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

 

 

index cards, part four

more abusive comments and instances, from my husband:

weight and food comments:

told me i looked pregnant when he knew i wasn’t

several times has bought me shirts in several sizes too small, and then when i can’t wear them, says “some day” they will fit

laughed at me when i said i was interested in joining an adult soccer league.

when i wanted (needed) to buy some new clothes, said “aren’t you trying to lose weight?”

when i was eating dinner one night, he made such a hurtful comment about it, that even my teenager told him to quit being mean to me.

we were at Costco, and when i said i wanted a hotdog, he kept saying “i don’t need anything, i’m not hungry” until finally i yelled at him that i wasn’t asking about him, i was asking about me!

he will go without eating at a restaurant (acting the martyr) and then ask me if he can have some of my food.

buys soda and keeps it in the garage then gets mad when i drink it.  he will count the cans and ask the kids who had some.  yet, he gave up soda like two years ago.

i was eating leftovers “eating AGAIN?”

constantly tells me how he doesn’t drink soda any more.  i know, already!

“didn’t you just eat?”

i tell him to stop buying junk food and he tells me to use my will power, then he will tell me to stop buying chips because he can’t help himself.

tells me to not let him eat junk food and to quit buying it, even then i’m not the one eating it.

brags about how he fasts during Lent every year

told me more than once he would buy me a new wardrobe if i would lose weight.

he tells me he is fat all the time (he is not) and that if i don’t talk with him about it, like tell him to keep track of his health, that should, because he is my husband.

dismissing my feelings:

i slept on the couch in the living room for three weeks with our newborn baby because the light at night bothered him when i nursed.  but then he complained that i was not in our bed.

i asked him three separate times to call the doctor to make a therapy appointment, but he just blew it off.  then when he finally did call, he didn’t tell me, and he didn’t make an appointment because they told him the file was closed and he needed me to open it.  but i couldn’t open it because he didn’t tell me he had called!

once, when i did flat out tell him to call the therapist, he didn’t even respond.  he just watched me cry until i got up and left the room.

he overstays his welcome when we go to a friend’s house, but when i try to steer him out of there, he resists.  i usually just leave, then he tells me i am a lightweight for not staying longer.

told him we should go when i could tell the neighbors were tired of us being there.  he said “you can go” and then stayed to drink more.  finally, they just had to tell him to go home.  this has happened twice with two different neighbors.

told me i could snap out of my depression

blows off my concerns of his drinking

doesn’t leave places when i want to go without telling everyone i am making him leave

rarely calls when he is running late.  to the point that we have to change plans because of his lateness.  then he gets defensive about it when i am angry.

used my nice white towels to wash his car once, and when i complained, he told me i shouldn’t be so caught up in “things”

i ask him if i can go somewhere without the kids and he will ask where i am going, why, etc, then say “i don’t care what you do”

i have told him for years that i want a book shelf, and he just flat out refuses.  yet he will spend hundreds of dollars on a new tv or video games, etc.

he will come into the room, change the channel of the show i am watching, without even asking, then he will leave the room.  i will leave the tv on that channel thinking he is coming back, until like a half hour goes by and i realize he is not coming back in.

tells me he will be home in a few minutes, then will stay like an hour or two later without answering my calls or texts.  more than once

doesn’t keep promises consistently.  like helping with bedtime or calling for counselling.

issues with the kids:

insists the kids come with us places, then gets mad when they fuss or complain about it taking so long.

yells at one particular child over every little thing, while favoring another child.

when my two year old fell off the swing, he got mad and told me i shouldn’t need to nurse him to comfort him

uses the kids to check on me and encourages them to tattle on me.

controls when and where we go as a family for vacations, etc, even if the kids don’t really want to do that thing.

makes fun of me in front of the kids all the time, then tells me i am being too sensitive.

undermines me in front of the kids.

makes jokes about how he is not their father.  he is “joking” but it hurts my feelings.

told me he wants to be the fun dad so i can be the bad guy

very rarely helps the kids to get ready to go anywhere and then gets mad when i complain about it.

gets mad at them about things that they have no control over and tries to punish them for just doing kid things.  like when my four year old wanted to cuddle with me and not tell him goodnight, he told my son that “mom won’t let you cuddle with her any more if you don’t kiss me goodnight”, and then tells me not to cuddle with him.  HE’S FOUR!!

bugged me about weaning my son.  what does he care?  he’s not the one feeding him

issues with drinking:

gets mad at me when i tell him he has had too much to drink

hit on our neighbor when he was drunk telling her to make me jealous.  later he “walked in” on her in the bathroom

he gets mad when he sees me drink a soda, but never says a word when i drink alcohol

drove drunk with my son in the car, then fought with me about how much he had had to drink.

i had to bail him out of jail for DUI once

always assumes i will be the designated driver without ever offering once, and if i asked him to, he would say no

drives with open containers of alcohol all the time, and will drink one on the way home from work frequently, even after i have asked him not to.

always tries to get me to drink and just can’t take no for an answer when we go out somewhere.  is getting better about this, but he still does it sometimes.  yet he expects me to drive.

 

 

index cards, part three

and, as in my previous two posts, more index card instances of abusive behavior.

financial control:

letting my cell service lapse because he didn’t give me access to the password to pay the bill (three separate occasions)

tells me how we don’t have enough money, but doesn’t want me to work, because we have too many activities, he makes more money anyway, we wouldn’t qualify for as much financial aid if i worked.

when i did work, constantly complained when i asked for money “where is all your money at?”

i told him once that i think he uses money as a way to keep me around, and he admitted that was “probably true”.

told me he added me to our joint account, when he really hadn’t, then when he finally did, i asked for a debit card for the account, and he said “why would i do that?”  so i couldn’t get out any cash or buy anything without writing a check.

didn’t want me to get a gas card for a long time (he works at a gas station) and forced me to call him to tell the clerk his credit card number so i could get gas.

not on our Target card account, yet gets angry when i shop at Target because i would “save money” if i used the Red card.  then when he finally gave me his card, i couldn’t use it, because it’s a debit card, and i don’t have the pin.

told me in front of our children that we couldn’t buy a new house, because i had run up a credit card bill.  which, if i had had access to “our” money before, i wouldn’t have needed to charge anything in the first place.

every time we have a fight about money, he brings up my credit card balance, that he paid so that it “won’t hang between us”

gets angry when i withdraw cash, but then gets mad when i never have cash on me.

once i had an ear infection, and he made me pretend to be homeless, to get care at the shelter so that he didn’t have to pay for the bill, since we weren’t married, i was unemployed, pregnant, and yet not on his insurance.

told me i didn’t need depression meds, because it was “all in your head” and wouldn’t pay for them. (again, when i was unemployed)

refuses to pay for counselling.  if i can’t find it free, we can’t go.

for a long time, when i needed stuff, instead of giving me the money for it, he would tell me he would just get it himself.

once told me that i just wanted to return something to the store so i could have the cash.

when i did work, he made me pay for the childcare out of my own pocket, and he made me pay the whole week, even though he was off two of those days, so he could “run errands and stuff” on those days.  he would drop our daughter off at school on his days off for lunch and a nap so he could go play basketball at the gym.

our house was not originally in my name, but we refinanced, and only put my name on it because he had to.

none of the vehicles have had my name on them except for the most recent one we bought, around two years ago.

refuses to sit down and talk about a budget, yet wants me to save receipts so he can make sure i am not buying things we don’t need.

got mad when i hid some purchases from him that were just for me, and even though he knew i had bought them, he tried to catch me in a lie (which he did, because i knew he would be mad if i had bought them), and then told me that married people don’t lie to each other.

now he expects me to account for every penny, and save my receipts.

sexual abuse:

makes vulgar comments to me all the time in front of the kids.

used porn ON MY PHONE then lied about it.

used porn on the computer, and blamed it on the kids and their friends

wants to have sex in places where there are others around (like his parents house) and it makes me uncomfortable but then he makes fun of me

sulks when we don’t have sex, but i rarely refuse his advances.

when i wanted to use birth control, he refused.

tried to have sex multiple times while i was nursing our baby

basically told me that a married woman can’t refuse her husband.

holds my hands over my head when we have sex, and once i said i wanted my arms back, and he refused at first.  it scared me!

when i am folding clothes by the side of the bed, he will just come up behind me and lie down on me.  i basically just have to lie there until he gets up again.  when i complain, he says he is just “hugging” me.

many more times than i can remember he has started to have sex with me, waking me up from a sound sleep.  when i tell him to wait until morning, he says he wakes up with a “woody and just can’t wait”

complains all the time about how often we have sex, or makes comments about sex in front of the kids.  like “is that new poster for above the bed, or are we getting a mirror, haha”

when he admitted that he had cheated on me (five years later), he love bombed me so much, it was weird and uncomfortable, but when i would complain, he sulked and pouted.

any time we have a big discussion about our relationship, he gets super touchy feely, when normally, he is only touchy feely in the few days leading up to sex.

when i tell him to stop tickling, he doesn’t always, and then tells me to lighten up when i get mad

once when i initiated sex on our anniversary, he watched tv the whole time.

other physical issues:

wakes me up all the time, just to tell me things that could easily wait.

puts his fingers in my armpit, which he knows i hate, and tells me he wasn’t trying to tickle me.

tickled my feet, then when i jerked my feet away, told me he was just trying to scratch them for me.

put a pillow over my face and pushed down, then told me he was just pretending and joking when i pushed it off.

when i yawned, he would put his finger in my mouth.  so many times i can’t count.  he finally has stopped doing this.

he used to sneeze on me whenever we would drive somewhere, because he didn’t want to get the steering wheel or window dirty.  only quit doing it when the kids told him it was disgusting (not after me telling him to stop every single time he did it)

squishes my fat rolls even after me telling him i hate that.  he just says he is “hugging” me

has told me that his ex girlfriend accused him of hitting her with a vcr but that she was “crazy”

threw a pile of pictures at me when he felt i had paid too much for them

steps in front of me randomly so i have no choice but to go around him

has come up behind me and put his hands on my neck “jokingly”

more to come in the next post…

 

more index cards

i mentioned in my last post, that i was using index cards to show each instance of abusive antics.  here are the next batch.

isolation (from others):

told me he didn’t like when i posted stuff on Facebook without showing him first.

tells me all the time that my friends on Facebook aren’t really friends, and that if i don’t know them face to face, i should unfriend them.

tells me i have “too many” online friends

whenever we go out somewhere with other people, he talks to others and pretty much just ignores me.

i quit going to my knit night with friends because he didn’t like that they were not Catholic and that i should only be friends with people who share my beliefs.

told me when i was unemployed and a stay home mom that if i wanted to go visit my out of state mom, i should save my own money.

whenever i mention going to visit my mom, he laughs and says the kids will hate it because there is nothing to do there.

says “it’s not my fault your family is so far away”

i pretty much never go to events that i get invited to, because he always gets pissy when i go, and it’s not worth the fight.

tells me that it is too expensive to visit my family, and they should come see me, when we see his family at literally every holiday, and multiple other times throughout the year.

double standards:

tells me how stupid twitter is, and makes fun of me for using it by commenting on Facebook.

tells my older children that i drank a lot in college but that he was “never that bad”.  yet, he is the one that always wanted to go out to the bars.

rarely helps me get the kids ready to go somewhere, then gets angry at all of us when we are late.

he had a lock code on his phone, but was angry that i had a lock code on my laptop.he only took his code off when my neighbor made the comment that “married people shouldn’t have secrets”

told me early on that if i really loved him, i would get rid of all my former boyfriends’ mementos, so i did.  but he never got rid of any of his old flames’ stuff.

he makes last minute plans, yet if i want to go somewhere, i have to make the plans in advance, and he usually asks me to take one of the kids with me.

tells me all the time that he never watches tv, and he does all the time.

yells at the kids for being messy, but rarely cleans up after himself.

pushed us to hurry to go to son’s game, then when he was the one finally making us late, said “it’s ok, we have plenty of time”

 

ok, here we are again.

well, two years later, and i feel like i am pretty much back in the same boat as i was two years ago.  i learned on a domestic abuse forum i was on a while back to do an exercise where i list out on an index card each instance of abuse and categorize them by topic, like “manipulation” and “sexual abuse”.  i decided to jump start my current decision to leave my husband by listing out all 300 or so instances.  not every single one of them, but the most damaging and the most frequent.  not so much to share all the dirty laundry of our relationship with the world, but to hopefully help another person see that these things add up over a relatively short period of time.  also, my pile of index cards is growing, and i just plain don’t have a good place to keep them!

manipulation:

used our Progressive snapshot to check on where i was driving and called me on the phone to see what was taking me so long to get to my destination

i wrote him a letter to tell him how i feel about our problems, and he said “if you can’t tell me face to face what is wrong, then i don’t care what you have to say”

told me all the kids had to go to another one of the kids’ games, then when they all complained, told them that i was the one making them go.

tells me things then when i tell him he told me, he argues and tells me i told him, instead.

got mad at me when i didn’t want to participate in the ALS ice bucket challenge and tried to tell me i was making the family look bad if i didn’t.

gets mad at me when we are out and he is drunk (and i’m not) and he wants to dance.  he guilts me into it almost every time.  even though when we do get out there, i am embarrassed and he doesn’t even dance with me, anyway.

asks me to call about something, tells me what to say/ask the entire time i am on the phone, then when i am done, he gets mad that i didn’t say/ask the right things.  yet he won’t call himself, because i am “better” at calling than he is.

tells me i am “always mad” about something.

went to a party and when we left, he said (drunk), “see, i left when you did and i didn’t get mad or anything.”  like i should be grateful that he wasn’t angry.

i wanted to get my tubes tied.  when we had sex, he would say things like, “i can’t wait until we can have sex all the time and not have to worry about getting pregnant.”  then, went behind my back and called our priest to tell him that i was doing this, and he didn’t want me to.  that was the first time i knew he didn’t want me to.

i told him i was going to counselling, and he told me that i would just use the time to tell the counselor terrible things about him. (more than one instance of this)

when we try to make plans, he is very vague, and never gives a straight answer, and then complains when the plans aren’t made.  he will string his answer out until we are frustrated (the kids and i) and then give his “permission” at the last minute, so it’s too late to make the plans we wanted to.

i asked him for years.  YEARS!!! to go to counselling.  said it would be the last resort before divorce.  then, when i finally told him we needed counselling or i wanted to file for divorce, waited six months to finally go with me.  i kept telling him to call, and he just wouldn’t.

got mad at me for not sleeping with him in a tiny little bed on vacation at his father’s house, and gave me the silent treatment all the next day.

one night i told him i didn’t want to cuddle because i was too hot and sweaty, and he said that i was “sad” for not wanting to cuddle, and that it wasn’t that hot.

when i was pregnant with our first child, we went out to eat.  he asked for the waitress’s phone number right in front of me and the couple we were eating with “just to see if i still can”

we broke up for a few months early on, and the whole summer we were broken up, he kept badgering me to move in with him as “friends” to “save money.”  he had broken up with me.  i hadn’t wanted to break up in the first place.

tells me it is my responsibility to “keep me (him) in line”  implying that if he is being abusive that it’s my fault for not telling him to knock it off.

accuses me of taking things all the time.  then, when i tell him i have no idea where the thing is, he says that’s “peculiar”.

told me that i should only write positive things in my journal, trying to censor me (after he read it and then lied to me about it).

we were going to put in new cabinets (still haven’t) and he said to me that i shouldn’t leave him after this, because it is expensive.

told me that if i stay with him, and he dies before me, i will inherit a lot of money.

tells me that he “never uses” Facebook or plays games on his phone, yet he does it every night.

WOW!!  that is all just one category.  i think i will publish the rest under multiple posts to keep from overwhelming you!  just trust your gut when you think you are being manipulated.  because you probably are.

 

my Catholicism and domestic abuse…am i just being naive?

looking back over my last post, i feel like i must come across as incredibly naive.  maybe i am.  but i wouldn’t have stuck with this marriage for so long if i didn’t truly believe that there was hope.  i am a Catholic, and proud to believe that marriage vows are sacred.  but what does the Church believe about marriage and abuse?

http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/marriage-and-family/marriage/domestic-violence/when-i-call-for-help.cfm

As bishops, we condemn the use of the Bible to support abusive behavior in any form. A correct reading of Scripture leads people to an understanding of the equal dignity of men and women and to relationships based on mutuality and love. Beginning with Genesis, Scripture teaches that women and men are created in God’s image. Jesus himself always respected the human dignity of women. Pope John Paul II reminds us that “Christ’s way of acting, the Gospel of his words and deeds, is a consistent protest against whatever offends the dignity of women.”11…

“…Finally, we emphasize that no person is expected to stay in an abusive marriage. Some abused women believe that church teaching on the permanence of marriage requires them to stay in an abusive relationship. They may hesitate to seek a separation or divorce. They may fear that they cannot re-marry in the Church. Violence and abuse, not divorce, break up a marriage. We encourage abused persons who have divorced to investigate the possibility of seeking an annulment. An annulment, which determines that the marriage bond is not valid, can frequently open the door to healing.”

so, to me, this is saying that i should fight for my marriage, that my husband is wrong to be abusive, and that once i have given him the chance to repent of his behavior, i am free to call him out and divorce his butt.  i choose to think of my hope and trust as products of my Catholic faith, and not naivete.  i am certainly not going to allow his treatment of me to ever escalate to it’s previous heights, but i will give him a chance to repent of his sins and give him a chance to prove to me, to God, and to himself that he can change.  but, if he doesn’t take full advantage of that, then it is on him, and i will have a clear conscience.

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?