious circumstance. Thankfully, it sounds like so far, there hasn't been any violent "contact" between the two of you. These close calls are threatening enough. First I'll talk about action steps you can take. The first obvious one is to move out. I know, you can't afford it. Or at least you've said you can't afford to move home. Unfortunately, both you and your children are paying a price which cannot be measured in dollars and cents by your tolerating this abuse. Second, you need to immediately draw on the expertise of two professionals: (1) a competent family law attorney who can advise you on how to obtain support from your husband (it's really not that difficult; it can be done informally through his command, or formally by court order); and (2) a psychologist or, at a minimum, a licensed clinical social worker who can provide you with counseling. These services are often offered through shelters for abused women (yes, you ARE being abused!) and also through county agencies.

Your description is of an all-too-common phenomenon where the abuser feels like he (okay, sometimes it's a she, but 94% of all criminal domestic violence cases in California are prosecuted against men) is a victim. This is, of course, complete *$(#&%. Excuse my French. Victims remain in the cycle of violence, or threats of it, because they are paralyzed with a sense of helplessness until they actually do something about their situation. Every act a victim takes to extricate herself will empower her more. Victims of spousal abuse often believe their inaction is preserving peace in the household. That's just not so. In fact, you describe a relatively stereotypical situation, a profile of a family with probable REAL PHYSICAL domestic violence in its future. It's never too early for the victim to take control of the situation.

You might be simply amazed at how generous a support order could be. And you don't know because so far, I'm guessing, you haven't overcome your fear of asking. The fundamental legal issues in your case are the type that can be capably handled by an experienced family law attorney. He or she can help you get the support you need, even help you get the judge to order your husband to pay part of your attorney's fees. If nothing else, you could start at the Family Law Facilitator's Office. You can find one in any family Court in California. I know it's hard getting out to do these things with small children at home. But ultimately you're doing this for them as much as for yourself.

In order for the victim to escape, she must endure the inconvenience, overcome the fear enough to make the first step. I'm sorry to report that there is very little likelihood that the relationship as you have described it can be salvaged. The combination of an abusive spouse, who is in denial of his abusiveness, the failure of previous attempts at counseling, and the abuser blaming the victim for his behavior, suggest a violent, narcissistic and juvenile temperament in the abuser, not easily susceptible of rehabilitation.

A healthy separation between a victim and her former abuser can create a context where healthy, appropriate co-parenting can be conducted by EACH parent. Anger management seems appropriate at a very minimum. Your attorney will also likely discuss with you the possibility of obtaining a domestic violence restraining order.

NOTE: NOTHING in this response should be considered by the reader (or anyone else) as legal advice. There is no attorney-client relationship created here.


Call the will work itself out, but you need to be concerned with your safety.


You need to get out of that relationship ASAP. Lucky for you the military has excellent family services. Contact the family support office immediately. You can also ask to talk with the base JAG officer, who will give you much help (I was once a JAG officer, so I know you have the right to his free legal help).

Good luck!

I guess I wouldn’t feel lawyerly unless I wrote a disclaimer to this answer – after all, that’s what we lawyers are trained to do. So here it is. Disclaimer: Trying to provide a complete answer to a brief question without meeting the questioner and without getting all the facts is much like internet dating. Despite what you have been told by the person you’ve met online (and don’t they always put everything in the best light for themselves), once you meet them face to face you realize how much has been left out. People tend to bend the facts and there is always the other side to the story. So, this answer is about as valuable as the price that was paid for it. It should not be considered legal advice. It is meant as a general overview of how the law could apply to a very broad set of facts that may not have any applicability to the actual circumstances of the person making the question. It is hoped to provide some understanding of the broad field of law that could come into play. No attorney-client relationship has been formed with the questioner and no attorney client relationship was ever anticipated by my response to this question. I would also like to remind you that I am only licensed in the State of California, and the answer provided is based upon my knowledge of California law.


Get help now! This cannot wait; what he is doing is abusive under California's laws. You can get an order for him to move out of the house so that you and your children have what's called "exclusive use and possession" of the home. The first place to start is JAG -- the military will not condone or excuse his behavior.

What concerns me more is your attitude. You are wrongfully trying to assume some responsibility for his actions -- this is not your fault! He is abusing his children by abusing you in front of them, and it's only a matter of time before your children conclude that this is the way men behave. Protect them now. I just wrote an article on domestic violence today on this web site; look it up and go to the links at the bottom of the page. There's an excellent site listed that will tell you who to call and what to do. Do not delay! Do not think, "oh, it's not that bad," or "I don't want to ruin his career." Think only of those children of yours. They deserve better than this, and they deserve a mother who will protect them.

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