Sunday, April 27, 2008

Bizarre Distortions of Reality

I've also been reading "Why does he do that?" by Lundy Bancroft. He says abusers twist things into their opposites. My husband does that in matters small and large. Here's an example from last night.

I made the mistake of trying to make light conversation with Bob. He had cooked, and I was very hungry, so I sat down to eat with him. I was trying to tell him about a conversation I had that I thought might be of interest to him. I started to tell the story and he interrupted me to comment on an aside. He didn't interrupt me in mid-sentence so I responded to his question. And then another and another.

His questions didn't sound like real questions, i.e. requests for information about my point of view but more like a poorly done cross examination. I tired to get back to what I was originally trying to say a couple of times between questions. Finally I say, I'd like to get back to the point I was making. I said this in a completely calm, polite way. He said "Oh, so I just shouldn't say anything?" in a hostile tone. "What are you talking about?" I asked him. I took time to respond to your comments and you now suggest I am saying you shouldn't say anything just because I said would like to return to my original point??!?

He said "Well you got mad". "Are you asking me how I feel or telling me?" I asked. He then asked me. I told him I had felt slightly frustrated. It seems he will pick up on a feeling, (although any gradation of frustration or annoyance is the equivialant of rage to him), and then assume he knows why I am feeling this way. In this case, his twisted interpretation seemed to be that I didn't want him to say anything.

Maybe he is feeling muzzled because I no longer stay around to listen to his abuse. Where's the fun in being abusive if there's no one there to abuse?

Or maybe this is one of his parataxic distortions, reacting to me as if I were his parents. Hey remember me Bob? It's Jennie, your old pal. The one you used to talk with for hours when you were interested in my point of view. Remember when we shared ideas, sometimes agreed, sometimes not, but both enjoyed the exchange? I'm still that same person. If you had talked to me in the beginning the way you do now, I never would have talked with you again.

Or is this his way of controlling the conversation like Bancroft says. In his book Bancroft answers the question "Why does he say that I am abusing him?"

He says "The lens of entitlement the abuser holds over his eyes stands everything on its head. . . " Why does he think that I am the one that is doing all the talking? Perhaps because as Bancroft explains "[I]n his mind she's supposed to be listening, not talking. If she expresses herself at all, that's too much."

"Bancroft says that when he challenges his clients to stop bullying their partners, they twist his words around just as they do their partners'. (I'm not sure 'partner' is the most accurate word to describe the women who are with abusers). "They accuse me of having said things that have little connection to my actual words."

It is discouraging to know that some men even do that to a male counselor. Yet is is affirming to know that it isn't my fault. His view of reality really is that distorted.


1 comment:

Barbara said...

Thanks for visiting my site. I am linking to you and hope you will do the same.

Feel free to peruse the links at my site and take what you need. Do not allow your husband to continue to treat you like this and blame you for his behavior. (sounds somewhat narcissistic)

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