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redheadwhiskey

Hi, newbie

6 posts in this topic

Hi, 

I've just joined the forum. Spent some time looking around. If this isn't the place for intros I'm sure someone will let me know. 

After all these years I'm still reluctant to share my goings on. I guess I still think that what I thought was happening, wasn't really happening and don't fully trust myself yet. That I just made it up, or was overreacting, oversensitive. But, I'm going to try. Apologies in advance for the ramble. 

I’ve been/was in an emotionally and verbally abusive relationship for a long time.It was constant. He was forever angry and upset at me for something I'd done, or hadn't done. Or had done but hadn't done correctly. I was "corrected" verbally what I did wrong, how I did it wrong and what was wrong with me. Over everyday things. Anything. Garbage, bills, the baby crying. He was always easy to anger. Would then wander off to his bed. Or leave in the car. I'd be left behind with my feelings.Alone. Bottled feelings with no outlet for them. Sometimes he'd come back and be "over it" and things went back to what was our normal. Sometimes, once I hadn't put new toilet paper out and he didn't speak to me for a week. Once when the baby the dog and I were doing things that were getting on his nerve in the car he told us to shut up or he'd drive us into a pole. He didn't talk to me for 3 weeks after that. But I thought that's how it was. This was marriage. This was how he was. He'd had a not great childhood. He was tired as he worked nights.  It was fine he didn't come out with us or we didn't have time to do things because he was tired or sad. That's what it was. I truly believed that if I just loved him enough and gave him the affection/sex he needed, that he said made him feel better, it would be ok. When my daughter was younger I had left a couple of times, usually overnight to my parents. But I always came back. I missed my house, my things. He once told me not to worry, he'd never hit me. As if during him yelling and screaming and making us feel awful that was a consolation.

He had long periods of everything was fine. He was funny. Helpful. But I knew we were insulated. We had no friends. I stopped talking to people. It was just easier to not go to things. I don't blame people for stop inviting us either. They just figured we didn't want to. 

When our daughter was 4 he started to take some medication. It seemed to help with the long periods of fine. But they always came back. And then it was because he was depressed. He was the way he was because I made him that way. I needed to be better. 

I could see how it was affecting our daughter. She was anxious. Easy to tear. I'd long ago stopped crying so I had no tears to give him when he swore, kicked the dog, or drove away from us or wouldn't come to get us at things. 

I went back to work when our daughter started school. I calculated now she would be gone all day and he wouldn't be frustrated if he was with her all day. I'd be home not long after she was home. There couldn't possibly be enough time for him to have gotten upset with her. Often I was wrong.

I worked a job I liked. With people I liked.  The more I listened to people at the lunch table and over coffees, I realised I wasn't wrong in thinking that the way he treated me and our daughter wasn't normal. It wasn't how men behaved. I wasn't making it up in my head or overreaching. 

One day, after a particular out burst, I broke. I just sort of closed a door and didn’t open it again. The situation wasn't about him, but he'd made it about him. About how I as treating him. How our daughter was acting towards him. Him. Him. Him. I flicked a switch inside.  I think my outward demeanor began to reflect the inner one. I didn't yell at him or confront him. I just began to live my life in the now, for me, for my daughter. Or I'd drown.

It went on like that for some time. When I had told him the things he'd said over the years, he conveniently would say when he was acting that way, he didn't remember. He didn't mean those things, surely I knew that. So, I should know he didn't mean it, but since I got to be the person who remembers all this, I'm the one that had to do all the forgiving as well. You don't have to be sorry if you don't remember?

The relationship reached a peak earlier last year. We sought counselling. After two sessions we were told I needed to seek my own counselling and he was to seek anger management. I barely spoke over the two sessions we sat in. I think I seethed with rage. At seeing the way he always had presented himself. People love him. He's helpful, charming, wicked smart. And he presented things as we were there because I was as much to blame. I hurt him. I wasn't easy to live with. I'd "done" things. People put these ideas in my head. 

I didn't seek counselling. We didn't have the money. And after the two sessions both lost our jobs within a month of each other. One morning after that he woke up and simply said he wasn't an abuser, he was never that. Those things he did weren't him. I was mistaken. And ... that was it.  He stopped yelling, stopped the daily diatribes and episode es of anger. Like, cold turkey. Like a smoker. 

A year past that and I’m still sad and confused. Like everything that came before was to be forgotten, wasn’t real and when I dwell on it I feel just … Empty. As if I imagined it. 

Now he’s “normal” again. Shouldn’t I be grateful for that, that it stopped. I got what I wanted and isn’t that the whole 

point. For it to stop. But nothing was ever acknowledged and I’m the custodian of what has happened and live with it. I live in it. *It* changed me. 

Has it really stopped? Should I just let it go now? I’m alone in this and I know he sees himself as being good for all this time so I should have no cause to feel I was being abused. Or ever was. I'm .. I don't know anymore what I am. I'm trying to be the best me.  We're not perfect beings. We all want acceptance for who we are. Should I just be accepting. Accept this as the now, that we can move on and ... what? I wish I had those answers that swirl around inside me. 

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((redheadwhiskey))

Welcome to Our Place. :)

Your story was so beautifully written, and so painfully familiar to me. As in, the two main characters could have been me and my H, down to the cold turkey changes in behavior and the denial of abuse at the end. Thank you for courageously writing out your story. 

My H is potentially a carbon copy of yours. For many years he exhibited the same behaviors: flying off the handle about things that no decent person would get upset about, then the long stretches of the Silent Treatment, then his need for physical connection to "make it all better". He, too, seemingly had no idea that his behavior was destructive to me until confronted by it. And then he was shocked--shocked--that it was offensive. He also refuses to see that behavior as abusive, and will even deny certain things he's said and done, or minimize it like he was young and didn't know any better, or meant to hurt me, etc. Then, all at once, he woke up and decided to treat me nicely. And since that point, he's acted as if he's been that way for so long, I should magically forget what he did to me because he's obviously changed his ways.

First, the way he treated you was not okay. Not at all. The verbal abuse, the Silent Treatment, the minimizing, the blame-shifting: that is abusive and inexcusable.

Second, it is common for abusers, when confronted with their own behavior, to switch from overt abuse to covert abuse. So he might still very well be abusing you in subtle, more underhanded ways. He can do this because you're onto him now, and he knows that he can't get away with the more direct abuse anymore. That and maybe he's trying to cover his tracks so that he'll appear to be guiltless to a therapist or other people. If he's got a public image of charm and likability (as my H does), then it will be especially important for him to keep up that appearance. 

The real test comes to play in his motives. Why, exactly, is he trying to improve his behavior? 

Is it for you?

He'll claim it is, most likely. But is it? And how can you tell? 

Well, if this change happened for the right reason, which would be to absolve any hurt and trauma you might have experienced from his abuse, he would feel horrible about what he has done. He would be apologizing. The thought of how he's treated you would tear him up inside and compel him to do whatever he can to make things right with you. He would also give you the time and space to heal from the abuse, meaning, if you need to be away from him to heal, he'd understand. If you aren't healing as fast as he'd like, or if you can't trust him yet, he understands. He also gets that he was the cause of this, so it's a courtesy that you are there with him, willing to work with him. 

The fact that he is not acknowledging the abuse, downright denying it, and not helping you through the steps of grief and healing that you need in order to work through what he did to you, rises red flags, in my opinion. He's not truly doing this for the right reasons if he's not willing to confront what he did, or take accountability for it. 

So, in the end, my guess is that he could be doing this for him, to protect his own image, rather than for you. :(

Sadly, this is the mentality of abusers. When we hear of them "changing", it usually means they are scared of ruining their reputation, so they wise up a bit, or they change their tactics to gaslighting or other forms of more insidious abuse, rather than making effort to wrong the right with a victim.

They might even be able to keep it up, but their internal wiring is still lined up for abuse, whether they are actually abusing or not.

I heard it beautifully put on a website I wish I remembered: "He's showing change externally without any internal change."

What he's asking you to do is sweep the past underneath a rug and forget it ever happened. He's asking you to deal with your own trauma by yourself, without supporting you. He's asking this of you even though he's the cause of it. He's denying your pain, and that is covert abuse on his part. Not taking accountability is covert abuse as well. Minimizing you, denying your needs, invalidating you and making you feel invisible . . . that is all abuse, it's just a more subtle type of it. :(

Subtle abuse hurts just as much as direct abuse, and is just as damaging. Mainly because it's so hard to pinpoint. It can go on for a long time without being recognized.

The agony comes from the contrast between overt and covert abuse. It might feel like a relief that he's no longer verbally getting after you and picking you apart anymore. Compared to what it used to be like, you might feel obligated to be grateful for these crumbs of "kindness" he's throwing out to you. But they are just crumbs.  Kindness would be owning up to his abuse. Kindness would be feeling bad about hurting the one he loved for so long. Kindness would be doing whatever he could to make it up to you. 

If he's not doing those thing, then his motives are not kind. :(

Sorry, I am obviously very passionate about this particular branch of abuse. I hope it's not too much, or too overwhelming.

You have every right to feel confused and hurt by his lack of accountability. You've been abused, and that is not okay. 

((HUGS))

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Hi Redheadwhiskey,

It is perfectly fine to introduce yourself here. This is the most active area.

Firstly you are not imagining things at all. There is nothing wrong with your memory. He is abusive.

I relate to a lot of what you wrote. The silent treatment is a particularly cruel form of emotional abuse. Not talking to your partner for weeks at a time is far from normal.

Constant criticism is also not normal.

His behaviour and the way he treats you and your daughter comes from within himself and has nothing to do with what you have or haven't done or how you have done anything. His behaviour is all about controlling you and getting his way.

His convenient memory lapses are par for the course with an abusive partner.

With an abuser nothing is ever his fault even if that means he has to rewrite history.

His issue is not anger but a need to have power and control over you.

Abuse tends to go in cycles. An abuser can rarely maintain the nice phase for very long.

I think it is impossible to heal when there is no acknowledgement of what he has done and you are still with him effectively living a lie.

I do think at some point the abuse will return although maybe in a different form. It really is still there as he is denying you your reality.

I suggest that you try to get a hold of the book "Why Does He Do That" bu Lundy Bancroft. Do not give the book to your husband. Read it for yourself to help you better understand the relationship you are dealing with.

Please join in the discussions here. Ask questions and even respond to others. It can all help you come to better understand where you are at and what you are dealing with.

 

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Thank you for the replies. I really appreciate them. Often I've felt that so long as you're not talking about it, people believe everything is fine and they don't need to know anymore than you might have told them. I know with my own family, who are extremely supportive, they saw a lot, witnessed some things (the bulk my sister), however no one ever directly asked me anything. Which is not at all their fault. Meanwhile, there were times I wanted to someone to ask me. Anyone. I recall telling a friend when he was very depressed, constantly sick that it was a lot, that if he hit me there'd at least be a release. There'd be something I could point to. Because I didn't get the feeling I trusted myself enough in what I was experiencing. I just figured it was wifely complaining. We complained. Husbands made you feel like you were walking on eggshells. That your goal was to get to the end of the day without a complaint or a period of silence where he left you and your child alone to do their own thing, while he "slept" off his episode. 

He would say things any woman would want to hear, that I was beautiful or pretty or I looked nice. But I never believe any of it because he'd do all the other stuff. Now in his normal state he says nothing, I initiate any intimate relations because I still feel I need to be good and do the things he'd like me to do. 

Now, even I can't get with the sort of normalcy. And I think Whitebutterfly said it best there, that his behaviour now is for himself. It's to prove a point. That he wasn't what I said and if and when *I* screw up at something he can point to that. Say, "look at how great I've been". "I don't do those things you said I did, anymore", (which in and of itself is confirmation that he knows he did them without saying so.) So, I guess in a way he's playing me still. 

I just go on and do the best I can. None of us is stagnant. We're forever moving. But I think I've moved to a perpetual state of confusion. 

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redheadwhiskey

Welcome and hugs

 

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((((((((((Hugs))))))))))

and Welcome.

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