What time changes (or why have I stayed with him) pt 1

There are many good sayings and quotes about time. 

“You may delay, but time will not.”  Benjamin Franklin

A poster (lonelywife) recently commented: “But why do you stay? Why stay with a man who has so demoralized you that you have to MAKE yourself go shopping? Sorry…but I don’t understand. 

“I wasted time, and now doth time waste me.”  William Shakespeare

Let me try to explain.  I see my life as a series of choices, my choices.  Yes, events happened outside of my sphere of control/choice, but within each event, I still retained choices.  Sometimes, my choice was reduced to processing and perspective; e.g. when my father died of cancer, it was far too soon for my emotions.  When one of my sons was hit by a car, I couldn’t undo what happened, but I had choices moment by moment that involved processing and perspective.

This means that our choices are generally made by what we individually know at any given place in time.  We can’t know what we don’t yet know.  When we know better, we try to do better.

How many women come to a wakening moment in their marriage that their husband is abusive, and begin the journey of pros and cons, dancing between questions and doubts, confusion and clarity?   When they do, it sets old and new choices into light and motion.  Perhaps some of those choices were always there.  Maybe some of the choices that were there before, no longer exist because of sabotage.  It could be that circumstances have changed and new factors have emerged that will either alter the ramifications of a choice, or cause it to no longer be viable. 

Illness, disease, disability, dependents etc., are all examples of new factors to weigh.  (In my case, it’s been dependents, faith, personal history, finances, and now it’s mainly some very serious health issues that I yet hope to alter and not end up disabled.)

It would take time to explain the details, the progression, the slow erosion, and the full facets of why I stayed, or why I’m still here.  (It might take a blog.)  I think the important thing is the word ‘understand’.  We may not understand the choices another makes, but it’s my hope that this blog will be a place to discuss them, and reserve judgment. 

If we each looked into a room from different doorways, we would each see a different view, and hold a different perspective when describing the room.  I’ve lived long enough to experience myself shifting from ‘I know exactly how I feel about A,B,C, and I know I’d do exactly X,Y,Z if that happened.’  Yeah, not so much when reality happened.  Time and some key altering moments changed that.  It’s a good change based on deeper understanding that moves closer to truth.  It was from the dark places of unforeseen raw wounds that grace began to grow within my soul.

Here, as a form of accountability to self, I lay bare the incidents, events, moments, and history that I’d previously allowed to be shrouded in a foggy kind of shallow grave for too many years.  The fog was not all of my choosing, although some of my defense and coping mechanisms appeared more like choices than perhaps they were.   I began this blog as a measure of self-discipline and to be a catalyst for self-growth.  I had no idea anyone would find it, and become an integral part of the journey.

I continue it because of words like these:

“I’m not sure how long ago you wrote this blog- but If God had you share for only one purpose it was for me to read it. I cried through most of it- nodding my head up and down as if someone somewhere not only “got it” but lived the life I live with a passive aggressive husband. Things you can’t explain or comprehend unless it is you on the receiving end of the madness.” (Christine)

 I wish for Christine, and all of us, to not feel quite so alone from here forward.  It’s an almost inexplicable comfort to simply be truly understood.  Such understanding can be the foundation for new strength and hope. 

 

Advertisements
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

108 Responses to What time changes (or why have I stayed with him) pt 1

  1. Exodus says:

    Well said PJ’s- as always.
    I know that since I’ve been reading and writing on this blog, my spirit has awakened from a long dark sleep. I no longer feel completely paralyzed, lying on my back and wondering if I’m going to die in that position. I’m up again, walking and fighting for my freedom. It’s all I can think about.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. marsocmom says:

    I started blogging about this nearly two years ago, and like you, I never intended for anyone but me to read it. It was all about clearing my head — write it down, then forget about it until the pieces start to fall into place. Even though PAH and I are still married, my life has changed 180 degrees now that I am armed with facts and understanding, and the support of all of you!! It will take awhile to undo twenty-five plus years of how they’ve changed us, but we’ll each get there in our own time.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. lonelywife07 says:

    PJ…I hope you don’t feel I was judging you…But after reading your post, I felt so bad for you…shopping twice in seven years?? And then you had to talk yourself into even doing that?
    Yes, we all have choices to make, and I understand that…I’m making a choice to stay because it’s easier for me right now, but I’m having fun and enjoying my life in the process…
    PJ, my heart was so SAD for you, when I read that!
    That’s all, just sad. Not judging.

    Like

    • WritesinPJ's says:

      Ahh… I just realized that an important ‘bit’ would help fill in more perspective. Once upon a time, I did much more shopping, but even in those days, I never liked shopping. Not shopping for myself has been a slow erosion that was probably exacerbated by my innate dislike of shopping, malls etc.

      I think it’s important that soon I try to convey what I used to be like, and what my life was like. There was quite a long period of time when I engaged with life, had fun, and enjoyed myself despite the problems in my marriage.

      I wish I could post a couple of pictures of myself from the past, but for now I need to keep anonymity. I’m fairly sure the pictures would show first a young woman that would defy the idea of marrying an abusive man, and even a decade or two later would still show a woman that would defy being impacted by abuse.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Exodus says:

        Funny how some people turn into shop-a-holics when they are depressed but I actually have the opposite reaction like you PJ’s. Maybe because I never really enjoyed shopping anyway. I don’t seem to develop food addictions either. Well, that’s not entirely true. I crave the wrong foods when I’m unhappy. I eat things like instant mashed potatoes and I even hide the box! When I’m happy, I tend to love eating but I eat a whole lot less and it’s really health food. I love to cook and I really did derive immense joy from planning and preparing meals and dinner parties. I even considered becoming a chef. I studied how to prepare extravagant raw food meals and very worldly cuisine but, I gave that up as well because I resented cooking for my husband! Resentment sucks the joy and passion right out of living. What a waste of time.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Exodus says:

        “I’m fairly sure the pictures would show first a young woman that would defy the idea of marrying an abusive man, and even a decade or two later would still show a woman that would defy being impacted by abuse”

        I always joke that everyone looks happy and well adjusted in pictures ( relative to my own family anyways). We all looked so normal! My brother used to spend most of his time taking pictures at family gatherings because he has such a need to create that happy family image for his kids. Who is he really trying to convince..his kids or himself? As a kid, I remember how my mother would be furious with her mother and angry at my father and then one of the peacemakers would standing there with the camera, herding us all into position and asking us to SMILE :D. Just like that, in an instant, we would could create a happy memory.

        Your comment reminds me of how I feel so disconnected from the woman in pictures of myself and how I’ve managed to maintain a fairly normal social image and how much I hated doing that. What I mean is that I’m lonely enough as it is and when I must pose for a picture, I feel even lonelier because it’s as though someone is forcing me to deny my true feelings and the truth about my marriage and my pain and my abuse.

        I look at pictures of myself as a little girl and I see her smiling and holding her dolls and yet, I know that she was already confused, frustrated and scared because she had probably heard her mommy and daddy fighting in the bedroom the night before.

        A therapist asked me to gather as many pictures of my childhood as I could and to be frank, I had a very difficult time looking at them as an adult woman. I felt so sad for that little beautiful innocent girl that never felt like an innocent beautiful child on the inside. I always felt grown up and I had to feel that way in order to survive. I don’t think a lot of parents realize what goes through a child’s mind when they become fearful that their entire world may collapse around them. I always kept two packed suitcases in my closet- one for my brother and one for myself just in case we had to run away or became orphans. I had calculated the mileage from our house to Montgomery Wards- 9.5 miles- and I knew that my brother and I could live in the bathroom department where they had fluffy rugs on shelves where we could sleep unnoticed and towels to use as blankets. It didn’t occur to me that we could have used the bedroom department but, I guess I would have figured that out once we got there. Kind of strange how kids think but nonetheless, they do.

        Liked by 1 person

        • RockyRoad says:

          Oh Exodus! That made me so sad to read about your packed suitcases! How old were you when you packed those suitcases? It sounds like you had a strong backbone even as a child. The fact that you had an exit plan astounds me. I would think most small children would be thinking of a relative or friend they could run to, but you were standing independent and strong even as a little girl. I think that’s a clue to us all here that you will be fine on your own!

          Liked by 1 person

          • Exodus says:

            Rocky, I guess I was around 8-9 years old but I was always a protector of all even when I was much younger. I never played much on the playground at school because I was always making sure the other kids were safe and if they got hurt or got into a fight, I would take them to the office to get help. I was always the hall monitor, the crossing guard, etc… I loved protecting animals and people despite my severe shyness and insecurity about myself. I never tolerated bullies in school and in the 3rd grade, I beat up 3 boys who were picking on a very poor boy because of his dirty clothes!! That was first time I experienced rage and I still do ( thought I don’t beat up anyone) whenever I see someone bullying or hurting someone. I become a ‘ hulk’ ! Adults never really saw me as a child. When I was 15, a well-known senator hired me to be his son’s nanny while he and his wife traveled. I was paid very well and felt very qualified to do the job even though I couldn’t drive yet. Would you leave your 6 year old child with a 15 year old for weeks at a time? I wouldn’t but then again, maybe that’s just because I’m such a worry-wart.

            When I was about 22 or so, my G-d mother came to visit and she was telling my brother how I cared for him so well and loved him so. She said that I was always determined and so serious and then she told me ‘ We always just wanted to put you on a merry go round and make you laugh and laugh.” I felt embarrassed by her comment and It made me feel so sad to know that I could never relax enough to enjoy being a child. Many years later when I was in my early forties, my therapist asked me to go downtown to the old merry go round and ride it once a week for a month. I never did. I was too afraid that if I got on the Merry go round that I would fall apart -that something terribly painful would surface and destroy me. I was also married to my PAM at this time which, I’m sure, had already traumatized me enough that my fear was significantly intensified.

            I was also extremely honest and still am to this day- even to a fault at times! It’s interesting that I wasn’t this way because I had a fear of punishment or G-d. I had no strict religious upbringing or strict anything. So, I have no idea why I felt the need to be so honest and righteous and enforce those qualities in others. It’s truly bizarre! It must be in my DNA. I was always very responsible and capable as a child but not so much as a teen and young adult and I grew to resent having to care for my brother when I was in my teens. There is no doubt that I had PTSD as a child because I was always in a state of preparing for and expecting the worse. Even my therapist told me that I’m a catastrophic thinker. I had wonderful grandparents but a child’s world is very small and because my grandparents lived an hour away ( which seems like a different hemisphere to a child), it probably made more sense that I would go to Ward’s. I still remember sitting in the backseat of my mom’s car and calculating the mileage to Ward’s and even crazier, I still remember that it was 9.5 miles..actually it was 9.3 but I rounded up. hahahha

            I won’t deny that I am strong and very resourceful. However, my survival skills are not appropriate for this time in my life. I never had the proper guidance to direct and use my skills in a way that would actually benefit me as an adult. If someone had taught me how to utilize and focus my strengths in a more productive way, I probably could have achieved great things in my life and I wouldn’t have ended up marrying my PAM. I never had any direction or guidance from my mother other than being told that I should never let a man do anything for me. After I graduated HS, I left home, moved far away and was so lost that I called my HS guidance counselor for help and she actually traveled to see me the very next day and stayed with me for a week!! She took me to universities, colleges and helped me enroll. If a teacher did that today, they would be accused of child abuse.

            Like

            • Exodus, I hope you don’t mind me saying so, but I like your therapist’s advice about the merry-go-round. I think you were wise not to do it while you are still with PAM. I do hope, though, that some day, when you are ready, on your own and healing and breathing, that you will go for it. If you do, I would love to hear about it.

              Like

              • Exodus says:

                Gosh, I hadn’t really considered how it would affect me relative to Norman and, at the time, I was with him. Maybe some day I’ll feel safe enough to be able to let go and enjoy the ride.

                Like

      • lonelywife07 says:

        PJ….I wonder if the reason I haven’t been impacted by the abuse as much as others is because I NEVER realized I was being abused in the first place?
        I never even realized PA Man WAS PA until a friend pointed it out in Jan.2013…This was my life…I was so use to him doing the things he did, I was so use to being ” in charge” that I just accepted that this was how it’s supposed to be.
        I’ve always known that I was the “strong” one in the marriage…I disciplined the kids because PA Man grew up in an abusive home, and it “bothered” him to get on to them…so I did it.
        I always paid the bills, because PA Man worked so hard, he didn’t want to deal with it…

        I never enjoyed sex because my needs were never met, and I always felt so tired and emotionally worn down, plus PA Man was never affectionate unless he wanted sex…and I resented it. But hey! My sister and best friend “enjoyed” sex about as much as I did…so that’s pretty normal in a marriage, right?

        I look back at my life and I see so much now…and I have to work at not letting anger and resentment overtake me!

        I will either find a way to live a healthy, happy life in spite of PA Man…or I will divorce him. My eyes are now opened to just how destructive PA is…so I have some decisions to make.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Exodus says:

          Lonely,
          I have a very strong personality and I can tell you do to. I’ve always been extremely self reliant and the leader among my friends and coworkers because that’s just my personality. I was born a leader and I just naturally take the lead. The problem is that if I don’t have a strong and confident male in my life that is secure and independent and will lead in his own way, then he ends up resenting my gusto and I end up resenting his apathy.

          Partners can have different libidos of course but it’s not ‘normal’ for anyone to have sex with their spouse and not enjoy it more than the do. I mean, yes, there are times when it’s not as exciting or passionate but even so, you should enjoy the experience. In Judaism ( I’m Jewish btw) women are regarded as sacred and are held in very high regard by their husbands ( except in my home) and children. There are specific times when women are ‘forbidden’ to have sex with their husbands and the reason is that sex should always be special, spiritual and never just become a desire for flesh. BTW, my husband is not Jewish, he’s Christian and I was raised Christian for many years even though I was Jewish. Never mind..it gets confusing.

          I’ve not only got that leadership issues with my PAM, I have to deal with his other issues relating to his narcissism and borderline. I’m not insensitive to the fact that men need to feel that they are good providers and good lovers and good fathers. Men really need feedback in those areas. They like to hear things like, ‘ You’re such a good provider , such a great father, etc..”. I get that and I’m aware that it’s easy for strong women to accidentally castrate them without realizing it.

          When my PAM and I met, I was running a department in an engineering firm. I was the landscape designer. My husband ran a different department. One day while sitting at my drafting table, I noticed him sort of hiding behind a wall and watching me. He seemed quite fascinated in a child-like way. I offered him a cup of coffee and showed him what I was working on and he seemed so in awe of what I was doing. In hindsight, I realize that he chose me because I was everything he wanted to be. I think it’s sad actually because he’s very talented in his own right. But, he doesn’t see himself that way and once he married me, he perceived me as a threat. Not only was I good at handling the household but also good at business. He’s very jealous of me and feels threatened by my knowledge and experience. He’s not very handy either and I am which only adds to his bruised ego. I can build anything, fix anything and I usually am the one to do that. I once asked him to replace our sink faucet and he managed to get through it after a few hours ( it was torture) but once he finished, oh my gosh, he would stand and stare at his accomplishment for 5 minutes, touching it, admiring it. He was so proud of himself. I knew he could do it but he didn’t.

          He compares himself to me which is the root of the problem and results in his keeping score all the time.

          The abuse began shortly after our marriage when he became extremely threatened by me and the fact that he had become a husband to a very strong woman and we were now in business together as equal partners. He then had no ‘ male’ territory or role to perform. Then there were the usual differences like I communicate openly and he doesn’t, I am very direct and confrontational and he isn’t, I’m very analytical and he’s very emotional. There is a whole host of personality traits in conflict with each other in my marriage that led to his ugly abusive behaviors that began in his youth. As a result of trying to live with him, keep the peace and coddle his delicate ego, I became very exhausted and complacent and I avoided doing anything that would threaten him. I even gave up gardening and designing because he would get so angry and argumentative anytime I even stepped foot into the yard when he was home! He didn’t like me in HIS territory. Of course he never told me that he made claim to this territory but he sure made it known that it was off limits to me. Working with clients became extremely difficult because he would become argumentative in front of them. I quit doing consults and designing way back in 04 I think. He baited me into doing a consult with a client last fall and I told him that I wasn’t interested and that he could handle it by himself. But, no. He wanted me to come because I’m such a great designer. With immense hesitation, I agreed. Big mistake. It only took him about 3 minutes into the consult before he started attacking every one of my suggestions and even raising his voice! I felt myself getting angry at him AND the customer because she was just standing there like an airhead allowing him to bully me into submission! Granted, I know it’s not the customer’s place to manage my husband or my marriage but, it was just interesting to notice my reaction. I am too professional to stand there and duke it out with my husband in front of a customer but Lonely, I almost did! I wanted to jump him and knock him to the ground! It was time for me to step down once again. What other choice did I have? This is a classic PA behavior and a good example of how victims get pigeonholed into submission. My husband’s father does the same thing to everyone.

          For too many years I was running myself into a brick wall day after day after day trying to do whatever I could to stroke his ego and keep balance in our lives. But, with PA, that doesn’t work. It’s a no win for everyone because as long as my PAM felt insecure about himself, everything I did OR didn’t do became a reason to punish me. About 7 years ago, I noticed that I would never do anything if he was home. It was then that I knew I was in trouble. Me submissive and cowardly? But, I was behaving that way.

          Always between a rock and a hard place. One year I threw him a wonderful birthday party and that pissed him off because it made him feel guilty that he never did anything like that for me!! He was so ugly and mean to me and the guests the entire time and they were his friends. It was so bad that they left the party after about 40 minutes. He won an award for a job we did and I framed his award and put it on the wall for him in his office. He never acknowledged it because by doing so, he would then feel the need to have to do something for me. I gave up!

          I’ve always felt that as long as I was around my mother or my husband, I could never be myself. I could never love myself around either of them and I could never love them by being a compassionate, thoughtful and giving person because either way, they punish me in some way. Either they accuse me of being selfish and negligent for not responding to them or they ignore me and dismiss my efforts when I do respond to them and show them any affection. I give up! The two of them can go soak their tootsies together in battery acid for all I care.

          Like

          • I think my husband also is threatened by the fact that I’m strong. I get this. I understand wanting to be the person who is known for being good at something or more than one thing. I loved it when my husband was a good provider and when we shared indoor tasks and he did the outside work. Then, he got fired and didn’t look for another job for six years, and I discovered that I wasn’t supposed to say anything, because apparently, we were supposed to pretend that he was still a good provider. Then, when he did eventually get another job, I took over most of the parenting tasks and all the indoor tasks. Then he got fired again and he didn’t suddenly start doing things in the house. Or become a more involved parent. So I was the provider and the parent and the housekeeper. He did outdoor things. Then he decided to take the job of being his parents’ caregiver (out of town four days per week). Less money, less time at home, fewer contributions to our family and household. And to top it off, I can tell that his dad feels threatened by my strength as well. Yuck.

            Like

            • Exodus says:

              Interesting. Did your husband change after he lost his job or was he always so undependable? That’s a horrible situation to be in as a wife. How in the world did you all survive financially? I get stressed just thinking about what you were dealing with.
              Yuk is right ..I feel the same about my father in law. YUK YUK YUK

              Like

              • In the two jobs (other than caregiving, which is fraught with difficulty for many reasons) that my husband has had during our marriage, he worked hard. I think he was let go from the first job because he didn’t get along with his boss. He was fired from the second job because he did something dumb that led to him breaking a work rule: his job vehicle rolled backwards and hit a tree.
                We survived financially because we saved a lot of money while my husband was employed at his first job. We’re both frugal, me especially. After my husband lost the second job, I basically stopped spending any money on myself. Our daughters’ colleges were generous with financial aid. I’ve been able to increase my hours at my main job and have added freelance clients. Meanwhile, my husband has consented to his father cutting his pay. Sometimes it feels as though they’re both giving me the finger.

                Like

                • Exodus says:

                  Holy cow! What a saboteur your husband is. What a nightmare! And yes, I wouldn’t doubt at all that he and his father are deliberately screwing you. No decent father would want to reduce his son’s income- especially during these economic times. I know that you are a responsible and intelligent woman but have you considered that your husband is somehow manipulating his father’s estate in any way that could negatively impact you? My N mother, who claimed to hate her mother, moved her mother into her home and gradually liquidated my g’mother’s estate so that she could get everything without having to adhere to a will. I’m not an expert by any means on this kind of stuff but just thought I would share that just in case.

                  Like

          • Exodus, I too have a very strong personality. I believe his mother had one, too. This is probably part of what drew him to me – reliving his relationship with her. By the time I met his mother, she was a wreck of a woman, but she was considered to be the “bad guy” in the family, the controlling one. Now as I look back, I’m sure she wasn’t perfect, but I see her differently. My husband’s father always made me feel creepy, but I couldn’t put my finger on it, and now I know why. I do not doubt he is a passive aggressive man and taught his son well. (He has this disturbing smirk and sometimes he would give me the oddest look – like when you suspect someone knows your secret and you wonder if they’ll tell). I can only imagine what his mother was like before she married him and became the demonized one. From what I have read about those with a narcissistic bent, when they come around to realizing that they can’t absorb the qualities about you that they wish they had, the next best thing is to bring you down. There is a certain satisfaction and victory in bringing down a stronger person. It feeds their ego if they can make a strong, intelligent, confident, independent person weak and dependent on them. It’s a major coup.

            I can attest that I tried to do the Christian wife submission thing and it didn’t help. I praised him for being a good provider, praised his skills, built him up to family members, went on about him being a great father, had the kids make cards and banners for his birthdays – #1 DAD – and on and on. I even heard a Christian sermon that told women to compliment their husbands’ performance you-know-where (it didn’t matter if it was true or not) and I did – even though that was not a good situation – but I blamed all failures in that department on myself. None of it helped. He barely even acted like he even noticed that he was being treated well. There was no reciprocation like telling me I was a decent wife or mother or human being. He could twist a compliment into an insult and quote it back to me later.

            Like

            • lonelywife07 says:

              Oh, I forgot to mention….yes, I have a very strong personality…while PA Man is a pushover! When we went to counseling those few times, the therapist asked PA Man if I intimidate him….He said Yes.
              The Stupid therapist never asked him in WHAT way did I intimidate him….so after we left his office I asked PA Man…His response?
              I KNOW things….aka I’m very well read, very knowledgeable about life and current events!
              Well, to use an old phrase, “Welllll, excuuusseeee me!!”
              I guess I need to act like the village idiot so PA Man doesn’t feel so “intimidated!” LOL!

              Like

              • Lonelywife, this is a big one. You are supposed to dumb yourself down so he feels what? Smarter? Safer? You can never be you. And you certainly can’t grow and be yourself at your best.

                Like

            • Exodus says:

              Lonely & Seeing, your comments are very enlightening and I’m beginning to believe that narcissism plays a much bigger role in PA than I ever imagined. Seeing’s comment: “From what I have read about those with a narcissistic bent, when they come around to realizing that they can’t absorb the qualities about you that they wish they had, the next best thing is to bring you down. There is a certain satisfaction and victory in bringing down a stronger person. It feeds their ego if they can make a strong, intelligent, confident, independent person weak and dependent on them. It’s a major coup.”

              This is a complete summary of my entire relationship with my PAM ( and my N mother) and the other comment Seeing made about ‘ dumbing us down’…I’m truly so dumbed down compared to what I used to be that I feel like I have brain damage and I’m not being dramatic! In addition to the dumbing down, I have to deal with the menopausal brain as well but I also know that I wouldn’t be suffering as badly as I am if I were married to a man who challenged me, conversed with me and provided a sense of unity.

              My PAM’s family fits your description as well even more than mine. They make it very clear that they are opposed to education and they have always told the boys in the family that they are not college material. My mind is stirring with all sorts of PA-N behaviors though the years that have damaged my husband and his siblings.

              Like

          • lonelywife07 says:

            Exodus….I’m am so sorry. You are a very bright, gifted lady…anyone that can do what you have done with your life is NOT going to have any trouble making it on her own!!
            You start taking care of YOU! Find what makes you happy…and GO FOR IT!

            Like

          • AlonewithGod says:

            One nice thing after another, after another, after another, Exodus. Because. like me, you obviously wanted to honor your husband and show love and respect. Countless times of going out of our way, sacrificing, not wanting anything in return. But CERTAINLY not expecting to get chewed out or otherwise punished for the nice thing we did. I cannot tell you how many times I just stood there in shock after doing something nice and getting cussed out and abused in return.
            JUST TODAY — I thought the exact same thing: I could never truly be myself around my ex. Always second-guessing myself. If there was something I spontaneously wanted to share with him, I had to think about it first. Would this push any of his buttons? Ok, better not. So finally I stopped trying to share my thoughts, ideas, goals, my LIFE with him because he absolutely did not care. Or he would twist it around and use it against me later during one of his rages.

            Like

            • Exodus says:

              I’m so sorry that you too are enduring this type of person in your life. You know it’s wrong so don’t ever doubt yourself or your self worth. Treating someone with disrespect and hurt is very foreign to anyone who wants to love and yet we are practically forced to learn their language. No one should settle for less than they have to offer and yet, we’ve done this for years. It’s wrong wrong wrong! You can never be yourself around negative self absorbed people because they either make you feel bad for caring or they make you feel bad for not caring which leaves us feeling like a fool for caring or a cold hearted person for not caring.
              I think the most difficult thing for us to accept is that anyone could be so mean and negative all the time. We keep searching for some logical explanation – one that provides a solution that we can apply to our spouses and our marriages. But, we can’t fix other people and we can’t fix a marriage if only one person recognizes that there is a problem. When two people marry, they should come to the alter as two whole individuals that will compliment each other in a way that honors shared values, morals and ethics. When my husband and I stood at the alter, we were not standing on a strong foundation built on principles of love and honor to live by. Norman had spent his entire life living by other people’s principles and mimicking other people’s values and good behavior and he never developed any of his own. So, nothing about Norman is genuine. He’s just manufactured.
              The other thing that I realized recently is that the more attentive and loving we are to them and the more we enrich our homes with nice things, and the more enrich our financial security, etc.. the more threatened they feel because they know that they have even more to lose. Essentially, their destructive behavior is directly proportional to the love and happiness they receive. The more love, the more anger needed to cancel it out. We’re always in a state of zero.

              I made a sign that I put on my frig the other day ( I have to put inspirational affirmations around my house right now) that says, ‘ Be a VICTOR, not a victim’. My husband got angry when he saw it and made a very arrogant comment directed at himself of course, ‘ Yeah, that’s right!” as if he’s the victim in our marriage. Hang in there Alone and know that you are never alone. You have the source of Divine strength and courage at your disposal all the time.

              Like

  4. I think it’s useful to remember that in general, the worse the relationship, the harder it is to leave, because the same factors that make the relationship worse also make it difficult for the discontented partner to survive on her own: e.g., financial problems; a spouse’s untreated mental or emotional problems; illness; that the couple has children; lack of support from friends and other relatives. I also think that the greatest obligation each of us has is to survive, for our own sake or that of our children, and if surviving means staying in a bad relationship because that is the only way I and my children can eat and have a roof over our heads, so be it.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. RockyRoad says:

    The biggest takeaway I get from this post is the fact that we have all acknowledged the fact we know we are in abusive marriages and many of us for a very long time. We all have our different reasons for staying, even tho we are aware there are probably greener pastures awaiting us. Ten years ago when I realized there was a name for the craziness that I felt on a regular basis, I scoured the internet looking for answers. I know there are other young brides who are living with a PA husband who will some day be looking for answers to the situations in her marriage that just don’t feel right… the same as all of us have. I sincerely hope that stumbling on this blog or similar blogs, will at least spare some young, hopeful wife many wasted years of inner turmoil doubting herself and her own sanity. There are a lot of days in the present that I question myself as to why I am in still in this lifeless marriage. And the best answer I can give myself is; fear and complacency. At one time my answer might have been ‘hope’, but I think that door has closed. For so many years I had one foot out the door but never made it out, because I had young children at home. There wasn’t any degrading name calling, screaming, or physical violence that I felt I had to protect them from and it didn’t seem fair to create an upheaval of their lives simply because I wasn’t happy. And now that they have become old enough and left home to begin their adult lives, I have also become older… and tired…and just worn down by trying to make my marriage into something it never had the chance to become. And throw in an old middle-aged, menopausal brain as icing on that cake and it just seems easier to stop doing battle because I know I’ve already lost the war. At this point, I don’t think I can honestly say I stay because I love him. I stay because it’s easier than packing up half my house, moving and starting over at my old age. I guess I’ve given up on love and also myself.

    That said, I feel blessed to have stumbled onto your blog PJs and the support of all the women who live this crazy life that other wives wouldn’t understand because they can’t fathom the darkness that it creates. Because of that, I don’t have close friends I can turn to for support…and I feel very isolated and alone, so your blog has been a true blessing for me. For that I thank you for being brave enough to put yourself out there and bare your soul to us all. Validation is one of the key ingredients missing in these relationships, so we can fill our buckets here.

    And I’m glad to hear you are sporting some new PJs!! 😀

    Like

    • newshoes says:

      at some point RockyRoad – you will have the courage to leave this abuse. But before that, you will have to make your way through your emotions, thoughts and fears and once all of those have fallen away, you will experience the ahha moment and will make your move. Don’t give up hope. That goes for anyone going through this and is stuck in ambivalence. Don’t let it knock you down girls, you can do it.

      Liked by 1 person

    • WritesinPJ's says:

      Thanks 🙂 I think the bra shopping was the most emotionally painful part, and really the credit to the accomplishment is how amazingly supportive, non-judgmental and loving my thirteen and sixteen year old daughters were.

      “…they can’t fathom the darkness it creates”

      Yes. That creates the most terrible alone feeling. It’s not unlike ‘seeing’ a creature sitting in a room that everyone else in the room doesn’t see, and looks at you with doubt, pity, and questions your sanity. So since other people seem to not see it, and seem to go on with life as though everything is normal, you question yourself and attempt to do the same.

      Like

    • GainingStrength says:

      RockyRoad, you wrote “I stay because it’s easier than packing up half my house, moving and starting over at my old age. I guess I’ve given up on love and also myself.” I was there not long ago. Even after realizing he was abusing me the fear of being on my own stopped me. In case you’re wondering, I’m in my late 50s, no spring chicken here! 😀 Hang in there, sometimes something happens you didn’t expect and you are forced to move forward. 🙂

      Mine wanted to move, I didn’t want to move, he escalated and then he filed for divorce! What choice did I have? Move with him and be abused in a new place or to stay and move on with my live without him. Well…his escalating cruel abuse made my mind up (with a lot of prayer) and he’s gone and I’m just waiting for this divorce process to be over (never realized it took so long).

      Sure I’m uncertain about things (like health insurance), but I refuse to give up. I’ve come too far to just give up. And like newshoes said, your time will come and when it does I hope you embrace the uncertainty with a smile and break free.

      Liked by 1 person

      • newshoes says:

        It’s funny because when I actually realized “this is it – I’m done”, I was so quiet about the whole thing, as if peace had washed over me. I was scared but I took it and ran with it. I probably shocked pah as well, I don’t think he expected it and it’s been a bit of a rollercoaster since then but I’m ok and I know now that I’m going to be ok in the end too. Dare I even say: happier.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Exodus says:

      Oh Rocky, please don’t give up. I’m in the same boat as you are and I’m steadily packing. I loved your comment about the menopausal brain……it’s got to be the worst part of menopause for me. I don’t have hot flashes or sleepless nights or even mood swings but the brain fog is horrible.
      I know how hard it is to leave especially when you have kids but if you can afford to leave please consider doing it sooner rather than later. Do it before the money runs out and before anymore of your life is wasted. If money is an issue, that truly sucks and I’m in that boat. I’m broke and I mean broke. My friend is going to send me 500 a month to help me pay whatever I need to pay for. I’m 53 years old, no security unless cellulite become a commodity or I get hit by a train. But, nothing is going to improve by staying so what do I have to lose for trying? What I have to give up when I leave is an enormous investment of my heart and soul. Really. I cry all the time while I’m packing. I have to leave my beloved animals that are buried under the cherry tree, my beautiful gardens and fruit trees that I designed with love. Well, I can’t dwell on those things or else I would never leave and as precious as they are to me, they are not worth staying here in this misery.

      Liked by 1 person

      • lonelywife07 says:

        Exodus….your pets will always be in your heart, nothing can take that away…and you can plant and design a new garden, and enjoy doing it in peace!! I wish you the absolute BEST!!! So proud of you for making this difficult decision….soon you will breathe free air!

        Like

        • Exodus says:

          Lonely, your words touched me like a warm sincere hug and darn it…I’m crying! I wish you and Seeing were my mom.

          Like

          • Seeing the Light says:

            This made me smile, Exodus. I wish you had had the kind of mother you should have had. Me, too, come to think of it 🙂

            Like

  6. RockyRoad says:

    An afterthought I wanted to put out there to see if anyone has an opinion, or thought…

    The commonality seems to be the fact that these relationships are so draining, we lose our self esteem and our joys in life we used to feel. We stop doing the things that we used to enjoy and just seem to ‘exist’. That fact I have read in this entire blog has been a huge validation for me! I’ve wondered what has happened to the ‘me’ I used to be and felt such relief when I read so many of the same stories here. I’ve observed my pah hasn’t seemed to be as much affected and then wondered how he can be so busy, getting things done, and it doesn’t appear he’s changed his lifestyle with his work, hobbies, etc. So…I’m wondering if it is because he’s not affected with the feeling of walking thru quicksand because he hasn’t emotionally lost himself??

    Like

    • WritesinPJ's says:

      Rocky Road, I hope to focus some future posts on all of us rediscovering ourselves!

      Like

    • GainingStrength says:

      RockyRoad, he’s not affected because he enjoys hurting you and seeing you in misery. Mine would smile and/or laugh at me when I would get angry at him. That seemed to be what he wanted and he would be all better! Smiling, playing with the kids, just a kind considerate man. And I was the sullen angry woman. Try not to react in anger to him, walk away or just give him his blank stares when he’s pushing your buttons (easier said than done, I know) and when you do this sit back and watch….he’ll escalate his abuse. He will become the angry one which in turn will make him blame you all the more. He’s not supposed to get mad/hurt…you are. What a bunch of babies!

      Like

      • lonelywife07 says:

        No, what a bunch of sickos!! Babies are innocent….these guys know exactly what they’re doing!!

        Like

      • Exodus says:

        Spot on Gaining. That escalation of abuse you mention is what I refer to as baiting. It’s a no win. If you respond/react, you get nowhere and if you don’t, they will bait you into conflict. I can’t walk away or ignore him without him gaining steam and then verbally assaulting me to make me blow.

        My husband always seems to be unaffected but I have to disagree that they are not. It’s typical for PA people to appear to be unaffected but inside they are full of anxiety, fear, anger, etc.. My husband doesn’t even act like a man whose wife is leaving him. He acts like everything is cool for the most part. ” Mom is moving out..yeeha!” But every so often he gets nasty about me packing and leaving boxes around the house but when I ask him how I should be packing, he walks away. He’s very anxious about this. He keeps saying, ‘ This is strange, this is so strange.

        Like

        • Exodus, that last remark you made: “He keeps saying, ‘ This is strange, this is so strange.'” How odd. They really don’t get it, do they? It’s like the only thing they ever really expected to happen was for us to take it. The thought that we would actually leave and say no more does not compute. I have to keep repeating even the boundaries I have put up here like he doesn’t register what is going on.

          Like

          • Exodus says:

            Finally found your response! Yes, he’s completely in denial. It’s like he has a switch attached to his brain and he flips it whenever he confronts anything painful. His parents are the exact same way. I would expect just about any spouse, even under the most angry circumstances, to at least be somewhat depressed or solemn but he goes along just like nothing is changing. This may be partly my fault because I’ve threatened to leave in the past and I’ve also thrown him out and taken him back several times. Those were things that every therapist told me NOT to do because it teaches him that I no boundaries.
            Seems to me that our spouses need to ride a seesaw all the time in order to stimulate the release of feel good chemicals like dopamine. It’s like their brains are wired to create high intensity negative drama in order to stimulate the part of their brain that responds to those feel good pleasure chemicals that then makes them soft and nice and we enter the honeymoon phase. Up and down, up and down. This scenario repeats over and over again-create pain in order to feel good.

            Like

  7. Christine says:

    I can’t thank you enough for sharing; your blog was a sanity anchor for me when I literally stumbled across it. Perfect words in perfect timing.
    It’s one thing to read books on passive aggression (I have read them all) and it’s a completely different thing to LIVE in the midst of it and while the books on the market today explain why and where the behavior comes from, I have yet to read one book that relates to the day to day confusion and pain that effects your very soul when you live with a spouse that acts this way. So it was a completely astounding discovery for me to actually read the words of other women LIVING it and feel less crazy and less alone while in the midst of it.
    My husband always had the tendencies and I can clearly see that now. But again you hit the nail on the head with this post about staying and the choices that play into it.
    For me I was young when we married. His mother is honesty the most PA person anyone could ever meet. At 16 years old and pregnant I had no clue that I was already being used by my spouse to avoid the guilt his PA mother placed on him. Example- when dating I gave him several pair of jeans and shirts and cologne for Christmas. My first light bulb moment I was to young to understand. He got me very little, he seemed truly upset that I spent money on him and it wasn’t until I made him feel better over and over about not getting me much that he gracefully accepted the gifts. When we arrived at his house, he refused to take the gifts inside. Acted as if he forgot them and when I unknowingly told his mother what I had given him, plus the gifts my family had bought him for Christmas, he got angry with me.
    It was confusing to watch his mother sulk up and pout: him turn his displeasure on to me and later find out that his mother had borrowed all his money, didnt get him a single thing for Christmas and he had to make her feel better over how my families gifts to him had made her feel.
    At 16 I was to stupid to run and truly saw him as the victim because his mother neglected him terribly. What I didn’t know until later was that he was never allowed to have a voice with her, being the only child at home once his father divorced her over her PA tendencies, my husband was the one who had to sympathize with her, listen to her, be guilted into promising he wouldn’t leave her and quitting school to support her.
    Fast forward…. I stayed because in his 20s he was NOT his mother. He was the good guy, the one every friend of mine wished she was married to. He was always a knight and shining armor as far as pretenses went.
    In your 20s while raising stair step kids how do you confide in anyone that he forgets every birthday, has never bought you a Christmas present or somehow forgets to do or show up for anything you have asked him too or is important to you.
    In my 20s I justified everything! He worked hard, I was home with our kids, he never told me NO to anything, he withdrew, didn’t show affection and refused to communicate about anything but he didn’t drink, he didn’t cheat, he said he loved me: so what if I didn’t feel the love he claimed to have. I didnt understand back then that he may not have told me NO to anything directly- but he punished me for everything he didn’t want to do that we did. Because somehow I was suppose to know he didn’t want to go eat Italian and so when I asked what he wanted for supper and he said it didn’t matter and I chose Italian… Even though he said that’s fine- I soon would find myself in the crazy cycle of knowing something was wrong and no idea what happened. He didn’t touch or hug me for days- I would have no clue what was wrong or ever realize that eventually these very behaviors I lived with back then would be perceived as a choice of mine to stay in this type of relationship.

    It wasn’t until my 30s that I started questioning that love he claimed but didn’t show. It was my 30s before I realized that he had no friendships that were his own, he had lost track of any and all childhood friends. It was then I started questioning that he never changed the behaviors he had been apologizing about for years and that not one single argument had ever reached a resolution…so when we argued- when I had enough of the pouting and withholding and forced the confrontation we always argued over the exact same things and every past argument came forth and he would sit and stare ahead or look through me like a kid in the principals office and silently rebel by refusing to speak.

    It was in my 30s that i think the kids mentally began to outgrew him to the point his immaturity and emotional manipulations hit home with me more because as long as I had a house full of needy kids depending on me for everything his neediness didn’t resonate with me as it should have.
    I can recall saying one time that he was like the one kid I couldn’t make grow up-

    (I feel like I’m hijacking your blog- and I hope it’s ok- but I also completely related to this post and the battle of owning the choice to leave or stay and the confusion and hindsight that you almost can’t see from the fog until your literally in a health crisis)

    I stayed because at one time it was the lesser of other evils. I still saw clear images of the man I thought I had married- even if it was mainly when company came over or we were around others. He would suddenly be his energetic charming self and I clung to that and disregarded the fact that once at home he went into zombie mode- watched hours of TV and had little contact me with. After all I asked him daily if he was alright, were we alright- was anything wrong, he always said he was fine or just tired.
    What I didn’t know at the time was that his TV was a full blown addiction; who has ever heard of such a thing before Internet invaded our homes. The kids got old enough to tell on their dad and this was another aha moment for me. Having little kids and no help from my husband meant I spent years going grocery shopping on a Saturday where he could watch them for me. if I left with a clean house to go grocery shopping and returned to find it trashed, he claimed he had been telling them for an hour to clean up and allowed me to deal with and punish the kids.

    But the tables turned when they being raised by me were old enough to express their voice and state truth.
    Something all of my kids will do and something my husband was never allowed to do as a child or adult with his mother. It didnt take long before the kids soon got old enough to tell on their dad and give their side of the story: which was that every-time I left them with their dad he turned on the TV and made them play in the other end of the house and yelled every time they got louder than the TV. It was my kids who informed me that as soon as he heard my car pull in, he would jump up from the chair and start yelling at them to pick up the mess that his lack of supervision allowed them to make.

    The older they got the more laughs that were shared between my grown kids about the times they almost died being left home alone with dad.
    It’s still not funny to me- from one choking on a quarter to another spraying Lysol into another kids eyes. All done while he watched TV and failed to watch his kids and making them promise not to tell me what happened while I’m out buying groceries or at a PTA meeting or running errands.

    His lies started to come out and even though he still portrayed the good guy most of the time- he sabotaged every holiday, every get together with friends or family and I began to resent the glimpse of my fun loving husband when company showed up because he had passively put me through hell to even have everyone over.

    Then came the first game changer. I called him out on lies and he denied it and blamed blamed blamed me. I felt like I was watching his mother work her manipulation voodoo on him- but it was my husband working it on me.
    Instead of owning his behavior he told me things that I did that caused his bad behavior .

    Ok another shouldn’t have stayed moment I’m sure- but when your 10 to 15 or 20 years into a marriage and he actually for the first time communicated something- even if it was my faults … it’s like OMG the grand Pooka speaks! I listened. He claimed he only watched TV because I was on the phone so much- that if I could stay off the phone with my friends and talked to him, he wouldn’t need to watch so much TV.

    I stopped all phone calls from the moment the man came in from work .

    He said my smoking drove him crazy- kissing me tasted like an ashtray so I stopped smoking- it’s been 8 years and not one positive word from him about me quitting. His excuse was he didn’t want to have to tell me how bad it disgusted him and hurt my feelings but that was the reason he didn’t hug or kiss on me. 8 years since my last smoke and the hugs and kisses never returned .

    He told me we didn’t have sex because I came to bed later than him and I didn’t wake him up for it…I changed that as well and unless I did all the work while wondering if he was willing me to stop nothing got any better.

    Needless to say I changed each behavior brought to my attention. The problem was nothing about his problems changed and the reason…. “He couldn’t help it that I was so much more strong willed than him!!”
    It wasn’t his fault that he couldn’t change.
    When I began to tell him that he didn’t love me- his response should have been enough- his answer was always the same “how can you say that I don’t love you, I’ve never been loved by anyone the way you love me.”
    He honest to God explained his love for me based on how much he felt loved by me- he never said he loved me. I asked him to look at me in the eye during a tough argument where I was ready to walk out and never look back. I asked him to ask me in his words…. If I felt loved by him.
    He refused to ask me the question. Accused me of reading to many of those stupid books or watching Dr Phil.
    I reminded him that our preacher had suggested that every man in the congregation look his wife in the eyes and ask her if she felt loved by him.
    He said well he wasnt going to ask me because I would just try and convince him he didn’t love me and he did. Just because I was gonna say I didn’t feel it , didnt mean he didn’t love me?
    Crazy

    Church became the reason I stayed for along time. I believe in God and vows and family values and self vows made to myself as a kid that I would not divorce the way my own parents had.
    During these years I gained massive amounts of weight, lost my self esteem, became sick by a mystery illness mimicking MS. I had somehow lost me trying to find HIM the man I married. I stayed for what our marriage could have been and was suppose to be, telling him at his worse that the man I married would have beat his azz for how he treated me… lol

    By. 40 my selfs esteem and the exhaustion from carrying him and all his problems just became to heavy. He almost let me die from an emergency medical condition that happened suddenly; two days later when I almost died and came out of emergency surgery; I’m still groggy and in pain and find this man crying over me- sobbing. I thought they had found cancer or something… I come awake feeling terrified of what he was about to tell me…. Talk about a PA moment from hell… His first words while crying was “how was I suppose to know you were that sick, we weren’t taking and it’s not my fault you laid there for two days, you just kept saying for me to leave you alone. They said you almost died: but I’m not a doctor how was I supposed to know you could have died!”

    That’s what I heard in post op!!
    I’m laying there- weak as a kitten and sick as hell and I still managed to say to him
    “YOU were not speaking to me-not that We were not speaking! You got pissed over me not reading your mind and this time your pouting could have killed me and I reminded him that never once in 20 years had he ever seen me in to much pain to move, yet he shut the door and ignored me and at bedtime he asked for me to Tell Him What I wanted him to do!!!!! I had said “help me or leave me alone” – he chose to leave me alone.
    It wasn’t what he wanted to hear me say after surviving surgery- he needed me to agree with him and to remove his guilt, I didn’t-‘So my recovery was made past difficult by him from the day I came home. He forgot my meds- had to send a friend for them, he passively turned down offers from family and friends to stay and help me and then forgot and suddenly remembered he had to go into work and left me alone after telling numerous people that he was here to take care of me.

    That first trip to the bathroom to pee was the hardest thing I’ve ever done- it topped childbirth by far. In the two years since I’ve come to consider it my 1st marathon/ I somehow made it, it almost killed me but later I felt a sense of power come back that I hadn’t felt in years.
    I finally accepted that I can’t depend on him for anything- ever.

    I dropped my marbles after that incident and they landed all over the place, I decided to stop being made to feel guilty and the analyzing started for me- the puzzle pieces being put into place and the picture coming in clear.

    I stopped looking for what was wrong with me and decided something just HAD to be bad wrong with him.- on a 2am spying spree- I went through his car, his wallet his phone and anything else I could find.
    Let’s just say his good guy image cracked under the reflection of google search history.
    It was the beginning of my end of excusing his actions or allowing him to walk away and shut down . He actually blamed me for being lacking in certain physical attributes so that is why he had to harmlessly ” look ” at other women.
    I’m gonna say I had no problem expressing the anger he can’t during that argument…so when I blew that fuse- I went for broke and it’s a million wonders I didn’t go to jail or that I seriously didn’t harm him.

    Tearing me down for years, withholding sex, making me silently question my body and ability to be loved came full circle when he used my lack of attributes and named what he thought I was lacking all wrapped up in an apology!! He was sorry my breast were not bigger or that I wasn’t as thin as I could have been, but because I lacked and he can’t help what he was attracted too- my lack of boobs justified what he was looking at in images
    I lost it like only a broken woman can.
    Hypothetically,
    Imagine a weapon that can be found in a woman’s purse, and then picture the term “shock therapy”
    I would like to say it worked but it only succeeded in bringing about our first ever separation in over 20 years of marriage and left him utterly STUNNED (literally.)
    Long story short- once out of the house the fear of divorce was gone-‘I slept better, dropped so much weight I felt amazing and the crazy ms like illness LEFT!
    Only he came back, claiming to have been saved- he now understood and was heartbroken for all the pain he had caused me. All the years I prayed for God to heal this man and right as I’m ready to fly free- he found God.
    Unfortunately- that lasted as long as it took to get out of going to church because he felt to convicted to stay there.
    Every pattern returned only worse- now he is as bad as his mother . There is no limit to the insanity. I made him see a doctor and found out his T was low. He paid 399 for the meds and lied about using them. I found the tube unopened of testosterone cream. I threw a fit and the next night he shocked me by initiating sex- only for me to kiss his chest and have this awful taste and coating on my mouth…… HE put the cream on and played stupid about knowing how bad me basically ingesting testosterone could have hurt me! He Passively denied recalling a single word the doctor had drilled in him about that part.

    He has sleep apnea now- and high blood pressure and is so young to be so overweight and out of shape- he finds reasons to be mad at me and then doesnt wear the machine. He was told by his doctor to loose 40 pounds and that he was borderline diabetic: he gained 20 and now eats twice the starch and sugar and claims its the doctors fault because he didnt crave it until they told him to cut back

    He hasn’t been back to the doctor in 2 years and I don’t make his appt anymore so it’s my fault he hasn’t been when anyone ask about his health.

    He will steel any thunder from being sick- he actually told me the other night that he was the one having hot flashes!!!

    By the time you KNOW you need out- finances and health seem to be the obstacle. Once he bulldozed his way back home- my weight fluctuates and the muscle/’ms pain is back in spades.
    The stress makes me sick.
    The point of knowing the man you thought you married never was that person makes it easier to distance from the pain.
    My happy place is found in knowing I’m not staying. I made choices that kept me here longer than my health or heart could take- but planning my way out has given me a new space to operate from. It won’t be in a temper fit but very carefully put together. It is my go to on bad days- this is only temporary is what I tell myself anyway…..

    Like

    • Exodus says:

      Oh my gosh Christine ( hugs, big big hugs) Thank you for sharing your progression through the madness. Your story is very very much like my own and our husbands are twins. Christine, I hope that you can get out of there sooner rather than later. It sounds like your younger than me too which comforts me in knowing that you won’t have to struggle quite as much as I am to be independent. My situation is very very dire and to be frank, I am not sure that my financial circumstances will improve once I’m gone but they are aren’t going to improve while I’m here either. So, I’m packing and I’m leaving. I’m so desperate to get out that I shake with excitement just imagining my new freedom in my new home.
      If it wasn’t for finding this blog, I would still be hopeless and complacently insane.

      Christine, I just can’t get over how similar our husbands are and the mother stuff? Oh my gosh. I have such a horrible reaction to being around his mother and father now. I am angry at them and I know that my anger isn’t entirely fair at this point. But, the reality is that they created the monster that I married.

      Like

      • lonelywife07 says:

        Exodus!! You’re leaving?? You’re finally doing it?? YAY!!! OMGosh! I’m sooo excited for you!! You CAN do this!! 😀 You Are going to be so much happier! You REALLY need to start a blog so we can follow your wonderful new life! 😀

        Like

        • AlonewithGod says:

          Yes, I agree, Lonely. I want to follow Exodus’ progress too. I am starting over without my PA husband. We can certainly help each other. How bout it, Exodus? Would you think about your own blog??

          Like

          • Exodus says:

            Alone, I don’t think I want my own blog. I’m not a good writer like PJ’s. I have to work to hard just to compose a sentence most of the time. But, since you’re starting over without your ” Norman” I would love to stay in contact and be a support to you. Why don’t you start a Recovery Blog and I’ll join and we can share our new world adventures together? 🙂 I have plenty of pictures of boxes I can add..heheheh I’m documenting my departure in a photo journal. I have an account on the abuse forum that PJ’s recommended and my name is the same..Exodus and you can contact me there. I haven’t posted anything there yet but maybe you can look me up in a member directory.

            Like

    • newshoes says:

      Unbelievable, all that you have been through – it’s like you are describing most of my life with my pah. Christine, I’m glad you are getting out – think of this time of your life is just like removing a really stuck bandaid but then once it’s off and the pain wears off it will be so much better. All the pain and anguish you feel now but go away, promise. A better life waiting for you just on the other side. Goodluck. xo

      Like

    • lonelywife07 says:

      Christine…oh my word. I was sick just reading this! I hope and pray you can leave SOON!!!! Very. Very, soon!!
      And again here it is…a so called “Christian man” who is so abusive. A man who acts like this, who treats his wife and family so cruelly…there is NOTHING Christ-like abut him!

      Like

    • lonelywife07 says:

      Christine, I’m so happy for you, that you’re making plans to get out! And please remember you are NOT responsible for your husbands health or health decisions!!
      He’s a grown up…well, on the OUTside anyway, LOL, but he is responsible for what he puts in his mouth…and NOT you!
      We eat relatively healthy here, and about 14 months ago after reading about gluten, and the dangers associated with it, we agreed as a family to stop eating all things gluten.
      I’ve developed new recipes, based on our old recipes that we loved, have searched the internet for new meal plans and ideas, etc….
      Everyone was on board…even my teenagers AND PA Man…and now, in the last 3-4 months…PA Man has started eating gluten again!
      When we go out to eat, I ask for a GF menu….he eats off the regular menu…when we have a cookout, like on the 4th of July, I buy GF hamburger and hotdog buns…and he grabbed the regular gluten buns.
      One of the reasons we went GF was because PA Man was having bad acid reflux, he had to have surgery for it years ago…and he did great after going GF, the acid reflux was gone within two weeks….and now he’s back eating gluten. And has the gut to show for it! He’s a slender man, but he has a gut now…oh well.
      If I mention it to him, he either denies it, or looks confused, and then says, “Oh, I did eat gluten, didn’t I? I wasn’t paying attention…why didn’t YOU say something??”

      My response? “I’m not your mother, you’re an adult, you can make your own decisions.”
      BTW, I no longer say anything to him when he eats gluten….it’s his choice.
      This past Sunday we took the boys out to dinner at a new Mexican place that opened…the boys and I all ordered the same meal, gluten free.
      PA Man ordered a burrito…with a flour tortilla. I didn’t say a word.

      Like

      • AlonewithGod says:

        Hahahaha!!! I swear, this made me laugh. How typical. It sounds EXACTLY like something my ex would do. Get all concerned about his health and losing weight, but not having the discipline/self-control to stick with it. Thank you for sharing this, lonelywife.

        Like

    • WritesinPJ's says:

      Christine, your posts are so good. So helpful. So insightful. I’m thankful you found us!

      Like

    • Christine, just another voice here to say I am so sorry about what you have gone through. As I was reading it, I cringed when I got to the part about his “conversion” and worming his way back in. That’s got to be one of the hardest parts, doesn’t it? Holding firm when they profess that they have changed or are changing – whether it’s God or a therapist or whatever. It takes a lot to hold the line and refuse to give them yet another chance that will only be a fresh opportunity to use you. I appreciate you sharing your story in such depth. May it help others to hold that line. I’m glad you are getting out soon. I am stuck for now due to children, custody, and serious health circumstances, but I am living as detached as possible and in separate bedrooms. He sure doesn’t like this situation one bit and it shows. I use the same go to you do. I tell myself this is temporary – when the kids are grown if not sooner (custody, ugh). I think of it as a prison sentence where you make the best of it and look forward to your release date. Maybe God will let me out on parole sooner for good behavior. 🙂

      Like

      • Exodus says:

        They will always worm their way back into our lives. My husband is using that M.O. right now. He has made an appt with a therapist. Unfortunately, it’s too late and I’m too wise to even consider that he is sincere. But, we need to realize that this isn’t an issue of being sincere- this is an issue of dealing with a severely broken man that is sick with a ‘ disease’ that can’t be cured.

        If it helps anyone to make the decision to leave I will tell you that back in ’99, I had two customers that were psychologists/ counselors and I called them up one day to talk to them about my husband and I explained to them what I was dealing with. I was just that desperate and just that confused that I called my customers!! The first therapist told me that it sounded like a personality disorder and although she liked my husband very much, she told me that there wasn’t anything that I could do to help him and that it wasn’t my responsibility to fix him and that I should consider leaving asap. It was humiliating to ask her the specific questions that I did given that we were working for her but I had to ask because I really didn’t know if I was being too critical of him or if he was just inexperienced and ignorant or if he was cruel and evil! I asked about behavior modification and she told me that it’s ineffective in personality disorders. She was very kind, a Christian therapist, and she told me that she was very concerned that I would fall into the trap of managing his behavior and our lives and suffer severe damages to my welfare and security if I didn’t leave. And here I am 15 years later with so much damage to my health, my emotional health and my finances that I will spend the rest of my life mending all this shit. Sorry for cursing. Enough is enough. I’ve paid the piper and all his piper buddies.

        The second therapist was a behavioral therapist and he basically told me the exact same thing. He also told me that if therapy has any chance at all in helping my husband, it will only be after he’s lost everything and only if he decides to come for help on his own. He then explained that it’s so rare that a person with a personality disorder seek treatment on their own because they don’t even have the ability to recognize that they have a problem which makes therapy ineffective anyway even if they did pursue it. It’s futile.

        It’s very sad to know that there are people in this world who are so damaged that they can’t recover. Don’t think that I don’t feel sorry for my PAM. I do. I feel sorry that his parents created his problems and I feel afraid for my husband when I’m gone. But, we’ve got to accept the truth about this because we’re only harming ourselves and others in our families. This is truly difficult for me. I’m so accustomed to protecting us and our business and everything that I don’t know what I will do when I’m gone. I’ll have so much free time and no alarms to respond to that I may just keel over from shock. I won’t be afraid to laugh or sing or play my violin. Oh my gosh, It will take years of living a normal life before the triggers will dissipate.

        Like

        • Exodus, you talk about feeling sorry for your PAM and feeling afraid for him when you are gone. Your heart is so very kind. I feel sorry for mine, too. His life seems so empty of anything real to me and that is so very sad. BUT – I have come to find a little extra peace with detaching myself (and eventually leaving) in the belief that I am the last person to be able to help him. The reason he chose me in the first place was because his pathology chose me. His dysfunction sought out someone like me. Whoever he really is – if there is anyone in there – probably wouldn’t have chosen me. I think I am probably one of the last women in the world to make him happy – even if he could ever be a functioning husband. Added to that is I believe that in some way we are their drug. The dance with us is their hit. Their abuse of us is what they need to feel good. Our presence is like leaving an open bottle of liquor on the coffee table in front of an alcoholic to pass every day – or cigarettes for a smoker – and so on.

          Like

          • Exodus says:

            Good point…’ Who are they?” We’ll never know. I wondered if my husband had multiple personality disorder because he says he likes something and then he hates it. Sometimes he negates his own comments in the same sentence. It’s so bizarre. They don’t know who they are and therefore, we can’t know who they are.

            I have my feelings about detachment that have changed in the last few months……I believe that detachment is toxic and harmful to us. I know that it’s necessary in order to cope with living with these men but when we detach, we’re denying a part of ourselves and we’re forcing that part to shut down, shut up and turn off. Antidepressants do the same thing to our brains and that’s why I don’t advocate their use for circumstantial depression. It’s normal to feel angry and hurt. G-d designed us to feel pain so that we can be warned that some part of us has been injured and needs attention to heal.

            You’re also right that we are their drug and I wrote a comment about how they need to create negativity in order to stimulate the release of those pleasure chemicals like dopamine in their brains. I believe there is a lot of truth in that unfortunately. I thought about how often my husband used PA behavior against me on a daily basis and it became very clear that just like a smoker, lighting up every half hour, my husband did the same thing and it started the moment we got up every day.

            I had the strangest thought the other day while watching my husband from a distance. I tried to imagine him living here all by himself and what that would look like. No one to disagree with, no one to oppose, no one to get angry at, no one expecting him to do anything. The image I saw was so sad. He will be like a ship without any sails or even a captain.

            Like

            • Exodus, I think detachment might have a different flavor for different people. For me it means that although I feel everything fully, I try to process it in a way healthier to me, not to dwell on it, don’t try to change him anymore or to get him to see, give him only dispassionate responses as consistently as I can, and shut the door on the drama that is damaging me as soon as I reasonably can. Somewhere on here in a different post, PJs used the quote, “Not my circus, not my monkey.” I love that. That is detachment for me. I completely agree with you that it is not good to deny a part of ourselves. Right now part of the way I handle this is my counseling. It helps me get it out where it won’t hurt me or come back to bite me.

              Like

              • Exodus says:

                I know what you mean and I’ve had to detach but I still don’t think it’s healthy. We’re always having to choose the lesser of evils when dealing with PA. My health suffered because I had to detach and withdraw. I appeared to be tolerant of Norman’s behavior because I was not reacting to things in a way that any normal person would react to. I had to become abnormal in order to live with Norman’s antics. It’s one thing to be non-reactive to someone in public or anyone on an occasional basis but when it’s a daily requirement, then I believe it becomes very toxic. This is why my husband is PA..he had to detach as a child and stuff his emotions down.

                Like

                • Exodus, I’m with you. I don’t really think it is healthy either. A big piece of it is the innocent ones watching, too. I know if the kids weren’t around I would handle it differently, (but by then I hope to be gone 🙂 ). You mentioned it was the same with your dogs. You would try to restrain the confrontation in front of them for their sakes. I know it’s bad health-wise. I can think of times where the pressure was so great, I just wanted to have a big bawling session to let out the pressure. When he is here, I stuff it because I don’t want him to see me that vulnerable, and I can feel it physically. I need that release and I don’t get it. There is no truly good option around a PA pseudo-husband. (Sorry. I can’t call him a husband). It’s plugging holes and putting out fires and trying to find the least of multiple evils. Grrr.

                  Like

  8. newshoes says:

    Everyone: this comment got to me – How many women come to a wakening moment in their marriage that their husband is abusive, and begin the journey of pros and cons, dancing between questions and doubts, confusion and clarity? Answer: well, ME!! When I first found out that what I was living was abuse, I couldn’t believe it, I the strong independant woman that I thought I was, wasn’t!! It was a harsh reality for me and what I thought was love, wasn’t. It was hard, I cried many many weeks. Once I realized that I could either accept it as is or move on, it took me many years of convincing myself that I was worth it, because I had become someone I wasn’t and I was so UNSURE of who I had become and what I was all about. It took me even more time to get myself to a place where I could think for myself again and not just go along with what he said to me, it took me some time too to talk about it with others and it took me some time in therapy to figure out none of this was my fault. I honestly was stuck in ambivalence for many many years but a very wise friend told me that one day I would wake up (after I had taken some time on my journey for myself) and realize that I didn’t want or ACCEPT this anymore and it would be a swift and easy move away and they were so right. I’m glad I’m where I am, even with all the pain I’m experiencing as a result. I told my friend recently that no one should be made to feel less than what they are, no one should be made to accept bad treatment in any relationship and no one should feel like they want to die because of it.
    I’ve cried many nights in my marriage, fell asleep crying without any idea of why I couldn’t be the wife my pah needed, why I wasn’t good enough, pretty enough, smart enough, nice enough, etc. etc. etc. and I’ve come to realize I AM!! He’s just too PA to realize it and that’s his loss but I’m found and that’s more important than anything and it’s why I’m wearing NEWSHOES.

    Like

    • lonelywife07 says:

      NewShoes….my “awakening” came about a year ago…I’m a late bloomer I guess! 🙂
      PA Man, like most PAs is so attentive in public, especially at church! Arm wrapped around my waist, holding my hand, pulling me close to him, etc….I finally told him this past Sunday, after we left church, to please stop putting on a show for others, that I want to live my life as honestly as possible….
      He got all huffy, of course, but I really don’t care! He was very upset with me on Saturday, I got the silent treatment…then on Sunday he’s Mr. Romantic….yeah, I don’t think so!
      I still struggle with labeling him as abusive….I KNOW it is abuse….emotional abuse…but when there’s no yelling, no name calling, it’s so hard to wrap your head around it, you know?
      So I’m on the path to knowledge….reading everything I can on PA behavior…which BTW, Scott Wetzlers book, Living with the Passive Aggressive Man….sucks!! Just my opinion, but for a therapist to think that you can actually sit down and have a conversation with a PA…really?? http://marriedtoapaman.wordpress.com/2014/07/08/another-talk-with-pa-man-part-2/
      And I’m sorry, but I refuse to coddle and mother a PA because he’s “afraid”…sheesh!!
      So any good books y’all want to recommend…let me know!
      I do believe that education and knowledge is the key to either learning to live with these men, in a semi detached way…or getting out!

      Like

      • newshoes says:

        recent for me too actually, I always thought I was the problem. And those books – yeah sure they give some insight but I doubt any of the writers ever lived with a pa person because they would know that any attempts at conversation or resolution is futile due to the fact that they will use anything (and I mean anything) you say against you and turn the tables – all of a sudden it’s not about what was first discussed, it’s about some other random thing that has nothing (and I mean nothing) to do with the issue, problem or topic. euh… how did that happen…? no one knows. Seriously, I don’t think there’s a perfect therapist out there, I think they are super good ones, but they may not be very familiar with pa / ca – and I believe that most PAs are also CAs (covert aggressive). Simply because most of them (at least the ones that I’ve known – only because now I see it) can explode and can be physically hurtful as well. A good book I have just read but it’s hard to read because it demands a lot of answers from you is : Too Good to Leave, Too Bad to Stay. It’s great if you are stuck in ambivalence like I was. It really did help me to see what I needed to do.

        Liked by 1 person

        • I second your suggestion of “Too Good to Leave, Too Bad to Stay.” It doesn’t give many details about how to get out but it’s very useful in deciding whether to get out.
          A good friend of mine told me that therapists might be reluctant to diagnose PA because it’s considered an untreatable personality disorder and thus they cannot be reimbursed under some insurance plans for their “treatment” of people who are PA. I don’t know if that’s true, but it’s something to ponder. Also, PA people are quite good at snow jobs, even of professionals.

          Like

          • newshoes says:

            Marriedwithouthusband – totally agree – mine snowed the first counsellor and then the last counsellor as well – the third cousellor told me I was the problem and made me feel like i wasn’t doing enough and that was enabling him… yup – some have no clue.
            On the topic of baiting – well my standard answer now is – I’m not going there with you right now – he gets more frustrated but he walks away seeing as I’m not biting.

            Like

        • Exodus says:

          New, I agree with you about how books only ‘introduce’ us to PA but the reality of living it is a whole nother reality. The part you wrote about describing how they twist your words, take phrases you made out of context and so forth? That’s one of the most frustrating behaviors they do and all the more reason to get out. It will drive you insane and I mean that literally. And if anyone believes they only do this with us, your wrong. They will discredit us in front of others or to others if they need to by twisting our words. Recently, my husband told me that I was an evil woman because I chased our dogs down the hall with a knife because I was going to kill them and how he will never forgive me for that. Sounds horrible right? I sound like a complete maniac murderer. No, that isn’t at all what happened. He had been baiting me and baiting me and I couldn’t take anymore. I had to escape from him so I grabbed a knife for protection and ran down the hall with my dogs to nto my office. My dogs were running ahead of me. Even they knew what to do. I called the police and had him removed from the house.

          Like

        • GainingStrength says:

          newshoes, I call if the roundy-round conversation. You start at point A (what you want to talk about) and go through a tortuous, circular, convoluted, insane route to point crazy-making. Using your words out of context or just rewording what you said to use against you…pure cruelty. Mine is covert aggressive and the book that I found that in was “Why Does He Do That?” by Lundy Bancroft. Don’t know about you, but mine is for the most part the Water Torturer. With a bit of this one and that one thrown in to make him a well-rounded abuser! My husband detest that book! 😀 He uses it against me “you read something in THAT book and you have me diagnosed”, “you’re just repeating what you read in THAT book”, “you don’t know anything except what you read in THAT book.” Can you tell he doesn’t like THAT book? 😀

          Nope, they never change just get worse with age.

          Like

          • Exodus says:

            THEY DO get worse with age. I have noticed a very significant change in my husband this year. He’s even developing some sort of weird evil facial twitch like his mother. Anyway, I’ve heard from many women that PA men get worse with age. Glad I’m getting out. My PAM just turned 50.

            I know that circular insane conversation very well. It will truly drive a person to insanity. And for the record, I quit showing him self help books, websites or CDs because it only gives him ammunition to use against me just like you described. He even says that I psychoanalyze him all the time and that I’m the one who is nuts.

            Now that I’m leaving he made an appt to see a therapist next week. hahahahha Will it do any good? Nah. I’ve never heard of a recovering PA man.

            Like

            • lonelywife07 says:

              Ok Exodus….weirdness time….I am 53…and PA Man is 50….and he also says I psychoanalyze him…are we married to the same man? LOL! AND when I’ve made threats in the past he’ll start reading on his laptop about PA, or start mumbling about starting counseling!! LOL!! But it NEVER goes anywhere!
              And yes, I’ve never heard of a recovering PA…do they even exist?

              Like

              • Exodus says:

                Be warned…that midlife crisis will intensify the drama and I’m not talking about pierced ears and Harley bikes. My husband is acting like a teenager. I got in my car the other day after he had been driving it and the backrest to the drivers seat was practically horizontal and the radio was blasting rap music. He knows I hate slouching and I hate rap music so I’m sure he did this partly to upset me but he listens to rap and slouches anyway. I’ve told him before that the reason he and his father slouch are because they are spineless. He also changed his haircut……shaves it down the sides and keeps the fluff on top..the trendy style for young men today.

                My husband has been a fraud his entire life. He puts on a good show, appears to come from a nice family, appears educated and kind and gentle but those are just qualities that he learned from others. Because he lives like a fraud, he lives a very frustrated and angry life and hence, PA. I don’t think my husband has any authentic identity. I can always tell when he’s been hanging around a new person because he will adopt a new phrase or some other aspect of their rhetoric or person. Last year one of our contractors was using an iphone and my husband suddenly needed an iphone even though I have been using the same iphone for 3 years and he told me that he hated them and would never own one.

                Like

          • newshoes says:

            Gaining – sounds like a good book to read, thanks for the suggestion. I think mine is half covert and half passive and it depends on the situation or his mood. Either way, it’s still abuse right?!! I like the roundy-round conversation – I might actually use that if you don’t mind 🙂 Crazy how they may all differ slightly in a way but in the end they all make us CRAZY…

            Like

            • GainingStrength says:

              newshoes, you have my permission 😀 use away! That book is a real eye-opener if you believe your husband is an abuser. My copy is so underlined and marked up, you can’t help yourself. You’ll find yourself nodding your head, saying yes, yes, yes. Yep, water torturer….drip, drip, drip the slow eroding of the victims self.

              Like

          • AlonewithGod says:

            Amen to the getting worse with age. More silence, no eye contact, “I’m really tired tonight”(night after night), constant lying, more secrets, more rage, more undermining, on and on and on. I found Scott Wetzler’s book mostly helpful because it convinced me that none of this was EVER my fault (and I got blamed for everything). Wetzler writes that with every destroyed relationship, the PA’s anger grows. So with a new woman, when my ex decides he’s not getting what he needs/wants, the explosions will be worse than ever before and the fallout will be immense.

            Like

        • RockyRoad says:

          newshoes, I went to Amazon and ordered that book immediately! I need some direction and a way to process in a methodical clear-headed way. I hope it will help me see what I need to do. I have to say I admire everyone here who has found the courage to move on with their lives!!

          What we have is not a marriage by any stretch of the imagination… it’s a room-mate living arrangement.

          Like

          • newshoes says:

            🙂 Awesome!!! Good for you. I just finished reading mine this weekend and it was great, I got to chapter 3 and realized I knew what I had to do in my heart already but I read the whole thing just to make sure I was making the right decision and it turns out, there were 5 (5!!!) different things that pointed in that direction, cheech can’t believe it took me that long to figure it out. Good luck and let me know how it goes. 🙂

            Like

          • GainingStrength says:

            Rocky, ahem…if I may correct you…it’s a room-mate from hell living arrangement. 😀 Sorry couldn’t resist. 🙂

            Like

    • WritesinPJ's says:

      newshoes, you described that so well, and it all takes so much Time.
      I do hope young women find this blog and save themselves years of what you and others described.

      Like

      • newshoes says:

        19 years for me… then my life changed forever. I think once you know you are being abused, it’s like getting slapped in the face. Especially since you believe you are a strong person then you realize someone is playing with your heart. EURK…. mind boggling.

        Like

        • GainingStrength says:

          For me it was 18 months from the time I realized it wasn’t my fault to him filing for divorce. Of course it took me 30+ years to find this information. He couldn’t take it that I wouldn’t play his cruel games. I just wasn’t playing fair, I was supposed to cave and go back to “normal” without him doing anything.

          Don’t get me wrong, he didn’t come to any realization, he still believes it’s all my fault. To him I am a mean, bitter woman.

          Like

    • WritesinPJ's says:

      Newshoes, I love your new name. I hope those new shoes are comfortable to dance in!

      Like

  9. newshoes says:

    Lastly – your last comment PJ – thank you for wishing us all new strenght and hope, I know that for myself, had I not found this blog and someone’s else about pa, I would have definitely felt alone but not anymore. I have all of you to rely on to not judge me for my relationship and not judge me for my choices or my thoughts and comments and get support from a group who has been sharing the same exact things over and over. The understanding I get here is precious, we are all very lucky in our sorrow to have found one another and I think it was meant to be. Thank you PJ and by the way, I’m glad you found the courage to buy new clothes – I’m proud of you. xo

    Liked by 2 people

  10. wornout says:

    Pjs, thank you so much for your posts. You really have a gift for writing and expression. I am so grateful for this blog and for everyone’s comments. I agree with Christine and RockyRoad, it is such a blessing and so helpful to read the experiences of women who are going through the same thing. I look forward to every comment and I too find myself nodding my head in understaning. Thanks again, Pjs, and to all of you great ladies out there for making a huge difference in my life. 🙂 Christine, I’m so sad about what you’re going through, I’m thinking of you.

    Like

  11. WritesinPJ's says:

    Seriously… it’s the comments and sharing from all of you that’s creating an absolutely priceless resource for women who might search and find this place. I hope whoever finds this place takes time to read all the comments, because there’s so much wisdom and insight in what you all share.

    Like

    • lonelywife07 says:

      Well, here’s my comment if you’re a young woman, just figuring out that your husband is PA…GET out NOW!! Leave!! Don’t look behind you…just go! Your husband will NEVER change, ok??
      You can’t help him because YOU are the one who has the problem, and YOU are the one who needs help…you understand?? (PS that was said with A LOT of sarcasm…it’s not true, but it’s what a PA believes!!)

      Like

      • Exodus says:

        Lonely, You are so SO HILARIOUS! Oh my gosh, I can only imagine what it would be like to hang out with you. The two of us screaming at every woman to ‘ get out now honey!!”. hahaha

        Liked by 1 person

        • lonelywife07 says:

          LOL!! Exodus…I have a CRAZY sense of humor…maybe that’s why I don’t let PA Man bog me down so much?? I’m very extraverted…as that personality test PJ posted showed…89%! LOL!
          It would be so cool hanging out with all of you…we seriously need to make it happen sometime! At least we all have our own online support group!! 😀
          You know…maybe we should have a private group…where we can be ourselves, share names and email??
          They did that over at Emotional Affair Journey…they started the blog, then converted it into a private blog also.
          We could exchange messages, email, etc….I might look into that! 🙂

          Like

          • RockyRoad says:

            I’m so glad you posted that idea… I’ve been thinking the same thing!! 🙂 PJ don’t you have everyone’s private email address?

            Like

          • Exodus says:

            I have a crazy warped sense of humor too and I can be just as loud as you can ;D
            I was thinking we should get Tshirts made with some catchy phrase or acronym

            G O N !

            If you want to exchange emails I don’t have a problem sharing mine as long as you put something in the header that lets me know it’s you. I won’t open an email from an unknown source.

            Like

  12. Well spoken post, PJs. You are an excellent communicator.

    Like

    • Christine says:

      I read all these comments with my mouth ON the FLOOR. My lawd… I needed this kinda info way more than what I paid for all the downloads on my kindle trying to find just this- I’m really not crazy.. The comments about the changing topics in the freaking middle of a conversation are my blow up point when he does this to me – that’s the “bait” as you ladies described it in my relationship.
      I honestly thought no one else could possibly experience this. I’ve made a complete fool out of myself more than 100 times ( really) over just this kind of behavior.
      Last week I tried to discuss something he DID- I should know better but my gosh- it’s nuts to have this HUGE elephant in the room- he dragged the elephant in the room-it’s his stinking elephant yet he pretends it’s not there and it’s my job to finally say HEY- THIS BIG HUGE THING right HERE must be acknowledged.
      So as I attempt to discuss it, he gives me the silent treatment- stares through me at the TV- no eye contact and he has also in the last year developed this same tic and set to his jaw during these moments JUST like his mother- the post above had me re reading her words twice when they said the same thing!

      I had just told a dear friend that I felt like I was in the twilight zone- he turned into acting like his mama- then sounding like her- drawing out his words just like her and using phrases that he has never used and I’ve never heard anyone but her use in this really hard tone to explain, kinda like a bossy child with a bully sneer, things like “well that’s not MYYY fault-” with word MY drug out for four or five syllables- or ” well- I DID it! And I had every right tooooo” with the word DID said in a snap and the word TOOO is emphasized forever. To then get the same set to his jaw and tic around his cheek and persimmon lips as I call them…. his entire face changes to look exactly like her… I’m sitting there looking at him these days as if I must be imagining things.

      Sounds nuts but it’s strange.

      But during the crazy merry go round talks where we go round and round
      and get further from where we started- this past time- I cut off the TV and asked for him to look at me- his mothers glare met mine and I couldn’t get over it. The thing is his mother and now my husband have all their conversations with themselves silently in their head… He ain’t talking to me- but I promise he is talking silently to himself the entire time- his face shows it.
      Then suddenly, when forced to reply, he zones in on me with a bait and switch. I was in the process of saying to him “You know that you did this- we discussed it on Monday and then Friday you tried…..”

      I didn’t get any further because he starts arguing over how it wasn’t MONDAY that we had the discussion- and he wants to argue about the DAY and refuses to let it go and discuss the problem. I give in and say fine- it’s irrelevant- maybe it wasn’t Monday-the point is you KNEW…

      I get no further because he wants to argue then about how I just proved to him that’s it’s my fault he can’t talk to me because I won’t let him talk???
      I stop and back up- here comes the circle talk- I’m like “fine talk- but talk about the problem!”

      I hush- he sits we both sit- it’s silent and he doesnt speak…and when I say to him that I thought he wanted me to hush so he could talk, he says I made him forget what he was going to say!

      So I go back to the original POINT of discussion- you know that big elephant he has been avoiding all week and pouting over: I’m trying to discuss THAT!
      Nope he sulks then waits for me to keep talking and then wants to speak up and argue about something else completely unrelated and just blurts out “so your perfect?” I answer NO- but again the problem here is …..
      Nope- then he wants to argue I won’t let him talk again- we sit in silence- he doesn’t talk- I ask when he is going to talk because im not gonna sit there in silence with him- he yells that HE IS THINKING??? But never talks. So I go back to point A… The problem…. But
      he goes back to saying I’m confusing him because I said we discussed it on Monday and we didn’t, and wants to list every detail of his day Monday- and attempt to prove that Us discussing anything on Monday didn’t happen and avoiding the discussion about the problem.
      Finally I get my phone and go to my text messages- I find the messages between us on Monday- prove it WAS Monday that we first had the discussion and he refuses to look at the phone! Haha…ok by now am I alone in being NUTS??

      I’m yelling by this point shoving the phone toward his face- he refuses to look at it- grabs and tosses my phone away- then I pick it up and by now I’m screaming for him to LOOK at the phone and see that it was Monday!!
      He has me arguing with him over a stupid day and not the problem!!! I catch myself and calmly attempt to say that doesn’t even matter- it was not the reason for the “talk” so with that settled can we NOW get back to the %*%*# Elephant in the room!!!!

      He gets this twisted sneer and a smile that I can see in his eyes- and he calmly tells me that I’m just so angry all the time that he can’t talk to me about anything because nothing he ever says is right….and he calmly walks out of the room!!!

      Now I live this weekly- for years… I can follow behind him and go nuts and cause my kids still at home grief- or I can sit there and fume and attempt to calm myself down, knowing we will be back to silence until I agree to step over the “elephant” forever…. either way- he walks off calm and I feel like the elephant in the room has decided to sit on top of my chest.

      It’s a no win- he can confuse and blurt out the most random crazy things and never once acknowledge the issue I need to discuss! That has been my crazy maker and to read the post above explaining it hit home…
      Anyone know how to avoid this- I actually used my iPhone a few weeks ago to record something I was reminding him to do- when he accidently on purpose forgot and tried to argue about all the details or non factors surrounding it and I pulled out and my phone and let him hear me and also hear his reply- he stormed off didn’t speak for days and then blurted out days later while we were discussing a safe topic (food) “so now I can’t talk to you without YOUUUU recording me?” The word he drags out like his mama does is always the accusing word of the sentence… It’s so odd and the YOU is always ME… lol

      And does anyone have an issue with their PA husband only speaking to you through questions? It doesn’t matter if he is pouting or happy- he always ask me things that he either already knows the answer to; or their loaded land mines as I call them because my answer means something I don’t know yet.
      Like every Saturday he will say “what are your plans today”
      If I say yard work- he is pissed and walks off. If he ends up at some point outside with me and that depends…it is always twisted later into how I told him I wanted him to do yard work on his day off.
      Or when he ask, if my answer is “I’m going to run errands” then he will later say that he sat around all day because I didn’t tell him I needed him to do anything and that he asked me what I wanted him to do…

      But he didn’t- he always ask what I’m planning to do. He never brings HIM into it.

      He asked one Sunday out of the blue if I felt like driving 2 states away the next Friday?? I had no more details… Just that?
      When I ask why- he mentions one of our older kids might have a sporting event. Nothing else.
      He doesn’t say another word for days. I forgot all about the random question.
      The night before the event he asked me if I had reserved a hotel room and did I know where I was suppose to have our son at and by what time?

      I was floored. NO- I was never informed that they actually DID have spots in the event. PAH tried to say that he had just found out for sure that the boys were going that day-( lie-)
      then he tried to blame me if our kid couldn’t go and swore he told me all about it. Lie

      After mass confusion- I find out PA husband had details for a month- found schedule and info in his car… He had already planned to take off work (found this out in his emails not that he admitted it- actually he denied it) he had found a room already, had the app on his iPhone still pulled up with the price check for a two nights stay… He denied doing that as well. I’m looking at it- he turns his head and says that’s not what he planned to do at all.. ??

      That particular crazy storm was really about my PA husband wanting to take two days off work- without pay- go to the tournament- without admitting that clearly- but in the end he knew he could make me think at the last minute there was no other way to get our son there except for him to take off work and go and then it would be MY fault the paycheck was short because I MADE him miss work and go.

      He gets what he wants with these round about insane ways that leave me crazy and without him ever having to admit that was his intent in the first place.
      I decided in my new found state of “I’m over this” to fix it my way instead of the backwards way he has always used to attempt to get his way.
      I called another family going, made sure they had room for my son, sent him with them and told dear hubby I had it handled and he didn’t even have to miss work after all.
      He was furious- but he can’t admit that-
      So the pout and sulk and all his little underhanded things to make me pay went into over drive…some I find humor with these days. But the loaded questions and merry go round talk drive me nuts- I mean it makes me feel like I’m crazy, especially when I do get angry and he innocently says “I was just asking YOUUUU a question” in his whiny accusing voice, when I snap back and say “I’m NOT your mama- stop asking me question and SAY what you really want to say or say what your about to do!”
      He gets his “my feelings are hurt and I’m the victim” mood cranked up and walks off with his head down. That use to make me feel bad for him after he had drove me nuts with stupid questions.

      Best example I have is this- and I need help or suggestions on how not to fall into this type of crazy.

      He won’t say “Pick up dog food we are out”
      That’s impossible for him.

      He will walk in the room I’m in painting and working like crazy and he will say
      “How long are you gonna let those clothes you were taking to good will sit in the floor?”
      That’s a Loaded question. He needs something but has pointed out something I’ve not done yet. But I still have no clue what he needs.

      I carefully answer the next time I go to “blah blah ville” the next city over.
      He leaves the room. I can either follow and ask why he wanted to know or keep doing what I was doing before he interrupted me with a strange question. I keep painting.

      Later he walks back into the room and randomly ask “did I hear you say that you were going to “blah blah ville” today?

      My answer- a simpler “No, I’m painting today.”

      He stands waiting for me to do my amazing mind reading mrs Cleo trick and guess what he needs me to stop painting and go into the next town for.
      I keep painting when he doesn’t say anything else.

      He walks off- but pouts the rest of the afternoon. A reason to be mad= a reason to pout and that =guilt free entitlement to watch TV- which is all he wanted to do, but needs a good reason to justify doing it- being mad at me is always that good reason…

      I’m painting most of the day. When I finish up later that evening- he has spent all day in a chair watching TV. He sees me come into the kitchen and starts looking agitated. I’m washing brushes, cleaning up my mess and he ask another question…

      Please understand there has been no statements from him all day long- just weird random irrating questions…
      He ask me WHILE he is watching me clean up “if I’m done painting!?”

      I say yea- I got it finished.

      Next PA question- “what else are you about to do?”

      I answer “get a bath and get cleaned up and ready for bed- I’m wore out”

      He turns back to the TV and sulks… I’m clueless, but I don’t engage in this PA behavior anymore like I did for years- the leaving him to the problem is NO problem for me anymore- it’s only when he makes it my problem. The first 20 years I pulled his problem out of him to fix it. Those days are over praise The Lord.
      It’s not until I’m running my bath water that he comes into the bathroom stomping and making as much noise as he can to get his shoes from a connecting closet- he doesn’t say a word…

      Now I’m the one who ends up asking a legitimate question—where he is going!

      He uses that pissed off “entitled to be mad” tone and says “Were OUT of dog food! They haven’t ate all day!”

      I’m confused- why is he mad at me- he has sat in a chair with the dog watching TV all day long.. Lol

      I casually mention that no one told me we were out or I would have picked some up…
      His reply came as he slammed the bathroom door- “I asked you if you were going to take those clothes to goodwill and youuuu said NO!”
      I’m literally feeling my temper rising and loosing the peace of my hot bath and my few moments of relaxing and feeling good over my accomplishments from painting all day.

      My response to him while yelling from the bathtub “What does those clothes have to do with dog food!”
      I’m confused as hades!

      His answer “well if YOUUUU would have said you were headed that way to take those clothes I was going to tell you that we needed dog food while you were out but you said you weren’t going so now I guess I have to go get it unless you don’t want them to eat”

      I remember just wanting to throttle him. Instead I simply and calmly answer- “no if we need it then you go ahead and get it.”

      Only when I get out of the bath, put my pjs on 30 minutes later, I realize that he hasn’t left- his shoes are still on but he is still here. No dog food.

      He simply ask me if I wanted him to just cook the dog some eggs and could I take those clothes to good will and pick up dog food then?

      Question crazy!!!!!! All those questions to make me stop painting all day, not take a bath that evening, but go out for dog food without him having to ask me to do that while he watched TV for 10 hours… The clothes had been in bags in the garage for a month- he had to go look for a random reason to suggest I leave and go get dog food???

      When I said yea you
      Cook the eggs— he literally left them on the counter the pan on the stove and tried to wait me out to have me cook them.
      I left the room and went to bed to read– but to hear that story repeated by him- I can’t ever remember to buy dog food and he constantly has to cook for the dogs…

      I’m looking for Help from anyone on ways to deal until I am able to leave.
      I know these or hope these post are anonymous but I have this one big huge new and exciting step for me that is seperate from this crazy marriage that makes it impossible for me to move right now. I know he will fight me for the house and I don’t want to move down the road and stay in the guidelines that I have to be in to continue the “other” journey God has placed me on.
      When this thing ends, my youngest will be graduating-‘it’s ironic really how one ending of having kids in school and another ending to something that may very well be the beginning of a new and fulfilling career path. This “thing” of mine has caused quite a storm this year with my PAH.
      He went from wanting to publicly be a part of it to now resenting the time it takes and probably the confidence it’s built in me. But as I plan my way to peace and freedom- any ideas on what does work to survive this behavior??

      These are my trigger points and it’s so hard not to respond with the frustration that they cause…
      How do you deal until you can leave???

      Like

      • newshoes says:

        Christine – the minute you blew up – he won. He had you right there and then, you did what he wanted the whole time, to lose it!! He baited you pretty good, it sucks I know. I’ve been through it SOOOOOO many times. I’m reading you and I have 100 different of my own scenarios just like what you described in my mind going round and round and you know what struck me the most – I kept falling for the darn bait!!! that makes me so mad you have no idea but not the kind of mad that will have me blow up and yell at him, no the kind of mad that leaves him behind 🙂
        My pah’s standard way of telling me something in aroundabout way is this: “your child x didn’t pick up his room” also known as and read between the lines here: “get child x to pick up his room” instead of telling him himself, he will have me to do it – well not anymore – I don’t care if child x’s room is a mess 🙂 see how that works now.
        ok so true story here – about you wanting to throttle him – I had a dream where I actually was over him in bed choking him – not funny and it was totally scary and I actually woke up sweating thinking it was true – can you imagine what’s in my mind. I would never do such a thing believe me, it’s not in my nature. After 19 years, and being diagnosed with PTSD because of abuse (because nothing else has happened in my life to warrant PTSD), I have these awful dreams.
        Leave the room when he tries to bait you – act passively like he does – don’t comment on any stupid shenanigans he does – just walk away and record everything on a USB stick for future reference.
        Speak to him as little as possible, but expect that the abuse will get worse – keep repeating to yourself these words “don’t bite – don’t bite – don’t bite” – I got so good at it that I was able to tune out – no joke 🙂 Let the whole thing just wash over you.
        Then one day, you will have had enough and you will make your move but until then, you have to go through all the emotions to get yourself ready and start by imagining that you are gone and be happy about it – you are on your way to a better life dear!!

        Like

        • Exodus says:

          Oh my gosh New..that dream! I too have had those violent dreams and not just about my husband but his father and mother too..although just screaming at his parents in my dreams.

          That’s excellent advice for Christine and I’d like to warn that walking away or suddenly becoming passive or indifferent toward them can sometimes cause them to badger until they get the defensive angry response that they are looking for. I don’t know if you read my post about how I grabbed a knife and ran to my office but that was one of those moments when I tried to tune him out in a very gentle way and he reacted with more intensity and became relentless about pursuing me through the house. I agree though that we all need to find the best way to not react. The key is to gently alter our reactions in a way that it’s not obvious. In other words, if it’s typical for me to react by raising my voice and yelling then for me to suddenly become an indifferent passive peace maker would be too obvious. They don’t like us using their M.O. against them. One of things I learned to do was while he was badgering me or playing his head games, i would say, ‘ Oh my gosh!!” and run out to my car as if suddenly it occurred to me that I may have left my wallet out there. I would also pretend that I left the water on outside, lost a credit card or that I had to go to the bathroom or that I forgot to pay a bill. The ‘ Oh my gosh’ with a look of sincere panic will usually throw them off and end the nonsense.

          It’s exhausting having to manage them this way and why we have PTSD.

          Like

      • Jane D. says:

        Christine – short answer of how I deal with it – detachment. If you hunt around on the internet you can find Al-Anon’s description of detachment. It’s helpful. I also just don’t expect anything from my guy. I’ve tried to manage my life such that I don’t have to depend on him for anything regarding the household stuff or stuff with my child.

        The long answer would be to write my own blog. How I figured out what I am dealing with, and how I learned a variety of coping strategies was really quite a process. I was helped with my coping strategies by a counselor who has a background with addiction. There are some similarities between being married to an addict and being married to an abusive spouse.

        Like

        • Exodus says:

          Jane, you make an extremely important point about codependency and PA behaviors and relationships. There are a LOT of similarities. Getting therapy for codependency is necessary for anyone who is being abused and especially PA because most PA people are addicts whether they are using or not and the people who choose them are enablers. Though my husband is not currently addicted to any substance, addiction runs in his family history – sex, alcohol and food and the dynamic is the same…..the addictive/abusive behavior and the enabling excuse-makers in denial. I went through very intensive codependent therapy for 3 years and developed such an aversion to it that I can’t even be around codependent people now. I run for the hills anytime I detect that toxic dynamic.

          My husband has a very addictive personality and lacks self control when eating or drinking. This isn’t just behavioral, it’s genetic and it’s wired in their brains to need that euphoric stimulation. PA people get addicted or obsessed with all sorts of things….celebrities, foods, substances, tv, sports, body image, exercising and more. The other thing is that my husband is very codependent in that he kowtows to people with bad character or bad habits or people who disrespect him. So, he’s dragging the trash into his life which ultimately affects me as well.

          There’s a lot of info online about codependency and youtube as well.

          Like

      • Wow, Christine! He really is a classic PA, isn’t he? Sounds very familiar. I have to comment on that sneer. You said: “He gets this twisted sneer and a smile that I can see in his eyes- and he calmly tells me that I’m just so angry all the time that he can’t talk to me about anything because nothing he ever says is right….and he calmly walks out of the room!!!” My PA man loves this one. Get the “conversation” really going until you are angry and then sit there calmly with the eeriest look of overly calm and condescendingly ask why I am so angry with just a little smirk. Then he wants to know why I am so angry when he is calm and in control of himself. Then when I push back and call him on some of his manipulations, I can see he is nervous that he is caught and his lips disappear! They’re pursed so tight that they are just clean gone!

        Before I go on, I wanted to suggest something that may not fit completely but has some interesting information. There is a website called psychopathfree.com and they have an article about “word salad.” I am not saying your husband is a psychopath, but so many of these disorders overlap in some characteristics. Anyway, the link is https://www.psychopathfree.com/content.php?147-10-Warning-Signs-of-Word-Salad. There are a lot of other good articles on that site, too. It helps me after an altercation to tell myself, “just another big helping of word salad”.

        You also said about your new journey: “He went from wanting to publicly be a part of it to now resenting the time it takes and probably the confidence it’s built in me.” I think you are right on the money about the confidence it builds in you. They sure don’t like that, and I believe it is key to your primary question (which I get to later). I had the unusual opportunity in the last couple of years to actually help a few people with my skill set – something that went unused for more than a decade. It enabled me to serve others, build confidence in myself, and actually be praised and appreciated by someone. He did not like it at all. Those situations are over now, but I sure would like to branch out again – and this time maybe earn some money at it. Is anyone else noticing positive things about you through this? That would probably drive him nuts, too.

        Okay – finally – your questions: “But as I plan my way to peace and freedom- any ideas on what does work to survive this behavior?? These are my trigger points and it’s so hard not to respond with the frustration that they cause…
        How do you deal until you can leave???”
        Since I am stuck for now, I have been working on this a lot myself. Part of it depends on what he knows. Have you let it be known to him that you are leaving when you can? Also, are you still sleeping in the same bed and are you still physical with him? My PA man and I are not in the same bed and there is NO physical contact at all – by my choice. This has some effect on how you approach things, but doesn’t change everything since you know you plan to leave.

        The first direction I would go is detachment – internally and externally. For me this means keeping up with at least a little bit of reading every day and staying out here with my support group 🙂 in order to keep my internal boundary intact. I continually remind myself that I am dealing with a child (probably maturity level of around 12 to 14 years) so that I am not roped into interacting with him as though he is an adult just because he looks like one. It helps to remind myself that he is no more rational relationally and emotionally than an unreasonable child whose frontal lobe has not yet developed. His should have by now but appears not to have done so. This changes my expectations, which helps immensely.

        Remember that you are dealing with someone who has proven repeatedly that he is not your friend and is not on your side. I go all the way with mine and know that I am dealing with an enemy – someone whose goal it is to use me for his own purposes, while appearing to be innocent and even virtuous while doing it. After describing him to my therapist – (I should say counselor because I am one of those people that is in therapy to figure out how to deal with the people in my life who need therapy and are driving me nuts) – I was advised to not share any information with him, nothing about my thoughts, feelings, soul, not what I am learning and not even what books I am reading. My therapist knows that whatever I share will be used against me. This last week we even got to the point where my therapist suggested I stop calling him on lying because it is doing no good and probably just giving him more ammunition against me by the end of those kinds of conversations. So you keep you guard up and don’t give him any information. I have also stopped giving mine emotion except for some basic smiles when the children do something worth smiling about – but they are short and I break eye contact quickly. He was literally feeding off of my emotion so I don’t give him any. I am cordial and as polite as I can handle without being fake-y. I laugh politely if he shares a funny story or video. We might mention something political one of us heard and we talk about the weather. I don’t even talk to him about the children much unless it is something he has a basic right to know as their father or vice versa – medical issues and doctor’s appointments, school events, etc.

        It sounds like you already have some interactions where you don’t take the bait. That’s terrific. Stick with that one whenever you can. Do not take the bait. I still fall on occasion here. I can go a couple of months keeping it detached, then a necessary conversation about a deeper issue with one of the kids is used to rope me into everything else about our (non-)relationship and the blaming starts and I get drained for an hour or two while we go around and around. Then I kick myself. You have to learn to manage him however best suits his particular bent, but remember there is no clean formula to making it work well. All you can do is the best you can to implement some strategies and know that he will be working to sabotage those and will actually probably ramp up his bad behavior in response to you disengaging.

        I am so happy for you that you have a career path opening that is building you up. That is probably more important than any coping strategies I have suggested. Go after it whole-heartedly. Let that self-confidence grow. Grow any way you can. Let your new life increase and let him decrease. Let yourself think about him less and less. Any time you find yourself not caring what kind of shenanigans he is pulling, smile and be glad you have detached just a little bit more. When you need support and you need to unload about him, come out here and do it and don’t regret it. Then pick up your life (not his) again and go forward with your day.

        In your earlier post you said: “The point of knowing the man you thought you married never was that person makes it easier to distance from the pain.” This is so true, Christine. It is so freeing to me to realize that person I thought I was marrying was a facade. (Some of mine was already being revealed between engagement and marriage actually). Any of the parts that pretended to care about my well-being or to love me for my sake were phantoms and lies. He never existed. My pain now is what I and my children have lost and the bondage we are still in.

        I am sure the women out here will have some great insight for you. If I think of anything else, I will add it down below.

        Like

      • RockyRoad says:

        Christine, I grabbed a cup of coffee to sit and enjoy your post and then ended up almost spewing it onto my monitor!! 🙂 I couldn’t help but laugh at “I left the room and went to bed to read– but to hear that story repeated by him- I can’t ever remember to buy dog food and he constantly has to cook for the dogs…” Their *thinking* process is unbelievable! Sometimes I don’t even want to hear what PAM is thinking because it’s usually so off the wall that it leaves me dumbfounded.

        I also have some of very same experiences with the communication merry-go-round and finally learned when he starts that, is to repeat what he says with a question mark…and then to avoid going round and around forever, I just point blank ask him “So, what’s your point?” or “what’s the statement you’re trying to make?” He’s usually such a to-the-point kinda guy in all areas of communication. You know, cut the chit chat, and all the details that don’t matter and get to the point… so I use it on him. I quit coddling him years ago and just call him on it.

        Mine used to be full blow, almost everyday, something chaotic, nothing makes ANY sense PA, but after I educated myself and quit reacting to ‘the bait’ I found that it seemed to calm down a bit. And now when he tries to pull his PA crap, I call him on it. Straight up and direct. And I’ve toned down my reactions to it. I no longer go off and it’s been like deflating a balloon, or being a party-pooper… however you want to look at it from his end. But he knows the gig is up now and it’s greatly reduced my stress level by not allowing him to suck me into blowing up and act out his rage. We all know when there’s a storm brewing with them. It’s like seeing the dark clouds in the sky, knowing a storm is coming. I think after we received our PA diplomas, we’re better educated and prepared now. 🙂

        The best advice one therapist gave me was not to disengage (like the experts advise) …over-engage. Imagine your PAM as a defiant 10 yr old. Speak calmly and be very direct. Address the behavior. If they want to act like a child, treat them like a child. And if need be, give YOURSELF a time out! haha. She gave me huge insight on how to deal with PAM, but it was usually after the fact. Still, that helped me gain some insight on how to deal with situations as they happened again and again. She gave me this advice when I told her the story about my grandmother’s death and funeral. I’m not the best storyteller and it happened many, many years ago, but it went kinda like this:

        I tell him my grandmother had died. (She lived about 3 hrs away and in a time zone that is an hour ahead of us.) He asked “Are you going to the funeral?” So after we cover the fact that yes, I’m going to the funeral, his questions began. After all the questions I answered for him (quite exasperating I might add) it left me wondering what his real agenda was. He had mentioned he had a fishing tournament and was trying to figure out how he could still make it and wiggle out of going to the funeral with me. At the time, no definite arrangements had been made. When the arrangements were finalized, I realized he had no intention of going with me because his tournament was much more important. My mother, brother, and his family decided to drive up the day before and spend the night because the funeral was at 9am which would have required us to get on the road by 5am to travel there. By then, PAM had already left for his tournament, so I arranged for my small children to stay the night with friends, dropped them off and we loaded up in my van and went without PAM. (I had this thing about small children not belonging at a funeral, so I didn’t take them) Anyway, the next day we arrived home after dark and went straight to my mom’s house. I called PAM but he didn’t answer the phone.

        So I drive home to get something and found him there with my youngest daughter who he had already picked up. (the best I can remember, we had already talked on the phone before I arrived back in town… I think when he walked into an empty house when he got in from his tournament) He was very put out because I had dumped HIS kids off without his knowledge and he didn’t even know where they were…. and yada, yada, yada. Well buddy, you did what you felt you had to do (go fishing) so I did what I had to do.

        Well here’s the thing. When we decided to make the drive in my van, I had just been to the grocery, so I had several large items still in the van that I hadn’t carried into the house yet – laundry detergent, bottled water, etc. To make room for 5 other adults, I had just taken them out and set them in the garage floor when we left. When I got home and opened my garage door, all those grocery items had been placed in my parking spot! This is how he got back at me for not rearranging my plans around his plans. I learned very early on with PAM, it’s never “I’ve got your back”… instead it’s always “I’ll get you back”.

        I was the only family member there that day without their spouse and in addition to being sad about being at my grandmother’s funeral, I was sad that I was married to a jerk that ALWAYS puts himself before his spouse. I mean, he couldn’t muster up any sympathy or compassion, he still has to act like a jerk. But this is so typical from all the other comments I’ve read here. When everyone asked me where he was, I told them. I also told anyone who asked over the years when he was absent from any other family event… like daughter’s 10th birthday party, my son’s high school graduation, Valentines Day dinner at church, etc. etc. My answer was always “fishing” because when push came to shove, he would ultimately choose fishing over us.

        “I didn’t get any further because he starts arguing over how it wasn’t MONDAY that we had the discussion- and he wants to argue about the DAY and refuses to let it go and discuss the problem. I give in and say fine- it’s irrelevant- maybe it wasn’t Monday-the point is you KNEW…” This is classic stonewalling! My PAM plays the same game when he doesn’t want to discuss an issue.

        Another of his strategies is the continued comment, “I just ____” (fill in the blank) This is to justify any comment or action of his that I challenge or question. Or “I didn’t think _____” (fill in the blank) Another way to justify some bonehead, thoughtless action of his. Rarely ever do I hear an apology.

        There are so many actions and words over the years that I’ve witnessed and heard that make no sense. I could deal with the fact that he’s a man and they are from Mars or Pluto or wherever the heck they are from, but real men apologize when they’ve hurt you and they certainly don’t continue a behavior when they know it’s damaging your relationship.

        Like

        • christine says:

          rockyroad, not sure why the post above said anonymous, but it was mine too. Yall ladies, all of you MADE my day better today. I love the comment “They don’t have your back, they will get you back” HAD me laughing enough that I feel better about the fact that my PA who has been told for years to please please DONT wash or dry my clothes- still accidentally does” The man does not DO laundry hardly ever, but when he is mad I have to run around and make sure he hasn’t washed and dried all my permanent press clothes. He does this and then yells that he cant do anything right, he was just trying to help me and all I can do is yell at him for helping.
          HE RUINS my clothes, I have to throw away outfits…I am not kidding. So in trying to pack today and running late and needing to be off here and doing that, but wanting to read every post to have my support in place and ideas before this trip, and I go take a load of clothes out of the dryer and its all his stuff, with two of MY THINGS TOSSED IN RUINED….ahhhhh…..This time, I am letting it slide, but your comment made me laugh…I get the getting back part all the time.

          Like

          • GainingStrength says:

            Towards the end when he would start with the roundy-round conversation I would tell him answer my questions first and then we’ll discuss what he wants to discuss. Did this work? Hmmmm…partially, maybe sometimes, I guess so (see I can be vague, too 😀 ). Yes, it would work, but (and a big BUT) it would take about 4-10 times repeating the above line to get him to answer/almost answer my question. I’m smiling right now because his face during this time showed his frustration with me, he forgot to smirk and was just plain ol’ frustrated. How do I know this? I think we all know what frustration feels and looks like! 😀

            My best coping method, not being around him as much as possible and answering with as few words as possible. The few words answers didn’t sit well with him. He gave me the silent treatment, but since I didn’t care if he talked to me I found it peaceful!

            Like

  13. Anonymous says:

    seeing the light- Thank you from the bottom of my heart, that is exactly the type of information that I needed. To answer your question we are not physical anymore. I guess I can say “by my choice” as well, but I am not sure I actually had a “choice” Sex was the one thing he held against me and used the most during our 27 year marriage to punish me with or express his displeasure. Of course to hear him say it “He always wants to be with me, he denies ever doing this” and for many years those words mixed with the real events of him with-holding intimacy, left me the most battered emotionally than any other behavior.

    So after his last major pout session around the first of the year, and when he withheld the touching, kissing, intimacy, sex and so on, I did nothing this time to fix it- or initiate it and I soon discovered this only caused him to dig deeper into his never ending reserve of what he can with-hold, such as eye contact, a smile, a common courtesy given to a stranger, basically I ceased to exist unless he wanted to ask crazy questions to prod me into doing something he needed without having to ask for what he wanted directly. So I felt like my soul, not my mind or emotions, but literally my soul couldn’t handle another trip on that roller coaster ride from hell, the high isn’t worth it anymore and I don’t think I could survive another crash without harming him or literally running away from home to save myself. lol

    The room I was painting this year, is “my room” its my little piece of heaven on earth. The colors are all mine, the furnishings vintage from thrift store finds that I restored and while its not quite finished I am close. I have a bed in the room, but I also suffer from either RA or Fibro, the doctors are about as decisive as my husband, I say I suffer from PA Crazy, because when he is on his best behavior and the stress level around my house is less, I feel better. ( and when we separated over a year ago, I WAS HEALED- not one flare up the entire time he was gone) But the bed in that room doesn’t work well for me on the weeks I have a flare up, so when I have to sleep in the room with him, on MY bed that has thick memory foam and down toppers, I climb in there, but there are definitely TWO sides of the bed, and he is like a brick wall, not once this year rolling over to “accidentally hug” or touch in sleep.

    He says its my choice because after he with-held all affection this last time, I told him I was taking that tool of pain away from him, and I would make it easy, just keep his hands off of me.
    What you said about him feeding off your emotions, I literally told him a while back that he was an emotional feeder, and he left full and I was drained dry. He sets the mood and tone of the atmosphere with his emotions, but he then feeds off mine or my response to his tone. It sounds crazy, but I get that part.

    your comment “Then pick up your life (not his) again and go forward with your day” changed my entire view today. We have an annual trip planned, its a tradition I started years ago, family event and we leave this afternoon. I have done NOTHING this year to plan for it, not sure how I will pull it off, was honestly dreading the very thought of something that I use to wait in excitement for all year long. your words were my kick in the butt first thing this morning. Picking up my life, going forward with my day…ahhh..simple but perfect advice because you dont realize you are always in some kind of cycle of either picking up his day or fighting the urge to PICK up his life and his day to make yours better.

    The advice about dealing with him as a child and helping use that to remind you that mentally your not interacting with an adult even though its a grown man standing there, I needed to hear that. I have been DOING just that, but not viewing what I am doing from that perspective. I see the grown man, deal with him like a child and then get frustrated, changing my view to acknowledge that I respond to him as a 12 to 14 year old (which is about his mental level in my book) but I still looked at the MAN and got pissed. I have a hard time with that because at work, he excels, he handles things, completes things, does not forget things, and for years I was wrapped up into the storm of he just cant BE A MAN FOR ME!

    But age has made this so much worse for sure, and in time I have even seen the PA cross over at work between hearing him have conversations with co-workers and pass the buck or say one thing to one and then hear him give another story to another and also get angry at others for what he perceives as him being taking advantage of, when he offered or actually placed himself into the position to begin with and then want to spend hours when he got home explaining what he got mad about, nit picking and wanting me to tell him how right he was. This behavior where work is concerned is new and didn’t show up until his 40’s.

    The post above that said tell yourself DONT BITE. I have disengaged so much, but there are times I know I still bite on to the bait and I am left the worse for it. I had someone tell me years ago when he refused to keep one boundary in this relationship that I had set for myself, that this man was holding a sign up to me that read “THIS RELATIONSHIP IS ABOUT ME- I DONT CARE HOW IT MAKES YOU FEEL” and that I needed to “read” the sign and stop listening to what he said the sign said, I could read it for myself.

    The hardest part are the times where they want to say the right things, like a broken record, but the actions never ever do follow through. He knows I want a divorce. He has disregarded it, and is still in the midst of his longest ever silent treatment and cycling between saying nothing, to asking stupid insane questions, to pouting, to picking a fight and walking off, to not speaking. He hasn’t said his “I am sorry words” in a while and I am thankful for that.

    He is mad, and he is mad I wont fix it, and he is mad he cant make me DO what makes him feel good, he is mad that he cant understand why I am hurt, he is mad that to repair anything means fixing himself and where before, he avoided his mother because he couldn’t stand her PA tendencies, he cant see his own that are identical to hers in every way, he honestly told me that he is nothing like her, that she is evil and crazy and he is nothing like her, when I gave exact situations where he and her reacted the exact same way, he shut down and then defended that behavior saying he understood why she felt that way now and he got mad.

    Does he think I will really leave? No way. I think he honestly believes that he can hold out forever until I come around and fix this mess he made. He has no concept that its NOT going to happen again. While he is avoiding and pouting, I have set up a separate savings account, began to get things in order so when the time comes its as smooth for me as possible. Its surviving what comes next each day that I cant fathom or predict and I have to figure out the best way to live through until I can leave. In his mind, I really think that he believes he can hold out and WIN this stupid emotional black mail game of his, and even if I refuse and leave, he still wins because then he is the victim and has the rest of his life to play the part and blame me for where his life ended up. Its a win win for him if I stay and care for him like an emotionally disabled person or a win if I leave him to his self destructive ways, because me leaving will be the blame. What he cant handle is being with me in the house and me not responding to his tactics, I know this, but how to keep not responding is where I need the help. Thank you ladies so much for this site.

    Like

  14. Christine,

    I am so glad if anything I said helped. I know the women out here have helped me so much and now you and your story are doing the same thing for me, so thank you!

    I am so relieved that you are not physical with him. That can really keep messing with a woman’s heart. And your little piece of heaven! That’s great! My PA man doesn’t sleep in the same room, but everything else is still set up with his stuff in my room and it’s a high traffic zone because it’s a refuge where I hang out with the kids so it’s not really a private get-away spot for me but beggars can’t be choosers.

    It is driving me nuts to read about your health. I believe you were HEALED! He is the poison destroying you! If you remove the poison, you heal the disease. I wish you could be out of there this minute, but I understand. My own health is so poor and I can sometimes feel the chest pain and shortness of breath kick in when I have to have a conversation with him. It’s becoming so undeniable. It is such a catch-22. I can’t heal in a house with him, but I can’t leave and fight for my kids until I heal (at least part of the way).

    As far as the 12-14 years old part goes, I do believe that there is choice – free agency as you called it somewhere out here, I think – in wanting to remain this way and stubbornly choosing denial over enlightenment about who and what they are. So though I accept the level he is at in interacting with him, I don’t give him the out culpability-wise I might give an actual teenager who actually has an excuse for acting like a teenager. For me this is an internal issue. It lessens his ability to play on my sympathy and to give me guilt.

    I need to keep a copy of that sign you mentioned in the front of my brain. It is so true. Thank you for sharing that one.

    You said, “Its a win win for him if I stay and care for him like an emotionally disabled person or a win if I leave him to his self destructive ways, because me leaving will be the blame. What he cant handle is being with me in the house and me not responding to his tactics,…” You hit the nail on the head here. Mine can’t stand it being with me in the house this way and every now and then he asks me when I am going to leave. I believe he wants me to because I have made it clear I am not going back to the way it was before, he can’t stand it this way and keeps using his tactics to trip me up, and he knows that if I leave, he can immediately switch into GRAND VICTIM mode with our whole circle of acquaintance – work, church, kids’ school – you name it – and everyone will praise him as a martyr.

    I really hate having to think and feel this way and about these things. I don’t think I am a bitter person or unwilling to forgive, but when it goes on and on unrepentantly, isn’t the only reasonable response outrage once your eyes are opened? (I have to give credit to something I am sure I read recently that used that word – outrage – as the only appropriate response to abuse). I am just so weary of having to be in “outraged” mode all the time.

    Like

  15. Hi- I’ve been following you for some time yet haven’t had the time to read your post at one time. There are many aspects I don’t understand because I haven’t been there. I can tell you are hurting and you pile a lot on yourself. You writing is precise and pulls you into the story. In my heart I would like to offer words of support but honestly I don’t know what to say. That never happens. I grew up in an abusive environment, some of the things you say about your parents and how kids view them I do understand. I’m soaking in you’re emotion and I’ll have to come back after I process what I’ve read. Be safe. 🙂

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s