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Old 16.01.2020, 17:13
RedSoloCup RedSoloCup is offline
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Re: At the end of my rope.. husband, two dogs..

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I'm sorry to hear of this abuse. It messes with one's thinking, but mainly about one's worth and place in life. Your long post, on the other hand, OP, makes complete sense and you set out those awfully destructive mechanisms of abuse with clarity. Thank you.

There really should be a class on this for adolescents that breaks down the different types of abuse and really drives home the point that they are ALL forms of violence and destruction. I have spent a lot of time questioning myself, telling myself it is not that bad, grumbling to myself about why I can't just toughen up, thinking to myself "well, he loves me and he is just joking.. which is ok.. even though.. I said a million times.. I don't like that joke." I felt like my ability to set boundaries and demand a certain standard of treatment that was both respectful and sensitive to who I am as a person was taken away from me. It just slipped away piece by piece and I only noticed it while I was with my neighbours, who swiftly talked some sense into me.

I recommend the work of Patricia Evans, the author of "The Verbally Abusive Relationship: How to Recognise and Avoid It".

Evans sets out a model of their being two "realities", as it were. Most people live in Reality One, in which they are basically going about their own matters, but are glad to lend a hand when they can, and are free to ask for some help when they need it. Those in Reality Two, however, seem to want or need to exercise power over others.

Reality Two is very interesting. It points precisely to my husband and his problem. He makes a hierarchy out of right and wrong. If I am wrong, or make a mistake, I am cool to hear about it. It is not the greatest thing to hear, but I am human. I do not think of myself as less than the person correcting me. No one is perfect, eventually I will have to correct someone else too.. but we are all equals. He is hypersensitive, quick to anger, and insecure. He makes an ordinary situation just ridiculous. I say "please don't talk to me like that, it hurts my feelings" and he will reply "well it hurts me that you would be hurt by that! What gives you the right to tell me how to talk?!" And when you hear it.. it somehow sounds logical. I started thinking, well.. "do I have the right to tell someone how to talk?!" Crazy how that works.

They feel that need to such an extent that they view each interaction hungrily as a potential chance to show themselves as bigger/stonger/smarter, and since by the laws of nature they cannot always be that, they feel compelled to put other people down, so as to keep their superior power balance. The easiest way to succeed in this it to have one target person, often the partner.

Yes, he knows he can get away with doing it to me. He also knows everything about me, so he can easily paint a horrible picture of me. Just to use humour so that I don't feel bad I think of all of the ridiculous things he has said to me as songs that could be featured on an album.

Favourite Tracks:

"You Don't Really Love Me, You Just Wanted My Money (Age Gap Remix)."

"Well If You Didn't Make Me Mad, I Wouldn't Call You Names."

"THEN GO LIVE ON THE STREET (Langstrasse Edit)."

"When You Pay The Bills, (Maybe) Then I'll Respect You."

"I Will Take Away Your Dogs."


And last, but not least, the two top tracks

"Lach mir doch am Arsch."


"Vor Mir Aus (I Don't Care)!"

Evans has a list of ways in which Reality Two people abuse. This includes such mechanisms as direct verbal insults, as claiming that they or the abused person had said/done the opposite of what was the case (gaslighting), insinuating that the victim had had evil intent when she had none, denying her reality, directly contradicting what she said as if her position held no validity, dismissing her concerns as irrelevant, accusing her of starting to pick a fight when she tried to gain clarity, twisting an arrangement, saying that her person has no value or that her views have no significance, and saying that her statements have no meaning, or that she is over-sensitive, that his nasty words had been only a joke and that she has no sense of humour.

Evans' premise is that once one learns to identify these mechanisms, one can learn how not to get involved in the path onto which they try to force one. In that way, it gradually becomes possible to extract oneself from the emotional range of an abuser, and to learn how not to get involved with another, be it as a partner, or elsewhere.

I have been doing so much reading about my circumstance and just knowing there are people who study this and offer context for what the hell is going on has been SO validating. I mean, when you are in it is the most confusing thing. I am definitely living in Reality One, and I do not feel the need to have a hierarchy in any of my interactions with my husband or other people. All of the times I spent explaining and trying to tell him no I didn't do x or y on purpose, it was an accident.. or trying to explain WHY something hurt me.. when it should be as clear as day why calling someone a bad name is hurtful.

The worse is when he would say, well we are husband and wife we should be able to say everything to each other.. and I had nothing to reply with because well, you should have that level of intimacy.. but I lost my ability to say "Hey, even though we share everything, this is not carte blanche to just tear me apart.. especially when I am not asking for it.."

Evans says that although most of the verbal abusers she has worked with are male, she has also known female verbal abusers, and that in any case, happily, most men, like most women, live in Reality One, in which they have no particular wish to hurt or dominate anyone.
I have to remember that most people are living in Reality One. It is hard to wrap my mind around what someone gains by making another person feel small. It is easy to hurt someone, it is no accomplishment. The sad thing is, my husband and I shared how we had both been the victims of childhood bullying and I thought he could understand me there. He knew I felt strongly about name calling and also picking on people for superficial things like weight or teeth or well.. anything.. I always vowed never to do this. And I feel like he, in this situation, is being a bully.. doing to me what children did to him growing up. He will say, well I went to therapy so words no longer hurt me, so you need to stop letting them hurt you.. because you are choosing to be hurt when you don't have to be. To that statement, I have yet to come up with a response.. but I do know I didn't sign up for this!

Thank you for recommending Patricia Evans. I also want to add in the book, Why Does He Do That?: Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men
by Lundy Bancroft. I have this on my Kindle, and I try to read this when I cannot make sense of everything happening to me.

It ultimately takes two to tango, but I have realised that abuse is more than a series of actions. It is an attitude and mindset, and this is what has to change. And if this doesn't change, there is no hope. And my problem is the fact that my husband does not acknowledge his behavior as abusive. He does not accept responsibility and feels entitled to use these tactics against me when I do not meet his expectations or otherwise annoy him in some way.

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