index cards, part five

he hates correction!!

i once asked him if he wanted to do the dishes or switch the laundry and he told me to quit patronizing him and to stop treating him like a child, and then he did neither.

he was having a conversation in front of me with my daughter, and when i tried to tell him that i agreed with her, he told me to butt out and that this had nothing to do with me.

he tells me that we (me and the kids) gang up on him all the time.

he pushes the kids too far with teasing and then gets angry when they don’t think he is hilarious, or when they tell him to leave them alone.

he gets angry when i agree with someone that is disagreeing with him.

belittling me:

acts like he doesn’t believe me when i tell him things to the point that i feel like maybe i am lying?

tells me all the time that i am not good at finding the deals and complains when i don’t shop right, and end up spending too much

points out all my mistakes, and does it in front of the kids and others.  then tells me he is just trying to help me when i get mad.

tells others how promiscuous i was and how much i drank in college

twice has made me go back to the store (probably more times) to return something that was too expensive, because i didn’t do it right (get the one on sale, etc)

got mad once that the paper napkins were out, then told me we need to use the cloth ones and only use paper when those are all dirty, which is what i do anyway.  he was very condescending, like it was something i hadn’t ever thought of before.

has called me stupid, a bitch, dumb, dumbass, etc.

makes fun of me in front of my own friends, tells others their ideas or interests are stupid or horrible

says things like “even mom knows” like i am normally stupid or something.

makes comments about me like “look at you!  all interested in that!” just basically being very condescending.

tells me all the time that my choice in tv shows is bad or weird or stupid and same with my music

asking what i did all day when the house was a mess, but never helping me to clean it.

dwells on our mistakes and doesn’t let them go, but gets mad when i bring his past mistakes up and tells me that i shouldn’t hold them against him, because they are in the past

makes jokes about my athletic ability.  tells me how clumsy i am

constantly teases me about my grey hair, being short, my small feet

scares me by jumping out at me and things like that, then tells me i take life too seriously when i get mad, even after i have asked him countless times to stop.

makes jokes about how “lazy” i am, even though i know he somewhat means it.

accuses me of taking things that don’t belong to me, but doesn’t apologize when he realizes he was wrong

makes comments whenever i don’t want to cuddle or whatever.  like “your stomach hurts because you are so mean to me all the time”

has joked about things like throwing me off a balcony and serving me antifreeze

joked about having sex with other women so they wouldn’t be lonely and his “girlfriends” and tells me how amazing other women are all the time, even though he has cheated on me in the past, and i tell him all the time those jokes aren’t funny

silent treatment:

went behind my back and found out i had credit card debt.  didn’t talk to me for days.  when i finally asked what was wrong, he got mad and told me he was waiting for me to tell him about it.

will go days without talking to me except about the kids, will hardly touch or hug me, and will talk to everyone else but me, and then when i call him out, tells me i am being paranoid.

didn’t have sex for a month, even though he always complains about how we never have it enough.  then when we were about to and got interrupted, he complained that we always get interrupted.  ??

LIES:

lied about depositing cash into our account when he actually hid it in his dresser, then lied about how much cash it actually was.

lied about me being on our joint account

lied about cheating on me, denied it flat out when i confronted him

lied about where he was when he was really cheating on me

read my journal then lied and said he didn’t when i saw him do it.

lied about sleeping with other girls while we were broken up in college, then admitted it years later after we were already together again.

lied about kissing another girl at a bar when i asked him about it.

lied about adding me to our gas card.  said it wasn’t possible, and when i called the company, they said it would be no problem

 

 

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therapy is a wonderful thing, unless it’s with your abuser.

therapy with a qualified domestic abuse therapist is amazing.

just having someone there to listen to you without judgement, anger, dismissal, fear, condescension, sarcasm…it’s a wonderful thing.

but…the thought of my abusive husband going to see a therapist on his own terrifies me.  what lies will he tell?  what kind of unconscious validation will he get from a therapist that only sees his side of things?

the urge to go with him is powerful.  but not recommended with an abusive relationship.

according to the National Domestic Violence Hotline website,

“Therapy can be very effective for some couples who are working through difficult relationship issues. However, if abuse is present in the relationship, we do not recommend that couples seek counseling together.

……

The primary reason we don’t recommend couples counseling is that abuse is not a “relationship” problem. Couples counseling may imply that both partners contribute to the abusive behavior, when the choice to be abusive lies solely with the abusive partner. Focusing on communication or other relationship issues distracts from the abusive behavior, and may actually reinforce it in some cases. Additionally, a therapist may not be aware that abuse is present and inadvertently encourage the abuse to continue or escalate.

…..

A better option for abusive partners who want to change is a program designed specifically to address their abusive behaviors. These programs are often referred to as Battering Intervention and Prevention Programs (BIPPs), although what they are called can vary from state to state. BIPPs focus on teaching accountability and non-violent responses. These programs can be effective, but only if an abusive partner is truly committed, as real change is a difficult process that can take months or years.

If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship, or if you are an abusive partner who wants to change, please give us a call at 1-800-799-7233 or chat online everyday from 7am-2am CST. Our advocates are here to support you and talk through your options.”

legal process, step three

the divorce petition is all written out.  the lawyer has been hired and is ready to serve husband in mid-january.

i am both incredibly relieved and totally, breathlessly terrified.

i should win an academy award for my convincing portrayal of the forgiving wife, but this shit will get real in two weeks.

if you are the praying type, please say a quick prayer for strength and peace with my decision.

happy new year!

Around and around…the circular conversation

this conversation happens all the time.  i bring up a small criticism, or a request, and it is usually turned right back around to blame me.  this was copied and pasted from an online forum i belong to, which has been a huge source of validation for me…

My husband coaches. So, today my son had a game, and I went with the two youngest (2 and 6), and he coached the 11 year old.
The kids did great during the game, but I had to pee at the end, and since the game was almost over, I decided to wait until husband came out of the gym to go. So, I walked out right after the game, as I usually do, to make room for the incoming spectators for the next game. I have always done this. H stays in the gym in the corner with the boys and has his coach talk. After about five minutes, kids from the team start coming out, so I assume H will be out shortly.

So, ten minutes out in the lobby, and I am about to wet my pants. I go to the gym, look inside for H, and he is talking to one of the parents. I motion for him to come out, and he starts to come out. I went and peed.

In the van, I said, “I waited in the lobby for you to come out, and I really had to pee…next time could you just come out and tell me if you are going to be so long?”

He says, “I didn’t know where you went, and I had to watch the other team’s zone defense. And I only talked to the parent for a second. A second.”

Me: “Well, it seems like it happens a lot where I go out with the little kids and we end up waiting a long time for you. It would be nice if you could just think about us, and not take so long, or just give me a heads up.”

Him: “Well, if it happens so often, then you should expect it, and just assume I will take that long after each game. You could have come in and just told me.”

Me: “I didn’t want to take the little kids back into the crowded gym, and I was trying to be nice, letting you talk to the team. I didn’t know you were going to watch part of the next game. I would appreciate an apology once in a while, or just think about how other people feel.”

Him: “Well, I could apologize, but you just are so pissed off all the time, so I can’t win, no matter what I do.”

And on, and on. He tells me all the time that he wants me to tell him when he is doing things that bother me, but when I do, he gets mad, blames me for the whole thing, and ends up not telling me it’s my fault that he’s not apologizing.

God!! Every single time I think he’s starting to figure it out, and I think maybe I am over reacting, he pulls this crap.

And, the other day, my kids wanted to stop at the store and get a donut after school. I said no, I didn’t have any money. My 8 year old pops up and says, “and dad doesn’t like when you spend his money. Why don’t you just get a job?” I said, “well, dad doesn’t want me to work because he worries we won’t qualify for free stuff, any more.”

8 year old says, “Dad’s not very smart. He gets mad when you spend money but won’t let you get a job. That’s dumb.”

Out of the mouths of babes!

crazymaking car troubles

my husband owns three vehicles.  a van, a convertible, and a car for my daughter.  i drive the van, he drives the convertible.  it’s a piece of crap.  the top is starting to fall apart, the trunk fills with water when it rains, the inner door panels have both fallen off at least once.  the newest issue is with the radiator.  apparently it’s leaking antifreeze, and has been “running hot”.

husband left for a weekend with his father super early saturday morning.  he rented a car, due to the overheating, and since i had the kids, he knew i would need the van.  i ASSumed he just didn’t want to drive his car so far away (2 hours).  well, i go to pick him up from the car rental drop off, and mention that our other daughter borrowed his car to attend a school function.  he says “i told you you weren’t supposed to drive the car, because if it overheats, it will ruin the engine.  son of a bitch!  you will have to go pick her up.  i was going to try to fix it today.”

i replied,  “when did you tell me not to drive the car?  if i had known that, i would have dropped her off myself.”

him:  “when i told you the car was overheating, that means don’t drive it.”

hmmm…to me, overheating means overheating, not “do not drive the car”.  i am not a mechanic, and didn’t know the engine would be ruined by driving a car that overheats.

me:  “i don’t remember you telling me that.  i’m sorry.”

him:  “i told you that friday night, while you were on the computer.”

so, telling me something while i am on the computer is not such a good idea, but i guess it’s still my fault.

me:  “well, i don’t remember that, but if you said that, i would have remembered something that important.  and, to me, overheating is not the same as running hot, and i guess i need you to be more specific about what you want when you need me to do or not do something.”

him:  “whatever.  we’ll figure it out later.”

 

after we get home, i feed the kids, while he disappears to the basement to eat the food he made on his own, and to watch football.  silly me.  i thought he was concerned about the car.  i text my daughter and tell her not to drive home, and that i would pick her up.  she says, then come now, i am done.

i go downstairs and tell husband i am leaving to get her, and he says, “i already texted her to drive home herself.”   huh??

me: “so, she can drive it?”

him:  “i don’t care.”

me:  “ok, again, i need more specifics.  is she ok to drive the car, or not?”

him:  “i said, i don’t care!”

 

later, he came upstairs after making a trip to the store to see what he could use in the radiator to fix it, and hugs me and says “i love you.”

i pull back and say, “i didn’t know about the car, i’m sorry i let her drive it, but i didn’t like that you got mad at me for something that was an accident.”

him: “well, you knew not to drive the car, and that i rented the car so that i didn’t have to take the van.”

me:  “whatever.  i don’t remember it that way, but i’m tired of talking about it.”

 

to sum up, he:

tells me he told me not to do something, when he didn’t

gets mad when i do the thing he didn’t tell me not to do

blames me for the way he got mad at me, then still doesn’t apologize

tells me he is going to “spend the day fixing it” then spends about five minutes on it, and gives up to watch football

thinks that “i love you” is the same as “i’m sorry”

and again, he spent the entire weekend either gone, or in the basement watching tv.  we literally talked more in the care arguing than we did the entire rest of the weekend.

 

and, now i am paranoid about antifreeze.  i like my iced tea with sweetener.  i feel like i should start testing it before adding the sweetener to make sure he hasn’t sweetened it for me with antifreeze, first.  may seem paranoid, but who knows what goes on in the mind of an emotional abuser?

 

Projection

abusers project.

they treat you like shit, and then tell you that you are treating them like shit.

they tell you that you are being rude, when they have just insulted you.

Projection – The act of attributing one’s own feelings or traits to another person and imagining or believing that the other person has those same feelings or traits.  — Outofthefog.net

so when my son says something rude to him, and he tells me he can’t understand how my son could be so mean, that’s projection.  because he yells at my son and then wonders why my son is always yelling.

when he tells me “you’re always angry”, that’s projection.

when he tells me that it wasn’t him who was looking at porn on the computer,  it must have been one of the kids’ friends, that’s projecting, because we all know how he would never do that.

What it Looks Like

  • A mother assumes her children only like the same food she likes.
  • An abusive father hits his children and blames his teenage son for the bruises.
  • A wife empties the joint checking account and accuses her husband of wasting resources.
  • A mother who is embarrassed about her weight problem repeatedly calls her eldest daughter “fat”.
  • An employer who lacks financial discipline accuses his employees of squandering resources.

http://outofthefog.net/CommonBehaviors/Projection.html

most people project at some point, and usually without realizing they are doing it.  it’s abuse when blaming occurs with projection, as a way of getting out of something.  yelling at your kids that they “are so messy all the time” and then not cleaning up your own messes, is a perfect example of this.  accusing your wife of stealing your cash when you know that she doesn’t know where you have hidden it is another example.

How to Cope

Coping with Projection is very similar to coping with episodes of False Accusations, except sometimes the false statements may initially appear “nice” or “neutral”. Even these can still be irritating and annoying, and when they veer into negative territory or make inflated or untrue claims, they can also in the long-term be damaging to your credibility or self-esteem.

What NOT To Do

  • Don’t accept any responsibility, blame or criticism which you know is wholly undeserved.
  • Don’t give a Personality Disordered person power over your self-image.
  • Don’t attempt to argue the point, state the truth quietly and clearly ONCE.

What TO Do

  • Know yourself – emotional clarity and understanding of your own strengths and weaknesses is your best self-defense against the erosive power of Projection.
  • Honor your own experience and spend time with people who give you an honest reflection of who you are.

how can i leave when he is so “nice”?

i have been reading and reading and researching about when i should leave.  

should i wait until he is in a good mood to have “the talk”?  should i just take off and leave a note?  what about the kids?  do i tell them before we leave and just hope they go along with it?  i know three of my children would probably be like, “ok, let’s go!”  but i don’t want to scar them for life. 

do i tell him i want to divorce and then make him move out?  fat chance of that, either way, since he paid for “our” house, and “our” van, and “our” bills.

do i tell him and then put up with us both living under the same roof until our assets are divided?  ugh.  no.

i just don’t know what is the best option for me.  especially since he has been so much nicer lately.  sort of.

he tells me what he thinks i want to hear, which is how much he loves me, how i can do whatever i want and he will support me, and that he will do whatever i want him to do.

but, he still abuses me.  he manipulates me.  he tells me what to do.  he flat out says “NO!”  if i don’t do something he wants me to do.  kind of like a two year old.  he abuses my children in much the same way, but of course to a much lesser degree.  he actually loves them.  he took me on a date a few weeks ago, and while it was fun, he told me multiple times about how his friend always posts all this stuff on facebook all the time when he and his wife go out.  so, of course, he kept telling me to take pics of us kissing, etc., and post them to facebook, which, by the way, he says he rarely goes on, but is on every day.  we had time before our movie, and so we walked around the top floor of a store that had an open balcony to the first floor below.  his “joke”?  “wouldn’t it suck if i threw you off this balcony?”  haha.  he kept going out of his way to tell me i’m “his girl” and how beautiful i was all dressed up.  um, where were those compliments for the last twenty years?  i can count on one hand the number of times (when we aren’t having sex) that he has complimented my looks.  now, criticizing my looks…that i can’t even begin to put a number on.

another way he abuses me is to tell me things like “you are so capable that i find it hard to do things as well as you do”.  doesn’t really sound abusive, does it?  but it is abusive when it means “i don’t want to do anything around the house, so i will compliment you and trick you into doing it all so i can go mess around on the computer, instead.”  he also tells me how i feel, or what i mean, or what i like.  who is he to know how i feel or what i think or what i like?  he’s not inside my head.  

these are not things that seem abusive on the surface, but are abusive when taken from years of the same patterns of behavior over and over.  it’s abusive when he suddenly does something nice after years of doing nothing, then expects me to fall all over him with gratitude.  when he tells me how good he has been lately, that’s abuse.  like, “i could be way worse, so give me credit.”, instead of just admitting the wrong, and trying to do better without qualifying it with a mild threat.  telling me that if he were to die tomorrow, i would be getting around half a million dollars from investments, etc., is abusive.  how?  he is really saying, “you need to stick around because my behavior is unlikely to change, but eventually you will get some money for all your troubles.” manipulation!!!  or, “you better appreciate the new kitchen cabinets, because they were really expensive, and if you leave, they will be a waste.”  manipulation!!!

i have prayed for literally years that he would cheat on me (again) so I could have a “good” reason to leave.  so it wouldn’t be my fault, and so that i could be able to say, it was all him, he is the bad guy.  instead of what i am sure i will hear if i leave now.  “but i tried so hard…i did everything you asked…i never hit you or hurt you physically…i provided for you and all the kids for so long!”

how can i leave when he is so “nice”?