One of the biggest questions I have always asked is, “Am I crazy?” When I am dealing with my abusive ex-husband or my abusive father, at times they have both made me feel crazy. Whenever I allowed myself to lose my temper and react terribly to their behavior has been equally as frustrating.
My personal belief is I am responsible for my own reaction and behavior regardless of what the other person says or does. I have lost my temper on more than one occasion with my ex-husband in the past, and even recently with my father because my patience for manipulative abusive behavior is extremely short. In some of these situations it is very likely I was exhibiting what is called Reactive Abuse. Worse, while questioning my own personal sanity, my ex-husband has stated I am the crazy one in his emails, and even my father’s recent email said something on that sort. They do often refer to this type of exchange as ‘crazy making’ behavior and this is a guaranteed way to make sure your response is never right.
I remember one-time a friend said this, “You are not dealing with a normal situation, so how could you expect to feel normal?”
Crazy-Making types of behavior:
- Blocking and Diverting
- Blame Shifting
- Gaslighting or Trivializing
- Twisting the Truth
- Passive Aggressive
This statement is something I have remembered throughout all the years whenever I start asking myself if I am crazy. Then I remind myself to really look at the sources that are making this false statement. Oftentimes I have had to contact a rational third party to ask them if the situation was ‘irrational’ and they usually confirm my thoughts.
My abusive ex-husband was emotionally & verbally abusive for more than 15 years. He was abusive when we were dating, married and even while we have been divorced. So many of the things he does with our daughter are just attempts to lash out at me. I think that is what hurts most of all that as a mother I cannot protect my daughter from being a pawn in these sick games. So many of his actions have been designed to get a reaction from me so he could say, “Look at how you are behaving?” These are also designed to make sure he can say, “We both said things we didn’t mean.” This takes the attention off of his behavior.
Some of the statements I remember him saying were the exact same things I would have stated about his behavior. Then here he was telling me I was doing the same thing. Then of course my rational mind would start questioning, “Am I doing that?”
- “You are trying to hurt me but in turn you are hurting our daughter. “
- “I am trying to be patient here but I am not getting much help from you.”
- “Of course if we could have flexibility with one another this would not be necessary but you have chosen to go by the decree”
Comments made by my ex-husband to me, typically to make me feel like I am doing something wrong, doing the same thing to him or that I am the one who is unreasonable. Almost all of his emails contain comments that make me feel defensive and as if I needed to respond to him. Learning how to read his emails and only respond to facts or questions was really helpful in learning not to engage with him.
Today, I am very grateful I have a good marriage and a very peaceful household. It is nice to feel safe in my own home. My life has only been ‘healthy’ for a few years now and it sometimes still feels foreign to me. It is because of my healthy home-life that I realized how unacceptable my recent work environment was and why I made the decision to resign.