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MyThoughtsMatterToo

He's angry and annoyed when I don't act happy

54 posts in this topic

Quaddie Wow, this was good for me to hear and the other long post was too. I am still trying to manage my husband and it is still affecting me. Talking about being out and thinking about if I should call him to see if he wants something. I can relate. I got stuck the other day too thinking about putting up curtains. I don't know if it has anything to do with it, but now I wonder. You are such a help. Thank You So Much!!!

So here's something I noticed.

Joyful asked if he ever tries to understand where you are at, and you answered "Yes, but I have to catch him in the right mood; which is becoming more often."

The thing here is that him being understanding, is still your responsibility. In order for him to be understanding, you have to sense it's the right time, catch him in the right mood, do it "the right way." The burden of his behavior is still "on you." This...to be honest...is not change, really. It's not really growth...you are "managing" him, the dynamics of the relationship, but it's not fluid or effortless or trustworthy or safe the way a healthy relationship would be.

And I imagine if you "dare" to need understanding when he's not in the right mood, there's some sort of consequence.

So the burden of this relationship appears to be on your shoulders. Managing him, when and how you act with him and need him, deciding to be accepting of a lack of filter, etc. It's all kind of on your own shoulders.

That gets to be a very heavy burden.

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MyThoughtsMatterToo

My husband told his counselor that he feels like he is walking on egg shells around me when I get up because I am not in a good mood and he is worried about how I will respond to his jokes. I am laughing, but this really surprised me, that he felt that way. I thought to myself, "I have been walking on egg shells for years." I was thinking to myself, "Is this the first time he has felt this way and if so he is complaining?"

Burden indeed. It was debilitating, for sure. I completely related to your other comment (separate post) about not being able to get stuff done. Everything had become just sooooo hard and awful to me. I dreaded every. thing. Looking back I realize it's because I'd been taught that I don't do things right (self-esteem was shattered) AND because things ARE physically hard when you're depressed (from constant confusion).

I also related to your "Plan B" comment. :) I pride myself on thinking outside the box. I actually love problem-solving and it's been wonderful letting that gal out again. I thrive on the concept that there is always more than 1 right answer. It's painful when he stomps on that core belief of mine that only HIS way is right.

Man it feels good to get to share thoughts and feelings without being judged. I know this topic is difficult for outsiders to understand so I've only felt comfortable opening up to one person in real life so far (aside from my therapist). Thank you so much.

Meanwhile he tells me HE walks on eggshells. That he doesn't even want to be around me...
You know... because I had the nerve to ask him to speak to me in a certain way, to touch MY BODY in a certain way... His catch phrase lately is, "I'm always in trouble."
oh brother.

I've heard from him quite a lot, "Do you even HEAR what you're saying? Do you even THINK before you talk?" <--- ummmmmmm 'just one of the many double-standards I'm up against.

The abuse is hard enough, but then add in the denial and twisted accusations on top? It's difficult to remain sane. Thank goodness I've found some validation.








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I've discovered a new perspective that has been of great help to me, Bennu. Perhaps it will help you, too.

Regarding laundry and dishes and picking up dog poop, wiping off lawn furniture, cleaning out my car... all seemed SO HARD especially with my inner voice reminding me how much I HATED doing every bit of it, HATED having to do it, HATED being too tired to do it and even HATED the fact that I hated it.. (I am not a fan of the word hate.)

Now I tell myself that "I deserve a beautiful space". When my eyes are on the prize --- of the beautiful, clean space --- the task doesn't seem awful, at all. My back porch hasn't looked this pretty in YEARS. :)

It's putting me in a lovely upward cycle; feeling special in a beautiful space (rather than cluttered, dirty) and believing I'm worthy OF a beautiful space.

I am just like this too. Hating being tired all the time and unable to just get it done. I like your idea of focussing on the result as well as my worthiness. Each task will give me a boost in believing in my worth. Thank you.

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Quaddie your post about ghost chatter when you are in an abusive relationship is so absolutely spot on. I think it is one of the most compelling reasons to get out of an abusive relationship. Just to get rid of all of that.

When I was still living with my abusive h I went out to dinner with friends without him. Afterwards one of my friends suggested we go for a coffee because it wasn't very late. I was unable to decide because I was running through in my head whether it would be too late and my night would be spoilt by his complaining when I got home. It was embarrassing and I had to apologise because my friend thought she was pressuring me. So I think it can have a big impact on friendships because people don't know what the problem is. I told her I find it so hard to be decisive because I have been over ruled too often.

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I went to a bar last night and someone was commenting on how there was a certain section in the outdoor area where all the smoking was taking place. I haven't been out in so many years, I missed out on all of those changes in smoking laws.

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It's weird that they take the victim role instead of choosing to really listen and (want to) help/compromise. When he's sad or upset, I want to help. It's so nonsensical to me. I LOVE compromising and most often have offered suggestions and compromises around our issues over the years. He just wants what he wants and can't get past that for some reason. I suppose it's from his youth. He said his (alcoholic, screaming, highly disfunctional) grandmother always put him down; expected the worst of him so his mental protection must have been to find a way that he was always right? To combat that negativity???

Sooooo, when I say to him that his sexual innuendo "jokes" feel demeaning to me, instead of saying, oh sorry honey. Why do you feel that way? He says "I'm just more sexual than you." and he feels like he's "in trouble" because he can't say what he wants to. If it wasn't so debilitating to feel like my thoughts/feelings don't matter, it would be comical.

The other day when he mentioned again, feeling like he can't say what he wants to say, I told him that I can't always say what I want to to him, either. Oh? He asked. What have I told you not to say?
When I replied that I just know better. He immediately responded with, Oh, sorry.

Anyone else deal with double-standards constantly?

If he asks my opinion on something he's done/created, I've learned it is not in my best interest to say anything negative. Meanwhile, just recently he told me he "hated" something I'd picked out AND that an idea I had was "horrible". So he not only says something negative to me, but chooses unkind words on top of it.

If I even remotely raise my voice or even my tone because he's not letting me talk, he gets so annoyed. "Why do you have to raise your voice?" "I cant' talk to you if you're yelling."
GUYS?!?!? If you could just know how many times I've heard him SCREAMING irrationally (but he's never "yelling") <sigh>

If we're out together, he's sooooo quick to comment if I'm on my phone... Again. GUYS?!?!? Flashback city. Does he not see that he's continually scolding me for things he does ALL THE TIME? Again. Almost comical.

The crazy thing is I've been SO INTO personal development the last few years, working on me, learning to communicate more effectively, to find better perspectives, learning to respond rather than react (keep my inner peace), to realize my gifts and purpose (I'm proud to say I'm an encourager. I used to think that was a trivial trait... but now I own it and it gives me great joy.) <as she exhales deeply>... yet he can still think I'm the sole problem...

I started reading The Verbally Abusive Man - Can He Change? by Patricia Evans (Her first book, The Verbally Abusive Relationship was a HUGE eye-opener for me)
This book I am reading with a tiny glimmer of hope.. and a whole lotta knowledge and mental strength to make sure I have the life I deserve.




hoping, on 25 May 2016 - 8:02 PM, said:

MyThoughtsMatterToo

My husband told his counselor that he feels like he is walking on egg shells around me when I get up because I am not in a good mood and he is worried about how I will respond to his jokes. I am laughing, but this really surprised me, that he felt that way. I thought to myself, "I have been walking on egg shells for years." I was thinking to myself, "Is this the first time he has felt this way and if so he is complaining?"

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Anyone else deal with double-standards constantly?

If I even remotely raise my voice or even my tone because he's not letting me talk, he gets so annoyed.

Totally.

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I was not allowed to get angry or "get in his face"........he couldn't handle that. He would immediately get threatening and result in a full-blown rage.

If you are counseling together, please consider stopping..........you are not being healed in the counseling, he is only using it as a means to keep "whipping" you with his covert abuse........he has now become the victim to the counselor.

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NOBODY is allowed to just say whatever they want. So when he complains about not being able to, the answer could be something like, "That's right. You CAN'T just say whatever you want. Nobody can. People are not supposed to say things that hurt others. It's how society works."

:D

I tend to go on automatic defensive. And in abusive situations especially that helps keep a person on the "less-than" position. So it's hard to identify and practice being assertive instead, when defensiveness is a built-in automatic response.

Maybe just take a beat when he is doing double-standard offensive attacks. It's all for him to manipulate and control by regaining the "power position"... Responding is really just furthering his agenda and sucking you into an argument he has no intention of letting you win or seeing your perspective anyway. It's banging your head against a wall. :(

So all the things he says may not even be "real" - it's strategic, it's about power and control and maintaining the one-up position. It's not about love and caring and understanding.

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Honestly, standing up for myself only ever made everything worse, I wish I just opted out all the time, but I couldn't, I defended myself and put him in his place right until the end; at least I can be kind of proud of that. But then it doesn't matter what they do, they STILL abuse us; it makes ZERO difference, because THEY are the malignant problem, not us. They project it onto us, but all that turnips is in them.

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"It's how society works." hehe
Yeah... "If he only had a brain" <--- singing as in Wizard of Oz. haha

The Verbally Abusive Relationship discusses that most victims feel a need to keep trying to explain themselves when the abuser is being irrational. And how that doesn't work because the abuser keeps feeling attacked. She recommends just saying "Stop!" (telling me what I think, etc...) and/or asking them a question such as: "Did you just say __________?" "Did you just tell me how I think?" etc...
OR if they're being abusive after you've asked them a question, just to keep asking the original question.

I still do feel my natural "let me explain/make sense out of the irrationality" kick in... Note to self: Must practice in my mind this new way to respond.

Oh I never bring up the double-standard issue when he's being irrational; knowing he can't handle the truth in that moment. I just think are you friggin' kidding meeee? as I have flashbacks to the numerous times he's yelled at me "Do you even think before you talk?" <--- <sigh> compounding double-standards...



NOBODY is allowed to just say whatever they want. So when he complains about not being able to, the answer could be something like, "That's right. You CAN'T just say whatever you want. Nobody can. People are not supposed to say things that hurt others. It's how society works."

:D

I tend to go on automatic defensive. And in abusive situations especially that helps keep a person on the "less-than" position. So it's hard to identify and practice being assertive instead, when defensiveness is a built-in automatic response.

Maybe just take a beat when he is doing double-standard offensive attacks. It's all for him to manipulate and control by regaining the "power position"... Responding is really just furthering his agenda and sucking you into an argument he has no intention of letting you win or seeing your perspective anyway. It's banging your head against a wall. :(

So all the things he says may not even be "real" - it's strategic, it's about power and control and maintaining the one-up position. It's not about love and caring and understanding.

NOBODY is allowed to just say whatever they want. So when he complains about not being able to, the answer could be something like, "That's right. You CAN'T just say whatever you want. Nobody can. People are not supposed to say things that hurt others. It's how so

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Vanilli,

sharing a comment I made in another post to make sure you saw it. The book is by Patricia Evans and it has given me strength from validation, SO MUCH validation and also a few tips on how to better handle abusers.

The Verbally Abusive Relationship discusses that most victims feel a need to keep trying to explain themselves when the abuser is being irrational. And how that doesn't work because the abuser keeps feeling attacked. She recommends just saying "Stop!" (telling me what I think, etc...) and/or asking them a question such as: "Did you just say __________?" "Did you just tell me how I think?" etc...
OR if they're being abusive after you've asked them a question, just to keep asking the original question.

Honestly, standing up for myself only ever made everything worse, I wish I just opted out all the time, but I couldn't, I defended myself and put him in his place right until the end; at least I can be kind of proud of that. But then it doesn't matter what they do, they STILL abuse us; it makes ZERO difference, because THEY are the malignant problem, not us. They project it onto us, but all that turnips is in them.

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lizzibethak,

I've been reading that couples counseling can be destructive due to the relatively new field of verbal abuse, and lack of properly trained therapists so I'm glad you mentioned that to reiterate.

We've been to 2 separate couples counselors in the long ago past. The first was over 15 years ago, and was SO not a good experience. Crazy how insecure abusers can twist any and all conversations and scenarios.
The second time was probably 10 years ago and we actually moved forward a bit. (I made sure we saw a male the 2nd time because it was apparent he'd felt "ganged up on" with the first therapist who was a female.

Currently, only I am seeing a therapist. (Which makes sense to him, because I'm the one that "has issues", riiiight? ;) )



I was not allowed to get angry or "get in his face"........he couldn't handle that. He would immediately get threatening and result in a full-blown rage.

If you are counseling together, please consider stopping..........you are not being healed in the counseling, he is only using it as a means to keep "whipping" you with his covert abuse........he has now become the victim to the counselor.

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Thoughts here...

The thing about "The Verbally Abusive Relationship discusses that most victims feel a need to keep trying to explain themselves when the abuser is being irrational. And how that doesn't work because the abuser keeps feeling attacked. "

So it still becomes all about the abuser. How to manage or navigate their moods, their behaviors, their motivations and feelings and innards.

What about yours? Is the abuser reaching out half-way to empathize with you? (No, because they can't...) Is the abuser caring about how you feel when they tirade? (Nahhhh...) Does the abuser care that they hurt you and make you feel crazy and upset and anxious when they spin off like that? (Nahhhh)

It's allllllllll so one-sided, alllllllll about the victim learning to deal with abuse. Or to manage the abuser. Or to ... I don't know.

But it's nothing like what an actual healthy adult relationship is like.

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Quaddie,
I agree and I'm glad you stress that it's not what a healthy relationship looks like because it's been way too easy to keep making excuses for him... and to feel like it's "normal" since it has been MY normal. Gosh I hope it's not most peoples' normal...

It's not healthy.
It's not healthy.
It's not healthy.

(Repeating for myself.)

Have you read the book, Quaddie? I didn't get the feeling that the author wrote it to get people to stay in abusive relationships but rather for them to be able to recognize abusive relationships - so the confusion fog can start lifting (I cried one morning not knowing why I wasn't happy. I really did not know. But wow. The term confused hit me like a rock. Confused about so. many. things. After her book I could SEE again. Ya know?)

and then to learn better how to keep from going down their slippery slope (when the abuser is being irrational and our rational explaining feels like an attack to them. Not sure I explained that well...) But gosh it saves me TIME too, ALL the time wasted trying to explain when he could not hear anyway... Time and mental anguish...

They say knowledge is power and I feel extremely empowered with the knowledge from her book. The knowledge and validation help me feel like I have some control and CHOICES whereas before I just felt stuck.

I feel like the validation, and the clarity, and the ability to diffuse future traumatic episodes helps the victim feel better, stronger, more in control so they CAN leave, so they even know whether or not they NEED TO leave.

Thoughts here...

The thing about "The Verbally Abusive Relationship discusses that most victims feel a need to keep trying to explain themselves when the abuser is being irrational. And how that doesn't work because the abuser keeps feeling attacked. "

So it still becomes all about the abuser. How to manage or navigate their moods, their behaviors, their motivations and feelings and innards.

What about yours? Is the abuser reaching out half-way to empathize with you? (No, because they can't...) Is the abuser caring about how you feel when they tirade? (Nahhhh...) Does the abuser care that they hurt you and make you feel crazy and upset and anxious when they spin off like that? (Nahhhh)

It's allllllllll so one-sided, alllllllll about the victim learning to deal with abuse. Or to manage the abuser. Or to ... I don't know.

But it's nothing like what an actual healthy adult relationship is like.

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I did read it a long time ago....i found "Why Does He Do That" to be more appropriately objective....idk, i feel like it's a more accurate stance.

I guess I've gotten really jaded... i no longer have any patience with or ability to care *why* an abuser is crappy to people or how they feel that "makes" them feel whatever they feel. If they do.

It's really so much about power and control, and their worldview, their internal operating system, is so different from "typical" that i find attempts to relate their behaviors add being motivated by feelings like that to be counterproductive to self-protection and clarity. Because in the end - to ne- it doesn't matter why they are the way they are....only that they ARE that way. It becomes an absolute, rather than just behaviors based on feelings or conditional. It just...IS.

So dealing with abusers becomes like that saying about wrestling with pigs.

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I did read it a long time ago....i found "Why Does He Do That" to be more appropriately objective....idk, i feel like it's a more accurate stance.

I guess I've gotten really jaded... i no longer have any patience with or ability to care *why* an abuser is crappy to people or how they feel that "makes" them feel whatever they feel. If they do.

It's really so much about power and control, and their worldview, their internal operating system, is so different from "typical" that i find attempts to relate their behaviors add being motivated by feelings like that to be counterproductive to self-protection and clarity. Because in the end - to ne- it doesn't matter why they are the way they are....only that they ARE that way. It becomes an absolute, rather than just behaviors based on feelings or conditional. It just...IS.

So dealing with abusers becomes like that saying about wrestling with pigs.

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Oh Quaddie...

<happy sigh> I am soooo loving how open you are; and receptive to conversation. Thank you for being you. :)

I'll definitely be reading that book as well; especially after your strong recommendation.

As far as abusers who aren't trying to change and have more abusive moments than non, relationships that "never" give you value, I do agree with you --- you should *completely* separate from as much as possible and ASAP (as you mentioned you did with your... I believe? sister?) I am a HUGE advocate of surrounding yourself with positivity. (which leaves less and less "room" for negativity.)

I'm coming into this journey from a different perspective? experience? than it seems you are because I don't feel my partner is coming from a place of wanting to forever control me. I believe he's "just" less mature than I am, emotionally, and a lot more selfish. (Still NOT ok! But I hope I've explained the less harmful, to me, dynamic.) I HAVE seen him be kind; empathetic and grow/mature over time.
He's owned the fact that our son's depression has a lot to do with the words that my partner put into our son's head. He's authentically apologized to my son, numerous times. And is doing a great job at building him back up; doing his best to make it right. (Partner doesn't know this yet, but when he told our son, "You do know that's ME in your head, don't you?" referring to all the criticism over the years - that son wasn't trying hard enough, wasn't listening, doing good enough.. ) a light bulb went off for me. I realized I'd let my partner into MY head, too.

We have had some discussions in which I believe he heard me and I say I believe he heard me because his actions did change. I'm not saying that it's been or will be enough, but I do believe it's worth trying a bit longer - now that I have the validation and tools to better analyze the situation and to better position myself so that leaving would be a less-stressful option.

I did read it a long time ago....i found "Why Does He Do That" to be more appropriately objective....idk, i feel like it's a more accurate stance.

I guess I've gotten really jaded... i no longer have any patience with or ability to care *why* an abuser is crappy to people or how they feel that "makes" them feel whatever they feel. If they do.

It's really so much about power and control, and their worldview, their internal operating system, is so different from "typical" that i find attempts to relate their behaviors add being motivated by feelings like that to be counterproductive to self-protection and clarity. Because in the end - to ne- it doesn't matter why they are the way they are....only that they ARE that way. It becomes an absolute, rather than just behaviors based on feelings or conditional. It just...IS.

So dealing with abusers becomes like that saying about wrestling with pigs.

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Hello MyThoughts,

I wanted to chime in because your story resonated and I really appreciate that you have shared your thoughts here.

My H, too, has seemed to go in the opposite direction as most abusers do, in that he seems to be acting from a place of "not knowing" instead of being increasingly abusive, and the more he comes to recognize his own errant behavior, the more I see kindness and gentleness in him. This does not excuse his past behavior, which was on all accounts atrocious. It does not mean that he should never have to be accountable. And it doesn't mean that everything is magically better . . . but I do see general improvement, riddled with outbursts that become farther and farther stretched out.

I'm glad you're learning what you can about abuse, and empowering yourself with knowledge. It seems like this is an essential step toward healing. I can also recommend Lundy Bancroft's book, "Why Does He Do That?" It was helpful for me, but I read it while I was still entrenched in denial, so I could only handle tiny bits of it at once. Because of this, it was hard for me to process. That's the one caution I would raise when you are learning about abuse: no one situation fits the mold. Every situation is different, and abuse affects us all differently. There was a time when I'd read things in books and online that would list all the factors that are normally present in abuse, and it would derail me because my situation fit only certain things and not others. So I felt some confusion.

Abuse is about the way we feel. How we are affected on a foundational level, emotionally. Those are the key indicators. My H never physically harmed me. He never called me names. But there were so many things, so many ways he broke me down that destroyed my wellbeing. He may not have even realized what he was doing, either, which was more confusing to me than anything else. I thought for sure that for him to qualify as an abuser, he'd have to be tactical and manipulative, but he's not. He's got impulsive anger and high-functioning autism. He meltdowns when things aren't predictable or when he feels he's being attacked. Then he lacks the social filters to understand empathy on any level, and this makes it so when he does abuse, he doesn't realize it. Or if he does, he will apologize reluctantly because he "didn't mean it" and/or was "provoked". Basically, it's like dealing with a child in a grown man's body who throws a tantrum once their ice cream scoop slips off the cone. And to be married to a person like that requires us to be the Abuse Police and micromanage them so that they learn not to abuse anymore.

It's a heavy responsibility to bear when you are married to an adult who is supposed to be responsible for his own behavior. Can we understand why they act the way they do? Yes. Can we feel compassion toward them as they learn and try to implement better behavior? Yes, of course. Can we recognize that they perhaps have a good heart underneath it all and can maintain kindness and gentleness most of the time? Yes. But does that excuse their abuse? No.

And that was probably the hardest for me, since I've just recently become aware of some traumatic memories with my H in regards to sexual abuse. As in, I'm remembering now years of sexual abuse and coercion. Did he know what he was doing? No. Can I have compassion on the parts of him that didn't know any better? Yes. But the fact remains, the sexual abuse ruined my trust for him, and that was too much damage for our relationship to bear. No matter how much he improves, I'm still going to be triggered by him. And I still won't be able to trust him. I've waited and waited for years to get over my lack of trust, but it doesn't go away. Mainly because he lacks the empathy to understand that he abused me in the first place. And because, even if he did, he won't take responsibility for it and he won't acknowledge what he did and how it broke me down.

All this to say, MyThoughts, that you have every right to heal in whatever way you choose. You have every right to decide what you need to be happy. Whatever that means to you and whatever you know deep down you need for yourself, is all relevant. Your healing is the top priority.

I'm sorry you've been hurt, but I'm glad you're here. Please do continue to share if you feel up for it.

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Well THIS was a nice surprise! I came here looking for some support after a lil episode on the home-front (fyi: I stood my ground calmly and actually got an "I'm sorry.)
anyway... came to my safe haven to help calm my nerves and learned that perhaps my words are giving others strength. Wow. THAT feels so good. Thank you for sharing, whitebutterfly11.

PS: Your healing is top priority too. ((hugs))

Hello MyThoughts,

I wanted to chime in because your story resonated and I really appreciate that you have shared your thoughts here.

My H, too, has seemed to go in the opposite direction as most abusers do, in that he seems to be acting from a place of "not knowing" instead of being increasingly abusive, and the more he comes to recognize his own errant behavior, the more I see kindness and gentleness in him. This does not excuse his past behavior, which was on all accounts atrocious. It does not mean that he should never have to be accountable. And it doesn't mean that everything is magically better . . . but I do see general improvement, riddled with outbursts that become farther and farther stretched out.

I'm glad you're learning what you can about abuse, and empowering yourself with knowledge. It seems like this is an essential step toward healing. I can also recommend Lundy Bancroft's book, "Why Does He Do That?" It was helpful for me, but I read it while I was still entrenched in denial, so I could only handle tiny bits of it at once. Because of this, it was hard for me to process. That's the one caution I would raise when you are learning about abuse: no one situation fits the mold. Every situation is different, and abuse affects us all differently. There was a time when I'd read things in books and online that would list all the factors that are normally present in abuse, and it would derail me because my situation fit only certain things and not others. So I felt some confusion.

Abuse is about the way we feel. How we are affected on a foundational level, emotionally. Those are the key indicators. My H never physically harmed me. He never called me names. But there were so many things, so many ways he broke me down that destroyed my wellbeing. He may not have even realized what he was doing, either, which was more confusing to me than anything else. I thought for sure that for him to qualify as an abuser, he'd have to be tactical and manipulative, but he's not. He's got impulsive anger and high-functioning autism. He meltdowns when things aren't predictable or when he feels he's being attacked. Then he lacks the social filters to understand empathy on any level, and this makes it so when he does abuse, he doesn't realize it. Or if he does, he will apologize reluctantly because he "didn't mean it" and/or was "provoked". Basically, it's like dealing with a child in a grown man's body who throws a tantrum once their ice cream scoop slips off the cone. And to be married to a person like that requires us to be the Abuse Police and micromanage them so that they learn not to abuse anymore.

It's a heavy responsibility to bear when you are married to an adult who is supposed to be responsible for his own behavior. Can we understand why they act the way they do? Yes. Can we feel compassion toward them as they learn and try to implement better behavior? Yes, of course. Can we recognize that they perhaps have a good heart underneath it all and can maintain kindness and gentleness most of the time? Yes. But does that excuse their abuse? No.

And that was probably the hardest for me, since I've just recently become aware of some traumatic memories with my H in regards to sexual abuse. As in, I'm remembering now years of sexual abuse and coercion. Did he know what he was doing? No. Can I have compassion on the parts of him that didn't know any better? Yes. But the fact remains, the sexual abuse ruined my trust for him, and that was too much damage for our relationship to bear. No matter how much he improves, I'm still going to be triggered by him. And I still won't be able to trust him. I've waited and waited for years to get over my lack of trust, but it doesn't go away. Mainly because he lacks the empathy to understand that he abused me in the first place. And because, even if he did, he won't take responsibility for it and he won't acknowledge what he did and how it broke me down.

All this to say, MyThoughts, that you have every right to heal in whatever way you choose. You have every right to decide what you need to be happy. Whatever that means to you and whatever you know deep down you need for yourself, is all relevant. Your healing is the top priority.

I'm sorry you've been hurt, but I'm glad you're here. Please do continue to share if you feel up for it.

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Poop brownies. (I'll get to this later, it's just a reminder to myself that I saw your post yesterday on my mobile and wanted to explain.)

"I thought for sure that for him to qualify as an abuser, he'd have to be tactical and manipulative" <-- what WB said. While abuse is about control, it's not necessarily a conscious strategic planning process that goes on. It's just how they operate - it's the way their brains are built. So it's not like they necessarily plot everything they do out in advance like a general planning war strategy (although some do, and sometimes they may)..... it's just automatic. It's just the way they operate. So not being aware or "not knowing" is not really valid ...ummmm....defense? for abuse..... Like a 6-year-old knows better. It's not our jobs as adults to teach another adult how to treat us. We deserve someone who cares enough to treat us with respect. A person who does not treat you with respect does not love or respect you. (In my opinion.)

Looks like there was an episode and you stood your ground and got an apology. I feel sad :( because in life, this shouldn't even be a "thing" that's necessary....let alone to have to feel proud(?) of..... In a relationship there should be no need for any of that. Relationships are not supposed to be classrooms for how to treat the one you allegedly care about, or how to not hurt others. Relationships are supposed to be caring, supportive partnerships.

Ok, back to poop brownies.

It's in re: this:

As far as abusers who aren't trying to change and have more abusive moments than non, relationships that "never" give you value, I do agree with you --- you should *completely* separate from as much as possible and ASAP (as you mentioned you did with your... I believe? sister?) I am a HUGE advocate of surrounding yourself with positivity. (which leaves less and less "room" for negativity.)

I'm coming into this journey from a different perspective? experience? than it seems you are because I don't feel my partner is coming from a place of wanting to forever control me. I believe he's "just" less mature than I am, emotionally, and a lot more selfish

(Ok now that I quote that, I see a lot of different stuff to talk about - hopefully I remember my thoughts, lol.)

The concept of 'Abusers trying to change' is a really slippery and complicated slope. Please do read "Why Does He Do That?" - it's very, very enlightening. Anyway, the mind-set of abusers - their core world-view, the way their brains operate, is very different from "typical." It's like a different operating system.

So the concept of abusers trying to change....... I think comes from a belief that abuse is a set of behaviors that people can just change the way they act. And it's true that abusers often do change the way they act - in one way or another. But abuse always comes through somehow because it is an integrated part of the way their minds function.

So when it looks like an abuser is "trying to change" - they are not actually changing. They are changing the way they act. They are trying to change the way they appear to be. They are trying to appear different. I think it helps to put the words "appearing to" in front of "change." Because with abusive mind-sets, that qualifier is pretty much always necessary.

IF a person does not feel entitled and lack empathy (which are hallmarks of abusive behaviors), they don't need to stop and think about what would be "acceptable" normal everyday behaviors and ways to behave as if they care and love the people they are supposed to care about and love.

So basically I think the concept of 'abusers trying to change' is - forgive me - akin to dog-training. Conditioned responses. So they learn that if they do "x", "y" might result. But the behaviors are not part of them. It's not who they are.

An abuser is who they are. That is an integral part of who they are. The abusive behaviors are who they are. It comes from the way their minds operate.

Now - trust me, I "get it." I get what you're saying and I've experienced what you are experiencing. Am experiencing. I do get it. I have experienced many forms of abuse, many many different ways of it being displayed.

And in addition, my marriage (just one of those experiences) was so far off the typical "abuse" track that there was nothing pointing to it being abuse in any of the information at the time (it was before these types of forums existed) and nothing in books and just nothing to tell me "this is wrong." But it was in fact very severe abuse. So like WB said, it's about the way it feels. Abuse can't necessarily be determined by textbook examples or lists of symptoms, and it is not defined by whether or not it seems like the abuser is doing it purposely. It is all in how it is experienced.

We say "abuse is about control" because that is the heart of the reason for abuse. It is not because it is necessarily a conscious act or strategy. It is more about the outcome.

He is controlling you. When you have to worry about what to say to your partner, about whether you stand your ground or not, about what you do afterward, that is not really personal growth. It is you learning how to navigate an abusive relationship differently. And it still means you are having to change yourself and your world to adapt to abuse. And that is being controlled.

Okay now........ re: "abusers who aren't trying to change and have more abusive moments than non, relationships that "never" give you value," I think many, many targets find there is value in the relationship. That's why it's almost universally extremely difficult to leave. There is some sort of value there. Or reason to stay. If there weren't, it wouldn't cause cognitive dissonance. So it's normal and typical for an abusive relationship to still have varying degrees of value in them. Very few abusive relationships are that much of a no-brainer, that they have zero value.

And in the same vein, I think probably most abusive relationships do have more non-abusive moments than abusive moments. Same thing - it's almost never 100%. Or even 90%. Or 80%. It might only be 30%. or 20, or 10, or 5%.

And here is where the poop brownies come in.

Someone in here a long time ago brought this analogy. Let's say you're making a batch of brownies and a little bit of poop falls into the batter and gets mixed into it. It's only a little bit of poop. You go ahead and make the brownies anyway.

Do any of those brownies not have poop in them? Can you pick and choose the poop-brownies out of the non-poop brownies? Is it good? Do you eat them?

(Okay I probably didn't tell the story right, lol.)

The moral of the story is - POOP BROWNIES.

It doesn't matter if abuse is 20% or 80%. It still colors the entire relationship and pretty much everything in your life. The poop is intermingled throughout the entire batter - fabric - of your life.

Now when you say your partner is less mature and a lot more selfish than you are...... that is the entitlement and lack of empathy typical of abusers. It's part of the abusive mind-set.

Many abusers are like young children in adult bodies. But it's not because nobody taught them how to be non-abusive. It's because that's just the way they are. That's how abusers are. Teaching them, policing them, is not the responsibility of a partner who is supposed to be cared for by them. It puts you into more of a "mother" role. (And/or "abuse cop" role.) It's not a partnership. It's not an equal, safe, trusting relationship. It's not healthy for you. Even if it feels like you are helping them learn or grow. It's not a healthy thing for you.

It's said that if an abuser does want to change, it takes years and intense work on their own. On their own. <-- keyword. Because you should not be in the position of helping, making or forcing them to be not-abusive. That's unhealthy for you and not a good relationship, either, on a lot of levels.

For an abuser to actually change, they pretty much have to re-wire the way their brains work. Usually an abuser lacks the ability to even recognize that there is something "wrong " with the way their brains work. That's "lack of insight" and it means they can't even perceive that their own operating system is awry. It's more like a disorder, than sets of changeable behaviors.

So what typically happens when it looks like an abuser is changing, is that they are appearing to change... to appease you. To keep you from leaving. In a massive what-we-call "hoover." Abusers will go to great lengths and very long timelines to very convincingly "appear" to be different from what they really are. Because they don't want to lose you - but not "you" as in they love you and see you and respect you for who you really are......but because you are their object and they need your functionality and it's easier to appear to change than to go through the whole process of finding and convincing and "training" a replacement.

But because it's not really change that comes from an understanding within, it may not be consistent. And we're so conditioned to abuse as "normal" that what LOOKS like great change, or what looks like positive stuff happening.....little incidents that give glimmers of hope..is really just crumbs of the cookie. We grab onto those crumbs like they are manna from heaven. Look at the crumbs! It means great things are happening! Hope! See, this once this good thing happened! (Never mind that the next moment, day, week later, this other thing happened that counteracted it...) If this good thing happened, it means good things are happening, right?

The overall dynamics of a relationship can't, though, be evaluated on the crumbs. It's about how you, on the whole, feel. AND the thing about abusive relationships and those accustomed to living with abuse is, it has become so "normal" that it's really often difficult to ferret out how one really feels. We get so caught up in the minutiae and crumbs that the big picture is just not even recognizable, sometimes.

And that is another way that abusers control the situation and keep you "in." Hope, conditioning, guilt, fear, obligation, alllllllll sorts of FOG.

Another thing about abusers and change is the water balloon analogy. I like to think of it like that. Abusers can suppress one area of their abuse or type of behavior, but like a balloon filled with water, when you squeeze one part of it - another part bulges out. Often an abuser just changes the way they abuse. Or it becomes more covert. But it doesn't just go away - because it's part of who they are. It doesn't just magically dissolve or disappear.

Now again, like I said, I do understand where you are coming from and I do have experience in the type of "abusive situation getting better." So I do get that. But I still know this stuff is true as well. EVEN when it seems like it's getting better, the mind-set peeps out here and there. It's never 100% safe or easy. There are always bones of contention and internal chatter and ways it's unhealthy. It's just not healthy.

And especially if you are the one having to be the abuse cop or the mom or the teacher or the trainer...... that is really not only not your responsibility (and thus unfair for you) but adds a really another really unhealthy dynamic to the relationship as well. You should not be the one who has to teach him how to treat you (or anyone else) well or respectfully. In fact, no one should have to teach him. He's an adult.

So I'm just trying to bring some clarity about the overall aura about abusive relationships. It's so overarching. So even when we think there are changes and positivity and maybe we establish boundaries and maybe we explain why this hurts, or that that is harmful to us, and maybe it seems like they are hearing and trying to change..... it's still this continual struggle, this constant buzz in the head. Here we try to figure them out and strategize how to best get them to hear us, or how to convince them or get them to change, or to stand up or to extract apologies or explain why they can't do such-and-such.....or feeling good that we felt heard on one thing, or that they seemed like they understood another.... or even in the best of circumstances, it's still such a weird, uncomfortable dynamic that's not a relationship between two caring, supportive partners and is still all about "them." It's still "being controlled." Even the act of "trying to make things better," that itself is still "being controlled" by the abuse in the relationship.

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Oh I so recognise the voice in your head thing. Mine literally says things like "Why don't you just accept that I'm right" and if I don't agree immediately with some idea that he believes will help me, then he gets angry, because he feels I'm attacking him and being ungrateful. How about a normal discussion first? Nope.

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Mine literally says things like "Why don't you just accept that I'm right" and if I don't agree immediately with some idea that he believes will help me, then he gets angry, because he feels I'm attacking him and being ungrateful.

Or rather than that he feels you're attacking him and being ungrateful...... he's just plain angry that you're not doing what he tells you. That you're not completely submissive and behaving like his good little toaster.

He's not angry because he feels attacked (or hurt). He's angry because you're not obeying him. He is the master supreme and you are not supposed to have individuality of your own.

All the rest - claims such as he feels like he's being attacked, or that you're being ungrateful - is just smokescreen trying to manipulate you into feeling bad that you "crossed him" and to "get you into line" by whatever means necessary, whether that be angry, guilt, compassion (yours, not his)... whatever he thinks might work.

On the other hand, I think sometimes we project "typical" emotions onto abusers and assume they feel certain ways....when they really don't. WE might feel that way, but they don't. Then they use that projected compassion for manipulation in their favor as well.

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Wow, I can relate to what whitebutterfly11 is saying. My husband doesn't seem to be autistic, but he does act like a kid at times and is an abuser.

Quaddie, Now, that I am not so new to the reasons and dynamics of abuse, I can understand what you are saying more. I've asked myself a lot of questions, some of which you have been discussing on this thread. I am glad that you are talking from experience for the help it can give me and others, but very sad that you had to go through these things to have this self knowledge. Anyway, I want to thank you for your advice, even though it was to answer someone else. I am watching my husband to see if he fits what you have said. I can place him there, but want to make sure the shoe fits.

Whitebutterfly I also have been wondering if I can ever trust my husband again. Even though my husband is going to counseling and acting better in some ways, and has apologized about some things in a general way. I am not convinced that he can really feel what he did to me. So it's more of a shallow apology. I want him to understand how he treated me whether he meant to or not and how he hurt me and I want him to feel bad about it and really feel sorry about it. I don't feel this from him. Sometimes, when I try to talk to him about our disagreement, he doesn't want to talk about it until we can both say our sides and come to some conclusion of how we can deal with it. Since I don't know any other reason, I think it could be because he wants control not love. Yes, I believe we are wise to distrust them, since they have not given us a reason to.

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Hoping if you are waiting for him to understand and truly apologise then I fear you have a very long wait ahead of you.

Why is it so important that he apologises to you? I don't mean that in a horrible way, but you know you have been abused and you know that it is wrong. Isn't that all you need to know?

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