How long does it take to get over all this stuff, to heal ourselves? As long as it takes...
I know you can't give me a definitive answer to that question - but I want
to be "done" - I want all this ugliness and sick feeling in the
pit of my stomach to go away and never come back. I want those horror
movies that run and rewind and run and rewind in my head to stop!
I was married for many years to a verbal abuser, whom I also believe
is an alcoholic. We have been apart for 4 months now, we did our divorce
over email and I will be a single lady sometime in early 2000.
I have not gone to therapy. I tried that a few times over the years,
but they always wanted to give me anti-depressants, so I quit going (I
don't want to get dependant on taking drugs). Wrong way of thinking about
these medicines. Would you refuse insulin? Or penicillin? Sometimes you just
need a little help to level out your body chemistry, at least for a while.
How about the herbal or natural remedies? SAMe & St. John's Wort have
accomplished miracles in my practice! Also, you can stay in
therapy even if you disagree with the meds recommendation and refuse any
type of med option. I wonder why you really dropped out... I
pray a lot, read many books on abuse and alcoholism, and get much
support from God and some fantastic girlfriends! Good. I am pampering myself now
and then, but my heart is broken. Of course. I don't want this man back,
nor does he want me (this last time, he has made no effort at all to
apologize nor to try and mend our broken life). He used to, but the
last year or so, all I ever got was excuses and reasons why whatever he
did was my fault, and why I deserved what he dished out. I'm glad you have been able
to free yourself from this. You don't deserve it.
Anyway, if you'd like some examples of how these people control their
partners, here are a few of my stories. I have many many many more I
could tell as well.... *sigh* Feel free to share them with anyone
you think can get comfort or validity from hearing some of my experiences.
I could fill pages and pages and pages with examples of how I allowed that
man, my husband, whom I loved very much - to hurt me time and again with
his cruel words and careless manner. Many will receive receive
validation by reading your stories - just as you have received validation in
reading their. That's a big part of what this site's about. Thank you for giving back.
Thanks for such a wonderful web site, I come here often - it helps
validate for me that what happened in my life was REAL and not just me
being too negative, too sensitive, etc. as I was told over and over again.
Bye, Viv (& Meower)
the awful things about abuse is being told that your very normal, human
feelings are somehow not OK, are sick, are too something, not enough something
else, etc. Its often hard to remember that you are perfectly imperfect -
and that is exactly how you are supposed to be! You have a right to be perfectly
imperfect, and that you have the right to insist that your partner
respect that you are who you are. It is your responsibility to yourself
and your Maker never to allow someone to put you down!
Some of my stories:
I have always - my
whole life - been intrigued and interested in hidden sciences: astrology,
dreams, ESP, ghosts, all of it. I read about things that I don't
understand. We are both Christians - however, my boundaries in
spiritual matters are different than his. Sometimes I read the
Bible. I have never seen him pick up the Bible. I used to ask him if
we could look for a Church to go to. He never would go, he said he
would get "too involved with it". Too bad. His
over-involvement may have helped him... He verbally attacked me
and my spirituality so many times, I can't even begin to count - it was one
of his favorite things to ridicule and judge me about. He would preach to
me about being a Fool in God's eyes, and that I was evil for being
interested in the "occult" and that I was bad for reading my
horoscope. This from a man that wouldn't go to church, didn't read
the Bible, and began looking at porn on the internet every chance he got
(I knew how to tell of his internet travels on our shared computer). This
from a man who, I later found out from a relative, went to strip
bars and bought table dances. He judged me severely without a second
thought for the disrespectful things he did to my face as well as behind
my back. Now that we are separated, I hear from 3rd parties that he tells
people that I am deeply involved in the occult, and that is why we are
getting a divorce. He tells people that I am dangerous. Very
It seemed that everything I did that gave me joy - from a source other than
him - were the very things he attacked. Yes.
These things threatened him; took you away from him. I love gardening and have
quite the green thumb. I have a few topiaries that I've been tending
for a couple of years - it takes a while for large plant sculptures to
fill in to become a finished work of art. He always told me how ugly
they were, how he didn't like them. He told me I spent more time in
the garden than with him. I also love my cat, Meower. She's very old (19
going on 20) and he often complained to me how I gave her more attention
than I gave him. Honestly,
I'd give my cat more attention too. The cat doesn't hurt you. He used to complain that I spent too much time on
the phone with my family members as well as his own mother (we were very
close). He would get mad at me if I handed the phone to him, if
someone on the other end of the line asked to say hello to him. He would
give me an evil glare while speaking in a happy tone of voice to the other
person on the phone. I used to make up excuses for him to others
when they wanted to talk with him, so that I would not get into trouble
by handing him the phone.
He told me that I should do his laundry and all the cooking and
because I was better at that, and he was better at doing the fix-it and
maintenance chores around the house. I made the same amount of
money at my job as he did at his - I am actually quite successful at what
I do - but I was not allowed to travel out of town. This was a major
problem at times, it was difficult to always have to weasel my way out of
business trips, believe me!
I got in trouble one time because we had a yard sale and he got a sunburn.
I was bad because I did not make him put on sunscreen. It was my
fault he got sunburned.
I used to get in trouble if I let him stay asleep on the couch all
night. He would get so drunk and pass. Sometimes I truly could not wake
him up. I would try and get him to come to bed, but could not
wake him. The next day, he would get so mad at me! It
was my fault he got drunk and slept on the couch overnight. He told me
I didn't try hard enough.
I was feeling frisky one evening. He had been watching a football
game, and I purposely waited for the 4th qtr to end. I put on a
short, sexy nighty and walked through the room, making sure to flirt a bit,
to catch his eye. No reaction. Ok, I thought. I'll go do
the dishes. He will be coming into the kitchen sooner or later to get
himself a beer, and maybe he will notice me then. So, I set about doing
the dishes. He came into the kitchen a few minutes later and said,
"I was going to do the dishes, let me finish them." I
said, "That's OK - my hands are already dirty and besides, there are
some cat food dishes in here." (He hates the smell.) To my
surprise, he blew up and yelled at me, "Oh, so now you are
saying I never help with the dishes!" He got really mad at me for doing the
dishes! There I was - again - trying to show
him some love and attention, and somehow ended up with an angry husband. I
was in trouble again as, I so often found myself.
I hung my bathrobe on one of two hooks on the back of our bathroom door. The other hook was empty. He came home
drunk one night. When I
went into the bathroom, there was my robe, on the floor. One hook
now held his shirt and the other a pair of his pants. He had thrown my
robe on the floor and hung up his own clothes for his next day at work.
When I got angry and confronted him with his disrespect for my property, he said "Your robe is nothing more than a dirty
towel. There is nothing more to it than that."
He screamed "F***" at the top of his voice. I thought he
had hurt himself! I hurried into the kitchen and found him staring at our
kitchen cabinets. He loudly exclaimed "There's a G** d***
cigarette burn on the cabinet! (I smoke, he does not). I said,
"No there isn't, it's the wood grain, see?" He said,
isn't, it's a burn!" and stormed out of the room. I looked again,
more closely. There was no burn. It was a dark spot on the wood, a
natural part of the grain. He never acknowledged that he was incorrect,
that there was no burn at all.
He said he wanted to take a nap. The radio was on in the living
room, not loud, but not exactly soft either.. He went to the back of the
house, and laid down in our bedroom. A few minutes later, the
door slammed shut with great force. I guess the stereo was too loud,
but he didn't ask me to turn it down, he just slammed the door. We
weren't arguing at the time, we were getting along OK in fact.
I had to bring some work home with me one evening. I took a break
to visit with him a bit. He was on the computer looking up some
stock information. I pulled up a chair beside him and tried to
start a conversation to show interest in what he was doing. He
snapped at me, "Oh, you just expect me to drop what I am doing to pay
attention to you." That broke my heart. I was paying
attention to HIM!
We were fighting. He was letting loose with some of the most
awful names you can imagine. I was a freak of nature (I have an
extra bone). I was not creative in any way shape or form. I
was a whore, a c***, a b****, would never have amounted to anything if
not for him, and all that jazz. I was crying. There was a
knife on the kitchen counter by where we were standing. I slid the
knife across the counter in his direction and told him to cut me, stab
me - make me bleed. I told him that using the knife would hurt
less than his awful words. He insists that I "came at him with a
knife". Years later, he still insists I came at him with a knife.
I never in my life did such a thing. I never threw things at him (only
one time!!-see next story), I never hit him, I was never violent in any
way, ever. I was too afraid of him! I knew if I tried to fight
physically with my husband, he would certainly hurt me. But his
story never changes. I came at him with a knife when all that really
happened was that I scooted it towards him.
The one time he hurt me physically, I did throw something at him.
We had some friends over, male friends. We had fun, visiting and
playing cards. Almost the second they walked out our front door, the
accusations started. I was lusting after one of them, I wanted to
have sex with him, I was making plans to have an affair, etc.
etc. I never, ever cheated on my husband; never even came close.
Nor did I have any desire for another man. But he was very
jealous. He called me horrible insulting names and accused me of
terrible things that were not true. Then he went to bed and
passed out, drunk. I was so angry! I picked up a
zipper-front sweatshirt and threw it at his sleeping body. It
grazed his back (but did not leave a scratch!). I admit, this was
childish on my part. Anyway, I went back out into the living room and
turned up the stereo very loud (also childish of me). All of a
sudden, he came storming into the living room, ripped my clothes off of
me, and slammed me into our front door. He held my hands tightly,
and the diamond on my ring left a deep cut. I had
fingerprint-bruises all over my arms. I had a big bruise in my
kidney area, where the doorknob had been jammed into my back. My
clothes and bra hung in rags on my body. Then he went back to
bed. He still says that I hurt him by throwing that sweatshirt at
him, and was justified in what he did to me in retaliation. I
never threw anything at him again, ever. That was in the summer
of 1996, just a few weeks before we were to leave on our dream European
vacation that we had been planning and saving for. I tried to
leave him after that incident. He went to anger management
counseling and got a little bit better, for a while. He only went
3 or 4 times and then quit.
The End is Near
past summer we were building a new house. A brand new
house! We had made many improvements to our old fixer-upper and
stood to make a very nice profit to parlay into the new house.
Getting the new house was his idea; he wanted it. I asked him,
"Why don't we just enjoy this house for a while, now that we have
finally fixed it up. Let's take a rest." But, he insisted on
moving into a newer neighborhood, into a new house. As usual, I
supported him and wholeheartedly threw myself into making our home
spotless for showing and selling. A few weeks after we signed the
papers on the new house, he started getting really mean and edgy, more
so than usual. One day he would tell me how much he loved me, and
the next he would say he wanted to leave me, sell our old house, cancel
the new house and go our separate ways. He threatened to leave me
and/or cancel our new house every few weeks. This went on for
He made an appointment with a
contractor, took him out
to the new site, and explained what he wanted in our
new back yard. A day or two later he was back to telling me he wanted to leave
and cancel our new house. The
insults had escalated too. Nearly every day I was told I was a pain
in the ass. I was full of shit. I didn't work hard enough.
He did all the work; I did nothing. I was sabotaging the sale of our
old house. He carried all the work load of our life. I did not
appreciate anything he did. I did not make him happy. He stood in
front of me, hands on his hips and said "I am not happy. What
are you going to do about it?" I tried to explain to him that
happiness is a chosen state of mind, it is not something anyone can
"give" to another, nor "make" anyone "have." This was the beginning of the end, the REAL end of our marriage.
He kept threatening to leave me and cancel our new home. I
finally snapped. I told him if that is what he wanted, then he
could have it. I wanted it too. I was tired of trying and trying to make my husband feel loved, secure, and
happy in our marriage. I gave up. About time.
He came home drunk and angry one evening during this period, and
started packing his things to leave me. As he was stacking things
in the living room, he walked through the dining room, where I
was. I asked him, "Can I say one thing to you please?" He
continued on his way, with his hands over his ears. He started
bending over, pointing his butt at me when he walked through.
Then he started dancing around in circles, pointing his middle fingers
with both hands at me as he walked through the room. I started
crying. I took the things he was stacking in the living room and
began moving them onto the front porch. All the while I was crying and
begging him to leave and never come back. He saw me move his
belongings onto the porch and proceeded to pick up my 19-year old
sleeping cat. He picked her up, had his hand around her throat,
pinning her to her little bed. He took her to the back yard and
held her up high over his head. I screamed. I thought he
was going to throw her onto the ground, or maybe over the fence.
I will never forget her little eyes bulging out of her head, as he held
her up as though he was about to smash her to the ground. I
reached for her. He moved her out of my reach. I was
terrified. I called 911. When he saw what I was doing, he
told me to hang up the phone. He said "I am not hurting the
cat". He brought the cat back inside. When he set her down,
she jumped away so hard that her little bed flipped upside down.
He righted her bed and said, "See, I didn't hurt her. Why did you
call the police? I was trying to leave!".
nearly hysterical at this point and looking for the cat to make
sure she was OK. She is so old and very fragile, she doesn't do much
other than sleep. He was drunk, the police were
on their way, and he couldn't leave because he knew he'd get a DUI if
he was caught behind the wheel. The police came, and made him get a hotel room for the night.
That was the last time I saw
my husband. He stayed away and filed the divorce papers (I told him
if he didn't that I would make his abuse public record). This
was 4 months ago. We sold our house, canceled the new house. I
am now renting my own safe place. Me and my cat. He is still
living in motels as far as I know.
quit seeing his son, my step son. He often spoke of putting his
son out of his life altogether. He would still pay child support, but
just didn't want to spend time with his son anymore. There was no
reward in it for him. Those are his exact words. No
As we waited for the
police to arrive that night, he put his nose an inch from my face and told
me he hated the cat, he wished she were dead; he wished I would put her to
sleep. He often told me that the cat got the affection he needed and
that I paid more attention to the cat than him. He told me I loved the cat more than
I loved him. He also said that his son (who is 13) loved me more than
he loved him. Are you surprised? He also said he was only putting the cat
he was not trying to hurt her. He was putting her outside because I
was "throwing his things out the door and screaming at the top of my
lungs.". Dr. Irene, I was very careful - I was neatly stacking
his things on the porch, I threw nothing. I was crying, begging him
to leave. I was not screaming and I was not throwing things.
that. There is no winning with this man. Damned if you do; damned if you
don't. His insecurity, lack of trust, anger, and poor impulse control will
ensure that he pushes away anybody he "loves"...
Luckily, I never had children with this man. I make the same salary as
he does, so financially I am secure. But sometimes it is like coming
out of a war zone or something: ugly remnants of his angry, glaring eyes,
his horrible insults, his blaming me for every rotten thing he said and
did. Sometimes those images pop into my head out of nowhere and
it's all I can do to keep from crying. Other days, I dance in my
newfound glorious freedom. It's hard, but it's getting better.
I have found that if I hear a male voice shouting - like in a bar, a
crowd, anywhere - but if I hear an angry male voice, it nearly instantly
reduces me to a pile of nerves and it's difficult to control my urge to
burst into tears. Viv
Viv, You are
describing some symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, a condition
that develops when a human being is stressed beyond the ordinary - as in
I am so happy for
you that you are away from this very sick person. You tried too long and
too hard to save a marriage that was unsalvageable. The only reason your
marriage could not work - is because your husband, in his illness, worked
overtime to make sure of that.
I don't know where
anger ends and illness begins, or if there is such a line. But, your
husband crossed it long ago.
May God bless
you and may you never allow anybody to do this to you again, ever.
A done deal! See Viv's January 2000 update!