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Why do they push buttons and try to start fights?

Old 04-17-2016, 08:54 PM
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Why do they push buttons and try to start fights?

My ABF, or apparently now my XABF, seems to go out of his way to bait me into a fight. He says the meanest, nastiest, most ridiculously obnoxious, insensitive, uncaring, disrespectful things imaginable. He calls me names and invalidates everything I think and feel. He treated me like....an insect for 12 years. And if I am stupid enough to get sucked into this and respond he ramps it up and gets meaner and meaner. And then he turns it around and says I am addicted to getting my drama fix! He seems to take most of the things he does to me and declare that I am doing them to him! So that is projection right? Does he actually believe it's true? Or does he just do it to mess with my head? I swear he has convinced himself that I'm a selfish psycho bitch who does nothing but mistreat him. He's so convincing that he gets me wondering if I AM!
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Old 04-17-2016, 10:59 PM
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Both when I was drinking, and in early sobriety (Pre. 12-step and recovery work) I very much felt the victim, and that NOTHING was my fault, and that if just this would happen, or so and so would not do this, or such and such could just be like that, or I had a different job, or the Earth was a different shape, or it was warmer or cooler, etc etc etc., THEN I would be okay.

The 12-step work really opened my eyes to My Part in my resentments, my fears, how I'd harmed people, and the reason that ALL of my relationships turned to s**t.
I was angry all the time and constantly asked myself "why is this happening to me?" And the craziness of it as I look back is that, yes, I believed all my own quacking and could not see that the problem was me. When I hear people in AA share, this is what the recovered people share about. The not-yet-recovred people tend to share the "why me?" stuff.

Obviously, I don't know your partner, but my guess is that he believes all his own quacking. He is, mentally, right at the centre of everyone's universe and is bewildered when people don't make everything they think, do and say all about him. This is the part of alcoholISM that I found hardest to deal with. The ISMs. Just putting down the drink left me with the ISMs but no relief from that insanity. I thank God every single day that I found AA, my sponsor and my program, and that with daily work I can keep on top of all that insanity. It still sneaks up, but while I have the fellowship and work my program there's always someone who will call me out on my craziness when is peeks out of my mouth. I reckon if I stopped the work it wouldn't take too long to find myself back in the vortex and acting out, so I'll carry on with it. That's why people still go to AA 40 years after they got sober. They don't want to turn into that bitter, nasty, quacking person again.
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Old 04-18-2016, 03:20 AM
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Originally Posted by Beccybean View Post
Both when I was drinking, and in early sobriety (Pre. 12-step and recovery work) I very much felt the victim, and that NOTHING was my fault.

He is, mentally, right at the centre of everyone's universe and is bewildered when people don't make everything they think, do and say all about him.
Becky bean - thank you for your post!
I feel like another part of my past life with an alcoholic/addict makes more sense.
I haven't been in touch with him for 9 weeks now and sometimes I have weak moments and want to contact him, But he is not in recovery.
He does know he has a problem and knows exactly what he should do. However, he prefers to be in denial.
He told me the city we used to live it was boring (one of the nicest and biggest cities in EU) , that's why he relapsed and that all people were also boring/not interesting (including me, of course) it makes me laugh after reading your post... .

My ex now drinks occasionally, has new good job, new girlfriend (after 2 months), lives in different contry and seems super happy. It makes me sad as he never apologized or returned my money as agreed. Based on ur post I believe he don't even see how much he hurt me and other of his close friends?

Thanks!!!
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Old 04-18-2016, 03:38 AM
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Originally Posted by Jaguar55 View Post
My ABF, or apparently now my XABF, seems to go out of his way to bait me into a fight. He says the meanest, nastiest, most ridiculously obnoxious, insensitive, uncaring, disrespectful things imaginable. He calls me names and invalidates everything I think and feel. He treated me like....an insect for 12 years. And if I am stupid enough to get sucked into this and respond he ramps it up and gets meaner and meaner. And then he turns it around and says I am addicted to getting my drama fix! He seems to take most of the things he does to me and declare that I am doing them to him! So that is projection right? Does he actually believe it's true? Or does he just do it to mess with my head? I swear he has convinced himself that I'm a selfish psycho bitch who does nothing but mistreat him. He's so convincing that he gets me wondering if I AM!
OK, first... Do you enjoy this treatment? I'm going to say no. I was treated like this also, but I wouldn't have used the word "insect". I was treated like I didn't exist. I was married and living with him. Do you live with him?

I tried to figure out why the h3ll he did what he did, but I realized it didn't matter about what he did and why he did it. It was hurtful and emotionally harmful to me. I thinks sometimes we just get so caught up in trying to deal with them, and trying to figure things out, esp the right way to say things to them, so that they will understand, that we forget about the most important person there. That person is you.

You don't deserve to be treated like that. I think you are a terrific person, and you have so much compassion. You helped me a lot tonight. I really think that you should post here more often, and also go to al anon. I'm not sure if you are living with him. If you are I would suggest a DV support group before al anon.

Here for you,
(((((hugs)))))
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Old 04-18-2016, 03:44 AM
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Since I am not an alcoholic, I really can't say. But for my stepson, I think his verbal attacks were more about how awful HE felt about himself and so he just had to take it out on someone. The nearest someone just happened to be his family. Also, if he could get someone, anyone, to respond and argue in return, it would give his alcoholic brain a reason to drink "They are all so mean to me, I deserve to get drunk". Of course, this totally disregards the fact that HE started the arguments, he pushed and prodded and poked until someone responded. That is all conveniently forgotten by the disease.

I'm sorry that you are going through this! Just remember, you don't have to stay 'on the playground'. You can disengage, not answer his calls, end the conversation as soon as you see where it is headed. It is our own Ego and need to argue and tell someone they are wrong that keeps us engaged in these battles. Once we give up that need, then peace will follow!

Hang in there!
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Old 04-18-2016, 03:55 AM
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One idea is that addiction of any kind, if it begins before 25, stunts the maturity of the addict, and freezes them emotionally at the point when they started drinking/using.
If you think about yourself as a teen, you probably thought the world was against you, no-one took you seriously, your family were the pits, and you should have all the privileges of being an adult, but none of the responsibilities. Most people, luckily, grow and mature out of that mind-set and become capable of seeing others' POV.
I've met people who never get beyond that stage because of addiction and possibly mental illness. Maybe your XABF is stuck in time and is acting out to get your attention.
Play a little game with yourself - call it BF bingo - think of all the nasty things he can accuse you of, and mark them off one by one. You win if he covers them all in one text.
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Old 04-18-2016, 04:28 AM
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Jaguar I just want to send you big big hugs. Your fella/ex fella sounds just like mine so I really feel for you. It's amazing how they can make you think it's you even though logically you know it's not and it definitely isn't! Thinking of you xx
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Old 04-18-2016, 05:27 AM
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It's most definitely, definitely not you. But if they can get you wondering, even for a moment, the focus is off their addiction. It's instinctive.

Sending you a hug.
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Old 04-18-2016, 06:36 AM
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I went through all of this as well.

My take on it is, as long as they can bait you into a confrontation, it will most assuredly be a way to deflect you away from the problem at the root of it. Thier addiction and how it is splitting you up. My ex would push any button possible to get me into a fight, so she could manage and control that much better.

Remember they consider chaos and drama as thier comfort zone. They can not only survive but often thrive in that environment.
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Old 04-18-2016, 07:15 AM
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i guess the other side is.........why would we stick around for 12 years and TAKE that kind of abuse? sure, their behavior is out of line and uncalled for but we always have choices in how we allow people to treat us............
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Old 04-18-2016, 07:18 AM
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Originally Posted by Beccybean View Post
Both when I was drinking, and in early sobriety (Pre. 12-step and recovery work) I very much felt the victim, and that NOTHING was my fault, and that if just this would happen, or so and so would not do this, or such and such could just be like that, or I had a different job, or the Earth was a different shape, or it was warmer or cooler, etc etc etc., THEN I would be okay.

The 12-step work really opened my eyes to My Part in my resentments, my fears, how I'd harmed people, and the reason that ALL of my relationships turned to s**t.
I was angry all the time and constantly asked myself "why is this happening to me?" And the craziness of it as I look back is that, yes, I believed all my own quacking and could not see that the problem was me. When I hear people in AA share, this is what the recovered people share about. The not-yet-recovred people tend to share the "why me?" stuff.

Obviously, I don't know your partner, but my guess is that he believes all his own quacking. He is, mentally, right at the centre of everyone's universe and is bewildered when people don't make everything they think, do and say all about him. This is the part of alcoholISM that I found hardest to deal with. The ISMs. Just putting down the drink left me with the ISMs but no relief from that insanity. I thank God every single day that I found AA, my sponsor and my program, and that with daily work I can keep on top of all that insanity. It still sneaks up, but while I have the fellowship and work my program there's always someone who will call me out on my craziness when is peeks out of my mouth. I reckon if I stopped the work it wouldn't take too long to find myself back in the vortex and acting out, so I'll carry on with it. That's why people still go to AA 40 years after they got sober. They don't want to turn into that bitter, nasty, quacking person again.
I couldn't have put this better.

I'd also add that for me, anyway, it wasn't conscious in that I didn't sit there and think, "Well I'm going to be abusive to my parter now" -- it just spewed out of me, like a hurt animal lashes out in reaction, even to those that are trying to help. Getting angry like that also helped me justify my drinking in my own mind.

Stuck in my own distorted, twisted mind, I really believed that the world was against me. Lashing out like that was also a form of projection of all my own self-hatred and disgust onto another person.

It really was nothing personal and I was horrified later at how cruel and hurtful I could be. One of the things that keeps me sober today is never wanting to be like that again, but first I had to get sober and clearer-headed enough to even be able to see that.

And when I was sober but on the receiving end of that treatment from my alcoholic partner, as hard as it was, it really helped me a lot to understand it wasn't personal and not react to it.
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Old 04-18-2016, 07:18 AM
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Jaguar....my simple answer is that is it is a way of taking the focus off of them (and their drinking)...and, deflecting the focus to you....

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Old 04-18-2016, 08:00 AM
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Stop thinking about why he is doing this, and start thinking about why you are electing to engage with him. I say this gently, I know it's hard not to get roped in.

Hugs.
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Old 04-18-2016, 10:33 AM
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I can only speak from what RAH has shared after getting sober. He said it was really never anything more than projection (at the very least) and outright raging just to validate the drinking he wanted to do. That way he felt justified when he took off like a madman to the bar.

He also shared that after so many times of this dynamic, his soft, addict mind started to just make that his "go-to" interaction between us - so even if there wasn't anything to fight about, he created it. He didn't stop to think about why or how inappropriate or undeserving it was. He'd convinced himself I was a horrid, constant nag & needed to keep that picture in head so he didn't ever allow me room to change that representation.

At his worst, he'd gotten to a point where he just wanted to "win" so any & all conversation dissolved into insanity. He literally could not HAVE a normal discussion about ANYTHING. Not with me, at least.
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Old 04-18-2016, 10:47 AM
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Originally Posted by Hangnbyathread View Post
Remember they consider chaos and drama as thier comfort zone. They can not only survive but often thrive in that environment.
My STBXAH went to counseling when he was a teen. He told me that this is what his counselors told him...that he was so used to chaos (his parents divorced when he was young and his mom was always moving him and his brother around, etc.) that he didn't really know how to live without it, so he would create it.
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Old 04-18-2016, 10:48 AM
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Originally Posted by FeelingGreat View Post
One idea is that addiction of any kind, if it begins before 25, stunts the maturity of the addict, and freezes them emotionally at the point when they started drinking/using.
If you think about yourself as a teen, you probably thought the world was against you, no-one took you seriously, your family were the pits, and you should have all the privileges of being an adult, but none of the responsibilities. Most people, luckily, grow and mature out of that mind-set and become capable of seeing others' POV.
I've met people who never get beyond that stage because of addiction and possibly mental illness. Maybe your XABF is stuck in time and is acting out to get your attention.
Play a little game with yourself - call it BF bingo - think of all the nasty things he can accuse you of, and mark them off one by one. You win if he covers them all in one text.
I believe this also. You should see how my STBXAH acts when he gets mad. He literally pouts and goes around slamming drawers and cupboards. Similar to how my 5 year old acts. It's so ridiculous!
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Old 04-18-2016, 01:01 PM
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Yes, in answer to your question, it sounds as though he is "projecting". With projecting, they essentially accuse you of how they are really feeling themselves and/or accuse you of the very same things they are really guilty of. This type of stuff happens in many relationships to varying degrees. People 'pick' fights, get you riled up, and then project onto you. Many times these types of fights go absolutely NOWHERE except make you feel crappy and worn out and beat up because of it. Don't engage in any way whatsoever. Walk away, get out of his presence. You don't need any of what you are describing. Even if he does not physically touch you, it's mental and emotional abuse and it can turn you just as black and blue inwardly as if he left bruises all over you body. This is an abusive relationship.
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Old 04-18-2016, 02:07 PM
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I think you need to get away from this dude as soon as possible so that you can begin letting yourself heal.

In my humble opinion, there is no way you can help him and help yourself at the same time. You are damaged by having spent so much time in an abusive relationship. He is obviously damaged for what he has done to you, even if he is not fully aware of how insane he sometimes acts.

Get yourself some help, get yourself right, and then see if you feel like devoting time and energy toward him.
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Old 04-18-2016, 02:34 PM
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Ive noticed in a way its tempting to believe them when they make you feel like youve done something wrong, because then at least there is something you can do about it. Not so when you accept that the insanity is theirs. It takes a lot of effort to really accept that there is nothing you can do to make things work out with the one youre in a relationship with, simply because the A is the one who is causing all the chaos, not you.

At the momento Ive almost been a month NC with the XABf and I see more and more clearly how insane, irrational and unfair his behaviour towards me was. It was a bit harder to see it when I was (physically and emotionally) close to him, I got caught up in the merry go round of his addictive thinking.
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Old 04-18-2016, 02:48 PM
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My ex used to push and push and push my buttons until I exploded...and then he'd sit back and smile just a tiny bit and tell me how childish I was. It served both as some kind of stress relief for him and he got to remain in control. Sadistic, really...

I look back and can't believe I spent six years with that man.

I'm sorry you're going through this...
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