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

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