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zucchini

My husband has turned into something horrible

12 posts in this topic

I'm so ashamed to admit this to anyone and I can't even bring myself to use my regular account to post it, but I need to get it out there. My husband is a white supremacist and I don't know what to do about it. It wasn't always this way, or maybe it was and I was just fooling myself. I don't know! What started out as him occasionally making racist remarks (e.g., calling those of Asian-descent "chinks") has now escalated into him wanting to join white only groups and hanging the Nazi flag in our apartment. When I discovered the flag, I ripped it down and we got into an argument. He says I'm brainwashed by the Jews and don't understand what the flag really stands for. It's hanging up again and he told me he'd divorce me over this if I pressed the issue. Maybe that would be for the best, because I'm completely disgusted right now. I don't understand how this happened or how I didn't see the signs earlier. I don't know what to do - how can I get him to understand that he's completely wrong? Can I change his point of view? This is incredibly awful for me... I love this man, but he's turned into someone with dramatically different values than I have. If he were just a friend of mine, our friendship would probably be over if I walked into his house and saw a Nazi flag on the wall. It's basically the ultimate symbol of hate and evil. It isn't just this white supremacy thing, either. He recently decided that feminism is stupid and women just have penis envy. I'm in a scientific field and he's constantly belittling it, saying that it's all made up nonsense. I just don't understand. He wasn't anything like this when we got married.

Advice or words of comfort would be appreciated right now.

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57 minutes ago, zucchini said:

I'm so ashamed to admit this to anyone and I can't even bring myself to use my regular account to post it, but I need to get it out there. My husband is a white supremacist and I don't know what to do about it. It wasn't always this way, or maybe it was and I was just fooling myself. I don't know! What started out as him occasionally making racist remarks (e.g., calling those of Asian-descent "chinks") has now escalated into him wanting to join white only groups and hanging the Nazi flag in our apartment. When I discovered the flag, I ripped it down and we got into an argument. He says I'm brainwashed by the Jews and don't understand what the flag really stands for. It's hanging up again and he told me he'd divorce me over this if I pressed the issue. Maybe that would be for the best, because I'm completely disgusted right now. I don't understand how this happened or how I didn't see the signs earlier. I don't know what to do - how can I get him to understand that he's completely wrong? Can I change his point of view? This is incredibly awful for me... I love this man, but he's turned into someone with dramatically different values than I have. If he were just a friend of mine, our friendship would probably be over if I walked into his house and saw a Nazi flag on the wall. It's basically the ultimate symbol of hate and evil. It isn't just this white supremacy thing, either. He recently decided that feminism is stupid and women just have penis envy. I'm in a scientific field and he's constantly belittling it, saying that it's all made up nonsense. I just don't understand. He wasn't anything like this when we got married.

Advice or words of comfort would be appreciated right now.

Hi, I set up this account especially for you. 

First of all, I am so sorry for the plight that you are in. Please don't leave your husband at this moment; if you do, I'm worried that he will turn into something more radical. However, if you have tried everything to talk sense into him but fail or if he becomes physically aggressive, that's another story. 

Have you considered taking your husband to a psychologist? Or do you know some of his close friends/relatives who are not racist? Try to get your husband talk to them. 

Or try to (discreetly) make him read real stories of the Holocaust - to let him understand what Nazism really means. 

As a last resort, anti-depressants such as Prozac, Celexa, may drastically reduce his aggression/hatred towards "other races" or women. 

You must stand your ground firmly and must never be swayed by your husband's attitudes/behaviours. If there's anyone who can change him, it's you. I understand how frustrating it is to battle against someone who holds drastically different (and wrong) values, especially if it's someone close to you. But please, please, please, don't give up on them without trying. I guess you don't need my reminder, but never forget that what you are standing for is 100% correct: women = men; white = Asian = black = Hispanics, etc. 

Kudos. It will get better, and I hope to hear any updates from you later on.

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Okay, I'll voice the possibly less popular opinion. Your responsibility is to yourself. You don't have to stay with him and you are not responsible for getting him better or for educating him. You need to take care of yourself. If you do decide you want to try and stay, I think it's of utmost importance to get support from others. Can you involve his family? friends? do you have a support system around you to take care of you, if you need it? If he wasn't always like this, something must have triggered this, and maybe you can help him through it. Whatever it is, though, you shouldn't do it alone, and you shouldn't let him take it out on you. This sounds like a situation that requires professional help. I know that posting here was probably already hard enough, so maybe the next step is for you to find counseling on your own, maybe through your school, before you think about talking to him. Figure out your resources and support network, then come up with a plan to confront him. I hope that there is no fear of physical violence, but if there is, let me repeat again: your responsibility is to yourself first. Make sure that you are safe, and take care of yourself, both physically and mentally. If that means you need to leave him, I think that's totally understandable and no one from the outside can judge. And if you choose to stay and try and fix it, again I hope that no one will judge and that you can find the help you need. 

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I think it's important to be realistic in this situation. While my ex was never a white supremacist, he was against feminism, belittled my field, spoke negatively of the social justice movements, etc. So I understand where the "how did this happen" or "did I miss the signs" thoughts come from! But please don't do that to yourself; none of this is your fault. 

It is admirable that you want to educate him or change his mind, but I have to say I'm not sure that will work. Many people enter into relationships with people they know are flawed thinking "I can change x." But they can't change whatever that behavior is; and I don't think you will be able to change your husband's mind. People are stubborn creatures, and until your husband realizes he's in the wrong and decides he wants to change, it won't happen. Losing you might be the catalyst he needs to start that change. But you're living with someone who puts your field down (and by extension, you as well) and disagrees with you on fundamental issues. Don't put yourself through that!! I understand feeling conflicted; it took me a while before I convinced myself to leave my ex. This is your life, not his. If you're not happy in the relationship, or you know you can't be satisfied with this man, then leave. Do what you need to do to be happy in life. If your husband is no longer part of what makes you happy, so be it. 

I hope you stay strong, peaceful, calm, gracious, and loving. Don't let the hate win. Hang in there!!! <3

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There's usually underlying reasons why people become "extremist" or "radicalised" like this. What starts out as loneliness or dealing the aftermath of a traumatic life experience mutates into a fixating hatred of...something. So I don't think your husband necessarily "just decided" to be this way, and he may well have gotten more extreme in his views over time. It's not your fault. 

So it might be possible to address and treat the underlying issues in your husband, and find that the racism dissipates as a side-effect. But (i) your husband has to want to be helped (ii) it could take a lot of time & money.

I also agree with everything Fuzzy's post.

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There's a small chance that he has some brain tumor pressing on some node or other that's making him lose all semblance of common sense (although I don't remember whether I read that in a paper or saw it in a movie...)

For the rest of it, even if he's having some sort of depressive episode, mental illness doesn't cause bigotry - it is a filter that amplifies certain feelings. Even if you get him on meds, you'd still be married to a bigot whose bullshit is manageable on meds. As for him not being anything like this before, speaking from experience with someone who was in a situation similar to yours (actually, several someones), we are only able to see what others show us and what we are willing to pay attention to. It's unlikely that he just developed these ideas out of thin air. More likely, he didn't show them to you or you didn't notice them. 

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On 6/2/2017 at 3:45 AM, deadlock123 said:

Hi, I set up this account especially for you. 

Good. Because you have offered some comically dangerous advice. 

 

On 6/2/2017 at 3:45 AM, deadlock123 said:

First of all, I am so sorry for the plight that you are in. Please don't leave your husband at this moment; if you do, I'm worried that he will turn into something more radical. However, if you have tried everything to talk sense into him but fail or if he becomes physically aggressive, that's another story.

He only has to get "physically aggressive" once for your advice to turn out poorly for OP.  The guy only threatened to divorce his wife because she won't let him hang a Nazi banner. He sounds really stable and like the kind of fellow who is unlikely to get physically aggressive.

 

On 6/2/2017 at 3:45 AM, deadlock123 said:

Or try to (discreetly) make him read real stories of the Holocaust - to let him understand what Nazism really means. 

Are you for real? 

 

On 6/2/2017 at 3:45 AM, deadlock123 said:

You must stand your ground firmly and must never be swayed by your husband's attitudes/behaviours. If there's anyone who can change him, it's you. I understand how frustrating it is to battle against someone who holds drastically different (and wrong) values, especially if it's someone close to you. But please, please, please, don't give up on them without trying. I guess you don't need my reminder, but never forget that what you are standing for is 100% correct: women = men; white = Asian = black = Hispanics, etc. 

Kudos. It will get better, and I hope to hear any updates from you later on.

Holy mother of God, no! This advice is bad enough when offered to people in non-threatening relationships ....

 

OP:  fuzzy hit the advice head on. Please take care of your physical and emotional health. If want to try to help your husband, that is great (I think). But please don't believe that it is your responsibility or that you alone can change him. 

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Did... you post this to Dear Prudence? 

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On 6/2/2017 at 11:01 AM, zucchini said:

I don't understand how this happened or how I didn't see the signs earlier. I don't know what to do - how can I get him to understand that he's completely wrong? Can I change his point of view?

By way of support, you are not alone in the sentiment of "I don't understand how I didn't see the signs earlier." A lot of parents and partners are surprised when they discover their children/spouses go from, say, turning religiously observant to turning up in Syria. That's a simplistic characterization and the radicalization is different to your husband's experience, but that is roughly a pattern that's observed everywhere and across the radicalization spectrum, from high school mass shooters to Taliban recruits.

So you're not alone in missing the signs. Sometimes it happens glacially, so slow that it's almost imperceptible, especially with a loved one.

Nobody has found a perfect way to deal with a situation like that. But I would suggest you seek support. See if you might talk to someone you are comfortable discussing this issue with -- a parent, a sibling, friend or coworker...someone dependable that can maintain confidentiality and has close rapport with him if it is necessary that they talk to him, though there's so much that a 'talk' can accomplish when it comes to radicalization/extremism. The idea is mostly for you to have support from a trustworthy source. Only someone like that, who knows the nuances of the situation better than us here, can help you talk through ideas and options.

I wish you courage.

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You need to get a divorce.  Now.  You didn't mention kids which makes it even more of a no-brainer.  Any avowed Nazi in 2017 is essentially a psychopath.  Get out, and tell everyone you (and he) know how big of a Nazi your ex is.

Make Nazis/fascists/racists/sexists afraid again.

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I don't agree that attributing abhorrent views to a psychological disorder is the way to go.  We will pay a very high price if fields of psychology are reduced to battering rams against those who hold different views, no matter how repulsive we may find those views to be.

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People change, and sometimes, beliefs that used be hidden deep inside, become stronger and more outward. My family in Florida has taken such a change (not all of them, but most). Not in regards to Nazi's and the sort, however in regards to their extremism towards people against their own beliefs. They have always been republican, and always have had a "toughen it up snowflake" attitude, but its always been very mellow and low key. Now, with the recent political turmoil supporting their belief and hate, and as they age, their beliefs become stronger, they are much less tolerant. I.e. during the recent Nazi march, they actually were all for running the people over, saying "the dumb liberal left deserves everything they have coming to them". Now, I as an individual would most closely align to a hippie, so love and peace, fuck indifference, etc. So I am 110% completely against their statements, but they are family. Now, for these reasons we don't have discussions, but they aren't aggressive about it either. They realize we can either agree to disagree, or try and ignore the differences in opinions and move on with our lives. That being said, if it did ever get violent, or if they ever did threaten to say, you aren't our nephew or grandson anymore because of this, I would let them go (they had a similar situation when they find out my cousin was gay, and it was basically agreed, anyone who was intolerant would leave the family or shut their mouth and never bring up their opinion again). I do not attempt to change my family, because I honestly don't think I can, but they are family, and so far our opinions haven't caused any major fights. Now that being said there are a few things I would personally do if I was in said situation:

1) Take care of yourself always. No person should ever undergo mental or physical abuse in any form or shape (hence why when they disapproved of my cousin's sexuality, the immediate option was, leave or stop spreading negativity).

2) Some people can be changed, others can't. In my situation, they are family, I can't do anything even if I can't change their minds, but this is just your husband. If you deem him unable to basically do a 180 (which is rare), then leave. It'll be hard, but it'll be better than being in a relationship with someone you are unhappy with who they are and their opinions. Even if they don't threaten to leave you for it, would you be happy with someone who has opinions that you are so strongly against?

3) People say get help, but the thing that must be understood is, this isn't from some mental illness. Some people just have different opinions than yours. It's not like all of Germany had a mental illness during WW2, or the entire south had a mental illness when it came to their slaves. So I don't really see a need to get "help" from his family or anyone else for that matter. As I stated earlier, people change overtime, and it sounds like he has changed as well. Opinions that he may not really have been too keen on have now gotten stronger. I had this with my previous relationship, we were 6 years in but I had to basically end it because we were going two different ways, and had become two different people. 

Now this is just my personal advice to you from my experience in life: His opinion probably will not be changed, and at the end of the day, he should care more about you than his opinion. I know how hard it can be to leave someone you love, but I think it's time to realize, you two are going down two different paths... paths that are no longer compatible. It appears he doesn't value you enough, and that he also may have some mental abusing tendancies that are only going to get worse as time goes on. My biggest advice though is, don't stay with him to the point where you are miserable, see it going south ahead of time, and end it before it gets any worse. Some things in a relationship can be worked out, and should be worked out, but others are immediate red flags. This is an immediate red flag in my opinion. Anyways, the final decision is for you to make, I would advise actually talking to someone professional about your decision, and to put your emotions aside and look at the situation logically/rationally. I wish you the best of luck!

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