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.


Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Hope is the enemy

The times when he is 'playing nice' are actually harder on me than total cold disengagement. I feel so much better when I don't interact with him.

On Sunday, we actually appeared to resolve something. And he has really been helpful with day to day household needs. But that is a far cry from dealing with the fundamental problems.

He still thinks it is perfectly fine to tell me what I am doing, what I think and what I feel. He ran a whole trip on me Sunday. He told me that I had 'berated' him the night before. That then I felt good because I had gone off on him and that was why I was now feeling happy. None of it - none of it - had an ounce of truth in it. In fact he had the whole thing completely wrong.

I did not 'berate' him, I expressed some of the pain I felt when he had done certain things. It did not feel good, I felt horrible. I was happy on Sunday, but that was because I had spent a lot of time work through my feelings and adjusting my thinking to disconnect from him once again.

I didn't tell him what was really going on with me because Patricia Evans advises not to explain in response to someone who is defining you. She says that this just gives them the impression that it is okay to define you, but in this instance they were wrong. I did tell him he was wrong, and tried to point out how illogical it is to think he could know what I was doing, thinking and feeling, but he does not agree. He says it is his 'intuition'. No amount of reality will convince him otherwise.

He said that he had read a little bit in a John Gottman book about power sharing in a marriage. That's good. But I told him that in order for me to begin to feel safe with him, I need to know that he is reading or doing something everyday. He nodded and was sweet and said he would.

Monday - nothing.

Tuesday - nothing.

Wednesday - nothing.

Same old avoidance. Same old saying one thing and doing another.

I have to admit that those old hopeful feelings come up again. That desire to feel safe, the desire to feel loved and cherished. Hope, has become my enemy.

At least hope for a happy life with him is the enemy. Hope for me, hope for a better life for myself is the hope I need to nurture.


Monday, May 5, 2008

Verbal Abuse Bingo

I have been working on learning to detach, to see his behavior as the immature silliness that it is. When he is unable to upset me, he is deprived of the payoff of feeling powerful. Patricia Evans suggested his name calling is at the emotional level of a three year old calling someone a 'pooh pooh head'.

So I look for ways to see the absurdity and not let it get to me. I have created Verbal Abuse Bingo cards. I am thinking of putting a couple of them in the kitchen, and inviting him to play too. When I hear that type of abuse, I would go get my card and cheerfully mark out that spot with a flourish.

When I get 5 in a row - I'll gleefully yell out "Verbal Abuse Bingo!"

It might put some fun in dysfunctional and maybe keep him mindful.

He is so contrary he may stop the abuse just to block me from getting Bingo.

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