drinking and abuse

ok, so my husband is not a physically aggressive person, usually, and so i don’t really fear any kind of physical abuse from him.  he will make bad “jokes” about things like saying it would really suck if he died, and make comments about death, etc.

emotionally and verbally, is where he makes his mark, so to speak.  when he drinks, though, his true colors really come out.

they say that when you are drunk, you don’t lie.  i know that to be the truth.  things that you would never say sober, come out when you are drunk, and you just can’t keep those things hidden.  i have experienced his drunken abuse many times over the years, usually when i am driving home from somewhere that he has been drinking heavily, and i have not.  that’s when the truth hits the fan.

when he has been drinking, i suddenly become a terrible driver.  driving his drunk ass home.  he will tell me that i am going the long way, “why didn’t you turn there?”, he tells me he could have gotten us home sooner, quit using the brakes so much, and on and on.

but, there are two particular times that really stand out for me.

the first night, we were driving two hours to his parents’ house for Thanksgiving.  he had spent the day with our son at a football game, and when he got home, we were to drive to their house.  well, he drank before the game, during the game, and then drove 45 minutes home with our son in the car.  i told him that he seemed to be more drunk than if he had only had drinks before the game, as he said he had only had a few beers at a bar before they went in.  he got mad and accused me of lying, of telling him that he was a liar.  he told me that he didn’t drink at all during the game (he “remembered” the next day that he had actually drank three shooters of rum EACH half of the football game).  he told me that i was being paranoid that he was too drunk and that he was only “letting” me drive so he could rest.  but, not only did he not rest, he berated me for treating him “badly” the whole way, and then spent part of the way lamenting and almost crying that he wished he could be more generous like his father.  who, by the way, is a high functioning alcoholic.

the next day, when i told him that i was not happy with him driving my son like that, he said something along the lines of, “well, i wouldn’t have driven home if i wasn’t ok to drive”.  this same trip, he was angry with me for not wanting to sleep with him the night we got there (when he had just spent two hours berating me), and gave me the silent treatment in front of his relatives the whole next day.

the other time i remember, also involved drinking and driving.  we went to a concert.  we stopped at a bar before to eat, and then had some beers there, and during the concert.  knowing i would be driving home, i stopped drinking early enough to be good to drive.  he, however, just kept on.  after the concert, the band threw out some guitar picks, and i got one.  i never go to concerts, so this was exciting to me, and i was going to keep the pick.  my husband says, “are you going to give that to K?”, our daughter.  i said, heck no, i’m keeping it.  he spent the next two hours, i kid you not, telling me that i was a “sad” person, to keep the pick.  he always gives stuff like that to her, and why wouldn’t i do the same?  she will be so upset that i wouldn’t give it to her, and on and on.  he told me that i was a selfish parent, and that he ALWAYS thinks of the kids first, and that i just don’t give other people any consideration.  then, he took the keys, and walked away from me in a crowded city that i am not familiar with to find a bathroom.  i waited in the car for a bit, then went to find him.  i thought he would never let me drive home.  i think he was afraid if he gave me the keys, i would leave him there.

all the 45 minute drive home, he railed on me about how he makes so many sacrifices for our family, he works at a job he hates, etc, etc, just so that we can do things like this, and now i was ruining it by not giving her the pick.  then, when i refused to talk to him, he just badgered me the rest of the way home.  i ended up apologizing to him just to get him to stop haranguing me.

i know that i shouldn’t have given in, but i knew that he would never admit he was wrong.  the next day, he acted as if nothing had happened.  no apology, no reference to it, other than to say “oh, did you give her the pick after all?  thank you!”  i did give her the pick.  i wasn’t going to listen to that crap for the rest of my life.

my point, here is that a drunk abuser is still an abuser.  being drunk doesn’t give anyone license to treat you like crap, and then say, well, i was drinking, so it doesn’t count.  it counts. This article is a great explanation of studies and other research done about alcohol and abuse.  it’s concern is more along the lines of physical battering, but emotional abuse is the battering of your soul, is it not?

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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…

 

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.

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?

 

A day in the life (or a weekend in this case)

so, here is a quick (or maybe not) glimpse into my typical weekend with my abusive husband.  on the outside, it probably seems pretty inane and nothing much, but to someone who has been and is being abused, it takes on new meaning.

friday night, he was going to get off work at 4:00, i thought.  so i began making dinner later than usual, so that we could eat together.  but, he didn’t get home until 5:30.  not sure why.  he never said, and i didn’t really care enough to ask.  he immediately went downstairs to play some call of duty.

dinner is ready, he eats quick and then leaves for a poker night at a friend’s house.  i ask how long he will be gone.  “not too long” is the reply.

evening moves along fine.  it’s always better when we can just do our own thing and not have him around to dictate what we will do with our evening.

at bedtime, i get the kids to bed, and sit in bed watching tv.  at 10:30, i finally decide to go to bed, since he is obviously not going to be home in “not too long”.

now, when he goes out with friends, it’s a toss up.  he will either come home soon, because there wasn’t a lot going on, or he will stay way longer than he says he will, and ends up coming home, drunk, wakes me up, makes a lot of noise, tries to either talk to me, or get me to have sex, then passes out.

this time, i was pleasantly surprised that he was not totally drunk, only just enough to get a DUI, but not falling down.  he did, however, wake me up by turning on the light, talking to me, telling me all the money he won, etc.  though it was 1:30 a.m. by this time, he went downstairs to play call of duty again.

saturday morning, we had planned to go with our son to pick out a birthday gift for his birthday.  the night before, while he was keeping me awake with his talking, he said we could leave around 10:00.  i woke up around 8:00 with the kids, and he slept in until 10:30.  then he showered and then got on the computer while i got the kids all ready.  we went out to eat, which  was nice, but then we went to costco and kohl’s, where he dragged us all over the stores while they were tired and just wanted to go home.  this is very typical of him.  we stay until he is ready to go, never mind if the rest of us want to leave.

at costco, he was upset at me for buying a soda (i had to take medecine, and i need more than a sip at the drinking fountain).  he was also upset that i bought some socks for my daughter and i to share, probably because i just said “i’m going to get these” as opposed to “can i get these?”

at kohl’s i was trying to get our daughter a coat, and while he originally balked at buying one for $70, he ended up getting it, because he had a 30% off coupon, which he didn’t originally tell me about.  if i had known, i would probably have tried to buy more, which i’m sure is why he didn’t tell me.

after we got home, my daughters wanted to go to the shoe store to look for boots for winter.  we went to the store, and they were sold out of the ones they wanted, but we bought some other stuff, and he was grumpy when we got home.  then he went downstairs to watch football, where he stayed all evening, until the kids went to bed.  then he played more call of duty.

sunday, i got up with the kids while he slept in a little.  then, he showered and went downstairs to watch football.  my daughter had an open house for school, so we went there and he stayed home with the kids, made them lunch, and got my baby to sleep.  after the open house, he had asked if we could go to the store.  so, i got home, and he asked me how much i paid, what was the sale, weren’t there any chips?   he badgered me so much, i finally said “i get it, i know what i’m doing!”, and then he looked surprised, like i would have any reason to snap at him.

when it was time for church (went to 5:30 mass), he waited until about twenty minutes before we were going to leave to come upstairs and then i had to help everyone get ready while he got himself ready.  then yelled at everyone for being so slow, and not being ready on time.

that evening, i was upstairs with the baby, folding clothes, doing dishes, etc.  he came upstairs to ask if he has any work clothes clean.  i said, “i don’t know, i don’t think i washed any” and he started a load of laundry.  later, he complained that the load of clean clothes he had my 8yo bring upstairs was now going to be wrinkled, because it wasn’t folded.  of course, if he had just folded it himself, it would have been fine.  but now it’s my son’s fault, i guess.

then, at bed time for the kids, rather than help me upstairs get them to sleep, he feels like he is helping out by letting my 8 and 10 year olds fall asleep downstairs, while he watches football.  so, they didn’t brush their teeth, change their clothes, and my 8 year old ended up sleeping on the floor because he was too tired to get in his own bed.  but “it’s ok” because they were still asleep by 9:00.

at 9:30, when i am trying to get ready for bed, he comes upstairs, gets in bed, and starts using my kindle, which he bought me for Christmas two years ago, but uses more than i do.  so, i have to get myself ready for bed, then my baby (he sleeps with us) ready, all while he is looking up his fantasy football stuff, or trying to find deals on black friday shopping.

 

now, on the outside, this is probably not that big of a deal.  he relaxed (he deserved it, right?  he worked all week), got to sleep in, went out to eat, did some shopping, watched some football.  no biggie.  how is this abusive?  he’s just taking a well deserved weekend off.

 

it’s abusive because:

–he spent the entire weekend not talking to me pretty much except when he was drunk, or telling me what i did wrong, or talking about sports, using the silent treatment on me.

–he didn’t do more than a load of laundry and make lunch for the kids the entire weekend.  he did spend a few minutes on saturday helping to pick up the upstairs, then he sat on the couch reading the newspaper while the rest of us finished up, using his idea of male privilege.

–he asked me to do the shopping, then belittled how i handled it.

–keeping me awake to talk is a typical torture technique of abusers.

refusing to be pleased is also typical.  nothing we do is ever right, just because it’s not his way.

–telling me he is “helping” me, while doing just enough to get by, then when i tell him i need his help, he says “i am helping, what more do i have to do?”, which is a form of domestic slavery.

Each behaviour, when looked at separately, could seem justifiable. Each singular behaviour could look like something minor. Each behaviour on its own could appear that the woman provoked it. Just one of these behaviours viewed from the outside — out of context — could appear like he was just having a bad day.

However, look at this short list in its entirety. Now consider this mass of behaviours as a systematic pattern. Also know that women who are subjected to this pattern of abuse and control experience MANY of these tactics — every day, every week, every month, every year — for years and years. Then ask yourself if you think this systematic pattern of power and control is about the man just having a bad day. Or is there a campaign (whether it is conscious or not) to win at all costs and to maintain power and control?—http://speakoutloud.net/intimate-partner-abuse/male-perpetrators-domestic-violence/mens-tactics