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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works in progress

we are still ok right now.  he is not all over me lovey dovey like he was, and we are back to playing on our phones before bed instead of talking.  he started work at a new location yesterday, and i know that he is tired and feeling the pressure of a “new” job, but we are ok.

i have always been one to believe that a marriage can be saved.  i hope that this is the case for me.  i still have so many doubts, and i am certainly more cognizant of his behavior than i ever have been before.  but i know in his sometimes warped way, he loves me.

now, i know that many people believe that abusers can’t love.  or that they don’t know what ‘true’ love is.  i don’t believe that.  i believe that someone can behave abusively, but that abusers can learn to understand love and how to express it before it’s too late.  a true narc or a sociopath, or a psychopath, obviously can learn to mimic love, and to act as if they are in love, in order to try and mask their true intentions.  but there are many men out there who just truly don’t know how to show love in a healthy way.

my husband did not have a very good example of a loving marital relationship when he was growing up.  his mother loved him as he grew older, but had tried to abort him.  then, in a warped sense of guilt, told him what she had done, as a way of explaining his resulting birth defects to him.  what mother would do that?!

so, he has always felt as if he was unwanted.  as a second grader, his mother left the family, and his parents divorced, then he was basically left alone much of the time, while his young father played softball and drank every night of the week.  as an older teen, his father worked nights, leaving him in charge of his siblings, and without a chaperone much of the time.

in my own life, my parents were either all over each other, or completely silent, and not even in the same room.  i remember taking trips with them, where they barely talked the entire time.  i spend a huge amount of time in my room alone, while my mother would sit at the kitchen table and cross stitch while smoking and drinking her coffee.  my dad would sit in the basement, watch tv, and since he worked from home, he would work and smoke and drink his Pepsi.  my entire senior year of high school, they were either yelling, or threatening divorce, or holed up in their bedroom making up.

when we did all spend time together, it was to do adult things like play poker or go see a movie.  i saw Halloween as a five year old at the drive-in.

so, obviously, we both have had questionable role models of what a loving, giving, trusting marriage is like.  we both tried so hard to make a good marriage, or at least, what we thought was a “good” marriage, that we didn’t try to love the other person.  we tried to jam the other person into this idealized role, and when they didn’t fit, we became angry.  i admit fault there.  i may not have been abusive myself, but i didn’t stand up for myself when i should have, and didn’t show him how a wife wants to be treated.  i let him walk all over me, then just blew up at him when i couldn’t take it any more.  i kept trying to get him to change, rather than changing my attitude and reactions to him.

i can honestly say, that when i stand up for myself now, and tell him how i feel, he may balk at first, but he is way more likely to listen than before, when i would just save it all up inside and then spew my anger out all in one big burst. i am learning more and more how to communicate my needs in a healthy way.  it’s awkward, but it has made a difference just in these short weeks.

don’t get me wrong, his behavior was abusive.  he treated me like crap, and was not a very good husband for a good many years of our relationship.  but now that he sees that i am willing to go as far as leaving him if i have to, he has woken up so to speak.  he doesn’t want to lose our children, our relationship, our friendship, and his status.  he wants to be a good father, good husband, good christian.  he just doesn’t always know how.  he still thinks that he can make insulting jokes and i will just laugh it off.  but now, when i tell him i don’t like it, he takes it seriously, and apologizes.  when he does or says something that hurts me, i tell him right then, or later before bed, but i don’t just jam my emotions down any more, and it feels so much better.

we are both works in progress.

what do you think?  are some abusers able to learn to love?  is it worth the wait?

sucked me in again…it’s a cycle, damnit!

this has been cut and pasted from my online group emotional abuse forum.  i posted it earlier this evening and have received such wonderful validation that i feel renewed determination to get out of this hell and move on with my life.  hopefully the next time i post will be after my dick husband has been served!

God, I am such a fool.

I convinced my H to go to see the therapist, finally. That night, after I didn’t fall on my knees and tell him how proud and wonderful he was that he finally went, we got in a fight, and I basically said that if things didn’t majorly change, I would file for divorce (not telling him it is already set up). Partly, I felt he deserved a heads-up (??) and also, because I was curious of his reaction.

His reaction was:
— no divorce
— I would have to move out because he is not going anywhere
— he would not give me any money to start out new somewhere else, because he doesn’t want me to leave.
— told me that I would tell the kids terrible things about him
— basically said that me wanting a divorce was not the way to raise the kids even after I told him that I would be happier without all the pressure, thus would be a happier mom.

Then, he asked me to leave our bed (we had just turned the light off to go to sleep when this started), so I went into the living room.

He followed me, and spent a good hour or more telling me he loved me, needed me, didn’t mean to be abusive, hated that the kids were growing up the way they are because of him (all his words). He said he would do anything to get me to stay.

I pointed out that I had heard most of this before, and how many chances did he deserve, and he said “a lot”. Then he cried and cried and said that I needed to give him just one more chance, and he would “never” treat me that way again.

I gave in like a ninny and he took the next two days off work and we did stuff around the house, and he literally spent the entire time telling me that I could go back to school(something I said I needed if I was going to stay), if I wanted, I could go back to work, he promised he would fix up the house or we could buy a new one. He basically told me everything I have been wanting to hear for years.

Anyway, we went to the therapist together on Thursday. I thought, ok, either he will be abusive again, and I will leave anyway, or he will be good, and I will be able to relax.

It went well, he admitted that he had treated me badly, but I was scared to bring up anything abusive, because I knew I would have to ride home with him, and I didn’t want to have another marathon discussion.

He has been very attentive, telling me that he loves me constantly (totally love-bombing me) and yet, he is still being manipulative.

He wanted to cuddle, and I said I didn’t want to last night, and he made a sad face and was like, “I can’t help wanting to cuddle you all the time”, though he hadn’t hardly touched me or had sex with me in two months, just a few days before.

Yesterday he said something about how he was trying hard not to yell at the kids, and he was looking forward to me being the bad guy now, kind of laughing. Then last night, he drank about six beers, and yelled at them about how they “always” spill things, and how they “never” clean up well enough. Also, he did a similar thing today, where he spackled some holes in the walls and a little while after that, our 9 year old accidentally opened the door too hard and hit one of the holes, and my H was like, “he always slams his door open, and never pays attention to what he is doing.” Later he complained that “none” of our kids are good at cleaning up after themselves and that they have “terrible” listeningskills.

Um, they range in age from 2-19. Some of them need help with learning to listen and examples from us on how to clean. He even said that other people’s kids don’t act like our’s.

He has given me sob stories about his mom and how she left his dad and how it was so traumatic and terrible and how he will never forget her almost running over his dad in the car trying to get away from him. I said, “did it ever occur to you why she may have been trying to get away?” He didn’t really acknowledge that.

All of that in the 6 days since I said I would give him one more chance.

I am done, but now I don’t have the resources to move out and I don’t have the same plan in place I had before. I can have him served pretty much any time next week, but it will be much worse after I spent this week hugging and kissing him, telling him I do love him. Basically comforting him (again) and not pointing out his manipulation. I am terrified that I will not be able to do this again, and I will be suckered back in. He will just tell me that we need to go to counseling again.

I really feel like the only way to do this is to move out, but I can’t if I don’t have a place to live, and I really wanted to let the kids stay here at home without having to move them.

I may just have to try and rent an apartment and do it anyway, even if it isn’t convenient. I can apply for jobs this week, and I can take half out checking account money, which will only be about $1500, but will be a good start.

I feel like I am stuck even more now than I was before. I am so flipping mad at myself. I just can’t believe I let him do this to me again.

I felt like I could give him a chance and in the mean time, go back to school, get a job, etc and have a chance at a new us. Why did I really think it would change? Almost immediately I regretted it, but I thought that I was just so used to the way he was treating me before that this new attention was just uncomfortable. Now I realize my body was telling me that it was out of the ordinary because he had turned it on like a switch again.

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.”

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!

legal process, step 2, call with the lawyer

talked to a lawyer today.  it was a very reassuring, yet terrifying conversation.  he asked several of the questions I had told the paralegal that i talked to at legal aid, and clarified a few things.  he told me he would take my case!  while i am hugely relieved, i got off the phone and just sobbed.  gut-wrenching, killer sobs.  i just thank God that my 2 year old was sleeping, or he would have thought his mommy was off her rocker.

we discussed child support, alimony, whether or not i had a place to go and if i would be safe if he got served with papers and i was still in the home.  also, what my prospects and goals for the future are, going forward.  we left it that i will meet with him in a week, and then after that until after the holidays, i will think and decide for sure if i want to proceed.

i know he will be scary angry when he gets served, but i plan to be halfway to my sister’s house when he does.

either way, i can’t stay stagnant.  i have been an overweight, bored, fun-loving-but-stifled, stay home mom for 12 years.  every time i tried to grow or change, or just try something new, i was discouraged, put down, and belittled.  told we can’t afford school, but i can’t get a job because then we wouldn’t qualify for all the financial aid programs that we qualify for if i stay home.  told that he can work because he gets paid cash for his second job, so we don’t have to claim it.  he can go out and coach, and serve on the sports association, and be gone all day and half the evenings all week, but i can’t work part time, because how would the kids get to all their activities?  and who would watch them while my daughter is working and he is off at the bar having a meeting with his sports association pals?

i plan to speak with him one more time about the therapy he promised six months ago and didn’t go to.  and the fact that i want more out of my life than the same tired yearly vacation, the same routine, the living room furniture arrangement that we’ve had for 17 years.  part of me feels i owe him one last shot at redemption, though i know it will not go my way.  the attorney asked if i was past the point of no return, and in my heart, i know i am.  i am just afraid of conflict and i know the next 1-2 years of my life will be a huge upheaval.

i want to learn, and grow and not be told i am selfish for wanting more out of life…of being told by his actions, if not his words, that everything in our life is more important than me.  it will be worth it in the end.

top 10 things i wish i had known were abusive before marriage…

10.  manipulation  “if you really loved me…”

9.  belittling “you would never be able to get a job as a waitress.  you are not attractive enough to make good tips”

8.  financial control  “if you want to visit your mom, you will have to just save up your own gas money”

7.  isolation  “but your family never comes here to visit, so why should we have to visit them?”

6.  dismissing my feelings “you need to lighten up, I was only kidding about your weight”

5.  lying “i was crashing at a friend’s house so you wouldn’t worry”

4.  cheating  “ok, i did cheat, but it was only three times with the same person on three different nights”

3.  making jokes about death “wouldn’t it suck if I fed you antifreeze in your soda?  then i’d be on those shows you watch all the time”

2.  excessive criticism  “what did you do at home all day with just the kids?  this place is a wreck”

1.  the silent treatment  ”   ………………………  “