Response to Worried New Mom

Dear Hailey,

Is he “adjusting to fatherhood” or is it abuse? Basically, the crux of my question for advice is that people minimise family violence but it’s also likely to escalate while a woman is pregnant and just after a baby is born. I was told that my husband was just adjusting to being a dad, and my support network had all but broken down.


Worried New Mom

*The original question was much longer, but much of the content in the original question posed was removed due to its personally identifying nature. Most personally identifying questions are answered privately, but this is a very important topic that needs to be addressed.


Dear Worried,

It is absolutely true that everyone goes through adjustment periods when big life changes occur. Individuals with any type of mental illness often do experience an increase in their symptoms when they experience big changes. However, it is never acceptable or normal no matter the circumstances for someone you love to be abusive in any form.

The facts that you are mentioning sound like your husband was trying to break down all of your contact to others in the outside world. You already had a limited support system, and even though he didn’t have a job, he wanted to support the family. I can respect a husbands desire to support his family, but the fact that he didn’t have a job and wanted you to leave yours expresses that he was being very controlling and not logical.

I don’t know if you have ever heard of gas lighting, but it is a form of mental abuse where the perpetrator convinces you that your perceptions are incorrect, and this causes you to question your own judgement. After all of this, you start to wonder if you are crazy. It sounds like your family may have piled on to this by telling you that your husband was just adjusting and that you were overreacting.

Also, with your mention of physical illness, it is important to note that it is very common for extreme experiences such as abuse to manifest themselves in a physical form such as illness (Or exacerbate an existing illness). I am obviously removed from this situation, so I don’t know how bad things are for you. Only you can make that judgment. I am not sure from your question if this situation is currently happening, but if it is I advise you to remove yourself as soon as possible. Trust your judgement, if you feel unsafe and know what you are experiencing is abuse, don’t listen to what others say. Connect yourself with your local resources, and I would recommend seeking counseling to work through your experiences. I wish you luck.


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