Tag Archive | verbal abuse

Abuse Stories: A Dehumanizing Experience

Here is a story about verbal abuse from one of our readers:

Domestic Violence is a slow dehumanizing experience. I couldn’t even see it was happening. I wondered what was wrong with me. I thought it was abuse. I tried to get him to believe it was abuse. However, I should have just trusted my gut. I left him once, but I was embarrassed and I knew my religious parents would not accept my decision.

It started out with him dismissing how I felt. He was angry and yelled. I told him I didn’t like him yelling. I ask him to stop. Instead he broke the table into seven pieces and said, “He would show me what real yelling was like.” He continued to throw a fit and eventually stopped only after I broke down crying and apologized.

I was in the kitchen washing the dishes and I lived in Germany. The emotional, mental and verbal abuse was just a way to dehumanize me. Self doubt grew and the relationship dynamic began to change. It was not about a man and woman trying to care for each other. It was the first step of a man who wanted his way and nothing else. Had I known it would have led to me being repeatedly raped and abuse in every form. I believe I would have left. However, I thought he would eventually be able to change. The truth was never something he could admit. I was afraid of him and he didn’t consider that truth worth any value.

Later on in our relationship, it was little things. I was hungry and he would tell me I was not hungry. I was hurt and he would tell me I was not hurt or tired. I would ask to stop and go to the restroom and he would tell me to hold it. I was allowing myself to be controlled and IF I didn’t allow him to control me I would have to pay a price. He would withhold affection, if I didn’t do what he wanted. He would withhold money. He would withhold contact from my family. I couldn’t make phone calls home.

I worked and made money. However, I believed that the man should be in charge. I handled the finances but it was only IF he approved. He was terrible with money. So his commander actually told him to give me the finances and put him on a budget. I made about 15k and he made 12k. Yet, I couldn’t spend money except for $125 on groceries. He got $50 a week for candy, gum, and soda. This was not a choice. If he wasn’t allowed then he would throw a fit. We both got fun money for $50 a month. I saved mine up for 4 months.

The moment I finally decided to buy my item. He threw me down on a rock took all my money from my wallet. Handed me my drivers license and told me that was all I was. He took everything I had, tried to run me over with the car and abandoned me about 10 miles from our home. A soldier ask me if I was ok and asked if he should call the MP’s. I was disabled at the time and had difficulty walking for almost three years.

He knew that I couldn’t run. He felt powerful when he intimidated me.

Instead, I walked home because. I couldn’t take a cab. My husband who took my wallet with my credit cards and my money. By time I finally got home. He made me agree that I would buy a BOZE speakers with my money. I kept going for counseling, but no one explained it was abuse and I should leave. All I knew was, I hated my life. I was pregnant and knew that I was trapped. I could never leave. It was my wrong religious beliefs, pride and wrong mindsets that lead to wrong decisions.

It was at that point that he began to rape me. He used the Bible against me. The bible says not to withhold sex unless it is for prayer and for a short time. So now I had to have sex with him. Or he was allowed to go sleep with other women and it would be my fault. He had changed all of his actions. To only have consequences for me. He had no accountability for his lust of women or money. He would stare down women and then use me. I confronted him about lust and how it was not appropriate. His mouth would actually drop open when he looked at some women. It was difficult, because he was correct. I didn’t know his heart. But at this point, I knew he did not love me, he did not care if I was hungry, sleepy, hurt or lonely. Every need or desire I had would never be met.

Eventually, I became a mother and my children were my greatest joy. He decided to use them against me as well. I continued in church and raising my children. He went to Korea for a year. His sex addiction grew. I finally filed for divorce when my church support me in filing for a legal separation.

My daughter was in second grade. He had just returned from Korea. I and my son were both sick. He had been verbally and physically rough. But he force me to have sex with him. While he watched my daughter play with our neighbors granddaughter. She was outside watching my daughter and her granddaughter while she sprayed her plants. He said he loved her and wanted to watch them play while he forced me to have sex. I felt so sick. I had already gotten a counselor. We had doctor who worked with the sexual prisoners at the jail. He came to our house each week for 1 hour. He would not even come to the counseling session. I filed for a divorce. IF only this would have been the end. I had good alimony and full custody. But I was afraid.

He decided to see another counselor. So I stopped the divorce and we moved back to Kentucky. Where he basically, bid his time trying to drive me nuts. He had affairs and went to counseling with our pastor. But it was all a lie. He had a girlfriend he kept at his sisters and he still was out at bars. HIS sex addiction was a major problem. I didn’t think it involved anymore children, but I didn’t know.

He was grooming some of his nieces. I spoke to a counselor and she explained to me what he was doing. My mother confronted him for running his hands over his nieces breast in-front of her. Then he tried to convince me that his niece had never been at my moms. I knew she had been. I started noticing little things. I was in the pool and instead of carrying me around the pool or having any fun with me. He would carry his nieces around the pool and normally two at a time with his hands between their legs. He kept saying nothing was wrong. The were about thirteen and eleven. I was getting sick to my stomach.

The verbal, mental, and psychological abuse was a normal pattern. I remember he went out with his girlfriend and sister and I told him I was going. I went with him, but I didn’t have the guts to ask if they were dating. My son told me they were having an affair. I really was just concerned about my daughters and nieces safety.

My niece told me he made her uncomfortable. So I told her to tell a counselor. I told my counselor. She reported him to the cabinet. This investigation began in May 2005 and as soon as my husband got the paperwork. He filed for divorce and tried to have me declared of unsound mind. Legal abuse had occurred when I filed for divorce in Washington. But his lies were of no consequence to the case. The Kentucky divorce was built on so much perjury. He went to my work. I lost my job, my house, my kids. The school where I worked didn’t believe him. I had a restraining order, but he broke the order on the day I was volunteering at my school.

We got back together in June. He continued to lie in the courts. It was all about control I thought. We worked with counselors again. He didn’t care about me, the kids or what was best for them. I went with the counselor to the house. She pointed out that he could not continue to lie to his family. He had to admit to the affair and tell them what had occurred. He told me that he had full custody of the kids and I needed to return them to him. My counselor rode with me to take my children back to our house. I had an apartment that I had moved into in April. My parents had moved into it because their house was being built. I could believe that he really didn’t care about the children. He was all about winning. Or what he believed was winning.

I went in to talk with him and left the children and counselor in the car. She had come to persuade him. My son was sick with worry and she was very concerned for his well being. I went into the house alone and he tried to call the police on me and I grabbed the phone. Then he threw me against the dresser. My arms were swollen my back was messed up. He was thrilled with excitement, he ran to another room to call from the house phone. I went outside and My counselor told me we would have to leave the kids there. Or we would be breaking the court order. She took me to the hospital.

This was the first time I finally reported the physical abuse. They took photos and did a domestic violence exam. I couldn’t protect my children from him. The divorce court never could see the facts about the abuse. The court did something about the physical abuse. They gave him 22 weeks of anger control classes.

My divorce took about three years. He took me back to court to stop his pension and say that I owed back child support. The legal abuse has yet to be acknowledged by the court. However, I just learned that I need to see a victims advocate and point it out to her. The divorce court will not acknowledge it. I didn’t know that this whole time I was going to the wrong court about the perjury.

I won’t share the horrific stories. But I will say that I finally learned who he truly was during the divorce. While I was in the hospital. He called and instead of ask about me. He spoke to the social worker. All the abuse he had done to me. He basically told the story with him as the victim. So he definitely understood what he was doing was wrong.

His sex addiction and his issues with children were investigated but she said nothing could be proved. She pointed out to me that they knew men had broken children’s arms and unless the man admits to the wrong nothing happens. I was very gullible to believe that it would be substantiated. During my counseling I had asked my husband why he hid his brother raping the babysitter and molesting his two step sisters. I was enraged that he would hide the information. Even today, I have not yet told my children about their father. However, this is my first step. My counselor told me to start telling the truth to people. I really do not want to tell my children. However, I believe they should at-least know. They are adults now and my granddaughter is my concern.

I also decided to finally go forward regarding the legal abuse. I figure the recurring rape is not something I want to pursue. But I honestly would like for all of it to be told. I listen to Joyce Meyers story and I think how it helped me to grow. I was sexually molested when I was in 8th grade by a group of guys. Plus later, I was raped by a boyfriend and then a stranger. It really changed me. I am not powerless. The truth does set us free.

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Songs About Abusive Relationships

Over the years, I have always been able to identify with lyrics of songs. There are so many songs written about being hurt by abusive people, narcissists, and emotional manipulators. A few songs like Jar of Hearts by Christina Perri, Because Of You by Kelly Clarkson, Fighter by Christina Aguilera, and now this song Praying by Kesha. Knowing others have struggled and I am not alone in these experiences. That is also another reason I write in this blog so that maybe it will help someone else who is going through something similar.

Well, you almost had me fooled
Told me that I was nothing without you
Oh, but after everything you’ve done
I can thank you for how strong I have become

On more than one occasion, my ex had me believing I wouldn’t be able to survive without him. He said he didn’t want me living in some “roach infested apartment”. He told me I wouldn’t be able to get a job because I didn’t have a college degree, that no one would hire me. These were all lies, I have accomplished so much and he was wrong about everything. I have a great husband, wonderful job, and live in a beautiful home.

‘Cause you brought the flames and you put me through hell
I had to learn how to fight for myself
And we both know all the truth I could tell
I’ll just say this is “I wish you farewell”

Living with my ex-husband was never without chaos and daily insanity. Every day I walked on eggshells and the environment was so toxic that I became sick all the time. In fact, I was worried that I had cancer or would eventually die and then my daughter would be left with him. Also, I was afraid to leave him because I was sick, but he was the reason I was sick. I wrote about this in one of my blog posts Was My Husband Poisoning Me or Was the Relationship Toxic?

I hope you’re somewhere prayin’, prayin’
I hope your soul is changin’, changin’
I hope you find your peace
Falling on your knees, prayin’

Despite all my ex-husband and his wife have done. I still do not wish them ill will, in fact I wish they would find a higher power (or God) and be happy. This is something I have prayed for not only for myself, but for my daughter as well. Not that I haven’t wished on a few occasions that he would stop breathing, but these moments are short.

I’m proud of who I am
No more monsters, I can breathe again
And you said that I was done
Well, you were wrong and now the best is yet to come
‘Cause I can make it on my own
And I don’t need you, I found a strength I’ve never known
I’ll bring thunder, I’ll bring rain, oh
When I’m finished, they won’t even know your name

At times I have focused on the negative more than the positive. There was a time in my life where more negative things seemed to happen over positive things. But that is not today! Today I have many things to be grateful for and I have to remind myself to think that way. This past year has been especially difficult, but I am too strong to let it knock me down. Today, I continue to become a stronger and healthier person. Maybe without my ex-husband I wouldn’t have had so much motivation to get healthier and stronger.

You brought the flames and you put me through hell
I had to learn how to fight for myself
And we both know all the truth I could tell
I’ll just say this is “I wish you farewell”

In 2004, I left my ex-husband for the final time. I have never regretted the decision to leave to this day. At one point I remember the pain of the present was greater the fear of the unknown. Then I had to navigate being a single parent and parenting with an abusive ex-husband.

I hope you’re somewhere prayin’, prayin’
I hope your soul is changin’, changin’
I hope you find your peace
Falling on your knees, prayin’
Oh, sometimes, I pray for you at night
Someday, maybe you’ll see the light
Oh, some say, in life, you’re gonna get what you give
But some things only God can forgive

I definitely still wish him the best. I still pray for good things for my ex-husband and his wife. I hope he will wake up and see the truth of what he has been doing. Not for me, but for my daughter. She deserves that from her father.

I hope you’re somewhere prayin’, prayin’
I hope your soul is changin’, changin’
I hope you find your peace
Falling on your knees, prayin’

The reason I like this song is because it does speak of being hurt by someone, but it also focuses on the hope and future. This song talks about forgiveness for those who wronged you. This forgiveness is not for the other person it is for myself. Letting go of resentments. There is a saying in Alanon about resentments being like poison, but that they only harm the one with the resentments.

“Resentments are like swallowing poison, but hoping someone else will die.”

I will continue to focus on joy and happiness. I have come too far to allow his negativity to continue to be part of my life. One day, I think my daughter will come to see the truth and understand. Now my focus needs to be on continuing to work on my own health and become the healthiest person possible.

Surviving Emotional and Verbal Abuse

Lately, I have been listening to the P!nk Radio station and the song Titanium comes on every so often. Every time I have heard this song it touches me deep inside. Today, after hearing this song once again, I realize my thoughts need to change to one of strength again. The reason my ex-husband does not seem able to move on is because he knows I am happy now. I have survived without him and even thrived without him.

I’m bulletproof nothing to lose
Fire away, fire away
Ricochet, you take your aim
Fire away, fire away
You shoot me down but I won’t fall, I am titanium
You shoot me down but I won’t fall
I am titanium, I am titanium, I am titanium, I am titanium

Today, I have little reason to speak with my ex-husband. This past year has been more than difficult. My daughter choosing to go live with my ex-husband and the tension in our relationship has cut me  deep. One year ago, it was difficult to function and I am quite sure it was depression. After about 4-5 months, I started forcing myself to work out and work on my hobbies. Overtime it was no longer something I had to force myself to do. Today, I am still very sad over what has happened with my daughter and myself. It felt like he won and I was beaten. I no longer want to feel like he won.

So this song Titanium was written by co-written by David Guetta and sung by Sia. Although the version I have heard lately was a ballad sung by Madilyn Bailey. This song was written thinking about someone with a strong hearted and strong willed person. This song describes ignoring the words or abuse and allows it to bounce off us or ricochet. Saying that we need to stand our ground. This is a message of strength for those who deal with bullies.

The reason this strikes a chord with me is because isn’t this what abusive people do when they continue to attack us with words and lies? Aren’t they just bullies? They make up untrue versions of stories and work to get people to take their side. Convince others that you are the “crazy” one and the “problem”. They seek to hurt someone else in every way possible. The only issue is we are dealing with Narcissists, I am not sure they ever feel remorse. Although I am also sure they are never actually happy.

Another challenge to this situation is that people who have not experienced emotional and verbal abuse think you should just move on and “get over it”. Over the years, I have done a great job of taking the higher ground and doing my best not to sink to his level. Don’t get me wrong; there have been occasions I wish the man were dead. Sadly, there have been times I questioned if I could go on like this?

My ex-husband did a great job of making me afraid to leave him all those years ago. He did an excellent job of making me believe he would kill me if I ever left. Initially, I remember being afraid to leave my blinds open. At that time his behavior was so irrational and had no idea what he was capable of doing. Plus, he was drinking and doing drugs and that created even more uncertainty. It also took me a while to adjust to the peace and quiet in the home. I had become so used to chaos and drama that I didn’t know how to live without it.

He also did a great job of putting our daughter in the middle and using her as a pawn to do his dirty work (much like he does with his wife today). He spent years manipulating her and working to turn her against me. His ultimate goal, I believe, was just tor hurt me. My mother would say, “We don’t know that.” How could it not be more clear that he doesn’t care about his daughter’s emotional well being. He is okay with putting her in the middle and trying to get her on “his side”. He also took advantage of a teenage girl’s differences with her mother as the perfect opportunity to get her to agree to move in with him. He promised her cars and a license as long as she moved in with him. Just to save himself a year and a half of child support. None of of this was about our daughter.

Today, I am a strong person and I refuse to allow my ex-husband to rent space in my head for the rest of my life. It is sad that he has turned our teenager against me and I truly hope she come around. It pains me that it may be best to let her go so I can be healthy. Right now, she is living in his home and does not seem to be independent from my ex-husband. I need separation from my ex-husband and to move on.

This song describes how they are the ones who get hurt. In some ways that is true. How can someone who spends so much time and energy trying to make another person miserable even be slightly happy? Also, how can his wife be happy with her husband spending so much energy trying to control situations around me. It is sad because our daughter is the casualty of his warfare and I realize I cannot save her. However, she knows strength through me and I believe she will remember that as she matures.

Cut me down
But it’s you who has further to fall
Ghost town, haunted love
Raise your voice, sticks and stones may break my bones
I’m talking loud not saying much

I realize, some time needs to be spent working on myself and feeling my own strength again. It can be difficult because my loved ones don’t quite understand verbal abuse. My own mother often will say “get over it”. My ex-husband has been pretty relentless over the years. The ultimate hit came when he turned our daughter against me. This emotional assault knocked me down further than I have even fallen in the past. I refuse to stay down and I refuse to allow him to win his sick twisted game.

The Games Narcissists and Abusers Play

So, last month I received a $2,000 bill from my abusive ex-husbands wife. This bill was sent the day after my daughter had dental surgery and had 6 teeth pulled. They are supposed to notify me of any non-emergency surgeries before the event and not after the event. In email, she implies that their attorney was copied, obviously meant to be a threat.

I hate feeling anxiety all over again when I get an email from them. All this hell he and his wife have helped create between my daughter and myself has been devastating to me. I wound up calling the Domestic Abuse Center today and I should be able to get in to see one of their counselors shortly. Her dad is such a awful person and it kills me that my daughter is in such denial for what she does see.

The very last email is about as hateful as you can get in a response. I know not responding doesn’t mean I am agreeing with him. I really can’t understand how people can be so hateful. I know these are unfeeling abusive people. My husband says they are just assholes looking for a response. I did not respond to his last email because it is full of non-facts. My husband says he is good at throwing the ball and that is probably why he is a good salesman.

Latest Saga of Emails

On, July 22nd, I received this email from my abusive ex-husband’s wife:

Attached are invoices from [daughter’s name] oral surgery.
– bill
– EOB from insurer
– paid receipt
Your responsibility is 50%.

I was pretty surprised to get this bill and this bill seemed to simply the surgery had already happened. Plus, she wrote in their attorney’s name, implying that they CC’d their attorney. Obviously meant to be a bit threatening. I am pretty sure I am not misreading this.

My response to her email was simply:

Please send a detailed explanation about this surgery. What was exactly was done?

Her reply was:

I sent you an attachment with my previous email that explains her treatment plan. Read carefully,  starts with therapeutic parental drugs and all procedures are itemized from the day of oral surgery. The GRA stands for graft.

My response was this:

What was done exactly?  I do not recall any notification about this surgery. Was it medically necessary?

Her response was definitely meant to be condescending. So I decided right then that she is an irrelevant person in this conversation. I couldn’t believe they had decided to put our daughter under anesthesia without notifying me. In fact, they are required to tell me in advance and work with me. However, they never have worked with me over the years. They work against me in all situations.

At that point, I contacted the Oral Surgeon’s office directly. I turns out they pulled our her Wisdom teeth which I was totally agreed about. The thing they did that I was not in agreeance with was pulling her two baby teeth. She has two baby teeth that did not have permanent teeth behind them. The dentist we have been going to for over 7 years told me to leave those teeth in as long as possible. That they could last until she was 30 – 50 years old. Her advice was to avoid the expense and problems of putting in implants that will need to be redone every 5 -10 years. I also called her Orthodontist who basically said this was a cosmetic decision and not medically necessary. So I told my ex-husband this very thing last December.

I also gave them our insurance so they could file as a secondary expense and I am waiting for that information to come back. She told me she would have to wait until their insurance responded before she could fine with ours. So, we already expected this would take longer.

On December 7, 2016 I sent my ex-husband this:

Okay, I do agree with getting her wisdom teeth pulled. I do not agree with getting her baby teeth pulled.
I just spoke with her dentist and they recommend she keep those baby teeth as long as possible. They said these baby teeth could last her until she is 30-50 years old. Implants run $5,000 and need to be replaced every 5 – 10 years. This will be very expensive cost to pay for in the future. We have no idea what her financial position will be in the future in order to maintain these recurring cost. So again I do not agree with removing the baby teeth.
Anyway, so today I receive this from his wife.
It has been over 30 days since I’ve mailed her invoice dated July 21, 2017 regarding oral surgery 043889.
My initial email was sent on July 22, 2017. Your payment for 50% of invoice charges are overdue. Please send payment promptly.Thank you!Sent from my iPad
My response was a little less nice:

Hi,

No. As I stated earlier in the month, the dentist is filing a second claim with our insurance. Once I received the EOB from our insurance, I will settle up our portion. You could have saved time by discussing this and filing both insurances on the date of service. Your inability to follow directions has caused your own delay.

It appears neither of you can be trusted to do what you say or follow the decree. Nothing either of you have done has been reasonable or rational regarding my daughter. Notifying that we owe $1,000 after having surgery you didn’t notify me about is not reasonable.

If you have difficulty understanding this email, I don’t know what else to tell you.

Then I get this response from my abusive ex-husband:

Sending emails like this will not change the fact that you are still responsible for 50% of the cost. Our response was just a reminder that it has been past 30 days. If you feel that you only owe a certain amount then just pay it…which you have not done.  You want to make excuses on insurance filings, etc. which has no weight here. If you can’t pay it then you could make arrangements but you think this is going to go away by deflecting the situation.
Your daughter is 18 and she chose to have this done, just like she has chosen not to see you every 1st, 3rd and fifth weekend. Why is this different?
You know as well as I do you owe this money and there is no legal jargon or opinion of yours that changes that. Wether it’s financial issues or possible divorce issues you are presently having doesn’t change anything (yes she discusses with us your conversations you have had with her). Enough is enough. Be a parent and pay what you owe…just like I did and still do.
Funny to see that he misspelled a word here. He usually is more polished than to make a spelling error in an email. My mind is still thinking about this, but I am not going to respond. My husband believes he has told our daughter something like ‘if your mom really cared about you, she would divorce him.’ My ex-husband doesn’t seem to be okay with the fact that I am doing well and not suffering.

Effects of Verbal Abuse and Stress

So, this entire situation has been stressful for my body. Stress takes a serious toll on my body and I have physical symptoms that are impossible to ignore. I have done a better job managing them over the years, but getting over years of verbal abuse has been a challenge. Some days are better than others and certain events certainly trigger past feelings. My ex-husbands relentless manipulation and using our daughter was extremely stressful. In the end, all my trying to rise above, be the bigger person, not react… was all for nothing… she left anyway.

On symptom occurs when I am sleeping and I clench my teeth more at night. One of my molars has broken three times in less than 15 years. The first time was when I was married to my ex-husband. Living with him produced so much stress I was breaking my teeth in my sleep. During those years, I also had tension in my neck, TMJ symptoms, migraines, and light sensitivity. Today, I realize if my teeth are taking a beating, I need to find way to reduce the external stressors.

Another physical symptom is a rash that doesn’t seem to go away. I have been diagnosed with Skin Lupus and nothing seems to work on these rashes to make them go away. They show up and stick around for months. One website suggests that stress could cause the first appearance or trigger flare ups for someone who already has the disease. This rash first appeared five years ago when I was working at a very stressful job, it went away for several years and showed up about a year ago. However, no treatments have worked to remove this rash. I guess I can be grateful it is just red and only itches on occasion.

Another symptom is difficulty sleeping. I just do not sleep well anymore. I can get to sleep, but after a few hours I wake up and it is a challenge to get back to sleep. So I feel chronically tired. The doctor gave me Belsomra to try and it had an opposite effect and kept me up all night. I have also tried Melatonin which gets me to sleep okay but doesn’t keep asleep. Plus, my clenching my teeth at night can really hurt my jaw, affect my ears, and sometimes causes headaches when I wake. My past revisits me in my dreams. Sometimes I have dreams where I am dealing with my ex-husband again.

Another issue is anxiety which is often triggered by fear. I love my daughter so much, but our current situation is not a good one. She is living with my ex-husband and is looking at him through rose colored glasses. My ex-husband and his wife are extremely passive aggressive and they have been undermining me at every step for more than a decade. One of my fears is will this be an issue forever? Will she ever open her eyes and see the truth. One fear is accepting that she might not ever see the truth, may never want to see the truth. That thought truly frightens me. Plus, I am afraid if she is unable to see the truth, she may end up marrying an abuser or narcissist herself.

This past year has been extremely stressful. Dealing with my ex-husband since our divorce was over 13 years ago. You would seriously think we were newly divorced. Learning how to deal with him, or not deal with him rather, was difficult enough. The worst thing was how he would manipulate and use our daughter to get to me. As a mother, you want nothing more than to protect your child. This was something I was unable to prevent. It is shameful when someone uses their kid to hurt another person. I find it impossible to believe that person really cares about their child to subject them to that.

Another challenge was after our daughter became a teenager. She began pushing the boundaries, rebelling against the rules, and believing the grass might be greener. Plus, whether she would choose to admit it or not, she did learn how to play us agains each other to get what she wants. In the very end, she said many hateful things to me and I heard her father through those words. My response wasn’t so great. My husband’s response wasn’t always so great. We knew we had no control over what my ex-husband and his wife did with my daughter, but we should have had better control over our own reactions. That part of this I do have to own.

One plus side, I have not had one conversation with my ex-husband in an entire year. However, this bonus is bittersweet because I lost my daughter in the process. Although some say I haven’t lost my daughter forever and that she will come back around. I truly hope so. Sometimes it seems like he will never let me get away and be happy. Like he will win at all costs. I am grateful he and I haven’t had a single conversation in the past year. Although this is a game I never wanted to play, didn’t sign up for, and there are times I feel like he won.

Still trying to believe that everything happens for a reason. Hanging on to the belief that some day I will look back and realize this happened exactly as it was supposed to. However, I certainly don’t feel that way today.

 

 

 

Verbal Abuse Stories: Blame-shifting

Here is a story about verbal abuse from one of our readers:

I read this blog and it was like putting a mirror in front of me. I had never seen so clearly before what my ex was like…

I split up with my ex about 2 1/2 years ago during the death of my father. This was an incredibly stressful time in any case, my dad was extremely ill and wheelchair bound with cancer, my mother who has Alzheimer’s didn’t understand what was happening and was suicidal. My ex chose this time to ramp up the pressure on our failing relationship big time until we ultimately split, an event which he carefully timed for my birthday.

He then refused to move out of the house and used my fathers illness as an excuse to “blame me” for not sorting out the divorce quickly enough. Frequently he used to say “so your dad’s dying? I suppose that trumps everything does it, see how patient I am being” in a very sarcastic way.

A couple of months later my father did die in the early hours of one morning. I spent the day taking my mother to the chapel of rest to see him and sorting out a death certificate with my sister. On my exhausted drive home I was an hour later than planned. I rang him and he yelled at me because I had stopped him going out to a pub quiz that evening. Again I got the “Your dad dying is more important than me is it?”. Yes really.

It took a year after that before he finally moved out. During that time he spent every moment he could putting me down, refusing to sort out any of the finances or paperwork, and criticising my progress when I actually was able to do so. He tried very hard to ruin my new relationship, whilst embarking on his own and telling her she was the love of his life.

The bit that chimed most was the refusal to arrange anything for kids pick up or vacation. He is constantly refusing until the last minute to say which of us is picking them up, refusing to keep to regular agreed times on his side, won’t say yes or no when I try and plan to go on holiday… and so on.

Last week I finally saw the light properly and clearly. I was sent an email in which he accused me of making him angry by not getting angry, and that it was a form of my ongoing abuse of him. It was so bizarre and funny that I laughed, and suddenly realised I had still been looking for approval, still allowing myself to be put down even all this time after we were divorced.

Enough is enough. Somehow because he had never hit me I didn’t view it as abuse. I forgave the angry outbursts at me and the kids, the controlling behaviour, the constant put downs whilst positioning himself as a saint. I told myself over and over again he had changed, but he hasn’t. I don’t suppose he ever will. I feel sorry for his new partner but interfering would only open me up to more abuse.

Thank you for posting these thoughts. Thank you for helping me see I am not alone.

Verbal Abuse is Domestic Abuse

Several years ago, when my ex-husband was constantly harassing me and threatening to take our daughter away from me. I found myself walking through the doors of a local Domestic Abuse Counseling Center. Years earlier, I had started attending Alanon, because I was pretty convinced he had a drinking problem. Alanon helped me come to terms about his drinking, but it did not fully explain his abusive behavior. 

I cannot remember how I heard about the Domestic Abuse Center, but I set up an appointment to meet with one of their counselors. I remember sitting in the chair and listening to a woman describe my relationship in detail as if she had been a fly on the wall inside our house. She explained to me that my ex-husband was exhibiting behaviors of classic domestic abuse. So apparently my experiences in my relationship were less unique than I had originally thought. They also said that, Women often make decisions about their future based on information of what hasn’t happened yet.

“Women often make decisions about their future based on information of what hasn’t happened yet.”

At this time, our divorce had already been finalized and I was dealing with the continuous threats, harassment, and difficulty of co-parenting with an abusive person. Dealing with my ex-husband left me in a state of constant fear. His threats left me with continuous anxiety and fight or flight stress. Plus, we had a daughter and meant we had to have some contact. He was emotionally abusive, and his behavior was destroying me from the inside out. My belief was that Domestic Abuse had to be physical, I had no idea that Verbal Abuse was Domestic Abuse. It seemed like my ex-husband always knew when to stop, and exactly how far to not take it to be able to justify or explain away his bad behavior. Also, because he never hit me, there was nothing I could do legally to stop him.

I started attending counseling sessions at the Domestic Abuse Center. They had a door that was extremely thick and always locked. This was a scary thought to me that they were taking such precautions. However, today, after reading about so many stories where when tried to leave their abusive partners and were murdered. I get why they would be so careful.

It can be extremely dangerous when dealing with abusive partners, just read some of these stories:

Years ago, on DrIrene.com‘s website, I found a questionnaire that really hit home and made it hard for me to deny that I was in a verbally abusive relationship. Although he had never hit me, I was extremely afraid of him. I really believed he might kill me if I decided to leave. Perhaps my relationship was worse than I had thought, especially after reading these questions, and having answered yes to almost all of these questions, except for a few.

Does your partner:

  • Ignore your feelings? – Yes
  • Disrespect you? – Yes
  • Ridicule or insult you then tell you its a joke, or that you have no sense of humor? – Yes
  • Ridicule your beliefs, religion, race, heritage or class? 
  • Withhold approval, appreciation or affection? – Yes
  • Give you the silent treatment? – Yes
  • Walk away without answering you? – Yes
  • Criticize you, call you names, yell at you? -Yes
  • Humiliate you privately or in public? – Yes
  • Roll his or her eyes when you talk? – Maybe I did that?
  • Give you a hard time about socializing with your friends and family? – Yes
  • Seem to make sure that what you really want is exactly what you won’t get? – Yes
  • Tell you you are too sensitive? – Yes
  • Hurt you especially when you are down?
  • Seem energized by fighting, while fighting exhausts you? – Yes
  • Have unpredictable mood swings, alternating from good to bad for no apparent reason? – Yes
  • Present a wonderful face to the world and is well liked by outsiders? – Yes
  • “Twist” your words, somehow turning what you said against you? – Yes
  • Try to control decisions, money, even the way you style your hair or wear your clothes? – Yes
  • Complain about how badly you treat him or her? – Yes
  • Threaten to leave, or threaten to throw you out? – Not so much
  • Say things that make you feel good, but do things that make you feel bad? – Yes
  • Ever left you stranded? – No
  • Ever threaten to hurt you or your family? – No
  • Ever hit or pushed you, even “Accidentally”? – No
  • Seem to stir up trouble just when you seem to be getting closer to each other? – Yes
  • Abuse something you love: a pet, a child, an object? – Yes
  • Compliment you enough to keep you happy, yet criticize you enough to keep you insecure? – Yes
  • Promise to never do something hurtful again? – Yes
  • Harass you about imagined affairs? – Yes
  • Manipulate you with lies and contradictions? – Yes
  • Destroy furniture, punch holes in walls, break appliances? – Yes
  • Drive like a road-rage junkie? – No
  • Act immature and selfish, yet accuse you of those behaviors? – No
  • Question your every move and motive, somehow questioning your competence? – Unsure
  • Interrupt you; hear but not really listen? – Yes
  • Make you feel like you can’t win? Damned if you do, damned if you don’t? – Yes
  • Use drugs and/or alcohol involved? Are things worse then? – Yes
  • Incite you to rage, which is “proof” you are to blame? – Yes
  • Try to convince you he or she is “right”, while you are “wrong”? – Yes
  • Treat you like a sex object, or as though sex should be provided on demand regardless of how you feel? – Yes

Your situation is critical if the following applies to you:

  • You express your opinions less and less freely. – Yes
  • You find yourself walking on eggshells, careful of when and how to say something. – Yes
  • You long for that softer, more vulnerable part of your partner to emerge. – Yes
  • You find yourself making excuses for your partner’s behavior? – Unsure
  • You feel emotionally unsafe. –  Yes
  • You feel its somehow not OK to talk with others about your relationship. – Unsure
  • You find yourself doubting your memory or sense of reality. – Yes
  • You doubt your own judgment. – Yes
  • You doubt your abilities. – Yes
  • You feel vulnerable and insecure. – Yes
  • You are becoming increasingly depressed. – Yes
  • You feel increasingly trapped and powerless. –  Yes
  • You have been or are afraid of your partner – Yes
  • Your partner has physically hurt you, even once. – No

If you are wondering if you are in a Verbally Abusive relationship, it may be a good idea to locate a local Domestic Abuse Center and learn more about your situation. If you are still living with your partner, make sure you take safety measures. The time when a women (or man) is leaving their abusive partner can be the most dangerous time. Counselors at the Domestic Abuser center can help you learn more, while helping you take any safety measures.

Resource Books:

  • Why Does He Do That? – Bancroft Lundy
  • The Verbally Abusive Relationship – by Patricia Evans

 Questionnaire from above is from Dr. Irene’s website.

Will Verbal Abuse Turn Deadly?

weeping woman - closeup on eye with teardropWhen I read the story about Megan Short’s murder, it really struck home for me. This relationship ended tragically with her husband Mark Short shooting his wife, their three kids, their dog, and then shot himself. It was reported that this relationship was a verbally and emotionally abusive relationship. Physician violence has not been reported in this tragic situation.

The reports say the police had been called on more than one occasion and Megan’s family was aware there were problems. Megan Short was advised to file a protective order but she made the decision to leave the relationship instead. The day she was supposed to move into her own place was the same day her husband shot her, her family and himself.

The reports say on her Facebook page she clicked an article titled He Didn’t hit me. It was still abuse. This article tells a story about a verbally abusive relationship where there are no visible wounds. Movies and television show do a good job of painting a picture of domestic abuse as physical violence.

However, in the situation with Megan Short, they say she had never been physically abused but her husband wound up murdering the entire family. Just because the abuser has not hit you yet, does not mean he won’t.  I do not mean to paint a dark picture of emotionally abusive people, but I do believe they are unlikely to change. Just read Why Does He Do That by Bandcroft Lundy for more detail about abusers.

Another case that ended tragically was the case with Jessica Gonzales. She was able to obtain a restraining order against her estranged husband. The report does not state whether he was abusive or not. However, on one day her husband picked up the kid at her home without her knowledge. She called the police multiple times and asked them to go get her children. That day, he took them to an amusement park and then murdered the three girls and then fired on the police station and was killed. You can read more about this case at Gonzales Vs. Castle Rock.

I have admitted that my relationship with my ex-husband was domestic abuse, but then I say, “But he never hit me.” Why do I feel the need to state that? Why do I feel a verbally abusive relationship is less abusive because it was not physically abusive? Did he really have to hit me?

He prevented me from leaving the house, he used our daughter to control me, he threatened to take custody of our daughter, he kicked a hole in our bedroom door. His comments would constantly make me worry about what he ‘could do’ to me. When he was happy with me, it was ‘our house’ or ‘our car’, but when he was upset it was ‘his house’ or ‘his car that he let me drive’. Plus, his drinking and drug use often led to extremely unpredictable behavior.

The day I told him I was getting divorced I really believed he might kill me. After leaving him I do remember feeling so afraid to leave my house. His harassing phone calls and emails would consistently keep me on edge.  Then he would grill our daughter for information and then leave those messages on my phone. He would talk to my friends and try to get them on his side. I eventually stopped talking to them because I didn’t want him having any insight into my life. He has used our child as a pawn for so many years.

So, does it matter if they hit you? His verbal assaults were often damaging enough. If you are in a verbally and emotionally abusive relationship and you are thinking about leaving, be sure to protect yourself and take extra precautions. Even if they have never hit you, think about safety first and read articles like Getting Ready to Leave.

Healing the Emotional Scars

healing emotional scarsMy daughter has admitted that her father continues to say horrible things about me, and she just tunes him out. However, having seen her self-inflicted cuts on the side of her thigh/hip and it does not appear she has tuned it out. How much emotional scarring has this abusive relationship caused in my daughter after all these years?

My abusive relationship with my ex-husband and my father has certainly caused some internal emotional scarring for me. Now, I rarely talk to either one of them because they do not change. The best book I ever read that explained the abuse in a way that made sense was the book by Bancroft Lundy, Why Does He Do That? There is no rhyme or reason to why they behave like they do and I am not hopeful that they will ever change.

My ex-husband hates me after all these years. Perhaps he hates that I have left and that he cannot control me anymore. The only thing he can control now is trying to sever the relationship between my daughter and myself. He constantly says things to her like, “Moms and daughters do not get along.” or “Fathers and daughters get along better than mothers and daughters.” All of this is designed to try to drive a wedge between my daughter and myself.

Hopefully, it won’t work anymore for my ex-husband than it worked for my father. To this day, nearly forty years after my parent’s divorce, my dad still says hateful and horrible things about my mother. Seriously, he just can’t get over that relationship that ended so long ago. Now, I have made the decision not to talk to my father because I do not want to continue to subject myself to his verbal abuse. Will my daughter one day have to make this same decision?

I have made the prayer, “Let it end with me.” My hope is the cycle of abuse will not continue with my daughter, and it will end with my generation. This is my only prayer.

Dealing with Abusive Emails from Father

In my blog, I have mentioned the difficulties of dealing with my abusive ex-husband and also my abusive father. Obviously my relationship with my father had a lot to do with my selecting my abusive ex-husband. My relationship with my dad was very unhealthy, and it was the only example of a relationship I had during my childhood.  So when I met my ex-husband I had no point of reference for a healthy relationship. hateful abusive poem

Today, I received a hateful poem from my father (see screenshot). I only included the first few verses, and that is a perfect enough example of the rest of the poem. My father sends this poem to his daughter to send to his ex-wife of nearly 40 years?  He has been saying hateful statements about my mother sine I was five years old. Inside the email, he says; “I hope this answers your big question. Daddy”. Even that statement is dripping with sarcasm.

My father is mentally ill, has vascular dementia and has diabetes. So he is not doing so well but that is no excuse for his bad behavior. He is currently living in an assisted living home near my Aunt’s house because the police picked him up one night driving aimlessly and was involuntarily committed.  He believes my Aunt plotted against him, and everyone else (doctor’s, police, judge) are all wrong and he is perfectly fine.

His poem was a clever rhyme about my mother being a whore. Funny, I probably shouldn’t feel angry after all these years but I wish he would move on.  It has been nearly 40 years now since they got divorced, and he can’t get over that.  He is now twice divorced because his last wife couldn’t take living with his abusive behavior.  She has sent me letters saying how much respect she has for my mother because she know first hand how my father can be.

Anyway, I do feel some old feelings of anger. My aunt expects me to take care of him? When I was sixteen years old, I had very little contact with my father by choice.  I just didn’t want to hear this hateful stuff about my mother anymore.  I don’t care what happened when I was a little kid.  I know he was physically and verbally abusive, and perhaps she did have an affair.  Maybe she was seeking kindness from someone else.  Knowing my father, I can hardly blame her.

He is mentally ill, and I can ask him not to send things like this to me, but he will do it again.  These past two days he has sent me all sorts of bizarre emails with titles like; ‘honor thy father and thy mother’, ‘the real war’ and ‘prayer to the holy spirit’. He often gets religious in his bouts where everyone is going to hell if they don’t repent.  Of course, he never means that he should repent for the things he has done. Always somebody else’s fault and somebody else to blame.

Sorry to rant, but that just made me mad.  I am supposed to send a card out for father’s day, and now I feel like sending ‘Happy Father’s Day, Asshole’ to him.  Just as I did when I was a child, I will keep this poem (comment) from reaching my mother. Mentally ill is no excuse for his abusiveness.

Perhaps an abusive (man or woman) will truly never become less abusive.