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Comments to Quandary

Comments to Quandary

Material posted here is intended for educational purposes only, and must not be considered a substitute for informed advice from your own health care provider.

Courtesy of Dr. Irene Matiatos  Copyrightę 2000. The material on this website may be distributed freely for non-commercial or educational purposes provided that author credit is given. For commercial distribution, please contact the author at Doc@drirene.com

 

 

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Dr Irene wow I feel so special now ;o) hee hee. thank you! oh...its me Suz aka "the savvy poster". (Such a better label then codependent)!

I am so glad you wrote that article! because I constantly find myself where it can be manipulated and twisted into appearing my boundaries are abusive and it creates doubt and confusion and unfortunately guilt. I have to admit I fall into trying to get HIS approval, ugh! But I am so glad I figured it out. because he had me pretty convinced I was crazy yesterday. Even though intellectually I know that's something typical of an abuser because I have read about it. I still doubted myself and questioned my sanity. I thought well its pretty obvious he is the abuser being our relationship was very physically and sexually abusive before. I have noticed as I have been really putting my foot down with setting limits, he is getting more difficult - and gosh I thought it was difficult before. Yet I read about how he would probably react negatively, but it took me a while to recognize that's what was happening. I see it like the child who was spoiled because the parents always gave into the tantrums and taught their child that tantrum behavior gets rewards. Then, when they decide to shape up and not give in, the child's tantrums get worse before they learn that misbehavior won't do it anymore. 

That's where detachment comes in. It helps to feel confident in yourself and your decisions and opinions. I have learned so much but its that 'making it mine' and truly 'owning' the things I am learning that hold me up. YES YES YES YES!  I have to tell you that boundaries book you recommended is GREAT!!! I am really getting a lot out of it! "Boundaries: When to Say Yes and When to Say No..." by Cloud and Townsend.

First of all to those who don't know my situation, he and I have been married a little over 10 years. 6 years ago he started getting very sexually abusive, forcing him self on me when he was very drunk. It was a physical battle where he held me down and we literally fought. I would kick him trying to get away and he would punch my legs to make me stop. Then when he was "finished" he would fall asleep and I would clean my self up and lay there and cry, swearing I would leave in the morning... but my responsibilities to my family would change my mind. I thought I was sacrificing me for my kids to have a "whole" family. We all lost me, and its been a tough uphill battle for the past two years, finding myself and getting educated. Two years ago I gave up and couldn't handle any more. I told him we were over, Now, of course, it wasn't the first time, but this time he knew I really meant it. So he went into rehab and got help for his drinking and we agreed to work on our marriage. (Although I really didn't want to I just felt I had to since he was getting help - like I had been begging for for years. I didn't think I could leave when he was finally doing what I had been asking him to do to save our marriage.) I find the more I learn and educate myself the more secure I am in my self confidence.

I not only had the issues to deal with from the sexual abuse/rape from my husband, but previous to meeting my husband I was raped. So, I had that issue to deal with as well. My husband has used that as an excuse to why I was so "inhibited" and had "hang ups" with sex. The fact is there is nothing wrong with me, I just do not feel comfortable with the things he considered okay between a husband and wife. Things that were not okay with me. I had no interest in doing the things they do in pornos! That is just me and my feelings and how I feel about making love. What I experience with him is not making love to me. Emotionally its painful because I do not love him, both essential for the emotional attachment and closeness I need to feel to participate. I stuffed my feelings down and gave in to avoid the long fights that would follow any rejection.

Here are some posts of mine from when I started standing on that foot I put down.

day 1 of enforcing my personal boundaries regarding sex.

Is sex really that big of a deal? I mean if your partner doesn't want to and you tell them "No," is it normal for them to ignore you and just keep going on and on trying to get you to - and then get all mad and say you are being mean because you don't want to? Personally I feel its not being very nice to expect me to when I don't want to. I have read about how sex to men is when men feel connected to their partner and feel close and loved. I get confused because I hear you should try to even if you don't feel like it, so he can feel loved etc. But then that doesn't at all seem like I am taking care of me very well. I am trying to enforce my boundaries and not allow my self to be manipulated, but I feel if I go ahead and have sex with him when he is bugging the heck out of me and I really don't want to, then I am just giving into coercion. Yes.

this morning I woke up at 4 am to him trying to have sex with me. I kept trying to get him to leave me alone and finally he stopped and asked me to come have coffee with him. so while I was pouring the coffee he was all over me trying to take my clothes off. I kept telling him to stop. Then I told him to quit bugging me and drink his coffee. He then started going on about how hard he works at a job he hates, to take care of our family and how hard he has been working on our yard (after neglecting it for a couple years). I am being mean to him by not giving him a chance to be with me.

he has started reading Codependency: Dance of the Wounded Souls. GREAT book! He has been trying to work on communicating better with me. He feels he is trying really hard on our relationship. I am just burnt out and still want out. He has begged me to stay and work on the relationship so much, and I have stayed and worked on it. But what I notice is I am the one doing all the work. He points out to me his issues are for him to work on and not for me to worry about. That is the Al Anon idea. But his issues are negatively affecting me, and I don't see him doing much to work on himself. I find myself angry again.

Day 2. Today my H started pawing on me. I reflected on all the words of advice and my personal boundaries, and even though he was being very nice, I still didn't want him touching me. There has been too much madness for too long, and a lack of feelings of love at least on my part. So I kept asking him to stop. He then started saying, "I don't want to be in that aggressive, hostile place you are in. Come on, quit dwelling on the past and think about where we are in life now..." The funny thing about my husband is yesterday is always the past, so no matter what he has done, he loves to pull the don't bring up the past line. Even though it was recent! I stood my ground and spoke of the things from her email to me about mutual respect and having respect for my body and its not his property and he can't go and disrespect me then expect to have me. Just last night he was so angry at me for forgetting to change my daughter's bedding because the night before she had an accident, that he wouldn't shut up. He kept on and on at me about it. So I went downstairs to sleep. A few minutes later he came down with her bedding and threw it on me saying, "Here you sleep with it; then maybe you will remember to take care of your child." Of course he doesn't seem all that angry with himself given his abusive, destructive ways are the reason she wets her bed to begin with! I cant wait to leave! he started to talk to me like there is something wrong with me. He said, "When I listen to you talk, I just feel so sorry for you and where you are stuck." I said, "Oh well, when I look behind me at you and see how far down you are and how you haven't even begun to try and help yourself, I feel very sorry for you." He said, "Well that was very condescending and intellectual of you. I was just stating my opinion." I said, "Well, I was just stating mine. I am totally aware of your abuser head games and I think you are upset that they won't work on me." Okay I know I acted like an abuser huh? I was thinking about what I was reading in the boundaries book and how you can't stay in that angry victims rights place; you eventually need to be able to be loving to everyone. I am determined to not let him confuse me; he is so good at it because when I listen to him and his twisted thought process, I understand how he believes the crazy things he believes.

He started in on me about how frustrated he is with me in the things I do and don't do. He cant stand I put so much time into my recovery and let the house slip. I used to be such a perfectionist. I suffered from exhaustion several different times trying to be superwoman. Well not anymore! The house comes last! Any way, as he was complaining to me about my time on the computer and talking about how bad it was that I forgot to change her bedding, I told him, "Yes I do get forgetful and make mistakes. Its very hard to function properly under the stress of your abuse. When we were separated and I wasn't even being treated for my depression and our whole world was very chaotic, I did great! I handled everything fine and everything went smoothly because the stress of your abuse was removed. (He has been reading "Codependency dance of the wounded souls"). His response was that he has been reading all about just how I am waving the book around. Why doesn't he recognize his own characteristics? You know, as I read everything, yes, I recognize his traits but I also recognize my own. Good for you! You won't get too far if you don't do this.

Day 3. Okay. Well yesterday I decided to really enforce my personal boundaries. I don't want to be intimate with him; its making me depressed so I am not going to! Its just simply out of the question! and that's that. Oh boy, what a reaction!!!

Anyhow this is what happened yesterday. He kept bugging; I kept rejecting. Finally last night he got mad! Said I was being mean to him! Playing games with his head and torturing him! It wasn't fair because he really really wanted to be with me; he was desperate! I held my ground and told him he doesn't have the right to my body; he doesn't own it! I said, "I am not being mean to you; I am taking care of me for a change!" He said, "This is torture." Then he said, "I can't sleep next to you its torture." I said, "Fine," and I went downstairs to sleep on the couch for a second night in a row. A little while later he came down all wound up about how some guy on the computer is telling me to treat him like that and he is telling me what to do and say. "Someone who understands you and you connect with!" (All mad and sarcastic.) I said, "No, I am practicing my personal boundaries and taking care of myself!" He then started saying, "Well if you want to play this, well I can too. You don't want to take care of me; well I can do the same back to you. That's not a threat, that's a promise! You just see... and if some guy is telling you to treat me like this, then I am going to bust that computer up into little pieces!" He went on for a while about "wait and see...." Like I am shaking with fear over what he is no longer going to do for me!!!! Then, first thing this morning he wakes me up at 5 saying he just woke up (that's the time he has to leave) and can I help him out. So I did. I probably shouldn't have though!

 

Well, there you have it the past two days of trying to take care of myself and enforce my boundaries.

I just don't get how sex can be that much to him! you should have seen how overly desperate he was, begging. It wasn't about reconnecting or feeling loved; he was just down right horny and wanted some relief. And its only been a few days! So, if you guys go 3 days without, is it so torturous to sleep in the same bed with your W that she must go sleep on the couch or you wont be able to sleep? He said, "Fine. If you wont fulfill my needs, I wont fulfill yours!" Oh my gosh! Now I am going to have to live with unmet needs; how will I ever manage??? I guess the same way I have for over 10 years of unmet needs!!! What a threat! What nerve to threaten such a thing! Yeah he loves me alright! No doubt about that one! He is so incredibly worried about me being depressed, yet if it means going with out getting some, that's a whole other story! Well if I don't feel like a piece a meat now!

Day 4. Today's been rough. This morning he started giving me a hard time for rejecting him. He was asking what my problem is. and I explained about the disrespect etc. He said, "Well, you are not respectful to me and you have to give to get." I said, "Yes you do. YOU have to give to get, so you keep waiting." When I pointed out instances of disrespect, he said I was crazy and mentally sick and these things didn't take place. Then he had excuses for the way he has treated me in the last two days that are not far enough in the past for him to deny it taking place. Then he started threatening me if I leave him and do him wrong, the things he has done in the past will be nothing compared to what he will do to me and "remember that." He went on about how I am suffering from depression and he is not the cause and I need to just have my meds changed or something, and I need professional help and I am not going to take our family down with me. On and on. I tried to leave when he first started saying things I didn't feel I should have to stay and listen to, but he wouldn't let me go. I kept saying to let me go and stop holding me down. He said, "I am only hugging you." Well, I was trying to get away and he was "hugging" me so I couldn't leave, even when I repeatedly asked him to. I started to cry because he was swearing up and down he hadn't done things he has done and he was saying I am distorted etc. I have written these things down right afterwards! Because I keep a journal. He was mad when I told him, "Yes, you have and I have written them down." Anyhow, I started feeling like I am crazy and I called my aunt. She got her emotional abusive husband out of the house. She was telling me how already she is feeling so much better and all the things she is doing. She said once I get out of there, I will feel better. She also told me her ex had made all the same threats and never did any of it.

Not a fun first few days as you can see, but I am doing much better now and had some GREAT support that really helped!!!

What would get my head spinning were the times I was "human" and reacted. Just like Dr I said in the article, "Nobody is perfect. Not even the saintliest victim will maintain his or her cool all the time. Not even the most self-sacrificing victim will never ever be passive-aggressive or (gasp) controlling. (In fact, victims are extremely controlling.) The point is, we are human; we mess up all the time.

"Unfortunately, the abuser person is expert at immediately picking up a slight or momentary acting out. This guarded person is likely to mentally keep tabs, or never let the victim forget their misbehavior. The victim, often too expert at soul searching, gets lost in wondering if they are the abuser - while the abuse continues." 

Yes, this describes it to a tee! I have tried to explain this to him and he turns it around. Exactly where my confusion would come in. So if I can be human and react, then he can be human and react. So then he accuses me of blaming him for my behavior, and he claims his behavior is because of mine and my denying his needs ... grrrrr! its a crazy cycle. Why we shouldn't even bother to explain anything, but then how do you work on the relationship that way.

An excerpt from Nicoles great advice: "You have to understand that you don't need others' approval to do what you feel is right. You have to learn to listen to and trust yourself again."

You know, I was told to prepare for him to get worse as I set my boundaries, but I guess I didn't realize it would be like this.

I don't think I can emotionally handle hanging around for when it finally gets better. Just to get to this point has been extremely hard on me. The way I feel about him now I don't care if he becomes prince charming tomorrow; too much has happened in the past and throughout the past couple years I have been trying to work on my recovery. Every time I get up, I seem to let him slam me back down again, and I cant take it.

Here are some urls to some of the great support I was given that helped me so much so - maybe it can help you as well.

http://www.insidetheweb.com/messageboard/mbs.cgi?acct=mb654279&MyNum=954355714&P=Yes&TL=954268375

http://www.insidetheweb.com/messageboard/mbs.cgi?acct=mb654279&MyNum=954365884&P=Yes&TL=954268375

http://www.insidetheweb.com/messageboard/mbs.cgi?acct=mb654279&MyNum=954476393&P=Yes&TL=954268375

http://www.insidetheweb.com/messageboard/mbs.cgi?acct=mb654279&MyNum=954709068&P=Yes&TL=954549870

http://www.insidetheweb.com/messageboard/mbs.cgi?acct=mb654279&MyNum=954767647&P=Yes&TL=954549870

http://www.insidetheweb.com/messageboard/mbs.cgi?acct=mb654279&MyNum=954538800&P=Yes&TL=954467690

http://www.insidetheweb.com/messageboard/mbs.cgi?acct=mb654279&MyNum=954539177&P=Yes&TL=954467690

Now for those of us who know we need to get out, but need a little push or inspiration to make that first step; here is a long post that I put my all into trying to give motivation and it helps me too.

http://www.insidetheweb.com/messageboard/mbs.cgi?acct=mb654279&MyNum=954525125&P=Yes&TL=954467690

Best of luck to everyone! Thank you again Dr Irene for this great site and I know you have heard this probably many many times but gosh do I wish I would have found this site a long time ago!

Love Suz (recovering co-dependent) Keep up the great, self-loving work! Dr. Irene  

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Hey, we can ALL be confused!!! I just helped extract my sister from the physical environment of an abusive 15 year relationship who now is also experiencing the same confusion. But while there, I was shocked to realize that much of my own behavior has many similarities w/her estranged husband. Chilling!!!!! Now, w/my former wife's help and insight, I'm trying to more fully realize and deal with these issues myself. Of course my sister and I were also Victims of 'unintended' abuse from our Father and Mother, etc., who themselves were victims, etc., etc., etc., As I also just realized, the 'Boundary' issue becomes even more confusing between Parents and Kids. Especially Teen Age Girls!!!! Ouch!! Here's the good part: Once you own it, you can change it. Good for you!

 

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I can definitely relate to the poster. I have all of those situations happening in my marriage. My husband sees himself as the victim of my bad behavior and is angry about it. The only thing is, he started it. He would come home from work 4 or 5 days in a row and not even speak to me. Then, the next day, he'd want sex. And don't think he'd open the seduction with an apology, because he didn't. Despite the fact that this has gone on for years, he has the nerve to be indignant about all the advances he's made toward me that I have not responded to. The thing that I find really scary is he says he can't see his own behavior. He has been saying that for a long time and seems baffled and disturbed by it. Any comments? Believe him; he can't. 

 

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Listen to yourself. Listen to yourself. Listen to what your body is telling you. But,.....listen to what your body is telling you. People lie, or are mistaken constantly. And sometimes people just have honest differences in opinion. The easiest thing is to feel justified in one's position. If you listen to people who want to feel justified in their position, or try to convince them they are wrong, you are nowhere. If your body doesn't want to make love, then it doesn't want to. Listen to it.

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Hi...I have a similar situation of not knowing who is the abuser/victim. I have been with this man for two years (living together presently), and most of the time am very happy. But when things get bad (about 1-2 times per week), they are horrible. I never know what to think or how to react. And I don't know if he's abusive or not. He calls me names a lot, but only when he's angry, which a lot of people do (I never have, so I assume other people shouldn't, but I know that everyone is different). I'll give a few examples...

He rarely wants to do anything with my friends or family, and rolls his eyes/sighs/etc. if I am talking with them on the phone or say they are coming over. He's very secretive, but says it's because I'm very nosey (which I guess sometimes I can be, but I don't see myself that way). He screams at me when he's mad, and says terribly mean things, but says it's only because I provoke it; that if I left him alone he wouldn't have to do that, but "hounding him" is abusive and is what makes him do it. He'll tell me how stupid/crazy/terrible I am and it hurts, but he doesn't seem to want to stop when he realizes it hurts. And then I'll cry, and he'll say something like, "oh, and now the tears," or "can't you handle anything?" And he'll say that I only cry to make things worse, and that no one else would put up with how emotional I am, can't I see how abusive that is, etc. This is where I get confused of who is the victim. I don't mean to hound him; I just usually want to talk things out, and be heard as a part of the relationship. He'll roll his eyes, keep watching TV, leave the room, etc., and I get angry and say something like, "why can't you listen to me" or "please let me talk." His response is usually, "why, so you can nag me like you always do?" or "You're only going to say the same thing you always do; poor you who has to put up with me (which I've NEVER said)...what about the sh** I have to put up with to be with you?" Or something similar. It hurts so bad, but telling him doesn't seem to make a difference. He also picks things apart for no reason and says I'm being too sensitive. I'm known for being sensitive, so I don't know if I'm overreacting or not. For example, last night we were in bed, laughing at the TV, getting along great. I put my hand on his side and said, "good night, honey." He made a noise, and I pulled my hand away (I thought maybe I was hurting him or something). He yelled at me for overreacting and pulling my hand away. I told him why, and that I didn't mean anything by it, and he said, "that's so predictable of you. You always do the same things over and over. Why can't you be yourself?" (I'm not sure what that meant). I tried to explain myself, and he said, "See, I knew you were going to do that." So I just rolled over to go to sleep, and he said, "I knew you were going to do that, too." It was really annoying. I started to say something, and he said, "I'm not even listening to you. I'm going to sleep. Just leave me alone." And that was it. I have no idea what it was about. That's a good example of daily interaction. If I try to continue conversations after something like that, that's when he says I'm hounding him and dragging it out (I "can't let anything go"), and that if he tells me to leave him alone and I don't, then I don't respect him. I'll tell him that I don't see how he can love me and talk to me the way he does, and he'll say, "well how do you think it feels to love someone as much as I love you and they can't even see it?" It hurts so bad, and then I think maybe he's right...maybe he just loves me so much and I'm expecting too much (he says I expect more than any man could give, and I know that I do have high expectations). I don't mean to hurt him or bother him (he says I bother him a lot), and maybe I am overbearing. That's my confusion. If I am that way, then he has every right to be angry, and maybe I deserve for him to yell at me. But I never ask him for anything, except to listen to me. That's it. I don't ask him to spend time with me (he does that anyway; he's very good about it). I don't ask him for material favors or things, and I've never asked him to change anything except to listen to me when I'm talking to him, and to not make fun of what I'm saying. He says if I'm saying the same thing all the time, then why should he listen? I don't understand...I don't think I say the same things over and over. I don't see myself as annoying or emotionally unstable as he says, but my mom teases me sometimes for being emotional, so maybe I am. Maybe I'm emotionally abusing him and don't realize it. Oh, and the only physical "abuse," if I can call it that, that he's done is once he punched a hole in my wall when he was angry, he sometimes puts his hand over my mouth and screams, "shut up! shut up!", (but it's usually when I'm talking very fast because I'm upset about something), and he sometimes grabs me. He very often gets about an inch from my face and screams at me, usually after I ask him not to talk to me a certain way and he's telling me that he can say whatever the f*** he wants. I hate that, and he knows it. But I can't really call that physical abuse, can I? He's never hit me or even threatened to. Please help me understand. Any comments or feedback would be appreciated. Thanks. I think he is clearly abusive. Also, screaming in your face and punching a wall is way too close to physical abuse for my comfort; you are sensitive and emotional - that's good. Start listening to your emotionality and sensitivity. It's trying to tell you something.  Dr. Irene

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to the previous poster:

when you go back and read over what you have written does it jump out at you just how abusive he is to you? because he most certainly is! I ask because I have many times gone through the same confusion. I keep a journal and write everything down. later when I go back and read over what I am questioning I cant believe I was confused.

have you read the articles Dr. Irene has about signs of abuse? here's a great one: signs of verbal and emotional abuse http://drirene.com/verbal1.htm

go to the site map http://www.drirene.com/contents.htm

Its nice to read and recognize he is being abusive but you also need to read and recognize why you are in that relationship and putting up with it. why aren't you taking care of you? You are concerned about how you make him feel but you don't sound very concerned with how he makes you feel. Exactly my take. It sounds to me like your needs are going unmet and neither one of you seem to care. Yet you both care about his needs.

Clearly you believe you deserve this poor treatment and you don't deserve what you want or you wouldn't be there. The way we are treated by others is a reflection of how we feel about ourselves inside.

You aren't married so why don't you just leave? Spend some time at the message boards reading and see if that's the direction you want to continue going in.

I HIGHLY recommend you read Boundaries- When to say Yes, When to Say No, To Take Control of Your Life by Cloud and Townsend.

also I would suggest you read The verbally abusive relationship by Patricia Evans.

Here's some great words of Dr Irene's from one of her latest articles!

"Put your foot down. Set limits. Not allow your partner to disrespect you."

"If you want a prince all the time, be a princess. Don't accept any behavior from him that you would not inflict on another person yourself."

"So, if you are having the codependent's typical difficulty in putting your foot down since it feels too "selfish" or you feel too "guilty," etc., think of it this way: when you put your foot down, you help him self-correct by creating the space he needs to correct himself in."

Best wishes to you! Suz :)

 

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Great question! Great Answer!! Sure clears up a lot. (Believe me or not) smile* Peg

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This was a great big step for you. After knowing you for so many years...all I can say is that I'm proud of you for setting your boundaries and coming to the realization that you're not crazy. :)

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Suz- I loved reading your input but I want to speak up in response to your response to the previous poster- (what a mouthful!) Not being married doesn't make it any easier to leave. Yes, practically it's easier, espeically if there are no kids involved, but if someone is serious and ready to get away from their abuser, being married, finances, kids, won't stop them. I find some women use these things because, like anyone who has been emotionally abused, they lack to self-confidence to really get out. I'm not married to my abuser, we've only been together a year- a lot of other victims have sneered at me "just leave him, you're not married!" I have a hard time believing that the married abusers were never abusive at all until after they got married. The fact is, victims are emotionally beat down by their abusers and usually their pasts (obviously we were trained to question ourselves and wonder, for instance, if WE'RE the abusive ones because we try to behave normally and speak with our mates) and it's very hard to leave. In order to leave, a victim has to CLEARLY see exactly how abused she has been, make a decision that she won't be treated like that anymore, and then make good on her promise to herself. All three steps are hard and it's a slow process- but I think reading about other victim's experiences is extremely helpful! Love, SatokoGirl

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It took me a very long time to understand that ABUSERS ALWAYS BLAME THEIR PARTNERS FOR THEIR BEHAVIOR! I was involved in an abusive relationship for a year and a half, and every time I had to discuss something with this man he always came back at me! It was never, EVER, his fault, it was always me who "was never happy". "I just can't make you happy". Instead of trying to listen, work things out, he ALWAYS threw it right back to me. I was walking around feeling incredibly guilty all the time that I was "mistreating" this person. Looking at the picture, I treated him extremely well, did WAY MORE for him then he ever did for me and he just COULDN'T step up to the plate! Listen to this one...and this was after several of his outbursts of rage, name calling, hang-ups, walk-outs, etc. It was MY BIRTHDAY. On his birthday, I cooked him a huge dinner and bought him a new suit. On my birthday, he called and said Happy Birthday. I waited around all day for him to stop by or send me flowers or something. He did nothing!!! At the end of the day when he called on the way to one of his "client appointments", I told him calmly, that I was hugely disappointed that he didn't do anything to recognize my birthday. Immediately, he came back at me and said "IT'S ALWAYS SOMETHING, ISN'T IT? YOU'LL ALWAYS BE LIKE THIS, F--- YOU! Then he hung up on me. He kept calling back, (one of his patterns) and said "my flowers were in the car waiting to be delivered". He showed up at my place at 9:30 EMPTY HANDED and when confronted about the flowers he said "you acted out so bad that I threw them out the window"!!!!!!!

I didn't speak to him for three months, made the mistake of going back with him after all of his sorrowful voice messages, crying about how sorry he was and how wonderful I was. My dad became terminally ill...and the final incident was that he RAGED out at me again when my dad was very ill in critical care at the hospital and we went out to breakfast. My meal was eggs benedict $8.75. He saw the check and made a big deal about how much the dish was, how did they substantiate it, etc. I asked him please not to say that because it made me unconfortable. Note: this man slept at my apt. EVERY weekend, used my shower, ate my food, and never even walked in with a role of toilet paper! After I told him my feelings about his comments about the check, he FLIPPED OUT AT ME AND SAID "I DIDN'T SAY ANYTHING WRONG! I'M LEARNING THAT THIS IS WHO I AM AND IF YOU DON'T LIKE IT TOO BAD!!! THE HE PROCEEDED TO RAGE AT ME IN THE CAR, CALLING ME A F--- BITCH, CLAIMING THAT "I WAS HIS PROBLEM". It was even worse than that. He was banging things around in his van. I finally convinced him to take me home, and I jumped out of the car immediately and he said "good you f--- bitch"! ...then he threw my belongings into the parking lot and broke them. Of course, he called me nine times and left voice messages. I knew I would never be talking to him again as I had learned my lesson this time - SOMEONE ABUSING ME ON MY BIRTHDAY, AT CHRISTMAS, NEW YEAR'S, AND NOW WHEN MY FATHER IS DYING!!!!!!! Abusers don't care what the occasion is, they don't understand boundaries. They are frustrated, mixed up human beings with low self esteem, forever looking for someone to BLAME. And we are their scapegoats!!

THAT WAS THREE MONTHS AGO AND I WILL NEVER SPEAK TO HIM AGAIN.

So, moral of the story is TRUST YOUR INSTINCT. If you think you are right, don't let ANYONE convince you that you are "THEIR PROBLEM" and the reason why they act they way they do....GET OUT NOW!!!

COMMENTS ANYONE?

If someone else told me this story, I would have wondered why they didn't get out a long time ago. But I let myself become a victim....I thought I was causing the problems and I was even going to start trying to change MY personality to work around his!

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SatokoGirl,

I totally agree. I was not at all trying to say its simple because you are not married. she has been living with him for 2 years if I recall correctly. I was with my abuser for 4 and 1/2 years before we got married. we lived together for two years prior. I didn't want to marry him! but I did! because he loved me soooo much, and I allowd him to push me into it. when I look back now I wish I could of read all of this so I could see where my life was heading. so many believe well once we get married he will change, once we have a baby he will change,... I waited for changed for a very long time! I know its not easy especially when you live together, it already feels like you are married and the next step is marriage. I am just trying to help her realize how bad her situation is and how much worse its going to get not better and how much much more difficult it is once you are married and have children. Believe me I understand and looking back I can still remember what I felt but I also have the experience of beyond that time. I was just trying to encourage her and help her get on that path. Just like when Dr Irene says "if you are so miserable why are you still with him?" we know it dosnt feel that simple, however its a very thought provoking question that helps gear you towards thinking about what YOUR feelings are and stopping considering his so much. I know it was his feelings that kept me there not mine I finally got to the point I hated him and still stayed because I didnt want to hurt him!!! even though he was hurting me constantly! I was trying to provoke thought and help her not feel so tied to her situation, give her some thoughts to help her take that leap and set herself free befor she is where I am now. I wanted her to read that and feel that little light go off, YEAH, I am not even married to him I can walk away right now if I want to... I encouraged her to read at the message board to see where things can go so she can feel more empowered about taking that step forward.

much luck to you! Suz

 

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Satoko Girl,

I wanted to address this a little further:

Your comment: "Not being married doesn't make it any easier to leave. Yes, practically it's easier, espeically if there are no kids involved, but if someone is serious and ready to get away from their abuser, being married, finances, kids, won't stop them. I find some women use these things because, like anyone who has been emotionally abused, they lack to self-confidence to really get out."

I had gotten to the point I hated my husband! I wanted out so badly. I thought I was the only one being hurt though. I thought I was sacrificing myself for the benefit of my children. Time and time again so many women stay because they want their children to have both parents, a whole family. It was a struggle each day. To me my priorities were my kids were number 1. What is best for them is to have their mother home with them for the first 5 years of life. So I was determined to at least stay until my last one was 5. I thought to myself what wouldn't I sacrifice for my children. I was responsible for them and their well being. What I did not know was how damaging staying in this situation was to them. I thought I was doing what was best for them. I let my beliefs and responsibilities rule me. I knew I needed out but I kept trying to just hang in there. I gave my self a mental date of if he hasn't changed by the time my last one is in school we are gone. she starts school next fall and I am preparing to leave this summer. He has improved a great deal over the last 2 years, but things are still not acceptable. the level of abuse is just lower. But how much more damage will happen to my children in the time it may take him to recover when there is still so much he dosnt recognize? I felt if I left for my happiness that would be too selfish of me because I would be sacrificing my childrens happiness for mine. It wasn't an excuse it was my very strong beliefs were wrong! I needed to get educated and change my beliefs. Just like the abusers do. Many people told me to get out. But I couldn't be that selfish! Now my kids have become a huge motivator to have the strength and courage to get out because I have learned they are being groomed to take on our roles. I don't want that for them. Its so scary to leave and know you have to be responsible for them on your own. If its just you and you get out and only have to take care of yourself it would be much easier. Right now I have to figure out how I am going to take care of 3 kids, go back to school, and maintain a home. what I will be awarded for child care and alimony wont be quite enough to live off of so some how I will have to manage working and take care of them and go back to school, which means I would need to pay for some child care as well. I am currently looking into all kinds of student loans to try to make sure I can get back to school. Now what do you think would happen if I left and then he decided to leave his job and get a low paying job (like he has threatend to do if I leave) so he wont have to pay me much? there is so much more to consider. if its used as an "excuse" its a darn good one.

I always thought his abuse was because of his drinking. I thought if he would just quit drinking he would always be that wonderful person I got a glimpse of now and then. He kept telling me he would quit, and I wanted to believe him. we bought him countless things to make him happy that he would quit drinking for. motorcycles, cars, 4x4s, wood working power tools (he has a whole shop in our garage we spent thousands on he hardly ever uses).

My brother in law is a social worker and he told me I have to take care of me first then the girls, a couple years ago. but I didn't get it at the time. I was so worried about doing what's best for the girls. Someone once told me whatever is best for me is what is best for the girls. But seeing them cry and feel such pain when we separated last year was so horrible! I felt so bad for trading their happiness for mine. If I had only known then what I know now!!! and I know I still have so much more to learn. I went a very long time where every night he held me down and forced himself on me. He yelled at me about how he knew I was giving it away to everyone all day and that's why I was rejecting him and that he isn't gona let me say no to him, he is my husband. He would force himself anyway he wanted no matter how much I cried and begged him to stop. when he was "done" and would fall asleep. I would be filled with pain and rage. I would say that's it I am leaving now right now! then I thought I cant take my children out in the middle of the night and drive on a long desolate freeway! that would not be responsible! okay then I will wait till the morning then first thing we are gone! morning would come, I would be calmed down have so many responsibilities and think of my children and see them so excited to play with daddy and how much they loved him and he loved them and of course he would be sweet as pie to me in the morning not remembering anything from the night before and not understanding how I could be so distant and uncaring to him. poor him!

If you KNOW he is an abuser and he does not see anything wrong with his behavior then you know he is not going to change, things are not going to get better, and will most likely get progressively worse then get out now and work on your recovery alone! you don't need anyone tearing you down while you are trying to get up.

I wish you the best and please don't follow my path! Its a very long painful one, and not necessary to travel as far as I did before taking a turn. My step mother stayed in her abusive marriage for 30 years until he passed! she looks back and gets angry sometimes over the wasted years and tries to just focus on how great her life is now. I see whats become of her 4 children and its so very sad. she was a great mother but it didn't stop the damage from being done. I will not throw away any more years and I don't want you to either.

Love Suz

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This is in response to Suz's note who suggested looking at Dr. Irene's Verbal and Emotional Abuse list. I shared it with someone who is unsure if her husband is abusive. She says he sometimes ignores her feelings, disrespects her, criticizes her, tries to convince her he is right while she is wrong, criticizes and yells at her. But, he NEVER does things like: give her the silent treatment; a hard time about socializing; does not seem energized by fighting, does not try to control decisions, money, style of hair or clothes; does not threaten to leave or throw her out (in fact, just the opposite); has never left her stranded; does not use drugs or alcohol; has never hit or pushed her accidentally, etc. On the other hand, she has wished for his softer, more vulnerable side to be present more than it is and hopes things will change through love and understanding.

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Oops! I hit the submit button accidentally. In response to my note regarding whether my friend's husband is truly abusive, what is your opinion? Thanks.

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DR Irene:

Thank you very much for posting this topic: Quandary: Who Is The Victim/Abuser?

I have to say in hindsight that one of the most beneficial things that ever happened to me was when I was arrested for mutual combat; I assaulted my abuser! I had endured so much for so long that I exploded. I felt completely justified, my mind set during the time of the incident was, "You have thrown something at me 50 times, now here is something for YOU!" Which I later discovered in counseling is defined as "revenge" anger.

The charges were dismissed against me, he now has a record because that was not his first incident among other variables such as the severity of his assault toward me, but had I not been arrested I don't know how long it would have taken me to discover that I was behaving destructively as well. I did admit to the court that I was concerned that my rage was out of control and I needed help, so I underwent Anger Management classes.

Thereafter I joined a few real life groups for female victims, and at times felt like I was surrounded by abusers more than victims. I understand the anger, the frustration, I can relate to the need to vent, etc. but, for example, one woman made a comment to the effect of, "So, I told the son-of-a-b**** that he was a f****** b****** and that stopped him from saying his s*** to me for a while!" And many of the other women chimed in, "Yeah, you go girl!" I had to leave that group because when I closed my eyes this woman sounded just like my ex.

To hear my ex tell his side of the story - he was the victim, the mistreated one, the innocent more or less. Initially I was astonished and disgusted by the stance he took. But the more I reflected on it, he WAS abused at times, too! I acted out, but because I was reacting to his words/behavior over a long duration of time, I did not view my own as being abusive. I convinced myself that I was merely standing up for or asserting myself.

The line between victim and abuser can be blurry at times, since some individuals can exhibit both as you expressed. Since I have been scratching my head over this one for so long, it was tremendously beneficial when I read your statement: "So, who is the victim and who is the abuser? Seems to me that the individual who takes responsibility for his or her life and thinks "smart" - is neither!" What an empowering way to view it!

To me that is a much more insightful way to address the dilemma, since labels can be so subjective and even trapping at times. I prefer not to refer to myself as a victim or as an abuser, but as a human being who was the recipient of abusive behavior, and retaliated with abusive behavior in kind at one point.

I think some tend to be overly consumed with the phrase, "I am a victim, it is not my fault!" It's enlightening if for years you have felt you deserved to be mistreated that you discover, no, you did not deserve it! But there are those who when they make the above statement what they are really saying is, "I may be absolutely miserable but I don't have to do anything to change my life because I am not the one with the problem." In which case to me it is used as an excuse to avoid dealing with the real issues, it is a kind of comfort zone that some prefer to stagnate in. Which is fine with me, people need to go at their own pace. Now I feel validated! Thanks! Dr. Irene

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Hello, I have a serious problem. I have been engaged for three years to a man whose father left his entire family of 9 kids and had really no reason. Now ..when we met I was disabled by fatigue and immune syndrome, and by chemical exposure. P. knew this but we fell in love and my father, he and I moved in together. He was extremely helpful, yet I WAS INDEPENDENT - financially so forth. After a year he started drinking more and more, and would not show up back at home, and he abandoned me twice 50 miles from home because I would not drive with him angry and drunk. 

He never was really like this before and I have never been around drinkers. I was firm about this and told him to leave after he abandon me and mistreated me. Since then my dad allowed him back to our home. My dad has Parkinson's. Patrick was sorry etc. But he would never take me to dinner or really do anything special. Not even to the grocery store. This was crazy and he would blame me and yell and call me dirty names and start fights out of nowhere. I felt very vulnerable, plus each cruelty made my condition worse. I really love him but not what he did. I did not just need him but he just turned like a snake. I confronted him and finally he would change. 

Suddenly when I was given my ring and we were to go see his family, I was to go for a full day at the hospital. They called him to pick me up but he said he couldn't. I drove myself home and was so weak. He was very sweet, and asked me what I would like at the store. I just said honey whatever you see that is simple is fine. He said he would be right back. We were suppose to go to Arizona to see his family and I would meet them. I had helped his sister with advanced cancer and was looking forward to seeing her. Well he never came home. 

My doctor was shocked, because I was suppose to be watched etc. and he knew it. Nothing had happened. What he did was leave and snuck off leaving my dad's car and rented a car. Then I noticed all his clothes and everything I had given him was completely gone. I feel I have had a severe nervous breakdown. My father and I paged him 20 times, He had plotted this all and went to Arizona without me. But as in the past, his family supported his insanity of abandoning me and the criminal way of leaving me. Even though I was not sick, that made so ill I was put back in the hospital. I was so weak. 

He never answered the pages but finally did call and basically said he had to leave because I wouldn't have let him go. I was so mad and enraged at his cruelty and ungraciousness and the situation. I yelled at him saying how he could do this to the woman he loved? He didn't really answer - just acted like it was no big deal and I had a problem. I said he would be accountable, and he hung up. I have not heard from him, but my doctor feels that his behavior is extremely criminal and abusive. It has caused me to completely relapse... it is now 4 days. I don't page him; his family could care less, and where he works he has debased me and they are protecting him.. could you please help me I have no where to turn, and feel so scared, undone by him. He is his Fathers son.....       

 

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Date: Thursday, April 13, 2000

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Hello Dr Irene, its me Suz :) :)

Here is an update on how things are going. he has gotten much better at respecting my boundaries. at first we had several blow ups about me refusing to have sex with him. But there was too much in our past that I am not over and my loss of love for him, all just makes it too painful for me emotionally to be intimate. So I have been enforcing my boundaries there. I survived the tantrums and blow ups, and I even spent a few nights on the couch since he claimed it was torture to sleep in the same room with me and be unable to have me! see I told you he was the King of Mellow Drama! Hardly "Mellow!" But, good for you!

Anyhow, once he finally calmed down, he decided to talk calmly with me about it and my feelings. At that time I explained my feelings. He asked what I hoped to accomplish by doing this, and I explained. Since then he hasn't stopped expressing an interest in wanting me very badly, and still tries to paw on me - but, he doesn't get irate and pout when I reject him, at least.

I am not sure I can fall in love with him again. I feel like we need to start over as friends and see what happens. I don't know if its really acceptable to expect him to go with out sex being its supposed to be part of marriage. My opinion: sex is an act of love, not an obligation. If you do not want to have sex with him, he must deal with that. He can decide to stay in the marriage - or he may leave. His call.

It gets really confusing trying to set your boundaries with an abuser, and trying to work on a relationship. I mean I understand setting boundaries are a huge part of working on a relationship. This is the most difficult place to be I think: trying to work through an abusive marriage. Yes. Trying to make a dysfunctional relationship change to a healthy system. Between taking your power back and learning to be assertive, setting your boundaries, and taking care of yourself - while trying to work a relationship. Man, its like trying to learn to walk a tight rope. Being traditional marriage counseling doesn't work in an abusive situation, ugh! He quotes a lot of the things from our marriage counseling sessions, all the compromises, etc. Its tough to balance. Very, very tough. But, you are learning new skills you can take with you everywhere you go for the rest of your life. Eventually, practice makes perfect and it gets easier to set boundaries, etc. About his quoting from counseling sessions: Did he follow through with his compromises? Did you agree to things you did not want to agree to?  Maybe its time to rethink the compromises you both made. Maybe its time for a new round of counseling. And maybe, just maybe, you really, really no longer want the marriage, but aren't ready to leave either... If you feel this way, try individual counseling to help you get a handle on where you are. Good luck Suz.

Suz

 

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Date: Sunday, April 16, 2000

S1

Thank you so much Dr Irene :)

yes I am getting the hang of my new skills that I plan to use in every part of my life!

you were right on about the marriage counseling. no he hasnt followed through. and I did agree to things I didnt want to I felt coersed wasnt able to stand up for myself very well and was part of my own enemy.

anyhow here is another update! not as good as the last but I didnt back down. He is already back to being a big jerk! When I got out of the shower he grabbed and took my towel and was hugging me and started pawing on me and started foreplay. I said to stop and he wouldnt kept going just telling come easy relax... I said no! he got all mad. then said it was only a couple seconds. I said its the point you didnt stop you didnt care what my feelings were or listen to me. he kept trying to act like I was upset with him for nothing and trying to get me to recongnize it was all me. I went and got dressed in my daughters room. then went to dry my hair. he came in all mad at me saying "when do you have to start being a good wife and mother. when do you stop having this down for Suzanne only attitude. when do you have to start looking at yourself and stop blaming everyone else for you being so messed up. You need to look at yourself and say hey maybe I am the reason I am so F****d up. so what am I suposed to live my life never being able to touch you. oh I but you I know you can find someone else to take care of you is that whats going on you have somebody else huh. I dont even want to be around you. do me a favor leave and dont ever come back, leave just you leave and never come back" I said okay! he said "JUST YOU".

I was walking away from him and he was following me. I just kept ignoring him other then to say okay to leaving and never coming back.

yes I have decided I no longer want this marriage and am tired of trying to work through it. its given me good practice though. it reminds me of when my father was teaching me to drive a stick shift. he took me to an area that was all hills with lots of stop signs. it was very dificult but he said if you can do it here you will be able to handle it anywhere.

Suz

 

 

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Date: Sunday, April 16, 2000

S1

Wow. this is somthing inwich I have struggled with over & over again in severl past realationships. Most of the time, I felt as if when ever it came to me acting out in any manner like in this case it was justifiiable. But now only to realize in some if not most cases I only was wrong. Instill now has cause me to possibly loose that someone special. This person comes into my life a strong, hardworking, good father & provider. The things I have always looked for. So what upper with that? Now after typing this will only have nothing but time with out him mind you. To regret, kick or even feel what a thing I have pushed out of my life..... will only see what time can tell or will bring with this realitionshi[p. At this point if anything is left to this realitionship....

signed dumb @ss...

 

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Date: Wednesday, April 26, 2000

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I understand that I sometimes have problems with my wifes bounderies. On the other hand I believe that it is her way of controlling the situation because I am not doing what she wants. She has said many a time,"The wife always gets what she wants." I have done much soul searching and feel bad for some of the things I have said. I have sustained much abuse and do not want to continue the rebutle with my wife. She has done this all her life(47), I am only 31.

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Date: Wednesday, April 26, 2000

S1

Thank you for clearing that up for me. I am divorced from a verbally abusive man and keep rethinking all the mean things I did when we were married. He has happily gone on to another relationship and I am stuck in the remains of our marriage still believing I am not fit company for anyone. I am getting help from a professional and from friends, but it is so very hard to stop seeing myself through his eyes. I enjoyed this article because it made me feel that I am justified in my pain and soul searching.

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Date: Friday, May 05, 2000

S1

I do not think wemon should be abused because we do not do any thing so why do men do it should be stopped

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Date: Friday, May 05, 2000

S1

I do not think wemon should be abused because we do not do any thing so why do men do it should be stopped and if the man does not stop he should be put in jail and some one should do the same thing to him just to see how it feels and the wemon should not have to put up with it so they have a right to kill in self defense and she should not get in trouble for it if the man is abusing her and if you are in a abusive relationship you should get out of it while you can because you may end up in the hospital or even worse and I do not think you should not have to put up with a man betting you or his verbel abuse so if you are in a abuivse relationship you should get out of it. it you have children you defently get out out of the relationship you do not wont the children to go through the abusive relationship.

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Date: Friday, May 05, 2000

S1

I do not think wemon should be abused because we do not do any thing so why do men do it should be stopped and if the man does not stop he should be put in jail and some one should do the same thing to him just to see how it feels and the wemon should not have to put up with it so they have a right to kill in self defense and she should not get in trouble for it if the man is abusing her and if you are in a abusive relationship you should get out of it while you can because you may end up in the hospital or even worse and I do not think you should not have to put up with a man betting you or his verbel abuse so if you are in a abuivse relationship you should get out of it. it you have children you defently get out out of the relationship you do not wont the children to go through the abusive relationship.

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Date: Monday, May 08, 2000

S1

I too wondered what I was - abuser/victim. Two years ago, I was four years into a marriage with a very angry husband which left me depressed and anxiety ridden. I became hostile, violent, and very angry myself...perhaps I was angry all along.....??? I myself have provoked, stone-walled, manipulated and critisized my partner/victim/abuser in response to the flaws I perceived in him, and the wrongs I felt he subjected me too. As each others emotional punching bags it became a game of who's been victimized the most. What a waste of time that game is! I realize now it's both of us..he'd been trying to tell me that all along, but I always felt so self righteous that I couldn't see myself as being as imperfect as he was. His problem is controlling his temper, my problem is overreacting to his temper. That's just the tip of that iceberg, but until recently, I never really accepted my abusive behavior. So what if he does things I don't like. Nobody deserves to be torn down because they do something you don't like. Tell them once, tell them twice, then either accept it, move on, or get out. I'm not sure yet what I need to do yet. I do know that my behavior is unacceptable, and plan on working on that first. What is very clear is our abusive/victim roles have been interchangable all along in this marriage. I refuse to play either role anymore, and I know just in doing that it will have a profound effect on how we relate to each other.

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Date: Friday, June 02, 2000

S1

Yeah!

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Date: Monday, June 26, 2000

S1

After reading all of these posts, my head's spinning...For 5 years I've been in a very verbally abusive relationship, he has attacked me in private and public so often that I always assumed I was a victim. lately I've been reading a lot (a LOT) including The Verbally Abusive Relationship, and I'm realizing that we live in two seperate worlds, really. When I am crying, he calls it abuse. I gave a child up for adoption in 1992 and every year around that time I get very depressed; I've told him it has nothing to do with him, he doesn't need to worry about it beyond just letting me cry and get through it, but he becomes angry, really angry, and says I'm abusing him. He has definitelt interfered more than aided my recovery with this sadness... I tried for so long to make him understand that I waaasn't trying to hurt hiim or "make him feel guilty" when I was crying. After reading so much I came to realize that he didn't care whether I was hurting or not. My problems were irrelevant. Any emotions I had were revolved around him (in his eyes, I mean...They really weren't) and therefore I was crying at night simply to keep him up late, or biother him while he was tired. I have found supportive friends outside the relationship (and luckily he's so distant, I'm able to spend plenty of time among them when I need to) and have stopped relying on him (most of the time...I slip and let myself get emotionally out of control sometimes, but it's more rare now). I think this relates kind of to what's being said here, because for so long I was feeling guilty for abusing HIM with my tears...tears for stuff that happened in my past and for the way he was traeting me. I couldn't believe that he would hurt me and not try to assuage it, that's all I ever had in relationship before. It was alien to me. Now I know that he feels immense guilt- and it hurts HIM every time he's mean to me. I tell him I don't like the way he's speaking to me and leave the room when he starts to yell or get nasty (he will say cruel things at the top of his lungs until I remove myself) where I used to cry, or yell back, or call him names back, or just basically try to throw it all back to him... I stopped acting out my anger at him so much because I realize that he was the one carrying it around, not me. He can't give it to me unless I take it. I won't carry any of it for him now, and he is becoming quieter and more tolerant...of our differences. I'm just trying to deal with my own problems now, and see what he does for himself. This website is so helpful! ;)

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Date: Friday, June 30, 2000

S1

this article was a "home hitter" for me. The same incident has happened in m,y life and not knowing even what co-dependant was I lost alot of my self to an abuser. The hardest thing i ever had to do was admit to myself that I let these things happen to me.I had no clue that I had choices with my own life and my own well being. I was married at a very early age and I loved this man with all my heart. In the beginning he was wonderful but that didn't last very long.But I always thought if I just loved him enough he would change.It never happened.The sexual abuse that I LET myself endure was a survival mechanism,if I just had sex when ever he wanted i didn't get hurt,mentally,physically,or emotionally.When I decided to set boundaries is when all Hell broke lose here and the abuse got out of hand.But I realize that it's not my problem but my boundaries.He got to drinking again knowing I was afraid of him when he drank(and he hadn't drank for 20 years)thinking he could regain control over my boundaries.When I didn't give them up he landed in jail for domestic abuse and has been ordered into anger management classes.We'll see if it helps him or not but i still have my boundaries set and there they will stay reguardless. This post was what i needed to read,sometimes i think i am abusive when i don't give up,i almost get cold when he keeps coming at me with different tactics.Maybe I do hold some back out of resentment but I feel worse when i give in. Thanks for sharing,Pam Kerr

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Date: Thursday, July 06, 2000

S1

 

B1: Submit
Date: Thursday, August 03, 2000

S1

Wow! I've just decided that after 30 years of marriage and 20 years where affection has been withheld that I have been abused. Now I read all of this and wonder what I must have done to deserve this kind of treatment.

 

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Date: Wednesday, August 23, 2000

S1

I realised a long time ago that my curretn relationship wasn't healthy. However, I refused to accept just how unhealthy it is. Victim? I have allowed my boundaries to be breached; I have allowed my self esteem to be damaged. I am taking responsibilty for my well-being (funny I have always been responsible for my well-being) Thank you Dr.Irene for this web-site with all the helpful articles.I don't know if you are religious or not but since I am, "God moves in mysterious ways".

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Date: Monday, September 04, 2000

S1

Throughout all these articles I have been reading on this sight I repeatedly hear to set your boundries and don't let your spouse or partner break them. But how do you not let your spouse break your boundries? How?????????????

B1: Submit
Date: Tuesday, September 19, 2000

S1

dr. irene: thank you from the bottom of my heart. my husband cannot accept "no", it is my "duty" to do everything he requests. it's "his way" or no way. and most important, he keeps mental notes on past experiences that i confided in him, when i thought he was so perfect, only to throw them up in my face during a minor disagreement, TWENTY YEARS LATER! never, never, lets me forget any mistakes. i used to fight back to prove a point, but now i dont bother, because its a waste of time and energy, knowing that HE has to take responsibility for his anger, which stems from an abusive childhood, which to this day he will admit to but uses as an excuse because he knows no other way. even when we went to counseling, he told me the counselor thought i was crazy. i have set my boundaries, and if he wants to leave {which he threatens all the time} he can go and i'll help him pack. I WILL NOT BE TREATED LIKE DIRT ANY LONGER, I AM A GOOD PERSON! thank you, genie

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Date: Friday, September 22, 2000

S1

Dear Dr Irene,

Thank you so much for this site! It has come at a moment when I was completely in the dark. In fact, I"m still in the dark but I'm trying now to look at the light at the end of the tunnel. It's been there for long but I just couldn't look at it albeit walk towards it.

My husband verbal abuse turned into physical violence one night when I didn't "act right". It was such a shock that my world crumbled down and I didn't know where to look for help. Thanks God, I'd been reading enough,to know that THIS was a big problem and that I had to do something about it. And I started searching. I felt so terrible that it was out of question that I go to the Battered Women Ass.; it would have been admitting publicly I had been battered and I wasn't ready for that (still not am)! My only hope was the net where I hope I could find some hints about what to do next; but even while I was typing Battered Women in the search box, I felt horrified. Was it really me, the well-informed, modern, intelligent etc.... who is having a problem? It really seemed incredible! But the 'best' was yet to come! While searching I came to your site.... I started reading and the realization was so astounding that I got physically sick and had to turn the comp off... I REALLY HAD A PROBLEM! I had been abused for years and I was just realizing it.. It took me days to come to the site again and since then I've been on and off. I've been through my problem and know now I've been codependent since my childhood. I've not taken any formal step yet but as things are going I guess it won't be long but what I wanted to say is that it REALLY REALLY helped to have your site. It made me aware of the mess I had been living in for years and it has been showing the way towards recovery. I really grateful since here in Mauritius we have not even heard about the codependency problem. It will take me a lot to recover but I know I will....and your site and all your advice would have been the start of it all.

Thank you

Marjorie

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Date: Saturday, September 23, 2000

S1

I am appreciative of this website--it is helping me in my own life--

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Date: Thursday, September 28, 2000

S1

I am so glad I found this web site. It took every thing I had to make my husband leave my home. Four weeks later I wanted him to come home because I love him. Well I understand now that I was afraid to live with myself. The hardest thing I had to do was tell my wrongs in this marriage and to see the anger I had at myself for letting it happen. I read some more of the things in here and have decided to say by myself and work on me. What ever he dose with his life is his buisness and not mine. My kids and are grateful for this web page. I say my kids because they was in the middle of this and are not now. Thank you Understanding more every day.

B1: Submit
Date: Thursday, September 28, 2000

S1

I am so glad I found this web site. It took every thing I had to make my husband leave my home. Four weeks later I wanted him to come home because I love him. Well I understand now that I was afraid to live with myself. The hardest thing I had to do was tell my wrongs in this marriage and to see the anger I had at myself for letting it happen. I read some more of the things in here and have decided to say by myself and work on me. What ever he dose with his life is his buisness and not mine. My kids and I are grateful for this web page. I say my kids because they was in the middle of this and are not now. Thank you Understanding more every day.

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Date: Monday, October 02, 2000

S1

I must say after years of repeatedly being the victim. I have to admit that I have acted out in many traits of the abuser. I have gotten so bad at doing this that I sound and act just like him. I find it very difficult to stop myself from treating him the way he has treated me. I dont want to sound as if I am excusing my bad behaviors, but I cannot tell you otherwise. I may very well be wrong, but I am thinking that I have adapted to this level of treatment and its the only way I know. And for my self esteem to survive, since I was so depressed at one point I contemplated suicide, (momentarily). I began to reverse the situations slowly as his mannerisms and speech began to become my way of communicating with him. Now it is he who says I am not treating him the way I used to w/love and respect. I feel as if I do give him what he asks of me, but at the same time he still acts out because he is the original abuser. He is the one with the primary abuser way of thinking. He still manipulates and lies to blame me or fault me for whatever situation occurs. I now respond to his lies with angry outbursts and I cuss like a sailor. Something that I have never done, but have now adapted to his foul mouth. He now tells me he hates the way that I talk and cannot stand it when I use profanity when talking to him. I have curbed my foul language considerably since he has stated this many, many times. But he now will go into a verbatim of what I said to him, for instance, an argument this morning. He will ad lib more profanity into what I said earlier. When, in fact I had not said those things. He still blames me for everything. I told him recently that I could not take this living situation and that it must end. I must leave this relationship for my sanity. He responded by telling me that it is my own fault that he reacts to me the way that he does. Now he tells me he is sorry. And later he will tell me that he was just kissing up to me because he is the only one who is trying to sacrafice for this relationship and he is tired of doing it. He says he only wants some affection and respect and that I dont treat him like a man should be treated. I will later be wrong for telling him that we were talking about the way that I was being treated. I will be wrong because it will be selfish for me to say only think of myself in this relationship. I bring these things up to get it out to solve them. Not to re-fight/argue about them. He will take it as a derrogatory comment about himself and the cycle will continue on. We are not able to have a decent conversation telling each other what we want or expect and what the other can do to make it better. Even if it means we have to say to one another that we dont like something about them. Critism is taken as a put down between each other or a complaint. Even if I learn the best way to phrase it, or even if I were to forewarn him and fore-apologize to tell him, please dont take this the wrong way, I am not trying to hurt you. I dont mean anything negative. I want to help us, ... He will disregard what I say, and take it negatively anyway, get mad at me and throw the book at me. All in all, I have learned to not be so sensitive to his verbal abuse and give it to him in the way that he has given it to me. Of course, now I wish that I wouldve done something different. But I loved him so much that I wanted to adapt. So making myself strong enough and not being so sensitive to his words, made me tough enough to dish them right back at him. Its wrong. I dont know if I am doing the right thing to change it. Phew!...there are my thoughts and comments on that. Thanks.

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Date: Sunday, October 08, 2000

S1

I wish to remain anonymous, but I am wondering if a man tells you after eight years of marriage that if you do that again (while he is angry) that he is going to beat you black and blue, throw you into the yard, and call the cops." He has never hit me, only threatened to four years ago during an argument. I heard from his grown daughter that he slapped his ex-wife's teen daughter one time, but not the wife. And that she called the police and he never did it a second time. He is a little moody, but good most of the time that is why that remark really shocked me! Could he be an abuser?

B1: Submit
Date: Saturday, October 28, 2000

S1

 

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Date: Friday, November 17, 2000

S1

I was living with my partner for a year and a half before we started arguing over little things but I recognized these things as boundary issues. Like, getting angry over me waxing my eyebrows and not asking him permission first. Needless to say I didn't have the 'typical' reaction to this type of control and instead resisted. I knew that something about his demands were very wrong.

As time went by the waters got very muddy. I know now, throgh some of my own group therapy, that a great part of our relationship was 'crazymaking'. My partner was the type of person who never got angry. The proverbial 'nice guy'...who would never have hurt me. But when he did get angry (which was rare) it was over seemingly silly things which were always my fault. He was always justified in his anger by telling me that there was something wrong with me and if I would just behave as he wanted he wouldn't get this way.

In a few short months my self esteem was greatly suffering, I was beginning to engage in my own abusive behavior, sometimes throwing something at the wall out of pure frustration with the relationship. He would not come to counseling with me, he would laugh at me and tell me I was being stupid and ridiculous when I expressed my unhappiness and concern in our relationship and he expressed to his family and friends that we were having problems because of my violent behavior and nothing more.

The relationship progressed to the point where I asked him to leave and the first physical abuse happened at that time.

We spent months apart...he was ordered into counseling and I (although already in counseling) joined a group for myself.

We are now back together and while many things are greatly improved...I still have anger toward him. We continue to work on these issues.

My question is this. I began to feel as though I were the abuser and according to him I was. Had I not gotten agry at him the day I asked him to leave he would have never hit me.

I admit to my own behavior. I know I sometimes threw things and yelled at him but there is a big part of me that felt hugely provoked by him. Is this ever a fact? I have been in previous relationships and suffered other hurts and have never resorted to this type of behavior before. I feel somehow that I was backed into a corner and when I retaliated..I was labled the abuser. I undersand that we all need to take a certian amount of responsibility for what is our 'stuff'. But to this day his Family still believes (through their conversations with him) that I was the abuser, he did nothing wrong and then I had the nerve to charge him with assault.

So what about the crazymaking and how do you ensure that you 'see it' if it ever starts to happen again and how do you handle it so you don't end up reacting to it.

Sheri

 

 

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Date: Monday, November 27, 2000

S1

I can really relate to this. My husband, even when we were just living together as boyfriend/girlfriend, is very verbally abusive. He refuses to pick up after himself, or help with anything around the house,or help with our toddler without alot of coercion and begging. Then he calls me names when I ask for his help. Sometimes I ask nicely, with hope. Other times I yell, and lose track of what it was I was even frustrated about. Once he was so mad at me for an arguement over responsibility that he ripped up twenty or so pictures of me with childhood friends--a few being of my first love, and first best guy friend, in three seperate occasions he manged to demolish an armoir that was a Christmas present from my parents ten years ago, and every door in our apartment has a fist hole in it from him. When I tell him I feel abused by him when he says mean things to me and ruins my things, he says he feels abused, too. Sometimes I get sooo mad at the way he is talking to me, usually when I am working and he is sitting at the TV or computer, that I throw something at him, or break a cup and say "See how I feel now!!" and run off crying. Like the women above, I have withheld sex from him, too, but not for revenge. Sometimes I feel so abused I just can't give my self to him like that. It would be almost like rape. If I cook him dinner he always finds something wrong with it. He tells me I don't know how to clean. And even though I work 15-20 hours a week, go to school full time, am the main caretaker of our son, and the maid and financial planner of our household (he refuses to fill out even his own loan, school papers!!), he says I don't do enough because he works full time and takes 2 classes. So since what I do doesn't generate as much money, he shouldn't have to help me. He also discourages me and berates me so badly that I don't get things for myself that I need, like winter clothes. Then he spends a couple hundred on himself, for electronics and such. So I yell alot and am angry almost all of the time, but I still want to make it work (even though I hold the secret that he isn't going to change, I haven't told myself yet.) I feel that I have become an abuser, too. Maybe I am crazy.

B1: Submit
Date: Thursday, November 30, 2000

S1

I'm to the point where I am so very, very angry that I, too, am behaving abusively...I felt you were discribing me when you said that the victim can become an abuser..I refuse to put up with the abuse any further and it only seems to give him he justification to continue to behave badly.

B1: Submit
Date: Tuesday, January 02, 2001

S1

THIS SELECTION HAS HELP ME REALIZE THAT I AM IN AN ABUSIVE RELATIONSHIP. THANK YOU, NOW I KNOW THAT IT IS NOT ALL MY FAULT. THIS HAS INSPIRED ME TO TRY A NEW APPROACH TO MY PARTNER AND HIS BEHAVIOR. HE WOULD GET SO ANGRY AT ME BECUASE I WAS UPSET AND DIDN'T DO ANYTHING RIGHT. HE WOULD IGNORE ME AND GRAB ME AND SAY VERY HURTFUL THINGS, TO MAKE ME FEEL INFERIOR TO HIM. HE WOULD SCARE ME SO BAD, THAT I WOULD JUST GIVE IN AND AGREE WITH HIM. HE CALLED ME WORTHLESS, SELFISH, AN IDIOT, ETC.... FINALLY I STARTED TO THINK HE WAS RIGHT. THANK YOU, NOW I HAVE SEEN THIS RELATIONSHIP IN A DIFFERENT PROSPECTIVE.

B1: Submit
Date: Wednesday, January 17, 2001

S1

I see in many of the articles that it references the abuser as "him" in some instances it may say "your partner"

There seems to be little information when the abuser is the wife.

Im wondering if there are many men out there who have wifes who have material expectations that cannot be fullfiled because of financial limits affects their relationship.

All too often Im compared to other marital couples where "he" is able to fullfil these material expectations and end up getting grilled why I can't

Just curious who else is in this boat

An abused husband

B1: Submit
Date: Tuesday, January 23, 2001

S1

I've heard this scenario stated in another way; compared with a "retreat into your castle - complete with drawbridge". When you see your abuser approaching, you simply seek refuge in your castle, pull up the draw bridge, and refuse to engage in battle. All this sounds great, except when the abuser is coming with alms in hand. Pity the safety and remoteness of the castle mote to have blocked possible restoration! The "boundaries" this woman sets up must be such as to allow for peaceful communication, or else the distance placed may endure by default. What is truly at stake here is the opportunity of reconciliation, a moment that should be treated with great care. To the abuser with alms in hand approaching, this boundary establishment may be viewed more as an unwillingness on part of the other, an unwillingness to reconcile differences more so than anything else. Naturally, this misinterpretation will lead to accusations of adultery and unfaithfulness. I can only imagine how many couples, if properly instructed in the use of good communication, would have reverted to a neutral ground before first choosing retreat behind impenetrable boundaries. I guess the real question is whether the enemy/abuser is approaching for battle or for peace. Certainly, in this vulnerable situation, the approaching party must be handled with extreme care. Naturally, should his/her actions be misconstrued, volatility must be addressed. The clear thinking respondent will be able to nurture this moment into a genuine display of love. In this case, the respondent assumes more the role of a trained proffesional than anything else. For obvious reasons, before anyone attempts to seek shelter behind boundaries, the rules of engagement must be accurately presented to the other party, in order to avoid confusion. That way, when the other party approaches, they may be aware of the fact that the next step will be received as trespassing; a violation of those rules. I give you these comments per your request. Hope they are beneficial!

B1: Submit
Date: Sunday, March 11, 2001

S1

How did you get so smart about all this stuff, I have lived with this for 32 years and I could have never summed it all up so well. Thanks for this...you have started my journey for peace. Judy

B1: Submit
Date: Tuesday, April 03, 2001

S1

Comments, yes... I have read many examples on this site where an abusive man thinks he's being abused because his wife/girlfriend doesn't want to have sex. I can see the point about being able to take no for an answer; it's pretty obvious that when someone is "not in the mood" that you must accept it. And I am fully capable of that. So, here's a twist, hopefully to open up readers to the idea that abuse can also come from witholding sex, even if it's still the man who is asking for it.

My abusive ex-girlfriend loved to play this game with me. Let me preface by saying that in the happy stages of our relationship, we had a healthy, normal, active physical relationship. As good as you could ask for. After she became convinced I was won over and slowly became abusive, sex became a very obvious control issue. We had sex on average about 4-7 times a week. Suddenly, her "feelings changed" and she didn't want to have sex anymore. OK, I can deal with it. What's wrong?, I asked. "I don't know, it's more important to just be together right now." OK, I can do that for you. She assured me this was just a phase, and soon things would return to normal. In short, if she doesn't want to have sex, even if I think that stinks, I was fully prepared to be a companion, be patient and understanding. If she said no, I didn't ask again. I think in a period of three months, I asked if we could have sex a total of maybe four or five times. I approached gently, slowly. I did not beg, coerce, only asking why a few times, and stating I wasn't trying to dehumanize her, only wanted what was normal for us before: a loving physical connection. She knew I wanted to resume our physical relationship. So, while she was telling me she just preferred snuggling and companionship from me "at this time" (totally fine; I can do that for someone), she was also doing these things: Acting extremely seductive, yet refusing to be sexually engaged. Grabbing my private parts, then when I responded, pushing me away physically. Touching me in a very sexual manner, while saying "Just because I can." Calling me and being flirtatious, promising me sex later that night. When the time came, she'd refuse and say "You get nothing." I'd be angry and tell her that was unfair when I was trying to be sensitive to her needs. She'd respond by becoming angry with me and saying "It all comes down to sex, doesn't it??!!??" Openly fantasizing about other men in front of me. Acting seductive, then pushing me away and asking why I don't rape her or "show her who's the boss". This was a double-bind. If I did nothing, I'm a wimp; not "manly" enough to be her lover and "take charge". If I dared to respond to that (and I never did, I'm not a rapist), she'd surely hold it against me. Telling me she has sexual dreams, complete with orgasm. Talking explicitly about sex with other men while we were out together. Physically pulling me in; inviting me to touch her, than saying I was "sexually harrassing" her. A few times, she'd tell me it was OK, we could have sex. She'd initiate, and I'd happily oblige. Afterwards, she'd say I was lucky she didn't call the police and tell them I raped her.

In short, if a partner doesn't want sex, I can deal. What I can't deal with is sexual teasing, seduction/rejection, and insulting comments while I'm supposed to be all patient and understanding about her needs. It was pure torture. It was, in my opinion, totally abusive. Making sure of what I wanted, than making sure it was exactly what I did not get.

A.B.

B1: Submit
Date: Wednesday, June 20, 2001

S1

Yes. Sometimes I have also wondered if I have also served as a the abuser as well..However, when I think of the things that I did..like saying no..when he wanted to travel and I was sick..getting angry when he left me after a dinner party in which he felt he was "ignored"..

When I started placing limits in my relationship..then the problems really started..the attacks..the rage..the tantrums..the blame..the bullying act..the intimidation..you know..after you hear all this for a while you begin to doubt yourself..thank god for therapy..other support groups and good friends and family..

thanks.

slb

B1: Submit
Date: Tuesday, July 10, 2001

S1

My husband tries to tell me that same thing that I dont love him because I dont want to have sex with him. He tries to tell me that he deserves it if we are not going to have sex then way are we married. He startes fights over it and tells me he is going to leave me over it. I have had it with him just so I would not have to but up with the way he acts if he gets mad over it. And he has also said some pretty rude things to me about it. And all of this has just made me resent him and not want to have sex with him even more!!

B1: Submit
Date: Friday, July 13, 2001

S1

B1: Submit
Date: Tuesday, July 17, 2001

S1

I could not have described it better!

B1: Submit
Date: Tuesday, July 24, 2001

S1

I am wondering if I am turning into an abuser. My husband is constantly telling me that he thinks I am hiding things or I am lying to him. He is very insecure with me being around any other man at all. This is very intolerable since I work in an office made up of at least half men. He is extremely jealous and is constantly accusing me of dressing up for other men or says I must be fooling around because I am not as interested in sex as I use to be. The biggest reason I am not interested in sex is because I feel that if he thinks I could be this cheating type of person, I don't have an interest of sleeping with him. I feel that in order for me to enjoy and be interested in sex my husband has to trust and respect me. However, I do feel that I may not have enough patience in his insecurities. I just seem to get aggravated as soon as he expresses his fears. I can't seem to even try to be sympathetic any more. I just get angry and yell. Does this mean I am becoming an abuser?

B1: Submit
Date: Friday, August 10, 2001

S1

I just got out of a 31 year marriage (1st 25 yrs, verbal abuse, some physical--none in past 10 years). It took all my courage, etc. to do this. The one book I wish I could have every human on the planet read,,,,is: VERBAL ABUSE by Patricia Evans......It took me 25 years to find out what was happening to me by finding this book; I consider it my 2nd Bible..........I have a real problem with the word "co-dependent" I think that is blaming the victim mentality! To me, co-dependency is helping someone to do something......no one is capable of STOPPING an abuser---the only way yu can make it stop is to leave them----most women are not able to do this---we spend years trying to understand, figure things out, go to counseling, hoping, praying and doing everything humanly possible to "fix" it! So, to call the recipients of verbal or physical abuse---codependents flys in the face of reality, and punishes the person already being punished! I consider myself an expert in verbal abuse, I grew up that way, "married" my mother, and tried to fix the past............now I help women everywhere I can; I put together a paper (well, about 50 pages) and give it to women all the time..I consider it my responsibility, since I feel like I just found the cure for a horrible disease (and it is) that no one knows about! My e-mail is: wacalice@aol.com if anyone wants to respond. Thanks! Sincerely, Alice

B1: Submit
Date: Monday, August 13, 2001

S1

This makes sense, because I wondered if it was really just him or was it the combination of both of us? I feel he is the abuser most of the time. But I have the tendency to be the same way. He can just be so much better at it. It's like he beat me at my own game, and now I recognize this crazy behavior and I don't want to put up with it. I want to change. But I have to quit falling for his provoking ways. I just think I am finally starting to grow up at the age of 27.

B1: Submit
Date: Tuesday, September 04, 2001

S1

Wow that stuff is pretty confusing but makes sense. My now, ex-boyfriend was an emotional abuser. I saw myself turning hateful and saying abusive things back. Mainly, trying to defend myself. He once told me that his ex-girlfriend mother to his 4 year old daughter, tried to control him. I wonder if her behavior rubbed off on him. Im sure some of that is true, but he also had a unstable upbringing. His dad controlled his mother. Its so sad that two people who are unhealthy have children. Unfortunatley the children pay and the cycle continues.

B1: Submit
Date: Friday, September 07, 2001

S1

B1: Submit
Date: Thursday, September 27, 2001

S1

I totally agree with this. I have been there and am still in the relationship. I have often agonized over whether I was the abuser as he said I was. But it is clear to me through this well written article that I fought back over boundaries that he continually crossed and the 15 years of pent up anger. This website is helping me to understand how to take responsibility for my own victimization. It is such a relief to know that I can do something about this instead of just helplessly wait for him to finally see and change. Thank You Dr. Irene.

B1: Submit
Date: Tuesday, October 02, 2001

S1

I believe i am in an abusive relationship. I think I am the victim but could turn into the abuser at times.

B1: Submit
Date: Monday, October 08, 2001

S1

This posting is from a man. I find what you have written very informative and helpful. Perhaps over time I can fix my stuff. One thing, however, is very distressing to this man who is trying very hard to deal with his stuff. Almost all of the villians in your stories are men. I realize that there are certain consistancies in each of the sexes that would promote particular roles, but as a man trying to "get it right" your rhetoric was a little hard to get past. Perhaps a more sensitive pen would be helpful to us that are trying. Sincerely, K

B1: Submit
Date: Tuesday, October 16, 2001

S1

I was in a similar relationshio that left me coomplete emotionally messed up. I always felt that she had no interests in my interests and I felt compelled to constantly be excited about hers and I did enjoy her taking joy in things she loved but while she originally showed her artwork mine and stuff I appreciated she became rapidly uninterested (she never went through my work which I am pretty proud of) but still wanted me to get excured about all of her sketches, I bought her a pack od high quality pencil caryons and a fancy sketch book so we would have a common ground. If I missed a minor hair change I was told how insensitive I was and women immediately notice that type of thing. She threatened suicide or self abuse in order to get me to do stuff. I have done a fair amount of psychadellic chemicals in my life and smoked a fair bit of pot while the breadth of my psych chemical experiments was wide the frequency was rare. I gained so much insite from many of those trips I cant explain the chaning power they had on me. She refused to talk about these which I could not understand I also had been working 60+ hr weeks travelling 50% of the time before I met her and had started using harder stuff the stupidest mobe I made but quit when she came into my life. my drug use was used against me through the whole relationship and even now that we aren;t going out she still attacks me for it, After we broke up I was ready for suicide but the method I chose a lonhg time ago if life became unbearable was heroin I had done it befor actually once after I first met her but before I really felt we were going out We had either fooled around or actually had sex I believe the latter (I am in my late 20'w and had had sex with a total of 5 girls with one long relationship.Anyway I got so loaded on New Years I probably should have died I did some really stupid shit while most of the way out of my mind I had oral sex with a male friend of 10 years in front of his GF )both were and remained close friends until my new partner showed up and understandably hated them. Now she claimes I said he raped me I am very confident I would never say this what I may have said is that if either of us were female the male probably would be considered a date rapist as both of us were unbelievably impaired. I had not expected her to be that mad otherwise though I tend to be open about most things would have kept it silent as far as I was concerned it was between me my friend and his gf who was probably the better of my friends. she proceded to hold this over me in every disagreement we ever had. Now I could have been more honest with her at times but she created a climate where I was scared to speak lest I end up being yelled at. I dont believe fights are the right way for people who supposedly love each other to solve problems and I am good at avoiding them but it can be heartbreaking and frustrating. I'm glad shes out of my life but now publicly attacking me and my new GF who has treated me so much better than she ever did. One reccomendation if it feels really wrong for some reson it will probably be a horror

B1: Submit
Date: Wednesday, October 31, 2001

S1

I am in absolute turmoil. I have been married for 28 years, since I was 18. Our relationship was in turmoil from the beginning. There has been violence (his) and infidelity (mine), yet we are still together. We have 3 children, 19, 17 and 12. I am disturbed by my husband's verbal and emotional abuse toward me and my children, and am ashamed that I have not been able to stop it. We've gone through a lot of therapy over the years, and one of the therapists told me that I enable my husband's deplorable behaviour by staying with him and not rendering any consequences. I thought a lot about that. So what I did last January was move into my own room. I told him that he could (a) accept it (b) change it by (i) leaving; or (ii) altering his behaviour and sustaining it. I seem to be unable to pack up and leave for a variety of reasons. I hate conflict and don't react well to stress. He won't leave and says he will make it very ugly and costly for me to leave. I know I shouldn't be intimated by that, I just don't have the will and the energy to fight. He says I am being abusive, mental, manic depressive. I feel that I must preserve what I have left of my own dignity and I must show my daughters that I am not just standing by letting him trample all over us. He is not a monster, it's just that his behaviour is deplorable. Any comments and/or adivce would be greatly appreciated.

B1: Submit
Date: Wednesday, December 12, 2001

S1

I would love to have more info on this subject, you have covered many areas, but I am writting to request maybe a comic strip of pictures showing people acting on verbal abuse, these type of things are great for projects. I have used your info for my project on verbal abuse and would love to hear from you, cass_love24@hotmail.com

B1: Submit
Date: Sunday, December 16, 2001

S1

What does the verbally abused person do when their self esteem is so low they lack the energy to find help?To ashamed to admit how far they let the person go while still holding on trying to please.We are sometimes so depleated we lack the emotional energy to act.I and my friend are in this same place.We are trying to help each other but continiously run out of steam.Our support systems have been gone for a long time.We are isolated.In my case only his vicodin addicted friends come here. we need someone to talk to besides one another. Is there any other options besides NA Linda in new orleans lscott916@aol.com

B1: Submit
Date: Tuesday, January 01, 2002

S1

I have known this for many months-recognized it all- out of a 15 year abusive-both ways -marriage- how i stopped "it" treat it like the alcohol-totally abstain from him and all others as far as relationships with men and get help-accept contructive criticism from qualified people aware of abuse issues and pray a lot

B1: Submit
Date: Friday, January 04, 2002

S1

B1: Submit
Date: Friday, January 04, 2002

S1

B1: Submit
Date: Wednesday, January 23, 2002

S1

I have been codependent for a long time, and am busy trying to grow away from these patterns. Much of what you have said, I already knew, but it really helps me to keep from falling back into a relationship without reviving the psychological abuse (very subtle and pervasively effective!) and learning to live comfortably within boundaries I let fall in order to "make things better", in order to 'stay happy' or become "more intimate". Now that I have stepped away from fearful living, it is easier to see 'where I have been' and where I must not return. You are helping!

B1: Submit
Date: Wednesday, January 23, 2002

S1

My husband cut me off from sex 6 years ago. One day we were doing it and the next we were not. If I ask for it, he brings up every excuse he can for it to be my fault. We are married 32 years and I am lonely. He never touches me or kisses me or has any personal contact with me. We do not fight, we are just soooooo platonic. Is this mental cruelty.

B1: Submit
Date: Thursday, January 24, 2002

S1

Where did you get the title Doctor, from a ceral box? You couldn't read a bill board let alone between the lines. The only abuse claimed here was him saying it was abusive not to have sex. The part about a marriage counselor pointing out emotional black mail is clearly "I'm ok, you are not." What was pointed out about her during these sessions? Boundaries don't exist in a marriage. If you think they do then you must also beleive they are part of a parent child relationship. So according to you it would be "savy" for a child to refuse to say who they were with as their privacy is a boundry. Familes set limits based on mutual consent and circumstantces. It is intuitively obvious, even to the casual observer, that this "savy lady" makes it a regular practice to deny her husband sex. Or maybe he is so metally and physically abusive to her she can't stand to be touched by him. Or maybe it is something else altogether. Kind of like her side, his side and the truth. Point being for you to use words like "amen" is self promoting. You are trying to play to a target market. So remove the Doctor since they are objective.

B1: Submit
Date: Thursday, January 24, 2002

S1

Where did you get the title Doctor, from a ceral box? You couldn't read a bill board let alone between the lines. The only abuse claimed here was him saying it was abusive not to have sex. The part about a marriage counselor pointing out emotional black mail is clearly "I'm ok, you are not." What was pointed out about her during these sessions? Boundaries don't exist in a marriage. If you think they do then you must also beleive they are part of a parent child relationship. So according to you it would be "savy" for a child to refuse to say who they were with as their privacy is a boundry. Familes set limits based on mutual consent and circumstantces. It is intuitively obvious, even to the casual observer, that this "savy lady" makes it a regular practice to deny her husband sex. Or maybe he is so metally and physically abusive to her she can't stand to be touched by him. Or maybe it is something else altogether. Kind of like her side, his side and the truth. Point being for you to use words like "amen" is self promoting. You are trying to play to a target market. So remove the Doctor since they are objective.

B1: Submit
Date: Thursday, January 24, 2002

S1

Where did you get the title Doctor, from a ceral box? You couldn't read a bill board let alone between the lines. The only abuse claimed here was him saying it was abusive not to have sex. The part about a marriage counselor pointing out emotional black mail is clearly "I'm ok, you are not." What was pointed out about her during these sessions? Boundaries don't exist in a marriage. If you think they do then you must also beleive they are part of a parent child relationship. So according to you it would be "savy" for a child to refuse to say who they were with as their privacy is a boundry. Familes set limits based on mutual consent and circumstantces. It is intuitively obvious, even to the casual observer, that this "savy lady" makes it a regular practice to deny her husband sex. Or maybe he is so metally and physically abusive to her she can't stand to be touched by him. Or maybe it is something else altogether. Kind of like her side, his side and the truth. Point being for you to use words like "amen" is self promoting. You are trying to play to a target market. So remove the Doctor since they are objective.

B1: Submit
Date: Saturday, January 26, 2002

S1

THIS IS AN INCREDIABLE SITE. THAT STORY IS EXTACTLY LIKE MINE ONLY HE IS THE ONE WITH-HOLDING SEX. I TOTALLY UNDERSTAND FOR THE FIRST TIME THAT IT IS HIS RIGHT. HE TELLS ME ALL THE TIME THAT I AM THE ABUSER. NOW I AM NOT SO SURE. I START BACK WITH THERAPY MONDAY.

B1: Submit
Date: Tuesday, January 29, 2002

S1

I am the person whose husband denied her sex. Sex isn't the only thing missing. There is no physical contact, no hand holding, no pats on the back, no nothing. After 32 years of marriage, I expect some closeness. It doesn't have to be sex, I just need some intimacy, even if it is just a hug once a month. I don't ask because I don't want to receive something grudgingly, but I need something more from this union. I see him extend courtesy to other people, but when it comes to me, I'm pretty much on my own. I honestly don't know if I want to grow older with this man. I don't know if I could go through retirement following his lead without any thanks. Even a workhorse gets a pat on the nose every once in a while.

B1: Submit
Date: Tuesday, January 29, 2002

S1

I am the person whose husband denied her sex. Sex isn't the only thing missing. There is no physical contact, no hand holding, no pats on the back, no nothing. After 32 years of marriage, I expect some closeness. It doesn't have to be sex, I just need some intimacy, even if it is just a hug once a month. I don't ask because I don't want to receive something grudgingly, but I need something more from this union. I see him extend courtesy to other people, but when it comes to me, I'm pretty much on my own. I honestly don't know if I want to grow older with this man. I don't know if I could go through retirement following his lead without any thanks. Even a workhorse gets a pat on the nose every once in a while.

B1: Submit
Date: Tuesday, February 12, 2002

S1

I've noticed the same. Being a victim of an abuser you end up duplicating the behavior to survive. Then you take it to work, use it on your friends and finally figure out your are transfering it when you lose a couple of jobs and friends. Since I've noticed this I've been working hard to reel it in. Learning about conflict resolution and even telling friends if I start to behave a certain way to let me know so I can stop.

B1: Submit
Date: Wednesday, March 06, 2002

S1

God bless you this is called emotional intelligence!!!

B1: Submit
Date: Wednesday, March 06, 2002

S1

God bless you this is called emotional intelligence!!!

B1: Submit
Date: Thursday, March 07, 2002

S1

I am worn out from my relationship. It's so complex. I finally built up enough anger over years of emotional abuse that I've now become verbally abusive. So now I am both the victim and abuser. He's twisted my brain so badly and consistently over the years that I am exhausted and doubt my sanity most days. He recently starting venturing into physical abuse and blamed me because I'd yelled at him and that's what prompted it. I don't know if I'd be better off alone...he seems to think all our problems are really mine and I will carry them with me everywhere. We've been together for 7 years and I really have no clarity anymore. I just know I'm angry and fearful and confused.

P.S. My son is abusive too. I get it from every angle, which is why I wonder if perhaps there really is something to it all being my fault? No one who doesn't live with me can believe what I put up with. Maybe I really AM crazy.

B1: Submit
Date: Wednesday, March 13, 2002

S1

Well I'm confused. I've recently been accused of verbal abuse. In reading your article, I see elements of myself: - unemotional (confirmed by other people) - do not provide complements readily (i.e. I rarely use superlatives again confirmed by others) - Quiet, restrained. I've been told that I'm too "analytical". - In my relationships, I've been told that I don't stand up for myself. However I seem to have 3 styles: Personal Spouse - easy going, afraid to rock the boat etc, Children - Dictator, Work - Speak my mind (with diplomacy to superiors) - Never Never ever use direct put-downs to my spouse (past or present). However, the other items that you've mentioned (e.g. lack of complements) are characteristics of my past. With my failed marriage, I discovered that women need to be supported this way; seems the opposite with my buds at work - we want and need critism and we go at it cats&dogs at times (never use put-downs) but we do make out thoughts known. I don't like Political Correctness and feel that if someone is wrong (from my point of view) they should be told (in as gentle a way as possible - I'm learning to use the "I" rather than "You" technique). But at the end of the day, I'm still total confused. I suspect that I have characteristics of both sides.

B1: Submit
Date: Wednesday, March 13, 2002

S1

Well I'm confused. I've recently been accused of verbal abuse. In reading your article, I see elements of myself: - unemotional (confirmed by other people) - do not provide complements readily (i.e. I rarely use superlatives again confirmed by others) - Quiet, restrained. I've been told that I'm too "analytical". - In my relationships, I've been told that I don't stand up for myself. However I seem to have 3 styles: Personal Spouse - easy going, afraid to rock the boat etc, Children - Dictator, Work - Speak my mind (with diplomacy to superiors) - Never Never ever use direct put-downs to my spouse (past or present). However, the other items that you've mentioned (e.g. lack of complements) are characteristics of my past. With my failed marriage, I discovered that women need to be supported this way; seems the opposite with my buds at work - we want and need critism and we go at it cats&dogs at times (never use put-downs) but we do make out thoughts known. I don't like Political Correctness and feel that if someone is wrong (from my point of view) they should be told (in as gentle a way as possible - I'm learning to use the "I" rather than "You" technique). But at the end of the day, I'm still total confused. I suspect that I have characteristics of both sides.

B1: Submit
Date: Sunday, March 24, 2002

S1

I am angry at myself for abusing my partner the other day. My friends and family are all telling me I'm in an abusive, unhealthy relationship, but I just keep going back to him. The other day, I lost total control of myself when he began degrading me and calling me "worthless." I said I would not tolerate being treated like that and that I was going to leave. As I went to put my car keys in the ignition of my car, he pulled them out of my hand and refused to give them back to me. He taunted me with them, pretending he was going to give them back to me. But he never let my keys out of his tight-gripped fist. I asked nicely, then I demanded, then I yelled for him to give them back to me. Then, the whole event escalated, and I lost control and kicked him. He pushed me down, I hit him on his side. He spit at me. I even got to the point where I began to bite at his hand so he would give me my keys back, but I didn't want to hurt him, so I stopped. What can I do so I don't resort to becoming the abuser as I did in this situation. I have always considered myself to be such a peaceful person, and now I'm so angry with myself for losing total self-control and lashing out violently.

B1: Submit
Date: Saturday, April 06, 2002

S1

My husband claims I abuse him because he has called me horrible,filthy names and I have told him to stop or I would slap him. Of course, he doesn't stop, on occasion, I have slapped him. It started a physical fight.I know now to disengage and not say anything.He claims HE is the one who is abused. This website has helped me SO much! I am in the process of moving out and filing for divorce from an abusive alchoholic.

B1: Submit
Date: Wednesday, May 29, 2002

S1

It was very interesting to read this article. I have been abusive with my husband and also my mother and gave up drinking as a result of this, 19 years ago.Before I gave up drinking, I gave as good as I got. However I find it very hard to get out of the cycle because now if I am expressing my feelings at being abused, my husband yells at me and then accuses me of abusing him and causing him to lose his temper. Iwas going to leave him ten years ago, but he poses as the victim now if I go to counselling. He tells them what I do, sometimes from 22 years ago and then says I am lying about his behaviour Because I have stopped drinking, I have the label 'alcoholic' but he still drinks very heavily and has persuaded health professionals that I am lying about his drinking and blaming him. It's all such a game, and he is so clever at it that I doubt myself at times. Also I get extremely angry and experience depression. I have friends and interests now and have a support system. I have apologised for what happened in the past, but I know that that hasn't made any difference. In fact it has left me in a vulnerable situation. I end up giving in to his every wim just to keep the peace. He is very ill now and I don't feel as though I could live with myself if I left. As well as that there are times when we get on quite well (although that is when he is getting his own way) I used to think that only one member of an abusive relationship could be wrong and only one right. This has clarified things a little for me. I feel abused but I seem to be the one in the wrong all the time. Now I see this as abuse too. I just have to be very careful not to react in an abusive manner

B1: Submit
Date: Monday, June 10, 2002

S1

My husband, the abuser, is not wanting to accept the things I am telling him about how he has been abusive and controlling. We have had a difiierent life style in that I have been selling my artwork and my husband has been helping me for the past 20 years. He has been very supportive of me selling my work, yes, but he is also abusive in that he has been getting the benifits of living a certain lifestyle because of me and has not been loving and caring of me. He is angry a lot and now that I have decided to stop doing my drawing because of servere burnout and health problems--we have two childen also--he is VERY angry and blames me for his loss of income and destruction of the lifestyle he is accustomed to. I don't know what to tell him.

B1: Submit
Date: Saturday, June 22, 2002

S1

I would like to talk about an abusive experience hailing from the work=place. I identify myself as the victim. My employer treated me badly for four years before I could leave this job and find another. Basically the only reason why she could do this was becuase I placed her needs before my own. I did not reach out for help from comptent professionals either. To pour oil on troubled waters, I hid my hurt feelings from everyone in the work-place (except my abuser) meaning I was entirely on my own. I encourage all those who are bullied at the work-place to reach out for professional help (from a solicitor, psychotherapist, priest, etc. as quickly as possible).

Aaron.

B1: Submit
Date: Wednesday, June 26, 2002

S1

Many thanks for your advice. I have been married (2nd time) for 17 years, and my wife has battled with my two daughters since day 1. I am not allowed to see them, talk to them or even refer to them in any way. Due to her actions, she has even been in Court with orders against her to stop harassing them. I have four beautiful grandchildren and miss their company greatly. I am a college educated man, 6ft tall and considered intelligent, working in amangemnet and eventually my own business mostly in South Africa. I am now in my 65th year, and I keep asking myself why do I put up with it? My wife is 48 this week: I adopted her son from a former marriage, but he died of cancer two years ago aged 16 - a great loss. I have now reached the watershed, and if my current wife, Beverley, does not now change completely, it is divorce, which we both do not want. She alternates from very loving to fights where she even hits me and breaks things, and even if my children are not the start of the fight, they are soon brought in and are responsible for everything, including the death of our son. Any friends or hobbies I have had are discouraged, and she seems unable to find real friends. She does not like me going out on my own. As I write this, I feel stupid at having allowed this to happen, but I was married for 25 years the first time, and my first wife left me after getting a good job. It is the same story told before I am sure. Anyway thanks for the info. I am going to discsuu it with my wife. Brian Deller, Malaga Spain

B1: Submit
Date: Sunday, July 21, 2002

S1

Now , I am really confused!! This article is telling me that as the victim, I too have a problem. If I confront him and tell him I have had enough... then I am the one with the problem and he has to watch everything he says to me. It is a catch 22.. maybe it is easier just to pack your bags and leave.. after 27 years... this welcome mat has had enough... What do I do???

B1: Submit
Date: Monday, August 12, 2002

S1

I was not sure if I was being controlled or abused in this fashion. there are a lot of signs that truly suggest that it was a controlling and verbally abusive relationship. My willingness to please just to avoid conflict and wanting to love no matter what is a sign of being a victim. I am allowing my self to be a victim because I no right from wrong. I quess any form of love is better than none. what I want and what I need are 2 different things. i did not trust him in not throwing me and my daughter out again and agin. Everything was my fault in his eyes, I did not clean right or cook right, i was a whore, the way I acted the way i dressed, he bought the clothes. I was sick of not meeting up to his standards. I grew up poor but I work and go to school and I got a's and if I go a b or c he would say lets get a;s. he thought i was always cheating, but I never left to go to miami for 4 days and he still wanted to know where I was. I wasnt a good parent to my daughter but I could watch his kids when he had things to do. I was not perfect because I was angry. I would go a few times and just talk to any one and I did drink but I remained a good girl. No he threw me out again after igave up my apartment. He made demands that I met. But still nothing I did was good enough..

B1: Submit
Date: Tuesday, August 20, 2002

S1

I found your web site very educational. I am in an emtionally abusive relationship and was starting to wonder if I was the abuser? But the very last paragraph spelled it all out for me. Thank you. I need to take care of me and I do accept what i do wrong as well as what I do right.

B1: Submit
Date: Thursday, August 29, 2002

S1

You hit the nail on the head sister. I am acused of this all the time. They can,t take a dose of their own medicine.

B1: Submit
Date: Saturday, September 14, 2002

S1

For a long time, I felt like our marraige was working. Then the revelation of an affair my spouse had several years before revealing it to me......and total devastastation of my idea of who we were as a couple. What made it so much worse for me was the knowledge that several other people knew of the affair, and never revealed it, although they were "family friends". Their decision to keep quiet was based upon what they thought I may do if I found out. So as a married person, I felt like I had been forced to live a lie unwittingly in front of people who were trusted more by my spouse than I was. Over the next few years, my spouse and I went to ongoing religious counseling, where twisted Scripture was used to show me that I was indirectly responsible for my spouse's affair by not providing enough of a nurturing/accepting environment. My unwillingness to accept this theory caused me to feel confused, angry, even more rejected, withdrawn and alone. My spouse responded by telling more and more of our social aquaintenances and family members of the "problems" I was dealing with, without ever explaining what the basis of this conflict was. When I tried to explain, I was told I was defending myself, in order to not have to accept the "responsibility" for my spouse's actions, which created more hostilities and mistrust. The arguments increased, the hostilities heightened, and my spouse of 25 years claims to be the victim of emotional abuse. After a lengthy marraige, we separated as divorce proceedings began, and now find that neither one of us can rebuild the trust necessary to re-establish our marraige. I have had to make enormous financial, emotional and spiritual decisions in my life to compensate for the past 12 months, but healing is taking place through a stronger faith in things eternal, and a focus that now includes taking responsibility for MY actions, as I let my spouse take responsibility for hers.

B1: Submit
Date: Saturday, September 14, 2002

S1

Thank you for that post......I am assuming you are a man, since the last word in your short story was "her". I am a man also, and am embarrassed to admit that I have been in an abusive relationship. I think that it is much harder for men to admit, as they are then characterized as "wimps" but males and females alike, and since size and gender has nothing to do with emotional abuse, it only leaves scars on the heart.

B1: Submit
Date: Friday, September 27, 2002

S1

I have long suspected I was in an abusive relationship, but it wasnt until I found this sight and saw the SAME traits that are in my husband that I now know I have a real problem.We have been married almost 6 years and have a 2yr and 7 month old. Before we were married he was the man of my dreams. Never had I felt so loved and safe! 6 months into the marriage,however, a very different man emerged. He is very critical,controlling of my time with friends and family(HATES all my friends),gives me the silent treatment,and blames ALL things-act of god or not- on me. He also has the everpresent sexual problem. When he wants it he mounts me as if I were nothing more than a possession. If I say no he rolls over and pouts,or says something nasty. I have had physical symptoms over the years:like migraines,insomnia,breathing problems, and finally I am getting an ulcer! I just entered a program at school that will provide very well after I graduate,but if I leave now I wont be able to make it-not with 2 kids this young. I know I have to suck it up for 2 more years till I graduate,but I wanted to thank Dr.Irene. You took the blinders off me, and made me see what was really going on.....God, how did this happen?

B1: Submit
Date: Friday, September 27, 2002

S1

I have long suspected I was in an abusive relationship, but it wasnt until I found this sight and saw the SAME traits that are in my husband that I now know I have a real problem.We have been married almost 6 years and have a 2yr and 7 month old. Before we were married he was the man of my dreams. Never had I felt so loved and safe! 6 months into the marriage,however, a very different man emerged. He is very critical,controlling of my time with friends and family(HATES all my friends),gives me the silent treatment,and blames ALL things-act of god or not- on me. He also has the everpresent sexual problem. When he wants it he mounts me as if I were nothing more than a possession. If I say no he rolls over and pouts,or says something nasty. I have had physical symptoms over the years:like migraines,insomnia,breathing problems, and finally I am getting an ulcer! I just entered a program at school that will provide very well after I graduate,but if I leave now I wont be able to make it-not with 2 kids this young.Oh, he also likes to tell me that if I leave he is going to keep the kids. I tell him that this is Georgia,and unless I am caught using my kids to deal crack there is no way he is getting them. I know I have to suck it up for 2 more years till I graduate,but I wanted to thank Dr.Irene. You took the blinders off me, and made me see what was really going on.....God, how did this happen?

B1: Submit
Date: Sunday, October 13, 2002

S1

The trouble with dealing with narcissistic and abusive people whether emotional, verbal or physical is that they still see themselves as "victims fighting back" due, usually to the abuse emotional, verbal, or physical THEY received as children. In this "mind game" they are of course "never wrong and the victim". They have NOT developed "healthy" perceptions of human interactions due to the abusive way they were once treated. It IS a case of the former victim becoming a future abuser. They are also armed with all the TAUGHT tools of displacing guilt for the abuse their parent used. They have been invalidated in the past and now they must invalidate any one else and their perceptions, and are excellent at projection or displacing of guilt. This is what was done to them when they "protested" their abuse as children, so no wonder they are so good at it. IN reality they are both the victim AND the abuser in their minds and actions, making it very difficult to deal with them. They not only recreate THEIR role as the victim child, BUT have also adopted the role or tools of the abusive parent to project, cover us, deny the abuse being given. It IS a vicious cycle and yes, sometimes we as victims of the victimized become "abusive" in helping them to see WHAT is going on and in boundry setting for ourselves. Dealing with someone "not there" in a normal sense, someone that is DUAL rather than whole is VERY maddening at times. They do not "see" real logic, but a convoluted logic applied during their youth by an abusive parent. I agree that our boundry setting doesn't jive with their sense of entitlement. I also think that "normal" approaches to "communication skills" do not work too well as there is a short circut from the ears to the brain, CAUSED by their abuse. They live in worlds of denial, have had much practice at it and all the "coping" skills that an abused person will employ. The thing about abuse is that it is "passed on", so are narcissistic behaviors. The two then combine in the abuser to the point "finding the REAL" in terms of normal is next to impossible. They do not asorb they mirror and distort EVERYTHING. They often do INTEND to turn the victim into the abuser.This of course is a replay of what exactly was done to them. It is like a hall of mirrors stacked one in front of the other to THEM, and to us, as soon it is impossible to tell which is reality and which is "in the mirror".

B1: Submit
Date: Saturday, November 23, 2002

S1

Reading the posts has made me wonder about the victim/abuser phenomenon. I was married to an abuser (verbal and alcohol) and have emulated his inappropriate verbal behavior at times. While reflecting on the victim/abuser issue it has occurred to me that when I emulated his behavior he retreated. I learned to invoke this behavior when I was really tired of dealing with him because it was the only time he would leave me alone, nothing else worked. Perhaps he was retreating into his victim role at those times and playing the part he learned as a child. Perhaps I became the “adult” in his eyes during those times and he found it difficult to stand up to me. Of course he would resent me and it would be worse later when the roles again reversed. I of course had to be stronger (abusively) to reverse the roles again to stave off his abuses. I am not in anyway trying to justify my own abusive behavior. It is clearly wrong. Both the victim and the abuser roles are very draining and eventually I had no energy left to put into my marriage. My behavior did contribute to the further breakdown of the marriage, although without both my husband and I changing the marriage was doomed. To the guys who are writing in, someone saying you're a wimp is like the reverse of a woman being called a whore. Although whore means low moral standards while wimp means weak the point is someone is trying to put a demeaning label on you. They are trying to make you feel inferior with the word they think will be most affective. The fact that you are facing these issues shows that you are strong. We all deserve to be treated with respect, regardless of our gender.

B1: Submit
Date: Monday, December 16, 2002

S1

I am a victim turned abuser, wife 20. It started with beautiful lies, and then unsettling inconsistencies; and when I (thinking myself to be impervious to abuse due to my strength and intelligence) began to question my husband's dishonesty, he escalated his tactics. He became a different person entirely. And when an outburst occured, I met his rage in kind. He had no idea. I had no idea. I knew that lies were evil things- and believed that if I screamed enough, cried enough- if he LOVED me enough; that he would admit his duplicity and change his low-down ways. Everything runs deeper than I ever knew. Our issues are so profound- my unwitting dependence- his blaming anything but himself for his own wrongs. He had me thinking I was crazy- and maybe he truly believed that I was- because I was under so much stress so constantly that I would freak out about things that healthy people can handle. I thought it was depression. My fault- if only I had known that there are profiles and text-books and even damn WEB SITES that can describe my marriage to the letter! I left him last week; BEFORE I knew about what verbal/emotional abuse truly is. I was thinking name-calling. But it can be so subtle that you can't even describe it to anyone else. So quiet and socially acceptable that you feel like an over-sensitive psycho. Our one-year-old daughter had begun to pick up on the awful vibe- so I took off without knowing just what I was running from, and I'm so glad I did. Thanks for helping to educate about this public enemy- and my husband and I are quite shocked and are (although separated indefinitely) seeking professional help.

B1: Submit
Date: Tuesday, December 31, 2002

S1

I was married to a highly abusive woman for only a short period. We married because she was pregnant and it almost immediately became clear I was a merely sperm-shooting paycheck, and her verbal abuse was intolerable. I recognize exactly the symptoms you and others (The Judge) have described on this site. It will help me in presenting myself in the future - this is important because I have had to go to court and expect I will continue to have to go to court to see our daughter. One thing, though: I've now met many people who came out of abusive relationships, and I believe it is the victim who leaves. The abuser needs the victim more than vice-versa. That's not to say you can't have instances like the one you described where a potential abuser lurks inside a victim, but I think it is a good rule of thumb. Peter Greiff, Madrid

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Date: Monday, February 24, 2003

S1

My wife is venomously abusive in private and humiliates me constantly. Any attempt to reason is met with crazymaking of the first order. She read Patricia Evans book on verbal abuse and adopted the victims posture. Now she has a pretext for all her anger and accusations. If I try to rally facts she accuses me of not listening and being hopeless. We go to a counselor and she has him completely buffaloed. She is charismatic and socially skilled and a great story teller (never forgets a flaw.) Now after 10 years of accusations and being on trial and forced to admit I,m wrong, I am on trial again in the therapeutic situation, being required to admit I'm wrong and if I don't it just proves the point all over again, I just won't listen because I think I am so right I can't hear anything else. So now I have a whole new category of accusations to defend myself from. And now with this charge from the therapist, everything I say is wrong and just proves her point. So she is now almost out of control with anger, and I am totally without human respect. What have I done that is so bad? That is never made clear. But not having anything bad I have done, my sins have become sins of omission and character failings and things I should have done. In 25 years of marriage, I have given love, affection, support, financial well-being, never put anything dysfunctional on our children, never bought anything for myself, been home everynight, never said anything malicious or mean - when I defend myself it is for the purpose of making things right - which defenses shes spins as control and abuse and argument and "not listening" She has always had these patterns, but the last few years they have gotten a lot worse. She has become an authority above all things. A year ago I drew a line in the sand and said no more abuse, things can't get better until you recognize your problem. Some time after that she became the victim and her pretexts for anger and control and abuse were now always at her finger tips. (Kind of like counter-suing) Life has become a nightmare. How can someone you've loved, sacrificed for, given everything she wanted and never wronged in any way, turn around and hate you without mercy, tell you I'm going to divorce you, destroying the family and life you've built and the finances, and my only sin is what I didn't do, and even that is a false charge, because anyone could always in hindsight have done better. And sometimes the charges of what I didn't do are just patently absurd falsehoods. How can someone become so hateful to someone who has done them nothing but good. And then the therapist can't see it because she is such a skilled orator and I'm sitting there beaten down, crushed, oppressed unable to find my tongue. And when I do speak in my defense, it only makes me wronger. What a nightmare. Steven

B1: Submit
Date: Thursday, March 06, 2003

S1

I have the same problem! When my husband first started to act abusively (nothing physical-all verbal and emotional), I gave HIM the benefit of the doubt! But I could only stand so much of his lying, manipulations, controlling, pouting, etc., all designed to get HIS way! At first, I was 'passive'. I DID confront him on his behavior, but it was in a 'mellow' way. After experiencing his abusive conduct for about a year, I began to 'fight back'. Now I've realized that although I didn't 'turn into HIM', I am definately NOT the person I used to be...or even WANT to be! I really can't 'be myself' while being with him, and I don't like who I feel I have to be in order to be with him. I feel I have to defend myself at every turn. He has also accused me of having an 'anger problem'. I don't get angry at the drop of a hat. I get angry because of his LIES and belittlements, etc. Goes to show ya how often they happen! I see how he tries to emesh himself with me claiming he's 'just thinking about the relationship'...since when does my using the same brand of shampoo HE uses have anything to do with the relationship? He constantly begins sentences with the words, "I want US to..." and usually finishes it with something that HE wants to do, that HE never asked me about doing! If I don't want to he cries, "You don't want to be a couple!". It's a lose-lose situation, that I will hopefully get out of soon!

B1: Submit
Date: Wednesday, March 26, 2003

S1

ABUSER: CONTROLLING, JUDGEMENTAL, ANGRY, ARGUMENTIVE, DEMANDING. VICTIM: SUBMISSIVE, COMPLIANT, MEEK, AGREEABLE, GIVING. ABUSER: CONTROLLING, JUDGEMENTAL, ANGRY, ARGUMENTIVE, DEMANDING VICTIM: REBELS, DEFEND, ANGRY, ARGUMENTIVE, DEMANDING. ABUSER: ANGRY VICTIM: ANGRY

B1: Submit
Date: Wednesday, March 26, 2003

S1

ABUSER: CONTROLLING, JUDGEMENTAL, ANGRY, ARGUMENTIVE, DEMANDING. VICTIM: SUBMISSIVE, COMPLIANT, MEEK, AGREEABLE, GIVING. ABUSER: CONTROLLING, JUDGEMENTAL, ANGRY, ARGUMENTIVE, DEMANDING VICTIM: REBELS, DEFEND, ANGRY, ARGUMENTIVE, DEMANDING. ABUSER: ANGRY VICTIM: ANGRY

B1: Submit
Date: Thursday, April 03, 2003

S1

I am a verbal abuser and I want it to stop,PLEASE HELP ME STOP THIS when my buttons are pushed. I do not know what to do. I need help.My god my family is falling apart.Can it be saved.Please anwser with some kind of info..PLEASE HELP ME. JOHN

B1: Submit
Date: Thursday, April 10, 2003

S1

I'm confused. I'm reading this because I think I'm in a potentially deteriorating relationship, and am desperately trying to hold on to my boundaries. I'm watching my boyfriend slowly let his life slide down the drain, and know that his behaviour is likely due to his own bad feelings about his own actions, but I feel like I'm letting my own life slide down along with his. I don't know if I'm being sympathetic, but I don't want to go down with him. I feel bad trying to excel when he's clearly failing at so much, and hurt when he lashes out at me. I don't think I remember where MY boundaries are any more, although I keep feeling his expanding farther and farther.

B1: Submit
Date: Friday, April 11, 2003

S1

I highly agree with boundaries. And stay out of your codependency and work on intimacy. It is a hard road and alot of work but respect yourself and say you are worth it and you are special!!

B1: Submit
Date: Tuesday, May 13, 2003

S1

As I sit here printing out hundreds of pages for my verbally abusive husband, who supposedly isleaving me tomorrow and has cancelled all his business meetings (he is job hunting), I can say you are 100% right. And, tomorrow when he leaves I will laugh, as he will not leave and he will go to his meetings. Why how do people become this way. Worse for me as I was brought up in a verbally abusive home. Last thing I want is to live in one and create this environment for my son. I am overly concious of not being this way. But my husband calls me a fat bitch, lunatic and other wonderful names and regularly says fuck off and does not listen to anything I say and always interrupts and changes the subject. Then he denies he says it and says "I love you" Regarding sex, why would I be sexually interested or attracted to am man that speaks to me that way (who also has not contributed financially to our marriage in 5 years and has put me in enormous debt). WOuld you be interested in sex if you were me?

B1: Submit
Date: Tuesday, May 13, 2003

S1

As I sit here printing out hundreds of pages for my verbally abusive husband, who supposedly isleaving me tomorrow and has cancelled all his business meetings (he is job hunting), I can say you are 100% right. And, tomorrow when he leaves I will laugh, as he will not leave and he will go to his meetings. Why how do people become this way. Worse for me as I was brought up in a verbally abusive home. Last thing I want is to live in one and create this environment for my son. I am overly concious of not being this way. But my husband calls me a fat bitch, lunatic and other wonderful names and regularly says fuck off and does not listen to anything I say and always interrupts and changes the subject. Then he denies he says it and says "I love you" Regarding sex, why would I be sexually interested or attracted to am man that speaks to me that way (who also has not contributed financially to our marriage in 5 years and has put me in enormous debt). WOuld you be interested in sex if you were me?

B1: Submit
Date: Thursday, May 15, 2003

S1

Wow. What a website. Am I glad there is so much company out there. I really wish I would have known about this site a year ago. I am an abuser. I only recognized that I was controlling and abusing my wife after she left me. Now I am reading everything I can and going to counseling. I want to be in control of my actions only and never hurt anyone again. Is it too late? I hope not. I am truly sorry for hurting anyone. My wife is a beautiful person and I hope she decides I may be able to share life with her. I always thought I was the luckiest man on earth to have the woman I married want to be my wife. I was so proud of her in her work. And what a cook. Good looking too. Took care of me and the whole house. Smart as well. Every once in a while we would have an agrument. Ususally over nothing. We have no kids. Lots of money. We both have stressful jobs and work long hours. I work out of town for up to 2 weeks in a row. When we argue there is no middle ground. Whatever the issue is, we both have to win. Snide comments, name calling, yelling. I ususally end up saying I am sorry. Doesn't matter what the issue is but I usually have called her a name or said something bad. I wonder what she is up to. I guess I am insecure. Now she wants time to figure out what she wants. And I will support her by not interfering with her time alone. I will stop the constant emotional banter begging her to give us a chance. We need time to heal. I hope I get the time to prove to her that she can trust me with her feelings and maybe we can get back to our life and building our marriage.

B1: Submit
Date: Wednesday, May 21, 2003

S1

Yes, my husband has me doubting who and what i am anymore. He tells me I am a bully etc but I have just tried to keep my self respect but I have risen to his derisory remarks and insulted him and I don't like who I am becoming.I am glad to read this and I now try to remove myself from situations. However the whole situation explodes in LA on a short vacation lately when I was tired after flight etc just wanted to go to bed, he started pushing me around and when I pushed him back and tried to get away he headbutted me and nearly broke my nose and blames me for provoking the situation. I think it is time to leave my marriage before it escalates, get some counselling to see why i was attracted to him initially,(the attention, love, gifts etc) and take it slowly, recover and find a healthier relationship. We are married 11 months and I feel I shouldn't have to go to counselling for all his problems that i am constantly blamed for?

B1: Submit
Date: Wednesday, May 21, 2003

S1

Yes, my husband has me doubting who and what i am anymore. He tells me I am a bully etc but I have just tried to keep my self respect but I have risen to his derisory remarks and insulted him and I don't like who I am becoming.I am glad to read this and I now try to remove myself from situations. However the whole situation explodes in LA on a short vacation lately when I was tired after flight etc just wanted to go to bed, he started pushing me around and when I pushed him back and tried to get away he headbutted me and nearly broke my nose and blames me for provoking the situation. I think it is time to leave my marriage before it escalates, get some counselling to see why i was attracted to him initially,(the attention, love, gifts etc) and take it slowly, recover and find a healthier relationship. We are married 11 months and I feel I shouldn't have to go to counselling for all his problems that i am constantly blamed for?

B1: Submit
Date: Wednesday, May 21, 2003

S1

Yes, my husband has me doubting who and what i am anymore. He tells me I am a bully etc but I have just tried to keep my self respect but I have risen to his derisory remarks and insulted him and I don't like who I am becoming.I am glad to read this and I now try to remove myself from situations. However the whole situation explodes in LA on a short vacation lately when I was tired after flight etc just wanted to go to bed, he started pushing me around and when I pushed him back and tried to get away he headbutted me and nearly broke my nose and blames me for provoking the situation. I think it is time to leave my marriage before it escalates, get some counselling to see why i was attracted to him initially,(the attention, love, gifts etc) and take it slowly, recover and find a healthier relationship. We are married 11 months and I feel I shouldn't have to go to counselling for all his problems that i am constantly blamed for?

B1: Submit
Date: Saturday, May 24, 2003

S1

I feel this is happening to me. I have been abused verbally, I have been battered, I have been diminished and told to change as I am the impossible one. First I believed everything and thought I really deserved this, and tried to change. And I wanted to leave him and go on with my life, but he threatened me and I didn't have the courage. So, now I am telling him to change and I am abusing him verbally, I am turning into an abuser, if I soon do not find a way out.

B1: Submit
Date: Thursday, May 29, 2003

S1

I am a victim of abuse and have had many relationships that have left me wounded but wiser. I don't see the victim ever being the abuser. What I believe happens is that the victim has been so badly abused and has held back their feelings that they just reach a point of I have had enough. The victim then explodes on the abuser. As time passes on the abuser still does not stop and the victim just has had enough. My father died when I was 1 year old and my only brohter 8 years older was very abusive to me. Later my mother remarried and my stepfather was never a father to me. He was also an abuser. He never hit me but I felt his mental abuse worst then had he hit me. At age 14 I was a virgin my first boyfriend raped me. I married him. He was physically and verbally abusive to me. I left him after 6 years of marriage and 2 sons. I think because there was never a father/male figure in my life I tend to look for the masculine strong side of a man that I did not have as a child. This is what has got me in some very mental abusive relationships. I DO NOT TOLERATE PHYSICAL ABUSE IN NO WAY. Some how I have let these male abusers in my life and their control of me creeps up. I believe it is the strentgh of a man that I am looking for but some how manage to find that they are really control freaks. I am by nature sweet, lovely, with a heart of gold as all my friends tell me. I have a gift of kindness and it has blessed me with many friends. I have not learned to guard my heart. All I expect is to be treated with respect. I will give you all of me. When I see that I am a victim again I back off and protect myself. I do not desire to treat the abuser with abuse. I usally hang in too long. I will say again I don't believe the victim is ever the abuser until the victim has reached his/her limit. amazingramona@aol.com

B1: Submit
Date: Thursday, May 29, 2003

S1

I am a victim of abuse and have had many relationships that have left me wounded but wiser. I don't see the victim ever being the abuser. What I believe happens is that the victim has been so badly abused and has held back their feelings that they just reach a point of I have had enough. The victim then explodes on the abuser. As time passes on the abuser still does not stop and the victim just has had enough. My father died when I was 1 year old and my only brohter 8 years older was very abusive to me. Later my mother remarried and my stepfather was never a father to me. He was also an abuser. He never hit me but I felt his mental abuse worst then had he hit me. At age 14 I was a virgin my first boyfriend raped me. I married him. He was physically and verbally abusive to me. I left him after 6 years of marriage and 2 sons. I think because there was never a father/male figure in my life I tend to look for the masculine strong side of a man that I did not have as a child. This is what has got me in some very mental abusive relationships. I DO NOT TOLERATE PHYSICAL ABUSE IN NO WAY. Some how I have let these male abusers in my life and their control of me creeps up. I believe it is the strentgh of a man that I am looking for but some how manage to find that they are really control freaks. I am by nature sweet, lovely, with a heart of gold as all my friends tell me. I have a gift of kindness and it has blessed me with many friends. I have not learned to guard my heart. All I expect is to be treated with respect. I will give you all of me. When I see that I am a victim again I back off and protect myself. I do not desire to treat the abuser with abuse. I usally hang in too long. I will say again I don't believe the victim is ever the abuser until the victim has reached his/her limit. amazingramona@aol.com

B1: Submit
Date: Wednesday, June 11, 2003

S1

I just went thru this abuse. Thanks Dr. Irene you nail it on the head everytime

B1: Submit
Date: Saturday, June 28, 2003

S1

AMEN. Excellent website. Thanks. Yes, knowing boundaries and respect are so important....I would like to add that the book LOVE, by Leo Buscaglia Ph.D. and the book, People of the Lie by Scott Peck M.D., and discussion of these were very helpful tools for me to help a man to realize that he was doing bad things, and made him want to make more positive choices in his life. i have related it to creating a "rut" in the direction your life is going, towand the good and God, or toward the bad and the Devis, whichever direction, and how deep is the rut the rut you have created, and over how long a period of time, and whether you want to change direction or not, you can, but it may not be easy to get your bicycle out of a big bad rut. And that angry irrational thinking is like being around a tornado when the emotions are strong. Thanks for listening.

B1: Submit
Date: Saturday, June 28, 2003

S1

AMEN. Excellent website. Thanks. Yes, knowing boundaries and respect are so important....I would like to add that the book LOVE, by Leo Buscaglia Ph.D. and the book, People of the Lie by Scott Peck M.D., and discussion of these were very helpful tools for me to help a man to realize that he was doing bad things, and made him want to make more positive choices in his life. i have related it to creating a "rut" in the direction your life is going, towand the good and God, or toward the bad and the Devis, whichever direction, and how deep is the rut the rut you have created, and over how long a period of time, and whether you want to change direction or not, you can, but it may not be easy to get your bicycle out of a big bad rut. And that angry irrational thinking is like being around a tornado when the emotions are strong. Thanks for listening.

B1: Submit
Date: Saturday, July 05, 2003

S1

I am a happily married man and found this page while searching info for rape victims. My search was specific to Christian recovery. This is a very confusing issue you are writing about and yet never mention God or the Bible. However, the response ends with Amen? St Paul covers marriage and rights very clearly in Corinthians. Unfortunately, modernism has destroyed Bible based values. As far as anger and abuse goes, I can tell you that no one knows what buttons to push better than your mate. You never mention negative stroking, or people who push the right buttons to create a negative situation. I have watched women provoke men to a point of no return. You cannot play both sides of the fence by being a modern, assertive woman and then hide behind the frailty of being the weaker sex. I am not disputing someone's right to have boundaries. I am in disagreement with any advise that is not Bible based. Witholding sex because one does not feel well is certainly acceptable. Chronic witholding of sex requires counceling by your minister. The division of Victim and Abuser, when fuzzy, indicates poor communication. If you feel you are a victim, have a look at yourself and see if you provoke situations by pushing your mates anger buttons. Remember that your knowledge of your partner's weaknesses and stregnths are your responsibility. The buttons you push are your responsibility. God Bless You All

B1: Submit
Date: Tuesday, July 15, 2003

S1

I think I may be the victim of verbal abuse. I feel like I am losing my mind. Sometimes can't tell if the problem is me or him. I don't think it is me because I am a very laid back person and I hate arguments. Through reading your signs of an abuser I now know where I stand. I am being verbally abused. Where do I go from here. I don't know where to start from here. I am always accused of being disrespectful.

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Date: Friday, July 18, 2003

S1

larger print on your main menue pages much is hard to read

B1: Submit
Date: Friday, July 18, 2003

S1

larger print on your main menue pages much is hard to read

B1: Submit
Date: Monday, July 21, 2003

S1

This is eyeopening, my situation is not any different, but my abuser has ADHD. I have dealt with anger, and right now I just don't like the rollercoaster. I just recently started dealing with my boundaries and learning to speak up. Thank for the article!

B1: Submit
Date: Tuesday, July 22, 2003

S1

Wow, this article has really hit home. I have been setting my boundaries, and I have noticed that my husband is having a huge problem with this. I find myself becoming overally agressive in my remarks and always feeling that I need a strong come back. So have I turned the table and now I am the abuser, he states that I am just as manipulative as he his. Shelly

B1: Submit
Date: Friday, August 01, 2003

S1

Good thinking! My husband says I am abusive [and I am, too] when I offer to drive a stake through his heart when he has spent hours, days or weeks haraguing me about some aspect of my soul that doesn't seem quite good enough to him. I, foolish girl, used to believe he might have a point and that it was only polite to listen since my flaw was bothering him so much. That didn't work. No matter how much I changed there was always work to be done and eventually I would lose it and become, you can bet on it, abusive. But didn't start it. Now I just tell him to shut up and even got my own apartment which I can throw him out of when I'm sick of him. Our marriage is much better. Another improvement occurred when he started taking 5HTP [a seratonin reuptake inhibitor available at the drug store or the health food store. He reverts promptly when he forgets a couple of pills. So I guess he isn't just a jerk after all! Anyway, 37 years of marriage and counting.