Living in fear. “I’m Afraid of My Spouse”

When you are living in fear of your spouse, you need to take action to protect yourself and your children. Sure, couples quibble and argue and sometimes it can get loud or last a day or two. But, it is not normal for one spouse to instill fear in the other or cause physical harm. If you have reached the point of realizing, “I am afraid of my spouse”, it’s time to stop living in fear and think about making a change.


There are many things that can make you afraid of your spouse. In most cases – not all, but most – it is the husband who is the aggressor. Know that there are plenty of very real and very dangerous cases where the wife is the aggressor. Regardless, the types of threats you may be experiencing could include threats of physical violence or actual physical harm. He could be calling you names, berating you, refusing to allow you to see family or friends, yelling. He could be overly jealous or possessive of you. He could be terrifying you with his unpredictable anger that turns to outright rage.

Change is Hard

Knowing that things are not right – and downright scary – is one thing. Doing something about it is completely another. Change is really difficult, and making a life change – like escaping from a scary home – can be one of the most difficult.

You can stop living in fear

Divorce is hard on its own, but when you are afraid of your spouse, it can seem much worse. You may be choosing not to leave right now for one (or more) of these reasons:

  •         You are afraid that your spouse will come after you or your kids or there will be more violence;
  •         You are afraid that your spouse will take everything you have away from you like your clothing, your phone, your car;
  •         you are afraid of all the decisions that will come along with making a move, like where to go or how to pay for it all;
  •         you are embarrassed that everyone will know that your marriage is falling apart;
  •         you are afraid that people will think that you are a failure because your marriage is not staying intact;
  •         you think he will change and you need to give him more chances to do that;
  •         you feel like you “can’t prove anything” (you don’t have to!)
  •         you feel like you have nowhere to go, no one to help you and no one to whom you can speak confidentially;
  •         you feel like taking any kind of step will get you nowhere.

These are all very reasonable fears. But, there is a solution to every problem.

Who can you to turn to when you are afraid of your spouse and living in fear?

  1. Talking to a close friend or family member can be a good first step. They can help you put your thoughts in order, make notes, take photos, and just get organized.
  2. You may want to talk to your spiritual advisor for guidance.
  3. Trained counsellors are always available to listen to you and help you with necessities of life. At the end of this article, we’ve listed a few sources to help you find such counsellors in southeast Michigan.  
  4. And, among the most valuable allies available to you Findling Law attorney who will consult with you completely confidentially about how to protect yourself, your children, and your assets when you are afraid.

What can a lawyer do?

In addition to directing you toward community services available to you, your Findling Law attorney is here to figure out the best course of action that will lead you toward your personal peace, without compromising your principles. While you are in this vulnerable situation, your attorney will help you understand if you are in a position to any of these on a temporary (or longer) basis:

  • a Mutual Restraining Order re: property transfer:  To help make sure property is not fraudulently transferred;
  • a Financial Status Quo Order:  To help make sure the bills continue to be paid;
  • an interim child custody Order;
  • an interim spousal support Order;
  • an interim child support Order;
  • an Order providing you with exclusive use or occupancy of the marital home; and/or
  • a Personal Protection Order.

We know which of these will be good options for you in your specific situation and we will work diligently, strategically, and creatively to help make sure you and your children have what you need, when you need it. We promise to never judge you.

We will help you work it out.

About Findling Law

I have been exclusively practicing divorce and family law in Michigan since 19XX.  The attorneys at Findling Law all share the core value of practicing law to help people navigate change in their lives, without compromising principles.  We specialize in high socio-economic, high-profile and high-conflict cases, while also working with clients of all backgrounds. We recognize that the most important aspect of the practice of law is the application of the law to your specific circumstances.

That is why we provide more free information on divorce and family law than any other Michigan law firm.

We want to help you manage your situation. Allow our exceptional legal team to help you navigate the change in your life, without compromising principles.

We want to help you manage your situation. Let our exceptional legal team help you . . .


Local: +1 (248) 399-3300 – toll free:   (877-YOUR FIRM)

After hours emergency?:  +1 (707) 968-7347

Or email me at:

By:  Daniel Findling

Additional resources:  Living in fear?

Domestic Violence and Michigan Divorce

Anatomy of a Violent Relationship:  An article by

Domestic Violence Harms All Family Members:  An article by

How to Handle Anger Becoming Rage in Marriage:   An article by

Michigan Coalition to End Domestic & Sexual Violence (to find a shelter or program near you) 

First Step Domestic Violence (Western and Downriver Wayne County Project on Domestic and Sexual Violence)            

HAVEN (Shelter from Domestic Violence in Oakland County, MI)          

YWCA West Central Michigan Domestic Violence Services

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