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JamesF

Verbally abused man

54 posts in this topic

Im glad i finally found a site to share my story. I'm a man in his early 30s with a great career, house, and lots of blessings. Ive been married a little over a year, first marriage. 2 months after the marriage I started noticing changes. It started with her saying "I want a divorce" or "I'm going to move out" and progressed to the point where I never know what will set her off. I started asking others if this is normal and if marriage is supposed to be like this and everyone says no. I finally googled something like "my wife yells at me and is mean" and found lots of info on verbal abuse. I've bought 5 Kindle books on the subject and the more I read the more I realized she was definitely v.a. I've heard things from f you to I hate you to I'm a bad father, been told what I think, how feel, and lots in between. The worst part is after awhile you start believing those lies. I started asking for advice and my coworkers had apparently noticed at our Christmas party how she was acting toward me. I was shocked! I just figured it was how she was. 

I've tried everything I can, be nice when she yells, criticizes, withholds, name calls, etc and it doesn't work. If I try to match her to avoid getting run over she increases the abuse. 

I have the cycle down now. It goes like this. Abuse, withdraw, attempted apology, she's really nice, then slowly goes back to  getting irritated easily with me. I really do not believe in divorce but I've given this many chances and it is not getting better. What should I do? We have tried counseling and talking to our pastor but it hasn't helped. I am always watching what I say to avoid her explosions as much as possible. I don't tell her things because I know it will upset her. I know it's not very often that a man is abused this way according to Patricia Evans, who I've gotten lots of advice from. I feel like life is too short to live this way with someone who's going to disrespect me. It worries me that all women are like this. 

 

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Why Does He Do That in the minds of angry and controlling me by Lundy Bancroft. 

Im sure you'll see your wife in there even though it's about male abusers.

The Wheel of Abuse on the Internet. You'll see the cycle.

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I will have to buy that book next. So far it's been very eye opening on how much in those books sounds just like my wife.

I thought I should add that it always feels like when we fight she tries to tear me down and our relationship and undermine it. I'm honestly at the end of what I can take from her I'm miserable and feel uneasy in my own home. The only time I feel peaceful is when she's not home or sleeping. What do I do?

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I'm sorry you are going through this. Your situation sounds very similar to mine except it's my husband. The only time I am comfortable is when he is at work (works a night shift so I am home at night alone). Everything I do seems to set him off. It's like walking on eggshells. I recently downloaded the book mentioned above onto my phone and it does have a lot of useful information. I am also at a point where I am just trying to figure out what is best for me and my son as I don't want to live the rest of my life like this. I hope you can find what you are looking for and can figure out your situation. 

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I tried to fix it for years. It couldn't be fixed. The only way for me to fix things was to leave. Someone who enjoys being an abuser will not stop.

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In my case it's not always it's one instance every 2 or 3 weeks. It was worse before but somehow I said stop you will not continue to talk to me in that way. The scars are still very fresh and our pastor told me to forgive her which I have, but forget which I cannot do. To forget to me is me saying oh it's ok, and it's not. 

I'm thankful that I'm past the "is it something I'm doing to set her off" stage and have realized. All of the abuse has pushed me so far away that I feel no connection to her no love nothing. It's very hard to be even a little affectionate with her. She's getting frustrated about that but honestly I can't flip the switch and pop back into it. The relationship feels fake, like a lie. There's no way you can love someone but say horrible things just to hurt people back because inside they're hurting. 

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Feeling affection for someone who treats you badly was impossible for me. That was a big complaint from my ex. He blamed me for punishing him but I really wasn't. I just couldn't feel it. Before I could get over the previous time there would be another one. You can't maintain affection that way.

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Sounds like you are dealing with the cycle of abuse. Most abusive relationships follow this pattern.

You can not change your wife. Her behaviour is not about anything you do or don't do. Her behaviour is about her own issues. The only way this is going to change is if she decides she needs to change and she is prepared to go through some serious and intense therapy.

The only person you can change is you. Fighting back or reacting to the abuse will not make things any better. The best response is to distance yourself and not react to the abuse. Not so easy.

Just know you do not deserve to be abused.

 

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2 hours ago, Curly said:

Sounds like you are dealing with the cycle of abuse. Most abusive relationships follow this pattern.

You can not change your wife. Her behaviour is not about anything you do or don't do. Her behaviour is about her own issues. The only way this is going to change is if she decides she needs to change and she is prepared to go through some serious and intense therapy.

The only person you can change is you. Fighting back or reacting to the abuse will not make things any better. The best response is to distance yourself and not react to the abuse. Not so easy.

Just know you do not deserve to be abused.

 

She says she wants to change and work it out but I'm very apprehensive about it. The good times make it hard to separate but the bad times aren't healthy. 

I found the best response is to say stop or something similar. You're right reacting doesn't work neither does fighting back. Thank all of you for the support so far. I never thought I'd go through something like this. Talking about it helps me tremendously.

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I'm really sorry you're going through this, JamesF :(

At the end of your original post, you said it's been worrying you that all women act this way. I just want to say--and I hope it might ease your mind even just a little bit--that in my relatively short life, I've known so many truly kind women. Even the best of us human people have our "moments," but this sounds like the cycle of abuse.

I don't know if this really helps at all, but here's a quick list off the top of my head of famous godly women. Some are no longer living, but here goes:

-- Corrie ten Boom (helped hide persecuted people during WWII in her family's Haarlem watch shop; her book The Hiding Place has helped me feel more hopeful in the past)

-- Elizabeth Elliot (missionary)

-- Ruth & Naomi (you've probably heard about them!) in the Old Testament book of Ruth

-- Abigail, 1 Samuel 25 & a little bit of 2 Samuel (maybe her, too, haha)

--Mother Theresa

--Denise Levertov (poet)

Here's a (hopefully) somewhat tangible list of the first names of compassionate, gracious, wonderful, "ordinary" women still living who I look up to & I have had the opportunity to know personally:

Nancy, Jane, Emily, Janice, Peggy, Sheridan, Rachel, Lois, Abby, Eliza, Judy, Judith, Alyssa, Julie, Julia, Olivia, Marilyn, Mercedes, Annie, Carina, Elizabeth, Kirstyn, April, Sarah, Sarah, Sarah, Kayleigh, Hanna, Hannah, Jessica, Jean, Lynn, Michelle, Shelby, Pam, Brett, Kaitlyn, Kaitlyn (not a duplicate! :) ), Roberta, Ellen, Amy, Monica...the list could go on!

Take care, and peace to you,

Ether

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You are not alone. You described my 20+ year marriage to a T. I saw my first therapist while dating him and I should have turned and run then. 

We also counseled with our pastor. Forgiving is good but forgetting is not only impossible, it's not even healthy. We need to remember as a way to protect ourselves. The Bible says to forgive but it doesn't say forget. Humans added that part and they are wrong. It's also hard to forgive a behavior if it's still happening. If she apologizes and changes her behavior, even then she needs to be patient while she proves herself to you and earns your trust back. Usually abusers say, "I apologized now get over it. Why won't you let it go?" They want instant results but emotional pain doesn't heal that quickly. 

It happens to a lot of guys and we have several on the board. I hope they see this and pop in to help.  

I tried to make my marriage work too. I was uber committed and endured a lot. Since you say you get some results from telling her to stop, check out books on Boundaries. Since you recognize that she was verbally abused also, SHE needs to do the work to get help in that area. If she gets help and you instill boundaries, that just might work. You both have work to do.

But typically abusers deny they have a problem and blame all their bad behavior on you.  Thus they won't get help. If they go to a therapist, they often aren't even honest with the therapist, therefore it doesn't work. 

My marriage ended a year ago when the bad times outweighed the good for many years. I think he is getting worse with age. I left and we separated and then I could she more clearly what was going on. We "dated" each other and saw the pastor weekly and I think we both tried our best. I decided this is just the way he is and it's not fair to ask him to change who he is. And like you, I couldn't live that way any longer. During our separation things got weird to the point I fear him and that made things more clear and the ending more...I was more confident I was doing the right thing. 

They say they love you but their actions say they don't even like us! How can you complain about every move I make, yell at me, pick a fight and then say you love me??? That's not love. 

1 Corinthians 13 love is patient and kind....go read the rest of that. That is our measuring stick for love. Is that what you have? It's not what I had. 

When I started daring at 14 my grandfather sat me down and told me to compare my dates to 1 Corinthians 13. Now, all these decades later, I put it on my living room wall to remind me to do this from now on. 

Good luck. This group has a lot of wisdom and will support you In whatever you choose. 

Also the book "why does he do that"....if you dig online, you can find a free download. 

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For whatever reason I keep picking women with attitudes of "I'm not taking crap from anybody" dominant, sometimes vile women. I don't necessarily want a mother Theresa, but there has to be kind, loving women out there. I'm not perfect, but my thinking is why be mean? You never know when someone just needs a little kindness. 

Thank you for all the Bible scripture I will go read them all for guidance. I'm glad there are a lot of Christian's on here. 

She used to say I'm sorry, but after awhile I feel like if someone was truly sorry they would just stop. It loses its impact to the point that it feels fake, forced, and a way to be like ok sorry now move on. None of our fights are resolved unless I force talking which ends up with her rolling her eyes or saying whatever to get me to give up. It took awhile to figure this out, before I would be so confused and down. I've had people at work I've never confined to ask if I'm ok. I wear my emotions out in the open, and this whole thing affects my work. It's embarrassing that people see it. 

She knows she has a problem, but I'm not sure she knows what makes her angry and lash out. I keep telling her to go talk to someone, figure out why. I have forgiven her, but you are totally right to forget leaves me unprotected. It makes you not trust your gut, which most times is correct. We've spent this week pretending, is how it feels. I feel guilty feeling like giving up, but in my heart I know I deserve better. Like I said before, the bad times are once every few weeks, so the good makes things more difficult and confusing. 

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9 hours ago, blueskye said:

You are not alone. You described my 20+ year marriage to a T. I saw my first therapist while dating him and I should have turned and run then. 

We also counseled with our pastor. Forgiving is good but forgetting is not only impossible, it's not even healthy. We need to remember as a way to protect ourselves. The Bible says to forgive but it doesn't say forget. Humans added that part and they are wrong. It's also hard to forgive a behavior if it's still happening. If she apologizes and changes her behavior, even then she needs to be patient while she proves herself to you and earns your trust back. Usually abusers say, "I apologized now get over it. Why won't you let it go?" They want instant results but emotional pain doesn't heal that quickly. 

It happens to a lot of guys and we have several on the board. I hope they see this and pop in to help.  

I tried to make my marriage work too. I was uber committed and endured a lot. Since you say you get some results from telling her to stop, check out books on Boundaries. Since you recognize that she was verbally abused also, SHE needs to do the work to get help in that area. If she gets help and you instill boundaries, that just might work. You both have work to do.

But typically abusers deny they have a problem and blame all their bad behavior on you.  Thus they won't get help. If they go to a therapist, they often aren't even honest with the therapist, therefore it doesn't work. 

My marriage ended a year ago when the bad times outweighed the good for many years. I think he is getting worse with age. I left and we separated and then I could she more clearly what was going on. We "dated" each other and saw the pastor weekly and I think we both tried our best. I decided this is just the way he is and it's not fair to ask him to change who he is. And like you, I couldn't live that way any longer. During our separation things got weird to the point I fear him and that made things more clear and the ending more...I was more confident I was doing the right thing. 

They say they love you but their actions say they don't even like us! How can you complain about every move I make, yell at me, pick a fight and then say you love me??? That's not love. 

1 Corinthians 13 love is patient and kind....go read the rest of that. That is our measuring stick for love. Is that what you have? It's not what I had. 

When I started daring at 14 my grandfather sat me down and told me to compare my dates to 1 Corinthians 13. Now, all these decades later, I put it on my living room wall to remind me to do this from now on. 

Good luck. This group has a lot of wisdom and will support you In whatever you choose. 

Also the book "why does he do that"....if you dig online, you can find a free download. 

Your grandfather was a very wise man, I wish mine had sat me down like that! You're right, yelling and being inpatient and saying terrible things just to hurt others is not love. You are more calm than me to put up with 20 years worth of this. I almost feel like you're telling me to get out now don't wait. I'm sorry you went through that and hope your life gets better and you look back and say that was a great decision. 

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3 hours ago, JamesF said:

Your grandfather was a very wise man, I wish mine had sat me down like that! 

It didn't help. Lol! I was young and stubborn. 

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She seems to be staying somewhat reserved this weekend, but if I'm being honest it feels too late. I feel guilty feeling this way, but I want more than anything to just be done. The tension, walking on eggshells, fear, etc is tiring. Am I a bad person for wanting to end our relationship?

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JamesF 

HI and welcome. No, you are not a bad person for wanting to end your relationship.

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People break up with people all the time. It's a normal part of life (even if married). People deal with being broken-up with. It's not on you to preserve their "feelings" by wasting your life not breaking up with someone with whom you are not happy and who mistreats you.

What you are in is not a healthy or loving relationship. I believe that someone who treats you like that does not truly love you. They are usually objectifying, "using" you for their narcissistic supply or to just plain be their "thingie" (or toaster, or whatever analogy works that you are basically just a "thing" to them that is there to function for them in certain ways, but not because they truly love and enjoy the inner you).

So then, what you are feeling is normal and actually healthy. To have a lack of affection toward someone who treats you like cr*p is healthy. It's normal. 

Abusers are very, very good at making their target feel guilty for wanting to do anything that is healthy for you. There is no need to feel guilty for not wanting to waste your precious life with someone who does not treat you with love and care. And to be honest?? I'd caution you to get out ASAP.  The one thing you don't want is for her to get you more stuck by, say, getting pregnant. If I were you I'd get out of there as soon as you possibly can or even immediately. Take copies of all the important financial papers, anything that's utterly irreplaceable to you (like memorabilia) and put them in a safe place outside the home, and make your way out ASAP.

Another point is, you mentioned your co-workers noticing. This - while also embarrassing - does also unfortunately have the potential to impact your career negatively. Some employers and co-workers may not give you the same opportunities if they sense you are having issues at home.

You have a right to be happy. You have a right to not be abused or terrorized. 

And about all women being this way? Of course, we are not. ;)  You mentioned being drawn to a certain type. That's something that it would probably be a good idea to explore in counseling by and for yourself. Not couples' counseling, but individual therapy. And then, once you are free from this abuser, it's always wise to take a good, long time to really figure out why your "picker" is off, and to work on the self and on boundaries so that you can engage in healthy relationships and learn to spot unhealthy ones sooner to avoid them.  It's not usually a good idea to go from one abusive relationship into a new relationship without spending a good deal of time and effort on healing and learning about the self. 

So you needn't worry about whether there are non-abusive gals out there right now. There are, but right now your focus is on getting yourself healthy and getting out of this dangerous situation. And it is dangerous. It impacts your health. It impacts your career. It impacts your precious life. You don't want to waste your life being on eggshells. Guilt is pressure from the "outside." It's not something real that you need to allow to run your life. Everything in you knows that this is bad and wrong and harmful to you. It's okay to protect yourself and free yourself from abuse. You have that right. Everyone does.

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1 hour ago, Quaddie said:

People break up with people all the time. It's a normal part of life (even if married). People deal with being broken-up with. It's not on you to preserve their "feelings" by wasting your life not breaking up with someone with whom you are not happy and who mistreats you.

What you are in is not a healthy or loving relationship. I believe that someone who treats you like that does not truly love you. They are usually objectifying, "using" you for their narcissistic supply or to just plain be their "thingie" (or toaster, or whatever analogy works that you are basically just a "thing" to them that is there to function for them in certain ways, but not because they truly love and enjoy the inner you).

So then, what you are feeling is normal and actually healthy. To have a lack of affection toward someone who treats you like cr*p is healthy. It's normal. 

Abusers are very, very good at making their target feel guilty for wanting to do anything that is healthy for you. There is no need to feel guilty for not wanting to waste your precious life with someone who does not treat you with love and care. And to be honest?? I'd caution you to get out ASAP.  The one thing you don't want is for her to get you more stuck by, say, getting pregnant. If I were you I'd get out of there as soon as you possibly can or even immediately. Take copies of all the important financial papers, anything that's utterly irreplaceable to you (like memorabilia) and put them in a safe place outside the home, and make your way out ASAP.

Another point is, you mentioned your co-workers noticing. This - while also embarrassing - does also unfortunately have the potential to impact your career negatively. Some employers and co-workers may not give you the same opportunities if they sense you are having issues at home.

You have a right to be happy. You have a right to not be abused or terrorized. 

And about all women being this way? Of course, we are not. ;)  You mentioned being drawn to a certain type. That's something that it would probably be a good idea to explore in counseling by and for yourself. Not couples' counseling, but individual therapy. And then, once you are free from this abuser, it's always wise to take a good, long time to really figure out why your "picker" is off, and to work on the self and on boundaries so that you can engage in healthy relationships and learn to spot unhealthy ones sooner to avoid them.  It's not usually a good idea to go from one abusive relationship into a new relationship without spending a good deal of time and effort on healing and learning about the self. 

So you needn't worry about whether there are non-abusive gals out there right now. There are, but right now your focus is on getting yourself healthy and getting out of this dangerous situation. And it is dangerous. It impacts your health. It impacts your career. It impacts your precious life. You don't want to waste your life being on eggshells. Guilt is pressure from the "outside." It's not something real that you need to allow to run your life. Everything in you knows that this is bad and wrong and harmful to you. It's okay to protect yourself and free yourself from abuse. You have that right. Everyone does.

I mostly feel guilty because I said before we married that I really don't believe in divorce. I really really do not, but she has destroyed a lot of this relationship by her words. The home is in my name, so it won't be me leaving. That makes it more difficult. She did ask again last night if I want to work out, again I said I'm not sure. She started saying that no matter what it won't be good enough, which is a crappy attitude to have. It almost makes it sound like she's not very motivated to change. She was trying to guilt trip me so I ended the conversation. 

 

The book suggested earlier "why does he do that" although about men, still blew mind last night. He talked about myths like "oh she's just got an angry personality" Turns out that's no excuse. It may sound silly and obvious, but inside the relationship like this you really start questioning trying to find a reason why so you can figure out how you can help. 

I really appreciate all of the support. This is a tough thing, and I'm not good with breakups at all. To make things harder, I have a child from a relationship that was also abusive and she loves my wife. It will be hard on my kid which makes it harder.

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It's terrible because like you say about worrying all women are like this, I've become suspicious of men as well. Except that I knew a man who was in that kind of situation before I got into my own, I'd believe it was all men doing it. His girlfriend was physically abusive as well though and once beat him up at the bar for holding a door for another woman. She claimed he winked at the girl and he just covered his face because he wouldn't hit a girl even to defend himself. So yeah there will always be more abusers out there. And there will always be victims. The good news is that since you found this place you now have support and a sounding board to help you see those red flags in the future. *hugs*

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Quaddie, as usual, you explain thing so well! Well said! I wish we had a like button on comments like on FB. 

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So sorry that you are going through this James .

I also do not believe in divorce . 

Having read stuff and from posting on this amazing site ,with its wealth of wisdom from hard experience .

I found the strength somehow to leave my realationship of 30 years , 23 of them married . 

My only regret now is that didn't realise sooner that I could not make a difference . I should have left 10 years ago . 

I found listening to Richard Gannon on you tube ( called sometimes the Spartan life coach ) really enlightening . Even with his background in psychology, he fell for an abusive women . I think you might find him helpful . He tells it like it is . Stick with him .

Keep safe and  strong ,nothing will change with her ,sadly .

And then read about what to expect after you leave ,so that you are prepared .

I wish you well . 

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James.............you may also want to visit the site "crying out for justice"............Christian based and very informative.  It is more geared to the abused wife, but again, the same principals and scriptures would apply.

I can't speak for all, but I believe that most of us here who have "gotten out" of these abusive relationships would concur that we should have gotten out much sooner, that the relationship never changes, and that we are mentally and spiritually healthier and have found peace.

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So I've got to be honest, I'm not 100% innocent in this. My reactions to her abuse haven't always been great. I've raised my voice a few times...like when she lacks empathy and other times to(thinking back she hasn't shown much the last couple years. I'll be sick in bed but she isn't nurturing or kind how I feel she should be. I get that men are babies when sick, but she appears not to care). Several books mentioned that sometimes men are actually the ones abusive and play the victim role... And I then try to think back combing through our fights to see if I'm the one actually doing it. I'm having problems separating the two. I'm not sure if it's part of the brain washing, or guilt, or what. 

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JamesF

I know this is a lot to take in. There is also a book called, "Daily wisdom for why does he do that?"  by Lundy Bancroft. I downloaded that one on kindle and I am glad I did. I would strongly suggest this book after you read , "Why Does He Do That?" by Lundy Bancroft. 

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Nobody is perfect, but that doesn't mean anyone deserves abuse.

 

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