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Over and Out

Thanks and another newbie story

17 posts in this topic

Thank you all so much for sharing your stories.  I have been reading for a couple of weeks and have found so much useful information here on Our Place.  The sense of kindness and support, even before I joined or now posted has helped me at a difficult time.

I left my husband of 26 years 8 weeks ago. 

TL:DR version:  X was abusive, pretty sure he is a narcissist, I held on too long and now am trying to be strong, set boundaries and help me and my kids to heal. 

My story almost feels like a cliché (and they are clichés for a reason, because the story is so common).

I met X when I was a barely 18-year-old Uni student and he was 32, self-employed and financially more comfortable than me.  He showered me with attention and rushed me into an intense relationship.  He proposed to me 2 months after our first date and we were married 6 months later (before my 19th birthday.)

Looking back, he was a classical narcissistic/abuser at the start of new supply.  He was older, rushing the “I-love-you”, telling me I was especially mature and wonderful etc., etc.  I was a working class kid from an overtly abusive household (can you say Daddy-issues?) and was utterly smitten.

I didn’t have the radar for subtle abuse.  My dad had beaten me and raged at us, but was hardly subtle.  X, on the other hand, for the first many years, hid put downs in compliments.  For example, the first time we were intimate, he told me I was “perfect, except for this fat bit” (he pointed at my teenage, almost flat belly).  X also talked a good game about believing in equality, wanting to do ½ the housework, thinking women working in professional roles was great etc.  I fell for it hook, line and sinker.  After all, my great, egalitarian guy must just be giving me little hints to help me improve, and wouldn’t be an A-hole like my abusive dad.

Well, you all know where this is going.  Years rolled on.  As I finished my degree and began earning money, and maturing into greater confidence, the abuse and mind games escalated.  He started to be more brutal in his “helpful” critiques.  He began to do weird invasive stuff, like deliberately leaving the bathroom door open at his parents’ place when I was showering.  (The guest bathroom opened to the entry-way of the house, so I was exposed naked to anyone who walked by.)  Of course, he claimed it was a “mistake” and anyway who cared, it was OK for his brother and father to see anything he could see, so why was I bothered? (This happened a couple of times and only stopped when I pitched a fit about it.)  Still, I was blinded and just thought that he was just enacting the lack of boundaries that were rampant in his family and perhaps not understanding why a young woman would be bothered. 

He also “jokingly” raised a fist over me a few times, when he wanted me to go faster to leave etc.  I see now they weren’t jokes, but he so often decried physical violence, that I was gaslit by his “joking” explanation to my protests.  There was still so many times of fondness and sweetness, I must be mistaken, right?

Then we had kids.  3 kids, over 7 years.  They are now S21, who has moved out, D16 and D14.  Having kids made things worse, even though X was desperate to have kids to carry on his genetic heritage (he actually said that!).  He felt ignored and ramped up nastiness.  Classical narcissistic pattern.  I was not making him the focus of my world, but rather expected him to share me with the kids.  He would often claim (and still does over 21 years after the birth of our oldest), that I neglect him and am “obsessed” with the kids.  My “obsession” is apparently things like making school lunches, watching younger kids at the beach or while shopping, listening to them, rather than him, when he interrupts or ignores them, demanding that he not hit or belittle them etc.

Our sex life also diminished when we had kids.  I found sex painful after each pregnancy, but he didn’t think that was a reason not to have sex.  Also sex had to include penetration and no substitutes would be acceptable to him.  He decided I was lying about the pain because I was too wrapped up in the babies (on a good day) or had a secret lover (on a bad day). He pressured me with threats to leave and/or get a girlfriend.  Occasionally I would give in, though it was terrible.  I still remember crying silently in bed after one time that had left me bleeding.  X’s response was to tell me to stop guilt tripping him and trying to “ruin it.” Classic lack of empathy and narcissistic concern only for his own wants, but at the time I thought maybe many men would be upset after months of no sex. On another occasion he got high at a party and then kicked, punched and pushed me out of bed when I wouldn’t have sex with him (he thought he deserved it because he had been at a Xmas party for his work – so narcissistic!).  I was brainwashed into worrying about his loneliness, even though I was also so very angry at his selfishness.  Gobsmackingly, he said just the other day that he was proud of his generosity in staying with me and enduring that time, which he thought had made us stronger as a couple.  In his head, he had nobly forfeited his rights and “supported” me, by not leaving.  He thought it showed we would get back together after our current separation.

Just before we had our youngest child, he decided to give up his business and go back to Uni, in his mid-40’s.  I was happy to take over all family financial responsibilities, as I had a decent job, though I was casual (no maternity pay or sick leave etc., even though I am in Australia).  Then a contraceptive oops (never rely on the rhythm method, ladies!) led to me falling pregnant with our youngest child while he was in his first year of his program.  He decided that it must have been deliberate on my part (definitely not true!) to “sabotage” his degree.  It was a convenient excuse for just-barely passing grades, which stemmed from lack of study and late assessment submission.  He also refused to take even part time work to help out, since there would be no pay for me as a casual worker who was not working.  X claimed I had to sort it out since I “did it on purpose,” so I started work again only two weeks after my c-section (working from home part time, thanks to a truly lovely boss, even though it is extremely unusual for someone in my country to be back at work so soon after a birth).  I also (stupidly!) paid for daily child care once I went back to the office a few months later, so X could concentrate on his studies.  (It didn’t help his grades for the next few years!)

After X finished his degree, a few years later, he got a decent job in his new field for a while, but it didn’t last after he ended up in yelling matches with his boss.  He then proceeded to remain unemployed for 3 years.  During this time (and in fact, most of our marriage after the first few years) he did basically no housework.  Our older 2 kids were in school and the youngest was in day care, so that he could “job search” aka (I later learned) play Facebook games. I was doing all the housework, working full time and doing most of the parenting of our young kids. Eventually he would find a blue collar job, unrelated to his degree.  (Nothing wrong with blue collar – it’s my background, but he has a huge chip on his shoulder about it not paying enough etc., plus he always put my family down for being working class.)

After starting his current job, 6 years ago, X kept going back to uni to do part time study, since I had a Masters degree and he thought, as he said to me “If you can do it, it must be easy.”  However, he didn’t do well at his various post-grad courses, because he didn’t like to put the work in, his lecturers were, in his view, wrong about his “superior” (i.e. wrong) understanding of the work, he wouldn’t submit work, or he would submit it very late.  He couldn’t stand any less than perfect marks or feedback, and would rage or refuse to read any critical feedback.  Also, if I wouldn’t rewrite his work for him for perfect marks late on the night it was due, and not in an area that I have ever studied, I was “sabotaging” him again. (I refused to do his work, as that is plagiarism, plus I am now an academic in a completely unrelated field of study.)  If he didn’t start work on something until weeks after it was due, it was always somehow my fault. 

So, time wore on.  I am doing well in a professional job, while he is working a job that he would have ridiculed 10 years before. He got nastier, meaner and more overt in his verbal abuse. It became very common for him to walk into the house and criticise everyone, on whatever excuse he could find.  His insults to me became more common and vicious.  I have put on weight and he frequently commented on how “disgusting” I look at a larger size and what a turn off I was (until he wanted sex, then it was just a joke).  He belittled me frequently.  If I protested his nasty insults, then it was just a joke and I had no sense of humour and was trying to control or change him, which he claimed was abuse.  If I tried to discuss anything, e.g. him doing a share of housework, him treating me with disrespect, etc., he took it as an attack (I know, classic narcissist!) and would claim I was abusing him, no matter how calmly I tried to talk.  He got into gaslighting and crazy making.  

He repeatedly accused me of having affairs.  That may have been a guilty conscience.  He lied about some odd rashes and bumps for 5 years, then finally told me it was herpes and HPV.  He justified lying and exposing me to the viruses by saying I must have cheated and given it to him, or that I am well educated and should have diagnosed the rash (I am NOT in any field remotely related to science or medicine!) or that he was embarrassed and worried I would accuse him of cheating.  Pick your own adventure, I guess, but the ending is that I have never slept with anyone other than X after being molested as a 5-year-old and now have STD’s thanks to the jerk.  

He was also sometimes harsh with our kids, though I would put a quick stop to nastiness to them.  I have since found out that he would wait until I was asleep and then wake them to berate and belittle them.  He was also violent to our older 2 kids when I wasn’t there (only recently became aware of the extent of this, too).

I knew all of this was emotionally abusive, but had the classic DV victim blend of hope for change if only he understood (based on good days), sense of responsibility for managing the relationship and wondering if me getting angry meant I was abusive, as he claimed (typical, I now know!).  As I got more aware of the abuse pattern, I kept setting up stronger boundaries and he kept escalating the abuse, presumably because he could see his control evaporating.  However, I kept hoping that he could change and we could return to those initial happy years.  On bad days, I considered leaving and researched logistics, but on good days, I thought maybe I was overreacting (yep, typical response to narc gaslighting etc. again).

Well, our D16 has suffered from a mixed anxiety and depression disorder for almost 2 years.  I kept (stupidly) thinking that if I could just get X to understand that he was hurting her emotionally with his criticisms, he would stop.  Until very recently, I had no idea that 2 of D16’s suicide attempts came after X was berating her at night (though he knew, and when recently confronted said she was trying to guilt trip him and get attention).  Finally, her therapists called our state child safety team (when D16 said that she was scared of her dad’s angry outbursts and that he might hit her again).  Upon investigation, they said that they thought our kids were physically safe, since I was a “protective parent” but that I had to get X into parenting classes and marriage counselling.  I tried, but he refused to go and then there was another incident.  On that occasion, X shoved D14 again and again, D16 pushed X back from D14 with a steady hold on X’s arm.  X claimed D16 was physically abusing him and is an abuser (she is a very tall girl and X claims she is stronger than him).  We spoke to D16’s therapist the next day.  The therapist reported X again to child safety.   While we were discussing things, I said that X really loved the kids (in his twisted narc limited capacity, I actually think he does, at least as favoured possessions) and that if only I could get him to see that he was hurting them, he would stop.  The therapist then said something that suddenly crystallised all my concerns about the emotional abuse, destroyed my lingering hope/fantasy of change and made me really see he would never change.  She asked “how long have you been trying?”  I choked out “years” and decided then and there to leave X.  The kids then told me the extent of stuff that happened when I wasn’t there or was asleep, so that just firmed my intention to leave.

So, we found a place and moved out within the week.  Our lives are smoother and happier.  The kids are better off.  I am reading everything I can get my hands on, to help me (these forums, Lundy Bancroft and Patricia Evans in particular). I am lucky that I have always worked and had the financial capacity to leave.  I have set hard boundaries around any contact with X (respectful, not coming in my house with D16, who does NOT want to see him).

X is hoovering hard.  Some seem sweet, but I know after reading that they are manipulations.  He was sending me texts about how he loved and missed us.  How he wants to do counselling now (after years of me begging and being told, quote, “categorically no”). He tries to send gifts and proposes “dates” (not gonna happen!).  Some are silly, like texts about how he now wanted to get a pet, as he knows I love animals and I took all of ours with me (because I love them and they are mine, but he also used to threaten them and said he would have them put down if I didn’t take them with me). He generously (haha) offered to pay ¼ of the projected child support assessment (there will be a surprise for him when we get the official assessment soon!).

However, he keeps doing things to remind me why I left.  Lovely example just this week: He called me to claim someone broke into his (our jointly owned) home and allegedly stole D16’s bike that was still there and some of his jewellery (worth a lot more than mine!).  First he wanted to blame D16 to me, but asked me not to tell anyone he thought it was her. (She was with me all day, so I know it was complete bulldust.) Then, when I was just stonewalling on that one, it was a pity party about how his life is awful, I left, he is all lonely and now this happens.  Then he asked about insurance.  I have kept paying the house insurance on that house because I own it jointly with him and don’t trust him to insure it.  However, we have not had contents insurance for quite a while, because he wanted to cut costs ages ago and refused to pay. (Until the last few years, we had crappy stuff I could afford to replace and decent savings, so no big deal to me.)  He knew I had renewed the building insurance and expected that I should have insured his contents.  (Why would I insure someone else’s house contents, especially someone who is trying to weasel out of paying child support?)  However, when I reminded him that we had not had contents insurance for years, he said I should have got it for him, raged that I was a “slack lady dog” and hung up.  Yeah, X you are a real charmer and I am definitely going to consider your lovely recent offer to take me back, if only I lose some weight.

So that’s my story.  Another person sucked in by a narc, emotionally abused, trying too hard for too long to fix the unfixable, and still stupidly a bit in love with the person he would be in the increasingly rare good times.  I just wish that I had left years sooner to better protect my kids. Now, I just have to keep strong in the face of the hoovering (though he is making that easy at the moment!)  It’s over and I’m out, hence the ‘nym :)

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Your story could be mine with details changed to protect the identity of those involved. It's crazy how alike they are, and how alike we are. Welcome. We can help support each other through the process. No contact is the way to go. It would be better to stick to e-mail for necessary communication and skip the phone calls entirely.

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Thanks Bennu! I'm sorry you (and everyone else here) has lived through such similar stuff.  

I totally agree on limiting contact.  However, I have been caught a couple of times recently.  The break in story came when he called my daughter and asked her to put me on her mobile phone.  He could have texted me, which is how we have been handling info about him seeing D14, who still wants to see her dad.  However, he chose a call to D14.  I am going to make it clear that's not how to contact me.  

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Welcome Over and Out from another Aussie.

Over the years there have been quite a few people through this site that have been in very long term relationships so you are certainly not the only one who spent years and years trying to make things work.

Counseling is definitely a very bad idea. It does not work where one partner is abusing the other. It often actually makes things worse.

The less contact you have the easier it gets to get on with your life and heal. His sorries are only for himself as he has known all along what he has been doing and that it hurt you.

Being jealous of the children is par for the course. They can't stand anyone else being the center of attention for even a moment.

If you can try to join a local support group or get counseling for yourself preferably with someone with a good understanding of abuse related issues.

Please join in the discussions here. I certainly believe it helps with the healing process.

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Over and out I am crying! 

So sorry you have dealt with this jerk. You did not deserve to end up with him. My mother was raped at the age of three. Attempted to be raped by the same sibling at the age of 12. She has had a horrible time trying to find the right set of compassion for her. It took her 5 husbands. I myself married a narcissistic personality. The conversation I had with my mother was we would not have seen that one coming. You hope it was one event and you try to heal. You do everything in your power to say I want great. I am in it for the long haul. You know what that is exactly what those abuser are looking for. For some reasons, because my family was surviving not compiling memories of self-worth. My abuser walked in giving my mom flowers and me a smaller bouquet. My own wedding bouquet was purchased by one of his clients. I can relate to what you say. You did deserve someone that cherished you as a mom and not a sexual object. It was not you. You still have much more to go through because this man chose to love himself. I am glad you found us. Who relates to me the daughter of a woman that went no contact with an entire family. Men do not look at me as a prize. Finding men with a sense of care is hard and sometimes other things do not work on them proper, I tell you a man that is willing to get to know me, spend time with me, not belittle me, and care is huge. I can't yank a wonderful family out for this man. It has been ravaged by my mom bring raped. She did the best she could. No one did anything for her. You have done great things for your kids. Keep loving them and being a good mom. The only love they might feel is yours. God bless you!!!! 

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I'm taking steps myself to get out of a relationship but I've only been in it 3 years. Luckily no kids. I'm afraid I might be sterile but right now I'm grateful for that fact. I know no one regrets the children but I know it does make it much harder. Mine has kids and I feel responsible for them now. I understand so much of your story through living my own and it's awful that people like that are out there. I'm glad you got out. I'm building up the nerve to confront mine once and for all (I told him it was over but he's supposed to be saving up to move out. He's not of course and he's being super sweet now that we're broken up) My favorite songs right now are by Sara Bareilles "She Used to be Mine"(very sad but empowering) and "King of Anything" (super super catchy and makes me smile and dance around).

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Thanks for all your kind welcomes and your lovely words of support.

I am glad now that we didn't make it to counselling, especially after reading here, Bancroft's 'Why Does He Do That' and Evans' 'The verbally abusive relationship.'  X is definitely the type who would use it against me.  When I moved out, and he begged for me to come back, I told him that he would have to attend abuser therapy at one of the local DV programs in our major city and to demonstrate a major long term change for me to consider coming back.  Instead of doing that, he said that I should also attend abuser therapy and that he would go to his work EAP free therapy and see if they referred him further.  I imagine that visit will be full of stories about how he is so terribly abused (by me yelling on the occasions that I finally snapped after weeks of put downs, crazy making, silent treatment etc) or ignored and expected to do everything (in actuality, me asking him to do some, far from all, housework). He will then crow to all his friends and family that he was abused, he went to therapy and I cruelly refused to take him back.  Pretty sure that there will be no good faith abuser therapy and that any couples therapy would have been an unmitigated disaster.  I don't care about his performance of therapy, if he is not getting the actual help that would make a difference.  I stated my intention and now will not discuss it again or get sucked in by his foolishness.  He either shows he is consistently working to change over the next few years or not.  I have no patience for any other excuses or crap.

I also keep thinking of so much more stuff that I didn't put above.  It's amazing how we block it out and normalise it.  I'm actually now making a "keep strong list" of abusive stuff that I remember, so that I can look it over when I miss him or the hoovering gets to me.

I do miss him, as so many others missed their abusive spouses at first.  The "good" him, on the fun days, seemed like the love of my life.  However, he has worn that paper thin as the Mr Hyde version took over and taught me that he doesn't really love anyone, even his very insecure self.  

Curly: Hi fellow Aussie!  I am up in Brisbane.  I am looking at support groups.  Reading here has been a great help, too.  It is amazing how many of us have similar experiences and tips.  

Morning Glory:  I am so sorry to hear how your mum has suffered, and you in turn.  I am hoping that I am making a good life for my kids and that I am a good parent.  They say so, but then, kids do say stuff like that (I don't ask, but they have said it at different times, voluntarily).

Clurichan: (((hugs))) That is a hard situation.  Sorry to hear that you may be infertile, as you appear to want kids.  

Getting the ex to move out would be hard.  I took the easy way out and just moved out.  However, I must admit, the joint home and his adamant statements over years that if we ever split, he would not move, made me pull back at other times I thought about leaving.  Also, I am lucky to have financial resources that let me make the choice.

X will eventually be moving anyway, as the house will have to be sold as part of any property settlement that we have.  

I have been listening to "I Will Survive", "Paper Roses" and a few other break up songs that I have on a rather apt cheap CD.  Good to sing along to in the car!

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You understand where he is coming from. It's only excuses and false promises. The love of your life was the "him" that the two of you invented for you. He presented the facade based on what you told him about what you wanted. It was never the "him" that he is and was. I still find myself thinking back fondly, then the ick factor comes in as the reality hits again. The thought of that monster touching me sexually might be enough to turn me off sex forever.

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Over and Out

You sound like an incredibly strong person. It's wonderful you've left him and you're free. 

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You're inspiring me *hugs* You're amazing

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On 9/30/2016 at 1:56 AM, Over and Out said:

ThI am glad now that we didn't make it to counselling, especially after reading here, Bancroft's 'Why Does He Do That' and Evans' 'The verbally abusive relationship.'  X is definitely the type who would use it against me.  When I moved out, and he begged for me to come back, I told him that he would have to attend abuser therapy at one of the local DV programs in our major city and to demonstrate a major long term change for me to consider coming back.  Instead of doing that, he said that I should also attend abuser therapy and that he would go to his work EAP free therapy and see if they referred him further.  I imagine that visit will be full of stories about how he is so terribly abused (by me yelling on the occasions that I finally snapped after weeks of put downs, crazy making, silent treatment etc) or ignored and expected to do everything (in actuality, me asking him to do some, far from all, housework). He will then crow to all his friends and family that he was abused, he went to therapy and I cruelly refused to take him back.  Pretty sure that there will be no good faith abuser therapy and that any couples therapy would have been an unmitigated disaster.  I don't care about his performance of therapy, if he is not getting the actual help that would make a difference.  I stated my intention and now will not discuss it again or get sucked in by his foolishness.  He either shows he is consistently working to change over the next few years or not.  I have no patience for any other excuses or crap.

 

(my bold)

Abusers don't change. They are wired the way they are - it's not like it's just habits or "behaviors" they can suddenly see and understand and care about and then work toward changing. Any changes of behavior are just surface level anyway. An act to get you to think they're "trying to change." What they are is what they are. 

So asking or trying to get an abuser to change into a "normal" person is like asking them to grow an extra set of legs and, while they're at it, become a giraffe. It's simply not what they are, and not within their capacity. 

The thing is, they suck us in......  and it's confusing because the part that we "like" is ... well, we figure that if we could just excise out the "abusive" part, then all would be great. But the abusive part comes from their core mind-set - who they are inside - how they experience and navigate the world - it's basically their operating system.  

And even if they did "change," what would be left is something no one knows. They might become basically an entirely different person than what we might expect. It's not like they'd just be the "good" and leave the "evil" behind. The abusive mind-set is interwoven and intertwined with every aspect of their being. It comes from the way they are. It's not just "coping behaviors" or such. It's the outward expression of who they are inside. They'd basically have to re-wire their entire personhood - and it might not be the same person at all, as what we'd want, anyway. Even if it were within the realm of possibility to accomplish that. 

Another thing that I think is really important to remember is, in most cases, the abuser's "love" for their partner is not "love" the way we think it is, or the way we experience it. They view us more as an object - their object, and extension of them. As something they use, in order to meet their needs. They will sometimes put on a good show and do whatever is necessary in order to give the appearance of a healthy, caring relationship - but any abusive relationship is ultimately about control and manipulation. They do not have empathy. They do not respect the person you are. That's not why they're with you. They don't really care who you are or what makes you tick (except to figure it out so that they can control you better to meet their own needs). 

Once a person realizes that their abusive partner does not "see" them - and does not really "love" or respect them as a unique, individual person - it is very freeing. It frees you from the connection, the hope, the possibility. It's sad and angerfying and upsetting but also at the same time, it is freedom. 

I was in a very abusive, very controlling relationship once that was also potentially the LOML. I mean, seriously and for real. And this guy did have empathy (of a sort) and he did care (in his way) and I will probably always have a very, very fond place in my heart for him. And unlike most, we were able to remain on a friendly (but almost no-contact) basis, after the storm of the relationship ending. But when I think about the glimpses I had of what really was going on inside his head...  and some of the things that happened during it... and then, once he did seek help, the way it was all twisted around onto me...     it was upsetting that my feelings were so confused. And that very confusion is indicative of an abusive, unhealthy relationship. One that can never be healthy.

But the glimpses of what is going on inside them is the real deal. That's what's real. It's not just something that rears its head every now and then. It's what is boiling inside them all the time. The glimpses are where the cracks in the earth's crust let the lava spill out. But there is always that molten lava beneath the surface. Always.

 

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I could not understand the lack of respect for me from my X. There was no reason. I kept trying to be what he wanted but I never was ok. It was confusing because I couldn't do any more I tried so hard and he seemed to hate me. 

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15 hours ago, Quaddie said:

Another thing that I think is really important to remember is, in most cases, the abuser's "love" for their partner is not "love" the way we think it is, or the way we experience it. They view us more as an object - their object, and extension of them. As something they use, in order to meet their needs. They will sometimes put on a good show and do whatever is necessary in order to give the appearance of a healthy, caring relationship - but any abusive relationship is ultimately about control and manipulation. They do not have empathy. They do not respect the person you are. That's not why they're with you. They don't really care who you are or what makes you tick (except to figure it out so that they can control you better to meet their own needs). 

Once a person realizes that their abusive partner does not "see" them - and does not really "love" or respect them as a unique, individual person - it is very freeing. It frees you from the connection, the hope, the possibility. It's sad and angerfying and upsetting but also at the same time, it is freedom. 

I was in a very abusive, very controlling relationship once that was also potentially the LOML. I mean, seriously and for real. And this guy did have empathy (of a sort) and he did care (in his way) and I will probably always have a very, very fond place in my heart for him. And unlike most, we were able to remain on a friendly (but almost no-contact) basis, after the storm of the relationship ending. But when I think about the glimpses I had of what really was going on inside his head...  and some of the things that happened during it... and then, once he did seek help, the way it was all twisted around onto me...     it was upsetting that my feelings were so confused. And that very confusion is indicative of an abusive, unhealthy relationship. One that can never be healthy.

But the glimpses of what is going on inside them is the real deal. That's what's real. It's not just something that rears its head every now and then. It's what is boiling inside them all the time. The glimpses are where the cracks in the earth's crust let the lava spill out. But there is always that molten lava beneath the surface. Always.

 

Oh my gosh, Quaddie, your relationship and feelings sound very, very like mine, except that I am low contact for now.

The way you expressed things really is so perfect.  I don't think he really comprehends me as a person with my own thoughts and feelings.

What you said about "the possibility" is eye opening.  I think I was living for hope and possibilities for years.  I am so used to it that it lingers in the corners of my mind.  I needed to see that and your words really help.

Kanga: (((hugs))) It really wasn't your fault.  As Quaddie and everything else I have read about abusers and/or narcissists said, they really can't comprehend the humanity of others.  I also think that many have no respect for women.  I suspect that some may be so messed up that they also despise anyone who loves them, because they secretly feel unloveable and think we must be fools to love them.  They want our admiration, but knowing it is based on their lies, have contempt for us for being fooled and giving it.

I also think we are not supposed to become what they want. What they want is for us to feel upset and confused, to constantly seek their approval and to have the power to make us change ourselves.  If we become what they say they want, then they want something else, so they can keep getting that fix of power over us.  

Mine always had something new that he tried to make me change.  When I put on wait, he harped on that.  If I lost weight, it was my hair, or voice or housekeeping or whatever he could latch onto next.  

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5 hours ago, Over and Out said:

 I suspect that some may be so messed up that they also despise anyone who loves them, because they secretly feel unloveable and think we must be fools to love them.  They want our admiration, but knowing it is based on their lies, have contempt for us for being fooled and giving it.

I also think we are not supposed to become what they want. What they want is for us to feel upset and confused, to constantly seek their approval and to have the power to make us change ourselves.  If we become what they say they want, then they want something else, so they can keep getting that fix of power over us.  

Mine always had something new that he tried to make me change.  When I put on wait, he harped on that.  If I lost weight, it was my hair, or voice or housekeeping or whatever he could latch onto next.  

You described this well. That's exactly it. They want you jumping through hoops trying to please them. They respect us even less if they succeed in manipulating you, and then they don't want us at all. It makes life such a battle. It's exhausting.

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I feel sickened by this. He never wanted to be happy with me. He got too much secret pleasure from manipulation. Isn't life hard enough? Isn't life busy enough without twisting up someone else's perspective?  I say to abusers get a life, get a hobby, get lots of hobbies. Fix just one of the problems of our world. There are lots to choose from. Why not use up all that energy and capacity to think/plan to build something rather than personally destroy someone you promised to cherish. 

Urgh I'm bitter and very very sad at the moment. 

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Oh Kanga (((((hugs)))))

I choose to believe that my X, though frequently an a'hole, was just irredemiably broken.  He had a bad childhood in many ways, including being the child of two people who appeared to me to be both manipulative and abusive narcissists. It's easier for me than thinking he just woke up and decided to be evil. I hope pitying him helps me to be less bitter, though I am still pretty darn angry and sad

Of course, over the years that opened me up to the trap of seeing him as Darth Vader - all that 'there is good in him' stuff!  I now see that this Vader won't change with me around. I can't heal his childhood pain.  He has to do that and won't even admit it exists. Still, I don't have to stay and be his storm trooper.

I like what you say about wasted energy.  I hadn't thought about it, but all that time and planning could be used so differently.  Instead they use it to frighten, demean and alienate all the people close to them and then wonder why they are alone. I think they steal our energy, too, while we battle and recover from abuse. They really are pathetic, aren't they?

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10 hours ago, Kanga said:

I feel sickened by this. He never wanted to be happy with me. He got too much secret pleasure from manipulation. Isn't life hard enough? Isn't life busy enough without twisting up someone else's perspective?  I say to abusers get a life, get a hobby, get lots of hobbies. Fix just one of the problems of our world. There are lots to choose from. Why not use up all that energy and capacity to think/plan to build something rather than personally destroy someone you promised to cherish. 

Urgh I'm bitter and very very sad at the moment. 

Exactly, your life partner should not be your daily sparing partner but someone who fights on your side making life easier.

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