Dear Thelma: My fiancé is dishonest and abusive, and I have had enough


By THELMA
Is something bothering you? Do you need a listening ear or a shoulder to lean on? Thelma is here to help. Email lifestyle@thestar.com.my or write to Dear Thelma, c/o StarLifestyle, Menara Star, 15, Jalan 16/11,46350 Petaling Jaya, Selangor. Please include your full name, address and a pseudonym. No private correspondence will be entertained.

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Dear Thelma,

My fiancé and I have been together for two-and-a-half years and the issues between us are getting more serious.

Putting the affairs or dishonesty in the relationship aside, the fights over all the smallest things ever are the ones that worry me.

He always scolds with disrespectful words like stupid bitch, useless human, over the water that I spilled. Yelling at me in front of his family with the milk I want to drink, putting it next to me which he insisted should be put in the fridge.

I have had enough. I already warned him to avoid creating drama in front of his family, which gives me no room to run away from and I find it super disrespectful.

I don’t want to keep quiet anymore. I have a right to do what I want and defend what I have to defend. I don’t see spilling water as such a big issue that I deserved to be yelled at.

He is 38 years old but behaves like a child! He’s emotionally abusive and super disrespectful. And he doesn’t see the issue as himself at all, but just keeps blaming me!

I hope someone understands my feelings as his parents are siding with him without finding out what’s the truth. As if the yelling and disrespect towards me is acceptable. What will they do if the situation was turned around and this happened to their daughters? Will they still think this is acceptable?

Enough Is Enough


Dear Enough Is Enough,

I have one word for you: leave.

Get away at once, and book yourself an appointment with a mental health professional as soon as possible because you need help.

If this sounds abrupt, I am sorry, but there is a sea of red flags here and I am frightened for you.

First, you say he has affairs and he's dishonest and you want to put that aside. My immediate question is why. Everyone is due this very simple basic level of respect. How come you don't think you are worthy of this? It indicates you have worryingly low self-esteem.

Second, his abuse is blatant and his family support his behaviour. My dear, those people are living in an environment where abuse is normalised.

Hopefully, they will realise this and get some help so they can change. But my concern is for you.

Studies show that emotional abuse leads to fear, confusion, anxiety, hopelessness and depression. Therefore, get away as soon as you can.

Please be extremely careful as emotionally abusive people can turn physically violent as well.

If you have your own place, a support network of family and friends, and can simply walk away, do so. Once you are away, get yourself into counselling.

In case you can't just up and go, I'm going to give you some basic information.

The steps for leaving dangerous domestic situations are these:

  • Make sure you have phone credit. If you can, spare cash as well.
  • Confide in a person you trust: your mum, your best friend, or perhaps your colleague.
  • Plan to go to a safe space: your family home, a friend's place, a budget hotel. You need a room with a lock on the door.
  • Gather your IC, passport, bank book and credit cards. If you have paperwork like deeds to your home and valuables like jewellery, collect these too.
  • If you can, pack your other belongings. If it's not possible, then focus on your safety first and leave your things behind. You can replace clothes.
  • When it's safe, leave. Go straight to your safe space.
  • Once you get there, lean on your support network.
Generally speaking, if you fear trouble from your ex, it's advisable to change your phone number, and all the locks for your home and vehicle. Also, change your routine, including the time you go to work and your commute route.

In the event of violence or stalking, if you need and are able to get a protection order, keep a copy of it with you at all times.

As I said, this is a brief overview. For a proper in-depth discussion that will suit your personal circumstances, please consult Talian Nur (15999) which is available 24 hours a day for advice.

You can also reach out to Women's Aid Organisation at 03-7956 3488 and SMS/WhatsApp 018-988 8058 (both available 24 hours).

Put these on your phone, and save them under false names if you're afraid your partner will see them. In addition, look up the nearest police station's number and have that on your phone as well, under speed dial.

Finally, don't be shy. Many people find themselves in difficult situations. It's not something to be ashamed of. What's important is to get out, be safe, and heal.

Remember that you are not the cause of your partner's abusive behaviour. He is responsible for himself and his actions. You deserve to be treated with respect, and you deserve a safe and happy life.

So get help and be sure to connect with supportive family, friends and colleagues. This is a time to lean in.

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