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Doc@DrIrene.com

Angry Victim Recovers

Angry Victim In Recovery

November 17, 2002

Hello Dr. Irene,

It is with great relief that I am reading your web-site and finding some sanity saving answers.  It may be helpful for people who are emotionally and physically abused to ask themselves if they want to become like their abuser.  I am saying this because nothing any one ever said convinced me to leave the two abusive marriages I endured over a time span of 23 years. 

The first lasted 16 years and ended when my abuser finally owned up to the fact he was actually gay and left me for a boyfriend.  He later told me he was violent because he was hiding his gayness.  However, he was mild and easy to live with and for the most part treated me with respect.  He was a saint compared to the next, whose capacity for abuse exceeds the imagination. (He was the clinical director of a mental health agency. Oh boy...)  His methods of mental torture were so sophisticated that I did not catch on to it, I just thought, most of the time, I had lost my mind.  He physically beat me and because of his sterling reputation in the community as a kind mental health professional (I was new in town), he garnered sympathy for enduring his insane wife.  He made the statement I injured myself to manipulate people into believing he was battering me, when in truth I had a personality disorder ( I did not). Ouchhh! However, after all of it I did look nuts.  Fortunately, he was eventually booted out of the profession. Turns out he was sexually abusing a client and harassing others - of course no one believed them at first either - but when one came forward, there were too many to be ignored.  I left. Incredible...

Three years later, I got involved with a very very sweet and loving man who had a tendency to be passive aggressive, and I was mean, cruel, & verbally assaultive.  These were traits of my last husband. I was so buried in his rage, his constant rage that I couldn't breath or have a feeling of my own or turn around without his screaming at me or hitting me. I came to hate him and in all that hatred and all that anger I became like him. Abuse begets abuse...

 

To my horror, I learned to yell like him and use profanities and act in despicable and cruel ways.  Of course in this last relationship with a boyfriend -  which just ended (restraining order because he hit me), I believed I was the abusive one and took full credit and had great shame, guilt and remorse until I read the list of passive aggressive behaviors.  He had them ALL.  All the traits and I started thinking back about the incidences and how large the undercurrent of his passive, non-visible rage was present on a daily basis. 

I read your description about how to tell who is the abused partner and then gave it too my counselor because I took all the credit for the problems, even for getting hit. She said, "Are you ashamed of your behavior? Do you think your behavior was good?" - "No!"  On the other hand I was there telling her what a despicable person I was for yelling and screaming profanities and being cruel. I am really ashamed of it and I crossed the line and I was verbally abusive and I am working on myself. It is of note to me that my boyfriend actually never has owned any wrong doing about anything from the beginning to the end. 
 
My main point is this. I became like the man who abused me to such an extreme, I had  a nervous breakdown.  I took up his MO as far as verbal assaultiveness.  It took a lot of years for this process to happen, but if I had known I would sound like him someday, I would have left much earlier..  To anyone who doesn't value themselves enough to leave because their mind and body is being destroyed, perhaps they will leave if they contemplate someday they may become exactly like the monster.  Horrifying thought really. That's the problem with not knowing to get out of a victimizing relationship: The victim too often eventually gets sooooo angry!!! Wants to strike back, thinking that's where the power is. Wrong... If the victim doesn't watch it, he or she can get stuck in anger. There is a lot I've written on the site about this topic. Start here and search the contents page too.

Thanks for your pages; they are incredible. Advice: Don't stay until you hate them so bad that you become like them and hate permeates and owns your life.  You eventually become like the people you spend the most of your time with or those you spend most of your time hating. Yep.
 
It is really comforting to be single to be figuring things out and to have some peace.  I would not trade this state of being for anything in the world. 
Thanks K  You bet! You finally have the space and time to discover yourSelf, so you can put your integrity at the helm! You'll love yourSelf more each day! Good luck to you K and thanks for sending your story.  With warmest regards, Doc.

Readers: Comments for K?

I want to read the posts.