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whitebutterfly11

Wondering if I'm Ready

43 posts in this topic

I've stopped, erased and restarted this post so many times, trying to find the words. It's been a long time since I've been here. (Hello dear people here!) :)

My way out of my abusive situation (which I've been in for 12+ years) has been round about. Over the course of several years, I've opened a my own bank account, started working, brought my concerns to a lawyer, left my religion (which was completely unsupportive of me leaving my marriage), and started up graduate school. It sounds like a lot reading it all now, but it took me a LONG time, and I agonized through each decision, feeling as if I was somehow being selfish, or delusional, or mistaken.

Then, a few months ago, I got sick and have spent the last four months trying to keep myself going with all of my educational, mental, and personal goals despite my health, which I am hoping is not chronic. I'm also dealing with trauma and mental issues because of longterm abuse. This has led me to hit a wall in my progress for awhile, and I'm trying to gather whatever strength I may have left in me to finally take the last step and leave.

I currently am completely confused about whether or not my situation can be called abusive. I definitely could have called it abusive for the first ten years, but now that I've been in counseling and learned to call out his abuse, the abuse doesn't happen very often, or if it does, it's subtle enough that I can't see it. The only proof I have that maybe he is still abusive is my unhappiness, anxiety, and depression.

My counselor of many years adamantly believes I am still being abused. I try VERY hard to believe her, and it's not so much that I don't believe her, it's that I don't believe that I've told her an adequate story of my life. She will advocate for me no matter what (because she's amazing), but I cannot help but feel like I've painted a picture of my life that sounds worse than it really is, or portrays my H to be more of an abusive person than he really is. My counselor believes I am heavily gaslighted by my H, and that he is deliberately isolating me and keeping me locked into this marriage. Her reasons:

- He tracks my purchases on his phone, which alert him to my whereabouts whenever I use our credit card

- He talks to me about divorce being painful for children, painful for the adults, and not worth the mess (but he's never referring to us--he speaks about it in general)

- He doesn't do much when I'm sick or sad. I have wondered if he likes me to feel that way, but I have no evidence this is true.

- He still gets after my son and targets him sometimes, though not as much. I know it can be labeled as abuse, but either I'm in denial of it, or sometimes my son does things that would make any parent really frustrated and angry. So I wonder how much is actual abuse, and how much is just the occasional bad day.

- He will have long discussions with me about how awful men are who abuse their spouses, how rape of any kind is totally unacceptable . . . and yet he did that to me for many years.

- He is emotionally unavailable and detached, but can on cue be very smiley, agreeable, and fun.

- In the past he's been quite abusive, so there is just not much to trust in terms of whether he's being sincere or not (he definitely makes it clear that he IS sincere and he HAS changed).

I don't get the feeling like he's highly calculated. I just feel like he's pretending to care when he doesn't. And I don't even have any proof that he doesn't care, because he tells me he does all of the time. And he tries to show it through words and actions.

The pressure is on me to leave, and I definitely feel like that is the path I would like to take, but I don't have much strength and I'm worried about the fallout from this. Deep down I worry about how he'll react, or if I can make it on my own. I worry about my children and how they will take this. I worry about having regrets about leaving after I leave. I worry still that I'm making this all up in my head.

 

 

 

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Don't rush yourself.  Make sure you are ready to make the decision. You will know when it is time.  People told me that and I didn't believe them but when that time came, I just knew.  It was true.

It sounds like he is trying to manipulate the situation.  My ex did the same.  He became a little angel for awhile. 

Make sure you have some cash on hand so that he can't track you or open your own credit line in the event that you need to leave.  Better yet, both.  If you share all joint accounts and you are worried about him seeing withdrawls, take cash back at the grocery so it will just show up as a charge from the grocery.  That way you can keep a few hundred dollars on hand. 

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It is strange how there doesn't have to be defined abuse. The act of having your life partner not really care about you, but just pretend to, is somehow extremely damaging to our deepest emotional selves.

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What he does to your son is not how a "normal" parent reacts when frustrated with their kid. 

He hasn't actually changed. That's not really possible. He is changing the way he behaves. Sometimes. It's on the surface. He hasn't changed who he is, or how he sees the world. Remember how he sees the world? Remember you are his toaster. He doesn't want to lose his toaster.

WB...... Are. You. Happy. With. Him?

Do you feel loved? Cared about?

Do you love him? Do you feel happy and content and emotionally secure with him? Do you feel emotionally and mentally safe with him?

We had another member here, who suffered from an illness that made her very, very afraid to leave her abusive h. She left anyway. I do believe she suffers much less frequently from recurrences.

One cannot minimize or underestimate how immense of an impact being unhappy in one's home and relationship, has on one's health. Being stressed makes us sick or sicker. Being in an abusive household makes us sick or sicker. Even if we're not mentally certain it's defined as "abusive" - it still makes us sick.  The label is not needed for it to have the impact of making us very, very sick - not just mentally/emotionally, but legitimately physically - and not just "expressing psychological trauma through physical symptoms" - but actually, genuinely physically ill.

So while of course I can't  guarantee you'll get physically better if you weren't with him... I can guarantee that being in this unhappy state does make you sicker. It's pretty much inevitable. 

And being in a perpetual state of indecision is among the worst stress there is, as well. You know what you want to do, but you're thinking you need to justify what you want, by being able to definitively label him as "abusive."

You know what I think? I think that's because you're so accustomed to and conditioned by lifelong abusive situations that you cannot value your own desire or self or dreams as being "worthy enough" on their own. "Because I want it" isn't good enough...there needs to be this label, this "I have no choice because he is abusive" in order to be valid.

But YOU ARE VALUABLE, just as you are. Your dreams and your self-ness and what you want from life - is just as valuable and important as anyone else. 

Anyone else has the right to leave because they're desperately unhappy, right? So ... you do, too. You're not less of a person. You're not less worthy. You're not more evil than anyone else. Everyone else is entitled to this. You are, too.

So although he hasn't really changed inside - and you know, you feel that. You know it feels fake, it doesn't feel like true love or caring - because it isn't. It's a shallow surface act to keep you there....

so although you know that...

and although he doesn't have to be "abusive" in order for you (or anyone) to leave...

This is the thing that plays in your mind and stops you. You set yourself into an impossible circle of invalidation. "I can't leave unless I can believe he's abusive and I can't allow myself to believe it no matter what evidence or what anyone else says or how I feel about it, so I can't leave because I can't believe it and unless I can believe it I can't leave."

I don't see that circle as breaking on its own. I don't see you being able to prove to yourself what you need to believe in order to believe you're allowed to believe it so that you can leave. Because no matter what bars you set for yourself, you're denying yourself the truth to step over them.

You are not less of a person than anyone else.

So I believe you need to ignore that whole circle of thought, because it's not getting you anywhere. It hasn't gotten you anywhere in...how long?

But what has gotten you somewhere? Hmmm? 

What got you to open an account? What got you to start working? What got you to see a lawyer, and to leave your nonsupportive religion, and to go back to school?

What was it that got you to do those things? What in yourself allowed you to do those things? Pushed you? What did you set free, what did you honor in order to accomplish all those huge things?

THAT is what you need to concentrate on. Not the circle of I can't unless I believe something I can't believe. <- isn't getting you anywhere so it's self-defeating, right?

Push that circle aside. It may never resolve. Circular things by nature are tough that way.

Instead, focus on the thing that got you to take all those huge life steps. What in you helped? What about life helped? What feeling did you honor? You don't need to tell us....just think and keep honoring that.

Another thing I'm thinking.

Now you have, indeed, taken all those steps. That's not only huge but it's scary. "Look how much I can do if I want to!" It's sort of scary (inside) that you did!  Scary that you can. So much new and different that you didn't think you'd do a few years ago. You did it. You proved to yourself that you can. And that's scary because it means you do, indeed, have power to change your own life. You do  get to decide things for yourself, and make changes, and follow paths you want. 

And now there's very little left to do.....except that one big thing. 

So the resistance increases. Being caught up in this change and that change has its own momentum. But then.... there's a really big change you could make. Something that would be the biggest thing of all. You know you could. It's even more scary knowing that you do in fact have the choice. That you do in fact have the power to make that happen.  And making a choice is  frightening. Not just that "I had to" - but that "I chose to." Yanno?

So it's probably natural that the opposing energy pushes back at your head like two magnets of the same polarity. After all, if think you can't do something, you don't experience a lot of internal resistance against it... because it doesn't seem like a viable change, inside the head. It's not a "threat." The psyche views change as threat. Different is new and unknown and therefore a threat. So as long as the inner thoughts don't really think you can do something, it's not a big "threat" and doesn't merit a lot of resistance because it's not really real or viable.

But now you know you are capable of making big changes and doing things, so inside the psyche it poses a bigger "threat" and even more resistance. So latches onto some sort of impossible self-sabotaging vicious cycle to keep the threat at bay... lizard brain emotions/chemicals, they do that to us. Same = safe. Different = threat. 

So I think that circle of thought is best abandoned. Whether he is or isn't abusive, you're not going to be able to convince yourself enough to make that the banner you carry into the battle for your independent self. 

Instead - I'd go for whatever does work. And what does work - is what you've been doing in all these other aspects of your life. However you're getting yourself to do those, that's what you are using in order to honor yourself and your life and your truth, that's what's working, and that's what you should stick with. 

Of course, I could be just talking out of my 4ss so feel free to ignore anything that's not relevant. ;) But that's how I see it. 

 

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Welcome back Whitebutterfly. 

Your posts here are so insightful and kind and supportive. I missed reading your posts. I hope your recovery from illness is complete. I recommend yoga - it helps with so many stress related ailments. 

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Quaddie's posts are always the best :) I agree with her.

The fact that he insists on his own sincerity and how changed he is really caught my attention. If that were true, he wouldn't need to insist on it. You'd feel it. 

It seems to me that you've made yourself this list of how things are tolerably bad. They're better than they used to be...yet you are unhappy and confused because "better than horrible" still sucks. Like you've worked really hard on making a pros and cons list, and the only thing on the Cons side is "I'm not happy. I don't want this" and even though that should outweigh all the pros in the world, it doesn't convince you. I do the same thing all the time. I "logic" myself into a tizzy trying to convince myself I ought to feel differently, debating myself, when the simplest (and most logical) thing to do is to just believe my own feelings and listen to myself with respect and trust. It's just so hard to do after years of people discrediting you!

I don't think you've painted a false picture to your counselor. I think she is seeing that you are unhappy and not having a good time in this relationship, despite the "changes", and she believes that your feelings are valid. And that makes you suspicious of yourself. Whoa, somebody who takes your feelings at face value and encourages you to make your needs a priority??? No way, you must have fooled her good, somehow. She thinks you deserve to feel better, so that can't be right! 

I think she's right that so many years of gaslighting has affected you, because you are telling yourself "no, you're wrong about everything".  

Sometimes this trick works for me: take yourself out of the equation. Somehow it is really easy to get caught up in gaslighting ourselves and directing abusive thinking towards our feelings, even if we'd never do that other people.  So maybe think about the situation as if you were not you. Say, for example, if your best friend, or your child, or even one of us here on the forum came to you and talked with you about how they felt. What would you say to them?

Would you say: "Maybe you are making this all up. Oh but make no mistake, the pressure is on you to leave, of course you know you have to. But you'll probably regret it. You don't have any proof that he doesn't care, only your feelings, and do those really count? What if you can't make it on your own? I mean yeah you've done all this other incredible stuff that proves you are amazing and capable, but I dunno.....You have so little strength, I'm just not sure how you'll do this. And what about how everyone else will feel? Maybe you're just selfish! But of course you have to leave. I'm just not sure you're ready"  

Nah, I'm betting you wouldn't say any of those things. I bet you would comfort, validate, and encourage them, and help them to believe and trust that they are capable of  doing what's right for them, even if they don't feel "strong and ready". That they deserve to be genuinely happy and loved. 

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Thank you so much. You have said some things I really needed to hear!

6245: Can I ask, how long was your ex on good behavior? And what did it look like? Mine is all-smiles and cooperation, no outward signs of abuse. The bothersome thing is how artificial kindness looks on him, like he's wearing a mask that just doesn't sit right on him. He can try VERY hard to be kind, but there's also this side of disinterest there, like he doesn't give a single eff at all, unless I talk to him, then suddenly his face lights up and he treats me like I'm a lost princess who needs serving. I can't explain how it's disturbing, but it is.

Bennu: yes, I think we really know when our partner doesn't care, and it doesn't always look like not caring, but it feels like it. H makes concerted effort to bear the image and actions of one who cares a great deal about me, but no matter what he does, it feels like he's stretching to be that. I get this sense (that I cannot prove) that he doesn't like me, care about me, or give and eff, but he presents as such an easygoing, smiling, loving guy. 

Quaddie: thank you for this, you captured the inner struggle and explained why I keep falling back on this same ineffective cycle of not taking action because I'm looking for the elusive moment when it feels right, or it can be proved as abusive enough. My brain has these unrealistic expectations of what it needs to be okay getting out. And you're right too about the threat of change. That can really create a huge wall that feels impossible to climb over. I love the idea of figuring out what I can do, and doing that. Tapping into the same motivation that helped me make other decisions. For those, there was an element of things kind of lining up, or some inescapable moment where I was somewhat forced or cornered into making a decision. If that makes sense. :) But also, they happened because I took a lot of little steps that culminated into bigger ones. 

And YES about not feeling like what I want is a good enough reason to take action. My counselor tells me that this is a side effect of gaslighting and psychological abuse. Not just by H, but by parents and religion telling me my needs aren't important and do not get to be acknowledged above the institution of marriage. 

Sometimes it just feels like I'm so effed up that I can't undo all of this, I can't make myself strong enough to take this step, that I really just need help to take this last step because it feels I don't even have legs left to finish the marathon. Sometimes when I dig deep and try to power through it, I realize I'm out--just out-- of strength. That's when I really need the most help. It's hard to believe I can do this and stay alive.

Thank you, your words are so validating and insightful to me.

Melinoe (I just read your comment): thank you, it helps me work through my circular logic to look at how I'd counsel someone else in this situation. Funny because I'm in school training to be a counselor, and wouldn't blink at telling someone who is unhappy to leave their situation because they are unhappy. It's like, "Go figure, WB! Why can't you tell yourself the same thing!" lol There's definitely a mental block there that makes it difficult to really accept the truth of what I'm living, or to see just how unhappy, sick, and unhealthy my situation really is. I attribute all of my negative feelings to my own failures NOT my situation. And yet, all the evidence is right there.

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You don't have to be strong. You can just be done.

 

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My ex was on good behavior on and off for varied periods of time throughout our marriage.  After I told him I wanted an in house separation, though, he was on the best of the best for a couple of weeks.  He was real sweet, he literally got down and begged me to stay (icky), and he offered to start going back to therapy, counseling etc (which lasted about two weeks).  Then he turned into a real jerk after that.

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On 7/31/2017 at 1:56 PM, Quaddie said:

You don't have to be strong. You can just be done.

 

I LOVE THAT!!! That is how I feel, like spun glass, but DONE.

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;)  Yes....just, done.

Weak, tired, fragile, broken... all is enough to be just done.

 

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We are narrowing down in counseling that:

1. It's not a question of whether or not I WANT to leave (that answer has always been obvious).

2. It's about believing I can.

3. And it's about learning how to not be afraid of disappointing others (H and kids).

I'm not worried about the details. I think those will fall into place when I finally go through with this.

I'm worried about the sense of obliteration that I feel when I think about forcing a person to leave the home in which he is comfortable, changing the family dynamics with the kids where he only gets to see them half (or less) of the time, and sort of booting him out in the cold where he has to find his own place and restart his whole life as well as devote a portion of his earnings toward me and my kids. Despite all of the abuse and his perpetual disappointment in me as a person, I cannot stop feeling like this is an act of cruelty towards him.

I know it doesn't make much logical sense that I would fear disappointing a person who has spent over ten years abusing me. And I know that I have every right to leave because I'm unhappy, this isn't working, and I know it will only lead to more PTSD and more health issues if I stay.

Logically, I get it, but it's from a very disconnected part of me that really doesn't feel the injustice of what happened to me. That is still confused about why I'm unhappy at all, and seems to believe that this is all somehow my fault.

I don't even make sense to myself, after reading all of that, lol.

But I desperately want to somehow give myself permission and feel the righteous indignation I should feel in this situation, because that anger would set me free.

 

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Reading what you just wrote sounds exactly like the point I am at. I pretty much know what I want to do yet I still keep saying I need to figure it out. I am so worried about hurting him or him being sad that it is hard to make the move all while I am falling about. I am being hurt and sad all the time. Why do I worry so much about him?  I am not worried about what others will think though. My family is completely supportive no matter what I do. They know I am in a sort of limbo at the moment. For me I feel like I am just waiting for the next blow up then I'm gone. All things are being put in place for when that happens. 

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Have you read "The Nice Girl Syndrome" by Beverly Engel? I think it speaks to some of this...

Guilt,  I believe this is still guilt.  I think it's not so much about "not hurting" someone by forcing them to do what zillions of other adults in the world have to do on a daily basis... it's about how you feel afterward. And do you think that guilt is instilled in you so deeply from your upbringing from day 1, that perhaps it's a skill to "get over" that you are going to have to learn  after the fact? 

Being okay with being "not perfect" is a learned skill.  It takes practice. If you've been basically psychologically bludgeoned to be perfect "or else" the almighty eternal hellfire will eat your soul (or something, lol, sorry I'm just making things up)...   from a young age... yeah, that'd be tough to get over in advance of being imperfect. 

And the "disappointment" - do you feel like this is somehow related to how your parents might feel/view you? Something that makes you feel small, like a child, with no rights, no autonomy, no agency of your own?

It's curious that you describe it as "obliteration" - and I was first going to ask about that.... but instead, I got off on the above train, thought leading to thought... and now I've interestingly come back to that word. Because I think there's something in psychology about that, I can't remember to explain it well, but taking it back to the child-self and how that child-self felt and what the child-self was taught, before it even had sense of being an independent self.

Me, I had to learn alllll that stuff as a (late) adult, because I wasn't really granted independence or recognition of autonomous self, it wasn't fostered until very, very late in life.

I think it can feel crushing, the fear of doing something perceived as wrong/bad, and the consequence of being that imperfect being. Does the obliteration correspond with a teaching about what happens to the soul if you don't live a prescribed life? 

I feel like this is all connected.......  but also, I do feel like putting the cart before the horse can't happen. Because I think this, too, is something that one needs to experience before the concept can be trusted. To learn, I can make mistakes, and the world won't crush me. I can be imperfect, and there won't be an utter withdrawal of caring from every living being forcing me to live ostracized.  I think that lesson takes actual experience and can't be learned as a thought experiment. Because it has to be felt, and reveled in that feeling. 

Am I making any sense?

 

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Most people get married wanting a happy family. That happiness includes you. You are not happy and so the marriage is a failure. The negative consequences of separating are two homes for the children and a new place he has to set up and a number of other things. 

Forgive yourself. You are a person not a perfect out of this world entity. You are not an all knowing, all understanding existence. 

Forgive yourself. You have made some mistakes with this, your life. Why are you hurting yourself? You are the one hurting you. Why?

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Confused: it's a terribly disorienting process, isn't it? But it sounds like you are getting clear. The less we tolerate from them the more motivation we feel to get out whenever their abuse flares up again.

Quaddie: I have tried to find that book in the local library but I haven't found it (H will intercept any packages I order online, so I can't do that). This reminds me I really need to find a way to read it.

Guilt is definitely a big part of what I feel when I'm up against taking this last step and asking him to leave. The obliteration is connected to childhood trauma and being punished for not being perfect. Also, being called selfish and "stuck up" and dramatic by my mom whenever I had my own ideas or didn't do things the way she wanted me to. And of course, this was all reiterated by the community and some of the piousness there, also gender stereotypes and being expected to be complacent, submissive, selfless. I guess all of that leads to this big resounding terror of making a mistakes. It's hard for me to even fathom how to handle disappointing another person, especially someone like H whose wellbeing I feel responsible for upholding (which screams dysfunction).

In all of this though, there is some welcomed separation from the prior conditioning. There's an awareness that the way things are does not work. An acceptance of the dead end that is my marriage and the need for me to get out of it in order to maintain my own sanity and health. There's also a whole ton of learning going on about the way brains work and what happens to the brain in oppressive situations. I'm glad there's an objective part of my mind that keeps screaming at me. I think it's the only way I haven't managed to completely lose myself in this situation.

Thanks for your insightful words, Quaddie. 

Kanga: thank you. Although I'm still working through self-forgiveness, this message was a wonderful reminder that it's okay to keep looking at it, keep showing compassion to ourselves. How could we have known that our marriages and relationships would have ended up this way? I think we make the best decisions we can in the moment, and it's not fair to beat ourselves up for having made what we thought to be an informed, reasonable choice. In fact, most abusers count on us doing that, and are very good at projecting exactly what we are looking for in order to hook us. So yes, it becomes so important to accept that things are bad, but it's not our fault. When would we have ever chosen abuse?

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13 minutes ago, whitebutterfly11 said:

have tried to find that book in the local library but I haven't found it (H will intercept any packages I order online, so I can't do that). This reminds me I really need to find a way to read it.

Are you able to read things on a kindle or phone? My H uses the same amazon account as me so I can't buy that way. I made a second Amazon account with an email address he doesn't know. I buy books there and have sent to a kindle for iPhone app that I have on my phone. My phone never leaves my side and is locked. That the only way I can get books like that. I also found a website online called open library. They have some books you read online right through the site. Not sure if they would have that book though. 

It is a horrible process. I never thought I would end up here. I know I am nearing the end here but feel like my brain is having an internal tug of war. If he was always the bad version of himself I'd have no problem leaving. It's the good version that throws me off and that I love and don't want to hurt. I personally am not worried what others will think of me. I have extremely supportive family who will stand by me no matter what. I have never been good at standing up for myself. I am worried about hurting him even though he hurts me all the time. So hard to understand. I also am so concerned about our child. Those are the struggles I am having. Hopefully we can eventually get the courage to do what we need to. 

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I just checked - there is a Kindle edition but it's $9.99. I use Kindle on my Android phone, I have an e-reader too.

Did you say you are working part-time? Can you order from another computer using a gift card, perhaps, and ship to another location? Or ask someone else to order for you?

It sucks being that "watched" - that's totally not okay. >:-[    Not at all how normal, non-abusive relationships operate...

 

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1 hour ago, whitebutterfly11 said:

Although I'm still working through self-forgiveness, this message was a wonderful reminder that it's okay to keep looking at it, keep showing compassion to ourselves. How could we have known that our marriages and relationships would have ended up this way? I think we make the best decisions we can in the moment, and it's not fair to beat ourselves up for having made what we thought to be an informed, reasonable choice. In fact, most abusers count on us doing that, and are very good at projecting exactly what we are looking for in order to hook us. So yes, it becomes so important to accept that things are bad, but it's not our fault. When would we have ever chosen abuse?

Self compassion requires a belief that you are a human being intrinsically worthy of respect. This worth is not contingent on obtaining ideals like social approval, feeling attractive or competing successfully. 

 

1 hour ago, whitebutterfly11 said:

When would we have ever chosen abuse?

You are presently choosing it. 

1 hour ago, Confused714 said:

I am worried about hurting him even though he hurts me all the time.

I think there is an element of arrogance to this thought. That you can handle being hurt but he can't.

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9 hours ago, Kanga said:

I think there is an element of arrogance to this thought. That you can handle being hurt but he can't.

It's not that. I just have never been good at hurting people. I have always been terrible at standing up for myself and have let people hurt me. I have a huge fear of conflict. It is something I have always struggled with. I also never want to hurt people. Been like this my whole life. It doesn't mean I think I am better than him or I can handle it and he can't. I do love him and don't want to hurt him or see him in pain. I just can't keep being his punching bag ether. 

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Is it healthy for the other people if you go along with whatever they do and allow them to keep hurting you?  I wonder how that is "good" for them? At your own expense? 

You don't need to have conflict or stand up, even, to not subject yourself to being hurt. You don't need to be a super-strong powerhouse or yell or anything. Going along with being hurt is fear, of course, fear of....... I don't know that it's really fear of hurting them, so much as it's fear of subjecting oneself to negative consequences from not allowing it. 

IF a person is "hurt" by your doing what you need to do in order to be safe and happy in life... such as, not standing being abused anymore.... what does that say about them?  Do they truly deserve your "protecting them" if THEY would rather see you eternally hurting, to fulfill themselves? Is that caring of them? 

The "hurt" an abuser suffers is like taking a toy away from a toddler. You're removing his thingie. Removing narc supply. Removing the thing that does stuff for him. It's not like they truly see the you inside and care about you and who you are, as an individual. If they did, they would not want you to hurt.

This fear of hurting someone by removing the self... I see what Kanga's saying, I've mentioned similar.... it does sort of presume that the other person isn't able to navigate life and their emotional being if one removes the self from their life. So it does have sort of a "patronizing" aspect to it. Even if the abuser really doesn't know how to navigate life or their emotional state - that is not anyone's responsibility than their own. So to treat them as if it's not their responsibility, and as if only by staying can one preserve the abuser's fragile world, is not truly acknowledging that the abuser is an adult responsible for their own life and inner navigation.

 

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I see what your saying. I don't think he can't get by without me. That not really what I meant.  I guess it just all confusing. I think I know what I need to do. Just need to get strong enough to do it. 

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It might help with the "hurting him" aspect to know that.

You don't need to be strong to do it.

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12 hours ago, Quaddie said:

You don't need to have conflict or stand up, even, to not subject yourself to being hurt. You don't need to be a super-strong powerhouse or yell or anything. Going along with being hurt is fear, of course, fear of....... I don't know that it's really fear of hurting them, so much as it's fear of subjecting oneself to negative consequences from not allowing it. 

During my marriage, I went along with being emotionally hurt because I was afraid of being physically hurt. But I also think often I was taken aback by hurtful comments from him. Like by brain just couldn't compute that he said it. And from my childhood of this happening with my mother I think it was habitual for me to say nothing and be dumbfounded by emotional abuse. I was so fearful of losing the relationship with my mother because she was my only parent (my dad was not around). 

So for me at the core of it is the fear of losing the relationship. But now I know I'm not needy any longer. I have lost important relationships and survived. And created space in my life for healthy relationships including a healthy relationship with myself. 

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Thanks for checking Kindle, Quaddie! I have one, just have to find the charger. :)

 

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