Have you worked through emotional abuse and remained married?

byzantineDecember 9, 2013

My spouse and I have been in counseling for about 2 months. This is our second or third run through, and we've identified that my experience of him is one of abuse. These are the words the therapist used, likely because they are more neutral. The tough thing about using the word 'abuse' is that it covers the spectrum from what I'm experiencing, where he's picking fights with me as a stress relief, to the very extremes of physical violence. Simply using the word creates additional tension, but since this is how we talk, this is what I get to say. When I reach out and ask for advice, I am often told by numerous people that my choice is to leave, but it doesn't feel right to disrupt my entire family because he has a bad temper and some bad habits. So the other option is to try to get him to see what it's like for me, living with him. It's been rough, but it seems like we're well on our way to recognizing these patterns, and we've even managed to disrupt them a few times. The idea is, I guess, to establish new patterns.

But then there's the matter of "healing and forgiveness," and what I really need just right now is to hear the experiences of people who have chosen the option to rehabilitate and forgive. In particular, all the little ways you kept your moods stable and reminded yourself that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. I suppose the same is true for divorce -- IMO, these are equally rocky paths. It just seems that in our particular circumstance, these patterns can be reconfigured.

I'm going to guess that anyone visiting this section is seeking the same sort of advice I am, and that everyone who has moved on is not looking back, but maybe some good will come out of just letting it out. Supposedly connecting with people when you are stressed out can reduce the impact of it on your health in major ways.

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emma

No I have not and will not put up with abuse.

If you have read some of the posts you will know what most people will say including me. I think bullies bully because they can and it makes them feel better. I will NOT be abused. My second husband and I were married just a few months he yelled at me for interrupting his ball game. My immediate response was to get between him and the TV with my hands on my hips, I told him "if you ever yell at me again this marriage is over". He jumped up out of his chair like it was spring loaded and apologized over and over. He said he would never do that again and he didn't except for one time when he was into Alzheimer's. I will not live with anyone who makes me unhappy for any reason, life is to short to waste years on a jerk like that. I will live in a studio apartment if I have to. And if you are living with someone who abuses you in any way and have children, they may think that it is allowed and is normal behavior and patterned their behavior after you and him.

This post was edited by EmmaR on Mon, Dec 9, 13 at 15:37

    Bookmark   December 9, 2013 at 3:34PM
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suzieque

Great post, EmmaR. Good for you.

    Bookmark   December 9, 2013 at 7:51PM
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emma

Thank you. Somethings are just not acceptable behavior and it should be stopped. That is why I often say in this forum... give him or her an ultimatum and follow through with it. It will just go on and on if you don't. It will show him or her you mean business and it will also let you know if he or she really loves and respects you enough to change.

    Bookmark   December 9, 2013 at 9:34PM
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sylviatexas1

What a deal this guy has!
He can make you his scapegoat & you make excuses for him & blame somebody else (the therapist) for only 'allowing' you to call it what it is!

'he's picking fights with me as a stress relief'

That's using another person for one's own purposes.

That's abuse.

Minimizing or excusing it legitimizes it, which gives the abuser permission, even encouragement, to keep on using this method of "stress relief".

& abuse never remains at what the victim finds to be a bearable or tolerable level.

It gets worse.

This post was edited by sylviatexas on Tue, Dec 10, 13 at 17:37

    Bookmark   December 10, 2013 at 3:39PM
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byzantine

This is what I've done, more or less -- stood up and said no more fighting. Of course, it's one of dozens of times and appears to be finally sticking. I'm not entirely convinced that he's not somewhere on the spectrum of autism, because he is somewhat incapable of connecting with the impact of what he says on other people (and not just me). For every great author who can get so inside a character's head so as to make him come alive for an audience, there is someone like my husband who wears solipsistic goggles.

Every bit of advice I've read or heard is either 'leave' or 'stand up for yourself.' If this was a circumstance where it was very clear that the bad outweighed the good, or the abuse was completely intolerable, that would be the right decision. This is not one of those. There's a great deal of good here, still. But there is one set of bad habits that is running ruin over it. The counselor has told him it's abusive. He's recognized, accepted and apologized for it. He knows he has problems with trust and controlling his temper and is working his way through fixing that.

What I can't seem to find pretty much anywhere is a (non-religious) story of how someone learned to trust someone else again, and how. That sorta surprises me.

    Bookmark   December 12, 2013 at 7:49PM
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byzantine

This is what I've done, more or less -- stood up and said no more fighting. Of course, it's one of dozens of times and appears to be finally sticking. I'm not entirely convinced that he's not somewhere on the spectrum of autism, because he is somewhat incapable of connecting with the impact of what he says on other people (and not just me). For every great author who can get so inside a character's head so as to make him come alive for an audience, there is someone like my husband who wears solipsistic goggles.

Every bit of advice I've read or heard is either 'leave' or 'stand up for yourself.' If this was a circumstance where it was very clear that the bad outweighed the good, or the abuse was completely intolerable, leaving would be the right decision. This is not one of those. There's a great deal of good here, still. But there is one set of bad habits that is running ruin over it. The counselor has told him it's abusive. He's recognized, accepted and apologized for it. He knows he has problems with trust and controlling his temper and is working his way through fixing that.

What I can't seem to find pretty much anywhere is a (non-religious) story of how someone learned to trust someone else again, and how. That sorta surprises me.

    Bookmark   December 12, 2013 at 7:50PM
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rob333

You probably can't find that because it doesn't exist. Unfortunately, this sort of behavior he has is ingrained since a very young age and going nowhere.

Best wishes for peace!

    Bookmark   December 13, 2013 at 3:30PM
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byzantine

Weird that my last post got posted twice.

Thanks, rob333. I suspected as much. My mother has been through two divorces from overtly abusive spouses. I'm only too keenly aware of what abuse looks like. Each relationship is a complex set of inputs and variables such that you're really on your own to decide whether you're strong enough to effect change in the patterns of behavior through diligent rehabilitation or not and walk away. There's still plenty of good here, but I do need that social connection.

Blah.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2013 at 12:42PM
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byzantine

While doing some reasearch, I came across this article. It's absolutely brilliant. One of the things I've learned in counseling is that none of us are trained professionals. Not only are we not armed with the knowledge to "fix" each other, but we are being sapped of any willpower to try because we're the target of the bad stuff. Heck, I'm not even convinced that professionals are always able to fix bad patterns of behavior.

This author writes, "My own enthusiasm for brain science and my belief in angry men's inherent capacity to reorganize their own neural circuitry are probably another key to revving up their motivation to try."

I think he's onto something.

Here is a link that might be useful: The Angry Brain: How to Help Men With Uncontrollable Tempers

    Bookmark   December 14, 2013 at 1:54PM
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emma

It can sure lower you self esteem.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2013 at 6:19PM
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colorcrazy

Byzantine, I was in your shoes. Twice. Both times, I got out. After the second time, I went into therapy to find out why I married abusive men. It really helped. I have now been married for 21 years to a sweetheart. I was 44 years old when we got married, so it is never too late.

Please, for your sake, get out. There is no reason for you to suffer, and you definitely will not be able to change him or stop him.

    Bookmark   January 1, 2014 at 6:36PM
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