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Naiomi

The Book - The verbally Abusive Man can he change?

13 posts in this topic

Hi guys :)

I decided to buy the book 'The VA Man can he Change?' by Patricia Evans.

I'm not sure I've really got in to her 'dream woman' theory, but some of her writing makes sense. I think with my husband he is just irriated at himself and the injustices of the world - not just at me, if I'm not his 'dream woman' that (according to Evans) he created when he was a boy.

The main part of the book is 'the agreement', where you are supposed to write down all of the things that you must not do in your marriage, such as 'we will not call each other names such as b*** or c****' for example.

I wrote out the agreement for my husband to look at but I haven't shown him and I don't think I will. I imagine his response will be 'poor me, that is what you think of our marriage, it is all doom and gloom etc etc'. So yeh, I'm not expecting a positive response! lol. However I have to say, that it was really cathartic writing it all out. I felt a bit better afterwards.

My husband seems to fit into the category indicating that he could change, if he put lots and lots of work into himself, including intense therapy. Unfortunately at this point, it isn't going to happen as he won't do it. So that's the answer really.

It is obvious to me that this marriage is having effects on my mental health. I'm irritated alot of the time (with him) and find it hard to enjoy myself. I wouldn't say I was depressed, but probably heading that way if he continues his verbal assaults. I won't let myself get to that stage though, he will be out if he breaks any of my boundaries.

So here I am with my head kinda messed up and he is walking around as if he hasn't got a care in the world. The funny thing is, he is probably thinking what on earth is wrong with me? What is my problem? He just rang to ask me how I was as well, which just confuses me. I wish he was horrible all of the time.

I was speaking to a lady that helps me to clean the house once a month. She had a similar experience with her ex husband and said that if I ever needed a place to stay, I could stay with her with the children. I thought that was a lovely thing to say. I will take her up on it if he frightens us.

I was also looking up houses that I could afford near my brother who lives 90 mins away. They are quite expensive but I think if we sold this house I could afford a 2 bed place (as long as I get a full time job). I find that quite comforting.

Anyway, I just wanted to chat a little bit.

/hugs

Maddie

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I was speaking to a lady that helps me to clean the house once a month. She had a similar experience with her ex husband and said that if I ever needed a place to stay, I could stay with her with the children. I thought that was a lovely thing to say. I will take her up on it if he frightens us.

I was also looking up houses that I could afford near my brother who lives 90 mins away. They are quite expensive but I think if we sold this house I could afford a 2 bed place (as long as I get a full time job). I find that quite comforting.

Good for you.

It feels good to have options. Knowing I could survive on my own gave me the strength to risk leaving or having him leave, which in turn gave me the strength to refuse to accept continued bad behavior. It gave credibility to my saying "I refuse to live like this anymore."

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I've read that book and I disagree with the premise of attempting to do a written agreement with a man who is abusive.

Maybe it would work with some of them. I just remember when I read it, thinking, my husband would never in a million years even consider signing such an agreement-- because that would involve taking responsibility and admitting what he has done.

He would use his adherence to the agreement as "evidence" that he had changed, when really he would be just following the agreement to win me back, not to create lasting change.

He would also use the agreement against me. He would probably follow the particular items in the agreement, but then would find new things to do that are not covered in the agreement.

I think Patricia Evans is wonderful at identifying and classifying verbal abuse and its effects on people. Her original book on verbal abuse was what first opened my eyes to my situation and helped me to realize it wasn't all in my head. She's not a licensed therapist, though, so when she gets into the realm of how to work to change the behavior, I become skeptical.

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Hi Maddie. I read the bits of that book previewed on google books and it was enough to let me know it probably wasn't one I wanted to buy. I agree with Myself Again that the agreement is unlikely to work with abusers. I too think my husband is the type of abuser who could change if he choose to and worked very hard and stayed motivated. He has said to me many times that he would change, and that he recognises his abuse of me, but he's never done anything to make it better. I know now that he says he'll do these things as a hook to keep me hanging, and he would use the agreement in exactly the same way. He'd let me write it and talk about it for ages, he'd relish the chance to tell me all the things I need to change and the whole thing would turn into a stalling game to slow down my efforts to break away.

He's being super nice to me these days. I'm past letting it confuse me. He can be nice and I can still plan my getaway!

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He can be nice and I can still plan my getaway!

WOOHOO!!! Good for you, Danu!

As for the book, I wonder if Patricia Evans has ever experienced abuse first-hand. The idea of crafting any sort of contract with an abuser is laughable. They're incapable of honoring ANY agreement that doesn't directly benefit them. What would they have to gain from a contract that's about empowering the victim and demanding changes in behavior of the abuser?!

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i have a funny story about the "Agreement" thing. When i was still "in" i read that book and wrote up the Agreement on my computer- and i password protected it so i could eventually tweek it to what i wanted.

months later-therapy wasnt working....DH found that file on the computer and couldn't open it. i remember him screaming at me to give him the password. i refused-it was one of his major blow ups.. i ended up leaving (2 yrs ago) and never gave him the password to the Agreement. to THIS day, his attorney keeps trying to get me to give them the password. lol....they think it is an Agreement of seperation! lmao...they are still jumping up and down for me to give up the password....if they only knew what was in that file~details about HIS abuse! lmao... morons.... ;)

i will say that i did get alot out of the "dream woman" information. it fit DH to a tee. he dumped his ex wife because she had gained weight, and tried to micro manage me to fit that mold. it gave me alot of insight...

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Thanks everyone :)

Yes, knowing that I can survive on my own and have options makes things easier to not have to put up with the bad behaviour. He has often said to me before that if we separated 'you would scrounge off the system for money'. Errr no I wouldn't, I would get a full time job thank you very much! (what a nice thing to say eh). I work part-time now and it wouldn't be too hard to find something else, if I had to.

I also think that the agreement is slightly nuts. It might work if you were dealing with someone who didn't have abusive tendancies, but then again you wouldn't need to write up an agreement in the first place if your partner was rational. It is all a bit illogical really!.. and as some of you say it could be used against you.

Danu I'm glad you are past being confused, I'm not far off that point if he escalates his abuse again. I've also been writing a blog for years and that lessens the doubt. Sometimes I read it and am amazed at what I put myself through.

Lol - I think I will password protect my agreement too!

/hugs

Maddie

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The site for men abusers is involved or in contact with Patricia Evans. I'm wondering if that has anything to do with her new book. I wasn't aware she had written a new one.

Anyhow I really like the fact that you are exploring other options. I've visited that site and I'm not sure if I necessarily believe that abusers can change either. I don't think the odds are in their favor. I do agree they create a dream woman image that no human woman can live up to. I think it would take a tremendous commitment on their part that abusers aren't willing to stay with for long. There is a list on this site concerning how you can tell if he's changing. Consider printing it. Once you read it I'm sure you will be validated one way or the other. the fact that you know his behavior is affecting your mental health is the sign it's time to take care of yourself.

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My last ex changed over his lifetime, but he still has an abusive personality. He's just gotten less violent and more measured and considerate after five wives. No more 911 calls from us girlfriends/wives, just crying. Maybe they burn out as they get older, as he's 58 now.

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Hi all

I just want to say that the Agreement can work, but clearly can only work with some abusers. It has helped me and my (separated) husband greatly. Sp has MEVAC - the online forum for men. These are the men who can change, who can benefit from the agreement - it's certainly not for everyone!

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I had a consultation with Evans.  I sent her information about my ex including a list of all the hot words and phrases at the back of the book that he had said to me.  After ten minutes of speaking to her she suggested that I leave town and have him served while I was gone.  I didn't think my ex was that bad but apparently he was worse than I thought.  I didn't follow her suggestion but now that I look at things if he didn't care about making money so much money (if he was put in jail he would have lost his job as a teacher anywhere) he would have seriously hurt me for leaving him.  It made him look bad of course.  There were times I could tell in his eyes he seriously wanted to injure me.  My point is, Evans knows there are few men that can be helped and they will need years of intense therapy to be helped.  She said this to me.  She also stated that my ex was not one of them that could be helped.  Even with treatment you would spend the rest of your life policing behavior if you sought the treatment route with your SO.

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I haven't read this book myself, but my therapist mentioned the "dream woman" part to me, about how it explained that at the beginning of the relationship I was wonderful and flawless in his eyes: because I fit into his "dream woman" fantasy, and he barely knew me so it was easy to adore me. But once he saw I was a normal human with thoughts and feelings that challenged him, I slipped out of the "dream woman" box so he had to control, criticize and bully me back into the fantasy. I wonder if I had read that book, and tried to write up an agreement, if it would have worked? Probably not, since he thought I was the abusive one, and we couldn't even have conversations about feelings. I can imagine a lot of people would see such an agreement as a threat.

I didn't realize Evans wasn't a licensed therapist.... that is kind of disappointing. I did read her book "Victory Over Verbal Abuse" and found it helpful, and of course her "Verbally Abusive Relationship" book was the one that clued me in to the fact that I was in an escalating verbally abusive situation! 

Edit: oh whoops I didn't see the original date on this thread! Haha

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Quote

He would use his adherence to the agreement as "evidence" that he had changed, when really he would be just following the agreement to win me back, not to create lasting change.

He would also use the agreement against me. He would probably follow the particular items in the agreement, but then would find new things to do that are not covered in the agreement.  myself_again

I wrote this agreement and it was part of a marriage class we took together in church. Not abuse focused but possessive life creating. I choose to keep this document that has his signature on it. Quiet enjoy reading it. I particularly love how I highlight aspects of care. As if I held his hand and stroked his ego to treat me like the loved cat sitting next to him. It was exactly what you said. In our hall and look great. Even had official document etching. visitors we are trying this hard we covered these topics. "Barf" still could not figure out how to love me. As if not treating some as a burden is difficult. I actually find it very hard to treat people that way. This is the very mystery. Even when people are jerks I still find it hard to not be respectful. I guess these people really do enjoy what they do. 

When you try to stick it to people it take so much hate and is suck hard work. I pretty sure there are no filing cabinets in my brain that enjoys taking those type of notes. 

What people assume that are not fully professionals is that you can give them the image and create the magic they always wanted in life and have birds chirping and harmony. This is a lie. You end up many more years emotionally bankrupt with a man unwilling to love the true you. They love their dream. They miss the you have to be honest in order to heal phase. That might requite a few harsh words and straight out resistance. I do not look pretty in this phase. A band-aide only provides time not healing. 
 

Quote

months later-therapy wasnt working....DH found that file on the computer and couldn't open it. i remember him screaming at me to give him the password. i refused-it was one of his major blow ups.. i ended up leaving (2 yrs ago) and never gave him the password to the Agreement. to THIS day, his attorney keeps trying to get me to give them the password. lol....they think it is an Agreement of seperation! lmao...they are still jumping up and down for me to give up the password....if they only knew what was in that file~details about HIS abuse! lmao... morons.... ;)

i will say that i did get alot out of the "dream woman" information. it fit DH to a tee. he dumped his ex wife because she had gained weight, and tried to micro manage me to fit that mold. it gave me alot of insight... Springtullip

AWESOME!!!!

It's the Johnny Appleseed that keeps on giving. My friends in High school made up a joke. It was the Name Johnny Appleseed. It meant nothing. Not even a statement it was just a name. So the few people that know loved it. Would laugh and pretend they understood the joke and nostalgia of Johnny Appleseed. People would be so frustrated some even pretend to know and made up a theory to hold as to what it was. They even started claiming to be experts on what Johnny Appleseed was? Five years later the cat came out of the bag it was a measure to create interest like quiz did in the town around the 1800's Johnny Appleseed did not catch on like quiz did. You could say it died in it tracks. LOL 

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