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4/19 Interactive Board: I Lost My Love...

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Doc@DrIrene.com

Why Am I So Inconsiderate?

Why Am I So Inconsiderate?

 

Dear Dr. Irene,
I stumbled upon your site when typing into "Ask Jeeves" - "Why am I so inconsiderate?" I was having an especially bad day - feeling bad about myself and how awful I am, so I typed it in.

I saw your site and read.  And read and read and read.  I was intrigued by so many people in the same situation that I am in.  If I may, let me tell you my situation and any advise you can give would be so much appreciated.  I am at my wits end...

I am on my third marriage.  I have three kids (8-17).  Both my parents were alcoholics and were verbally and emotionally abusive.  I entered life at 18 with zero self esteem and married the first boy who said he loved me.  That marriage ended after 3 years, no children.  I was unfaithful to him. I looked all over our small town for someone to love me because I didn't feel sufficient love from him.  Then I married my second husband, who was a couple years younger than me.  We had a child.  But that marriage ended in divorce.  Both of us were unfaithful.  Now I am married the for the third time; we are in our 9th year.  We have two children together.  Let me tell you our story:

We met in the Marine Corps.  I joined the USMC to try to make a new life for my daughter and myself.  I knew my current (2nd) marriage was a failure. Good for you for getting proactive about taking care of yourself and your kid! I met "Bob" who immediately swept me off my feet.  He was so charming and wonderful and thoughtful..... I never met anyone who "loved" me as much as he.  He made me feel so special - like I was the only woman in the world.  Then a disagreement came up.  It lead to shoving me into the wall.  Yikes! Other disagreements came up: more shoving, threatening with knifes, death, embarrassment; you name it.  Ugh. My 3 year old and I were living in constant fear everyday.  He went over the edge one day and I called the military police on him. He was discharged and thrown in the brig.  

I thought I was done with him.  The USMC made examples of us both and court marshaled us, took pay and rank, and publicly humiliated us. Ouchhh! I was determined to persevere.  I graduated in the top 5% of my class and was ready to move on. It's a wonderful thing to know you will always land on your feet! Except for the fact that he got out of the brig and showed up on my doorstep.  He apologized and cried and begged for me to forgive him.  He said that it would never happen again.  He made me feel sorry for him; the works.  I should not have believed him, since we had been through this whole scene before, but I did believe him - and took him back in. If it's any consolation, I'm sure he really meant it when he was making his promises. Not a week went by when he was threatening me and my daughter again. But, he didn't have the "stuff" he needed to pull it off.  I was pregnant with his child - he kicked me and choked me while I was pregnant.  Ugh... The nightmares I could tell you - it's too painful to recall everything. If you really mean this and are not simply using your inability to recall painful events as a figure of speech, you would likely benefit from some therapy. The stuff we hide from ourselves is the stuff nightmares are made of...

His Jeckyl and Hyde behavior continued over the next few years.  I would always believe him when he promised he would change, but he never would.  Our 2nd child was born with a birth defect: add more stress to the already boiling pot.  Although I have blocked out most of the horrific things that went on in my house those years You do mean it! , my worst memory was one evening after a day at the hospital with my 2nd child (who was in intensive care weeks after birth). My eldest who was 4 at the time, was exceptionally fidgety in the hospital that day.  Now, why would a 4 year old be fidgety sitting in a hospital every day for 10 weeks? :) We were driving the long ride home; it was dark and she had fallen asleep.  "Bob" had promised her a big spanking for misbehaving so badly at the hospital. :(  Yuk.  I thought once we got home, it had blown over.  He got her upstairs, woke her up and proceeded to scream at her telling her about the beating she was going to get.  A fully potty trained little girl, she peed in her pants after being woke up from a sound sleep to this. Emotional and verbal child abuse... He then beat her with his belt buckle so bad he left bruises and the neighbor even banged on the door saying she was going to call the police. Physical abuse... I sit here now sick from the memory.  Why I haven't driven off a cliff by now, I don't know... I am sure you feel horrible over what you let happen... Let it go now. You did the best you knew.

More beating ensued.  I did leave him once.  Had my own place.  I lost custody of my oldest daughter because he wouldn't allow me to go out of state to fight the custody battle. I'm sorry... I know that God was looking out for her. 

When his mother visited from NY and she stayed with me, he just moved himself in and has been here ever since.  That was 9 years ago.  He's still here because you didn't throw him out. I guess you didn't want to risk losing your child again. The physical abuse has subsided into verbal abuse. The guilt I have for what she went through...  I am sure your guilt is horrific... He has verbally abused my two youngest, and it is a constant roller coaster ride from day to day.  After several calls to the police for his behavior, he knows now not to lay a hand on any of us. Good! Calling the police let him know you were not going to tolerate physical abuse! That also shows he responds to limit setting. I worry that my two youngest will suffer with self esteem issues... Probably. But, you can't teach them things you haven't yet learned yourself.

My scars are still there and it seems like every time his temper flares, the old wounds are opened up. Of course they do. Every time his temper flares, his words open the wounds, one by one.  Even if he doesn't lay a hand on us. Your broken bones are invisible.  Now I find myself in depression.  I bet you are. Who in their right mind, living in a situation like yours, wouldn't be depressed? I've tried counseling, and different medications.  None seem to really do anything for me, so I stopped taking the meds.  I have a heart palpitation condition that is due to stress.  Ouchhh... I guess my question to you is;  Why do I still love him? Is it love or some sick demented neediness? It is a codependent relationship. You may love him, but someone who loves you does not treat you the way he does. If you love him, learn to set limits and put a stop to his verbal and emotional, as you did with the physical. I'm sure he's not happy where he is, but he doesn't know any better. Neither do you, by the way. But, it's much easier for you to learn how to do things differently than it is for him. So, if you get your act together and insist he stop his antics, you'll probably both be happier - let alone healthier! In any case, it's worth a shot. 

If you read Melody Beattie's classic bestseller, Codependent No More: How To Stop Controlling Others and Start Caring for Yourself,  you'll understand how your alcoholic parents taught you to love people who weren't there for you and who needed you to take care of them. To better understand the verbal abuse in your present marriage, take a look at No Visible Wounds: Identifying nonphysical abuse of women by their men by Mary Susan Miller. Then, get a copy of Suzette Haden Elgin's You Can't Say That To Me!   This book will get you on the road to stopping the abuse. You don't deserve it. Certainly, your kids don't deserve it! In part, you feel guilty because you know you and your kids don't deserve it!

 Look at it this way: if you learn the verbal and cognitive skills you need to deal with your husband, you'll be in a position to teach same to your children. You can teach them about self-esteem - once you claim your own.

We have had many good times believe it or not, and there is a closeness (when things are going good) but in the back of my mind...... I know...... I remember...... I can't get over it.  I just can't get past it.  He could turn into MR. WONDERFUL overnight.... but I haven't healed.  Can I heal?  How can I heal? You can heal, but your first job is not to put up with abuse. You won't heal as long as any type of abuse exists in your current situation. You will need support too. Take a look at this site's support options if you haven't already, and - get some therapy! Get a referral, if you can, from your local domestic violence center. These people understand abuse.

I am at such a wits end....... can you help me? God Bless, Kathleen   I can help you to help yourself... And, you can do this. You've got the track record!  May God bless you and your family, Dr. Irene

Ps: In answer to your initial question, have you figured out yet that either you're not inconsiderate at all, and are brainwashed into thinking you are, or, you are inconsiderate when he's provoked you and provoked you?

I want to read the posts.