Your site is the holy grail for information on verbal abuse. Before
finding this site, I never would have considered myself to be an abuser or
a victim. Just another way of looking at the same
I'm a 32 year old man. My partner ended our relationship last week after
three years. I'm sorry. I realize after reading the posts on this site that I
did not respect her boundaries. I've exhibited signs of a
co-dependent, victim or abuser throughout the relationship without
realizing that I was doing it. Congratulations. You
are in good company; boundary stuff should be taught in grade school.
It's still early in my trying to understand what happened, but even as I
see that I acted out, I also realize that my partner had acted out in her
own ways. She withdrew many times, put distance between us and I
couldn't understand why. And she wouldn't communicate with me. It
frustrated me. Of course it frustrated you!
But, she was within her rights to refuse to communicate. I would ask for clarification about why she was
withdrawing, that we should talk about what is happening between us, but
the response was usually, "I don't want to talk about it." or
changing the subject with blatant disregard for my questions. She was clearly telling you she did not want to
talk about it. You have no sane option here other than to accept that she
regularly close me out. I know this may be acceptable in some context.
But, there was also verbal abuse where I was belittled (told that I don't
know anything; I have a bad memory; gone crazy; acting crazy). When I met
her family, she commented openly that I was lazy before her family. Yuk. Why'd you stay with her after that? She clearly
communicated contempt towards you! There are many other things as well. I'm not perfect. I make mistakes, but
I tried to keep communication between us flowing. This was not successful.
Nope. It takes two to communicate. My question to
you: why hang around?
What finally killed the relationship was my blowing up (first time ever). Of course you are eventually going to blow up! You are
describing an extremely frustrating relationship. That's why I wonder why
you just didn't let it go; she clearly did not hold you in high regard...
After being apart for a while (few weeks--her wish), we had finally spent
time with each other one day after being distant. The following day, she
shut me out again. This confused me. I confronted her about it, but I made
no sense. Clearly, I approached the situation incorrectly. I don't know that there is a "right" way to
approach her. She probably would have told you more of the same: that she
didn't want to talk about it.
She had been on the phone for several hours and after having been shut
out, I wanted to know what was going on, why the distancing. Why is there
so much time for (?), but not us? (unhealthy, I know.) She said that
she didn't want to talk, then started talking, but forgot my question
less than one minute after I asked it. "You'll just have to repeat
yourself," she taunted repeatedly. I was frustrated. I sat very
confused in a moment of silence. She then said in a dismissive tone that
if I was going to talk, then talk, but her time was running. I blew up
in a fit of frustration, told her she was selfish, that she only cared
about herself (when I really meant she didn't care about our
relationship), then stormed out. Why are you trying
to get blood out of a rock?
I didn't handle that well, but handled the following days (trying to
communicate with her to understand what was happening) even worse. There is nothing to understand! She is disinterested,
angry, contemptuous, whatever. Who cares! She did not treat you well, yet
instead of listening to the little voice inside which no doubt was
screaming, "Ouchhhh!" you continued to hang around! She
wouldn't acknowledge me or open her door for me. Another of her subtle hints. If you just listened to what
she was communicating between the lines, and even written plainly on the
lines, you wouldn't need to see it in skywriting!
I insisted and
talked loudly through her front door. I raised my voice to cause a scene
to have her open the door. (I know: bad, bad move. Says abusive behaviour.)
Yeah, yeah. Dumb disrespectful-of-self behavior.
That move certainly won't increase your integrity. She finally let me in. But, it worked... (So you were reinforced for
mis-behaving. Ugh.) But, wouldn't listen or respond (literally
put her hands over her ears and avoided eye contact) especially as I spoke
in a calm voice. So (handled badly again) I raised my voice to be heard. Why do you persist? The message is "go away." NOBODY
is so wonderful, they are worth selling out for; you sold your integrity
There were several other situations after this that I did not handle well.
I'm sure! This one should have been easy had you
been paying attention inside. You would have been out of there FAST!
In my mind, I was trying to keep open communication to understand why I
had been shut out so many times. I realized that I had issues to address
when I found myself unable to let go of the relationship. I see that, but she was unwilling to communicate. Your
question is more appropriately asked of a therapist.
her even after we were clearly over. I was then intruding into her spaces.
A bit obsessive, huh? This only caused a greater rift between us. Maybe we would have talked at
some point had I not acted out, but there is almost certainly no chance of
talking now. Unlikely you would ever have talked.
I stumbled onto this site and discovered verbal and emotional abuse, and
my self. I don't know on which side of the fence I fall, but I've acted
out as abuser and victim. My partner was definitely a victim of my verbal
abuse (I didn't realize that I was doing it, but I see it now), but she
was also an abuser. In the end, I guess it doesn't matter which is which
because the damage is done and we each have to deal with ourselves on our
own. Yes. In the vast majority of cases, labeling
one the "abuser" and the other the "victim" is
inappropriate. We're really talking about an inability to pay attention to
the little voice inside - that never fails to guide us in the right
direction. AWAY in your case.
She hurt you! Who cares whether
or not she is a victim or an abuser, so to speak. She hurt you! But,
instead of pulling your hand away from the fire after you were burnt the
first time, you kept putting your hand back! And, you kept asking the fire
why it insisted on burning you!
Thanks to this site which helped me to acknowledge my actions, I am in
therapy (two days after my verbal tirade). I don't really know if the
therapist is right for me, but it's a start. I still don't know if I
caused our breakup, if I am or she is the abuser who caused this painful
tear, but I am dealing with ME and MY issues because that's all I have
left to move forward with. It is great you went for
help! Don't worry about who caused the breakup. Don't worry about who was
abuser and who was victim. Most people have both parts inside. Look
instead at why you place more value on another person than you do on
yourself. Learn to recognize your internal rudder, that part of you that
felt so hurt by her pushing away. Learn to understand that no person,
place or thing is worth burning your hand over. You are too precious for
that. Get it?
In hindsight, I wish I had found this sight sooner, but that's just one
more issue to work through in therapy: trying not to live in the past. Yes! Also, Jack, keep in mind that "abuser" and
"victim" is just another way of organizing data. Despite which
"direction" you choose, behaving like a victim or like an abuser
boils down to disrespecting and short-changing the self.
Don't get stuck on who is who... In a nutshell, you violated her
boundaries when you disregarded your own signals and sold your integrity
down the river. You can fix this. You are now going in the right
direction: inside. Best of luck. Dr. Irene
Thanks for this sight. Jack