Hostage Situation


August 19, 2021 | View PDF

My husband applied for a job behind my back and accepted the job without my consent. He convinced me, if I came with him, it would only be for a year. He moved my son and me from sunny Southern California to freezing North Dakota.

The year came and went. We renegotiated a three-year stay for economic reasons, then had a second son. Well, that temporary stay came and went, and now it's been seven long, cold years! I've tried to be patient, but I can't stand these nine-month winters anymore!

He says he wants to continue to live here until the economy gets better back home, which will not likely happen for at least three or four more years. Ugh!

In order to stay home with my children, I have not been working. But now that my youngest is ready for kindergarten, I've asked my husband if I could seek a job to help us relocate. He says no, because I can't make as much money as he can. He has an IT degree, and in my field I can only make half what he does.

It gets worse.

He suffers from anxiety, so he has more fear than the average person. He has opened a separate bank account in his name in order to keep me from accessing our money. He puts $900 a month in our joint account for me to buy food and other needs.

He then doles out food money to buy more groceries the second half of the month. I've told him I dislike how he has set up our money and that the control is unfair.

For a year he's claimed he will add my name to the second account, but he has not done so. He is a conflict avoider, who tells me what I want to hear or tells me "this is not a good time" to discuss matters.

We have absolutely no family close by. I'm neglected emotionally, financially, and spiritually. I take my boys to church and attend weekly Bible study in order to have some friends and support.

But my patience has run out. I told him the boys and I are going home to my parents to spend time with my family. What he doesn't know is I'm going to pursue employment, and, if I succeed, get an apartment and live there with my children. I will offer to let him join us and sell our North Dakota home so we can restart in California. Or he can visit us all he can.

As it is, he is already in an uproar over me wanting to visit.

If it weren't for our boys, I would never have come here. I was trying to keep the family together.


Harper, doling out money and making major decisions without your consent makes you less a wife and more an indentured servant. Your position in the family is the same as your children. Powerless.

Your husband has clipped your wings to keep you from flying away, and the more you telegraph your feelings, the more he will tighten his grasp.

He's decided you aren't leaving, but he isn't saying that. Instead, he "tells me what I want to hear," which is an interesting euphemism for lying.

Whether he has anxiety issues or not doesn't matter. He doesn't have the right to take your life away from you. Whether you admit it to yourself or not, this marriage may be over.

You devised a plan. You thought it was fair. He did these things to me, I get to do this one thing to him. But you must consider the legal implications.

Before you do anything, privately and without your husband's knowledge, see a lawyer to sort out custody issues. You may need to have your parents pay for the attorney or even go to another town to ensure your visit is confidential.

In addition, your husband is in IT. Nearly everything you do on your home computer or phone is recoverable by someone with sophisticated knowledge. Take steps to make sure all your communications remain private.

If you are worried about his reaction (and you should be), you need to be very cautious about your safety and the safety of your children. Believing you can only leave him surreptitiously means you know he could be dangerous. A lawyer can advise you here as well.

You are not the proverbial bird in a gilded cage. You are a bird in a cage of ice-emotionally, financially, and spiritually. You need two plans, one legal and one for safety. Once you have them, the next step will emerge.

Wayne & Tamara

write: [email protected]


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