What They Say & What Actually Happens

sylviatexas1December 10, 2012

Something posted on this forum about a husband & wife "discussing" & "agreeing" on how to rear the husband's children from his first marriage reminded me of this.

Many years ago, in what surely must have been a former life, I dated a policeman.

He'd seen it all;
he'd been undercover narcotics,
he'd investigated domestic violence & homicide.

& he gave me a very good insight.

He said we do better to pay attention to *what actually happened* rather than what people *say*.


Husband says he works hard to give wife a good life, but wife knows how to push his buttons, she "just makes me so angry".

Wife says she knows husband works hard, & she *tries*, & she apologizes for having made husband so angry that he beat the stuffing out of her, says it was all her fault.

What actually happened:
Husband uses wife for a punching bag.

I've found it to be a wonderful method for getting at the truth, which makes it possible to actually make things change & to solve problems.

& something to remember is that it's to the interest of the person who's comfortable to keep you talking (or, as an ex said, "having a dialogue").

As long as you're talking, you're not acting.


No matter what a husband/father "discusses" & what a new wife/stepmother *thinks* she's agreeing to, what actually

Husband says first wife was never a good mother, he wants new wife to be a good mother to his children, he'll work hard, she can stay home with kids, etc.

sounds so nice...

If his new wife takes all the responsibility (although husband/father almost always retains the power), taking kids to school, cooking, cleaning, chauffering, attending teacher conferences, buying clothes, scheduling time for soccer, Brownies, bake sales, non-custodial parent time, etc, & husband/father "works" all the time, *then the new wife is getting all the heavy work & will likely not get anything for it*.

So often, husband/father seems puzzled if new wife wants to talk about changing the arrangements, having him take more responsibility, etc.

He's confused; "isn't this what you *wanted*?"
"I can't just tell my boss that I have to stay home with the kids; I work so hard to give you this good life."

& if she burns out, throws in the towel, & exits the relationship, husband/father will be floored;
"we *discussed* it, it was what she *wanted*, she said she *loved* the kids".


an example, not about children, from another one of my previous lives:

When I was very young, I married someone who was also very young.

I worked in an office, & he worked in a trade.

He made a lot more money than I did, & we put our paychecks in a joint account & I paid the bills.

At some point, he threw a hissy & said he resented not having control of his own money & he wanted to change it all up;
he would pay certain things, & I would pay certain things.


We divided the bills proportionately, with him paying the house payment & his car payment, & me paying for groceries & utilities.

It worked for nearly a year.

When he got a big raise (he wasn't union, but whenever the union got a raise, his employer gave the same raise, to keep the union out), he spent the extra money on model railroads, junk for the car, & eating lunch with the guys at work.

Meanwhile, utilities & groceries had gone up in price, I never got a raise, & I was really struggling.

I was taking the bus to work & packing my yogurt & apple for lunch, & he was driving his giant Pontiac & eating $12 lunches every day.

& he refused to "re-negotiate", saying that this was what we had agreed to & that was the end of it.

(Note: no need to say how dumb I was; I know now that I should have let the electricity & water & gas be disconnected, & I should have never set foot in a grocery store. but at the time, I thought I had to do my best to get him to "understand", not realizing-yes,I already said I was dumb-that he understood perfectly.)

When I was exhausted & broke & hated my life, I filed for divorce.

He was floored.

Be smarter than I was;
if your beloved runs his fingers through his hair & rolls his eyes & sighs in exasperation when you tell him you need support/time/whatever, & says he just cannot do everything, *stop*.


Pick up your keys & go to a movie, a museum, a quilt show; go rollerskating, drive around & look at Christmas lights *& don't pick up your cell phone*.

Leave the house before he goes to work, & he'll figure out how to get the kids' breakfast & how to get them to school...or he won't.

Grab a hamburger for your own dinner, eat it at the restaurant (I like to have a book to read when I "eat out" alone) & *don't answer your cell phone*.

Respect your value, & take good care of yourselves.

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Gee a post from sylvia about abusive/manipulative men, what a shocker....I would have never guessed....


    Bookmark   December 10, 2012 at 3:44PM
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Please re-read;
the post is about taking care of oneself.

    Bookmark   December 10, 2012 at 6:14PM
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I read several times, in all three examples the "bad guy" happened to be a man, and the "helpless victim" a woman....what a surprise.

Your biased, single-sided view on everything related to men is an insult to the majority of guys who are actually nice people. I'm sorry if your past has made you think otherwise....perhaps it had something to do with the men you selected....don't throw the whole gender under the bus over your bad experiences.

    Bookmark   December 11, 2012 at 10:12AM
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Mkroopy, never have I "attacked" you;
I've merely always counselled caution & safety, & yet you seem to have singled me out to accuse me of being anti-man, anti-you, & somehow paranoid due to my own "choices".

As DeBecker says in his book "The Gift of Fear", most often assailants are male & most often victims are female;
to attempt to portray reality otherwise would be a disservice to potential victims.

& this particular thread isn't even about physical safety; it's about women, often but not always women who find themselves involved in rearing other people's children, being aware of their own value & taking up for themselves.

I don't understand how anybody can manage to get so worked up & personally offended over something that has not been directed at him personally.

Your inflammatory, accusations, however, *are* directed at me personally, & yet I've always tried to keep to the point & not to respond.

At some point, though, not responding is the same as allowing someone to attack, which I have no intention of doing.

Please get over your unreasonable hatred of me personally, & deal with your prickliness about the possibility that someone, anyone, could lump you in with agressors & assailants.

The thought has occurred to me, again & again, that you do get bent out of shape over something that you claim has nothing to do with you, being the "nice guy" that you are.

For such a nice guy, you've spent a lot of energy & expressed a lot of hostility & venom toward me personally.

    Bookmark   December 11, 2012 at 2:09PM
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If you think this is getting me "worked up" and all that, you're wrong.

I pop on this site a couple times a day to break up my work day, it's not an important part of my life. But when I see one of your typical "anti-men" rants, I feel obliged to reply, as one of the few male regulars around here. Besides, how can I "hate" you when I don't know you? You're probably a very nice person, with a very different opinion on one subject than I have....not a big deal really. I don't hate the friends I have that have completely different political views than I have....

And I would hardly call my posts "inflammatory" or "attacks" on you. I am simply stating my strong opposition to the position you take in the majority of your posts. Please show me where I treated you with "hostility & venom toward me personally"....to my knowledge I haven't. I just think some of your advice and positions are way over the top....that's all.

I've always welcomed further discussion when I reply to your postings, that's pretty much why all of us are here, right? To see what people have been thru, see how we can relate, and sometimes offer opinions that we think might be useful to others in some way. And I think I've generally kept the discussions on-topic and civil....but if I see someone offer an opinion on something that I consider to be either wrong, unfair, dangerous, etc....I am gonna say something. I have chimed in on many posts here, stating my opposition to what someone is doing, or thinking of doing, like living together when there are young kids in the picture, or a step-parent assuming a disciplinary role with a child, etc.

Again, don't take it personally...my replies are more targeted at other people, not you...you have your opinions on men and nothing I will ever say will change that. I just feel like I need to represent "the other side" after I see some of your posts....

Have a great day, and I mean it! I have nothing personally against you. Just disagree with your opinions, that's all.....


    Bookmark   December 12, 2012 at 11:12AM
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Hi sylviatexas, Thanks for sharing this: "He said we do better to pay attention to *what actually happened* rather than what people *say*." Helpful, because it's so succinct. And particularly helpful w/an issue that I'm working to clarify right now.

I appreciate too, that you've cautioned against going head to head when clarity is reached w/what appears to be your "opponent" (would that I had read that yesterday!) Don't take drastic action (w/the hopes that the offender will wake up and smell the coffee) instead, simply take care of yourself.

I can see how, had I done that (instead of nursing a resentment) I'd have been able to come back to him and talk - and not as if my very life depended upon his understanding. So helpful -Thanks again!

    Bookmark   January 20, 2013 at 10:15AM
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