When an abusive home life spills over into work

When an abusive home life spills over into work


I work in sales. The economy is sluggish and I know layoffs are coming. I can’t afford to lose my job, and to keep it, I need to be upbeat every day.

The problem — I’m married to an emotionally abusive husband and stay with him for the sake of my kids. He stomps around the house every morning cussing out everything and everyone, including me. I feel like I’ve been through the wringer before I leave for the office at 7:30. Once I get to work, I try to put a smile on my face, but it’s hard.

This morning, I snapped at a customer who was being difficult. My boss pulled me aside and asked, “What’s up? You’re not yourself.” I didn’t dare answer that “myself” is an abused woman.

My co-workers also ask questions when they see me on edge, and I pretend I’m OK, because I’m afraid that if I let my guard down, I won’t be able to put it back up.

Any suggestions for how to pull it together at work — other than getting a divorce?


When you arrive at work each day, mentally leave your husband at home and rejoice with the thought that you’re on an eight-hour vacation from your home life. When you’re on a great vacation, you focus on only what’s in front of you for the next hour or day, and leave home worries behind. This allows you to mentally renew yourself — critical because your husband depletes your energy reserves.

This strategy for preventing emotional transference from your morning into your work life can work well as a short-term fix. You’re probably aware, however, that what happened this morning with the customer was a delayed reaction to your home life frustration. In the long run you may need to make other decisions.

© Dr. Lynne Curry is author of ”Beating the Workplace Bully” and ”Solutions” as well as owner of the management/HR consulting/training firm The Growth Company Inc. Follow her on Twitter @lynnecury10 or at www.bullywhisperer.com

This Post Has One Comment

  1. I truly understand wanting to have a whole family for the kids. If you cant get your husband to seek counseling for his anger that is causing you to feel abused, ask yourself how his behavior is making them feel. If you’re feeling it, so are they. Happy apart parents are a lot better than miserable together ones.

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