A Cry For Justice

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

She nags me! – what the abuser means when he says that

“She nags me” means she presses me to accept my responsibilities.

If you ask an abuser to fulfil his responsibilities, you are not being controlling.

You are not abusing the perpetrator when you ask him to accept his responsibilities. You are being a reasonable adult human being. You are simply calling on him to be a reasonable adult human being in return.

As in all that we write at ACFJ, if you are a male victim of a female perp, you will need to reverse the pronouns to fit your situation. 

The chances of getting him to fulfil his responsibilities is almost zero.

With the work of household, parenting responsibilities or any kind of work, when an abuser does 10% of what you do, he thinks you should be grateful to him.

The man who abuses his intimate partner wants to live with all the the same freedoms he would have as a single man, but he wants his partner to be always available.

He wants you to be like a compass needle that always points north to him.

He has a very exaggerated notion, from early in life, about what women are supposed to do for him.

Your needs are never a significant factor.  It should be all ease and comfort for him.

He may let some decisions go your way, but as soon as it’s anything that’s important to him, he thinks it has to go 100% his way.

He is irritated and often insulting when you are the centre of attention. He wants to take away whatever in your life you are most enthusiastic and excited about.

He has a zero-sum attitude to love and affection in relationships. In his mind, more for you means less for him.

He is stuck in a mentality of ownership.

If he thinks you are disobeying his rules, he will punish you.

He believes that when he feels angry, he gets to mess up your life.

***

These are things I copied down from the webinar which Lundy Bancroft gave a while back.

Please note that while we think Lundy has a reasonably good understanding of men who abuse their female intimate partners, we do not recommend you attend his healing retreats or any of the co-counseling groups set up under the umbrella of his ‘Peak Living Network’. For more info, see this post:
ACFJ Does Not Recommend Lundy Bancroft’s Retreats or His New Peak Living Network

33 Comments

  1. Aimee

    So true!

  2. LH

    Lundy nails it – so thankful I don’t have to live like that anymore!!

  3. Seeing Clearly

    As I read each statement, I sensed that perpetual sense of frustration and grouchiness that seethed under my skin each day throughout marriage to an abuser. 30+ yrs with him felt like
    I had hooked a huge rusty chain around an 8 ft fallen log and tugged/dragged it through deep,heavy mud. Day after day, year after year.

    I would call it active resistance. He would call it “nagging me”.

    His career allowed him to step out of the house most days, casually well dressed, into his pastoral office, waiting to meet the needs of his parishioners. Had he helped with any domestic responsibilities at home that morning? Nope!

    • Helovesme

      Seeing Clearly; it sounds like you were a pastors’s wife for a long time? I’m so sorry for what you went through.

      Even as a young woman/believer—-I noticed how hard it must have been to be a pastor’s wife. They worked so hard to accommodate their husband’s crazy, unpredictable schedules.

      Sometimes I wondered how they handled it. I wasn’t sure if they had any real help, or if they were expected to do everything, and of course—-it was all for the Lord’s glory (if the wife took care of everything at home by herself, her spouse could be a better minister. Big lie!)

      I now understand that being such a wife must get very lonely. Not only does she deal with huge, heavy burdens, but many might look to her as the ultimate example of a godly woman.

      So she may feel unable to share or even show the real pain and strain she is under—-due to the church watching and possibly judging her every move.

      Very hard to find someone to trust, to let her guard down to—-who will not just say something like: don’t be that way or this way.

      That is not much comfort at all!

      • Seeing Clearly

        My ex was much harder on me than any group of church people could be. His covert aggressive narcissism kept me in confusion. I could not share with anyone because I was never certain that I wasn’t the source of the problem. His ‘crazy-making’ was in such tiny increments that it was hard to express my struggle.

        The other villains were his associates; his minister friends and religious marriage counselors.

        Yes, I agree with you that the life of a minister’s wife, even to a genuine loving minister, would be difficult and lonely.

        Thank you for your compassion, it means a lot today.

      • Yes, I second what you said about the way HeLovesMe shows compassion.

        I am another one who appreciates the way HeLoveMe responds in depth to other readers to help them feel heard and cared for.

  4. GypsyAngel

    Well, that struck a chord of an unhealed bit I didn’t realize was still there.

    [(Q) How long does healing take? (A) As long as it takes.]

    I can well remember the rages he would fly into (I can hear him still) if I asked for help with anything. I worked 6 & 1/2 days a week, sometimes 12 hour days with him [specific details removed for safety], only to come home and not be allowed to go to sleep until all the housework was done (he had a favorite saying about not needing much sleep). Up at four in the morning and not to bed until after one pm if I was lucky. To him, I was nothing but a lazy user who was taking advantage of him for his money; even though I made a bigger salary than he did. If I asked for help, he would smash things or make the work worse, like…(specific example removed to protect commenter’s identity) Sometimes (at one point [exact# removed] years) I wasn’t allowed a washing machine or dryer and had to do the laundry for [exact # removed] children and the both of us [exact details removed] and get them spotless. There was never a dishwasher…I was it, and Lord forbid I ask for help with them…smashed and into the trash they would go.

    When I look back from where I’m at now, I can only marvel at what I was willing to put up with. My “normal” was so far out of the norm. The shift was slow and insidious; it took years. A little bit here, a little bit there. In the end, I was his slave, and he called me that often. No wonder I have so very many health issues now. Not just the ones directly related to the trauma of assaults on my body, but the extensive physical labor, psychological torture, and lack of sleep have really boggled up my systems.

    Sorry for sharing so much so often, but this is one of the few places I can come to do so. Especially where it is all understood without judgment. Thank you for writing this piece so that I could peel off another layer of pain that I didn’t know was still there.

    • GypsyAngel,

      You will see that I airbrushed your comment for safety. We don’t know the details of all our readers’ situations, so we are very mindful of safety.

      And you haven’t been sharing too much. No need to apologize 🙂

      • GypsyAngel

        Twbtc…thanks for the airbrushing. I’m never quite sure what to put in or leave out.

      • GypsyAngel, knowing what to leave in and what to live out is something we have learned by experience. 🙂 We’ve heard so many stories from victims that we know what experiences are super common so they can be left in, and what experiences are less common so they probably need to be left out.

        For example, so many victims report being regularly mistreated sexually by their partners, that it’s okay to report sexual abuse.

        But there are no hard and fast rules, because it also depends on how safe you (the commenter) are. If you are living with the abuser or have recently separated, you are not safe from your abuser. And some survivors are never safe: even decades after they leave they still know their abuser is stalking them or something could precipitate the abuser to re-target them to escalate whatever nastiness they are already doing. Other survivors, like myself, are out, are safe, and are pretty confident that the abuser will not effectively harass them any more – in which case it is okay to reveal more of their experience of abuse on this blog.

        But it’s never a good idea to say things that could open yourself or this blog to being sued for defamation. Even I do not say all on this blog. I don’t want to my first husband to be able to sue me for defamation.

        If you want to brush up on our guidelines for what to leave in and what to leave out, read our New Users’ Info page.

      • GypsyAngel

        Thank you Barbara I’ll do that. Good Idea! Also, so that you know. I’m out 7 years now (Praise God) though I am still careful. A refresher is a great idea.

    • Now Free (formerly struggling to be free)

      Gypsy angel please don’t apologise as it’s so encouraging to hear others as it’s my only outlet too, and place of refuge. It encourages me, and I’m sure others too, to know we are not alone .

      Sometimes just a phrase or a little snippet of blogs just speaks volumes and helps to heal. So to you and others please keep posting. We all benefit.

      • GypsyAngel

        Thank you for saying that. You’d think I would remember that good point, but somehow I seem to forget that my story gives others hope and acknowledgment concerning their personal stories, battles, and struggles.

        Hugs to you Now Free!

    • bluebird121

      GypsyAngel: you’re absolutely correct about wondering at how something so terrible could become normal. I hope that you are finding a new, healthy and safe normal. Sometimes the realizations of how strange and terrible life was can be jarring. But they are also a sign that we are healing.

    • NG

      Reading and hearing testimonies like this, I am definitely grateful for my own single (and often very lonely) status. I know some women who are married to this type: the sulking, brooding, silent abuser, who would smash things and destroy objects if something displeased him at home.

      For some years, I had strong feelings for a certain man (a pastor at that).. Things did not lead to anything, but I certainly saw some characteristics in him that might eventually explode under pressure. Silent treatment or/and throwing stuff, sarcastic remarks etc.. I believe it is best to run to the other direction before any relationship ever takes place and emotional entanglement is much harder to break off.

      While I am disappointed for being single in my late adulthood, I am grateful for not being with an abuser. All these stories here just strengthen my resolve.

  5. Krikit

    “I don’t beat you. I don’t run around on you. I don’t gamble my paycheck away. What more do you want!?”

    Oh, I don’t know…maybe [you] not to be a daily drunkard who verbally abuses with words like: “You are worthless!”, and “You must be a lesbian!” (Because I can’t abide being intimate with a reviling drunkard.)

    Maybe not to completely emotionally isolate so that there is, for all intents and purposes, absolutely NO relationship, much less a loving marital Christian one.

    Maybe not to corner me with your 6’2”, 210# frame in a room with only one door, while menacing me with hissed drunken verbal barbs.

    Maybe not to body-slam my innocent and defenseless cat onto the floor because she didn’t like being manhandled, and reacted by trying to get away.

    Maybe not to repeatedly threaten my security, my dignity, my safety, my very personhood with any number of ways other than physical or financial or infidelity. How about that!?

  6. Now Free (formerly struggling to be free)

    Been there often how true this post is.

    I heard my sister’s boyfriend reporting back that in a church ladies Christmas dinner, my ex was giving a “full” review of all my “traits” and how little I did about the house.

    Cleaning and ironing, making meals was for the most part done by myself ( I’m a great little chef lol). When she did an occasional household chore she made it out to be agony for her and made a big fuss about it. Off course it was made out at the table that I did very little, despite what I felt as good husband should do – to share jobs and be a team in the home. I tried to put into practice the scripture that says “preferring one another” so I tried my best to make life as easy as possible as we both had full time jobs and tired after work. Needless to say that did not happen on the other side, only the odd occasion in order to be able to say to outsiders all that she had done. It was deception and manipulation at work.

    All my life since my the beginning of my adulthood I have ironed and washed my own clothes, cooked most of my meals and looked after a house. It’s the way I was brought up in a fairly decent but strict home. We were taught well by example and trained young, something I truly am thankful for. A mother and father who involved us in so much of what they were doing and it gave us so many life skills…. cooking and cleaning, sewing, knitting, car maintenance, gardening and singing (lol) etc etc. I’ll never be able to repay what my heart feels in deep gratitude.

    A woman who was at that church dinner reported in disgust after that dinner to a man who knew me, “Wow, that (my name) must be a right slob he does nothing and poor (her name)” etc etc. Because that man knew a little of the abuse I endured and the nature of my ex, he was quick to say otherwise and correct her. He had been at the brunt a few times of her verbal abuse and witnessed how things really were in the home and at other get togethers over the years.

    Now I have “broken free” at last and left the home and moved on. The house has fallen into a terrible state and she has brought in people to sort out as she can not handle it and is wanting to sell up and move into smaller place that requires less maintenance. There’s too much work involved. I found that interesting for someone who said they were so “house-proud” and according to them did the lion share of everything and was always on top of things in the home.

    I never truly got what People who call ‘nagged’ about things as there was a total careless attitude to household things. It only was raised when there was an outburst of verbal abuse or telling others I was useless.

    However, husbands that say it I agree need to self reflect and start to help their wives. In my experience few say things without reason.

    On the whole if every man grabbed hold of what God intends us to be and tried to put it into practice. A lot of wives would not feel the need to ‘nag’! However I do get the point here that it’s an abuser’s wrongful excuse.

    Thankfully, these people knew I was not like this and totally against my character. People who I had grown up with and been with me many times when I lived on my own before marriage. They knew just by observation that the opposite was true of what was being shared outside.

    Even when I had a valuation done secretly before my separation, the estate agent had to be warned before stepping into her room. He gasped and quickly came out and said to me, “Get out quickly, run and never look back.”

    I was totally unaware that he was also a counsellor and had seen a lot of similar things. He sat down with me and had a short chat of what he felt and observed and encouraged me. I was gobsmacked by this as he seemed to know and gave great insight into things only God and me discussed. It certainly was not part of his remit. It was even on godly lines and biblical things mentioned. I asked him on leaving who he was, was he a Christian. He was!!

    A total stranger gave me the encouragement that no other had ever done personally or since. Even my teenage niece (who does not profess Christianity or attend church) said when I told my family, – “Uncle —— I believe God sent that man to minister to you in the hour of your need!”

    She had no idea how true that was as I had walked into the bedroom after he had left and buckled to my knees and cried for a good hour or more solid by my bed. This was God’s healing for me and a further stamp that I was making the right move.
    The man had vast experience with family and others in my circumstances, including the complication of aspergers, which made it extremely hard for me to at first discern and know which way to go about things.

    I hope this encourages readers to keep going forward and to break free. There is life beyond abuse, despite your fears!! Keep commenting – you are all encouraging me 😀

    • Helovesme

      Now Free( Formerly Struggling To Be Free)

      I read your story a few days ago, and it touched me so deeply!

      Especially the end part, when that “total stranger” gave you what you so badly needed, and JUST at the right time, too!

      The Lord truly knew you needed that, and He provided so beautifully.

      I had something along those lines happen to me, when I needed prayer so badly, after I lost a loved one.

      Long story short, the Lord made sure I found out that a stranger (a man!) told me that he was doing just that for me. He had no idea how badly I was suffering inside (I kept it pushed down as far as it would go)—-but even now I tear up at how much I needed his prayers.

      God bless and I’m SO sorry for what you went through. I think the reactions from outsides, plus the so-called outrage people felt towards you (thinking you were the bad guy) is all too familiar to so many.

      I’m so glad you seem to be doing much better. Blessings to you! Keeping YOU in prayer, too!

  7. Helovesme

    I’m not kidding, I was thinking along these lines this morning.

    I love it when Jesus says to the woman bent over and crippled: Woman, thou art LOOSED!

    Well, you can imagine that that wonderful verse can be used to describe Him releasing us from inner bondage, not just outer ones.

    Well, for so many (TOO many of us), the message is: Woman, stay silent. Stay submissive. Say nothing. Be quiet, or begone.

    Don’t fall for the lies such as:
    I’m sensitive! You wound me. Now I feel bad about myself. YOU made me feel bad about myself. Can’t you just stop, and make me feel loved, appreciated and worthy? I’m needy. I’m insecure. I’m a baby in a man’s body, basically. Nurture me.

    Now I’m angry, because you won’t nurture or baby me. You obviously don’t care about me. No wonder I won’t listen to you when you ask me to do something. I’m too upset. Going to slink away and sulk now. You can do all the work, because I’m too depressed (because of you).

    This post was right on. They’ll do MAYBE 10% of what you ask, then it’s like they are Husbands (or partners) of the Year. And they usually want or expect rewards for doing barely the bare minimum, if that.

    “He is irritated and often insulting when you are the centre of attention. He wants to take away whatever in your life you are most enthusiastic and excited about.”

    Boy I know that well. It’s because they have no interest in wanting you to grow, mature and develop into who He wants you to be: a woman who trusts Him beyond borders. And has the joy of watching Him bear fruit.

    AND (wait for it) is satisfied and fulfilled in Him—that she doesn’t “need” you to keep reminding you how worthy (or unworthy) you are. You know you are worthy, because you are in Him. And knowing He loves you like that—-well, there’s nothing more uplifting.

    Note: we ALL still need to be edified and encouraged. What I mean is that you are understanding your true worth in Him, how much He loves you—and that is causing real work in your heart to be done.

    It ALWAYS matters how your spouse or partner speaks of you, how he or she makes you feel. But an abuser wants to be your “god,” and getting closer and going more in depth with the real, living God is a threat to that.

    By the way, I personally do NOT see Job’s wife as a nag, in case that incident in the Word is thrown at anyone. Abusers or enablers of abuse LOVE to try to use the Word to demean and diminish victims.

    I see her as much more than that. Job spoke back to her in a way that is better stated as: this isn’t like you to speak like this! (when she told him to curse God and die).

    This isn’t to excuse or justify her. But when I lost someone I loved as my own baby—I too wanted to die. Still sometimes want to.

    I now wonder if Job’s wife was speaking more about herself than about Job: I want to curse God and die. Nothing matters to me anymore.

    And for crying out loud, she just lost ALL her kids. Can we not show her even one ounce of compassion? And not label her as the “nag who was of no help to her husband during his time of testing?”

    By the way, Job didn’t KNOW he was being tested at the time, had no idea about Satan approaching God and what went from there.

    Again, there’s so much complexity and richness in the Word that we overlook, omit or simply change the narrative so it fits whatever narrow minded view we already have (of women, in this case)

    • bluebird121

      Helovesme, your comments are always so enlightening. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I think that your point about abusers being threatened by a target’s growing relationship with God because they have set themselves up as gods themselves is so important.

      I often wonder how and why I realized I was being abused and that’s the conclusion that I most frequently come to. It was when I began to learn about who God really is, what He requires of His children and how great His love is for us that I couldn’t abide the idolatry of being with an abuser any longer. The knowledge and love of God is such a powerful force for freedom.

      • Helovesme

        I’m so sorry for the lateness of my reply!

        Thank you so much for the kind words and comments!

        The pastors i have known or listened to have all been men. IMO, none of them would dare say out loud, in a sermon—-that Job’s wife was a “nag” or was being a “nag.”

        We lack much sensitivity in the church towards women, but the men who called themselves Christians and preached—-would probably know better than to say such a thing like that out loud and so directly.

        But I NEVER heard one kind word said about her. No compassion for a loss that was just as much hers as Job’s.

        The attitude towards her was more like: nice wife, right? Or, because she clearly tempted him to do the exact thing Satan wanted Job to do (curse God)—-this kept putting her in a worse and worse light.

        They put themselves more in the shoes of Job (as men) and focused more on what he was going through (especially after his friends showed up).

        As men, they clearly wanted a wife who would tell their husbands NOT to curse God and die, despite the tragedy, and trust Him.

        That would be what a “godly” woman would do, right?

        The fact that Job’s wife supposedly “failed” in that arena seemed to give them the right to pigeonhole her as an ungodly woman, who said the EXACT wrong thing at the EXACT wrong time.

        When Job needed her the most, to encourage and stay strong and stand strong with him, she chose otherwise.

        So, again—-here is how I believe she is pegged and portrayed. IMO, that’s unfair.

        She is not talked much in the book of Job, so it’s also easy to look at this one pivotal time in her life, and assume the worst about the rest of her life. Which we know nothing about!

        Pastors do (and should) focus on how Job’s friends failed him. Even though they came, sat in the ashes with him for a few days—-it went downhill from there.

        The moment they opened their mouths—it was nothing but shaming and blaming Job.

        Since so much MORE is said about his friends—we know more about what they are like. Those are the ones that i feel we should (and can) label as abusive, insensitive and ungodly. For almost 50 chapters or so—they berate and bully the soul of a broken man.

        Job’s wife, IMO, doesn’t deserve those kinds of labels—partially because know so little about her, but because as the mother of those many children (AND, remember she lost them ALL on the SAME day)—I personally feel she deserves some room for comfort.

        Here is one thing that never, ever left me about Job’s friends:

        Sweet Job was plagued by boils on his body. The Word says he used a broken piece of pottery to scrape at his wounds. He had lost everything, so I think he limited to what was on hand to treat his pain.

        Why couldn’t Job’s friends have brought a bucket of water, a warm towel, a wet cloth of some kind—-something, anything—-to help him? These are practical, much needed ways to help someone you love. And they are not too hard to find, nor costly.

        They require some real thought and real love to carry out, but it makes a huge difference to someone who has lost everything, but knows he is loved.

        I was reminded that the Lord is always there for us, with healing balm, a word of comfort, a sweet ray of His presence, a blessing of some kind—-something, anything—to let us know that He is there for us—-AND loves us.

    • Thanks for talking about Job’s wife. I have never heard her referred to as a nag, but I can well believe that some people do call her a nag. I like your thoughts about her response to the calamity.

      • GypsyAngel

        Job’s wife would be an interesting study. I had not even considered that she had lost ALL her children plus much else through the actions of the enemy. Of course she would be grieving! Especially in that day and age when a woman’s worth was defined by her husband’s fortunes or misfortunes and her children. Thank you for that insight Helovesme

    • Lydia

      Helovesme, thank you for sharing about Job’s wife. She surely suffered greatly. The loss of her children must have been devastating and surely Job’s material losses hit her hard as well. Though she was not afflicted in body from what we can tell, presumably it was her body that bore the ten children that God gave Job after his period of suffering ended. I wish we knew more of her.

  8. Rambling Rose Inspiration

    Boy, on Sunday mornings as I was being intimate with him (always Friday night, Saturday morning,Saturday night, Sunday morning, Sunday night) washing my hair, waking up the boys, helping them get dressed, making a nice breakfast, and we’d be short on time to get to church, what did my husband say as he sat reading the paper? ”Well, just don’t do one of those things.” Hmmm …I knew one we could do without!!! But that would have incurred ”The Wrath of Khan” for sure!

    That abused toddler never did grow up, his brain never fully developed the center for empathy, or see it was his schizophrenic/paranoid FATHER controlling his mother, not the other way around. These people are truly, sadly, LOST!

    But praise God I don’t have to play that game anymore. God’s brought me together with a wonderful, compassionate, faithful, Jesus-loving, God-serving man now. Night and day difference! God is GOOD!

    • NG

      This is very inslghtful of you, to refer to him that way – even if there aren’t any official diagnoses (which professionals often disagree about ..) Lack of empathy, yes. I believe that those people still know that they are doing it wrong, but they just do not care.

    • Seeing Clearly

      My ex, the minister; Sunday was his ‘work’ play day. It was my work day. He dismissed himself from all family responsibilities. Oh, sure, he was nervous about his perennially unfinished sermon. But he shut my ‘nagging’ up early in the profession.

      I got myself and two young children ready, laid his clothes out, ran through my music on the organ/piano before children awoke, went over my Sunday School lesson, readied dinner in the timer oven……. Every week until deep depression halted me.

      If I’d ask for help, well, I simply wouldn’t because he’d tell me to keep quiet and get used to it. He told me everybody’s life is hard, get used to it. He told me if I was struggling in the church, to keep quiet, “don’t make his ministry difficult “.

      Essentially, quit nagging me, don’t you remember, you don’t matter!

  9. Finding Answers

    Re-reading the original post and all the comments generated.

    Putting together the pieces of all the abusers in my life…..amazing how silence, neglect, isolation, facial expressions, and sighs were used to convey “You’re a nag.” without actually saying the words.

    • Seeing Clearly

      So true. They have reached their goal when they use no words. At that point, when we see the gesture, we say their words to ourselves. It is ingrained in our brain.

      When we break away from them, physically, it requires a retraining of our own brain to stop using their harmful, destructive words on ourselves.

      We begin to speak truth in kindness to ourselves. Such a long, difficult journey.

    • They are such masters of the “non-comment” aren’t they….a look, a sneer, a snort, all that conveys so much to one of us.

      I can remember how the abuser in my life would send signals to me. A look would send me scurrying to the kitchen to get him another beer or offer food, or something else. And if I wheezed because my breathing was off, or a moan of pain accidentally escaped me… Oh, the scathing reaction, a hard scowl, a sharp look, or a retort of how tired “he” was…or how much “he had accomplished no thanks to me” when it was really I who had done all the work that day. He would often just look at me when I had trouble walking because I hurt so badly…I would try my best to Straighten up and walk right just so he wouldn’t put more work on me……Oh, Those looks.

      All of it conveyed: You’re a nag, or You’re lazy…and even You’re the abuser.

  10. KD

    Wow, this post really described what it was like to a “T” to be with my abuser. I am so thankful I got out over a year ago and am now totally free of him and living far, far away.

    The church he belonged to, the social circles we were in, I was so indoctrinated that about the worst thing I could do was be a nagging wife. Any little request for help could be turned into my being a nagging wife … oh the horror!

    I did all the cooking, cleaning, shopping, childcare, prep for holidays, birthdays, worked outside the home too when the children were older. Rarely heard a thank you or acknowledgment from him. But I didn’t expect one, I was only doing what I thought a good wife and mother should do. I didn’t require thanks.

    But if he lifted a finger to do anything that wasn’t just going to work or doing his church ministry, he had to hear endless expressions of gratitude forever about it or he’d be angry and resentful. And even going to work every day … isn’t that what a good husband and father does to care for his family? He acted like it was somehow extraordinary that he did this and was always angry we weren’t grateful enough for that. But we all were and did often thank him for working long hours so we’d have a roof over our heads and food on the table. But it was never enough.

    By a strange quirk of fate, I am in a new relationship now. I am continually amazed at how easy it is to interact with this person. How he is not angry and annoyed at every little thing. How he cares for me without expectations of endless gratitude. A simple thank you is enough, and sometimes he even says, “you don’t need to thank me for that. It’s what people do for those they care about.” When I thank him for something, he says “my pleasure” and actually means it!

    He knows my history now, I’ve told him little by little. He understands that sometimes I react to things in an odd or over the top way because I’ve been triggered. But he just keeps showing he’s there for me, tries to understand everything I tell him. Sometimes it really hits home with me how abnormal my life with ex husband was when significant other just looks at me with sadness and disbelief that someone could have treated me the way ex husband did.

    I’m slowly learning what normal is again. Sometimes I can’t believe the conditions that I accepted as normal, the convoluted ways I twisted my head and heart to stay in my marriage and pretend everyone lived that way, that all the problems were just me, it was my fault.

    • Hi dear sister, what a wonderful story! Thank you so much for sharing it. And welcome to the blog! 🙂

      I changed your screen name to KD… just as a precaution. It’s not usually a good idea on a site like this to use a screen name which would identify your or your WordPress name or your blog name to your abuser.

      We like to encourage new readers to check out our New Users’ Info page as it gives tips for how to guard your safety while commenting on the blog.

      And after reading the New Users’ Info page, you might like to look at ourFAQ page.

      I hope you keep commenting on our blog. Stories like yours give great encouragement to our readers.

      • Anne

        Hi. this is me Anne, who used to post here more frequently! I lost access to my Anne WP account and I don’t know how to keep continuity.

        Life is amazing now. I look back at the last 4 and a half years since I realized my ex H was an abuser and wonder how I could be so fortunate now. There were times when I didn’t know if I would make it, felt suicidal, couldn’t get out of the darkness and fog. I won’t sugarcoat it. Getting away from him was the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life. It was hell. It was harder than putting up with (most) of what I was used to living with the abuser.

        But … IT WAS WORTH EVERY MOMENT OF STRUGGLE!

        I wake up every day with a sense of peace. An expectation that good things will happen. A deep feeling of gratitude at the blessing of a life free of abuse.

        I have a job now, a lovely little home, a car, live near loving family and friends, and despite the fact that I thought I’d never trust a man again, never have any desire to date, God brought a wonderful person into my life. Someone I’d actually known since we were young and been good friends with back then, but only had sporadic contact with since. But he already had earned my trust as a friend decades ago.

        He’s showing me day by day that not all men are abusers. He reinforces the lessons I learned myself over the last 4.5 years: that I am valuable and worthy of love and care. Deserve to be treated with respect. That I am smart and capable. That it doesn’t have to be hard to interact with another person. That you can actually talk to your partner about ANYTHING and don’t have to worry he’ll be angry. AND … big one … you can disagree with him on things and he won’t disrespect you and make you feel stupid or wrong like a child, but want to talk in a reasonable way so he can understand you. You can be your own person and he still likes you!

        On top of that, when I get triggered by things, and I still do at the most unexpected times, he’s there for me. If I’m comfortable talking about it he listens, if i’m not, he just puts his arm around me and hugs me. He wants to communicate and understand… and he shares himself with me as well.

        I know this is long. But I just wanted to say that there is life after abuse and it is good. Very good. For me, it has been a process and is ongoing and looks like I’ve just described. But no matter what your process is and no matter what your life looks like when you rebuild post abuse, and everyone has a different and unique to them journey, it is worth the pain and struggle. Your new life is all the sweeter for having been so hard won!

        Don’t lose hope! I almost did many times, but this site and people in my life supported me, helped me get where I am now.

        Thanks for letting me share!

        (PS little silliness based on previous posts I had been active on: I can now use as much or as little salad dressing as I wish on my salads and it is not an indictment of my character!!! Lol. Using less = better person. Using none, like ex H = perfect. For the record, I use a lot of salad dressing so = bad person)

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