Thursday, September 11, 2008

Words from a Man with the Courage to Change

A few people recommended a book to me called "Love Without Hurt" by Steven Stosny. I was doing a search for opinions about it and came across the blog of a man who is reading it and doing the "bootcamp" exercises for men trying to change abusive behavior. Daniel's story is a sad, but common one. On his blog he courageously acknowledges that he was verbally abusive to his wife. Sadly, they recently divorced, but Daniel is continuing the work he needs to do to heal and hopes one day to reunite with his wife, the mother of their three young children. I wish him well.

I just got the Stosny book and so far I like it very much. I'll write more about that later. When I first found Daniel's blog he had just written that he probably wouldn't be posting any more. I encouraged him to continue, if he felt like he could, because his insights might help some marriages. Daniel graciously posted again and what he said is so important I want to copy some of it here.

One thing I would like to say to both abusers and victims who might have stumbled across this:

Men don't marry their wives with the intention of abusing them (a very apt point made in Stosny's book). I married my wife to love her, protect her and to cherish her. I know this with all of my heart, and I still feel this today. I NEVER expected to be the person that she needed to be protected from.

With me, I can clearly say that every time that I've identified when I've been emotionally abusive towards Amy that it wasn't her that I really was resentful towards or that I was even angry with her. I was angry at myself. I was fearful of myself and my own feelings. I was resentful about myself. I was subconsciously acting out my hate of my mother towards her (My mother was emotionally and physically abusive towards me in my youth as well as very manipulative and controlling).

I never consciously wanted to hurt her. I never wanted her to be fearful of me. I never wanted to argue with her in front of the kids. I never wanted ANY of this!

However, this is my reality. I did these things. I am the person to blame, and I am the person who needs to fix himself.

If there is a man out there who is reading this who's been accused of emotional abuse: YOU NEED TO ACCEPT WHAT'S BEING TOLD TO YOU AND YOU NEED TO ACCEPT RESPONSIBILITY! Your wife didn't make you do anything! You are the one with the responsibility of your own mouth and actions, not your wife. She didn't shrink and go inside of your head and tell you to be abusive. Don't use that excuse. The quicker you accept your wife's perspective and the quicker you get help, the more hope you will have in saving your marriage. Don't wait to take actions like I did. It will put you in a world of hurt... especially if you have kids. Take action now!

If your wife is telling you to move out: DO IT! Help her feel safe! But, let her know that you will immediately seek counseling and that you love her and want to do anything for her. Then follow through.

Jeeze. I'm on a soap box. But, these are all things that I sure wish someone would have said to me when I still had a chance with Amy. Instead, I heard Amy's warnings, but then said to myself, "Don't worry. Things will work themselves out. They always do." But, they sure didn't.

Daniel, I commend you for taking responsibility for your feelings and actions and taking steps to change. A lot of men never get to that point. I am hopeful that as more men like Daniel speak up, that slowly and surely, things will change in the world.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Acknowledging Good Men

My blogging friend Bill Howdle at Dying Man's Journal recently wrote that he has heard quite a bit of male bashing lately, so he asked his blogging friends to write some good things about particular men or men in general. I am happy to do so. Bill was sensitive to the possibility that this might be difficult for me due to my current personal situation. Actually, it isn't.

Overall, I have been quite blessed in my associations with men. My earliest experiences with men were very positive ones, starting with my father. He was kind and loving, (more nurturing than my mother). I saw him as a leader and protector who valued the simple pleasures of life and cared about his community.

My brother is also a good man. He's a hard worker who has been married to his high school sweetheart for nearly 40 years. He is dedicated to his career, but understands that providing for his children emotionally is just as important as providing for them financially. Spending time with family is a high priority for him.

I have been privileged to know several men who have volunteered at rape crisis centers and battered women shelters. They did so not only to help men and boys who are victimized, but also because they knew that these were not just "womens' issues". They understood that violence is everyone's problem because there is no man whose life is not affected by women. Women are their wives, girlfriends, daughters, mothers, and friends. These men hoped that the presence of a gentle, supportive man, might help a woman who had experienced a brutal assault against her by a man.

It is all to easy to generalize a bad experience with one gender, to all men or all women. I think it is sad when women give up on even dating anymore after a bad experience, (although the wicked part of me thinks "okey dokey -more for me"). Perhaps it is easier for me to see clearly that men aren't the problem because of my good experiences with men and because, in my opinion, my husband's hurtful behavior stems from his childhood experience of being verbally/emotionally abused by his mother - a woman.

I'm not tempted to see men as the enemy. Far from it. I love men. I love their strong arms. I love their deep voices and their whiskers. I love that they can open tight jar lids and get stuff off the high shelf. I love that a man will always kill a spider for you even though he knows you could do it yourself. I love the goofy, 'aw shucks' grin men get when you tell them how smart or strong they are. I love the little boy mischeviousness that men seem to keep no matter how old they are. I love how excited they get about sports. I love that they think there are only five colors.

I feel sad that I am not writing about how great my husband is here, although, I could write quite a bit about his good qualities and loving things he has done. I think that is an important point. The world isn't divided into guys in white hats and guys in black hats. I didn't marry the guy because he is a jerk. Most of us who find ourselves in emotionally abusive relationships know that the mean things he does are not the totality of who he is. If it were, it wouldn't be so hard to leave. And for most of us, there was a time - marriage in my case - where the man changes. Maybe I'll explore this idea further in a later post.

I too am dismayed by male-bashing. I wish there were more visible , positive portrayals of men. I don't watch much television, but my recollection is that men are portrayed as either in-charge tough guys or clueless, bungling fools. In real life, most of the good guys are the everyday heroes that you never hear about. Thank you Bill for raising this issue. We need to shine a light on the everyday greatness of good men.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Remembering who I am

This past weekend I went to a party at the home of a mutual friend. I knew that it would be mostly a group of people I had lost touch with over the past several years, partly due to my self imposed isolation, but also because the old gathering spots had closed. As the price of gas goes up, the cash available for entertainment goes down. A few drinks while listening to live music at the neighborhood watering hole is one of the first budget items cut.

I knew these people before I met my husband and I had many fun evenings with them - listening to live music, dancing, talking, and generally acting like college students although most of us are a few decades past college. Hey, why should fun be limited to people under twenty-five? We are baby-boomers, we won't go quietly.

I am introverted by nature, but also enjoy socializing. I had never been nervous about going to a party, until this time. I even contemplated, (briefly), not going. I was surprised and puzzled by the anxiety I felt as the evening approached. What was it? Was I afraid that my husband's treatment of me showed on my face? That I had turned into a timid wallflower? Would people say, "Jennie, what happened to you?" Had I lost my confidence because my husband called me names? Because upon having obtained me, he failed to even notice me? Maybe this was an experience of shame, the sense that one is exposed to the world as lacking in some way.

Obviously I needed to change my head, so I went shopping and bought a flirty little polka dot dress and painted my toenails.

Bob had asked me "Are you going to go to the party?" Odd, for a husband to ask that I thought. Isn't it usually, "Shall we go to the party?" "Yes, I'm going I told him." He said he might. I went on ahead.

The moment I walked in, all anxiety vanished. I was greeted warmly by many people. I did lots of catching up with old friends, and there were new interesting folks to talk with too. I didn't notice when Bob arrived. I was too busy enjoying myself. I first noticed him when he sauntered over as I was engaged in a tete 'a tete with a funny and attractive man. Since I was not wearing my wedding ring, perhaps Bob just wanted to establish that I had a husband. Don't know. Don't really care.

I had a fabulous time. There's nothing like a fun party on a perfect August night. Best of all, I remembered who I was. I remembered I can have fun. I remembered that even at my age, men are interested in me. It felt really good.

There are many roads to healing, becoming educated about the nature of the problem, connecting with others who understand, dealing with your own feelings. All those things are important, but never underestimate the healing power of a wearing a new dress to a great party under the stars on a perfect August night.


Tuesday, August 19, 2008


Nearly two days later, I still feel shaky. My last post was the first I had written immediately after a nuclear abuse incident. It's always shocking, but Sunday even more so because I thought there had been progress.

I know that I have progressed. I've learned a lot about how an abusive person sees relationships, handles feelings etc. I've adopted new strategies. I've learned to handle my own feelings much better. Bob had pretty much stopped with the defining statements, i.e., telling me what I was thinking, doing, and feeling. He started to speak for himself, and only himself. There was no more ordering, only polite requests, and he began to ask about my life. Certainly not great, but progress. So I was doubly shocked that this occurred.

Upon reflection, perhaps it shouldn't have been surprising. For many months I had been so distant, basically living a separate life. When you are distanced from someone, they don't have much power to hurt you. So maybe as the divide narrowed, there was greater potential for Bob to feel hurt. And when he gets hurt or scared, he sometimes says hateful things, much as a child would, because that is where he seems to be stuck emotionally. Not an excuse, just an explanation.

My objective with this blog was to keep it personal, rather than theoretical, and to write honestly about my experience. There is quite a bit on the internet about verbal abuse in general, mostly from a psychologist viewpoint, but there don't seem to be that many personal narratives. Even though I am blogging under a pseudonym, it was still uncomfortable to write that raw post, with the ugly words as the title. But I vowed to keep it real.

Even now I am a bit shaky. I left the house for a while Sunday, checked the "For Rent" ads, contemplated going to a motel. It is hard to think at those times and thankfully I have a few internet friends, women also in verbally abusive relationships, who helped keep me centered and thinking. After weighing the pros and cons, I decided to spend the night home. The abuse was a single devastating blast, not a continuing battle, so thankfully I could get away from him.

Leaving can be a tricky time I've heard. There can be explosions and/or continuing petty battles. I want to make it as easy on myself as possible. How to do it best? Even blogging under an assumed name, I don't think it is a good idea to reveal too much, but changes are underway.


Monday, August 18, 2008

I hate you,you fucking bitch!

That's what he said to me last night.

I have to leave. I don't know where. I didn't sleep last night and I am so tired. I don't know how it will work out. I only know that I have to protect myself from abuse whatever it takes. I trust God to help me.

Please pray for me.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

The Power of Words

I recently came across a web site,, where you can create "word clouds" with any text. It takes the words and arranges them randomly in various ways. Common words like prepositions are thrown out, and words repeated often appear larger. I was playing around with it by copying and pasting snippets of text from various websites. It was pretty interesting to see the words thrown together out of context.

I decided to try a snippet from Bill Howdle's Dying Man's Journal. I copied and pasted a paragraph from his post Words Helping Others and added a few other words he uses frequently. The above "wordle" was the result, (click here to see larger size). Makes me feel good just looking at those words. So I'm looking at them a lot.

I have always known that words have great power to help or to hurt, yet I did not fully appreciate the power of words until my exposure to verbal abuse. Perhaps one positive result of this experience will be that I become more mindful of the impact of my words on others, and on myself for that matter.

A woman named Juanita posted this comment on Bill's blog:

"I want to thank you for helping me want to go on living. Your words, on this site, has done more for me than anyone. From your words I have been given hope, encouragement, and love. I had forgotten that there were loving people in the world, but more than anything I had forgotten I was one of them. Thank you for giving me back my life. You will always be one of my hero’s and always in my prayers.”

I can relate to that. Last May I left a comment on Bill's blog about how his post about making changes had helped me. He replied:

"I am proud of you for taking the small steps to improve your life. Way to go, and good for you Jennie, keep that thought process going, it will get you to where you want to be."

At that time, when it had been so long since I had received any encouragement, Bills' words were like rain in the desert to me. I'm getting teary eyed just remembering how it felt when I read those words.
I understand more than ever how much words matter. I am making an effort to speak more lovingly and positively. And that includes what I say to myself, by my thoughts.

I am reminded of a post by Avi at husbandabuse about a time when he was in the hospital for a heart condition.

Although the nurse is paid to do her job I could not help but be touched by the fact that after leaving the room she took the time and made the effort to stop, turnaround, and say “Have a good night”. Oh! How many nights did my wife NOT do that for me. I honestly cannot remember her EVER initiating those final few words one would think would be exchanged by a “loving” couple as they fall asleep for the night. Hmmm, gets me thinking about the tenderness of our hearts both circulatory system wise and perhaps just as importantly, emotionally.

In writing about verbal abuse, one must necessarily write about the negative impact. And the flip side of that is the positive impact of loving words. As Bill said:

How many times have I heard or read that verbal (emotional) abuse can have a must longer and deeper impact on a person than even physical abuse. Physical scars and bruising heal much more quickly than emotional ones.

Emotional bruises and scarring take much longer to heal and can stay with a person for their entire life time. Not always but often this time of long term hurt is caused by words. Depending on where and who these words come from they can cut down inside to our very soul.

I would imagine most of us at one time or another have at least heard of this, the terrible power that can be contained within a few words. We know of how words can be just devastating, we realize that. We know that “mere” words can have such a devastatingly negative impact. I ask then wouldn’t it just stand to reason, if we look at the flip side of the coin, that “mere” words could have a wonderfully healthy healing power to them. If words can tear us down then obviously words can build us up in a healthy positive way.

As usual, Bill's message is simple, true, and powerful.

Language is funny. Take the word 'heart' for example. Medically speaking, Bill has a "bad heart", in layman's terms. Yet in human terms, it is clear that he has a very good heart. His good heart is abundantly clear from his efforts to reach out to others, and the supportive, encouraging, caring words he uses.

Words are powerful, yet sometimes seem so inadequate. How do I say "Thank you Bill" in a way which conveys the gratitude in my heart?

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Thursday, July 24, 2008

It's Mostly his Stuff

On her excellent blog, "Rebellious Thought of a Woman", Laura recently wrote about the ways in which her husband took over the physical space of their home, crowding her into one small area without regard for her needs: When a House is not a Home

Coincidentally, I had just created a draft for an entry along similar lines. I had not heard of this "taking over" the house, as a feature of abusive relationships, but perhaps it is. Consideration for the other in common areas and allocation of common and private space, may mirror the dynamics of the relationship. I lobbied valiently for an equal say in the use of our house, but I finally dropped my appeals to the wisdom and benefits of joint decision making and focused on maintaining the minimum necessary toe hold for myself.

In some common areas of the house, I keep some "defensive clutter". I call it defensive clutter because it serves as a placeholder to block him from occupying 100% of the area. For example, most of the dining table is covered with his papers. I won't cede the entire table because I want to sit there to eat. I keep two piles of books on the table. When I want to eat, I move the books. When I finish, I replace them. If I were to put the books in a bookcase, he would overrun my little area.

In some areas of the house, I long ago relinquished any claim. My husband is a pack-rat and his stuff goes wherever he wants it to go. Often, he dumps it in the first room through the door - the living room. And it stays there. Even though I asked, coaxed, and bargained, the mess remained and proliferated. I could either clean it up myself or live with it. I chose the latter. I took out the few things I had in there out so they wouldn't be lost in the chaos and learned to avert my eyes from the disturbing mess upon entering the house.

From time to time, Bob inexplicably becomes suddenly upset by the presence of clutter that has been there for months. He gets frantic, as if clearing the clutter were now a matter of life and death. When he gets the impulse to deal with a longstanding problem, he expects me to be instantly available to jump in and help him, despite months of ignoring my repeated requests.

This time, it was the condition of the living room that he was suddenly obsessed with. He assumed, that it was our stuff clogging the room. Or more accurately, since there is no "our" in this so-called marriage, that it was a 50/50 combination of his stuff and my stuff.

In the old days, I would have helped him. I have helped him go through mountains of his stuff. This time I told him that I had other priorities, but if he found anything of mine in there, let me know and I would put it away.

A few hours later, he had things pretty well put away. Some of it was my stuff after all - a lipstick and an earring.

As with the living room clutter, Bob is fond of saying that that the problems in our relationship are 50/50, both overall and in any given incident. He says he will own his 50% of an argument, (like calling me a bitch), if I'll my 50% (not doing what he told me to do). So silly.

My point of view is that in a healthy relationships, each person owns 100% of their own stuff. In a particular incident, there are often joint contributions, but sometimes it really is one person's stuff. There have been incidents when it has been my stuff only, and I don't have a problem with acknowledging it. But that concept is totally foreign to Bob. He thinks the mess is always at least half mine.

It takes two to make a relationship work. It only takes one, to make it not work. One person cannot create a relationship of mutuality with a win/win orientation. If it is not a shared orientation, the person acting as if it were win-win, will lose.

Our marriage is like the living room. It's a mess. It's not half my stuff and half his stuff. It's mostly his stuff. And I can't clean it up for him.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Teddy Check

PhotobucketI am doing much better at ignoring his craziness. For months, I felt tense and on edge around him. I don't anymore. I've come to expect that he will become unexpectedly and irrationally angry from time to time. (Irrational because he is angry about what he makes up about what I'm thinking, implying and intending rather than the truth of me). I pretty much just ignore it now. I decided I will not be afraid. He is merely annoying to me now. I am so emotionally distant from him that I simply don't care. But I am still thrown off balance by the "Teddy check"

In her book Controlling People, Patricia Evans uses the analogy of how a child relates to his teddy bear to describe how a controlling person tries to create a pretend relationship with a spouse.

A teddy bear is inanimate and compliant. A child plugs his thoughts and moves into the teddy making it "do and "say" what he wants. Teddy is comforting. A child talks to Teddy, and responds for Teddy. Teddy always appreciates you and never minds if you leave her sitting around for a while. Teddy gets things done, agrees with you, and think of things to do for you, even before you ask.

I think that Bob was attracted to me because of the ways in which the real me resembles his 'dream woman'. The problem is, he does not accept those ways in which I am not his dream woman.

In adulthood, the controlling spouse, i.e. The Pretender, is trying to plug his pretend person into the body of the partner. When the authentic woman speaks up the Pretender may think "Sometimes Teddy talks about stuff but
it doesn't have anything to do with you, so you just nod now and then." Teddy wants what you want.

One day Teddy is upset by something you did. How could this be? Delivering a barrage of diverting and and countering finally silences Teddy. Teddy stays quiet for a few days so okay, maybe everything is back to normal. Teddy malfunctioned briefly but maybe now she is back.

In the old days, I would always inquire about Bob's important business meetings. I was interested in his work and his successes and frustrations. Even now, I have no wish for him to fail. He is talented and I wish him well. It's just that I stopped giving that kind of attention to someone who was showing very little interest in my life and well being.

I have repeatedly and clearly spelled out the issues that need to be addressed and have been ignored. A few days ago I told him I would prefer that he would address me by my name, rather than with terms of endearment such as "sweetie" because such terms imply a degree of closeness that is not present between us. This upset him and he said sarcastically "Fine, I'll just drop this fantasy that everything is okay." "That would be great." I said.

It really would be great if he would drop the fantasy and relate to me as a real person.

As usual, after a few days have passed, Bob does what I call a "teddy check". I've been through this cycle with Bob more times than I care to remember. Even though it was late at night and I was in my room, he sought me out to tell me about his meeting that evening.
I thought something out of the ordinary that I needed to know about must have happened. After listening politely for a few minutes, I realized he simply wanted to talk to Teddy. I politely told him he would need to leave because I was going to sleep now. It is so maddening that he expects a loving wife to be there for him when he has shown a near total disregard for my needs. Unbeleiveable.

If you have never been treated as Teddy, it probably sounds weird if to feel annoyed when your spouse comes to you to share their good news. In a healthy relationship, spouses share their good news with each other. However, in a healthy relationship spouses also listen to each other when the other is upset about something. They try to understand each other. They try to reach and follow through on fair agreements with each other.

Perhaps I am having a hard time seeing the reality of him as well. The idea that relationships are reciprocal seems to be hardwired into my brain. I have to remember that he doesn't see it that way. I am Teddy to him. Teddy doesn't require reciprocation.

I feel like I am caught between bad choices. Must I growl at him each morning to remind him that we don't have a relationship? If I do, he will become surly. Yet when I am simply polite, as I would be to any stranger, he thinks Teddy is back.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Putting my Life in Drive


I find
I am getting bored with this verbal abuse stuff. I think that's a good sign. It is all so predictable and stupid. I've learned about it, tried everything I know to do, and it just keeps coming up the same. Now that it bores me, rather than intrigues me, I can quit spending so much time and energy trying to figure out WTF is going on with
him and devote all that energy to me.

It has been good and necessary for me to go way into it though. At least it is no longer such a mystery, such a shock
. I'll still be posting about verbal abuse and I expect there will be skirmishes ahead. But now I want to focus on the Getting Out part. I callled this blog "Getting Verbal Abuse out of my Life, not knowing whether it would be gone because he knocks it off, or because I remove myself from his presence. It looks like it will be the latter. Either way is fine with me. There is no place for such nonsense in my life.

Here are some excerpts from an inspiring post by Belle I read a while back:

At least I am making and taking steps and I am happy about that. Finally I have put my life into drive! Even if you are reving and racing the motor,you will never get anywhere in "park".

You can think about changing your life all you want...BUT....thinking ain't DOING! Looking at the "big picture", overwhelms me, so I have to break things down in manageable-doable steps. Some steps may not seem major to others. Don't worry about that. Do what YOU have to do. Have a goal and then have a plan. Then do something about it!

How exciting to live your life in "drive".

How very sad to pass those that CHOOSE to live their lives in "park", while they,wait, and wait and wait some more for the perfect opportunity or the perfect time to "go for it". Only to wake up and discover one day, that the chance and opportunity is GONE.

So, to all of you out there on the highway of life....BEEP...BEEP...!
Ready or comes ^Belle^, putting her life in drive and taking it to the limit!

I've been revving and racing the motor for some time now. That's okay. I needed to do that. I'm kinda stuck in an icy patch, but I've managed to get out of some tough spots before. I figure I can do it again. Sometimes pulling out isn't quick and easy. You have to rock the car back and forth, put some gravel or salt under the tires.You may need a friend to give you a push. But if you keep at it, usually, you'll catch some dirt and start moving forward.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Twilight Zone

I can be having a normal conversation with him when suddenly a door opens into another dimension. A dimension which exists only in his mind. He's moved into a land of only shadow, no substance, where you exist only as a thing, an idea, a projection. You've just crossed over into . . . The Twilight Zone.

It's difficult to describe the sensation. I feel a jolt, then dizzy and confused. It is as if a small earthquake hits and when I reach out for something to hold on to, I grab hold of one of those electric horse fences which delivers a mild shock, and then a tree branch falls on my head.

In his twilight zone:

  • He knows what I think, what I feel, and even what I am going to do.If I attempt to correct his misperceptions, he says he realizes that I truly believe what I am saying but he knows what I am really doing, albeit unconsciously.
  • I cause his behavior. He has no choice about how to behave when he has angry feelings. Angry feelings necessarily result in abusive behavior.
  • Only the victim has freedom of choice, and if she chooses to engage in behavior which provokes the perpetrator, what he does next is her fault. (What constitutes provocative behavior is determined by the perpetrator's twisted interpretation rather than intent or knowledge of the victim.)
  • If you are with the right person, the relationship will automatically work out. What you do, or don't do, has no effect on the outcome.

Does any of this make sense to you? I hope not. If it doesn't, congratulations, you are in touch with reality.

If you are in touch with reality, you know that each person's feelings and thoughts are located in
their own body. You know that while you may be able to imagine what another might be feeling or thinking, you also realize that it is tentative, a possibility which can only be verified by the other.

If you are in touch with reality you know that no one else
causes another's behavior. You recognize that no one else moves your arms and legs and mouth.

You realize that while initial attraction and common interests with another either exist or not, how you interact with that person over time determines whether the relationship will thrive or die.

It's normal to feel disoriented when you encounter someone who is living in a world of make believe, and they don't even know it.

He grew up in the twilight zone, blamed for his parent's abuse of him. Because he was a child, he believed it. The parents who abused him were regarded by the rest of the world as well functioning, highly successful, pillars of the community. No one was there to tell him it wasn't his fault. He had no way of knowing that even though nothing he could do would change the way they treated him, that how he behaves in adult relationships with normal people does make a difference.


Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Verbal Abuse is Not About You

Sometimes I look at the words people type in the various search engines that lead them to my blog, and sometimes it breaks my heart.

Today there was this search: "my husband verbally abuses me because I'm fat"

I wish I could give this woman a big hug.

He doesn't abuse you because you're fat; he abuses you because he is abusive.

A good husband would never use an area of sensitivity as a weapon to hurt you. If you weren't overweight, he would find something else mean to say.

My husband is rather portly, and a bit sensitive about it. I know he feels bad about his weight and I would never want to make him feel worse. I have told him I love HIM whatever size he may be.

Even though he has said mean things to me, it would never even occur to me to call him fat. I couldn't feel good about myself if I deliberately inflicted pain on him.

So please know that whenever someone abuses you, it's not about you. It is directed towards you, but it is really about the person who is hurting you.

It is their shame, their pain, their inadequacies. Abuse is always unwarranted regardless of your imperfections. Just because you aren't perfect, doesn't mean you deserve to be abused.

I am so sorry for the pain of this woman, and every other woman and man and child who has felt the sting of ugly words. It's not your fault and you don't deserve it. You deserve love. We all do.


Tuesday, June 10, 2008

"I Just Lost It"

If you've been abused, you've probably heard that one. "I just lost it". I've never believed it and today I saw the most ridiculous example yet of that particular mode of denying responsibility.

He was up first today and made some coffee. I poured myself a cup and tasted it. Yuck. There is a particular brand of coffee he sometimes buys that I don't like at all. It tastes like very weak coffee brewed with soapy water.

I did the considerate thing and asked if he wanted the coffee I had just poured but didn't want to drink, because I was going to make a new pot. "Sure", he said.

While pouring the coffee from my cup into his nearly empty cup, I spilled some. "Way to go. Nice job.", he said sarcastically. I looked at him and said, "You know, when you say things like that, it makes it highly unlikely I will try to do anything nice for you in the future." He averted his eyes, said nothing and went to get a napkin to wipe up the spill.

A couple hours later he said "I'm sorry I barked at you." "I just lost it." How pathetic. The other times he claims to have "lost it" at least feelings were running high, and while there is no excuse for abusive behavior, at least it is understandable that he may have had strong feelings. Now he tells me "I just lost it" as if anyone would become enraged when some coffee was spilled!?!

He spills stuff constantly and I have never put him down for that. I've always been a bit of a spiller. He used to say he found my clumsiness "cute" and "endearing". It is only now, when I am not falling for his crap anymore, that it becomes an opportunity for him to abuse me. What an idiot.

Next time, I'll just pour the coffee down the drain rather than offer it to him. If that upsets him I'll say, "Sorry, I just lost it."

It's hard to train myself out of acting with basic courtesy towards a person in the same house, but I'm slowly learning.


Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Context is More Damaging than Content

My post It's not abuse, it's just my interpretation? was discussed by corboy on the Rick Ross cults and destructive groups forum. Thank you corboy for your articulate expansion of my idea .

Corboy wrote:

The person who wrote this blog has reached the heart of the matter. The horror/shock quotient is not always the content of the message, but is often influenced by WHO DELIVERS THAT MESSAGE.

The term 'verbal abuse' may not be enough to provide a full description of what accounts for the impact. I would invite us to ponder the term 'relationship-specific abuse.' For, verbal content is not enough to account for the stunning power of certain utterances or even gestures.

Its when the words or gestures or battery take place in the context of a relationship based on mutual trust, and thus shatter that trust, that it becomes abusive and trust-shattering.

For we select spouses and friends based on trust that they will never do such things to us in the first place! ('To have and to hold, to honor and to cherish...')


If the local insane drunkard on the corner calls me a filthy name, I can write it off. The person is, clearly nuts. I have not given this person the level of radical trust that I would give a lover or ultra close friend.

But if your spouse, your lover or your close friend were, suddenly, within the existing frame of that trust-bonded relationship call you that same bad name that the nut on the corner gave you--you'd be blown away.

The book I was discussing, "The Secret of Overcoming Verbal Abuse " says that the reason your partner's remarks cut so deep is that they "cut straight into the painful self-doubts and non-acceptance of yourself you have had since early childhood" That may be for some people, some of the time, but as corboy and I have noted, it ain't necessarily so.

I hope that targets of relational abuse will not automatically accept the pronouncement that their pain is solely, or primarily, due to their old insecurities . If old pain is part of it, it certainly makes sense to work towards healing those wounds and loving yourself despite your imperfections. One very helpful mantra I got from the book was "Just because I'm not perfect, doesn't mean I deserve to be abused."

We all have imperfections, and an abuser will use your humanness as an excuse for his abuse. If there is any truth in the deprecating remarks, and your partner knows, or should know, of your sensitivity, that makes his behavior all the more deplorable. Someone who loves you does not jab you in your sensitive areas.

I realized the relational context was what made the abuse most painful, so I stopped thinking of him as 'my husband'. It wasn't that hard to do because he does very little which is consistent with that role.

I used to think of him both in terms of who he is - Bob and his relationship to me, - husband., i.e. my husband, Bob. Now, I simply think of him as "Bob". Well, not only 'Bob' actually. I think of him as Bob the emotionally handicapped guy who lives in the other side of the house.

It's easier that way. I don't expect or want anything from him that way. He's just a guy with profound limitations. I don't need to label or dehumanize him by thinking of him as "the abuser". To the best of my ability I try to cultivate an attitude of indifference.

When I can pull it off, I feel better. When I remember he is my husband, and I long for that caring connection, it hurts. But that's okay too. Sometimes it's good to just hurt for a while.


Monday, June 2, 2008

That's Not Love

It's confusing when he says he loves me. He may mean it, based on what 'love' means to him, but it's not love, as I understand it.

I love this Keb Mo song because he reminds me "That's not Love":

It ain't you
No it ain't me
That's not the way
Love's supposed to be

And it's just no good
No it ain't right
For you to be sitting all alone
Crying every night

You're down on your knees
Scared he's gonna leave
But if you really wanna know
You're gonna have to let go
´Cause that's not love

Love don't feel that bad
That's not love
It don't feel that sad
No that's not love
'Cause you don't feel good inside
I don't know what it is
But that's not love

Inside your heart
It's always raining
And you're oh so tired
Tired of your own complaining

This is for real
It ain't no game
You can't measure your love
By the depths of your pain

Just Like You

Friday, May 30, 2008

He really doesn't see.

Bless his heart, I think he genuinely is trying, but he just doesn't get it. On his own initiative, he took the time to write down his understanding of what I was upset about in a recent interaction. He asked me to listen and tell him if his understanding was correct.

I appreciate his good intentions and effort, but after talking with him for an hour or so, I left feeling awful. I realize it is because even in the process of trying to work it out, he continues to define me, i.e. telling me how I was feeling and what I was doing.

When the core problem is defining the other, it cannot be worked through in a conversation where the boundary violations continue. Such a discussion doesn't solve the problem, it is the problem. As Patricia Evans writes:

The verbal abuse is the issue in the relationship. When a couple is having a real argument about a real issue, both parties may feel angry but they can say "this is what I'm feeling angry about " or "this is what I want" and eventually, if there is good will on both their parts, the issue is resolved. In a verbally abusive relationship there is no specific conflict. The issue is the abuse and this issue is not resolved.

Each person must see and hear the other in order to understand. Each must be aware of their own feelings and be able to distinguish their own feelings from the other person's feelings. I just thought everybody knew this. Evidently not.

When I told him what my motives had been, what I was feeling, and what I had said, he concluded, "It couldn't have happened that way or I wouldn't have reacted the way I did." Sigh . Rather than consider that his perceptions of me were inaccurate, he concludes that I am in error.

He seems perplexed when I tell him that how I feel is not a matter of 'opinion' where his guess is as good as mine. He truly does not realize that he does not have the ability to know for certain how another person feels without asking them.

I am glad I got to see Bob's confusion about emotional and psychic boundaries at a time when both of us were calm rather than upset. It gives me more clarity. And that helps me accept how things are.


Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Changing my Thinking

In my last post I discussed my biggest criticism of the book "The Secret of Overcoming Verbal Abuse". Now I'll write about some things I liked.

I often hear people talk about rights in a relationships. Patricia Evans has a list of "Basic Rights in a Relationship" like the right "to be heard by your mate and responded to with courtesy". On the level of basic morality and human rights I agree, all people are deserving of love and respect, but in my marriage, thinking of it that way has not helped me.

I was thinking "He has no right to say those things to me" and "You can't speak to me that way." Which led to me thinking, "He has to stop this". But guess what, he doesn't have to stop. Nobody is going to make him stop. I can't call the verbal abuse police to arrest him and enforce my right to be heard and responded to with courtesy. With the exception of my body and my property, relationships "rights" are not like civil or legal rights. Ultimately, all you can do is remove yourself from his presence.

Perhaps Ms. Evans and others talk about "rights" in a relationship to validate that your expectations are in fact reasonable, because abusers will try to convince you otherwise. I would prefer that such a list be called "Reasonable expectations in a Healthy Relationship".

I have also heard well meaning people tell the recipient of verbal abuse that they must demand to be treated with respect. I think that demanding respect just plays into the abuser's view of relationships as power and control based. I do however, require being treated respectfully as a condition of engagement.

When I questioned the reality of my thinking I realized that while he may not have the moral right to do what he does, he does have the freedom to do it.

* He has the freedom to speak to me however he likes.

* He has the freedom to throw things.

* He has the freedom to respond to me with anger when I tell him I feel upset by something he has done.

* He has the freedom to interpret my behavior any way he chooses.

* He has the freedom to inquire about my life and needs or not.

* He has the freedom to remain silent or approach.

He has the freedom to make those choices. I also have freedom. Previously I thought "I need to explain to him what I was really feeling" and "I have to keep talking with him to try to work things out." But I realized I don't.

* I have the freedom to disengage from someone who calls me names and tells me what I am doing or feeling.

* I have the freedom to share my thoughts and feelings only with people I feel safe with.

* I have the freedom to stay in this marriage or not.

* I have the freedom to leave a relationship when my boundaries are not respected.

* I have the freedom to leave a relationship when my needs are not being met.

And of course with freedom, comes responsibility.

It is my responsibility to create a happy and fulfilling life for myself. I am not powerless. I can choose.

It is difficult to explain, but when I began to affirm his freedom to choose how he behaves, even if he chooses to behave in ways that are detrimental to creating a safe, loving relationship, I no longer felt so powerless and I began to affirm more of my freedom of choice.

This doesn't mean that his choices are acceptable to me. Far from it. It just helped me realize, okay, this is what he is doing, now what do I need to do?

It has helped me to question my thoughts and if I discover that some of my thoughts are distorted and not true, to replace them with more realistic ones.

I do not think it is helpful to replace accurate and realistic thoughts with distortions in order to feel better. There are systems of challenging thoughts which instead of leading to reality, may lead to self-delusion. One dangerous method I have heard of is Byron Katie. You can read about the dangers of "The Work" here:,9147

A great book self-help book based on cognitive therapy is "The Feeling Good Handbook" by Dr. David Burns. The parts of the Ellis/Powers book that I found helpful were based on the same concepts but gave examples based on the experiences of recipients of verbal abusive.

The Feeling Good Handbook

The Secret of Overcoming Verbal Abuse: Getting Off the Emotional Roller Coaster and Regaining Control of Your Life

Monday, May 26, 2008

It's not abuse, it's just my interpretation?

PhotobucketI want to mention a book I have mixed feelings about. The book is "The Secret of Overcoming Verbal Abuse" by Albert Ellis and Marcia Grad Powers. It is based on the principles of cognitive therapy which I am familiar with through the work of Dr. David Burns who I highly recommend. I found the ideas about changing my thoughts about the situation to be very helpful, but I will address my main area of disagreement with the authors first.

One of the main concepts of the book is: "You, and only you, create all of your feelings"

Well, ur, not really. If that were true there would be no such a thing as verbal abuse. If it were only our interpretation of events that hurts us then one could say, "Its not abuse when your husband calls you a fat, ugly, stupid, worthless cunt, it's just your interpretation of the event that leads you to feel bad." Give me a break.

Even if you know that you are not a fat, ugly, stupid, worthless cunt, you don't need to believe there is any truth to the statement to be shocked and stunned that your husband said those things. Or suppose you are overweight and maybe you aren't the brightest bulb on the tree, you certainly aren't worthless and it is horrifying that someone who claims to love you would try to use something you might feel sensitive about to demean you.

The worst part for me isn't the actual words, it is that this person who claims to love me, my husband, is trying make me feel bad, whether I accept his assessment of me or not. You could be a fashion model with a genuis IQ and still be hurt, not because you believe the words, but because your husband spoke them, and tried to make you feel "less than".

"You, and only you, create all of your feelings" is no more true than the old "sticks & stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me" routine. Or the classic "I'm not responsible for your feelings". Where did that come from? Is it some co-dependency recovery run amok? I usually hear someone say "I'm not responsible for his/her feelings" from people who have just done something particularly shitty to another person and now wish to absolve themselves of any responsibility for the harm they caused. But I digress.

Later in the book the authors appear to contradict their main thesis and acknowledge that while you have some choice about how you feel, that it is not a complete choice. I agree.

I would not recommend this book as the first one to read about verbal abuse. Patricia Evan's book is far superior. Evan's book validates the pain, confusion and frustration. It is important to first feel the pain. It's also important to move out of pain. That's where the Ellis/Powers concepts helped me.

I'll post about the helpful aspects of the book next time. (Unless something more interesting or urgent comes up.)


Thursday, May 22, 2008

Love yourself first.

I found this beautiful video about emotional abuse by Mariana.

Mariana's Blog: Emotional Abuse

Mariana wisely reminds us:

Don't believe their words. Believe their concrete actions.

Does your partner's words and promises match his/her actions?

Does your partner tell you he/she loves you and you are special but goes on with his life, ignoring you and ignoring your feelings?

You don't need an abuser in your life.

You deserve someone who will love you and respect you for who you are, not for what they can get from you.

Choose to Love Yourself First.

Thank you for sharing your gentle strength Mariana.


Monday, May 19, 2008

So-called "apology"

This morning there was a note from him on the kitchen counter apologizing for mimicking me Saturday night. He said he realized it was an expression of contempt which probably hurt me and he was sorry. He didn't attempt to justify or explain it. I thought that was progress.

I sat down at the table in the adjacent dining area to eat my breakfast. He came in the kitchen and I said "thank you for the apology". He said "Thank you for thanking me" then went outside. My heart fell. When he came back in the kitchen as I was getting up from the table I said "When you just walk away after I acknowledged your apology and don't come sit by me and show some warmth and caring, it doesn't feel like an apology."

"I'm sorry that didn't work for you" he said coldly, "but I don't have time to discuss it now".

It hurts because I thought for a moment that he actually cared and then got slapped with the reality of his coldness. I suspect his so-called apology was just a pro-forma because he thinks he may need my help with something. Now, even his so called apology was just another wound.

I don't know if he knows what he is doing or if he is just that tuned out. Doesn't matter I suppose. I told him how I felt and he coldly turned away again. Sometimes I'm amazed that anything he does can still hurt me, but this did. I've spent so much time hoping that one day I might hear from him the words that recognized my pain. Then for a moment I thought 'maybe' and then that hope was dashed. Again.


Sunday, May 18, 2008

"You got mad at me"

Yesterday Bob was recounting some of his grievances against me. I realized that almost every one of them was basically, "You got mad at me". What he did that I was mad about was irrelevant.

For example he reminds me that I got mad at him when he barked at me "Why don't you just fucking tell me!" when I asked if he wanted to hear my ideas about where to stay that night when we were on vacation one summer.

He was driving down a steep, curvy, dark mountain road late at night and I thought it might be taking all his concentration. He interpreted my question as (can you guess?) as an ATTACK. He did not recognize that I was being considerate. He thought I was ACCUSING him of not wanting to hear what I had to say. He later told me that because I had previously complained that often I felt like he didn't want to hear what I had to say, that I was accusing him of doing that again.

I start to feel dizzy just trying to follow his logic. Seems to me that if your loved one sometimes felt like you didn't want to hear what they said that you might make an effort to show that you are interested rather than yell "What don't you just fucking tell me!"

So that was the horrible thing I did - I got mad. Imagine the nerve!

Okay, but I confess that wasn't all I did. I was scared. It was a bad road and I don't want to be a passenger in a car with an enraged man at the wheel. So about five minutes later I said I had to pee. He pulled over. I got some warm clothes and shoes from my suitcase in the trunk. We were in very remote country. We had not seen another car in two hours. Nonetheless, I told him I was not getting back in that car with him unless I was driving and until he calmed down. And if that meant I spent the night under a pine tree, so be it.

"Freedom from accountability means that the abusive man considers himself above criticism. If his partner attempt to raise her grievances she is 'provoking' him. ", says Lundy Bancroft in "Why Does He Do That?".

It is commonly believed that abusive men have a problem managing their anger. This is what Bancroft says:

"Your abusive partner doesn't have a problem with his anger; he has a problem with your anger. One of the basic human rights he tries to take away from you is the right to be angry with him. No matter how badly he treats you, he believes that your voice shouldn't rise and your blood shouldn't boil. The privilege of rage is reserved for him alone."

No wonder Bob is so unhappy. Despite his relentless attempts, he has never been able to convince me that there is something wrong with me for feeling angry. So I do not dispute his grievances. Yes, I got mad. And I'm not sorry. Anger is a healthy response to abuse.

Bancroft says this about abusers and anger:


Why Does He Do That?: Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men


Thursday, May 15, 2008

I wonder if he knows . . .

I wonder if he knows that I don't like being around him.

I usually get up a few hours before he does. Does he know that when I hear the first sounds of him stirring that I get a knot in my stomach?

On those all too rare occasions that he goes somewhere, does he know that I freeze inside when I hear his car in the driveway when he returns?

Does he know that even if I am hungry I won't go in the kitchen if he is there?

And if he knew all that, would he feel sad or glad?

Would he feel like he had really established his authority?

Would he feel a sense of failure? Remorse?

I hate that I don't feel relaxed in my own home. It makes everything I do so much harder when I have to "psyche myself up" to exist in the same house but I'm getting better at it. He's really a very weak, scared man who feels powerless.


I am working on leaving. I am not trapped here, although it feels that way at times. It helps me to reframe my situation as a choice. Strictly speaking, I could leave here today and go to a hotel or a friend's house. I could just say the hell with it, I'm outa here. But I am choosing to take the step by step route right now because I think that is in my best interest for the long term. It's a trade off.


Sunday, May 11, 2008

The Little Things - There's Nothing Bigger

One might justifiably think that I sometimes blog about 'little things', like a conversation about mailing the tax returns and having to wait for him frequently. In one way, I agree, those are small issues. If the big issues, like name calling and throwing things, had never materialized, I probably would pay them no mind. But as my understanding of the dynamics of the abusive relationship has increased, I now see the 'little things' as symptomatic of a general mindset that guarantees there can be no mutually rewarding intimate relationship.

Mindreading, particularly negative mindreading is a feature of my husband's psyche which plays out with me and with other people. I know he does it with me, because I know what I am thinking, feeling and intending. I also strongly suspect he also does it with other people because I have been there and seen the same interactions he has seen and I come away thinking there was probably a misunderstanding and he comes away convinced that the person was deliberately being nasty to him. Often, a minimally unpleasant interaction with a service person, for example, is an injustice he will long remember.

We haven't done anything fun together in a long time. Last night, I was enjoying the evening breeze and the stars and recalling a brief getaway we had to a lovely rustic hotel last May. "Remember how great it was sitting on the porch of La Luna Inn last year honey?", I remarked. "Yeah, except that waiter at dinner thought I was an idiot about wine."

Last year, this was merely annoying. Now I realize that he doesn't just wonder whether possibly the waiter did not respect his taste in wine, but he knows that this waiter didn't think he was "okay." (It's not just an opinion on his taste in wine, it's a reflection on his value as a person.) And he knows that the waiter was deliberately nasty to him.

Well, I was there, and it seemed to me that the waiter did not understand a comment my husband made and was replying to what he thought he had said. The bill hadn't been paid yet and it seems unlikely to me that a waiter would deliberately insult a customer just before check presentation. And even if the waiter had thought his taste in wine was abysmal, so what? Does his self image rise and fall on the opinions of waiters? Sadly, I fear it does.

Since he doesn't have sufficient self-esteem on board, I guess he doesn't shrug it off the way I do. I told him I thought he might be happier if he'd just let that stuff go. After all, one will encounter an occasional unfriendly clerk or waiter. That's just life.

This is far from the first time I have seen that in a situation where 99% of what has happened is positive, he will focus on the 1% that is negative. And a lot of times the negative isn't even there. I have noticed that generally I think I am treated well out there in the world. He doesn't understand why he isn't. I suspect that he is, but when he reacts to ambiguous situations by assuming hostile intent, then some people do become hostile. I am tired of struggling to remain positive in the face of his negativity. It seems that it is more important to him to discuss endlessly the maltreatment of a waiter (real or imagined) than to drop it and get on with having a good time together.

At least I can leave him to his indignant ruminations, temporarily and eventually permanently. He, on the other hand, has to live inside the hostile world he creates in his mind. It must suck being him.



Words about Abuse from a Good Man.

When you are in an abusive relationship and interacting with other women who are, one can sometimes wonder, "Are there any good men out there?", or give up on men entirely being too traumatized to trust again. These are understandable reactions to the experience of being abused, particularly when one has had previous bad relationships and/or abusive parents.

The other day I came across a post about abuse and learned helplessness on the online journal of a terminally ill man. It was wonderful to read the caring words of a man who abhors abuse, honors women, and is honestly trying to understand our experience.

I know that there are other good men out there and I hope we will hear from more of them. Abused women need to know that you good guys exist, that a good relationship with a good man is possible. Bill is taken ladies, but I'm sure the good ones aren't all married. Abusive people, men and women alike, need to hear from both genders that their behavior is unacceptable and without justification ever.

So with his kind permission, here is Bill's post:

Apr 29, 2008 6:28 PM

Dying Man’s Daily Journal - Learned Helplessness gaining insight

from Dying mans daily journal by Bill Howdle
Yesterday, my post was about abuse, physical, emotional abuse of any and all kinds. Of how that very abuse can lead to “learned helplessness”.

The more I read about and hear about abuse of any kind, the more shocked and disturbed I am becoming. I know it is everywhere, mostly hidden behind closed doors. I know there is no excuse for abuse of any type, NONE. It is only now that I am really becoming aware of the profound long term effects. I suppose I had naively assumed once you were out of the abusive situation, life would be good and you could just get back to “normal” and live life as it was intended to be lived. Such is obviously not the case.

I am very touched that a few dear blogging friends chose to truly open up and reveal past horrors experienced in their lives. I can think of no better word than horrors to describe the lives they were force to endure on a daily basis for years on end. I thank you for sharing as you have and will be responding individually to your comments.

I still can’t really claim to “understand”, this is whole issue is so foreign to my thinking. Being honored by being given at least a glimpse into the lives of others has given me a bite of an understanding of how it all could happen. I am still thinking of the “learned helplessness” the long last effects on ongoing abuse. A whole life is permanently changed forever scarred and total “normalcy” may never be achieved again. I can’t even begin to describe how sad this all makes me feel. Life is to be lived and should never be endured but how many people are doing that exact thing, enduring life. This is not what the Good Lord intended for any of us. He wants all of us to live happy, safe, peaceful, love filled lives. Each of us was given our own free will to make the choices and to live our own happy lives. No one has the right to chose our life for us, controlling our thoughts and actions. NO ONE has the right to ever be physically abusive to another in anyway, irregardless of an ything, no exceptions to this rule, NONE EVER.

Yesterday, I asked everyone to just sit back for a moment and think about your relationships with others. Honestly look at the role you play in the lives of all others. Be honest with yourself, and look to see, are you an abuser? Now to some this answer will be easy, if you hand out beatings, are controlling, domineering, use verbal put downs then you are an abuser. Plain and simple as that. Now ask yourself why? Each of us is responsible for our own actions, so if your excuse is “well she made me do it, she made me made because……. That is not a reasonable or even rational excuse. No one but an abuser makes us do anything. You are responsible for your own actions, be a man/woman and accept that responsibility. Each of us has a God given right to make our own choices. What makes you think you have the right to in essence over right God’s will by depriving anyone else of their freedom, their own free will. I ask everyone to please just think about this!!

I feel uncomfortable as a male and being unfamiliar with abuse issues trying to write about the feelings that are realistically I think mostly experienced by women. I did say mostly as I know there are many men out there also with similar experiences.

Again, I am asking for feed back as the conclusions I am coming to may in fact be way off base and I do realize every situation if in fact different. Slightly different yes, but all seem to have huge similarities. Now, if as I am writing, I happen to word something poorly and it in anyways comes across that I may be assigning any guilt or blame to the victim, Please know it was not intended that way, but was in fact poor wording on my part. Victims of abuse do not carry any of the blame, no matter what is said to them.

So here we go again with “life according to Bill”:

I see any abuse be it physical, emotional what ever, as having long term very profound affects. I suppose the longer the abuse continues the deeper will be the scars. I would imagine the abuse cycle begins slowly, with seemingly little or inconsequential things, but escalate to the much worse. I see the “trained helplessness” that I wrote about yesterday as actually taking some time to set in or to become ingrained into anyones system.

Years can be spent in a frantic effort to make things right, to do things right. All to no avail, nothing you can ever do is quite good enough, nothing seemingly can be done to prevent the next beating. You are so constantly told it is your fault, you deserved or earned the beating because you did or didn’t do…… or at least it wasn’t done well enough. If we are told anything often enough we will actually begin to believe it. Being told constantly you are not good enough, self esteem start to lag of even disappear all together.

Fear becomes a constant emotion. Fear of the beatings and abuse, but also fear of leaving. Self esteem has dropped to the level, self doubts prevail. Am I good enough, strong enough to make it on my own. Fear of not being able to support yourself or the kids. You are trapped, afraid and dreading the thought of staying but equally fearing and dreading the uncertainty of leaving. A feeling of hopelessness and helplessness prevails, the self esteem or any that may be left disappears. You are trapped. Gradually, any and all resistance wanes and disappears, what is the point. You are beaten down and just to tired to fight or really even care any more. It just becomes easier to just give in to the will of others, do what they want. Just no energy to fight for anything, it is just pointless anyway, I am helpless to do anything for myself.

Again, this is just understanding according to “Bill”. I admit to being out of my understanding level with this, but I am trying to get a handle on something that is literally destroying so many lives. I write about living life to the fullest as you are facing death. Here we have countless numbers of people unable to even live life as it is intended to be lived because of the control, domination and abuse of another. It is just so sad, such a waste of precious time on this earth. It just makes really no sense to me. I want and pray that everyone lives a long healthy happy life. Somehow within myself I seem to feel almost a need to help in this tragic situation. I just don’t know how, feed back or suggestions please.

My good friend Lori wrote of how it can reach the point where an escape of safe zone can actually be place right in front of the victim but they just can’t see it for what it is. I am at a loss for words.

Dying Man’s Daily Journal - Learned Helplessness insight « Dying mans daily journal


Friday, May 9, 2008

Advice for Men: How to Create an Unhappy Marriage

Obviously, overt abuse will do it, as will infidelity, but there are also covert and unthinking ways, to suck the lifeblood and happiness out of any woman. Some of these techniques fall under the category of 'withholding'. So here's my short list for tonight:

1. Stop all fun and romance, and preferably sex as well.

Remember all those good times you had before you got married? The dinner and dancing dates, the parties, the long talks? Well, stop all that immediately.

Remember, she married you so now she's stuck and she's not going anywhere without a whole lot of trouble. Stop courting her and complimenting her. Do not ask her out on a date. She'll be happy watching ESPN with you. Do not buy her flowers or femmy gifts like jewelry and lingerie. Especially avoid going on vacation. Vacation removes the focus of your relationship from her being your maid/gardener/secretary/tax and investment advisor/ and all around girl Friday to having fun together.

2. Let her know how sexy you find other women.

Definitely watch porn. If she objects, be sure to tell her she needs to deal with her insecurity and stop being so controlling.

Ogle other women when you are together.

Comment on the sexiness of movie stars, random women on he street, and your teenage daughter's friends. Letting your wife know how hot you think her girlfriends are is particularly effective. This serves the dual purpose of hurting her sexual confidence while making her uncomfortable having her friends around you, thus isolating her from support systems.

3. Treat her like an employee.

Marriage is primarily getting cheap labor right? Be sure to try to get her to do more and more. Point out frequently how you provide most of the money and how she therefore owes you. This works very well if you have inherited wealth and you do next to nothing. Be sure to flaunt the newest gadget you got while she does without.

If you want to be especially demeaning, tell her to give you a bill for the work she does. This ensures that her loving contributions to the partnership are treated like mere services

4. Don't keep your commitments.

Keeping commitments builds trust and a sense of partnership. Breaking commitments will destroy trust. You don't have to treat a commitment to your wife like a commitment to someone else. It's okay to keep her waiting. It's okay to say you'll do something and then not do it ever. This way you train her to not believe a word you say.

5. Do not listen to her.

If she gets tired of all of the above and tries to talk to you, whatever you do - do not listen or attempt to understand her point of view and feelings.

Immediately ask her:

"Are you blaming me?" or "Are you saying it's my fault?"

This effectively moves the focus from her complaint and puts her on the defensive. She will now try to explain that she is not blaming you and her complaint is lost in the hub-bub.

6. Do not take the initiative to work things through - ever.

Have you heard of the 'time out' technique"? This is a common method couples use to go calm down so they can get back together and work things out. Since you don't want to work things out, you just want her to stop her bitching, you can ask for a time out, but never come back.

Be sure to act like nothing happened the next day. Most problems resolve themselves - NOT!

7. No matter what she says about how unhappy she is or that she may need to end the marriage - do not believe her.

Those are just words, just so much blah, blah, blah. She's probably got PMS or in the older woman, perhaps menopause.

And if you really want to make her crazy, when she finally leaves your neglectful sorry ass to make a life where she is appreciated, cherished and adored, act astonished when you come home to find she has moved out. Tell her you realize how much you love her and that you want to work on the relationship. Then of course, do none of these things.


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