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Posts Tagged ‘marriage’

*Deep breath*

*SCREAM*

That is all.

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It’s been a while since I’ve posted. Life has just been. I haven’t felt the need to process my thoughts like this for quite some time. Lately, I’ve been feeling unheard. I just don’t know what L expects me to do when my mind starts racing. If I even try to talk to him, he treats me as though I’m being totally unfair to him. I’m not putting his needs before mine. Who’s going to even consider my needs if I don’t put mine first when I’m about to crash?! Why is listening to what I have to say, what I’m feeling, so detrimental to his well-being?

I’m so tired of even trying. Why do I struggle so much to be someone he wants when I don’t even want him? Why am I so terrified to be on my own? When did I become such a coward? And how do I get over it when I have two kids to protect? I don’t want them to grow up to be like me, but I also don’t want them to grow up without a father like I did.

How did I end up with someone that cares so little about anything?! When I met L, he seemed so right. He listened to everything I had to say, he was so gentle, he cared so much for others, he worked hard,but loved to play, too. He was everything I wanted. Looking back, I can see that there were some warning signs about his anger, but I never could have imagined how bad it could get. And now, he’s nothing that I fell in love with.

Recently, L’s job cut him back to 20 hours a week and asked that he telecommutes. He’s now home all day, every day. He plays WoW from the time he gets up in the morning until the time he goes to bed at night. He hates being disturbed. He takes breaks to cook or run to the store, but that’s it. He sleeps a couple hours at night, and after a few days of almost no sleep, complains that he’s always tired. If I even think to suggest it’s from all the late nights of gaming, he jumps down my throat. It’s rare that I make the mistake of talking to him about anything, anyway, though. He doesn’t want to hear it, if I speak my mind, it will either fall on deaf ears or piss him off. What am I supposed to do? I need someone I can talk to. I need someone to hear me. I feel like I’m drowning and he’s just content to hold my head under.

On another note, I had a dream about D last night. Not really surprising. He’s always on my mind. I don’t know how he got himself ingrained so deep. In my dream, he asked me to say goodbye and walk away forever. He gave me a single kiss, and I did as he asked. When I woke up, I felt so desperately alone. Not only was it one of the most depressing dreams ever, I woke up in a big, empty bed.  “When you’re dreaming with a broken heart, the waking up is the hardest part.”

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Just when I think I’m actually getting somewhere with my life, something so earth shattering happens, it brings me to my knees… and no, I’m not talking about Cataclysm! Ever have one of those days where just as you’re taking your first deep breath for the day and enjoying the bit of silence nap time brings, there’s a LOUD knock on the door and someone shouting “It’s the cops! Come to the door!”? No? Well, I did!

So, I jumped up, in the middle of working on a project, leaving my scissors and lighter on my table where I was sitting, along with the rest of the things I was working with, and run to the door. First thing I see, a cop and two women. Ok, that’s weird… it’s like, my worst fear incarnate, but I’ve been doing so well, I just don’t get it. As I’m staring at them trying to figure out what’s going on, they say they are with the local police department and child protective services. I stand there, dumbfounded as I invite them in. The realization hits that I’ve been working so hard on getting orders done and products made for Christmas that I’ve sort of let some of the household chores slide. My nice piles of laundry in the kitchen are spread out all over the floor and looking worse than usual (we are four people, thank you!), and yes, it has been too long since the dishes have been done. The kids had just gone down for a nap and I hadn’t even had the chance to finish cleaning up. I was going to spend about 20 minutes working on projects then get back to work on the house when they showed up. My mind is racing uncontrollably. They ask if I know why they are here… how should I know? I just don’t get it. I’m wracking my brain trying to think of what the reason could be, but I can’t even wrap my mind around the English language (it’s the only language I know)!! I explain that I really don’t, so they tell me that someone called because they were concerned because our daughter said that her daddy hit her on the back of the head, and there was a mark! They asked if I knew what they were talking about, and my mind runs through all the horrible things I’ve witnessed L do, but that really isn’t something I’ve ever been aware of. All I can think of is when our 2-year-old son pushed our 4-year-old daughter over several weeks ago and she hit her head on the coffee table. Later that day, we were at L’s parent’s house and our daughter brought it up and said her head still hurt, so I took another look at it and thought it was a huge lump, but then I realized she had a matching lump on the other side of her head. It was just in that spot at the base of the neck, and it looked fine, just a bit red. I mentioned that to the social workers, and as I’m saying it, I start wondering if there’s any way to say that it wasn’t L without sounding guilty. They seemed concerned about where the kids were. I explained that they had just gone down for their nap. They asked if I would allow them to see the kids, and I said of course. They wanted to talk to me a bit more, though, and look around my place. They walked around taking pictures.

I don’t know if you’ve ever taken pictures of a messy house, but let me tell you, no matter how benign the mess may look to you, it always looks 10% worse in a picture. It’s the same principle as the camera adding 10 pounds, or how when you look at yourself in the mirror in the morning, you think you look good, but if someone takes a picture of you at some point during the day, when you see it, you think “wth, there’s no way I look that horrible!” After taking pictures of my messy house and pointing out the obvious insanity of it, they asked all kinds of questions. Yes, I may be a terrible person for defending L through all of it, but really, he isn’t anywhere near as bad as they were making him out to be. I explained that he had anger issues, that we’ve been trying to work out a separation and divorce for the past year, and when they asked why, I told them that with all the issues we’ve had, I just don’t have feelings for him anymore. Then came the questions about me…

“Do you suffer from any mental illness?” Well, yeah, of course I do. I’ve never tried to hide it. I have OCD and depression. “Do you take medication for that?” Yeah, I take Zoloft. “And are you in counseling?” Well, no… (crap, why does that suddenly sound so bad?) “And why not?” Well, because my last doctor was a loon, and I couldn’t stand her, but I’m not going to tell you that… ok, because I felt as though I wasn’t getting what I needed out of the counseling and was making more progress on my own focusing on the things that I felt would really make a difference in my life. My counselor wanted to work through the OCD, but I felt as though I had a decent handle on that for the time being and really wanted to work on pushing myself toward independence. “So, it was against their orders for you to leave?” What? No! That’s not what I said! That’s not what I meant! When I left, she seemed like she was ok with me leaving. She didn’t seem concerned and said she felt I had made good progress. “We were informed that you have a fear of leaving the house. Is that true, do you never leave the house?” Well, yeah, I have agoraphobia, but I’ve been working through it. When the weather is nice, I take the kids out to the park… (at this point, the tears start rolling) I know I sound crazy, I understand that the therapist knows what she’s doing, and was doing her job, but I just feel like I’ve made so much more progress on my own! “So, who takes the kids to the doctors?” When they need to go, L takes us, or our friend R will take us. “So, you go with them?” Yes, of course I do! I have trouble leaving, but it’s only when I’m alone. I get scared that I’ll get lost. I’ve gotten lost before. Really lost. And that panic comes back every time I go out without another adult. I’ve pushed myself to do it, though. To go out and not go far, but get comfortable and familiar with my surroundings alone so that I can keep branching out. “If you and your husband divorce, who will take the kids to their appointments?” Really? This has anything to do with the current situation? Well, I will. I will ask a friend for help, or I will take the bus or walk. Why do they think I’m so absolutely incompetent?

At this point, my sweet little girl comes out of my room because she hears me crying and people talking and she’s worried about her mama. I get down on my knees and she runs down the hall into my arms. I tell her that some new friends came by to visit her and that everything is ok. She asks why I’m crying, and I tell her that mama’s just a little sad, but that everything is alright. They ask her if she can give us a little more time alone, so she goes back to my room. I can’t imagine walking out after all the loud knocking, to your mom crying and THREE huge, male police officers and two serious looking women standing around wouldn’t be traumatizing. They ask if I feel capable of taking care of the kids. Well, yeah, I do! I really do. I am stressed, but who wouldn’t be? Who isn’t at some point? It’s Christmas, we have no money for gifts for the kids, but we’re barely making ends meet and we always have good food in our bellies and gas in the car, I’m going crazy trying to get a business going to I can stand on my own two feet, but loving every minute of it, I’m trying to do all the housework on my own, homeschooling my kids, and everything else life brings my way… yeah, I’m stressed, but I’m dealing with it.

“Oh, ok, and do you have trouble getting out of bed in the mornings?” No, I get up with the kids every morning. (Of course I have trouble getting up, but I do it. My kids come first. They are my world, and I would never lay in bed while they fend for themselves… I mean, really?!) “Give us an example of a typical day.” What? Um… ok… well, crap, why did my mind just go blank? We get up, between 6 and 6:30, have breakfast… I don’t know… we play, we draw… it’s just normal stuff. I do my daughter’s workbooks with her… we have lunch at noon, they play for a bit to get their energy out, take a nap at 1… “Ok, can we see the kids now?” Yes, of course. They are in separate rooms for their nap time. My daughter doesn’t take naps anymore, so she plays on my phone in my room and rests while her brother sleeps in their room. That way, she doesn’t wake him up. As we enter my room, “Hi, sweetie, is this YOUR room?” Ok, my daughter is FREAKED! I sit on the bed with her and hold her on my lap. I explain again that it’s my room. Ugh, there are clean clothes all over the floor in my room. I don’t have a dresser and the kids kept taking all their clothes off the hangers and throwing them all over the place, so I finally just started keeping all our clothes in my room. This can’t look good. Plus, add in the guitars and other large items that the kids aren’t allowed to play with, so they stay in my room, I’m realizing how bad my house really is. It isn’t to me because I understand why things are where they are and why. “Oh, so this is your mommy’s room? Do you *like* spending time in your mommy’s room?” Wth?! What are you implying? The only time she spends in there is rest time. She sleeps in her room at night. She doesn’t answer, I explain that she’s really shy, but that she warms up quickly.

Here’s where she gets really freaked out. “Sweetie, do you have an ouchie on your head?” Daughter says no. “Can you show us?” Wow, she’s 4! She’s not going to understand the concept of showing you something that isn’t there… So, I explain to her that I need to show them the back of her head, I lean her forward and move her hair out of the way. I show where the red mark had been, and I point out that she has the same lump on the other side. The social worker takes a picture and then looks all over the back of her head, feeling around for anything else. She says that she thinks the lump is just the lump that everyone has, shows the picture to her coworker, who says she doesn’t see anything. “There’s nothing there.” “Sweetie, are you afraid of your daddy?” Daughter says no. She says she loves her daddy, and they ask to see my son.

Oh man… that room is a mess, too! The kids room is full of their toys… and our daughter’s bed is a foam mattress on the floor. They like to take the sheets and blankets off of it and use it to make forts. That can’t look good. I’m beyond talking, though. No matter what I say, I’m just the crazy woman who is incapable of taking care of her own children and is covering for her abusive husband. They take a picture of my son, sleeping in his crib. The flash wakes him up, he looks up at strange people standing around him and no mama in sight… I have to stand outside the room while all 5 people shuffle out into the living room before I can get in to comfort him. I bring him out wrapped in a blanket. His newest skill is undressing himself. The house is warm, and I cover him well, so I just go with it when it’s nap time. He wants to wear a diaper to bed during the day and nothing else, so be it. I’m saving my energy for an important battle. I’m sure it doesn’t look good to them, though. I explain that he likes to take his clothes off and he’s learning to get himself dressed, as well. They just smile and nod. The two women and two police officers step outside to talk.

I’m standing awkwardly in the hallway with my son in my arms and my daughter clinging to my leg, staring at the third police officer. He tells my daughter that his daughter has the same name. I ask how old she is, and he looks at me like he’s surprised I have the mental capacity to form even the most trivial question like that. He tells me she’s 6 months old. I smile and tell him that that’s the start of my favorite time, when they start to really develop their personalities and they start really learning new things, and you can see that click when they discover something for the first time. It’s just amazing! He looks at me like there’s no way I could no that, there’s no way I could identify with him when it comes to children. I’m a bad parent, he isn’t. I realize at that moment, no matter what, I just went from taking all these giant strides and becoming the independent, mentally sound woman who I want to be, to being less than human in the eyes of everyone around me.

The social workers come back in. One takes my daughter off to the side and talks to her for a bit while the other one explains that my kids can’t stay here with me. I break down crying. Obviously… who wouldn’t? She explains that the house needs to get cleaned up. Yeah, I realize that. I hadn’t quite looked at it under a microscope until you showed up at my door, lady. And then she explains that I need counseling. I’m not sure why she feels it’s so important. I realize she doesn’t know me. But did I really sound that crazy? I mean, yeah, I was having issues processing everything, but the whole thing was such a shock. While she’s talking to me, my mind is going through a million other things, so I’m sure I seemed a bit out of it, but I felt that I articulated myself well, and honestly, if this had happened a year ago, it probably would have set me back so horribly. I would have ended up in the hospital, I’m sure. But, I’ve come so far in my self-discovery and healing, that I actually feel like I’m handling this well. I am scared. I am sad. I am angry. But I am strong. I will do whatever it takes to get through this and get my kids back.

The house is almost done. The social worker will be back on Friday at 2:30 to meet with me again and to check out the house. Then she will decide if the kids can come home. They are still in our custody, they are just staying with friends. It’s not the end of the world, and I am prepared to do everything they ask of me to prove that I am a strong, capable woman. I can take care of my kids. They have everything they need. I will work harder to keep up with the housework.

L came home from work when I told him what had happened. The social worker called and talked to him. She explained why she had been here, and then said that when they questioned our daughter again, her story had changed and she had said she had actually slipped on a cracker and hit her head on the coffee table. They realized that it probably wasn’t a true story since it changed so drastically. Isn’t it wonderful how the tall tales of a four-year-old can be so blown out of proportion? When she was talking to L on the phone, her biggest concern seemed to be my mental health. I was working through my problems at my own pace, one that I was comfortable with, but I’m no longer on my own time… now I’m on their time, and I know life is going to get a lot more complicated, and quite a bit more scary, but I’m ok with that. I will work through it and make the most of it. Maybe I’ll just end up being who I want to be a little bit sooner. Babies, hold on, Mama’s going to make sure everything will be alright! You are my lights, my loves. I missed singing to you tonight, and your sweet hugs and kisses. I love you with all my heart, and I’ll see you soon. Mama will make everything better, and you’ll get to come home, and I won’t screw up again.

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Where I’m At

The letter to L is the actual letter I sent to L… minus the names, of course. He has been raging for the past couple days, and today I told him I was done playing that game. He told me that I’m the only one playing games. He said that he’s done fighting for me, that he is sick and tired of hoping for us to work things out. The only reason I haven’t flat-out told him that we will never work things out is because of how angry he got when I told him I didn’t know if that would ever be a possibility. I didn’t want to lead him on, by any means, and I tried every way I could think of to express that to him without upsetting him. I just can’t handle his rages. I can’t handle him screaming at the kids.

Speaking of the kids. I think they are ready for this to be over now. L has been so horrible to them lately, they want nothing to do with him. Neither of them wanted to spend time with him when he came home from work early complaining of dizziness and fatigue. He said he needed to lay down, that he wasn’t sure if he would need to go to the emergency room because he may be dealing with a serious medical issue. He’s always complaining of chest pain and numbness in his left arm. He was diagnosed with extremely high cholesterol years ago, and he has high blood pressure, but he doesn’t do anything about it. So, yeah, there’s a real possibility that something is seriously wrong, but apparently it wasn’t too serious today. He laid down in my room for about 20 minutes, then he was back out with us playing games on his laptop while completely ignoring us. The kids refused to leave the safety of my lap. My daughter drew a picture earlier of lots of squares all colored in. She asked me to write the title of it down for her, so I asked her about it and what she wanted to call it. She pointed to 3 of the squares and named off herself, her brother and me, then asked me to title it “Different Family.” She’s 4, so that really says a lot about where things have gone.

Back to the letter… I e-mailed it to L so that he wouldn’t have the opportunity to interrupt me and so I wouldn’t have to try to keep track of all my thoughts. Plus, the only way he’s ever truly talked with me, is through instant message or e-mail. It used to really bother me, but as his anger increased, I started to prefer talking online. It was safe. Anyway, he read it. I asked if he had any response. He said he was trying to think and that he would e-mail me back. By that time, he was sitting in front of me. That was hours ago. We dropped off some product at a shop, ran a couple of errands, got dinner, tucked the kids in to bed, and I’ve been working all night while he’s been watching movies on his laptop with his headphones on. He’s now asleep at his laptop. He’s been exactly the same as he was before. Short with us, rude, impatient, and just blah. I really, really can’t wait for all this to be over. I’m so tired and so stressed. I have huge knots in my shoulders and back. I just don’t know how to continue tolerating his anger and rage and rudeness and GRRR! How do I put up with it without snapping? I just want out!!!

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L, I understand that I have hurt you. I know I can’t possibly understand the depth of your pain. I am sorry for that. I truly wish we had never come to this point. I don’t enjoy any of it. Your sadness breaks my heart. I wish I could do something to make it better, but I know I can’t. You have hurt me, also. You can’t know the depth of my pain. I know you don’t want to hear this, but it makes it even worse that you don’t hear me when I tell you this. You seem to want to be the only victim in this, but it just isn’t true. I don’t understand how you can make light of the part you have played in this. You don’t believe that you’ve been emotionally abusive. I’ve tried to explain it all before, and I will try one last time, just for my own peace of mind. I will put the categories which I feel we fall into in bold. I will be taking text from this site: http://www.thisisawar.com/AbuseEmotional.htm I will try my best to include examples whenever possible.

a definition of verbal abuse

You understand their feelings, but they never attempt to understand yours; * I have felt as though my feelings have gone unnoticed. You told me you didn’t see any of this coming, but I have been telling you for years that I am unhappy and didn’t know how much more I could take. P and R told you you were about to lose us. Your dad told you you were about to lose us. *

They dismiss your difficulties or issues as unimportant or an overreaction; *most recent case in point:

*L*: I see what I have done
I know that I have not been there. I know that I have been unloving and put other things in front of you
You are fucking leaving me for another man!!
So don’t act all high and fucking mighty here.
*me*: after years of emotional torment
*L*: Fuck that!
Fuck you
*me*: I’m not acting high and mighty, I know what I’m doing.
We have hurt each other. Neither of us has been hurt less.*

They do not listen to you; *You logged out before that last line above. You were done with the conversation, so there was no need to hear what I had to say. There have been numerous occasions when I have tried to talk to you about something that was weighing on my mind, and you have responded by telling me you couldn’t talk about it right then. But, there was never an ok time to talk about it. When I would ask you why we couldn’t discuss an issue, it was always because you didn’t want to get angry, or you were too pissed off.  When I do get the opportunity to tell you what I need to say, when you follow it up by saying “I understand” and nothing else, it doesn’t give me any sort of resolution. It doesn’t tell me that you truly understand, just that we won’t be talking about it. When you respond with “I know I’m an asshole” it tells me you didn’t hear anything I just said. I put a lot of thought into what I say so I don’t come across as just complaining and calling you a jerk. That also makes me feel guilty for expressing my thoughts and feelings.*

– They always put their needs before yours;

– They expect you to perform tasks that you find unpleasant or humiliating;

You “walk on eggshells” in an effort not to upset them; *The simple fact that I’m writing this letter because I have no other way to communicate my thoughts and feelings with you, is proof enough. You said you did not know if you would even read it. It has taken me over an hour already to get this far simply because I am trying to put my thoughts into words that will not set you off. I’m never sure how you will respond to anything I say or do. I am usually taken aback by your rage and anger, but there are times that you surprise me with your kindness and understanding. And the fact that both responses can come from the exact same scenario leaves me feeling anxious and confused most of the time. *

They ignore logic and prefer amateur theatrics in order to remain the centre of attention; *Yesterday will be my example. When you were waiting to turn and the person was legally walking in the cross walk and you started shouting at him and turning before he was out of the way, because you felt he was walking too slow, seemed very over the top to me. It wasn’t like he was taking one step forward and two steps back while flipping you off when you had the right of way. He was simply crossing the street at the appropriate time. In other instances, when I have called you on them, and asked if you wanted our kids to act like that, you have told me that you don’t want them to act like the other person. Who do you think they are going to emulate? The person they have some brief interaction with and will probably never remember, or their father who is always present and went from 0 to 60 in rage in seconds flat? Would the offense even stick in their mind if it wasn’t made into an issue? *

Instead manipulate you into feeling guilty for things that have nothing to do with you; *When you apologize, it is usually followed by “but I wouldn’t have _____ if you hadn’t _____.” When I hear that, I feel as though you are not only not accepting full responsibility for your actions, but you are placing the blame on others. I feel as though I am always needing to apologize for everything I say and do. I find myself apologizing for laughing or singing or trivial things that shouldn’t need any sort of apology. Then I feel ridiculous for apologizing. The whole time, I see a look of disgust on your face, and I have no clue what you expect from me. When one of the kids makes a mistake, you say things like “Why don’t you think?!” That tells them that they are stupid for making a mistake. That will make them feel guilty for not being perfect. *

They attempt to destroy any outside support you receive by belittling the people/ service/practice in an attempt to retain exclusive control over your emotions; *I know that you aren’t consciously trying to do this one. Looking back, though, I can’t remember any time you have had anything kind to say about the help that has been given to us. Pastors, counselors and friends. I’m at a point where I don’t even know if I can trust my own judgment when it comes to these people. I see things differently. When I try to tell you how I see these people, you don’t hear what I have to say, you just continue to disagree. *

They never take responsibility for hurting others; *I talked about this earlier. Even more in-depth, though, simply not seeing how you have hurt me. Not believing that you’ve been abusive. However you perceive your transgressions doesn’t really matter. It’s how the other person perceives them that matters. *

They blame everyone and everything else for any unfortunate events in their lives; *Most recently, I feel as though you are blaming the failing of our marriage on me. I am not trying to say I am not to blame, but I believe we are equally to blame. Before you blamed me, you blamed P and R for interfering. We asked for their help.*

They perceive themselves as martyrs or victims and constantly expect preferential treatment. *It seems as though you expect perfection from everyone around you, and then grace from everyone when you make a mistake. When you are rude to others in public or on the road, you always have a “good reason,” but they never have any reason other than they are idiots or jerks when they do things that piss you off. When I ask for help with things around the house or with the kids, you do those things begrudgingly. I always hear about how hard it was, how much of an inconvenience it was, or how horrible the kids were. How would you feel if I had the same attitude about everything I have to do? Time spent alone with the kids is always irritating and intolerable for you. I spend entire days alone with them. Why is it worse for you to have to spend a couple of hours alone with them than for anyone else to?*

Copyright 2006 Abuse List.

Just because you only punched a hole in the wall that one time, even though the wall was weak; just because you don’t intend to hurt the kids when you restrain them by their wrists or pick them up by one arm when you’re angry; just because you only held our daughter up against the door over your head and screamed at her that one time; and just because you were only trying to get our son to stop crying by covering his mouth with your hand once, doesn’t mean it isn’t abuse. I know it may be hard to see yourself the way we see you, but I’m sure it’s that way for anyone. The bottom line is you have scared us and hurt the kids. Not being aware of your own strength isn’t an excuse. Not meaning to hurt them doesn’t make it ok. Beating yourself up over what you have done without ever discussing it with me or anyone else, doesn’t resolve the issue. You need help.

When you are angry and you say things specifically to hurt us, that is abuse. When you won’t communicate with us, that is abuse. Blaming us for your actions and reactions, blaming us for your moods, that is abuse. Invalidating our feelings by telling us to just stop feeling a certain way or that we’re fine is abuse. Ignoring our kids, giving us the cold shoulder, being grumpy and distant without any attempt at telling us what’s wrong, acting like we should know what we have done to offend you, talking about our kids like they aren’t there, that is abuse. Always finding conflict and arguments with us and everyone around us is abuse. Making rude comments to people in public, knowing it is humiliating and scary, is abuse. Driving recklessly to scare me, is abuse. Claiming to never remember the abusive events, or downplaying their significance or severity, is abuse. When the kids call for you and you slam the door open and scream “WHAT?!” at them, and when they can’t answer because they are too terrified, you get angry that they didn’t need anything, that’s abuse. When you are nice and kind and then fly into a rage, that’s abuse. When you say things to our daughter like, “Ask a stupid question…” or use sarcasm to belittle and demean her, that’s abuse.

The following is from this page: http://eqi.org/eabuse1.htm#What%20is%20Emotional%20Abuse? I want you to see where I am getting my guidelines for what I see as abusive behavior. I will underline what I feel is the most pertinent information.

Types of Emotional Abuse

Abusive Expectations

  • The other person places unreasonable demands on you and wants you to put everything else aside to tend to their needs.
  • It could be a demand for constant attention, or a requirement that you spend all your free time with the person.
  • But no matter how much you give, it’s never enough.
  • You are subjected to constant criticism, and you are constantly berated because you don’t fulfill all this person’s needs.

Aggressing

  • Aggressive forms of abuse include name-calling, accusing, blaming, threatening, and ordering. Aggressing behaviors are generally direct and obvious. The one-up position the abuser assumes by attempting to judge or invalidate the recipient undermines the equality and autonomy that are essential to healthy adult relationships. This parent-child pattern of communication (which is common to all forms of verbal abuse) is most obvious when the abuser takes an aggressive stance.
  • Aggressive abuse can also take a more indirect form and may even be disguised and “helping.” Criticizing, advising, offering solutions, analyzing, proving, and questioning another person may be a sincere attempt to help. In some instances however, these behaviors may be an attempt to belittle, control, or demean rather than help. The underlying judgmental “I know best” tone the abuser takes in these situations is inappropriate and creates unequal footing in peer relationships. This and other types of emotional abuse can lead to what is known as learned helplessness.

Constant Chaos

  • The other person may deliberately start arguments and be in constant conflict with others.
  • The person may be “addicted to drama” since it creates excitement.

Denying

  • Denying a person’s emotional needs, especially when they feel that need the most, and done with the intent of hurting, punishing or humiliating
  • The other person may deny that certain events occurred or that certain things were said. confronts the abuser about an incident of name calling, the abuser may insist, “I never said that,” “I don’t know what you’re talking about,” etc. You know differently.
  • The other person may deny your perceptions, memory and very sanity.
  • Withholding is another form of denying. Withholding includes refusing to listen, refusing to communicate, and emotionally withdrawing as punishment. This is sometimes called the “silent treatment.”
  • When the abuser disallows and overrules any viewpoints, perceptions or feelings which differ from their own.
  • Denying can be particularly damaging. In addition to lowering self-esteem and creating conflict, the invalidation of reality, feelings, and experiences can eventually lead you to question and mistrust your own perceptions and emotional experience.
  • Denying and other forms of emotional abuse can cause you to lose confidence in your most valuable survival tool: your own mind.

Dominating

  • Someone wants to control your every action. They have to have their own way, and will resort to threats to get it.
  • When you allow someone else to dominate you, you can lose respect for yourself.

Emotional Blackmail

  • The other person plays on your fear, guilt, compassion, values, or other “hot buttons” to get what they want.
  • This could include threats to end the relationship, totally reject or abandon you, giving you the the “cold shoulder,” or using other fear tactics to control you.

Invalidation

  • The abuser seeks to distort or undermine the recipient’s perceptions of their world. Invalidating occurs when the abuser refuses or fails to acknowledge reality. For example, if the recipient tells the person they felt hurt by something the abuser did or said, the abuser might say “You are too sensitive. That shouldn’t hurt you.” Here is a much more complete description of invalidation

Minimizing

  • Minimizing is a less extreme form of denial. When minimizing, the abuser may not deny that a particular event occurred, but they question the recipient’s emotional experience or reaction to an event. Statements such as “You’re too sensitive,” “You’re exaggerating,” or “You’re blowing this out of proportion” all suggest that the recipient’s emotions and perceptions are faulty and not be trusted.
  • Trivializing, which occurs when the abuser suggests that what you have done or communicated is inconsequential or unimportant, is a more subtle form of minimizing.

Unpredictable Responses

  • Drastic mood changes or sudden emotional outbursts. Whenever someone in your life reacts very differently at different times to the same behavior from you, tells you one thing one day and the opposite the next, or likes something you do one day and hates it the next, you are being abused with unpredictable responses.
  • This behavior is damaging because it puts you always on edge. You’re always waiting for the other shoe to drop, and you can never know what’s expected of you. You must remain hypervigilant, waiting for the other person’s next outburst or change of mood.
  • An alcoholic or drug abuser is likely to act this way. Living with someone like this is tremendously demanding and anxiety provoking, causing the abused person to feel constantly frightened, unsettled and off balance.

Verbal Assaults

  • Berating, belittling, criticizing, name calling, screaming, threatening
  • Excessive blaming, and using sarcasm and humiliation.
  • Blowing your flaws out of proportion and making fun of you in front of others. Over time, this type of abuse erodes your sense of self confidence and self-worth.

 

I hope you can understand and accept your role in the breakdown of our marriage. We are both at fault. Neither of us is more at fault than the other. You said that you don’t think you could ever love me the way you once did. I don’t expect you to. I am not looking for love. I have been too afraid to tell you that because when you even started to think it was true, your anger was much closer to the surface and you were quicker to anger with the kids, your rages were more explosive and more frequent, and you refused to communicate with me at all. What I am looking for is a friendship based on forgiveness, understanding and mutual respect. If not for ourselves, then at least for our kids. You made it clear to me earlier that you blame me for our marriage ending. With this letter, I hope to at least defend my decision. I truly hope that we can now move forward with civility and focus on our children.

 

 

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L took me to our local Scottish Pub for dinner tonight. Just the two of us. I’m not sure if he was trying to be nice, or if he was trying to remind me of what I’m longing for. As I write this, I am realizing how self-centered that is. He is in a massive amount of pain right now. As we ate our dinner, L told me that he’s trying to decide where he wants his life to go now, too. He said that he’s been focusing on the hope of winning me back. He has hoped that D would give up, would stop loving me, or would decide that he doesn’t want to be with me, and L would get me back.

After a bit of silence, he confessed that he doesn’t believe that a relationship between D and myself would ever fail. He doesn’t understand how we have loved each other for so long without anything to sustain that love. L told me that he is going to start focusing on where he wants his life to be assuming I will end up in Scotland. He still wants to be a partner in the business, which would make keeping my products in shops here, easier. He said he is also debating whether or not he would want to move to Scotland. I know it’s all way too soon to even be thinking about moving there, but at the same time, it’s a possibility I want to start planning for.

So much for not getting sucked into my endless day dreams of D. The constant barrage of emotions is intolerable. I don’t know how to deal with the highs and lows of the hope, loneliness, sadness for L, overwhelming love, joy… ugh, and so much more! I watch my kids with L… I see how much they love him, and I feel sick about knowing that I’m going to be taking them from that. I’m thankful that he has been so good to us recently, but it would be so much easier if he hadn’t suddenly changed. There’s just so much going on, and I wish I didn’t have to deal with any of it. I want all of this to be behind me so I can move forward. It’s hard being patient when I feel like I’m closer than ever to my true love and yet so incredibly far. My heart aches to be with him.

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Last night seemed to be a rough one for L. After the kids were in bed, he came and sat down next to me on the couch. I honestly can’t remember the last time he did that. I know it was before we had kids, so it’s been at least 4 years, and since I spent most of my first pregnancy on bed rest, it’s probably been more like 5 or 6 years. So, I could tell he needed me to be there for him. We talked for a bit about failure and he confessed that he still doesn’t understand where he went wrong. I explained that it was really both of us, neither of us is solely responsible for the breakdown of our marriage. It was all a self-perpetuating cycle.

I held L for a while as he cried. When he was done, he was prepared to talk about some of the logistics of getting a divorce. He gets the car, we’ll sell the house and figure out the money… I told him that I want to take a trip out to Scotland alone, and asked if he would be ok with the kids for that. I explained that I’ll be raising the money for the trip by selling some of my excess business supplies. He said he’ll take me to the bank tomorrow to get my paperwork for my birth certificate notarized so I can start the process of getting my passport. I never expected him to be so supportive. This morning, he asked if we could put off starting the divorce paperwork until after the trip. Fair enough. He did get a couple of jabs in last night, but I just ignored them. It’s not worth a fight, and I don’t want to ruin the peacefulness of everything right now. He’s hurting, and I deserve whatever he has to dish out, anyway.

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