emotional abuse

Old 03-16-2014, 02:08 AM
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emotional abuse

Emotional abuse. I have a very hard time writing that and not deleting the term.

Wow. Sitting here in tears. No wonder it's taken (taking) me so long to heal. No wonder my health issues have been complicated by and intertwined with emotional issues. I started looking up verbal abuse info for a relative and came across emotional abuse and my life instead. My husband doesn't try to isolate me or keep me away from others - his alcohol abuse effectively did that though. The rest fits us all too well. Now I understand how I related so well to the people at family week in rehab in some ways, but didn't in surprising other ways... I realized I don't even know what it's like to have a real conversation with my husband during a meal, either at home or at a restaurant. You know, the give and take interest in each other. It's a foreign concept. At first I thought it was the drinking, then I thought it was PAWS. Maybe some of it's related to that, but it goes far beyond that. He talks to others in a different tone of voice than he often does to me when we're alone. He trains horses and I've thought to myself quite often that he'd never treat a horse the way he treats me, emotionally/psychologically speaking. It's not the big things, it's the little things. NO ONE would look at us and ever think I was emotionally abused or that he'd ever do that. He tells me I'm beautiful, he says I'm smart. In words, he puts himself down more than he'd ever put me down. He would never call me fat or ugly or stupid, but I know how I've felt, I know all the tricks and manipulations he uses that are listed here. Some have been talked about in these forums as types of abuse - that first started making me aware of some of the tactics as being abusive. A part of me still wants to say it's not abuse, that he doesn't mean to do these things, that... a hundred different excuses to that want to shout out 'but we really love each other!' Is this what love should feel like? No. It isn't. I do love him. 27 years together, and I know he loves me. We've had a lot of good together and I know there was real love in the past. And yet, this relationship we have today is not filled with love.

What about all the things we've done right together, as parents?

That doesn't negate the truth. My husband is very good at using emotional abuse to keep me at a distance. His "poor me" attitude deflects my thoughts of how he treats me because so much is going on with him. He's the martyr. I'm the martyr. Both of us are ill.

Some of it started a long time ago, in small ways. It increased over the years as his drinking did. Now it's worse because I'm to blame (his view) for him going to rehab, in spite of him knowing he needed help and asked for help. It's been leveling out as he has more time sober, but throughout each week it's still too often there. I want to minimize it and excuse it. I want it not to be true. I see where he's trying. I want to make a really big deal over those little steps.

I'm relieved because I'm not crazy.

I'm relieved because healing can happen when you figure out what's wrong.

I feel sick and lost, but I know it's okay to take baby steps. It's okay for me not to know the answers right now. I still feel sick and lost. Why do I want the blinders back on?

I'm tired of all this. I don't want one more thing to face, to have to deal with. I will. I can. I really didn't want to. I'm losing sleep. I'm gaining peace. I may sound crazy with all the back and forth thoughts. I'm not. That's 27 years of marriage being shook up and dealt with internally in a couple hours.

I am a codependent. I have been emotionally abused. I am not a victim. I am not going to live like this. I am healing.

I'm researching healing from emotional abuse. Any tips, articles, support, etc. welcome. Be gentle with the advice, please. I'm not divorcing him. I am willing to separate from him for my own sanity, if need be. Researching is hard so far. Most of the examples are so bad I want to negate the emotional abuse I am starting to see in my own life.
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Old 03-16-2014, 04:04 AM
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Same old problems that finally have a light shone fully on them. Reading books and articles. I'll be okay. One day at a time.
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Old 03-16-2014, 06:50 AM
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My heart goes out to you. I can feel the pain in your words. 27 years is a lot of years to untangle. I was married for 11 but it took a long time to heal from the emotional neglect that I think is a form of abuse. It happens so subtly that it is hard to recognize and even harder to rebound and fully heal from. You will get there with hard work and time and being honest and gentle with yourself at the same time. This community will provide a lot of support as so many here have been where you are at right now. Hugs to you.
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Old 03-16-2014, 07:21 AM
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So I wondered why I was scoring high on ACoA quiz. My parents aren't A's, neither parent fit criteria of any personality disorder, but there is a definite recurring pattern of relationship issues I internalized which set me up to seek a wounded mate. Thanks for this revelation of emotional abuse Keepingthefaith! This will really help my Step 4 journaling!

The sad thing is I do some of this to my qualifier bc passive aggressive teasing/demeaning was a useful outlet for my resentment about his drinking. It made me sick to realize I did this last year. I remembered my own confusion when cutting remarks would fly out of my mouth towards him. I'd think, "where did this outburst come from? I am not mad at him!" I thought it was a hormonal imbalance! Sadly I realize I have been doing it a little bit again bc of his emotional and intimacy walls are driving me back to this semi-acceptable release of sarcasm. It makes me nauseous to see how we just instinctively know how to trigger each other.

There is a prayer about parenting I pray at church as I know my DS is hypersensitive too so I've been trying to dial back my wry humor and not using it to point out issues with DS as although I might think I am being hilarious he sees it accurately as masked displeasure.

Much to ponder here! Best of luck with your flashlight Keepingthefaith!
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Old 03-16-2014, 07:23 AM
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Originally Posted by keepingthefaith View Post
Emotional abuse. I have a very hard time writing that and not deleting the term.

Both of us are ill.

I'm relieved because I'm not crazy.

Why do I want the blinders back on?

I am not a victim. I am not going to live like this. I am healing.

I'm not divorcing him. I am willing to separate from him for my own sanity, if need be.
You are doing really well accepting that things are not what you thought they were/hope they were and recognizing that it is not healthy to live in that environment.

Maybe you think wearing those blinders and keeping the status quo is easier than changing? Change is hard. Change is scary. Change takes us out of own familiar comfort zone (even a comfort zone that can be unhealthy for us). Change is unknown.

You are not a victim anymore because you know what's up now. It is your choice to allow it to continue or change it. Challenging or Changing your situation IS in your best interest and those of your kids still a home.

Since you are opening your eyes to what is happening, maybe you open your options up? You don't have to seek a divorce ever, but maybe don't close the door either.

You deserve love, peace and happiness.
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Old 03-16-2014, 08:44 AM
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keepingthefaith---you have asked for tips and support---the very best "tip" that I can give you is to get some face-to-face support from those who understand abuse (in all of its forms). There are several ways to get this kind of help. 1). Alanon is always an option--you have been on SR for 10yrs.--so I know you have some familiarity with alanon. 2) private therapist ****I would say that this is KEY, right now. It should be someone who has experience with abuse and has worked in this field! 3) Your local domestic violence center has resources at their fingertips---they can recommend therapists, and, they also sponsor counseling and therapy groups. You can talk to them anomously on the phone--with no obligation. 3) Church 4)Local mental health centers often sponsor support groups and can direct you to a proper therapist.

Second important "tip", as I see it, is to not isolate yourself. You have mentioned this and I also see, from your past posts, that you have struggled with depression at times, also. Isolation creates problems of it's own---please begin your "baby steps" to avoid such isolation.

My third comment is for you to consider this: You have the power to change your life--it is there within you. You have always had it--but, maybe, just unaware of it. You are in charge of your life. In AA--they say that change is an "inside job"--the same is true for you...LOL. It is true. When you begin to take action (another word of action is "baby steps"), your life will begin to change. You will feel different and the world will look different. Action is just a series of tiny baby steps. Every big thing is just a l ot of little things connected together.

A fourth suggestion that I would give you---another "tip"---is to ask yourself what you are afraid of. This is for you to think about, yourself--you don't have to post about it (unless you want to). This might sound simple...LOL....but, it isn't always easy to admit these things--even to ourselves. When you really know what you are afraid of--this gives you a map out of the forest.

I hope this is of some help for you.

Was I gentle enough? LOL.

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Old 03-16-2014, 09:11 AM
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I agree with Dandylion's suggestions.
Individual therapy has been a lifesaver for me, in learning that (and how) I took over AXH's ways if thinking. Sitting out what was his thinking and what was mine was harder than the actual divorce, and I still occasionally hear myself think in his voice.

Best of luck to you.
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Old 03-16-2014, 11:16 AM
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Things have been changing and I have been healing. That's a huge part of why I can see this now. I've been continually taking a lot of baby steps I haven't posted about. Alanon, my naturopathic doctor and SR have been invaluable. Thanks for the free therapy suggestions. Also empowering myself to figure out other therapy options. Hugs to you all.
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Old 03-17-2014, 12:01 AM
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lillamy, I love you new avatar! Just had to tell you that. Also keepingthefaith, keep taking those baby steps and keep posting and reading here. That is what helped me and even when I take a step backwards, I come here and post and read and it helps put me back on track. Hugs to you
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Old 03-17-2014, 02:36 AM
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"I'm Codependent" says a lot. The alcoholic seeks out (subconscious) the codependent for relationship the same way a bug is drawn to a light and vice-versa. They feed off each other and in a most unhealthy way fill each others "needs".

One problem is that alcoholism is progressive. The chronic long term ingestion of booze affects the brain chemistry of the A as well as causes physical deterioration to the body. Anyone who has lived with an A has suffered emotional & verbal abuse. You are not alone.

Another problem is that we develop habits as we go. The habit of snippy remarks or a sarcastic attitude takes a back seat to the emphasis everyone places on "detox" for the substance abuser. Even the spouse (who's constant subjection to addiction) is affected and their thinking also becomes distorted. The Spouse not seeing the "progression" ( or better term the degeneration) of the alcoholic because it is slow and builds like dripping water believes if the substance is removed..all will be well.

Patterns have been established on BOTH sides. The good news is they can be broken and new habits established. The first thing for the enabler (co-dependent) is to Detach and realize that they did not Cause, can not Control nor Cure the addictions of another. When you realize this the "people pleasing" can stop and boundaries can be set.

Boundaries are a reflection of our self-respect and lack of them invites disrespect. Slowly the co-dependent must learn to keep the focus on them (and not pleasing the spouse, facing the fear of abandonment {a co-dependent's worst fear is the loss of the matter how toxic} will diminish as confidence and self-esteem increases.

One way to do this is to find your voice. Say what you mean, mean what you say and try not to say it mean. Most importantly IF you do not mean it, do not say it. Boundaries are not rules for the A to go by, but actions we will take in a certain situation should our boundaries be crossed. Will the A test your boundaries? COUNT ON IT. But if we have detached we do not have to take this personally (QTIP). We learn to act rather than re-act. There need not be a grand announcement regarding boundaries but short statements that are to the point.


"We can continue this conversation, when you are willing to discuss it without sarcasm"

"Sarcasm is not a joke, and this conversation ends until you are ready to continue without using it"

"I will not respond or honor a request made if you ____(curse, yell, what have you) at me." "I must insist for this conversation to continue, that you use your indoor voice"

"If you are late and do extend me the courtesy of a phone call, I will not wait for you and continue with my plans"

Give thought to Whatever unacceptable behavior you wish to address, and allow time for progress before throwing down the gauntlet Boundaries can prove to be inconvenient at first. You will have to plan in advance (you know when situations will likely occur) to remove yourself (leave the room--I took so many showers the first month) or keep busy (I also painted my nails a lot and kept a lot of salad handy so I could eat conveniently) with a list of short tasks that will divert you from "caving in" or being "hovered" (manipulated and sucked in) to changing or accepting "blame". Remember when you remove the "m e" from blame all you get is Bla Bla Bla.

I am so glad that you are willing to move from survival (victim) to recovery.

PS That is the Title to a great Al-Anon book that is well worth the read.
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