Monday, January 2, 2012

Am I the Abusive One?

Living with an angry and controlling partner can become a twisted world where bad is good, down is up, and wrong is right. Many women over the years have said to me, “My partner tells me that I’m the one abusing him. He has said it so many times that I start to wonder if he’s right. How do I know if it’s him or me?”

We can look at some ways to answer that question, but first I would like you to read a few concepts, taking a deep breath after each one so that you can absorb it.

One: You are not responsible for his behavior. You do not make him do things. His actions are his own choice.

Breathe.

Two: You deserve to be treated well even when you make mistakes, and even if you make them a lot.

Breathe.

Three: Setting firm, clear limits for how your partner is allowed to treat you is not the same thing as controlling him, and should not be called control.

Breathe.

Four: Choosing to not always put your partner’s needs ahead of your own does not constitute hurting him, wronging him, or being selfish. You have the right to give substantial priority to your own needs and desires.

Breathe.

Five: If you scream and yell once in a while that does not mean that you are crazy or abusive (though he may say so). It depends on whether you are yelling degrading things, whether your partner is intimidated by you, whether you are yelling to control him (versus yelling to resist his control), and many other factors.

Breathe.

These five concepts cover most of the situations where angry and controlling men try to turn the tables on their partners. If you work on digesting each point, he will have a much harder time convincing you that you are really the one with the problem.

But I haven’t really answered your question yet. You may still wonder, “But what if he really isn’t the destructive one, and I am? How would I know?” Here’s how:

* He’s kind to you most of the time, and he treats you reasonably decently even when he’s mad or upset with you.

* He takes responsibility for his own actions, not frequently blaming them on you or on stress or other excuses. And he doesn’t get scary.

* He has asked you repeatedly, and in a decent and thoughtful way (not in a stream of put-downs) to change specific behaviors of yours, and you seem to keep returning to doing those things he has asked you not to do.

* He has shown willingness to work on things you want him to work on, and has taken real steps regarding those issues (not just making promises).

If all of the above points are true then, okay, maybe you need to look at your treatment of him. But otherwise – and I’m willing to bet your situation falls into the “otherwise” category – your partner is doing what so many angry and controlling men do, which is turning things into their opposites in order to have even more weapons to hammer you with.


“I can be in a loving relationship with myself today, and trust my own wisdom and intuition. He is not going to sell me his view of what kind of person I am.”

62 comments:

  1. I'm in the middle of reading why does he do that and it's like reading my daughters history with her ex husband. after 5 1/2 years he is still trying to abuse thru the court system. it is unbelievable how he manipulates counselors and court appointees.my grandchildren have had therapist for 5 years and they call him a sociopath. when my grandchildren speak to his counselor about their fathers behavior the counselor says its my daughter speaking. the ex is a master lier as we all (family and friends) have found out the hard way. his abuse was both verbal and physical. now aimed at the the kids (the girl is overweight (not) and the boy needs to get his six pack back, he's 10 )but still no one listens. even their therapist has reported to cps (4 times) he lies his way out of it by saying kids are lying,rough play,or his mother&brother will lie for him. how do you defend against such corosive behavior? why is it so much easier to believe that a woman is lying about abuse, than a man is capable of such abuse?

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  2. Thank-you for this post. My eyes started to water as I read through this. The reminder to breath was helpful too. I have too wondered this same question. My mind is pretty sure I am ok and not doing the bad, the wrong but yet there are the constant twists that come form everywhere that make you still wonder. Especially when so often they get the kids (and anyone else that will listen) to believe them. Because they do this day in and day out they become so good at throwing things your way every chance they can your left in the dust still trying to figure out how to react to or fix the last incident. You become overwhelmed, tired, frustrated and you just want it to end.

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    1. I totally understand because I have been going through the same thing. I finally DID get to the point where I was overwhelmed, tired, frustrated, and just wanted it to end. I finally had the courage to put an end to it and put my son and my wellbeing first. However, just as you said...sometimes he can convince my 6 year old that it is my fault and that he is the victim in all this. It breaks my heart but I still have to stay strong and one day my son will understand. Shockingly, he has lived through it as well and he understands more than my husband gives him credit for. I am very blessed with an amazing son :)

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  3. Lundy thankyou SO much for writing the book "Why does he do that?" I was in a very scary relationship and simply could not work out what was wrong, I spent all my time trying to 'fix' it, and got nowhere for obvious reasons. I read your book, and lightbulbs started popping off for me. I couldn't believe how you'd nailed this guy I was living with!! Anyway, long story short, myself and my 3 children are now out, as a direct result of the information in your book, and we are living very happily with the support of a lot of extended family. Thankyou from the bottom of my heart, and I have recommended your book to a lot of people.

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  4. Lundy~
    Helpful and exactly right. Harder to internalize, even after being out of the relationship for more than 5 years.

    "He is not going to sell me his view of what kind of person I am.”

    No, he's not. But the thing that still incenses me is that he is *still* able to sell his view of what kind of person I am (an angry woman, hard to live with, crazy, depressed, suicidal, needing to be rescued, messed up and in denial about it) to so many other people.

    What, if anything, can be done (and I mean real, practical actions) about that?

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    1. Hello. I am "one of us." I notice he loves when I'm mad. Makes me look crazy. Then how come I live in a nice place, with two cars, two garages and two businesses? From that alone we can see I ain't stupid. And he can't hold a menial job and pay his bills?

      I'm sorry, I know how you feel, but my first instinct is self-preservation. I want to prove I'm not what he says too. The cops believe me. I may be paranoid but they really are after me.

      What I plan to do is use my pissed offedness to ACT. I'm calling every last lawyer, mayor, and newspaper reporter I can. And I have a BIG mouth. I have time and I have influential people who like me. GET MAD AND ACT. Tell your people. So they can see you DON'T deserve it. Talk to the cops and ask how you can help. Talk to your local shelter and put him OUT of your mind as many times as you need to. Get more educated in stuff you want to do. Start a group. Save money and learn to invest. I recall the meanest, nastiest thing he ever did that was unwarranted and remember that when I can't evict him from my head any other way! Mine threw dirty water in my face and his eyes were like a shark's as I cried and choked. It was appropo of nothing. I think about what I want my life to be, remember there are 6 billion, 999 thousand, 999 OTHER PEOPLE in the world. None of whom treat me that way EXCEPT HIM. I remember Lundy's story about the woman who wishes she could take back the years she gave him waiting for him to deal with his problems.

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    2. I read your post, it sounds like me. I have been gone from my home for 5 years now, I left when after 32 years I could not take his drinking and abuse any longer. But recently I have been questioning if I did the right thing. I wonder, should I go bacK???He has my adult sone and my daughter in law and 6 grandbabies turned against me telling them I am bipolar and its me and I need help, but mind you I am the one who has moved on bought a house, work, and even help him with bills on the other house. Also 9 years ago I had a cerebral aneurysm and his behavior did not change then, so shortly after I reccovered I left, do you think its me???

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    3. Not you. don't go back. Its all about him, selfish abusive him. the biggest sign is when HE "gets mad at you, when you have a headache, illness, etc" it takes away from you catering to him. loser. loser. loser.

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  5. This blog was validating for me to read because in my relationship with the abuser, he would echo the comments that I made critiquing what was going on. So if I talked about what was bothering me, he would just echo back what I said and say I was doing just that to him. It was inititally very confusing, but then I realized that what he was doing confirmed the fact that he was an abuser. Because he was deliberately confusing me, deliberately refusing to work on the relationship, deliberately using this repetitive echo back approach as a way to control, as opposed to sincerely exploring the problems I raised. If there is any feature that reveals an abuser more clearly, it is this one. It's right on the top of the last. Thanks for clarifying this point, Luncy.

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    1. That's a very insightful observation- my abusive spouse angrily commands explanations for the smallest imagined 'offense' and occasionally demands I explain why I'm angry or unhappy. (I'm seldom angry, basically I'm a pretty happy guy- stated simply.) If I attempt a rational response, she echoes my answer and adds only more questions. When this process starts, I just feel a wave of sickness,

      Since I am unable to respond meaningfully, it's clearly a way she blocks honest communication while leavings herself a 'bookmark' that she tried to communicate but failed.

      My spouse exhibits a whole suite of verbal traits that, upon reflection, are her pattern of emotional abuse. As an example: she stomps around the house, complaining about the little things, muttering deprecating remarks about my personality. This behavior is amplified when she's drinking and seems to have a time of day when it reaches a peak (shortly before our evening meal).

      Themes emerge, sometime lasting for months. Currently it's that I'm 'unreliable.' That's nuts- I'm reliable as a person can be but it makes an easy sort of framework to hang blame on! She lives in a terrible negative world, and it breaks my heart. I love her, but a thousand times I've tried proven that there is nothing I can do to help her and I can't stand our situation much longer.

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  6. Agreed ! As the previous comments state, your observations fit perfectly with the abusive behaviors many of us have and still endure on a daily basis.
    I also have told many others of your "Why Does He Do That " book and also of this blog which continues the helpful insight. As I have surfed around to various other links, I also came across another book that will be incredibly helpful to those who have a Bible believing background and therefore struggle with how to approach an abusive marriage in light of divorce. The truths in this book mirror what I had already discovered by viewing divorce from the totality of the Bible, instead of isolating individual scripture verses. My husband, upon my exiting the home, has gathered a group of 5 pastors to rally with him in saying that I am sinning and out of God's will. The opposite is actually the case, as I know I have been given the freedom to escape oppression for my family as well as myself, while at the same time remaining forgiving. The name of the book is "Divorce: God's Will?" by Stephen Gola. You can google his name.

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  7. After I had posted my last comment, Elizabeth's comment showed up. I just wanted to say, Elizabeth, that I have the same situation as you, and it continues even though we are separated and I will be filing for divorce. I am learning to expect that the tactics will remain the same and this knowledge ahead of each interaction is helping me to detach my soul from the shock value of his responses. Knowledge is liberating and healing.

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  8. It's so nice to have a voice of reason and support out there in the world. Thank you!

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  9. Thank you again Mr. Bancroft, for you one again have spoken to my fears and inner struggles. This question has kept me from going to any counselor. He has accused me so many times, and I am so very introspective and empathetic that I would question myself daily, even as he kept the abuse going. A couple of years ago, I spent a whole year and a couple thousand dollars with a psychologist, because he declared, in front of my 5 children, that I needed professional help, when I asked him why he is the only person to say this to me, he answered, "Oh there are others who think so, they just don't tell you.", which sent me into a downward spiral of paranoia and trusting no one. The psychologist, after a year, told me he doesn't even want to discuss emotional abuse, he felt it was all simply marital discord, and as soon as I become "less reactive" to his behaviors the better the marriage would be. Good-bye psychologist.
    His brother even sent me an e-mail stating that, "You wouldn't have the mental issues that you have if you would simply obey your husband." and our church leaders have rallied around him because of his "rebellious" wife.
    I could go on and right a book about the subtlety that can take 21 years to uncover and believe, but I know you have already heard it all.

    So I will just again say thank you! from the bottom of my heart, for helping me make sense of this life. And, if I can ever convince Dr. Phil or Dr. OZ or both to dedicate the whole month of October, in honor of Domestic Abuse Month, to this subject, I would GLADLY volunteer myself and all my turmoil to be examined as an example.

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  10. Susan you might like to also read my book Not Under Bondage: Biblical Divorce for Abuse, Adultery and Desertion. I arrive at similar conclusions to Gola, but by a different route.
    I'm a survivor myself, so I know what all the scripture twisting and false doctrine feels like.
    And as for abusers who win allies in the church, they are RIFE all over the Christian world. I'm writing my next book which will include a section on Judges 19-21, which I believe is an archetypal case study of how an abuser wins allies and gets them to do his dirty work.

    I have lots of stuff on my site for people who are addressing domestic abuse in a Christian context.

    Thanks Lundy for another fabulous post. I hope you don't mind me mentioning my work on your blog. Do let me know if it bothers you.

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  11. As per the Anonimous comment above, I can so relate to the time when your husband told you that others "do" think you have a problem, they just don't say anything. My husband once told me that he and two of my friends had a "good ole' laugh about me, and were shaking their heads the whole time. He also said I was the laughing stock of the whole town. At the time it was a crushing blow to my heart, but looking back through educated eyes, I can laugh myself , because I don't even know that many people in this "whole town". I can easily see the exaggerations now.

    Also, Barbara, thank you for suggesting your book. I am always open to additional insight on the subject of abuse, and will check it out as well.

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  12. Thank you so much for this blog! Thank you! It made total sense

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  13. My husband also made the claims that "everone" thinks I'm nuts/crazy/abusive/stupid/fat as well. And that's why they "defriended" me on facebook. Well after much introspection, his brother unfriended me on there, his mistress did, and one of his coworkers (who encouraged his affair). That's it. And later the mistress insisted to me that all our mutual friends knew she was a fine upstanding honorable woman and that I was crazy... and they slowly unfriended her and remained with me. What happened was I wasn't silent. Through the abuse I didn't always want to recognize what it was even though others were telling me nonstop. It took him leaving me and trying to continue controlling me through my kids and the courts and his extended family to realize how much what he was saying was NOT true. That I am not lazy, fat, stupid, abusive, that refusing to bow to his every whim before I even knew it existed wasn't me being those things, it was me standing up for me.

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  14. Thank you ladies, I have to stay anonymous, but I am listed as REM...just in case he...well anyway. During the year with the psych. I reuested every test he could give me, spent 3 rs. on the waiting room floor answering a 700 question test, only to find out that I am normal but I have "low self-esteem and somewhat depressed". Then through a series of events I find out my husband was "sharing" my entire past--things I had confided in him when we were first married because I thought felt that as a couple there should be no secrets, I had already dealt with these events and never thought of them again in the past 20 yrs.-- with his family and especially his brother who is a D.O. in another state. He "diagnosed" me off-handedly as Borderline Personality Disorder! So after looking it up online and sobbing at the how the symptoms were nothing like me, I once again requested another test, and once again, I am nowhere close to BPD. So somewhat relieved, I let my husband know that I am not, to which he replies, "Well, we don't care what that doctor says, we know you are!" So I gather up quick courage to question him...
    "So who diagnosed me?"
    "I ain't sayin'"
    "It was your brother,right?"
    "well, yeh."
    "when did he test me?"
    "he didn't have to"
    "he comes up here once a year for 3-4 days, says hi and goodbye to me, and a few words in between, when did he test me?"
    "I said he didn't have to."
    "he's going on your words isn't he?'
    "well, yeh I shared some things with him. How you go from here(low hand) to here(high hand)like that (snap)."
    "have you read what BPD is?"
    "no, but maybe I should!"
    "I did, and I tested and I'm not anywhere near"
    "well, we don't care what any doctor or test says, we know you are."...starts walking away...
    "Do you know they commit people for that?"
    Then he stops... turns around and looks at me... and with a smirky smile says, "really?"
    It still makes me sick in my stomach.that look. that smile.Then the next day, the usual, he acts like nothing ever happened.
    I used to be so strong, why can't I make my self believe all this? Intellectually I know I live this, but my heart doesn't to believe, I can't find the strength to break up my family, how did he get so far into my head? how can I find someone who understands like Mr. Bancroft to help me get him back out? Only one couselor ina 20 mile radius has even read his book. No one wants to acknowledge how insidious this is, and those that do are too far away...If only....
    @ Barbara Roberts, thank you!, for a whole decade I tried to get help from my church, only to hear repeatedly that I "shouldn't 'bash' my husband" and "I should always obey him, then he wouldn't get angry." etc. etc.... and I did, with all my heart, I tried to be everything I thought he wanted, but time and time again, it wasn't enough...it was never enough.
    I should stop now, as I said in the above post, I could write a book about the past two decades...

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    1. Dear Anonymous (REM),

      What a sweet person you are for trying so hard to please him and still it is never enough. I did same - for 25 yrs! Finally it was our daughter's angry reactions in adolescence that started us into therapy for her, which lead to marriage counselling for us, and eventually my lightbulb went on. In our case we were blessed with excellent therapists (we got off on the right foot with a referral from her pediatrician, someone I trust and respect). I had to ask around but eventually found an excellent attorney too.

      Whether it is borderline or some other kind of personality disorder, it seems clear that is part of HIS issue, and one of his defenses is to turn that around and blame you for what is in fact his behavior (I learned it's called projection). There are some good books on BPD, and I'd encourage you to look into that if you can (google Randi Kreger to find several).

      My therapist explained that people with personality disorders think they are totally fine but drive everyone else crazy! From reading about it, it's my sense that people with PD's are stuck in adolescent ways of thinking. Often this has occurred from their own trauma when they grew up - just their misadjusted way of believing how the world works.

      When I look back at my family's history, I can see this going back several generations. I believe it is a learned behavior, not genetic. My therapist has been so helpful. She told me in our first session that I wasn't crazy (she had info from both my daughter's therapist and the marriage counselor to go on). I see her responses as giving me the context about how the world works and how to treat people that my mother would have given me if only she had known.

      People with PDs prey on enablers/codependants like us. We find our value in helping others - perfect setup for them. I've come a long way in learning to love myself for who 'I' am. It was really challenging to do at times but so worth it (not just for me - really important to be a role model for our kids, boys and girls alike!).

      So, REM, don't see leaving as breaking up your family. See it as giving your children a new and better way to view life and live it (not to mention YOU!). My (now ex) husband was dealing our daughter with a terrible dose of alienation. She was a very angry teenager. Thank God she gradually saw through it and found her way to a healthy place beside me! She is now in college, happy, and doing well! I was a woman resigned to live a less than whole life. Now I'm happy too, and a very proud mom. And we're both ever so grateful that we've broken the chain of emotional abuse that had carried through the generations of our families before us. (btw, she likes Why Does He Do That too - found it very helpful with an abusive bf awhile back)

      So, hang in there, REM! You're figuring him out and he sees his days of getting everything the way he wants are numbered if he can't keep you down. We're cheering for you, even if some of the people in your immediate surroundings can't see your wisdom and strength. Listen to your gut and follow your heart - they will help you find your way through it. Have faith in yourself (I do!). Do what gives you energy and keep on keepin' on!

      With Much Love, Susan

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    2. I've been diagnosed with PTSD. After researching this, I read many people with PTSD are sometimes diagnosed with BPD. My abuser used that one when we were in joint therapy and the therapist suggested I might have that. She forgot that I called her because I had a problem with his abuse & drinking. " Mr. Charming" managed to manipulate her ( a common trait among abusers). After reading, " Why Does He Do That?" I realized joint counseling was a huge mistake.
      Anyway, I wanted to support you. Since you've been abused in one eay or another by this man, you probably suffer from PTSD and not the Borderline b.s. I also understand they are trying to omit that diagnosis from the. "shrink" manuel ( can't remember the letters). Hang in there & don't believe anything an abuser says. They have one too many issues.
      Mine is a lawyer so he now manipulates the legal system to continue his abuse. My PTSD is a nightmare from this and years of abuse. But I keep telling myself, " It's a game to a psychopath. And he's out to win." However, while they are smart, they make mistakes due to their narcissistic behavior. So....if used wisely ....you can beat them at their own game. The idea is for us to lead peaceful lives. Crying does help:) I'm not back to my old self and might never get there ( head trauma). But I can try!

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  15. Dear Anonymous (REM)
    I want you to know that you are one of many thousands who have suffered doubly because their churches have gravely mishandled the issue domestic abuse. We are speaking up more and more, and the internet is our lifeline for support and sanity-saving by communicating with other survivors and people like Lundy who "get it" about domestic abuse.
    Everyone has lightbulb moments as they wake up from the mind-numbing poison of abuse. It sounds like you have had many lightbulbs already, and are now searching for sustaining power and support to take action. I hope you are remembering to pat yourself on the back every now and then for how diligently your are persevering in seeking support. And remember, it won't be YOU 'breaking up the family' as you put it, it has been HIM who has done that, relentlessly, insidiously, for years. If you leave you will only be making public the reality that he has brought about.
    I know that smirk you talk about. So does my lovely new (non-abusive) husband. He can recall his mother's violent partner making that smirk often.

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  16. Thank you Mr Bancroft for your blogs. They help immensely, I don't think you'll ever understand how much you help survivors of abuse.

    My husband was fairly verbally abusive. He used to say such mean and scathing things. My problem was that I did not want confrontation, therefore would let it go, I would tell myself that they were only immature words. But in fact they were building up inside me, and every 3/4 months, when he would continuously go on at me, I would blow. I would say such mean things to him too. I hated how I behaved, I feel it was not me. As well as him taking responsibility for his actions, I feel that I needed to take responsibility for mine. My reaction to his action was my responsibility.

    Thank you once again for your valuable insights.

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  17. Rocklyn Clarke said...

    I am the senior pastor of a church in the Boston area. I read "Why Does He Do That" almost a year ago and was greatly blessed by your insight into the problem of abuse and domestic violence. I especially appreciated the insight that domestic violence is more of a "thinking problem" than an "anger problem". Your book contains two very powerful illustrations of this concept that I find myself referring back to again and again:

    In "Chapter 13: The Making Of An Abusive Man" (page 317) you present the parable of the "boy who grew up with a happy dream . . . that a beautiful piece of land out on the edge of town was in trust for him."

    In "Chapter 14: The Process Of Change" (page 334) you present the parable of the man who cut down his neighbors' tree.

    I have looked for the text of these two very powerful illustrations online, but have not been able to find them. Are they available on a web page anywhere? Is there any video available of you presenting these illustrations? If not, would you consider making them available online? I have used the second illustration in one of my sermons and I would find it very helpful to be able to link to an online version from our web site. Your book is already on our recommended reading list for abuse.

    Sincerely,
    Rocklyn E. Clarke Sr.
    Senior Pastor
    Life Church Boston
    http://www.lifechurchboston.org/

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    1. Thank you Pastor Clarke! for acknowledging that EA exists! and especially for reading/offering Lundy's book! God bless you and I pray that Father would use you to open the eyes of all pastors everywhere! That no man can ever again use the Word of God as a hiding place and justification for his abusive behaviors.

      REM

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    2. Dear Ps Rocklyn, Here is a link you may find really helpful.
      cryingoutforjustice.wordpress.com
      The blog's authors are Pastor Jeff Crippen and Anna Wood, his colleague. They really "get it" about domestic abuse and are writing a book to help the church wake up.
      I'm really impressed with everything I've read from them.

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  18. Lundy, I came across this site tonight and was rather disturbed by what I found. It states that these things are not abuse (and I certainly feel they are)-- Engage in minor pushing incidents with a girlfriend, spouse, or household member;Hold the arm or hand of a girlfriend, spouse, or household member while arguing;
    • Momentarily block the path of a girlfriend, spouse, or household member;
    • Throw and break items during an argument

    Because according to that, the time my husband held me against a wall by the arms so hard they were bruised wasn't abuse, the times I was pushed wasn't abuse, blocking me from leaving rooms (like trapping me in a bedroom wasn't abuse), breaking my belongings and throwing my things away wasn't abuse. Does this author not get it or is it one of the resources that works against women who have been abused in favor of the abuser?
    http://www.dvmen.org/dv-10.htm#examples

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  19. Hi Lundy,
    I know you from the last retreat in November. But I'm scared to put up my name. I don't know how private it is. I have brain damage from my abuse if that rings a bell. My head hit something hard when I was thrown. I spent a month in hyperbarics and he's mad because I won't pay him over 11 grand to abuse me. I can't say what city I'm in but if you wanna beat the old lady, move to a big city. He was within three feet of me because the system does not care. I did not hear him, and I almost had a stroke. He slandered my name before fifty people. He's trying to let me know he won. He can get me whenever he wants. Does anyone know Michael Moore? We need a movie because this is a joke and a disgrace. I weigh 120 pounds; how do I MAKE a grown man slug me? Plus, I think humor will save us all. That retreat was the best money I ever spent. But rather than fool around online GET ACTIVE! Tell congressmen YOU OBJECT to abuse. Look at WI law. They ain't kidding. He stays locked up til trial. No court for six months. He HAS TO get treatment just for the accusation for a MINIMUM of two years. Btw, where do recovering batterers go to keep progress moving forward? It HAS TO be a lifelong thing. I don't eat or sleep because he can now come and get me anytime. And I know he'll start once I'm off guard. Why? Because that's what he DOES! Why the hell does he think I'm so furious and terrified of him?

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  20. I am going to copy this list and keep it in my wallet. I left my ex five years ago, but we have children together, and he still gets into my head sometimes. The problem is that my mother tells me the same things, and so did my first husband. They tell me that I'm controlling and abusive and a bully. It's funny because I spent my whole life trying to understand how I could be those things and not see it. I am fair and kind to the extreme. I always put others first. In fact, I spend a lot of time catering to my mother's every whim, and it's never enough. She puts me down constantly, tells me I'm a bad mother and critisizes everything I do, unless it's her idea. She believes that it is her role to "protect" my children from me??! She says that I am mean to her and never loved her. She is mostly cruel and bullying, but she also uses guilt and manipulation. She calls me several times a day to make me feel guilty for something. Often something I did when I was 15. If I get upset (or disagree), she cries and acts like a martyr. She tells me that she can never forgive me for allowing myself to be abused (which possibly meant I was less available for her to control). My ex and my mom always hated eachother -- they were competing over who controlled me!I used to feel like I was literally being pulled apart!
    It eats me up alive that my mom is so sad, and nothing I do helps her. I have felt that way for as long as I can remember. So, it's hard to remember that I am not a terrible person when my ex tells me how I was the abusive, controlling one, and how he only wants what's best for me and the children. He seems so hurt, it makes me feel terrible.
    I have no support system, my only family are my mom and my children. My ex manipulated me (through acting hurt and abandoned at first and just plain bullying later) into losing contact with my many, supportive friends - who unlike my ex and my mom, seemed to actually like me.
    Thank you for "Why Does He Do That?" That was my turning point. That was what helped me to finally make sense of it all and begin to stop blaming myself.

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  21. Dear Anonymous (just above)
    Sounds like your mum is a genuine abuser of the emotional variety. She's guilted you big time, hasn't she. But you are seeing through it.

    Isn't it amazing how we can see it clearly with our heads, but still be traumatized by it when it strikes our hearts?

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  22. To Barbara,

    Yes, that is exactly how it is. It's hard because, of course I love my mom. I was afraid to post this because I thought that everyone would think that I was just an ungrateful daughter. Thanks for the support : )

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  23. Thank you, Lundy, for this and everything. I am halfway through reading "Why Does He Do That?" and my husband is a cross between the water torturer, the demand man and (mostly) the drill sargeant. He also could be diagnosed with narcissistic personality disorder, but he will never seek therapy.
    I very frequently get told that I am overreacting if I get upset at all, over anything, no matter how major what he did. I get told almost weekly to remember that crying is blackmail, and blackmail is abuse. I also get told that "if his yelling is abuse, then so is mine, and I'm the one choosing to give our 3 children TWO abusive parents" and that I have to get my act together because we can't both act like that. He of course only admits to acting "like that" immediately after I call him on it, and remind him that what I do pales in comaprison to his own behaviour.
    At any rate, thank you Mr Bancroft. I have a hard time grasping the fact that there are men in this world that think like you. Thank you, because as I am sure you get told often, I believe your book has possibly saved my life.

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  24. Your insight into abuse is a powerful gift. After ten years of a relationship including over seven years being married, I have left the relationship. It is hard to grasp when you are in the middle of the 'war' that so much of this behavior is on purpose and that someone that is suppose to care about you just keeps abusing. Abuse is a choice.

    You can waste many years of a precious life by trying to 'figure' out the root cause and trying to help him find his way, while you are losing yours. 'Why Does He Do That' was instrumental in my education about the attitude that was behind his behavior, I was never responsible....only blamed. I am glad to be rid of him. Now it is time to put the focus back on my life. Thank you.

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  25. Dear Anonymous
    It doesn't sound like it's you. You've been competent and functioning in your ongoing life. It sounds like your ex is a skilled and determined abuser.

    Abusers routinely manipulate the victim's family and friends so they will see her as 'the problem person'. The abuser is skilled at winning and maintaining loyalty and sympathy from bystanders/ family/ friends. This is all part of his tactics to isolate and persecute his victim. If he is successful the victim will continually doubt herself, and will feel that no-one supports her. This is CLASSIC abuser tactics.
    I would like to encourage you to keep reading and sharing on sites like this. We survivors support each other, because we GET IT about abuse. Bless you.

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  26. This is so very helpful. Just when I thought I was crazy, instilled with self doubt, filled with guilt thinking it's all my fault and why can't I "make him happy", I find this. He has done all of these negative things, twisting the situation to make it my fault. Blaming, projecting, belittling. He's STILL doing this and I left him 9 months ago. Calling, coming over unannounced, texting. I am planning on printing this advice off and taping it to the 'fridge...to remind myself that I am not a bad, selfish person.

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    1. I came out of an abusive relationship in 2010. I have had a hard time seeing and admitting that it was abuse, mainly because I questioned, and still to some degree, that I was being overdramatic, he wasn't really abusive, because again (as I've been able to famliarize with some of previous posts) The look he had on his face, the tone; it was like he was disgusted with me for suggesting or insuating that this was possible of him, and would them somehow turn to looking so hurt that I could think this about him. He got me to be sympathetic towards HIM for Gods sake. Anyway, this type of interaction was not uncommon. I tried to leave; leave his apartment when it became a hightened argument - here I go, almost inadvertently excusing the level of abuse - leave the relationship, of which I broke off twice before the FINAL time. The first time I did, within a couple of days, he showed up at my door drunk as a skunk. He'd been driving, and I think it might have even been raining, he was crying/sobbing, which I had never seen at any other time during our relationship, and so I had a hard time seeing. I finally ended it when I had a pregnancy scare. My mother she told me not to talk to her about him when I tried to approach her about it. she really cared for him, hoped we'd get back together, even though she admitted she saw a disagreeable side to him.I thought I can' say anything to anyone b/c they'll think Im a lier; they'll all take his side.my brother-n-laws best friends, and visits with him, my sister and nephew almost once a week. I fear it will somehow get back to my ex and he will try to get back at me for it - that scares the S--- out of me. He's moved on with his life - he's engaged to be married now, and that I'm somehow being overdramatic about it. She would like me to get past this, as she cares for me - I know that - but I've often thought she cared more about him than me, but it's not as simple as that I wish it were. Instead, I've been searching within myself over the last 6 months wht could be wrong with me. I left my job, I was overwhelmed by stresshe also new where I worked and stopped by there to drop off the last of my belongings - might I say after he's been with this other woman for well over a year. This really freaked me out. I had to come get the box from his vehicle outside; he wouldn't come in to my work. When I got outside he tried to "shoot the shit" with me. I couldn't believe he was smiling, talking about how cute my nephew was, and he congratulated me on my knew apartment. I then felt really uncomfortable that he knew where I lived - and I still live ther. Again, feeling like I'm just being crazy, irrational, and paranoid. But I let my sister and brother in law I DO NOT want him knowing ANYTHING about me. Honestly, does it sound like I was being paranoid or that I am being now? I just know how cruel he was to me; the way that he tried to keep me to him after we broke up by holding on to my belongings. Does anyone have any suggestions? PS I'm seeng a psychologst who said to my distress that I have a right to feel sorry for myself - this statement floored me. I do not trust him to open up more about it.

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  27. This is really helpful; thank you so much.

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  28. Thank you so much for this. Last night my husband had a tantrum and destroyed two I-pads and all the phones in our house. He just informed me that he has called my GP because he thinks that I'm suffering from menopause and this is why "all the trouble happened last night." Huh?

    Last year he made me go to a doctor and told the doctor that he thought I was bipolar. The doctor said that he was abusive.

    But he's very popular and I have no friends -- so sometimes it just seems easier to believe that he is right.

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  29. I think I might be an abuser, I have dated a lot of guys that are abusive men! I don't know why it is but the guys I seem to fall for all turn into abusive men! I feel like I'm turning them into this! the first guy I cared about n dated when I was 18 end up being mental and physically abusive of. I stayed with him for a year n half! Next guy I went for end up not being abusive
    but married! Than I waited 5 year to open up to someone again, yea I dated guys but never opened up to anyone! Than this last guy I hoped up to, his kinda of a mix of mr. Right his never wrong ever, the player he say his only had sex with 3 girls not using a condom n I'm one of them, than he goes in to telling my about how he has threesum with his ex-girlfriend of 6 years and its his way of punishing her cause the only time he will go over there is if she has another girl there, mr.senstive you should be lucky you fell for me and not someone else who could take advantage of you, Rambo I have no feelings I have never loved anyone I wish no love on myself, And no one that really knows him likes him, and he trust no one at all but one person, and we have friends in common n one of my close friends say his a good guy n stuff that's why I went for him but than I talk to everyone else and they all say his has issues! Yes of course I know he is an abuser. At the beginning hewears amazing he tried to take me on a trip to italy n Roma but told him didn't want to fall in love with him that way so we cancel the trip, he did everything and anything to win me over, I fell for him and when he ended it out of no where and I did everything right in the relationship and he started saying I was drama n that's why we broke up, but well we were in the relationship I was good it's when he left me I went crazy! I couldn't stop thinking about him, I seemed like his stoker, he didn't want to date me but I was good enough to fuck n he fucked me than told me to get out n if I came around his house again he was getting a restraining order on me, and I would text him all the time sometime with no applys back n go crazy out of my mind that he was ignoring me just cause he know I don't like being ignored! I guess when he was ready to let me go I turned crazy and I read the book why does he do that, it made me think cause I don't know how to let him go I could be an abuser for not giving him his space! n family member of mine also say I'm really hard on men, like I dated one guy that would just leave all hours of the night and we'd get into fights about it, n some how I was the controlling one! Maybe I do need help???

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    1. I don't think you are an abuser, not at all, but it sounds like you are having trouble processing and working through all your emotions from being abused in those relationships, and the last relationship is especially eating at you and you are having a hard time letting him go from your heart and dreams. I would suggest you get a good counselor who UNDERSTANDS domestic abuse well, and talk about all the things you've been through.

      Once in my life I fell in love with a guy who ended up not being right for me (not because of abuse, but for other reasons) and it took me ages to let him go from my heart. Even though the we'd stopped seeing each other for at least a year, I was still emotionally bonded to him. In the early stages of that year, I even used to drive past his house sometimes, just to feel a bit close to him. I know: weird. It was almost like I could have become a stalker. I think it was an unhealthy obsession, and God set me free from it in the end, after I processed and prayed about it and God wonderfully cut that tie that was binding my heart. I didn't actually become a stalker, but I felt the impulses inside me to be that way. It was scary.

      But believe me, I don't think you are an abuser. And you did not make all those previous men "become" abusers. They chose to be abusers. Long before you met them they had that entitled mind-set, they just concealed it from you in the early stages of the relationship, during the "Garden of Eden" period. Abusers always CHOOSE to be abusive of their own free will. No one "makes" them be like that. That's one of they myths they like to cultivate ("She made me do it!") but it's a myth, it's not the truth.

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  30. I was seeing a guy who told me that he was fucked up in the head and I need to do everything to stay away from him, and that he is no good for me. even though he his abusive sometimes to me and plays alot of head games will be really nice for two day than mean for one. if he didnt care about me why would he say that to me. the thing is though is that I really care about him and I believe that he can be a good guy. I just dont understand why he would tell me to stay away from him and that his no good for me, is that just part of there plans, and I'm crazy to want to go after him, after he trys to push me away by telling me that his messed up.

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  31. is there place you can go if you are the abusive one and female?? I am sure I am the abusive one and I have a problem, I dont hear it from the guy so much as from my family. and sometimes I make fun of the guy Im with and cant help it, I have alot of relationship issues, and Im not a violent person, I just argue alot and I bugs me when things do go as I planned them, I have a hard time letting it go.

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    1. I am not an expert, only a survivor of abuse, but I do know there are websites like No To Violence (Victoria Australia) where you could read about the characteristics of an abuser and see whether you fit the type. As you read, you would have to reverse the male and female nouns, to see if it applies to yourself.
      After checking it out like that, you might want to consult a counsellor who specialises in domestic abuse. Or even phone a Mens Behaviour Change Program (also known as Abuser Intervention Program) to see if you can have a one-to-one session with a member of their staff, to discuss your concerns.

      There is also the possibility that your family are wrongly dumping on you. I would take your time and cautiously evaluate things by checking with the professionals who deal with abusive partners on a regular basis. They know their stuff. Don't just take the word of untrained people like your family members as gospel.

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  32. Hello everyone, lovely to hear you all. Thankyou Lundy for your work, it saved my life and my children. I grew up in abusive home, bullies, selfishness, violence, cruelty and power plays was the norm. I married a man who tried to kill me and cost me all i owned. 7 years later moved in with another abuser who was so verbally abusive i could barely even open my mouth to speak.
    I have studied hard for about 2 years on abuse, and i'm very happy to say i know i'm a kind, generous giving soul who deserves the same and i'll never tolerate those horrible people again. The nightmares are all gone, the questioning, the doubts, the sorrow. I'm free after a lifetime of cruelty whilst giving all i could to undeserving selfish ungrateful imbiciles. My children and i have a very loving relationship and they are happy and understand not to tolerate abusers nor be one.
    Thankyou so much. The rest of my life, no matter what comes, is far better because these horrible people aren't in it.
    My greatest wish is that all the kind people learn and never tolerate these abusers, leaving them to suffer their ugliness without getting all the love and care we provide. Do not give them your love. I'm not effected by all their delusional bull anymore, now i laugh at them. Now i'm the one with the smurk.

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  33. Oh, having an abuser who is a lawyer must be one of the worst scenarios. My heart goes out to you.

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  34. I realized that I can't move forward due to post divorce litigation. As a result, the abuser is making it very ugly by sending demands ( not legal due to Federal Privacy issues, scope of time, etc). I addressed these demands today and included a copy of them to the judge. Since my prior attorney addressed the one request ( documented on the court docket), I stated that I do not understand why they are asking for this again.
    Legal Abuse Syndrome is traumatizing and an educated abuser is wise to that fact. I'll go into full blown PTSD for days on end. But.....I just documented a case of legal abuse with the court and will continue to do so. This holds him accountable and lets him know that I will not accept the unacceptable ever again.

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  35. Hello Everyone!
    I have been in an abusive marriage for 21 yrs. For the last 2 years I have been in therapy each week and have worked hard to take back controll of my life. I use to question myself if I was the one causing the trouble and causing him to react. I know in my heart I was not the one. I was doing really well but am having some set backs. I am feeling again that maybe it is me.. I still know it is not me but having self doubts. I have learned not to react to him and to not take what he says and does personal. Everytime I tell him to leave and he decides to maybe go to his mom's I get panicky and worry oh my god what if he leaves.. but in my heart I want him to leave ... why am I so afraid and why do I get so oanicky. I use to get that way really badly... not a s bad but still to some extent I get panicky... then I do something to make him not go by saying come on just stay.. your kids love you. It is almost like I am afraid for him to go eventhough I want him to go... I have set boundries with him... he has no permission to put his hands on me and has not done so for over 1 yr.. (not praising him) but keeping those boundries... I am sooo confused.. I think I am just looking for someone to reassure me that it is not me. When I think of all the things he has done to me and my kids I know it is him.. but still having some self doubt.. thanks for listening and I am intrested in the book.
    Good luck to all and please tell me how to get over this fear asking him to leave and actually going through with it.

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  36. I feel bad for the ones who have to go through this I really do. I have done this to everyone who I have ever been in a relationship with. I've never been physical but I have been verbally abusive. I know that being verbally abused can be just as bad if not worse. I hAve extreme paranoia and anxiety. I have always felt lIke people are trying to harm me physically and emotionally, not just people I've been in relationships but random people to. I have a phsyc evaluation next month. I really want to change this and I'm not stopping till I do. I hav tried doing it on my own but nothing seems to work. So I'm getting this phsyc eval so I can find what the problem is, and so I can get proper counseling for it. Anyways the purpose of coming on here is to give some advise to anyone going through that a little advise from someone who has personally done this to women. If your in a relationship like this if there not actually trying to get help get out of that relationship asap! I have often told women that I'm going to change, truth is i don't have what it it takes to do it on my own thats y im getting counseling. Chances r if they r doing this to u and not seeking some sort of counseling or something along those lines there not going to change or not willing to. I know its not easy but u have to look past all the good memories and see the person for who they really are. Nobody should have too go through that. I know this isn't really My place too talk but I just hope u take this seriously. Good luck to all of u going through this hope u make the right decision!

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  37. I got married while i was in my undergrad and it has been 3 years. he was my first love and i absolutely loved him and still do..he was so nice when he met me and told me i was the one for him and i began to believe him...it is hard for me to forget the good things and i begin to miss him. he is so caring and so many good things, but he has anger issues and hurts my feelings when he is angry. recently he has started to slap and hit me if i say something he doesnt like during an argument. not regularly, but 3 times in the past 6 months .. the last time, i left him to make a point that it wasn't okay to do that to me, and i wanted things to get better and move on, but everyone i've talked to say things will get worse and i should leave him..i just feel so young, i cant handle all of the stress. i really love him with all of my heart, but im afraid of the future and things he says when he is upset hurts me. last year, he told me to leave because he couldn't stand me anymore..that hurt my feelings because he was the one who wanted to marry me so much..and i finally did and this is how im getting treated ..i left, but then a week later i told him i really wanted to work on things and i want to be a better wife and he took me back .. it was hard to get used to all the responsibilities of marriage, and i struggled, and now im dealing with facing divorce when none of my friends are even married. i've never been in another relationship and i always believed in one love, one marriage, but all of that is falling apart :( ..my insides hurt, but i have to pretend like everything is okay for school and that makes it all worse :( i havent talked to him in weeks because i dont konw what to do..i dont know if i should give it another chance or try to forget.

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    1. It sounds like he needs to fix things with himself before he can begin to fix things with you. My husband went through 5 years of counciling to work through his behavior and he went because he made the choice to go and to keep going until his behavior changed. Nobody deserves to be disrespected in anyway and nobody has the right to put their hands on you, regardless of what you have said or done. You can still love him living separately while he works on his behavior and you find peace, healing and clarity in yours. If he wants to change he will choose to change but if he doesn't honey that's not your fault that's his unwillingness to change.

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  38. My mother is very good at playing the martyr too, but if she gets the tiniest morsel of personal information about me she plays it as a weakness and uses it against me, either by needling me with it in a backhanded way, or distorting it and passing rumors throughout the family. She has done that since I was a little child, although there were more threats of public humiliation, and violence, then. So naturally I have erected very thick walls between us, so now I am regarded the callous one in the family for not being close enough to her. And now that I have left the emotionally abusive father of my child, I am once again the outcast for daring to assert that this ever-so-charming man could possibly have ever done me wrong, although he was mean to me for years, and still tells me I should have aborted our child if I couldn't pay to support her on my own, despite the fact that he could easily pay what is required to fulfill his obligation. But no one seems to understand how his words and actions have built up over the years and made me doubt myself, especially since the law barely considers emotional abuse at all. Should I tell someone about the time he pushed me down against the iron bed frame? Will that make it more real?

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  39. Can I translate this to Hebrew and post it on my blog with a credit to your site?
    I was trying to find an article on abusive relationships that won't focus so much on physical abuse or stuff like "not letting you talk to your friends", you know, not such radical things, and this really brought tears to my eyes because I feel like the biggest issue with abuse is the feeling that *you* are doing something wrong (because *he* tell you so). so thank you!

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  40. This site has been as helpful to me as it has been to all of the others that have posted comments. There is common thread in all of them as well as in my story. Today was an excruciating day in that I finallyd decided to get my voice and share how I feel...using all of the tools that the counselors shared. In addition, our marriage counselor suggested reading 'Love and Respect' in an effort to help us communicate better.

    I prayed about it, went downstairs to talk to him and took the risk of being very vulnerable - but honest - about what my thoughts are. Unfortunately he couldn't hear any of it and the argument quickly turned around to me...and all of my faults ( or his perception of them) and we were back in the 'gaslighting' phase again. He also shared how he went to our church and talked to him about how alcohol has ruined our marriage (my alcohol of course...which means perhaps a drink a month) and his perception of what I am doing when I travel for work. Counseling and my own personal growth showed up in the argument...since I think I really held myself til the 3rd or 4th round of craziness instead of taking a header after the first punch. But you ladies know the drill...confusion, bringing up the past, angry put downs, telling you don't think like the rest of the world... all of it. SOOOOO draining...and I think I have had enough. Now it is Sunday afternoon, my mom's birthday (she passed just a year ago) and I now have to find someone to take care of my dog (since he won't) while I travel for work this week. Truly a marriage made in heaven.

    I am going to go buy your book for the plane tomorrow for sure... and I am going to hold on to my faith that assures me that I can handle this with God beside me and that God doesn't want me to be in an abusive relationship...it is really up to me. Even if no one ever reads this it was very catharctic just writing it.

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  41. Wow. Thank you so much for this blog. I have been pouring over the Internet for days, trying to find out if this is all my fault. 12 years of the silent treatment and now he's saying that I'm the one not talking to him. It's always either something silly or it's a fight where I've expressed a displeasure with something he's done. He's actually got me feeling like I'm abusing him! Each time it lasts about a week and it happens once a month. He says that it's my cycle and he retreats out of frustration. Honestly, I feel that I take the abuse so often and get fed up and decide to stand up for myself when I've reached the breaking point. I follow his rules, I've changed my life and my habits to conform, I bite my tongue most of the time and go about my business. He makes more money than me so in order to compensate, I do mostly everything around the house. I have a daughter in recovery so I asked him to respect my wishes by giving her a safe space and not having alcohol in the house. He begrudgingly locked it up in his room. He continues to drink excessively, choosing to go on "daddy/daughter dates" to bars each week with his now 24 year old. I've expressed my discomfort of this for years but I'm told that he has no choice because his daughter and I don't get along very well. I've always felt that she was treated like a wife and I was disciplined like a child. I've read about emotional incest and NPD and he even tried to say I was the sick one with these disorders. He keeps telling me how wonderful he is to take care of me and my kids, and I am left feeling indebted and ungrateful. I think I'm going insane.

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  42. This has really helped me to see what my relationship really was. I'm only 20 so I do still feel naive about certain things, but I now realise I was completely right all along. My ex partner (as of Sunday just passed) convinced me that everything was my fault. If I got upset because we planned to go for dinner, then didn't turn up and went to the pub instead, that was all my fault. I was wrong for getting upset and being angry with him for letting me down. This went on for around a year, then he broke up with me and told me that it was for my own good and that I need to see someone and "sort myself out". Not only was this a kick in the teeth in itself, but he also done this at my best friends house in front of her family with 3 of his own friends standing behind him. So total public humiliation. A few weeks passed and I got a phone call from his friend who informed me that reason my partner broke up with me in such a way is because he thought he was having problems with his heart and didn't want to upset me (hmm?). I believed this and took him back. We then continued the same cycle as before, drunken arguments where he would dig at me until I'd get upset, then he would forget all the nasty things he has said in the morning. He would never want to talk things through and always told me I was creating for no reason. We eventually broke up again at the beginning of 2012, this time he ended it by text. I heard nothing for 3 months and then bumped into him, suddenly I found myself wanting him back as I thought by this time I had made myself better through the counselling I was having (I realise now I didn't even need this). So we got back together and tried to make a go of it, within a month it was back to the same. We would go out for friends birthdays, he would get annoyed, and then he would call me horrible names in front of everyone and then he would walk off and leave me. Countless times he left me in places like Amsterdam whilst we were on holiday, he has left me in East London really early in the morning, he walked off and left me in Australia when we were travelling and he done it all the time if we went to the local pub. I tried so hard to work things through with him but I felt as thought I was in adequate as he had me believing it was all my fault. The things really came to a head over the weekend. It was the same situation, he had argued with me before we went out and told me "i don't want to take any more of your problems" and stormed out, leaving me and my friend. He came home at about 4am and walked straight in to where I was sleeping and started calling me names in front of everyone, he called me used goods, said I was crazy, told me he was going to go and find someone else. He then threw all of my clothes down the stairs and told me to pack my bags. As I was going to pack things like make up and perfume etc, he picked up one of my books (a hard back A4 biography) and hit me round the face with it. I made sure to leave that house as soon as it happened. I've now cut all contact with him, deleted his number, his friends numbers, my facebook acocunt etc. Even though I feel upset because I've lost him, I know I've had a lucky escape. I could sit here and tell myself that deep down he is a good person, but anyone who treats another person like that is not a good person. This has really helped me to realise that it wasn't my fault, I can see now that I was being used as an emotional punch bag and i've also realised that if you love someone it shouldn't be hard work. So now I'm going to concentrate on getting back to the person I used to be before I met him and take this "used goods" else where!

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  43. This is the first site I've encountered that spells out the tactics my partner has been using for years. I have been suspicious that he is baiting me into arguments and using insulting and demeaning language to create a reaction of anger in me -- which I do -- I have also been violent -- I have been out of control with rage, but only after being repeatedly insulted and treated with cruelty when requesting he communicate with me respectfully. The anger and ragefulness have been his ammo to take zero responsibility for his own actions. He just hit me in the eye in a restaurant last weekend and we weren't arguing or anything. He was drunk. I confronted him, asking him why he did it after we left and he told me he didn't and I was crazy and starting fights. I became enraged and yelled at hiim. Then a slapped him on the chest (which is very muscular) and left. I retruned to my home to find it partially destroyed. I asked him again, "why did you hit me in the eye?" and he would not acknowledge having done so, then I went crazy and used a stick to hit the walls and doors in a room he was not in screaming like a lunatic, "why did you hit me in the eye?" over and over. He insisted he did not and that I was being abusive, then he took out a super heavy sharp machete, stabbed my only possession of value (a stupid Xbox I can't afford) and knocked me down and held it to my chest and asked if I wanted to die. After he left I threw furniture around. He left broken glass all over every room that I've been cleaning up all week. He was then nice to me the next day - it lasted 2 days, then he started getting angry at me again over things like saying, "Don't forget to brush your teeth," and "I feel like you were really disrespectful to me," about a few comments he made the next night. Now he wants to leave me, will not speak to me and spent the entire evening reminding me of the way I hit him in the face 10 years ago for cheating on me and being disrespectful and demeaning when asked about it. He also said I was a pathetic piece of //// and when he leaves I can sit in the dark shaking all I want. He's tired of being brought down by my vampyric neediness. I remained calm through the entire discussion but he was yelling and scarry and claimed that everything wrong in our relationship is my fault due to something I did that I know was wrong 10 years ago. I told him I was shaking and pathetic all weak because someone just held a dangerous weapon over my hearty while I lay on my back thinking I was probably going to die right then. He said "how dare you hold that over my head!" and then went further into describing all of the things I have done, that he actually does, but with the disclaimer that I always twist everything around to totally ignore his feelings and discredit any complaint he may have with a type of competitive one-up-manship. It made me think I am totally at fault, but I know that is wrong -- BREATH! thank you so much for posting these things because I cannot leave him. I have no job, no money, no family support (surprise, i come from an abusive family) -- I have no children so no one will pity me inthe system. Shelters treat women like me as if we are ridiculous. That night I went to a priest and a cop. The cop said, "what do you want me to do?" with contempt when I told him I was afraid my partner was driving drunk looking for suicide by cop. I know this post is all over the place, but I am afraid to stay and have nowhere to go, and his mind game works on me every time. I tell myself what he does afterward to prove that I am trying to make the relationship good. I am a loser, I can't keep a job, I am the one who is constantly starting fights, I am always holding stuff over his head, he can do no right, etc. He made sure to cover every single thing I request that he work on not doing as a thing that I do to him in order to make it impossible to ask for better treatment.

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  44. Part 2: All I do is ask for him to become aware and work on it. Every time I do this, I end up being treated like I'm starting a fight and if I do not shut up immediately, I am abusing him, according to him. I have lost my temper many times over this, but I do not degrade him or insult him when trying to point out things he does that are causing problems. Like drinking and missing work every week because he has a hangover. He says I'm only interested in him working so he can support me. I pay half the rent and bills and pay for all of my own expenses, yet he acts as if I live off of him. I just need to say these things and wonder if anyone else goes through this. It appears that waaaaaay more people than I would ever expect go through this. He has figured out how to make me feel guilty for being angry that when I was working full time, that I assumed he would share in laundry and cooking. Nope. I do 100% of the housework. If I don't act like I like it he behaves as if I am neglecting him. I've tried to hard to be reasonable with him and listen to his complaints and change any behaviors I have that are wrong--he claims I do nothing and am the same and am sucking the life from him.

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  45. Sometimes I seem like th abusive one because he is so teniciously calm, vicious and smiling as he sticks the proverbial knife in my chest and twists. And then I react and he supports his postion that I am the crazy one. They are evil and have no feelings, not even genuine anger. Now I am free of his evil so he uses my daughter to stick the knife in and blame me. So just because someone screams in anger and desperation, it does not mean they are the spath. Most likely the calm happy one is causing it. The best psychopaths never get angry, they just suck the life out of you.

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  46. Thank you so much for this article. I found it extremely eye opening and helpful in my current situation :)

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  47. I am there right now... hense why searched "am I abusive to my spouse". My counselor says he's the abusive one, my doctor, my pastor, my family, but somehow he still tries to convince me that me telling him how he hurt my feelings (calmly) constitutes abuse because it is disrespectful to him. It somehow justifies the yelling, beratement, name calling, being yelled at "You are a terrible person... you are a terrible person... you are not right" I tell him I can't keep dealing with the abuse, he insists I'm the abusive one, and dillusional for having my feelings hurt.

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  48. These men deserve the simpathy and and humane consideration that one would give to a suffering rabid dog. My husband fits most of the types. My experiences started when I agreed to marry (against my will) when I was. 18. Now I am 67 . I go through the motions on average 2 to3 times a month. I do not react as much now.

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