How Did You Brainwash Me?
When people ask, "Why do women stay in abusive relationships?" the answers are often too simple. There could be financial reasons, but if the abusive spouse died, would the victim wonder if they could support themselves to the point of doing nothing to advance their employability? (No.) There are the children to consider, but if the abusive spouse died, would the victim insist on finding a replacement right away? (No.)
Although finances and children are reasons victims cite for staying, one true reason they stay is a deeply implanted fear that they cannot make it in the world alone. My abuser implanted this fear so deeply in my mind that instead of recognizing the abuse in my relationship, I instead prayed that he would die. I consciously acknowledged the fact that he made my life hell, but the thought that I could divorce him remained outside my realm of consciousness. Abuse causes illness of the mind and body, and brainwashing sets both illnesses in motion.
What is Brainwashing?
Merriam-Webster's concise encyclopedia states that brainwashing is a
"Systematic effort to destroy an individual's former loyalties and beliefs and to substitute loyalty to a new ideology or power... The techniques of brainwashing usually involve isolation from former associates and sources of information; an exacting regimen calling for absolute obedience and humility; strong social pressures and rewards for cooperation; physical and psychological punishments for noncooperation, including social ostracism and criticism, deprivation of food, sleep, and social contacts, bondage, and torture; and constant reinforcement...."
I could have asked, "What is Domestic Abuse" and posted the same definition.
Brainwashing Works Best On A Special Type of Victim
Sandra L. Brown, M.A. says in her book Women Who Love Psychopaths that the best victims for brainwashing are women who are:
- perfectionists, and/or
- hold themselves to high standards, and/or
- persistent, and/or
- resourceful, and/or
- goal-directed, and/or
- self-sacrificing, and/or
- previous victims of abuse or neglect, and/or
- experience dependence, vulnerability, or incompetency issues.
If you are in an abusive relationship and do not recognize yourself in the first five or six bullet points, think back to the beginning of your relationship. Do you recognize aspects of who you were?
How Abusers Use Brainwashing Techniques Naturally
According to Ms. Brown's book, abusers do not feel the way we normally think of what it means to feel. Due to childhood abuse or perhaps mental disorder, many if not most abusers detach from their feelings at an early age. Instead of feeling, they observe how other people behave, and then mimic those behaviors appropriately. In this way, abusers become expert behaviorists without taking a step inside a classroom.
They know what works and what doesn't work to manipulate you to do what they want. And because they've detached from their feelings, abusers do not feel guilt for their manipulative actions. This is probably why abusers cannot take responsibility for what they've done to you or admit they abuse you (with lasting regret). They do not comprehend that any wrong took place and may think that your fear and tears are merely a show designed to manipulate them, and baby, they ain't fallin' for it.
In short, abuser's use brainwashing techniques naturally because "the set-up" is all they know.
Lifton's Brainwashing Technique
Robert J. Lifton was an early psychologist who studied mind-control and brainwashing. He broke the brainwashing technique down into the following categories. I'm going to change the descriptions to align with domestic abuse. (See the original list at ChangingMinds.org.)
Assault on identity
The abuser attacks the victim's self-identity by making statements that define the victim, eventually causing the victim to break down and doubt their own perceptions of who they are. ( i.e. "You're not good with money" "You are a slut!")
Arguments in which the abuser expresses hurt or discontent leads the victim to feel guilty (these complaints may be completely fabricated or loosely based on fact). Eventually, these arguments cause the victim to break down and feel guilt and shame for almost everything they do and come to feel they deserve punishment.
"When the person is forced to denounce friends and family, it both destroys their sense of identity and reinforces feelings of guilt. This helps to separates them from their past, building the ground for a new personality to be built" (quoted straight from Changing Minds because I couldn't say it any better - a.k.a. isolation)
The breaking point is best defined by it's symptoms: Depression, crying jags, a nervous breakdown or panic attacks, vague overwhelming fear or explicit fears of dying or loved ones dying. Unconsciously, victims begin losing their sense of "who they are" and experience the fear of "total annihilation of the self".
Just when the victim can't take it anymore, the abuser offers a small kindness. The victim feels a deep sense of gratitude (more gratitude than is justified by the abuser's act). Does it feel like a honeymoon? Yep.
The compulsion to confess
The victim may feel a compulsion to offer up an act of kindness to the abuser, as if the pain the victim caused the abuser is anywhere near the pain the abuser caused the victim. The victim, knowing that nothing would make the abuser happier than to agree with the negative statements made early on, may "confess" to being exactly as the abuser said they were ("You're right, I did act like a slut by wearing that dress" "Please take over all the bank accounts - I don't understand money")
The channeling of guilt
The victim's overwhelming sense of guilt and shame combined with the assaults on their identity and unsubstantiated accusations cause major confusion. In time, the victim feels that everything they do is "wrong" and "I can't do anything right!" After the victim enters this state of confusion, the abuser can redirect the victim's guilt toward anything the victim thinks, feels, or does. This causes the victim to wonder if everything they were taught or learned previously was "bad" and that maybe the abuser's take on life in general is "good".
Reeducation: logical dishonoring
The victim thinks, "Hey - if I am such a mess because of what I was taught, then it's not my fault that I'm so messed up!" The victim finds relief for their guilt by thinking such thoughts, so they "confess" to their abuser more of the "stupid" beliefs they hold but now want to rid themselves of. In this way, the victim begins to deny their own identity and willingly take on portions of the identity the abuser wants them to have.
Progress and harmony
As the victim empties herself of previous beliefs, the hole left inside of her acts like a vacuum, sucking in the abuser's ideas of good/bad and right/wrong. The abuse eases because the abuser sees less of "her" in her and more of "him" in her. The victim receives a pleasurable response in his lack of abuse. There's not more love, just less abuse.
Final confession and rebirth
Typically, the above steps will recur repetitively in the abusive relationship. "Final confession and rebirth" cannot be reached until the victim is completely and totally brainwashed to be exactly who the abuser wished. This is the point of no return.
You are reading this. You are not at the point of no return.
*Both women and men could be abusers or victims, so do not take my pronoun choices as an implication that one gender abuses and the other is victimized.
Jo, K. (2012, June 21). How Did You Brainwash Me?, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2023, February 2 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/verbalabuseinrelationships/2012/06/brainwashing-abusive-relationships
Author: Kellie Jo Holly
It's great that you are getting ideas from this article as well as from our discussion made at this place.
*articles, not "sucks"
I'm in process of getting my things from my soon to be ex boyfriend. I find myself feeling guilty for giving up on him. He's verbally abusive and after a year I have decided to leave. I recently found out he was physically abusive with his ex and he eventually had to admit it to me after I found out. He didn't fully sound remorseful either about it such was odd. He truly can be the most loving and caring person one moment and a completely cruel human being the next. I don't understand how he is the only person to say the most amazing things about and to me and also the worst. It's confusing to say the least. I found by reading sucks online that our relationship had become text book for verbal abuse. I find my heart in literal pain at the idea that I will be losing the most loving man I've been with. Yet he's caused the most pain. I need someone to offer me some advice so I can go through with my choice to leave when my heart is painting me to try again.
My dad abused me nearly the whole time I was growing up (3-16, and im still 16 now) and for the longest time, i thought that he was right, and that i was a dissapointment. I started to hate myself, and blame myself for everything. And i was becoming who he wanted me to be. And unfortunatly what he wanted me to be was the perfect wife. I didnt start to realize that something was abnormal until i started dating my boyfriend 10 months ago. He told me nice things, and encouraged me and complimented me, and geniunly loved me. I had never had anyone treat me that way before and at first i was shocked-but then I started to realize that things werent as they seemed to be. I still have a hard time trying to figure out what is and isnt abuse, and what is and isnt wrong. but i just moved out 5 months ago, and stopped speaking to him three months ago. All of that now seems a lifetime away. And im persuing his arrest-for he did much more than brainwash me. I still have moments where i get caught up and think that perhaps im wrong in my perceptions, and that I should go back though, and i feel exessivly guiltly for leaving. But im doing my best to recover, but part of me is still what he made me. Im a perfectionist, i want to know everything-if i dont i feel stupid. Im ashamed to dress well, and I want to be the absolute best at everything. I think that part of me may have been lost, but im starting to get some of me to show through.
Anyways, i want to thank you for writing this article, when i read it i was able to see what my dad did to brainwash me, and the effect it had. And it helps me to believe that it was wrong.
I have been with my boyfriend since 2005, moved in with him in 2010 after giving birth to twins in 2009. Kids live with my mom. I have been working since 2007. He was working full time as well. He then left his full time job after getting a part time one. He used to complain that I don't buy anything for the house. I then started by buying small things and then even bigger things from the kitchen unit, couch, wardrobe to a kitchen stove. He started by borrowing small amounts of money then changed to bigger then biggest. I would get a loan for him and he he wouldn't pay me back. Then he stopped buying groceries promising me that he is saving to pay lobola. He now does not want to reason with me about anything. He doesn't like when I ask him where he is going or how did his meeting go if he had one.
he would make comments like "I don't like driving with chicks next to me cause they are irritating" that's if I comment about him drinking while driving.
I am currently expecting another child.
I feel like he is using me for money and possesions but it is not easy to go back to my mother's house. I also don't know what to do. I think he does not love me any more but I don't want to accept it.
He would come home and ask me whether I have been crying for him.
I lost all my friends a few months after meeting him and now I am lonely all the time.
I threatened to take the kids if I leave him.
I feel much better when I am at work because I do customer service and after work I don't look forward to going to that house.
Wow, so much recent feedback from so many people. I'm glad a place like this exists so women can share their testimony freely without consequence (hopefully). I'd tell my story but I think I'd rather just post my progress at this point cause I think I'm finally getting to the point where I've had enough. Last night I took the initiative and filed a police report for electronic eavesdropping (he bugged me with a small recording device to spy on me-crazy right?! Its a class c felony btw in my state that is punishable up to 15 years in prison and fines of 10k per day that I had been recorded without consent) and domestic violence-verbal.
I then returned home formally emailed him that I had filed reports and I would continue to file them for **Every Incident** future forward. The following day (today) he didn't say a word. It was a very empowering feeling during a long stretch of feeling very powerless.
Even though I'm not ready to leave right at this moment at least I have begun legally documenting abusive incidents so that, if need be I will have records.
I'm hoping with these actions, if we did actually split-that monitored visitations and domestic violence courses would be a requirement by the courts.
Anyway, I hope someone finds this useful. I'll have to come back and update this later and keep reading these posts to keep me motivated and hopeful. Thank you for this virtual safe haven.
I'm sure my husband is brainwashed to leave me and his children and has married his cousin ( who has brainwashed him). We rarely hear from him and hardly ever see him. We had a good marriage which has fallen apart and has been destroyed by his cousin. I love him desperately and I know he loves me too. His three children love him and miss him desperately. He left us fifteen years ago and I haven't stopped praying for him to turn around and come back to us. Please tell me what I can we do.Thank you
Jennifer, it's been 15 years. It is time to move on. He will always be the children's dad, but he hasn't been your husband for a very long time.
Have you considered the possibility that he is using you for something? What do you give him when he comes around? Anything from attention to money could be his reason for keeping you on the leash. Or maybe he likes knowing you are waiting for him.
Could you be romanticizing the relationship you had 15 years ago?
I always wondered why women stay with abusers and I discovered why when I became a victim myself. It's incredibly difficult and exhausting. It's the most difficult thing, relearning everything and trying to find yourself again. An awful trial in life, but light at the end of the tunnel. If it wasn't for my faith in Jesus i have no idea where I would be right now. He has been with me through it all. Such peace comes from crying out for Him to save you. He does just that. Through Him I have strength. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
Reach out to Jesus to save you, and He will :)
Is there some serious advice for me.legally sep.frm a severe narcissistic abuser with 9 kids,he has tortured me with mind games,brainwashing of myself and children,who hr uses at times to help him bring me down.they are vjctims being used by him.i mved to another state and he followed.he is 3 miles away,he has isolated and made all my friemds and family and neughbors not be a support for me anymore.he has dragged me to court
Spent all our money,caused me to lose my apartment,then called social services and said i was homeless and he wanted custody.he caused thr breakup of older daughter to her fiance just to get to me as a warning for me to stay in line.he will not be ignored
No contact doesnt work.and i have a restraining order against him! He has coached the kids that if i turn him in for violating restraining order,he will lose his job and he wont be able to help them financially so they are to defend him of mim gets crazy again and falsely accusing him. He is the victim,i am mentally ill, how can i be free,
I've been with my bf for about 7 months now and the last month has been utter turmoil. Everything seemed great and I had a decision to make and job offer in another state and was debating on going (a conflict I had before even meeting the bf). I decided to stay for myself, family and seek out this new relationship as I've never felt this before. Anyway, so when the bf asked me to move in, I was ecstatic, but told him although it's a little premature, I'll think about it. We agreed if I did stay that I'd move in 6 months later, but that he felt that's the direction that our relationship was headed. Anyway, fast forward to last month. I came to find out he was still in communication with his ex (rebound -who is engaged and in another state) and speaks to her once a month, on the dating site we met on. When I confronted him, he gave me the excuse if "well, I didn't know if you are moving or not and we haven't decided on what we are doing?" Let me preface all this by saying I didn't want to date him at first because I didn't want to get attached and he pursued, wanted to "label" us and be with me. It just flowed, felt amazing and was so easy and natural. I've never felt this before. So once I told him I still want to be committed and serious even if I move, he agreed to stop communicating with the ex and deleted his dating profile.
That same night I found out about his communication with the ex and dating profile, he said "if you leave me-you're replaceable." I was in tears. Who would think that if you are happy?? Then he goes on to say "well, it's true, everyone is."
He apologized for the comment and said what we have is special, but it still hurts me to this day and I wonder if I should still be with him.
What does he want? He was married for 8 yrs, divorced for 2 and had a rebound last year before me. I don't think he's ready for a relationship of this caliber and needs to date more.
Please advise-he hasn't said I love you yet and when I ask "what do you want or are you looking for?" He responds with "I want a gf." Which to me, just means anyone, he didn't say "I want you as my gf and I'm happy." Am I wrong???
I have been in an abusive relationship for the last 23 years of my life and still don't know how to get out. I haven't lived in these years at all just merely existed. I was 15 when I started dating him and moved away from a dysfunctional family at age 16...from the pan to the FIRE. At first he told me all my gf were sluts and if I hung out with them, that I would be one too?!! Btw my gf were nice girls and to this very day I still regret leaving them for him cause I have NOBODY in my life anymore!:(. One day he had some friends come to our apartment to buy some weed from him, when they arrived I said hello and offered them something to drink....WOW...that was the first and last time I ever did that..after the guys left he went upside me and down the other calling me a dirty slut and that he could see the way I was looking at them?!!! Called me a slut and said he knew I wanted to sleep with them??? I didn't realize saying hello and offering a drink really meant I wanna get naked and have you right now?!!! After a few other incidents like this I started to learn to NEVER talk to the opposite sex and I learned to hold my gaze to look at the ground so I wouldn't accidentally look into the eyes of the opposite sex and be accused of flirting with them. I was still in high school when I moved out and in with him, he would drive by my school on breaks and make sure I wasn't talking or hanging with anyone he didn't approve of, he never took or let me go to my prom or graduation...things I still regret to this day!!:( one day I was putting my makeup on and getting my day started..he came up to me and said..who are u trying to impress? I said nobody this is just how I start my day..we'll u don't need that anymore now that your with me he said...after that day it's was no more hair and makeup..which I loved to do and only baggy jogging pants and oversized t shirts...I was a 16 year old girl?!!!! Who does that to someone??? He did..TO ME!!:( and I was so naive and had such little self confidence I guess I believed I deserved to be treated this way. Eventually I became pregnant and threw my life into raising our kids...we had 3 kids in 4 years...I kept busy for years being the best mom I could be...he settled down a bit during these years but only cause I lived exactly how he wanted me to. When my youngest was about to start school I got scared thinking what will become of me...I didn't continue my education after high school, I lost all my friends? I needed something more, I told my husband I needed a job or to continue my education...he wanted nothing of it, just happy to have me stay home and have him take care of everything. I ended up getting deeply depressed and eventually kicking my heels down and insisting I needed a job, eventually I got one and it did wonders for my self esteem, I finally had friends again and felt worthy. Eventually I took this strength and decided to further educate myself for a better job and better opportunities, my husband kicked and screamed and tried to manipulate everything I did, but at this point in my life I had gained a bit of confidence and just went forward, it was all great for awhile that is until I made some amazing friends at work and they started wanting me to go out with them..he caved letting me get a job but no way was he caving about letting me out with friends...I had gained confidence but not enough to go out and have fun...eventually my friends started getting upset with me when I would never do anything with them and eventually I lost them..now work wasn't so great cause I felt isolated there too. I'd love to keep writing and tell you all the hell and pain I've suffered and continue to suffer but because of my husbands abusive ways I cannot even finish writing this post because I'm not allowed to be doing this and he is almost finished his shower, please if you find any of what I've written to be familiar of what your going through, find a way to get OUT...I'm still looking!:( but have to go before he sees this!:(
This is an interesting article and clearly explains the tactics and outcome of abuse. It is easy to repeat abusive tactics as they give someone a sense of power, and the world seems to find the victim weak instead of recognising the way that abuse erodes their sense of self and demanding that the abuser enter therapy instead of opening the door to treat the victim's wounds. The best tip is to be by yourself for a period of time and to educate yourself about abuse so that you can recognise the warning signs and change your own behaviour to enable healthier interactions. My family is highly abusive and in denial about the fact that incest and domestic violence occurred and still occurs. I have opted to remain away from the crazy-making behaviour and refuse to appear like a happy good daughter to mask the truth in public.
Unfortunately, finding help can be hard as many therapists also come from abusive backgrounds and are blind to their own desire to maintain control and have you comply with their world view and assumptions about your character and motivations. After seeking help from a sexual abuse counsellor, I left with my head reeling after being accused of being an observor, when in reality I do engage emotionally in relationships and am wary when others display red signs. The fact that this lady then proceeded to attack me for agreeing to seek help - Do you do whatever someone wants? Demanded to know what I wanted, and then ignored my requests for information about meditation and boundaries, claiming not to be a relationships counsellor - heck, how can you deal with sexual abuse and incest with no understanding or relationships? - and proceeded to claim that people from abusive homes have been hard-wired to repeat the abuse or be just like their parents as they grow up with that schema, shocked me. Her refusal to listen or validate my feelings, as well as her insistence that intimacy means 'sex', left me stunned. She then claimed the principal who attempted to syphon money from my contract and then attacked me in private was "clever". I left the office disappointed and confused as I had hoped to receive support instead of feeling invalidated and accused of being foolish and overly compliant for agreeing to seek help. Walking away is not a cowardly act but a sensible choice if you want to regain your sanity. A healthy moment arises when you start to recognise abuse for what it is: an attempt to erode your sense of self to make the other person feel more powerful and in control. Please learn to believe that you are better off alone than in a bad relationship, and do not give a hoot if people find that odd. Communities have been brainwashed people to believe that having a partner is a sign of being normal instead of something that often suits one person at the expense of the other. Most abuse happens within personal relationships rather than at the hands of a stranger. This is a fact that people need to consider seriously before diving in and then floundering with the reality that many people are abusive and all of us have the ability to hurt those we claim to love or want to help. An appreciation of difference helps a lot in overcoming the abuser's desire for us to share and mimic their world view and be a slave to their needs or a mini-me.
OMG! It's so good to hear another person say that they wished that their abuser would just die! I always felt so awful for feeling that way, but it is SO hard to leave it would be easier if he just dropped dead. My abuser got sick and nearly died and I felt bad, but inside I thought "at least now it can truly be over!" There is that fear of doing life alone, but there is also the fear of what terrible thing he might do. It seems irrational to think that way, considering it has never been a physically abusive relationship, but he has done such terrible things to my psyche that I find myself in an almost catatonic state when I think of having to face his abuse, especially if I left for good. I really have no clue what he is capable of as his abuse sometimes feels SO random. I want out, but I also love him (when he is not abusing) and don't want to lose the man that I love, so instead I keep deceiving myself that if I "let sleeping dogs lie" and jump through all of his "hoops" maybe I can keep that good side of him in control. It never works. He will blow. And then I wonder why I have stayed so long!
I KNOW that I've been brainwashed in this 17 year marriage, now living in a state where there is no family to go to for help. I want to have a life before it's too late, but how does one "break away" from a brainwasher? Thanks
WOW!! You have done such a Great Job on your Posting!! I have just learned SO Much about Abusers and Victims!! I was trying to locate some information because I Truly believe that My 22 year old SON is being Mentally and Emotionally Abused by his Girlfriend of almost 4 years now and it just Breaks My Heart!! I am a Single Mom and I raised My 2 Boys Completely on My Own, with NO Help Financially or Emotionally from their father that walked out when my oldest son was 12 and my youngest son was only 2 years old. I often wonder If my youngest son is Allowing this Abuse to continue because his father has Never been a part of his life and he has become Close to his girlfriend's father!!?? Could that be a Factor?? His girlfriend started off acting as if she really did Like Me and Our Family, but then things began to Change!!?? Over the past couple of years my Son has become Very Distant with Me and We used to be Extremely Close. I had noticed that She would always say things around me like "You Are Such a Momma's Boy" and he used to smile and say "Yes I Am"!! You could just Read the Expression on Her Face that those words and Our Close Relationship just Infuriated Her, but I honestly Never Understood until Now!! She has also Never been Close to her Own Mother, but Very Close to Her Father. Her Parents were also Divorced when she was 3 years old, but her Father uses "$Money" as His Way of being Close to Her and she Uses It, letting me know now that this is probably how she first learned how "Manipulation" was done!!?? She has Totally Isolated My Youngest Son away from ME, His Brother, his Entire Family, And ALL of His Friends!! She has even Started Arguements with Me and turn All of the Blame on Me and then I have had to actually watch My Own Son Totally Take Her Side and Take UP for Her on Everything! I have even witnessed Her Yelling and Screaming at Him and watched Him just Sit There and Take It and Not say One Word back to Her!!?? Does this All sound like Abuse to You?? I Don't know What to Do and he Won't even Talk to Me Anymore! It's Heart Breaking for Me because My Son was Always Such a Great Kid and Very Outgoing with Lots of Friends!! Help Me Help My Son!!!
I was in abusive marriage for 10 years and I've been out of it for 4. Healing takes a lot of time. Even my family expected I'd be better immediately after the divorce and thought there was something wrong with me. It's completely normal to need time to get healthy. I have supportive friends and my faith in God that helps me know that goodness will prevail. My ex has targeted my kids to turn them against me and tells all mutual friends that I'm crazy. I have to document everything and keep taking him to court. It's a hard road, but you can and will get your life back if you continue to persevere and keep hope. Pulling for everyone here!
What about those who can honestly answer, "yes" to the first two questions. Often times things like this don't take into consideration the women who are physically and mentally disabled who rely on someone else to care for them as well as their child(ren). Don't be so harsh with those two questions. I would be on the streets and my child with an even worse abuser. Sucks to be me, and I cry a lot, sorry for the pity party, just so tired of everyone assuming that I can just up and leave when I really can't. Because the second I actually ask anyone for finicial or child care help, or even help to fill out my disability paperwork, no one is there or they are too busy for me.
I'm happy and sad to see so many women in such situations like mine. It makes me realize something very important about the society.
I'm angry that homosexuality often is not socially acknowledged/accepted when they know about abusive relationships (as of course homosexuality can have multply other reasons). and it may be for some (like it used to be for me) a way to get out, a way of thinking that is unchangable. anyway.
Because of my fear of men, I typically turned gay (at least I thought I liked girls but I usually just feel safer with them) until I met my boyfriend. turns out I'm not but instead I found out and confirmed my fear of men. This abusive relationship was the last thing I wanted in my life ever and subconciously I wanted to protect myself from it,is what I came to realize.
I don't hold a grudge for him for what he did to me, I just know after only 7 months that it's time to end this relationship once and for all. (I wanted to break up several times before, the lsat fight ended up in tears and me pushing him out of my mums flat)
I love myself more than that, I don't want my identity destroyed even more than it is already. I don't even know who I am right now. I feel lost and stupid. I know that there were times he really loved me and it was that honesty and innocence that made me forget about my stupid shield and made me cross lines for me to grow into a woman. I find it amazing how many strong women are out there who learned to deal with such a thing in their own way, even if not always successful they fight.
I only feel oblivious to the fact that most of the time we women are just means to something, even though we could do so much better but we can't and sometimes just don't want to. Maybe someday before the world ends we will finally find a recept on how to act in certain situations and find the best solution so there is more hope in the wolrd and less injustice. (Even if I wasn't into standing up for woman, I guess I am now more than ever)
be blessed and take care
Hi, my wife also told me that I am an abuser. She agreed that she was, but she had to include me also. I know I have not acted always appropretly, but if you want to know who is the abuser, you have to think, who starts the fight, who continues until the other agree. Who stays in front of the door and lot leting you go outside? Who follows you room to room until you get crazy. Who starts being violent? Who always has to say Sorry for the things they did wrong? Who has stop seing his friends and familly? Who decides everything?
I doubt that both parteners are abuser, Police have to assess who is the main agresor and who is the victime. Sometime, I would say the abuser defends him/herself. It is hard not to react when you receive a slap in the face, or you get spit at. When your partener block your way out and follows you everywhere in the house. I blew out a lot. I tried to find my way out of the house, but I always tryed not to hurt her. My wife used object to slap me with and everything you could imagine. She is not strong so I won't get bruises, but if I restrain her by the hand, she would get a bruise really easily. Does that mean I am an abuser?
You would know if you are the abused, it is easy if you really check. I don't think there is two brainwasher in the couple. If one fits the description more than the other, then, it might be a tactif for your spouse to share the blame.
Hi, it is so true, I only want to enjoy being me again. Nothing extravagant, improving my spanish, going roalerblading, anything! Today, my wife told me that it was bothering her that I was listening to the radio when I was going to work! And obviously, I did not agree to stop, no way, not that! Come on! Enought! She screamed at me at the top of her lunges, when I picked her up from work after. I left the car, and now I do not know what to do. I am tired, everything she does is controling. I even learned how to knit, I thought she would not tell me to stop, but she destroyed so many times my project, that seriously I gave up. But now, I don't want that anymore, enought! this is pure non-sense! She actually controls everything in my life, I feel like I have no life of my own. She calls me names, she is violent.
Maybe you are right about the money, I am the only one working, but I could just go in a room somewhere. She won't leave me my child, but now, I cannot stay there anymore. I will find a way to see my child later.
Enought if enought.
I have a basic right to listen the radio and decide what to do in my brakes, to have nice time with my child alone (because she won't leave him with me alone)
This is not right!
Thanks for that site!
I met my now husband on a dating site almost 3 years ago. We have only been married now for 3 months. It's been terrible even worse now that we got married . He treats me like a little girl, orders me around, I get silent treatments for days, barely any affection, and talked down too or he makes me feel stupid when I get excited/happy about something and also mocks me. He treats his dog better than me. I told him at least your dog gets rubbed. He'll sleep in recliner all nite and when he does come to bed he doesn't like to be close to me sometimes he kicks me in shins if I get too close then tells me next morning he didn't get sleep because I snored all night even though I know I didn't . He's constantly poking my belly as if to say I'm too fat. I hate that. I do everything in the house. He never has to lift a hand except he does like to cook but he complains about that tells me I don't appreciate it. But I do everything including cutting and filing his fingernails and toenails and rubbing his back all the time. All he does is climb on top of me have his way with me and I never get pleased. Sometimes he pulls my hair so hard chunks come out. He never kisses me and has never touched my private area with his hand or anything. I miss affection and feel very neglected. I've spoken to him about this behavior and also what I like. He calls me too needy. If I try to cuddle or kiss him he says get off me! I can never do anything right. His coffee is either too hot or too cold or I cooked the bacon for too long. His moods change minute by minute. I'm always walking on egg shells. That's what he did the other day his mood changed he made up some silly thing that I did wrong again and then he left the house all day not knowing where he was or when he would be home. Normally I would beg him back home plead and tell him I was sorry it was all my fault and try to make up for it by acting like the good little girl . I didn't this time and I'm leaving next week. I'm moving from florida to colorsdo, 1700 miles away so I will not be tempted to come back. I haven't told him where I am going. He is acting like he is sick and depressed right now I guess to make me feel sorry for him and stay but I can't stay. I've already quit my job (I'm an lpn) and have applied for my licenses in colorado. He's always trying to kick me out when he gets mad at me and this last time made me sign a contract to pay him 400 a mth in rent and for parking and that I must get psychological help within 3 months and if I don't meet these terms I'll have to move out in 14 days. Which he is trying to make me feel like I'm crazy but I'm not. I can't live my life on the edge like that not knowing when his mood will change and when he will want me out. He tried to take over my finances but I would not do it. He got mad when I quit my job for a much less stressful job because I made less money. He refused to add me to his health insurance because he said it was too expensive and I shouldn't have quit my job says I can get obamacare. He calls his mother 24/7 and they talk about me. It's all about money with him. He stands to inherit over 500k from her. She hates me. She was disgusted when I announced I was pregnant and then seemed elated when I had a miscarriage. She would try and get me alone and make me say things then go back and tell him lies. I never answered the door after I found out how she was and hid in the house when he wasn't home so I wouldn't have to talk to her. She comes over unannounced and then he accuses me of not liking his family. I guess that's where he gets it from. They are just alike and she manipulates him with the inheritance. Then he accuses me of not liking his friends. No I don't because they are potheads and heavy drinkers and I have a nursing licenses to uphold. Recently he has become obsessed with drinking beer, making it, and now trying to make moonshine which is illegal without regards for my professional license. I'm so tired and worn down. I have been crying in silence for months. I have a 7 year old son who lives with his father but because of what's going on I barely see him and don't want him to be around this. I cry myself to sleep because I miss him so much and my husband knows I miss him. I've voiced it over and over and if he really cared for me he would have cleaned up that 3rd bedroom for my son but I think he intentionally did not kep saying he told me to clean it but all of his personal things are in there including stack of pics of him and ex girlfriends and ex wives and he never wanted me to touch his things. Oh he has cameras in the house. They record your voice as well so I'm so uncomfortable I never know where he could have put one. I'm just so tired now and just want to be happy and out of his control. I have to be strong because he's already making me feel guilty for wanting to leave and he's trying to make me feel sorry for him so I'll stay. I'm so scared but I have to leave and go far away for a while for my sake. I'm hoping to move near my son in the near future as well but right now I don't want to be tempted to stay or come back to him if I were to move nearby so here I come Colorado. Please god give me the strength to get over him and never come back!
This article describes my entire 14 years of marriage. I finally made the decision to take my 5 kids and leave and I havent looked back. The man I am with now has asked me why I stayed so long, and we even had an "argument" about it. He didnt understand how huge the mindset of a person (especially a female) is in a situation like this. Since I could not have put it in any more perfect words, I am printing this article & am going to let him read it. Maybe he will come to an understanding. Thank you for posting!!
I went through all the steps exceptthankfully for the rebirth one, we were together for 7years. I wished he would die every time he hit me I finally got help through a friend from work and now I am happy healthy and pregnant!!! I did have anightmare last night for the first time I'in about a year. ofcourse he was hitting me course but hopefully soon hosedreams will fade away forever... I had pretty muah nowhere to go and I was terrified to leave but I wanted a better life than that. Ill never gd regret the day I left and changed my life for the better. I hope every woman can do the same
I was Googling about brainwashing because a friend got sucked deep into an abusive relationship. I really like this piece, but I'm wondering why you ended it with "that is the point of no return." Clearly, people do get out even years later. I don't know what makes that possible,or if there's anything those on the outside can do, but why the finality?
hello im so happy to read this article,i myself are into verbal relation in this present time.i been married for 6 yrs now and every now and then when me and my husband fight,he always said that i have nothing,i live in his house for free i pay nothing.i am so lucky that he take me out from my home country.each time i have contact to member of my family he thinks i send them money.so i decide not to speak any of them.to avoid argue,he always complain about how i use my money he want to see every details what i spent and where i put my money.i work in hotel as room servive,for this 6 yrs of married i never ask him money i work my own.he said that i should pay all the things he spend for me,recntly we had fight and that force me to travel back home,he took all the gifts he gave me including my wedding ring,he said that he use his money to buy this.i really wanna get out but im so afraid to start all over again since this is not my homeland.i need advice thank you
What a great article.
I have been out of my abusive relationship for 6 months and its an every day struggle. Feels like its been a blur. This article has given me some clarity and peace of mind. Thank you to the author and thank you God for bringing me to this website this Christmas eve.
I really needed this.
This breaks my heart because I have just witnessed this happen to a dear teen friend of mine. Isolated for 8 weeks from school and friends after calling CPS on his step father. Now he is a different child - god how do I help him? Knowone is going to listen to me.... He graduates in 6 months and is suppose to join the military this summer. What is going to be his process will he come out of this soon or have we lost him completely
Is it possible for both parties involved to be both victims and abusers? Both me and my significant other look at this article and feel we fit the description of the victim and the other fits the description of the abuser.
I also understand why my significant other identifies with the victim, which was never my intention. I hope to alter my behavior as never make them feel that way again. But they fail to accept that I may be partially or equally the victim as well.
The key phrase in your comment is "they fail to accept that I may be partially or equally the victim". This is a sure sign that you ARE the victim. I understand where you're coming from in that you abuse your SO, too. We sometimes attempt to fight fire with fire - we pick up bad habits from our abuser and think "Well, if this is what s/he says, then maybe s/he will hear me when I say it." I also wondered if I was an abuser.
The sure way to decide whether you are abused or the abuser is to STOP abusing. Just like that. Stop it.
Set some personal boundaries and enforce them peacefully. (http://verbalabusejournals.com/how-stop-abuse/setting-personal-boundaries/)
When you hear yourself saying things that you don't like, shut your mouth. When you feel like doing something that does not align with who you want to be, do not do that thing.
The abuser is likely to attack viciously when you put your boundaries in place. It is difficult to keep your mouth shut or walk away when someone says hateful things to you, but with practice it will get easier. Also, in time, you will begin to see the truth of who your SO is and realize that changing, for them, is probably not going to happen.
This is a very informative site and I think the comments are wonderful because they help us see we are not alone. I am concerned about your calling the woman's pretending to be a "happy good girl" manipulative. I don't see it as healthy but I wonder why it doesn't fall more under a label of "codependent" than "manipulative". When the abuse victim tries to please the other it seems to me not a deliberate calculated manipulation but rather an avoidance of unpleasant consequences: just giving the abuser what he/she wants to get through the victim's own day. Anyway, I am happy you are doing what you do!
"Trying to be “a happy, good girl” when you are not is a manipulative action. Yes, I know you did it in response to past abuse, but anytime you pretend to be someone you are not in order to elicit a certain reaction, then you are manipulating him. You aren’t alone – I did it too. However, it NEVER works the way you want it to work. You wanted to make him happy, so your intentions are “good” – but manipulating is bad for everyone. "
Christine, I believe this is the comment you're referring to? I stand behind the statement because, as I said, "anytime you pretend to be someone you are not in order to elicit a certain reaction, then you are manipulating". This type of manipulation is typical of codependency. The motive behind the manipulation (make peace, stay calm, avoid pain) is QUITE different from the motive behind the abuser's manipulations (to control, destroy, crush). I do not intend to say that the abuse victim is as "bad" as the abuser (typically this is not the case as abuse victims tend to be more empathetic, sympathetic and forgiving than abusers).
HOWEVER, if we want to JUMP OFF the abusive cycle, then we victims/survivors must recognize these unhealthy/manipulative qualities in ourselves. For example, instead of being the "happy good girl", we could clearly state to our abuser, "I am very angry right now and do not feel like pretending to be otherwise. I am going to (place or to do something else) until I feel better."
Recognizing our tendency to manipulate "for the greater good" allows us to stop doing it. When you stop doing habitual, unhealthy things, you jump off the abusive cycle - you refuse to play. Could you agree with this or do you still concerned with my viewpoint?
Dave E. & Mike: Thank you both for posting. I scrolled quickly down the comments to see if any men had posted. I'm a woman with great concern for a guy who has been PHYSICALLY, mentally & emotionally abused by a woman for over 20 years. Over a year ago, he finally got out, divorced 9 months later. He has been & is being alienated from family & friends by her, you have to sneak around to see him, then most likely he is drunk & starts verbal abuse on you. It is like he can't live without her abuse. They have children, only one now under age, which was so sick of the mess that child moved with him. Now,it appears he uses this child & a family pet to keep constant contact with this woman. He is at her command, whatever she wants, whenever she wants. It is believed he is in a financial bind trying to satisfy her. She comes to see him, leaves to go crawl in bed with her long time boyfriend. When she isn't around he is drunk out of his mind most of the time. He is to the point of verbal abuse on anyone who tries to help him. When trying to speak with him, you feel as though you are speaking to his abuser, your cut down just the way the abuser has cut him, his friends (not many left) & family for years. Over these years he has become, an alcoholic from what appears to be an attempt to drown the FACT he is in an abusive relationship. Plus, she & her boyfriend has flaunted an open affair for many years causing great humiliation for the guy. He has set many hours drinking, knowing she was out with this guy, most likely gone all night, at least until wee hours of the morning. IF he confronted her, she would go into a rage, beating the living hell out of him. I could go on and on over the horrible crap, but I can't see why he can't let go.
To summary it up, since the divorce this guy appears to be totally BRAINWASHED by this woman, to the point he acts and speaks just as she has for many years. IF anyone has any suggestions as to why or how he can be helped, please comment.
The world definitely needs to know that Men suffers from Domestic Violence from Women!!!!!
[...] like you don’t deserve to be happy is another limiting belief to work on immediately. You are not an outsider who is unwelcome. This [...]
Well, this may not be a place for a man to be welcomed but I'm here. I too have been the victim of a controlling spouse. I've been made to have no friends, distance myself from family and constantly live in fear Of the next argument or round of questions. She questionsy daughter on out texts and conversations. I've been told I was lazy and only think of myself. I've worked 2 jobs for the past 14 years while she has worked maybe a total of 3 years of our 24 year marriage. She has put me In bankruptcy twice with credit card debt and I still never k ow how much money I have at anytime. She always tells me to look at the books if I want to k ow but when I question anything g I'm being a bastard. All of my acquaintances at work know not to call me or ask me to do anything. Anytime I start a hobby I'm told I think more about it than her. It's an endless cycle.
About a year ago, I decided to seek counseling. This was advise from friends she doesn't k ow about. Reluctantly, I went and it all spilled out. The counselor told me that I was a victim of a narcissist. I had been made to believe I was inadequate. After a could of visits, she told me I wasn't allowed to go back. She made me find another counselor and insists on going with me.
I now have panic attacks for about 8 years now. We have no social life and my daughter and couple of others are my only friends I this. My own stepdaughter (HER daughter) tells me that I should have left years ago. All of her friends she grew up with are grown now but still remember coming to our house and how she treated me.
I've often felt like I wasn't a man. That I was different. But slowly realizing its not me. I've met people that telle I'm a good person and need to break free of the 24 year prison I've been in. I'm ready to live.
What keeps me there is the guilt. For some reason I believe she can't function on her own. Her parents are dead and she has no family except for her daughter. I'm slowly realizing that I can't be responsible for that. She controls her own destiny. I have found that not all women are that way as I thought. And I've also figured out that I have much to give AND receive. It's not a one way street.
Hah! This is so great. My husband is a people watcher and this certainly explains why.
I've been married over 27 years!
I don't get it I seem to be the only guy in this whole posting I finally realized last night I was being brain washed for the last four years I don't know what to Do now we have three kids that were recently taken away because of her inability to stop using drugs I honestly don't know witch ones are mine my mom is taking care of my grandma so I have no support now that our insurance got shut off and I can't even get my medication I had over 100-200 friends before I got with her that would literally come over to my huge house I had at the time we met now no one will even answer my call I really feel like I really can't take it anymore please if someone gets this please help me this is not a joke please help me
Mike, I do not think you're joking. Women abuse men, too - more often than is reported. I recommend you call DAHMV )http://www.dahmw.org/). DAHMV is the Domestic Abuse Hotline for Men and Women - keyword is "for Men". The fact that they single out help for men is important to me. The reason you think we'd think you were spoofing us is because you believe (as do many others) that a woman cannot abuse or assault a man, or that women are just too weak to do any damage to a man (emotionally OR physically). This simply is not true. Please call the DAHMV.
Do abusive men ever change?
Im looking for some reassurance I guess, I just left a very abusive relationship of almost 5 years. I finally called the police the last time he attacked me physically, punching me in the head and calling me a bitch and a cunt. That was the final straw, he got arrested and went to jail for 2 days but the judge decided there wasn't enough evidence to prosecute him. He now thinks he "won" his case, and its me that is the crazy one! He managed to convince the judge that I am bipolar and a crzy person (without him having any evidence of this). Since this day I decided to separate from him and we are in a civil process to decide what will happen with our 3 year old son. In the time of leaving jail, he quickly was out partying and seen with other women. He shows no remorse, no guilt and keeps maintaining that I am the crazy one who he left ...
what is wrong with these kinds of people? I went through an absolute hell with him, horrific verbal and psychological abuse then physical (which got worse and worse over time) and he seems to have just moved on meeting other women and focusing on himself and not his son.
Will he ever change?
I had a person tell me I didn't deserve to be happy and that I was ugly but then he turned it around and said he loved me. I had very low self-esteem and was very depressed because he brainwashed me into leaving my ex boyfriend. He yelled at me for being sad and crying. This is crazy but wow.
Thank God I no longer have to live in such an abusive situation. I hope what you've provided here can help someone before they waste 11 years of their life like I did. Just a few examples I recall...
The isolation is one of the first things I remember. I wasn't allowed to have friends because he couldn't trust other people especially guys- I was such a slut. My co-workers were not allowed to come over because they might knark on him. My family lived too far away so if I wanted to see them they had to visit us. My dad still jokes about the Christmas I snuck out saying I was headed to the store, instead made the 45 minute drive on my own just to get to see my family on Christmas for maybe a 15 minutes visit. Couldn't even take the kids because I didn't want them to have to lie.
I cried so much that I learned to cry in complete silence just so he wouldn't make fun of me. But when he had a point to make, and this is no exaggeration, the minimum was 3 hours of drilling argument. Many times I had work the next day (I was the only one with a regular job in over 8 of those 11 years) but he didn't care if I got to sleep or not. He had a point to make. It was also during this period I experienced my first panic attacks.
The abuse was physical a few times but when I fought back, that ended pretty quick. When I was pregnant, he did push me down but what hurt worse than the physical shove was that he saw I'd landed on his guitar and he moved me off it so he could make sure the guitar was okay! CPS was called once when he hurt my son. We also went to counseling but he'd only go if I agreed not to tell the counselor that he drank beer and smoked pot every night.
One time he asked if he could bring another woman into our home and I was so screwed up by his brain-washing I actually wondered for a minute if by agreeing I might FINALLY get some help around the house. lol But then I came to my senses. He was extremely possessive and controlling. His step mom asked me once why I didn't wear makeup and I'd forgotten it was because he asked me not to.
He constantly belittled me and called me names. Mostly a lazy fat ass. Towards the end he told me I was replaceable on a daily basis. When we broke up, he actually asked me to stay an additional 3 months through the holidays and I thought he wanted to try to redeem himself to me, but after the holidays he abruptly kicked me out for not going back to work so he could drive a better car. Said he didn't believe in marriage and monogamy anymore.
I'm still ashamed that my kids witnessed the example he set. He really wasn't part of their lives at all until we split up. In fact, I actually put the kids in daycare while I worked even though he was home all day!! He said he needed the time alone. I often wonder if I will ever heal from this trauma. It's been over 12 years. I lost my identity. I became someone I did not like. And I still have to deal with him sometimes. Most of the time, I try to believe that he's changed, but every once in a while his true colors show again. My relationship with God has been the biggest blessing, but I guess I still have a ways to go yet because the lies still bother me.
I HAD NO IDEA! I was wondering why I now feel lost and dumb! I felt this way by the end of the marriage and now I feel that again after 7 years in a relationship. I have only been living with him for one year. It took me that long to take the risk!
Such simple comments...
The lovely female waitress wipes the table down. I dry the table with the napkin. My partner comments that the waitress has just wiped the table in a tone that indicates I have OCD or some 'failing'.
We're walking back to the apartment while on holiday. I start to go down one path and he another. In that tone that indicates I'm wrong, he asks me why I'm going that way.
If any of his four children (aged 16 - 26) asked him to do something, he would happily interrupt any prior plans we had made together (or were in the middle of doing!) and then say I'm being difficult if I didn't want to change plans!
I value health and fitness. I do not keep stockpiles of candy in the house because I cannot stop at just one. He does keep a stockpile.He does not listen to my request to not offer me any candy and my request to keep the candy in a spot I don't know about. He interrupts me when I've asked to not be interrupted while grading papers or something similar, and offers it to me then. On one hand I feel an absolute dog complaining about this but on the other hand I am being ignored and my wishes not valued.
I must be doing something that invites this type of behaviour. I want to stop. I now feel stuck because I feel horrible about leaving, feeling sorry for him. His wife left him seven years before he and I met. I once had direction and strength, but now feel lost, stupid and mean. I didn't even expect the relationship get this far. And this is after 'low-level' abuse compared to other readers' experiences.
This blog is now in my bookmarks.
All the best to everyone.
Thank you for listening.
I have experience to be abused by friends. The thing is,if there is not only one, there must be something in my behaviour to let them think that they can cross the line.. And, sure there is. It is the overlooking bad treatments, that comes very slowly and gradually, with you never saying or acting to stop at the beginning. The pleaser, the submissive behaviour, the fear that makes this happen. Yet another insult I got from my friend who insulted me with being bad friend for missing her call when she had very hard times. Despite offering help straight away after seing message, I was texted to be lier who ignored her call, always excusing myself..bla bla, then I stopped, started to think, wait I have heard this before, and not always it was true, I most of the times had reasons for things going the way they went, but that was not point-who should accuse and name person this way-Now that is the main point! so. I texted politely to this friend that I am sorry, and sensing that there is no trust, so is no point in this friendship, if she really needed help, she would call later when I was offering my time, after I found out she was in need. period. had no response from then, but if there will be any, I would have to tell her that I will carry on but on equal terms, aka treating her exactly kindly as she does myself-lets see how she will take anger tantrums... :D(not that I have no shame to act any, but she treat texts, I might try...:D-I probably will give up after one such and call it quits anyway :D all the best and self belief w no manipulation to all :x
I need help my 21 slow daughter to get away from her boyfriend and aunt who she live with they brainwash my daughter to have nothing to do with her family this is not my daughter no one in bartow county ga wount help me I scary for my daughter life
Thanks you all for sharing.
The comfort in this shared pain is knowing I am not alone.
i thank you all.
Thank you so much kellie holly and C. Morgan, as things you've said, specifically relate to my situation and have helped me. Thank you to everyone else also, and I wish you all the very best. I feel lonely, but I am nearly out of the house I'm living in, and I know once this happens, things will improve more. Strength and love to you all xxxxx
Sauce, you reminded me that I went through an intense period where I feared my children would die. I had nightmares (the kind you never forget) about their graphic, horrendous deaths. The memories of the dreams caused as much distress as the dreams themselves. Plus, with those dreams in my head, I'd find myself thinking about them dying during my waking hours too. Daydreaming, I suppose.
Anyway, I don't know where the idea came from, but this worked for me: As soon as the thought of death came, I stopped it and mentally "rewinded" the thought to the first safe point. THEN, I forwarded the thought to a SAFE conclusion (instead of the death).
For example, if I "saw" my son falling off of a cliff, I would rewind the vision to a point where he was safe. Then, I could put myself in the picture beside him, see myself picking him up and walking calmly to safety.
Doing that really helped me.
When I think back to that time period, I remember "heavy" abuse taking place. He was always angry, always bordering on physically assault. I was afraid for MY life, but because I couldn't see that I SHOULD be more afraid of him, my mind changed reality to warn me that my CHILDREN were in danger instead. That's what I think anyway.
Wow this made me feel a little (a little) more clear about certain things. Lately, I feel like I have pushed to the brink of insanity. Partly because I think I deserve the abuse because in a way I guess I was the initial 'abuser' (unknowingly) but now my parner holds that over my head a lot.
It's the kind of thing I can't take back, and I don't act in any other abusive ways at all. However, he has done all sorts - isolated me, threatened me physically, played intense mind games, ignored me for weeks on end, physically assaulted me a few times, calls me names (ugly, sl*t, stupid dog...and more that I shouldn't repeat), I have no friends left, I don't talk to anyone at work, I don't look up in the street for fear of being accused of flirting/ looking at men, I have been threatened with gang rape, him getting drunk (he is out of control crazy when drunk), told I'm lazy, fat (I have gained 30lbs...possibly more), no good in bed, he will go and find some other wh*re to bed, I have been kept up being accused for nights on end with no sleep and still having to work...the list goes on.
I feel I deserve this now though. I really think I do.
Anyway, lately I have had this overwhelming feeling of sadness. Like I just want to end it all because my future is so dim, and I can't see myself leaving him because I am worried about my families safety, and his safety. However, I feel trapped because I know I can't kill myself because I would hurt my mum and dad too much. I also feel like I have nothing to live for anymore, but at the same time I am stuck.
I know I am missing out on life though...I am constantly walking on eggshells and I don't do anything anymore. I am so worried about my family dying for some reason though. I feel like everything in the future is bleak and my parents might die, and I am missing out on them!
To read more posts:
I really could use some advice... I'm Stuck...
Well… Here I am again. I have written in other posts that my current relationship is the best one I have been in yet and that he “loves” me but I don’t trust him. He is always telling me that our relationship would be perfect if I didn’t analyze his every move. I of course do that because my whole world is made up of red flags….
The last couple of days before the “boo boo” I had been putting a ridiculous amount of effort into trying to stay happy, not freak out when he ran off to get on the phone or said something I didn’t like or understand. I was just trying to be a happy, good girl. I was seeing if our relationship would actually be better if I did what he said was missing, or effing it up to begin with. It was about 3 days into my experiment, and he and I had been in the house all day. I had done a couple of his assignments for class to help him get caught up, so he could study for his tests he needed to take. Nothing major just responses to other people’s posts, then I would go back to work on my computer reading responses and visiting different groups here in my blog.
He had a bad attitude for the last 2 days of my “experiment” and I could tell something was getting to him. We went to leave to house to go to the grocery store and I noticed his attitude was way worse. One of my pet cats was running up the driveway. She is a huge ball of fluff and he said something about her being fat, I laughed at it and was jokingly telling him not to talk crap about my lil fluff dragon of a cat. Somehow that escalated to him calling me a fat head. I tried to blow it off… we went and got in the car. Before we could even leave the street he asked me what was wrong I told him and it further escalated to him screaming in my face and acting like he was going to choke me because I wouldn’t shut up mid-sentence. I wanted to get out the fact that the last time he had said that we were in a big fight and he was saying it out of anger, so even though “he meant it in a joking way” it wasn’t funny but it hurt. So he exploded and got out of the car, I turned the car around and went to the house…
I followed him up the stairs and kept talking to him he kept yelling and telling me to leave him alone. I said, “No, I'm not gonna just let this ride out because how I fell is important too,” I was trying to explain that I wasn’t doing anything to deserve him being such a butthead to me. He got up and left the living room and went to the bedroom. He was still talking over me. I just wanted to get my point across that it wasn’t my fault and that I had really been putting effort into being better, not “bugging” him or getting into his business, or being depressed all of the time. He kept yelling, “no,no,no your wrong!” and “get the fuck away from me…,” But I kept trying to get my point across. He pushed me a few times finally into the wall. I wouldn’t stop talking so he grabbed me and wrapped his arms around my neck and tried to strangle me. My back was facing him at this point and he had me in almost a head lock. I told him to let go, and to stop. My eyes were full of tears I couldn’t breathe, I was scared. I thought, “hit him back, grab his balls! Anything you can’t breathe idiot!!” But then I thought what if I hurt him? I didn’t want to hurt him. He let go… I stood there for a minute and then kept talking… I wanted him to know that I wasn’t going to stop. He took a large framed picture off of the all in the hallway and said, “you don’t want to shut up bitch I am gonna break this over your head and I bet you do then…” something to that effect I can’t remember verbatim. I cringed and kept going. I looked him straight in the eyes got maybe a inch from his face and screamed, spit flying and all… “IAM NOT GOING TO STOP TALKING!!THE TRUTH IS A BITCH ISN’T IT!! I DIDN’T DO ANYTHING TO DESERVE THIS SHIT!!! I HATE YOU FOR THIS! WHY WOULD YOU DO THIS TO ME!!, “ I said. i took a couple of seconds to gather myself and then took my keys and the rented movies that we had and started to leave. He followed me out of the house. I kept walking. He said, “Mary, where are you going?” I said, “Don’t worry I'm not gonna tell anyone! fuck you, just leave me alone,” and I left.
The whole way to the Movie Rental store I was crying like a baby. I had called my best friend a couple of time, but there was no answer, so I left a message. After I dropped off the movies I drove to the boat dock that is in my neighborhood and I sat there for a while. I cried and I prayed. My throat was swollen, my chest hurt and I just wanted to talk to someone and get this out. He had text me a couple of times asking where I was going and told me that I had forgotten something. I text him back saying I didn’t and that I was hurt. I told him that everything I basically told you guys. That he had almost choked me out in the hallway, that I wanted to get away from him but couldn’t hurt him, that he doesn’t love me… that the bible says love is slow to anger and that he doesn’t love me and then asked him how he could do these things to me when he knows what I had been through in my past. I told him I hated him for knowing my past and still getting with me knowing he couldn’t control his anger. I told him he should have moved to the next girl in line. Then I asked for a divorce… lol (we aren’t married that’s what the lol is for…) As usual he said that he wasn’t listening, “I'm not even gonna read this, I should be packing, I won’t be bothering you anymore, you win” I said ok, as usual… I told him to get gone…and that he never listens to me.
As usual we are still together. Different relationship, best one yet… but still abusive. I guess my love for him is what overlooks all the dumb shit. Maybe it is that I am afraid of being alone… things go waaay deeper than this shallow story I'm telling you now. This happened Sunday, today is Tuesday. I spent all day yesterday trying to sleep because Sunday night I didn’t get any rest and to be honest I didn’t rest all day Monday either. Last night I took two muscle relaxers and had lied on a hot pad and finally fell asleep. Sooooo… here I am again…
I remember trying to get my ex to "hear" me, too. I notice your boyfriend's words don't "say" anything. He tells you that you're wrong, but he is saying it to talk over your valid points. This is a clue that he will not listen to you no matter what you say. He acts like a 10-year-old who puts his fingers in his ears and sings so he can't hear what you say. My ex didn't hear me and your boyfriend won't either. Although it probably felt kind of good to follow him around try to talk over him (stand up for yourself), you did a very dangerous thing. Anger can embolden a person and make them less aware of the threat in their environment. Your anger made it difficult for you to stay safe. You were so angry that when he yelled for you to leave him alone, you did not do so.
Your reaction to his abuse illustrates the cycle of violence perfectly. He lashed out verbally. You lashed out verbally. He didn't like what you said and told you to leave him alone. You didn't leave him alone because you wanted to be heard. He lashed out physically. You "apologize" through your promise to not tell anyone. He calms down. You tell him you don't want to be with him, he says okay but ignores you, and you accept being ignored. Isn't that how your experiment started? Didn't you want to be "a happy, good girl" so he would stop ignoring the real you (by abusing it out of you) and love you again?
Trying to be "a happy, good girl" when you are not is a manipulative action. Yes, I know you did it in response to past abuse, but anytime you pretend to be someone you are not in order to elicit a certain reaction, then you are manipulating him. You aren't alone - I did it too. However, it NEVER works the way you want it to work. You wanted to make him happy, so your intentions are "good" - but manipulating is bad for everyone. In your case, after play-acting happiness, all of your pent-in anger erupted and clouded your mind. He could have killed you, and you know it. He wants you to know it. You can try to minimize the assault by calling it a "boo boo" but it is far from a mistake. Physical assault is a direct warning that the abuser will do whatever it takes to get what he wants from you. It is serious, and I wish you would acknowledge it as such.