A Cry For Justice

Awakening the Evangelical Church to Domestic Violence and Abuse in its Midst

Manipulative patterns of abusers

My ex  is a genius. A bonafide real life MENSA level genius. I was awed by his intellect. However, anything he didn’t want to fool with was mysterious to him. He couldn’t get some electronic device to work and he’d roar about it and order me to make it do what he wanted. The last time he actually hit me was when his computer was making a weird noise in the middle of the night and I couldn’t make it stop while feeding a baby and being berated.

He regularly told me how stupid I was and how worthless I was; he constantly reminded me that my input was idiotic and I should just let him do the thinking. But at the same time I was somehow capable, in his mind, of diagnosing puzzling noises and frustrating tech issues when he couldn’t be bothered with them. I was often bewildered by this ploy.

Reading maps or following directions had the same effect. Suddenly he was helpless. “Where is the _____?” he’d bellow. And I’d tell him I was looking for the sign. How did he anywhere before I was in his life to help him read the signs?  Seems like a red flag now.

And if he’s asked to do something he doesn’t want to do, first he asks half a dozen questions about why it needs to be done, why someone else can’t do it, have alternatives been tried (as if I haven’t done all I can think of to avoid asking him for anything) and why didn’t those alternatives work. Finally he’ll ask what it is that he needs to do — as if it’s new info. The idea is that we’re supposed to get so worn down by the questions that we give up and leave them alone.

I hadn’t put this all together until now. I’ll bet he does this with his present intimate partner too. He wants what he wants and he pesters until he gets. Now he knows better than to coerce with violence and threats. Plus he’s reinvented himself as a reformed abuser. He is working overtime to show her only the best and prove that he’s a better person now. Of course she thinks she loves him. She’s never seen the real him. What’s not to love? But his manipulative nature has to be oozing through.

He’s surely pressuring her for sex when she’s already running late and he’s pretending that he doesn’t know what time it is or that there’s plenty of time for ___. He must be asking her to do “little (sexual) things” in public and assuring her that no one is looking.

I realize now that he really likes making people choose between healthy priorities and placating him. He starts this subtly at first, maybe with a text or two when he knows you’re busy and you’ve told him that you need to sleep and you have ____ important events coming up. Just a text with an important question or a last word on a discussion you thought was done, but something that seems to demand an answer; something that keeps you focused on HIM instead of what you told him needs to be done. Now I see that he relishes watching people bend to him.

A friend’s abuser did this with her sexual boundaries. He would violate them and act like he didn’t understand. It’s a typical predator tactic. One ploy molesters use when they get caught is to claim that they were just ____ and they can see now that it might be inappropriate and they’ve learned their lesson blah blah blah. Generally that’s when they get caught wandering the house naked in the presence of young kids or touching where they shouldn’t but through clothes and right in front of everyone so it adds to their “I’m too stupid to really be a bad person” facade.

What are some manipulative patterns you’ve noticed in your abuser?

***

This post was inspired by a comment I left on Playing Stupid…

92 Comments

  1. Still Reforming (previously newlyanonymous)

    That last paragraph rings trues in my situation. Since you asked what manipulative patterns I’ve noticed, one is to turn the offensive behavior around on me – pointing out things that aren’t related to what he’s said or done, but making a connection somehow so that the focus is taken off of him and put on me (or someone or something else). It’s the old slight-of-hand trick of the magician – and works for quite some time until it just rings hollow one too many times.

  2. Stina

    “I was awed by his intellect. However, anything he didn’t want to fool with was mysterious to him.”

    Yes! I became the electronic guru because he couldn’t be bothered. But it sure didn’t stop him from getting access to his porn. I’m still discovering all the ways in which he is/was manipulative. So thankful for those who can put it in writing to help me see.

    • soldiergirl

      Slight of hand, and slight of mind.
      You dont know you’ve been slimed until after the fact, and then you realize youve been exploited once again.
      They are good at fooling the trusting mind, and then trying to cover the true motive behind the action.
      I know it all to well.

  3. StandsWithAFist

    Don’t know if it will be allowed here, but a pattern of asking for my opinion/thoughts/feedback, only to end like this:

    • Jeff Crippen

      Stands – Oh yeah! That’s a good one!!

    • Some abusers give you no right to be silent; rather, you must be honoring them with your words of praise. If you are silent you are creating disunity!

      • StandsWithAFist

        Well, yes, that too, raswhiting. The end result is chaos, which is another abusive tactic. Chaos sets you up to fail, to lose, to fall short, & then be devalued. The end result is nothing is ever resolved, nothing is ever good enough, timely enough, reason enough. It is crazy making.

    • Oh my gosh yes so true

    • Still Scared but you can call me Cindy

      So often, even now he does that by emails. Oh and yes, can’t be silent or he will send 500 emails just to get a rise.

      • StandsWithAFist

        Ah, yes: the dreaded “e-bomb”. On the flip side, this is why going no-contact (silent) is so powerful! Not everyone is in the position to block e-mail, e-messaging, e-everything, but if you can, do it. It creates a clear boundary, and YOU are the now the one in control of that boundary, not them. That’s why they e-bomb: it’s a power grab. Don’t give it to them.
        Be prepared for them to do a “work around” to violate the boundary (mine went out and got a new phone/new number that wasn’t blocked b/c I didn’t know it existed. When I figured it out, I successfully blocked it). I even disconnected my landline b/c my abuser used it to exploit my kids and stalk me, so I eliminated the opportunity.
        E-mails can often be blocked using name only, not necessarily the email address, depending on your plan/provider. (Most abusers are so narcissistic that they won’t change their real name, only their alias address[es], phone numbers, etc.) You can even create a “safe” list with contacts that are limited to those YOU choose, & all others get sent directly to trash/deleted. The freedom of deleting is, well…..freeing: you aren’t tempted to read them! They’re gone before they arrive–how great is that??
        The beauty of all this is that you can honestly say that you did not receive messages w/o being guilty of lying! 🙂

      • Still Scared but you can call me Cindy

        I wish I could go no contact! I have a minor child so two more years of emails. BUT I have two people always copied on all emails . Phone/text/FB are all blocked so emails are a pain but I have a record, witnesses and can see the contradictions in his rants so that is helpful.

  4. Lisa

    This one took me quite a long time to understand and realize I wasn’t crazy……A question is asked to the abuser; he doesn’t answer the question, but ends up talking a lot and actually creates a scenario, kind of inventing a different problem, but this one he can solve. The original question is never answered and we are all left wondering “what was that all about?”!

    • Lisa, Oh my yes! My abuser was masterful at this! It took me a looooong time too!

      Something worth remembering: Forgive yourself for the blindness that put you in the path of those who betrayed you. Sometimes a good heart doesn’t see the bad.

    • LIsa, that’s a definite tactic of manipulation. It’s called Diversion. A closely related tactic is Blocking.
      When someone tries to call the abuser for using Diversion, he often switches to Blocking and Accusing. Accusing (i.e., falsely accusing someone of what they have not done) is a one-size-fits-any-scenario tactic in the abuser’s armory.

      • Ann

        Lived this in spades!
        Now I rarely interact, because no matter how small or insignificant, he turns into something ugly. Then tries to blame me for it. Ain’t playing this no more.

      • Lisa

        It’s amazing…all these tactics diversion, blocking, accusing, projecting, etc. etc, etc! Makes me a bit sad now. Since divorced and he has moved out I am more clear headed and so is my teen. Now when I see him and he starts some circular talk or doesn’t answer straight I cut in and I refocus the conversation to the original intent. My daughter just blurts out “That’s not what I asked you!” and continues to basically cut him off and refocus it as well. We do this without being rude, but finally able to be assertive. It’s so exhausting.

      • poohbear

        Mine has me pretty much convinced I’m crazy. Nobody else I interact with in life seems to think I am, or at least they don’t say so. I actually have quite a few good, supportive friends, which baffles him…just yesterday he demanded to know “Who’s ‘Jane’?? I never heard of ‘Jane’!!” He has absolutely NO friends, even though I’ve always told him it’s healthy for people to have same gender buddies and do things with them once in awhile. He used to say I scared them all off but when I’d ask for specific names he could never answer.

        This post is very long, but I feel I need to write it.

        Some time ago, after one of our routine fights, I sat down quietly in my bedroom and just started writing in a notebook I found. I was pouring out my heart about the way it felt decades ago when I was 19 and he swooped in like Prince Charming and somehow manipulated me into believing God wanted us to get married. I stuffed that notebook in my yarn bin and forgot about it. I eventually started using pieces of paper out of it (the writing was sandwiched in the middle pages).

        Last week, our youngest son needed paper for a homework assignment, and I foolishly handed him the notebook after flipping through the first dozen pages, thinking it was blank. *HE* snatched it and proceeded to flip through the entire thing, and opened up to my writing. He didn’t even read it but burst out that it was more of my “drivel” and became furious. I snatched it away and said it was something personal and private I’d written for myself, that it hadn’t harmed anyone. He just went on and on and on, accusing me of lying about him, embellishing, having poor judgment of reality, the works. I guess that means my gut feelings are always wrong, that the pain he causes me when he puts me down, isn’t real…therefore, I have no right to write it down or even dare to feel it. 😦

        I had wanted to attend a concert this Spring, and go with one of my girlfriends. I almost never do anything apart from him. I asked his “permission” (pathetic, I know). But, he said HE wanted to go with me, instead….I reluctantly agreed, as usual. But after last week’s incident, I told him I was not going to go with him…I didn’t want to ruin a fun evening with someone who obviously loathes me. He gave me the silent treatment for days. Next thing I know, he was on the phone with the TV station, trying to buy tickets for us! I stood my ground and said NO, I’m not going with YOU. More silent treatment for days.

        Last night, he said he’d wanted to bring our youngest son with us, and that was the real reason he’d wanted to go…he said that our son would’ve enjoyed the orchestra. Our son doesn’t even LIKE concerts. It’s also late at night on a school night. Besides, he’d said NOTHING till last night about wanting our son to go. He said that was because it was a “surprise.” ? Surprise for whom? I think he was just trying to make me feel guilty…”Look, you’ve just robbed your son of a wonderful experience, because you want to go with your friend!” I asked our son, and he said he wouldn’t have wanted to go, anyway.

        I told *him* he should still go if he liked, and even tried to talk our son into going, or maybe ask one of our older grown kids, or take his sister, but *he* said no, that if *he* went I would be telling my friends *he* was “stalking” me.

        This is a typical evening in my home. I know none of you were there to witness this, but I have relayed it as truthfully as I could from my perspective. I know how God hates lying/bearing false witness against others. Do I really sound crazy? 😦 Thank you for reading…

        (editor’s note: some information has been edited for the commenter’s protection)

      • Seeing Clearly

        You do not sound crazy at all. You paint a picture that many of us on this sight recognize to be our own experience. I put your true experience in my file entitled, ‘example of mind games and crazy making.’

        I didn’t begin describing these kinds of situations to any one until I filed for divorce. My sister asked why I never said anything, my answer was simple. The exN would tell me that I only behaved this way at home. He said I was a totally different person around other people. So how could I ask anyone else. He (almost) convinced me that he was totally correct so that I didn’t dare speak. I was even too insecure to share it with the psychologist.

        Giving another human so much authority that they are able to manipulate a sound mind is so sad. We never set out to give them that authority, they sinfully steal ground one little experience at a time. For me, it was a slow process of admitting who he really was. It is our wonderful defense mechanism that allows the reality to open slowly before us.
        When you dare to ask us this question today, you are carefully and slowly opening the door of who you are really married to. It isn’t who you thought or hoped. And that is a very painful realization. Please be very gentle with yourself and speak truth.

    • Yep… totally relate to this

      • poohbear

        How alike they all are, Carol! I am so confused re my sanity, when Barbara didn’t immediately post my comments, the first thing that came to mind was that I’d gone over the line somehow (it turned out she was trying to keep me safe). He’s half convinced me I’m an Academy Award deserving actress, for successfully convincing the rest of the world that I’m anything but an evil nutjob.

        He calls me a phony, and mimics me (actually, he doesn’t repeat things I’ve said word for word, but in a whiny little mock-female voice says, “Oh, poor me, I’m such a VICTIM…!”)

        I’ve even had a psychiatric exam (it came back I was “normal”), and have been to more therapy sessions than I can count…but it always seems to come down to me being declared sane, and him being an abuser. I don’t know how one woman can fool so many mental health professionals, on top of the rest of the world. I’ve even TRIED to convince them I was crazy, but it didn’t work.

        You are so right, though…sometimes it’s almost less painful to believe he’s right, and that you really are the one with issues, than to face the fact that you’ve given the best part of your life to a monster.

        And don’t the monsters love to make you feel like it’s all your fault? Mine once claimed that he got his meanness from me. (Family members who are not abusive say I don’t have a mean bone in my body.)

        He can’t even go out with me in public without getting a dig in. [Eds: anecdote illustrating this removed to protect the victim being identified by her abuser or his allies.]

        And then the “digs” are really just “kidding” and we’re “too sensitive and can’t take a joke.” The nightmare goes on…I’m looking forward to the day when I truly wake up.

        (((hugs))) and encouragement to you, dear lady, and thank you for your insight. You are very brave and stronger than you know.

      • Hi Poohbear, as we moderate all comments before they go live, commenters often have to wait a while before their comments are published. The time delay can vary, depending on how busy our team of moderaters are. And yes, sometimes there is a delay while we consider whether to edit out identifying material, or we are checking out a link the commenter gave in order to decide whether or not to let the link be seen by our readers. (The links issue was explained by Jeff C in a recent post.)

        blessings and hugs to you.

      • poohbear

        Oh, no problem, I understand! I was just explaining how he’s gotten me to thinking I’ve done something offensive all the time, to the point that I interpret the most innocent of things wrongly. You may edit that out of my post if you like. I’m so grateful for your site. Sorry for the misunderstanding!  

      • no worries, Poohbear. We try to have the backs of our readers. There was no ‘misunderstanding’ — just people caring about each other and looking out for each other’s welfare. 🙂

  5. LH

    Oh yes, HE was the genius! And all the questions when asked to do something he didn’t want to do. Absolutely him all over. And the last paragraph brought back memories of how he would come in the kitchen while I was trying to get dinner on the table (before he got angry) and start fondling me in front of the kids, and when I objected told me I was a bad wife and there was nothing wrong with what he was doing because we were married.

  6. His Banner Over Me Is Love

    For years I used to wonder ‘how hard is it to wash up?’, because everything I asked him to wash up would still be dirty, and he would always have an excuse for it. I even SHOWED him how to do it on numerous occasions (and this man is super smart!). Then I realized it was deliberate – so that I wouldn’t ask any more. He hated to be asked anything. Then the tactic changed to getting annoyed when he was asked to do anything. He would be in a temper and say it was because I asked at the ‘wrong’ time or in the ‘wrong way’, but no matter now i timed it, it was always wrong. Then he would do the job in a temper and usually do it badly or brake something. In the end, I used to text him if anything needed doing – because it made me so anxious. All of this behaviour was to manipulate me into not asking.

    Also, I think in the early years of our marriage, when there was a lot of wall punching, window smashing (even the windscreen of the car) and throwing things it was used to manipulate me. It made me frightened, and ultimately controlled me all through our marriage.

    • “I think in the early years of our marriage, when there was a lot of wall punching, window smashing (even the windscreen of the car) and throwing things it was used to manipulate me. It made me frightened, and ultimately controlled me all through our marriage.”

      Yes, a little physical violence goes a long way. Even one incident of physical violence can keep a victim intimidated and walking on eggshells for years. . . because if he did it once, he could always do it again. And he can hint that merely by an eyebrow or a furrowed brow or a tone of voice or how close he stands to you, and those hints can be so subtle that the kids and any bystanders won’t think anything untoward is happening. . .

      • Lynn

        Now that I am honest with myself and can admit to myself ,, that I have been in a abusive marriage with a controlling husband, who for the first 15 years has molded me into what he wanted me to be. I can so relate, he used his fist and anger in the first 10 years. Also I can relate to not asking him to do things. My husband would get angry when I asked him, and rarely would he do the project that I asked for him to do anyway, but I was afraid of his anger,,so I quit asking. Also early on in our marriage I found that to keep the peace and prevent him from being angry with the kids, I had to be weak, and not have the house in order. Because if I was on top of things and acted happy he would be unreasonable with the kids and he would get scary. Just those first several years of violence shaped the rest of my life ………..It is hard to admit that I have lived this way for so long. At the time I thought I was doing the best for my children.

      • Yes, this hits home for me, too. When I was just starting to peer through the fog, about a year ago, I would say, “He’s not violent. The last time he was physically violent was when he threw a hard, heavy buckwheat pillow at my abdomen when was I was newly pregnant with our first child.

        Duh…he was never physically violent after that because I QUIT STANDING UP for myself! I would do anything to protect my baby, and I just fell into line thereafter.

      • This. This has been my life so many times over the last 20 years. Sudden explosions of rage. My three kids and I have witnessed countless holes in the walls from his fist, kitchen utensils flying across the room and narrowly missing people, plates thrown and shattered, doors slammed, yelling profanities at the top of his lungs, remote controls hurled across the room because they aren’t working, wreckless driving and endless things broken. One episode occurred due to a computer game he was playing. He bashed his keyboard to pieces, picked his desk chair up at home and slammed it into the floor a number of times, tore drawers out of the desk and slammed them to the ground. It is terrifying when it happens. Then, he doesn’t understand when the kids and I run and hide. Nor does he have any understanding of why I feel no sense of intimacy with him any more. All it takes is one harsh word spoken to anyone and I can feel my insides cringe and I freeze. This isn’t all the time. There are good times. (I hate typing that.) This was why I left him the first time, because I was terrified when he kicked a basket across the room and narrowly missed our 6 month old son. I ask myself every time he explodes “why did you come back?” Such scary times for both my kids and myself.

  7. Sofia

    Yes! All of the above. He was perfectly capable before I came along and then suddenly he was helpless to plan or maintain his own life. The electronics, the map reading, finding things, everything but the texting – he preferred to call on the phone. Gaaahhhhh! So glad to be rid of him!

  8. Laurie

    My stbx liked to tell me, “I’ll LET you (do whatever he didn’t want to do)” as if doing so was a magnificent reward and mark of favor for me . Another favorite ploy of his was to ask me what I wanted …in what should be a simple matter like where to go out to eat… but then proceed to deny each and every option I selected… until at last, in frustration, I’d tell him to just tell me what I should pick… only to then flip it around and act innocent and why-can’t-you-just-decide? He also treated us to him sitting in silence for days on end, looking like bullfrog sucking on a lemon, glowering displeasure and promising malice without saying a single word – this was designed to create mounting tension and anxiety and a strong desire in us to just get it over with, the dropping of the inevitable other shoe – his coming payback for whatever offense I had committed (because it certainly wasn’t his fault. Ever.)

    • poohbear

      Wow, how true! One of his pet insults is, “You can’t make a decision!” Actually, I’m afraid to decide anything because I don’t want to be attacked or berated. Example, he’d bring home a stack of tile samples for the kitchen wall and ask my opinion. I’d truthfully tell him what I liked, only for him to respond, “You like THAT?!” as if I’d picked the most outrageous looking thing on earth. Finally, I learned to just smile and say, “YOU pick, honey…whatever you like is fine!” That would only get him mad, too…another favorite insult is accusing me of trying to be a “martyr.” In other words, I’m backing down (in a phony way)…I can never come up with the “right” answer.

      • Lisa

        Oh my gosh they are all the same! It’s mind boggling…….

  9. savedbygrace

    I think this is an important post, as it is an area I’ve not seen much written on and I know personally I have puzzled over my husbands undeniable intelligence and ability and spirituality on the one hand and his sheer ineptitude and ‘disability ‘ and ungodliness on the other.
    I agree that “I didn’t get it before ..” seems to be a go to ‘get out of jail free’ card…
    My husband used physical exhaustion as an ‘excuse’ for not relating socially, not helping round the house- everything really- with him frequently ‘collapsed’ on the lounge with ‘exhaustion’.
    I think using psychological theories and self help marriage books to his own advantage has also been a master stroke of manipulation… that way he still seems so knowledgeable and actively ‘working on ‘ our relationship but all the while gathering more ammunition for who he can blame ( ahh I never attached with my mother..) and all the things I should be doing to improve ( ‘see it says here…’) all the while serving to give me hope that maybe this time we will make progress in our relationship, but the confusing fog just thickens and keeps swirling…. but hey ‘he’s just as puzzled as me’ and while ever he keeps us focused on ‘working on our relationship’ my eyes are off his abuse- the real reason for our troubled marriage..
    he is such a manipulator in this area that now that we are separated I will not show him or his allies this info on abuse as I know he will know how to ‘play it’ in order to get back into the relationship and further promote his image of a ‘changed man’..

    • I have not approached my to-be-ex-husband with the information at this site, either, for exactly the reason you described: it would only serve as fodder for him to argue. And I don’t frankly care whether he “gets” it or not. I know the truth, and that’s enough for me.

      • poohbear

        Yes you do, Marah! 🙂

  10. joyisnowfree

    Turning tables on me by using blame shifts in order to avoid apologizing, and be being held accountable. Acting sweet and considerate right before wanting sexual gratification. Using God’s word to manipulate circumstances.

  11. Charis

    We used to do home improvement projects together: a new deck, a new kitchen, a new driveway, etc. It was the nightmare you can imagine – complete with asking for my ideas or creative problem-solving skills, downplaying/degrading each idea, opting to go with his original plan, then hearing one of my ideas from an “expert” 3rd party opinion and thinking it instantly brilliant. I was humiliated & swallowed my anger day after day, week after week as these projects wore on. None of these projects are finished…well, maybe the driveway because we ended up contracting the cement work.

    One rather covert tactic my h used during these days of heavy labor – we did the design & installation work ourselves to save money – was to say to me: “Would you LIKE to do x?” This always rubbed me the wrong way and I couldn’t figure out why. He would often ask when I was busy or it would be a task that I didn’t have a skill set to match the requirements of the job…or it would just plainly be a job I didn’t really WANT to do. Either way, it bugged me that my instant internal response was usually: “No, not really – I don’t want to do that.” Yet I felt compelled to always say yes…and…that a wife should WANT to say yes when her husband asks for help.

    I tried to get him to change his approach. I asked him to state it as a need. I thought that if I knew that he needed help – perhaps that would change my heart attitude. He wasn’t very good at meeting my request. Maybe 5% of the time did he ever say, “Hey, I need your help. Would you mind doing x for me, please?”

    I know now why I had such a struggle with his original question and the tasks he was assigning. 1) it was impossible for him to ever admit he needed help or state his needs and 2) there was an implied demand behind his “Would you LIKE to…”; he thought I should just do what he was asking and like it – no matter what; no option to say no – and he would sulk if I dare say no or object that it was work I couldn’t do (no matter how hard I tried & failed – which, in itself was demoralizing).

    • We have so much work that isn’t completed around our home. Certain rooms are gutted out with smashed gib board and has been like this for 4-5 years. Also half painted walls. My husband works with his hands and is very capable.
      He blames me that he doesn’t have the time because he helps me.with the kids.

      • NotHeard

        Loves6, what would happen/what do you think would happen if you finished the half painted walls yourself? Apart from complaints and criticisms, that is…

      • I have suggested doing this and actually have set to do this. He gets annoyed, angry, sulks and makes life miserable. So I don’t do it. Guess he manipulates me out of it. He feels like I show him up or that I’m exerting my strength and independence (-which he does not like). He prefers me to be the woman and he be THE MAN… he has a real ‘thing’ about being a man…nut he is actually pathetc
        I’m so exhausted from life with him. I just want out. My home is lovely but has so much work that needs doing I have no energy to fight to get my way…I never win
        I have been thinking overnight and I realize manipulation is one of his biggest tools he uses with me. He is coercive manipulative and knows me so well he knows exactly how to go about it.

  12. My instincts were wrong about how I felt or precieved happened. Its not ….. its just harmless fun. Your to narrow minded, old fashioned,not as spiritual intuned.
    It wasnt my fault thats on my computor…it just happened.

  13. I just remember when we would be driving in the car together, him driving (ALWAYS! Are you kidding me, I can’t drive, don’t know how, never learned properly, and don’t know how I ever got anywhere before him?!) and me, passenger; as long as I was looking up and just driving along looking, didn’t even have to be talking, everything was fine. But, as soon as I got my phone out and started checking messages, mail or FB, he would get physically annoyed and have to bring up a subject or ask me to do something or he would even get out his phone, while driving and start to look at FB or something. Unbelievable! I would say, uh, you’re driving! And because he knew I was right, he would be so agitated, but put his phone away, but, he could not force my attention on him in that situation. I was free to do as I pleased because I was not driving! But, if I were to stop looking at my phone, everything would be fine – fine to him, at least. That’s a mild example, I have many others, as I’m sure we all do, but I’m not going any further into bringing to light his adolescent, Narc, abusive behavior! As ‘they’ say that gig is up! I thank God for His divine revelation in my life, marriage and circumstances – I am truly free!

    • Lynn

      Yes,,,,,checking text messages and phone gps while driving. My H knows how much this upsets me. But he will not stop…. we had 2 of our grown kids and 10 yr old in the car going on an outing, and he was looking and typing gps on his phone I said ,,, we have our kids in the car …. he threw his phone down. and got mad. He just keeps doing this because he knows I don’t like it. He knows its dangerous but he keeps doing it. This is the story of my life with him……he provokes me …..a councelor early in my life told me not to tell him anything cause he will use it against you. Naïve me I thought why would anyone do that…. that’s not nice its downright nasty. So I went for years trying to be best friends with him and tell him my feelings and what I liked and didn’t like. you know trying to have a relationship…. I just didn’t get it. It is so funny,, now 32 yrs married now, we have recently gone to a program) we go thru the program 3 times,,The women and the men are separated., The biggest thing I heard over and over from the leader is….. don’t tell them anything. wow. I guess if you want to be married to an abuser you just can’t have a relationship with them… I really don’t have a marriage, or husband, we just talk about the kids, or weather or home repairs or problems with finances. I guess we are just business partners,,, but even then we are not on the same page.

      • This has been the most bizarre time of separation with my Narc husband. I have learned a lot about myself; guess what? All good! Yes, I have come to realize that I am a great person, powerful woman of God, kind, caring, compassionate, and even intelligent, honest, integral, organized and extremely capable in any area I need to be! Who would have thought I could do anything right in the past 33 years? It is totally amazing! Because I know who and what he is, it has totally changed the way I interact with him or….. not at all! He can no longer provoke me or get under my skin, confuse me, talk down to me or demand anything of me. And NO manipulation, I guess he somehow knows it won’t work and he doesn’t even try! No yelling at me? What? THAT has never happened before! You have no idea how many times over the course of our so-called marriage that I asked him not to yell at me, to no avail. It’s weird! I come and go as I please, feel no guilt or condemnation and he has not punished me for it. In the past, if I went with a girlfriend or group of women anywhere, I was usually punished before (and usually the day of) and then when I came back, also. He is jovial, helpful and he talks a lot and usually sounds nervous, even tongue-tied, most of the time. I am actually not sure what’s going on or how to take all of it?

        He did ask me to come into the family room the other day and said he needed to say something. I have gone down this same road too many times for it to be remotely funny; before he could even get started I said, you can say what you need to, but you will NOT lecture me, you will NOT get out the Bible (gee, how did I know he was going to do that – and he did!) and throw scripture at me, and this will be a conversation, meaning two people listening and talking and being respectful not to talk over one another, otherwise – I’m out!

        However, when anything is brought up by me, that has to do with possibly talking about anything important marriage-wise or anything in our past that is not and never was resolved, there is the silence, the blank N stare, leaving the room, dismissal, etc. I will even say to him, remember this? I did not live this life alone, you have been here all along, why do you have nothing to say about it or admit any of it? If there is a response it is along the lines of, oh, I’m not getting into that, or he starts double talking, etc. I just wonder what is going on in his mind, I know he sees that I am different, very different and that he can no longer pull all the things he used to, so what’s he thinking? Is there anything that I should be aware of that I don’t see?

      • Seeing Clearly

        Survivorthrivor2, you have given yourself a wonderful Christmas gift. It is the gift of loving yourself and in that,, thinking highly of yourself. It inspires me to hold my head a little higher, too. I am so happy for you!

      • what an inspiring testimony, survivorthrivor2 🙂

      • Oh my goodness, Lynn, we have much in common, including the length of the “marriage,” the grown kids and the 10-year-old, the throwing back in my face, things I’ve bared my heart about, and yes, we too are little more than “business partners,” as well, talking only about the few things we have in common (kids, a grandchild, finances, etc.)…it’s almost scary. (((hugs))) to you…I understand…

  14. His Child

    “I’m too stupid to really be a bad person”. Oh yes, that one strikes a chord! He’s got everyone believing it too!

    • soldiergirl

      Surivorthrivor2
      I believe that your H knows that you see thru his facade, and that you have made yourself aware of his tactcs of abuse and control and they are no longer effective on you.
      He could be recalibrating or restrategizing, and I would keep my guard up for different approches of abuse perhaps more subtle forms.
      Necessary boundries set by targets can create resentment and retaliation in a disordered individule, but to a normal person they will respect them and you for it.
      Stay vigilant as i would not let my guard down until you are where you want to be in life.

  15. Ann

    Him: “I’m sorry if you feel that way.” — He doesn’t name his sin/abuse, but rather tries to imply I’m responsible for the pain he just inflicted. And when he says, “I only did it (the abuse) because… I answer, “Jesus didn’t die for excuses.”

    • “I’m sorry they/he/she feels that way” is often proffered by a serial child molester when he’s finally been caught and the victims are coming out of the woodwork and the media are publishing the victim’s stories and the molester’s responses to their accounts. Serial child abusers — and churches that have swept the molester’s crimes under the rug — use that line especially. So it all becomes about the ‘feelings’ of the victim, not the facts of the crimes and misconduct, only the feelings of the complainants. And they make out that they ‘care’ about you by saying “I’m sorry you feel that way.”

      The translation is:
      I’m parading how compassionate I am for your pain by saying I’m sorry that you have those painful feelings. And since I’m so compassionate and tender-hearted, you should stop going on about the evils that I did. And if you don’t stop, if you reject my compassion, then you are the ones being hard-hearted!

    • And another translation is:
      I’m sorry you feel that way because I’m sorry that you’ve named and shone the spotlight on my evildoing and I can’t quite escape that spotlight (yet) but I’m thinking up ways to escape that spotlight real fast, so to buy myself time to think, I’m saying that I feel sorry — which is TRUE! I feel sorry!!!! [[[for myself]]]

      • Ann

        Oh yes! You can actually see it in their eyes–the searching for the escape. It took me many years, but now I see it so clearly. There is also another type of pause/biding time– the “um”, “uh”, or a clearing of the throat to cover-up, divert your attention, or even strike out.

      • Still Reforming

        Ann,

        Yours too? I can still hear the clearing of the throat – mostly before opening his mouth – and the frequently interjected uhhhs and ummms – even in his voice mail messages. No one else I know does that as often as he does. I think it has to do with the conscience recognizing the lies – the discomfort with it even though it’s willful. The fact that people who tell the truth never need to interject such things with regularity or clear their throats quite so often. I meant to point it out on occasion, but never did. It’s just that it always caught my attention, and I always knew when he was going to speak because more than 50 percent of the time, he’d have to clear his throat – but in a strange way. Not like there was any kind of sinus issue – just this kind of strange uncomfortable disquieting clearing.

    • poohbear

      Or, he justifies his words/behavior with “You provoked me!” It’s never his fault…

  16. I’m having a bit of a think about his manipulation. He is covert. ..very intelligent and very clever.
    Our kids were chatting to us last night. My son said mum you don’t have a manipulative bone in your body. I thought about that. I don’t. .. I’m realising that I’m compliant and just go with the flow. I’m told I’m a lovely person (sweet feedback from someone recently) my husband does not make me feel like a lovely person. His criticism of me for many years has crushed me. He has complained about me so much. I’m realising that his ‘niceness’ is so manipulative it makes him look so pathetic.
    Over recent weeks I look at him and I cannot stand him. … I don’t like him. I think he is so pathetic and not even manly…
    I hate being manipulated by him. So much of my anger and disgust of him is internal…. no one would have a clue.
    The marriage counseling we had exposed the angry outbursts but his manipulation is worse. It’s so subtle and it makes my skin crawl.
    Last week he wrenched my young child’s arm in anger. It scared both of my children ..I spoke up ND said that’s unacceptable…he told me to let him be the father He said he is a good dad and does a lot with the kids. He tells me that he is entitled to get angry like that at that is not an use. He said I’m the one that is abusive when I yell. I just can’t stand him. I look at him and I say God I’m sorry but I cannot stand this man.
    I’m not the abuser. .. I feel like I abuse am sometimes when I get exasperated and raise my voice because I feel picked on etc.
    Manipulation is evil but when it into subtle it is so hard to deal with

  17. NotHeard

    ‘Ditto’ to so many of these!!
    He’d ask my opinion, or give me the choice, only to then get me to change my mind, but in such a devious, undercover way that I didn’t realise he was changing my mind for me.
    A long time ago he admitted to me how he always builds in a ‘back door’ to get out of commitments (to other people) if desired. Eg he might let people assume incorrect information, doesn’t correct them, they think they have a commitment, while he’s thinking he has a perfect loophole! That’s when I realised he was building in loopholes with me too.
    The one that really hurt was he’d tell me how much of a disappointment I was in bed, and how I was just no good at sex and I obviously just did not like it! Small wonder!! Tune in to what your emotions, and your intuition are telling you! Thats what eventually opened my eyes to the manipulation patterns. (And reading ‘the verbally abusive relationship’ by Patricia Evans!)

  18. Searching

    It is so helpful to know that others also deal with such subtle (and not so subtle) manipulation. I feel alone, but not so alone. One I deal with is changing the meaning of words and sentences. It can be on paper, in black and white, and he will tell me I took it all wrong, that is not what he meant. Whatever language he speaks, it is not English! So I have learned to wait a few days for his interpretation of what he said so I know what he meant. For example, telling me he will be staying away for a week (he just left us recently) because he cannot afford to come and stay in a separate location means he will be back to pick stuff up and see the kids, somehow also managing to find a place to stay overnight. Sometimes, when he has said that is not what he meant, even he cannot actually explain what he meant. It crazy-making never knowing how he will interpret his own words next (never mind how he twists mine). Hence, I am going to start moving towards legal separation so that the government can tell him what the words mean. He can try arguing with them!

  19. soldiergirl

    Tearing down the ambition of my adult and almost adult children. There is no vision in them, no goals for the future, no ambition. They remain catatonic in front of their addictive computer games as if that is their means to an end.
    This is little wonder since AH has never had set goals himself.
    Why — he can’t have his children out shine him in life by goal setting!
    When they were younger they actually had ideas of what they wanted to try to become or do.
    Although i tried to encourage these ideas, AH was always there to subtely mock, discourage and ridicule their ideas until they quit talking about becoming anything.
    So now they are content with just playing video games as their permenant time filler.
    Never mind social actiities, jobs or friends.
    It is very disheartening for me to see today how these games have become their manifested means to an end..
    But to the AH, he encouraged it all along against my wishes, and is quite pleased with this addiction, as it is now a way to further control and manipulate them.

    • Oh my gosh. .. my husband is exactly the same… he does not goal set. Never has and never will. I want to set goals for moving house, having adventure in life….but no…it gets talked about my hopes get up and nothing comes of it.
      My son’s are exactly the same. One if married sons wives get so exasperated … my son just won’t save for a house, so sent want to travel etc all the things my husband has been.
      I am over trying to get my boys to make something of their life. My husband has ruined them to a point. I feel like I have failed as a mom. I now just stand back and no watch things happen with no reaction
      I relate much to you.

    • Sunflower

      My children’s father would not teach them things they asked him to. I think he was afraid that they would surpass him in ability. He discouraged college, wouldn’t help them get medical help when needed (and this in Canada when it didn’t cost him anything).

      One thing he liked to do was to whisper to the children, conspiratorially, “Don’t tell mom. She might get mad.” (yup, then I DID get mad) Or just imply that ‘my nerves’ couldn’t handle it. We’ve been apart about 18 years and he still uses that. Funny, my dad was a pastor, and I remember when a couple in church had marriage issues, he would usually sort of wave it aside and say, “Well it’s her nerves, you know.” Of course I had made the mistake of telling my h how much that bugged me.

      • Ann

        “One thing he liked to do was to whisper to the children, conspiratorially, “Don’t tell mom. She might get mad.” ” —- Anti-husband does this constantly!!! What an evil thing to plant in a child’s heart.

      • Still Reforming

        Ann, re: “shhhh… mom might get mad,” I dealt with that one for a few years. Who knows how many times it was said to our child when I was out of earshot? I only know the few times I overheard it and had to correct it. I never got mad. Still don’t. I was more confused and dumbfounded than mad. So much didn’t make sense. I had to just keep correcting the lies until he crossed a different kind of line. I would have lived with the manipulation even of our child regarding me, until other things happened that went above and beyond.

      • soldiergirl

        The conspiritorial underminer.
        This capsizes just what my AH was to my life.
        Not only was he against me my whole marriage, but he taught the children how to undermine and defy me as well.
        He used to have a “catch phrase” that the kids knew and when the children heard it,- it signified to just go along with what ever mom was asking them to do, but with out any intention of doing it.
        Many a Saturday (once apon a time long ago when I was optimistic), I would want to start the day off with the family cooperating together to get some work done, as a team, so that we could enjoy the rest of the day by relaxing or doing something enjoyable.
        But AH couldnt have me pull off a sucessful plan like that, so he would see my diligent effort to do good and notice that i was starting to succeed at it, and then throw his monkey wrench in the mix by saying “Who wants to go have fun? Like go to the river, or go to the zoo, or how bout go eat out somewhere?”
        And then AH would say to me “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy!”
        What ever it took to deviate the family from following my plans to get some much needed work done around the house.
        Off course everybody wanted to be treated for free, so each time I was left devestated and to myself to deal with all the work.
        This has happened so many times that my children have absoulutly no work ethic now.
        AH will reward them for just being his ally and compliant with whatever he says.
        I usually end up doing most things by myself, because i have to have some decency to my life.
        Now that the kids are older, they dont want to do anything that involves work unless they first know that they will get something out that they want.
        It feels like being held hostage by your family everytime you need something done, because they have learned by example the game of manipulation.

      • I have had a great example of manipulation take place this morning.
        I had been in touch with an old friend who organised a dinner for us to see each other and other old friends tonight.
        My husband didn’t want to go. He didn’t want to see some of the men that would be there . I am desperate for female company. I was so looking forward to it.
        In the last two days I have developed a lot of pain in my body. .. my legs back hips. I’m in a lot of pain. I’m very dizzy. I’m stressed and exhausted from dealing with my husband’s sulking moods and manipulation.
        I am very aware of how much he didn’t want to go. Also yesterday he said to me that I have distanced myself emotionally from him … he was nearly crying talking to me about it. I did not soften.
        This morning he was being his sulky self. I have been feeling so unwell I have said we are not going tonight because I’m unwell. … when I told him he would be pleased to hear it… his mood changed and he was in a really good mood. I gave in. I have no energy to deal with this…. I want out of this life… seriously it’s all too hard.
        He does this to me all the time… I hate it… I hate myself for wearing under pressure.
        I have needs of female contact. … I’m isolated. He doesn’t care about my needs it’s all about poor him!!

      • Jeff Crippen

        loves6 – The vast majority, I don’t think that is an exaggeration, of abuse victims I know have health issues and most of the time though I’m no doctor, these conditions sound to me like immune system related disorders. Cause? Stress. Being constantly on guard, walking on eggshells, experiencing renewed trauma, let’s face it – a human being can’t live like that without being physically affected as well as mentally and emotionally. Your life, like the lives of so many, is like a daily car wreck. I pray that you will be able to remove yourself from that environment and start to heal.

      • Searching

        Loves6, my heart aches for you. How well I understand. The voice so soft and gentle and the words so sorrowful. I had someone tell me it came across like he was a whipped puppy. But once you get the pattern and don’t fall for it, watch out! Within hours the string of accusing e-mails and the sulking and grouchy attitude. It is so incredible how they feel the entire universe should revolve around them. And those of us who have/had to live with it – oh my, it is hard.

  20. Seeing Clearly

    How does my 5+ yrs ex manipulate? I am duped right now about it, but he’s got our adult kids doing it while we have all been involved in a family celebration. The celebration is finally over, thankfully. But my son is very angry with me because I told my 3 yr old grandchild the truth why I was crying. I take care of her most of the week. I told her (2 months ago) the reason for my crying was that papa was being mean to me. And clarified that he was not being mean to her. He and I were talking about the plans for the event. When he was tired of me standing up to him, his comments turned to blame and I still wouldn’t back down to his face. After he left I had a melt down. I am leaving out details, but it was a tough week. And I cried a lot.

    Now that my son has heard his daughter say that papa is mean to grandma, I’m the bad guy. My son hauled me on the carpet, my daughter says I stole her grandparent innocence. I am not to speak negatively about my ex to our grandchildren. This is the first time in 6 years that I have done so. They are protecting their father. My ex put on his best church behavior and surfaced like a fine man through the event. My kids will hold on to that bright spot of having a responsible caring man and to do so, they criticize me. They are genuinely blind to his charade. And I am not allowed to stand up for myself or try to explain why the statement is not the end of the world. To do so would be described as hauling his and my junk out where nobody wants to hear it.

    I emailed an apology to my son for saying that to his daughter. He is not talking to me. I did so out of respect for him being the parent of this little girl. So I guess I would say right now that he manipulated by confusing his kids about who he really can be when given a chance. They so want a thoughtful, generous father, which he was for 2 months. It is too painful for them to let it go. After all, if I hadn’t filed for divorce, we could still be a family. And who knows, maybe their dad could be that fine church man again for a couple months. Maybe he would make them his top priority for a couple months again some time. Children never stop longing for what the heart desires.

    • Still Reforming

      Carol,

      I think you’ve hit upon one of the steepest hills the wife of an abusive husband has to climb – that of the children’s love for their abusive parent and how the abused party speaking the truth ends up being to blame (because either the abuser blames her or the kids want so desperately to see the father they want not the father they have). And the endless counsel from so many parties to “be careful” what you say to the kids.

      It’s just one more way the abused party is isolated, all while doing what she knows is right and best to raise healthy, active children – but not allowed to acknowledge the truth of the abusive behavior, which I think would actually help the kids because it would prepare them to recognize abusive behavior and not end up in an abusive relationship themselves.

      My heart goes out to you, and I prayed for you as I read your message. It’s a lonely place indeed. As if it’s not bad enough to endure the abuse of the marriage, to be isolated from your children and criticized for telling the truth is… well, it’s hard to describe the anguish. You articulated it very well. I’m praying for you, Carol. (((hugs)))

      • Seeing Clearly

        Your note to me is a gift from God, Still Reforming. I do feel very alone. I am not sure the children would say their father was/is abusive. It is a taboo word. They have the door slammed tight on that conversation. Which says to me that perhaps they don’t believe me, but just pacify me. It is another area of confusion. Of course, my physical pain has worsened greatly in these last few months, which goes hand in hand with the mental and emotional mess. I so want to run away, but not sure where I would go.

        The only sure place to go is the manger. This time of year, I go to the manger because the world is so lonely and messy and exactly why Jesus came to earth as an innocent baby. He does not condemn or question. He draws me in love and hope. Thankyou for coming at the right moment as Jesus’ messenger to me.

      • Still Reforming

        Carol,

        I hear you loud and clear. Sometimes I think one of the greatest things we as victims of abuse receive is validation – acknowledgment that what we have experienced is real and it is wrong. It’s one of the gifts and blessings of this website.

        Also, like you, I take comfort in knowing that our Savior understands and does not desire this for us. Certain Scriptures resonate with greater meaning to me now, such as: “He …is a man of sorrows, acquainted with grief.” (Isaiah 53:3) and “Judas, must you betray me with a kiss?” (Luke 22:48) Boy does that last one ring true for many of us. Betrayal with a kiss. The angry smile.

        And what makes it all the more lonely and painful is that we aren’t manipulating our children. We want what’s best for them – not purchasing their love as many of our abusers do, but seeking their good through hard work, diligently bringing them up in the fear and admonition of the Lord. All to see it undermined by someone who doesn’t love them. And yet, they can’t see that. At least not now. We love them, while the abuser with his words dripping with honey… doesn’t love them. He uses them.

        I’ll keep you in prayer, Carol. It’s salt in the wound when our children don’t see it and can’t (or won’t) understand.

      • Seeing Clearly

        Thank you, so very much.

      • Searching

        I can so relate. Sadly, with email and online shopping, they can continue to manipulate and buy the kids even from a distance. Meanwhile I am at home teaching them how to clean bathrooms and do their schoolwork and love God and their Bible and have character. Frustrating how quickly all that can be undermined by the one who doesn’t love them, though he declares it ad nauseum (in baby talk to teenagers, no less).

      • Seeing Clearly

        If I could go back and give my children one great gift of childhood, I’m quite sure I know what it would be. They are now in their 30’s. It would be minds free of confusion; the kind that comes from conflicted, abusive vs loving parents. This confusion is so intricately woven into the tapestry of life, that it feels comfortable to them.(sort of)

        My parents were not conflicted, but my confusion began at the age of 4. A college student interned on the family farm and severely abused me that summer. Then, he attended my family’s church (I won’t say he became saved) and was present every Sunday until I went away to college. (Memories flooded back later in my life). So weekly, I was taught about God while my perpetrator watched over me with his narrow, shaming eyes. I always felt a deep friendship with him, and didn’t understand why. But only on the other side of divorce, am I able to trust God with some continuity. At age 4, the autonomic nervous system is still developing.

        This is true and it is the graphic reality of what a mind operating in confusion has to use for navigating through life. Life has always been a struggle for me. Of course choosing to marry an abuser of N orientation was a comfortable choice for me.

        I stepped out of the workforce until my children started kindergarten and raised them as deliberately as I knew how. I am so thankful now In light of what was going on daily, in the home. Just as my mother would have given anything to prevent my abuse as a 4 yr old, I would do nearly anything to have been able to raise my children in a non-conflicted family setting. I am so sorry.

        Dear God, continue to help us all.

      • Jeff Crippen

        Thank you Carol for trusting us with those experiences. It is indeed an evil world in which we live, but thankfully it is passing away.

    • poohbear

      Oh Carol, my heart goes out to you in your pain. You did what you felt was best regarding telling your little granddaughter, and you told the TRUTH, ugly as it was. You didn’t do it in a spirit of slander (as so many “Christian” abusers love to accuse their victims of). She asked you a simple question, and you respected her enough to give her an honest answer.

      I have grown sons and a younger one born late in life. My first and third sons are well aware of their parents’ problems, but choose to remain neutral. My second son and his dad were like best buddies (till last year when our son found a girlfriend). Prior to that, my husband used to confide in him, and on one occasion my son said he’d help his dad get custody of his minor brother, if I ever tried to divorce him! I don’t know if he’d succeed, but the threat sure hurts. I know how it feels to have a child not talk to me.

      You are right, a child (even after being grown) always longs for normalcy and wants to believe it’s still somehow attainable, even if it means believing a parent is something he is not. (((hugs))) to you…

      (Editor’s note: some information was edited for the commenter’s protection.)

      • Lynn

        Carol, I was really emotional with many tears, reading what you went through, as a child. I went thru abuse as a child too and it makes life a struggle\ I too stayed home to raise 4 children, and I would do anything now to go back and redo repair and replace the confusion and craziness of our home with truth and love…… Sometimes the grief is overwhelming…….

  21. Ann

    As soon as I complete *any* work, he appears—“can I help you with something?”

    I’m rearranging a few things in the house, there he is—“you don’t want that on that shelf?”

    I have a very serious medical emergency, but he leaves for an unnecessary dinner with friends—yet he calls everyday to see if I want him to pick up milk when there’s already plenty.

    Wants me to attend all his business events—then doesn’t introduce me to anyone and leaves me to myself while he makes his rounds around the room.

    He asks me to cook a dish for his company lunch (I ask him what the employees would enjoy–he gives an answer)—brings home full plate of food. I ask why it wasn’t eaten—him: “oh they don’t like that kind of food.”

    And the list goes on…

    • poohbear

      Ann, they are experts at putting on shows (and playing head games). I call mine on his cell phone sometimes when I need to ask/tell him something. I can always tell by the tone of his voice when he answers, if he’s at his mom’s or dad’s or some other family member’s, or with a co-worker he wants to give the impression to, that he’s so sweet and kind. Totally different! It’s maddening.

      • Ann

        Poohbear, I totally understand the “sweet and kind” act; you are so right!
        The anti-husband would answer the telephone and when it was one of my friend’s, without fail: “just a minute while I get my wonderful wife!” His other tactic was to talk in sweet/sickening tones while someone was in his office. Even writing these makes me want to throw up. If I called him at his work and no one was in his office he would be clicking away on his computer and sometimes a short sentence would be interjected “how’s your day?”— and that same thing was said over and over after I finished some sentences. He never listened to what I was saying. Even when the children share something exciting they saw or did, anti-husband eeks out a feigned interest; you can see and hear in the childrens’ body language and voices a deflation to their hearts, a recognition that this so called father really doesn’t care about what matters to them.

      • poohbear

        Aw, Ann, that’s so sad, especially re the children 😦 I understand, though…it does hurt when someone who’s supposed to love you, doesn’t feel you’re important enough to listen to with sincerity.

        Mine usually doesn’t make eye contact when I’m speaking to him, even if he isn’t preoccupied with another task, which can give me the impression he isn’t hearing a word I say. Then he snarls at me and gets upset when I ask if he’s even listening. Sometimes I KNOW I’ve told him something, like that I have to stop somewhere after work and will be late, and he’ll later complain that he didn’t know. I’ll say, “But I told you…” and he’ll reply, “You’re always talking!” as if he’d had no choice but to tune me out. Or, he’ll insist I’d never told him, when I KNOW I had.

        And mind you, we don’t see a whole lot of each other for me to yap his ear off, anyway, so it isn’t as though I’m able to even if I wanted. We work/sleep totally different shifts, and he usually goes back to bed in his own room shortly after I come home from work. Ah, but I “talk too much.” I’ve heard the “dripping faucet” thing from somewhere in Proverbs (or Psalms), too. Sad because he’s forever getting into issues with his co-workers, and I’ve always lent a supportive ear, even when he complained about the same things over and over.

        There, it felt good to get that out. (((hugs))) to you and thank you for your reply…

      • Searching

        Oh, those sickly sweet tones! Again, I ask, where do they learn these things! It is particularly used on the kids, and my stomach just turns. Really?! To a 15 or 23 year old?! And boys, no less! And absolutely deaf to anything I say. Then mad when I give up and quit talking. He recently wanted to know if I was willing to talk yet. I said that I didn’t think he had learned to listen yet. That was the end of that awkward conversation! And how many times in one day or even in a row does he have to ask how my day went? Even a simple answer like that was tuned out before he even finished asking the question. The only interest he has in the kids is (1) if they are a girl/princess, and (2) if their interests are the same as his (guns and knives and videos). It is all about him, him, him.

  22. Seeing Clearly

    Jeff, what do you mean when you say this evil world is passing away? It seems so constant.

    • Still Reforming

      Carol, I”m not Jeff, but I believe he’s likely referring to 1 John 2:17: “The world is passing away with its lusts, but he who does God’s will remains forever.” I think as we experience more evil in this present world, we can take comfort in looking to our real home – knowing that we are just sojourners here on earth. Hebrews 11:13 says, “These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth.” We are to remember that our time on earth is short and our time in eternity with God will never end. It’s a far better place to which we go than where we are right now. “Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere; I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of the wicked.” (Psalm 84:10)

      • Seeing Clearly

        Thank you for your quick reply. It is helpful.

  23. Reading this and all the replies leaves me wanting to cry. You all are so strong. I am going on 20 of emotional abuse and feeling like I was crazy. It wasn’t until 5 months ago that my family finally saw his true colors that they confirmed I wasn’t. I fluctuate between feeling strong with my eyes wide open to what is going on to feeling so incredibly weak, broken and just wanting to close my eyes and enjoy the “good times” when they are here. The sad part now is knowing that the “good times” won’t last and we will eventually be right back to reality.

    My husband constantly pesters me for sex or sexual acts. Constantly. Puts the blame on me. A couple of weeks ago he informed me that he wouldn’t be so angry if I would be more intimate with him. Constant nagging. Constant requests for me to get back in bed every morning when I am getting ready for work or when I have purposefully gotten up early to study for school. Every reaction I have is analyzed. Any slight reaction such as a deep breath, a side glance of my eyes, hesitation and suddenly it is all about my not desiring to be with him. Any statement that is not supportive of him and suddenly I am always the one causing the problems and “shouldn’t look at him that way” or should “shut up – don’t talk to me that way.”

    Another thing he does – saying something in an argument or discussion and then denying he said it or did it. Unfortunately, after so many years of this, the fog that rolls over my memory after every argument makes it so difficult to recall with any certainty as to what happened I truly question my memory. His denial makes it worse.

    I feel more and more empty. I am forever grateful for this blog and all the responses as they help keep me grounded in the reality of things versus floating away in denial.

    • poohbear

      😦 The saying something and then denying it (often even screaming and calling me “crazy” and other horrible things for insisting I heard what I heard) is something I’ve gone through for years. I used to wonder why this happened, but now I believe it’s a characteristic of abusers, as I’ve had friends go through this with their ex’s, also. It must be part of their gas-lighting behavior.

      I understand about being told “shut up!” like I’m a barking dog, even though it’s perfectly ok for him to swear and use filthy language, names on me, etc., within earshot of our son. EVERYTHING he does, is somehow justified. Oh, and the “looks” I supposedly give him…sigh…

      I feel your hurt, “reflections.” This site is such a blessing, as we can all relate to one another and receive the validation we don’t get from those who are supposed to love us. Stay strong…God knows the truth.

    • soldiergirl

      Mine used that same excuse.
      Mad because i would not put out for him more sexually, all the while terrorizing me and my kids phychologically and emotionally.
      Mine also was caught frequenting porn sites and only admitted to it when walked in on unexpectedly by me or the kids.
      And then blamed me for having to visit these sites when confronted.. But truth be told that was his addiction.
      He also went through a pity party phase where he told all the kids and every one that I didnt think he was attractive. So he tried to get everyone to talk me into complimenting him. Nope not having it.
      I told them at my age its all about whats inside that attracts me anymore.
      So then he put ads online with pictures of himself on craigslist and other sites to see if anyone else though he looked good.
      Im sure this was all done to try to manipulate me into feeling sorry for him, and giving to his game. But i wasent falling for it.
      He always accused me of fooling around because i dreaded doing anything physical with him because of the way he treated me.
      I got to the point where i avoided taking a shower because i didnt want to give him any ideas as it was such an oxymoron of an act.
      But alas, he had the super pastor in the wings to put the pressure on me, and sure enough right on que I was pulled aside and given the talking to by the pastor.
      I just couldnt believe the pastor only cared about my AH’s physical gratification, because we were married, and said it was my obligation but did not consider all of my inner turmoil with living with him.
      Oh And yes, i also heard the same reason from my AH about the reason he was so angry all the time is because he needed more ___.
      Then he threatened to bring the kids in on the discussion if i did not capitulate to his demands. (And he did-but that was the final straw for me.)
      Anyway i could go on and on with the things that he did to pressure and try to extort me, but just so you know i was once there..
      It is a fear tactic, and not from love.

      • Still Scared but you can call me Cindy

        Same playbook…same script! So eerie that there are so many similarities. Mine was always trying to lose weight or get in shape and for years I had to help with each new diet fad. I eventually gave up and tried to gently say he was not following God because he was not caring for his own body. This of course was blown out of proportion and everyone, EVERYONE, had to hear how I told him he was fat and I wasn’t attracted to him anymore. So glad to be free of his reign of terror.

  24. This post has 92 comments
    Mine will make it 93.

    Just sayin. . .

Trackbacks

  1. Translation of TVC pastor Matt Younger's letter to Karen (Root) Hinkley - Translations by Ellie

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