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whitebutterfly11

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  1. Thanks Quaddie, what you are saying makes so much sense. You're right--it's a perception thing. I'm not sure why it's so hard for me to end this because I don't want it anymore. Maybe because he wants it to work. Or I think my kids want it to. Or other people want me to stay. It's so hard to make what I want a priority. And yet, that's what I need to do for myself, if I'm ever going to get out, because he won't. I'm so blasted conditioned to put other people's needs before mine that the very fact that I want something makes me feel selfish and start punishing myself for having a need by not allowing myself to have it. In this way, it's the perfect set up for him, because I do all of his abuse for him, to myself. It's the guilt-proneness in me, and this stupid drive to perfection that was ingrained in me by my upbringing and my own subdued personality. I need to stop feeling so bad for making a choice that will inconvenience others. I need to find a way to cultivate self-compassion and self-esteem. It's really hard to work through that against all of the resistance around me, but I need to try.
  2. Thank you so much. Your responses made me tear up and offered me reassurance. It's a challenge for me to trust in what I feel, as if the feeling itself isn't valid, or it's too abstract to use as hard evidence. And that's where the setup is, Quaddie, that you were talking about. It's these substantial conditions I put up that limit how much I can trust my own gut feelings. And yet, I know in this situation, those feelings are really all that I have. I actually wrote about 5xs as much in my post last night, but decided it was too wordy and deleted most of it. The concept I was trying to describe was that when abuse happens to other people, or you read about it in books, or you see it in movies or shows . . . it feels wrong. Just completely wrong, giving you a bad sinking feeling that alerts you to the abuse. But then when it happens in your personal life, it doesn't feel as threatening. All of those red flags and deep, dark foreboding feelings just aren't there when it deals with someone we know and who brings with them this sense of familiarity. It stirs up feelings of confusion where we can't understand why someone who truly knows us could treat us badly, so the abuse sort of becomes a white noise in our background that we put up with, because we're sure that the person we know is inherently good. And this becomes even more confusing when abuse doesn't necessarily hurt us physically, or look or sound or feel terrible. It becomes incredibly difficult to sort through abuse when it's subtle and there's literally no way you can even see it or prove it besides the sense of unsettling inside of you. I think about children who are sexually abused by people within their family and all of the conflicting feelings there. No wonder they shut it down or repress it. How can a child deal with that amount of conflict inside? That all said, here's a little synopsis of a day in the life of WB, if nothing else, to kind of show you where I'm at right now: I got up with the kids by myself, as usual. Today (which happens to be my b-day), he's still asleep. It's 1pm. He'll wake up in the next hour or two (he played a shooter game all night), and put on his smile. He'll joke and laugh with the kids and make them love him. He'll make up for the fact that he was asleep all morning/afternoon by giving me gifts he ordered online. Then he'll take us out to eat. All of this he'll do with unusual ease, that in and of itself looks thoughtful. He'll apologize for sleeping in. But that's all it ever is: words of apology. No action to make it better. Things happen between the lines and behind the scenes. Aside from the fact that he slept most of the day, he will immediately start watching shows when he does wake up. He'll carry his phone around all day with his headphones on watching shows as he does a chore, plays with the kids, talks with me. He'll ask me how I'm doing (I was quite ill yesterday and still feeling weak today), and make a point of getting me something to eat, or making me tea. He'll show feigned remorse at any suffering I went through, but then he'll "let" me do a bunch of chores. He'll "let" me run errands. He'll say something like: "Oh, I can do that for you!" with no intention of doing it. Ever. He'll want me to really praise him for his choice of gifts to me. Even if I don't like them. He'll get secretly offended if I don't use them. This will add to his growing resentment of me, though he would never show it, or share it. The only reason I know it's there is because of the dead look in his eyes. And his lack of caring, where he is all talk and no show. He will start conversations with me today about my life, feigning interest in what I'm doing, my classes, my hobbies, etc. I'll think he's really sweet to show interest in my life. But he'll go straight back to his phone or the television. He's learned to socialize so I can't get after him anymore for his lecturing, or his tendency to monologue about his life. Now he goes through the motions of asking me about my life, but it feels programmed, not genuine. I'll start feeling sick again by this evening. He will expect me to participate in his choice of activity regardless. He'll expect me to clean up any mess from dinner (that I'll most likely cook). He'll watch me do the laundry, sweep and mop the floor, clean the bathrooms, help the kids . . . and he will do nothing. Knowing I'm sick. Finally, at the last second, he'll announce that he will help me out by vacuuming. Then he'll do a mediocre job and plop down on the couch afterward feeling like he just cleaned the whole house. While we watch a movie, he'll have one headphone off and one headphone on simultaneously watching another show. He'll feel like a good father because of my daughter, who is always good-natured and loving toward him. He'll snap at my son, but later apologize. He'll ignore son all day because son does things that to him are annoying. Son will ask for things, and he'll pretend he doesn't hear. Son will get frustrated, and he will match the frustration in his loud tone. And then son will fight back, as he always does, and Mr. BS will send him to his room or disconnect with him without ever resolving the issue. In the event he does "solve" it, he will lecture son for at least 30 minutes, getting after him for interrupting him over and over again. Then, one minute later, he'll sweetly with a huge smile wish me a happy birthday and ask me if I had a good day. He'll tell me he cares about me and hopes I feel better. He'll tell me that he hopes I sleep well so I can feel stronger tomorrow. Then he'll go downstairs and spend 6 hours or so yelling at the computer while he plays his shooter game all night. That's pretty much every day.
  3. His sense of entitlement is so hurtful, it just breaks my heart, Hoping. I can relate to it, too. My H doesn't ask me to do things, but it's always implied that I will do them, because he will not. He'll sit on his arse and play video games ALL day, or watch shows, and when it's time to do chores, or cook, or help the kids out, he just isn't present AT ALL. And at the end of the day, if I don't step in and do those things, he mumbles something like: "Oh I guess I should have done all of this, sorry." And scrambles to do a few things, but it's too late. Then it's confusing because on some days, he does put in effort. He steps in and helps. He gives me time and space to rest. Then it just messes with my brain. Your H is dictating you still, even when he's supposedly "better". He's still operating on a sense of entitlement that you will do the chores. How dare he! He's also still feeling entitled to dominate conversations so that they are alllll about him. It's disgusting to be around a person like this, who can only ever think about himself. You deserve to be heard equally in those conversations. You have a right to talk about what YOU like, what YOU feel, how YOUR day is going. That is what caring people want you to do, because they care about your life. But he dominates. And then his attitude about you. The contempt in those feelings. It is heartbreaking to read. You are not lesser than him, Hoping. Your dreams matter just as much. I think many abusers operate on a win/lose strategy in life. It's like they look at life as if it were a freaking board game that they must win at all costs. It reminds me of the game "Sorry". Ever play that one? Even the title implies that you apologize when you have to jump ahead of someone, or send them back to home base . . . but abusers? They blast through that game without a single thought of who they inconvenience or hurt to get allll their pawns to win. When my H plays that game (which I never play with him, because it triggers me how personally he takes board games, to the point where it destroys his life for a whole day if he loses), he will go through the motions and say he's sorry for jumping ahead of everyone else, but there's this sinister smile as he does so. When he wins, he'll fake humility but it really builds him up and makes him feel amazing on a level that is not normal for human beings who understand when something is just a game. Abusers see life (and everything in it) as a game that they must win. We are all players in their game, and if we gain strength, confidence, or find success, we are threatening their game. They compete with us and try to challenge us because for them, it's a life and death thing if they don't dominate over people. It's a sick and twisted mandate that they must be ahead of us. They don't see how childish they look because for them, it's not childish--it's life and death. Anyway, your H is saying and doing the classic things that abusers do, and it is heartbreaking that you are treated this way, Hoping. The moment we step out of their game, they lose their power. And then their power has no control over us anymore to bring us down and makes us feel like we are less than the dust. (((HOPING)))
  4. It has been perplexing how easy it is for me to spot out abuse in other people's situations but have this total blindspot when it comes to recognizing abuse in my own life. Literal deer in the headlights, completely fog-brained with no idea how it could possibly be happening to me. This is kind of what cognitive dissonance is, I was thinking, as a response to the member who recently posted a question about it. Two conflicting truths. The one that says: "This is abuse" and the other that says: "It just can't be--it doesn't always feel like abuse." If I can just see it for what it is, or have that moment when I see my H as a full-fledged abuser . . . then I know I can get out of this. Thing is, he does so many things that are kind. So many things that make him look like he's innocent, and I'm delusional to even think he could be abusive. I believe I'm being gaslighted, even if I can't prove it right now. So I'm dealing with a very special kind of mindf--- that has me doubting my sense of reality. However, I do know that I desperately want out of this. Just trying to find the wherewithal to do it. I'm out of steam, at this point because I have nothing on him. He's been gradually improving his behavior (or hiding abuse more effectively) over the last two years. He's trying to empathize, to help, to build up. Yes, he's still neglecting me on many levels, and yes, he still occasionally gets after son, but for the most part he's managed to not only put on a charming front in public, but also at home too. So I'm confused. I just want to see it for what it is. There is nothing that frustrates me more than not being able to pinpoint or prove what I think is happening to me.
  5. Melinoe, this is awesome! A reflection of your own evolving inner strength. You listened to your instincts in that moment, and you did it! There was no way he could have fooled you! In that moment, you stopped listening to his BS and decided to move on for you. It is truly AWESOME! You've just opened up a new horizon for yourself in terms of the future. He's not there to thwart you--the sky is the limit! You can now focus on YOU and your needs and invite people (in time) that are likeminded and able to reciprocate the sort of love and caring you give. Healing does have its ups and downs, and you might possibly feel a mix of emotions in the days ahead. It's those trauma bonds breaking--the perceived threats with no place to go anymore, so they stir up feelings of guilt and the need to fix it all. Those will pass too. I'm happy for you!
  6. Yes, talk to an attorney first. It gave me a peace of mind about what I'd expect financially if I left, and that was a huge relief. I am also in the position of wanting my H to leave the home. My kids would definitely benefit from the security of staying in their childhood home, with their familiar friends and school. I must say, though, that this is a tougher option because it means that you'll have to find a way to tell him to leave. I've tried to do this in many ways, but it hasn't worked yet. For the record, I have only once gathered to courage to tell him "you need to leave," and that was traumatizing for me, and actually set me back because I felt so guilty that I called him back almost immediately. It is harder, but it's possible. There are a few ways to go about it: 1) Tell him in simple words: "You need to leave." If he asks why, say something equally simple, like "this is not working" but don't go into any kind of explanation (he will only exploit it anyway). You'll probably need to say those words on repeat a few times, but keep saying them until he realizes you are serious. I wouldn't recommend this option if he melts down easily, or if in any way you think he'll react unpredictably. I would do it in a public place, with your phone in hand to contact a friend or family member who can rush to your aid. I would have a bag packed and all of your essential documents readily accessible so you can get away really fast, if needed. And I would stay at a hotel for about three days with your children/grandchild while he packs up his belongings and finds another place to live. 2) Write him a note/text/call him/email him. Do it while either you or he is out of town for a few days, so only one person has to be in the home. That period of time between being asked to leave and leaving can be tumultuous, so I wouldn't recommend both of you being in the same space during that transition. A note or electronic message would allow you to speak your truth without being shutdown, and would also prevent you having to be there when he reacts to it. 3) While he's at work or out of town, pack up his belongings, put them in a storage unit (or on the front lawn ) and change the locks. It might seem rash and it will definitely surprise him, but you don't owe him any explanation at all. He's been abusive and he needs to get out. Period. There are other options too, of course! I'm in the same place right now of knowing I need to ask my abuser to leave but not knowing how. it's this particular difficulty that has kept my feet stuck for awhile. It's hard to ask someone to leave. I think that's why, as Quaddie mentioned, sometimes it's easier if you're the one who leaves. It takes the guilt out of it, because he gets to stay in the place that's familiar. Sometimes I think that will have to be what I do, despite all the reasons why I don't want to do it. (((Lovely)))
  7. I'm scratching my head wondering what exactly she means by "good communication"? Does she feel that her communication with you in that conversation was an example of "good communication"? Because, I'm not feeling it. First, she took over most of the conversation. Good communication goes both ways and gives ample time to each person. Second, her tone. I sensed passive-aggressiveness almost immediately in her request for you to talk to her while she washed the dishes. It's not a reasonable thing to ask someone to try to talk over dishes clattering. Not only that, but it implies that she's not willing to give your her whole attention. It reminds me of when Mr. BS will only remove one headphone when I try to talk to him while he's playing a video game or watching a show. Rather than just pause the dang thing and turn around and look at me, he filters my voice through one ear. It's disrespectful and demeaning. Your daughter kept up that tone through the whole conversation, especially when she kept repeating herself as if you weren't understanding (which I know you did, because you responded clearly). She implied that you were hurtful and not communicating well, and yet she was dishing out hurtful comments left and right. It's that double standard, right? She gets to hurt and whine and attack as much as she wants at you, but you don't have the same right in return without sounding hurtful, or her making you out to be a bad parent. All of that is abusive, in my opinion. Third, her repeated circular argument. It was all going back to the same point, and no matter what you tried to explain, she blamed it back on you. So instead of solving problems, like she said you both should do, she created more problems by continually stirring up the same arguments the moment you stated your feelings. If you had said to her: "Hey, I'm trying to have a meaningful conversation with you but you keep attacking me. That's not fair." She would most likely use it against you to further her own agenda in this. So there was really no way to resolve anything because she was just looking for an opportunity to attack, it seems. Not that this in any way excuses her behavior, but if she is having marriage problems, she might be venting out anger about her personal life onto you. I did this to my parents to some extent a few years ago, but this was mainly because they weren't really accepting my situation as abusive, and it frustrated me, so I started venting out some of my anger towards their ignorance in other conversations and areas. She might be permanently on the defense right now because things aren't going well. It doesn't make any of her behavior okay, but it might be a small part of why she's acting this way. I'm sorry you're dealing with this, Bennu. For what it's worth, I thought you communicated clearly and bravely even in the corner she put you in during that conversation.
  8. Freedom from abuse starts with all of those steps you've just listed. It's a culmination of processing, learning, planning, gathering courage, and deciding that we are worth rescuing ourselves. Would it help to list some things you've been through with abuse? (If you're comfortable.) I can understand about lack of support from parents and community. I've had a monumental lack of support, mainly in the form of glazing over my abuse and telling me I'm too sensitive. The guilt this has caused in me has been hard to overcome, and I'm still working through it, but it's not as strong now. At some point I realized this was something I would have to face alone, and have come to terms with that. It has helped to have a supportive therapist and this place to come to when I need help. What you've been through deserves a voice! Please feel welcome to share here and we will offer validation.
  9. There are very real and painful trauma bonds that you are breaking. You're working through those strong attachments to the relationship, and I think it's normal to feel guilt and a sense of unease. To validate your choice, though, you wouldn't have that sense of urgency to go back and fix it all if you had left a non-abusive person. The guilt is coming from the sense of threat you felt in leaving, and this fear that if you don't fix it, something bad is going to happen. All that is telling me that you did what was best for you in leaving him, and the more time you have away from him, the less that guilt and need to fix it will grate on you. Don't give up! You made a healthy decision for you.
  10. <------------- Is what I think of his entitled attitude towards sex. How dare he? You are not a slot machine. You are a compassionate human being who deserves to be treated with respect. You are deserving of someone who can take you out to a delicious restaurant on Valentine's day because you are loved. Period. How dare he use the holiday as a way to get what he feels he is "owed." Gross. He is gross. (I'm sorry, this particular topic makes me angry because I was treated this way for so long.) In his head, every "nice" thing he does for you comes with a price. There is no "nice". "Nice" is the mask he puts on when he feels like he needs something from you, and it immediately slips off the moment he does or doesn't get what he wants. It is the cruelest form of punishment to another human being, I believe, to see them as pawns or objects through which their own needs are met. It's demeaning and disgusting. You owe him nothing, Hoping. Respect, trust, affection, love--they are earned. What genuine thing has he done to earn any of that from you? To answer your question: no. This is not the way normal men treat their spouses. They do not ask for sex on demand. They do not treat their spouses like objects. No, he is abusive, and that is how abusers roll.
  11. I definitely agree with what the other members have said so far. If you're being placed in the position of having to take care of her emotional/mental/physical needs without your needs being met . . . whether you love her or not, that's not fair to you. I sense that this is making you feel caged in, depressed, and drained. Those feelings are normal within an oppressive relationship, and to me a red flag that this just isn't working for you because it's not healthy for your wellbeing. She might be relying on you to help her through her mental issues, and maybe you feel like you should stay with her because you're worried that if you don't, she won't get better or she'll digress backwards. If that's the case, she's placing more dependency on you than is rightful in a relationship. If she can't be in a relationship without clinging or becoming dependent on the other person for her mental wellbeing, then she's probably not in a good place to have a relationship. She needs time to work through her own issues first. It's not fair of her to place so much weight on you to take care of her, without giving anything back to you. So my advice would be, let her work on herself, and step away from the relationship that is hurting you. It's perfectly okay to look out for you, and in the end, she might be glad that she had that time to figure out how to heal on her own.
  12. I don't think you are jumping to conclusions at all, Melinoe. I think you are wisely piecing it all together in a way that makes sense. That seems to be what the truth does: it enlightens and relieves us, even if it's difficult truth to learn. Many of us here have come across an article, or had that epiphany moment when it all started to make sense. That's when the truth is illuminated--usually a truth we already knew and felt on some subconscious level, but couldn't put our finger on it in the FOG of abuse. The narcissist love bombing/devaluing/and discarding makes sense with your situation, from what you've explained. There's this huge rift between who he was in the beginning and who he is now, and that's the real tip-off for me. Normal-functioning people don't have these drastic night-and-day changes in their personality and temperament. Unless, of course, their "niceness" was only an act to reel you into the relationship. In that case, he didn't "change" so much as he started showing who he really was once the novelty of the relationship wore off. The learning phase you're going through now, where you're taking all the the truth in, can feel a little bit unsettling and scary. Please keep sharing if it helps you to process! For what it's worth, I'm listing all of the red flags I picked up on from his phone conversation with you: - Swearing at you, blaming you, yelling at you, calling you names is classic verbal abuse. - Telling you you are sensitive, dishing out half-arsed apologies, threatening the relationship, shifting the abuse back onto you for calling him an "abusive man", then in a snap diverting back to nicey-nice guy to try to reel you back in . . . these are all components of emotional abuse. - His "hoovering", or trying to be really humble and kind and reasonable, saying all of the right things, pretending he gets it . . . that's abuse too. It is, because the niceness is used to pull you back into the relationship. It's manipulative. Even if he thinks he's being genuine with his words, it's still an attempt to control the situation to get what he wants. And love isn't about that. Love isn't controlling. I'm sure it's a lot to think about. Please do keep writing!
  13. It takes steps just like the ones you are taking to work ourselves out of an abusive situation. From my perspective, you are making progress! You brought up the mortgage issue, told him you couldn't take this anymore and couldn't live this way. Even if it resulted in him monologuing about his tough life and blah blah blah (abuser speak), the point is, you stood up. You spoke your mind. I can't speak for everyone here, but getting away from an abuser takes many conversations like the one you just had. It's like learning to use a muscle you've never used before, testing out his reaction, seeing how much you can say before he shuts you down, learning to gauge his anger. These are all important components to the whole process of leaving an abuser. And just because this particular conversation didn't end up as hoped, doesn't mean the next one will follow the same pattern. For what it's worth, I've had many of these sort of conversations with my H, and I'm still working on it. It takes time, and learning to trust your own voice and feelings, to get to the point where you can stand up and say "No more!" But it's possible. Even without the finances. Even when it looks bleak.
  14. This is awesome, fluffyflea! In response to the guilt for not warning him in advance of blocking, there's no hard and fast rule that says we must do that. Especially if he's an abuser, that just gives him ammo to try and abuse more. I think you absolutely did the wisest and best thing!
  15. You have every right to be angry. It's an important and healthy part of healing, though it doesn't feel pleasant. And yep, it can take time to work through it. What helps you work through those feelings? When I'm angry, I clean a ton, lol. Or journal. Anything that will help give me some sort of outlet for the anger I'm feeling. (((fluffyflea)))