Why do I do that?

Old 05-09-2011, 06:49 PM
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Why do I do that?

Here's a question for any of you have may have experienced this. I as many of you know am married to an extrememly verbally abusive, angry AH. I spoke to my counselor about this...but still wonder...what is it that makes this SO hard. I mean rationally speaking he is awful to me...awful, and yet it's like I always give him a second chance...a time to make up for himself. Is this part of his abuse....has he really made me feel like I can't do it without him (even though consiously I don't feel that). I divorced my first husband because he cheated on me - I had 4 children and no college degree. I did that - went to college and supported them. I now have a good job, and yes t6 kids, but if I did it before what am I SO AFRAID OF!! I just wondered if any of you have some insight that might help me over this hump!
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Old 05-09-2011, 06:53 PM
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Yes, it is part of the abuse. They beat us down, not only physically, but mentally, too. After so many years of being told how worthless and unattractive and crazy we are, we actually start to believe it. While many people consider physical abuse to be the worst, emotional abuse can honestly be just as bad, and harder to get over. We have to learn an entirely new way of thinking.

I'm glad you are seeing a counselor for this. Let them help you realize that you can do anything you set your mind to. You have been doing it alone anyway, even when he was there, so now you'll just be doing the same thing without him and his abuse standing over you. Hang in there. You and your kids are going to be fine.
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Old 05-09-2011, 07:55 PM
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I was verbally abused (never physically) for over 20yrs without even recognising it as 'abuse'. My AH and I met at 15yrs old and it started from around the time we started living together and married at 21yrs. I just used to tell myself that it was the drink talking as it only really happened when he had been drinking or that we were particulary bad at communicating, no matter how hard I tried to make that better.

I was told I didnt wash enough, I was boring, I was frigid, I had no friends, no interests, I didnt clean the house enough, didnt do the washing right, didnt load the dishwasher right, watched too much TV, I was lazy, had too much time off work, spent too long on the computer, didnt go to bed early enough - the list goes on. He once sang 'what have you done today to make you feel proud' (by the M People) with a tone. I cant hear that song today without reliving that moment. I have spent the last 22yrs trying to 'improve' myself but it never seems to be enough. That stuff has got to chip away at your self esteem and confidence right?

When I first went to see a psycotherapist last year, he would tell me all the time to leave my AH, but I couldnt. I kept telling my therapist about the good times, that made it hard to leave. He would explain abuse cycles, how abuse would build up, the abuse would happen and then the honeymoon period would commence - repeat over again. I understood this phenonemon but still couldnt bring myself to leave. I stopped going to see that therapist because I felt he wanted me to leave and I couldnt and he wasnt offering me any alternative ways of dealing with, and staying with an active alcoholic.

When I was finding it almost impossible to stay healthy and detach from my AH and living in ambivilence, I found and made an appointment with a therpist who had alcoholism experience and she has made a huge difference to my life. I explained to her from the start that I didnt appreciate being told to leave by the previous therapist and so she stayed completly away from that subject matter.

We had many conversations and lots of information filtered through, but I took it at my own pace. She did however explain that my AH verbal abuse is part of his own personal moral behaviour and alcohol only increases that but does not cause it.

She told me the story of men she visited in prison who would blame their crimes on being drunk and would tell me that many people drink but never rob a bank etc. The same with abuse, many drinkers of alcohol and alcoholics too never abuse their partners because of their deep core beliefs. They know its wrong to verbally abuse, so they dont, even under the influence.

This helped me to put a lot of what I have been going through into perspective and now I am getting a stronger idea of myself, the sort of person I am, who I want to be and the sort of person (with morals and values) that I deserve. I am a well educated woman with a first class honors degree that I gained whilst bringing up two young children, I am a member of an acapella singing group and enjoy the social life that brings.

Its taken a year of therapy (Al-anon and SR) to get to this point of feeling empowered and looking forward to a new chapter in my life, supporting myself and being on my own.

I have told my AH of 22yrs that he has chosen to continue to drink and thats his choice but I have a choice too and that choice doesnt involve living with an alcoholic and I am leaving. We are still cohabiting but in separate bedrooms whilst I plan my new life and look for somewhere else to live. He is still drinking.
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Old 05-09-2011, 08:18 PM
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I have an in-law that is verbally abusive. This is someone I don't see very often and when I do is not always abusive. His bad behavior is usually out of the blue for no apparant reason and quite unpredictible.

I either confront it right away-using a few direct words, or promptly remove myself silently from the room once it starts. It makes it much more difficult for the abuser to continue and often stops him in his tracks...leaving him speechless. (he would not dare follow after me) I don't need words to let that person know I'm not going to be on the receiving end of abuse.

These links contain some helpful information for you:

Verbal Abuse-Is it happening to you?

Last edited by cmc; 05-09-2011 at 08:28 PM. Reason: links added
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Old 05-09-2011, 08:26 PM
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I think that verbal/emotional abuse is more insidious that physical abuse, because it's so damaging, so hard to identify, and it's legal is far too many places (my state included). It's so hard to identify when you're suffering it, and so hard to prove to anyone. I, too, spent so much time telling myself that it wasn't XABF talking, it was the alcohol... But guess what? It was XABF.
The "Why Does He Do That?" book is what finally opened my eyes - I did not believe I was abused until I started reading that book, and then it may as well have been written about my life. It may as well have said, "Here is what XABF did to StarCat, and that's called abuse!" Because it was so familiar.

Abuse chips away at the strong person we once were, until we are afraid to make decisions that would have been no-brainers back before the abuse began. We react the way we are conditioned to act, and our thought processes tend to reflect more upon the abuser than they do upon ourselves.

In my case, the way I managed to make a clean break was because XABF was in rehab (hence physically distant), kept calling me on the phone every single day about ten times a day (trying to keep his control), and I was reading a copy of "Why Does He Do That?" and identifying so many things (including his behavior in rehab to keep me tied in with his agenda). If the planets hadn't aligned just right, if it hadn't been Christmas break where I'd have time away from work to think, if he had just listened in rehab and backed off with the phone calls, I'd be right back into that drama sure as I'm sitting here.
I thank God with everything I've got that everything lined up and I finally had my equivalent of a giant, flashing, neon arrow. "StarCat, go THIS way! Don't go back! Go forward!" And it still took years of abuse and alcoholism for me to see that sign.

I used to wonder why I didn't leave sooner... Until I realized that I wasn't ready yet. I would have had regrets then, because I wouldn't have felt that I did everything, I would have felt compelled to keep trying to make it work. But this time, I used up all my options, I did all I knew how, and it wasn't enough to help him...

...But it was enough for me to finally forgive myself and allow myself to let go.
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Old 05-09-2011, 09:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Eight Ball View Post
She did however explain that my AH verbal abuse is part of his own personal moral behaviour and alcohol only increases that but does not cause it.
THIS! This is what I am pondering this week. How much of the behaviors are actually caused by alcohol versus being exacerbated by it.

Is my RAH really a clueless idiot who is truly unable to have any kind of intimate relationship? Or was the alcohol abuse a convenient avoidance tactic?

Letting go is hard - but there does come a point when there are no more options left. I feel as if I am reaching that point myself. No more options. Tried everything. I like to hope its my HP guiding me toward something greater than this marriage has been.
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Old 05-10-2011, 03:47 AM
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Originally Posted by Tuffgirl View Post
Is my RAH really a clueless idiot who is truly unable to have any kind of intimate relationship? Or was the alcohol abuse a convenient avoidance tactic?
The eye opener on this for me was seeing the "styles" of abuse being explained, and recognizing within those explanations the "drunk XABF" and the "sober XABF" styles. The sober versions were much more subtle, compared to his drunk ones, such that I didn't register them as abuse even when I started to recognize his drunken behavior as such.

But even when sober, he always had to have his own way, and he had a lot of tricks for getting it.
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Old 05-10-2011, 07:02 AM
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Thank you be honest his verbal abuse is awful whether he is drinking or not, and you never quite know when he will begin. Any - ANY - type of conflict, disagreement, or simple disappointment will send him off the handle...and of course I was certainly the cause of matter what it was. I could walk away and yes...he would follow me...he expects me to react a certain way, and I do my best not to. When I don't react the way he expects it gets far worse. I am a very strong person, but while I still have confidence in myself, I think the part of confidence that I lack is that I can make it on my own. He repeatly has told me how I can't do that along with things about my job etc. I think that this is why I am so stuck, at least in part. My counselor suggest responded to him in a way however that does get him to stop...he really doesn't know what to do, but it really doesn't counter act the damage caused during his outrage. I once believe if a man ever called me names, or physically hurt me in any a snap I would leave....unfortunately it sounds easy...but not so much. We are and have been seperated for a LONG LONG time....really over a year, but it is that final filing for divorce that I seem to be struggling with, probablly because I am so scared he pull all his financial support etc, and who knows what else......Thanks for your thoughts, I am SO trying to take the next step!
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Old 05-10-2011, 07:07 AM
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Monica, he will have to pay child support. That is the law. Do you make enough money to support you and the kids on your salary? Is there any kind of side work you could do to make a little house sitting or dog sitting or something like that? I work with a woman who house sits for several people and she makes a nice amount of money on the side. There are ways you can make it financially, even if you have to get government assistance. That's what it is there for. Please don't allow money to be the reason you continue to stay in such a horrible marriage. Take care.
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Old 05-10-2011, 07:23 AM
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I have a good job, but I have 6 kids, and I can support us - but with not much left. I know I can cut in certain places, my kids just nickel and dime me to death!! I tutor students for extra money and am doing that this summer, as well as teaching classes at a hospital as well, and maybe waitressing (I am a school teacher so I have the summer off). I also do direct sales for Thirty-One, so I am ALWAYS on the look out for ways to make more money. I feel very responsible, overly responsible, for my children so they don't have to feel the pinch so much...that is my issue!
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Old 05-10-2011, 07:38 AM
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Let me just add my 25 cents and tell you that it was amazing for me to see how far my money stretched when I didn't have the unpredictability of an A to contend with. When we split, he was making 2/3 of the money, I 1/3. I could never get the money to stretch enough back then -- and now I'm fairly comfortably supporting me and three kids on the same income. I took a second job to cover some "luxuries" (like sports and summer camp), but the money goes a whole lot farther when you have control over it.

Why is it hard to leave? Read this thread:

And big hugs to you. It's a hard place to be, and it gets easier when you leave.
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Old 05-10-2011, 08:47 AM
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When we are told over and over that 'We Can't', we internalize that and believe it. It becomes woven into the fabric of who we see as ourselves.

Your husband continues to tell you that "You Can't survive financially without him" yet you have a good job which allows you to support your 6 children, albeit without much left over. You are also tutoring and planning to teach classes at a hospital during the summer and maybe waitressing. It sounds to me that you are not only very capable of supporting your family on your own, but extremely responsible and industrious. This is what you should be weaving into the fabric of your belief system, not what your husband chooses to tell you out of his insecurity. In addition, your husband is bound legally to provide child support whether he likes the idea or not.

You posted in an earlier thread that you had given him until May 18 to get into counseling or you WERE going to file for divorce.....It's May 10. What has happened on that front? if I may say....Your husband going to counseling is not going to change the dynamic of your relationship. He is who he is and it doesn't seem to me, based on what I have read during the last 2 years, that he plans on changing, whether he physically puts himself into counseling or doesn't. I take it that he hasn't started any form of counseling? (for what that would really matter)

Make the leap Monica and do what is right for you and your children and begin your new life. Life is very short.
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Old 05-10-2011, 11:52 AM
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I have felt and sometimes still feel the way you do.

Here's what I've concluded. Abuse in any form with or without alcohol will tear a person down. I liken it to Pavlovian conditioning.

Sit dog. Good dog. Here's a piece of my steak. Tail wags.
Sit dog. Good dog. Here's some gristle from my steak. Tail wags.
Sit dog. Good dog. Lick the plate clean. Tail wags.
Sit dog. Good dog. Tail wags.
Sit dog. Tail wags.
I said sit dog. Tail kinda wags but still wags.
Get the hell out of the way damn it. Tail tucks between legs.
Look at dog. Tail wags.
Go to work. Dog sits by the window and waits for your return. Wags his tail when he sees your car. You're not even in the house and he's happy with that. No steak, no gristle, no verbal interactions and guess what, the dog will be happy and will become happy with less and less.

Please understand that I'm not calling you or us dogs. I'm simply a realist and I fully believe that things in life condition people to be who they are and what they'll accept. I believe in my situation that exposure to alcoholism and generally abusive people will condition me/us to accept less in life. So the primary driver, at least for me, is to recondition myself to be happy.
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Old 05-10-2011, 10:36 PM
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Fear of the unknown can be paralyzing because we think of the horrible "what ifs." Well, what if you left and... OMG, you were happy? Egads, you had peace? Really, you supported the kids just fine?

He says "you can't," but what he really means is "I can't."
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Old 05-10-2011, 11:48 PM
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A jug fills drop by drop
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Old 05-10-2011, 11:50 PM
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My mom's therapist said in a group therapy that our biggest fear is not failure but SUCCESS! I know I am not afraid of sadness or suffering but joy? freedom? happiness? fuilfillment? ME? wow.. that IS scary!

So its more like feeling the fear. And taking the next step anyway.
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Old 05-11-2011, 05:32 AM
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Thank you for all your posts.
And yes, Gerryp May 18th I will be filing...he has not seen a couselor...I guess as that gets closer I am feeling a bit uneasy. I actually have taken the entire day off to do what I need to do.
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Old 05-11-2011, 06:13 AM
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I know it's difficult Monica...

but nothing has changed in the last two years and you deserve happiness. There is a line from a movie, don't remember which..."The dream is the last to die". It can be very true can't it? But, hoping, wishing and praying isn't a strategy. You and your children have a a life to live.

Wishing you the best on the 18th.
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