Okay so I have been reading a very captivating book called ‘Why Does He Do That’ written by Lundy Bancroft. It is not the most current book, but I will say it is extremely relevant. This book is very well written as it gets inside the minds of these abusive men. At many times throughout reading this book I will find myself both disturbed and relieved at the same time. I am disturbed because I can see so much of my life written in every chapter in this book. I am relieved because so many of my experiences are exactly what I thought they were… unacceptable behavior!
He really blows all the misconceptions and excuses, this book shows psychological abuse for what it is. I use to believe because my ex-husband grew up with a controlling and abusive mother made him the person he is today. However after reading this book I have such a completely different view. I will no longer accept that my ex-husband’s abusive, controlling and manipulative behavior is because of… his controlling abusive mother, his big ego combined with a low self esteem, his possibly bi-polar metal illness, his drinking or even his temper he cannot control. No, it is quite simply a man who desires control, gets angry, and manipulates situations and people to remain in control.
As Bancroft points out, if it were really about him being out of control, why is he able to control himself when he has an audience or after I have called the police on him. At that point he is able to maintain his composure perfectly and act as if I am the one out of control. If it were mental illness, as I use to believe, why is he able to sit there and stay perfectly calm why he points out that I am the one who is carrying on or making a scene. Never-mind the fact that the entire reason I was so boiling over is from years of his not helping with our child, staying out and rarely coming home at a decent hour, his unwillingness to consider my feelings, his constant put downs and his unwanted sexual advances when he was drunk and I was trying to sleep. I did eventually learn not to boil over because I knew that was exactly what he wanted me to do which would help him make me feel crazy. The real issue was not even any of the issues I spoke above, the bigger issue is that he never treated me like a human being.
I remember when I met my ex-husband, more than 15 years ago, and I thought he was so handsome and wondered why he picked me. That was one of my biggest problems is I somehow believed I deserved whatever I got. Over the next decade I eventually wondered why in the world I picked him. I also realized that he was never going to be the man I wanted to spend my life with, I realized for him to become that person would require that he changed completely… which made me realize it was impossible unless I found a completely new man.
He was always able to be nice to his mother, his sister, his co-workers, his friend’s wives and almost any stranger we came in contact with. Yet behind closed doors he would become this very dark person. As long as I kept my mouth shut and never complained, he was happy. If I didn’t complain that he was never home, or why we were constantly bouncing checks, that he rarely came home when he said, or when he did he was drunk, that he did not sleep in the same bedroom with me, and that he would constantly put me down because I did not have a college degree… life would have been fine. Actually, life was set up pretty well for him. He had a wife to take care of our child, clean the house, cook the dinner, go shopping, run most of the errands, often do the yard and would be the body he would make sexual advances on in a completely degrading way and never bothered to please me once. Why would he complain about something like that, what a great set-up that must have been.
During the time I felt like my life was draining away, my physical illnesses were growing, my energy depleted, my anger constantly growing, my constant state of fear, my constantly feeling like I was trapped and had no choices. All the very same things that kept me feeling so stuck were eventually the same things that helped me regain my personal strength to get away. Everything he said I could never do I have done. I have accomplished the very things he said I could never do.
I have a successful job, a wonderful daughter, my own business, a devoted husband, we live in a great neighborhood and I have people who support me. I did not have to have a college decree to build my own business, get approved for my own house, work from my home as a single parent, and regain my physical health along with my mental health. I was able to survive without him and he was not able to get custody of our child. As much as he has tried to turn her, I have been able to counter with tools to help her learn.
I rarely ramble on like this today because I really believe these things and I am no longer trying to convince myself his truth is not so. I am just hear to challenge whatever you have heard that may be false. All those comment false myths women think about men, ones I would frequently here…
Said by others…
* Oh that is just men being men, they are all the same (not true)
* Marriages just require work, that is all (yes but not to the point of draining)
Said by him…
* You will never be able to get a good job and survive without me (not true)
* Everyone has problems, you don’t know what goes on behind closed doors (somewhat true but very distorted)
* My co-worker just got divorced at work and he got custody of the kids (it could happen but not that often)
* You need a degree, without a degree , no one will hire you (not true)
* I am talking to my attorney because he is clear our child should be in my custody (still hasn’t happened)
* You can’t believe what those people say at church, they are full of religious freaks (not true, most of the time)
There is probably more I just can’t think of off hand. What I do know is I am a abuse survivor and I have the strength to make it through anything.
There were so many red flags along the way that might have given me some insight into the abusive man he truly was. The biggest reason I could not see those things is because of my own insecurity and low self worth. I knew early on that he was not treating me the way he should have been treating me, and I broke up with him often, but he would come back and make promises and I would go back. Sometimes I think that the reason I went back is because he wouldn’t go away, he would harass me constantly, knocking at my door and calling me obsessively. None of that is okay. Today, he is really the same man I met so long ago.
Now he is just 50lbs heavier, not in good shape anymore, angry all the time and just not that impressive of a person at all. He is the same person though, I really can’t see anything different in him. His irrational behavior still bothers my rational mind even today. Not so sure why I bother questioning the strange things he does anymore. He still gives me quite a challenge with our daughter but she is older now and I think she can see who he is even if she isn’t ready to accept that just yet.