What time changes pt. 2

I have been coming back to try to keep up with the conversations on the last post, and when I make a Resources Link, I think I’ll add the link to that post because the experiences and insights from all of you would be priceless to someone new that was looking for help.

Yesterday I was too exhausted to write.  It will be five years in September that my son was hit by a car on a bike.  He was on a bike provided by his school, and the brakes failed. I can’t really write more of the details, because even after all this time, it’s still not resolved legally.  I will say that it’s a nightmare to fight a big insurance company with deep pockets.  We had a long phone call with the attorney, and that was what just took it out of me.  Gone are the days of much emotional energy reserve.  I live in a state of triage with my energy anymore.

We’re all individuals here.  We may differ in age, ethnicity, nationality, faith, personality, and cultures.  We’re all individuals of worth who have experienced the impact of a kind of diminishing that is covert, subtle, and implacable.  Passive aggressive abuse defies reason, and because it wasn’t reasonable, it hid in plain sight as we searched for a reasonable response and understanding.  It weakened, sickened, debilitated, and stole from us while we were swinging at ghosts.

I’d like to continue where I left off, with trying to answer comments from lonelywife (who is a valued and respected poster here).  Below is her comment, and I’m following with a time snapshot from the past:

I realize after reading so many “stories” that I don’t have it so bad with PA Man…he’s so into making himself look great, that I can do whatever I want…shop, go to lunch with friends, get involved with community service, etc. because he can then brag about how he “spoils me”…and “encourages ” me to do these things…whatever!” (lonelywife77)

I don’t think my husband has ever overtly discouraged me (not in a way that could be seen as discouragement by outsiders).  Over the years, I’ve come to see what I viewed as ‘support’ as being something non-threatening to him, and that means he didn’t undermine or sabotage me.  It was so convoluted that in the midst of it, I couldn’t see the forest for the trees.

For example, there were times in years past that I took classes (that didn’t lead to independence, these were okay), worked in ministries, taught a Bible study, taught Sunday school, worked part-time or temp jobs, and was the main photographer in a large private school that my homeschooled kids were enrolled in (this in exchange for tuition) .  And yes, lol… even went shopping!  With his ‘support’.  He seemed perfectly happy about it, and there was no problem.  Maybe no genuine interest in what I was learning or doing, but no sabotage. Even better was when I could find ways to include him, which meant being able to shine the light on him or give him the credit.  Instinctively, I did that without admitting it.

In the beginning,  my going back to school was a huge issue of covert sabotage.  When he asked me to marry him, I wanted to wait a year.  My young life had been in turmoil, and I wanted to get a year of university under my belt before we got married.  He vowed and promised that my education would be his priority.  He painted his ‘support’ in such glowing, positive terms, that it sounded quite wonderful, touched my heart, and I agreed to marrying much sooner.

The reality played out quite differently.  We had our first child sooner than I planned (that happens sometimes).  When she was almost two years old, I brought up The Plan for me to get to back to school.  He agreed in such ‘supportive’ language, and seemed all for it.  He went with me to the university near us in our Midwestern city,  so I could pick up their catalog and applications etc.  I was so excited!  It had been a rough and rocky time right from day one in our marriage, and now I felt maybe things would take a turn for the hopeful better.

I began to dream and hope.  Choose classes, fill out the application forms.  When it was time to turn in all the forms and a registration payment, he ‘reluctantly’ and ‘sadly’ told me that we just couldn’t swing it financially.  But next year! (he promised)  Guess what?  He was speaking the words to someone who had grown up with financial instability, and wouldn’t voluntarily cause financial turmoil.  I feared financial instability (even though it’s become my life).  I agreed to wait… a year.

The next year, we were living in a different state near the Rocky Mountains, and off we went again to the nearest university.  Same thing.  We walked around, I got excited, picked up the catalog and application, and moved towards my enrollment.  Until he ‘sadly’, really ‘sadly’ explained that we were still recovering from some extra costs etc., and he was so ‘sorry’ but if I could just wait… one more year… everything would work out and The Plan would be a green light.

I was so young.  Mid-twenties.  Busy, active, determined, vocal, strong, and hopeful.  Naturally, I was getting suspicious at this point.  Just slightly, but there was always enough rationale for it to theoretically make sense.  Also, I gave him the benefit of the doubt and believed him, with a small, niggling question in my gut, but I hadn’t yet learned to listen to that.

Our oldest son was born near the Rocky Mountains, and then shortly after that we moved again, this time to Montana.  I’d hemorrhaged after that birth, had transfusions, and so I was weak and sick when we moved (he was six months old).  By the time he was nearing two, I was recovered and ready to resume The Plan.  I had my sea legs back with two kids, I’d become good friends with the assistant pastor’s wife, began working out at the Y, and was ready to fully engage with my future goals.  We went to the college where we lived, and this time I was almost glaring at him, daring him to ‘do it again’.  Picked up the forms, began filling them out, and of course, it happened again.  Only this time he wasn’t quite so ‘sad’ when he told me.  He was more subtly angry, defiant, and defensive.  He painted a very good picture of himself as having the best intentions, and doing his very best, and somehow it was demanding, ungrateful me that wasn’t working as a team.  If I could just be patient.  Did I expect him to do more than his best?  Bet you all know this drill.

We moved again to yet another state.  This time it was southern CA, and at the time, you could go to a community college for only fifty dollars plus books.  Yes, no matter how many units I took in a semester, only fifty dollars plus books!   When I found that out, I was like a small storm unleashed.  I stared at him (because deep inside, not acknowledged consciously, I was expecting sabotage) in a take-no-prisoners way and let him know that there was absolutely no reason for me to not do this.  He agreed (of course), and the ‘support’ was voiced.  I was so happy.  So ridiculously and extremely happy.  I went to the college (by myself), filled out the forms, checkbook in hand, registered, and bought my books.  I took the entrance exams, and was immediately placed in all honor classes.

Looking back, it was the best and worst of times.  I had so much hope, that each reality check from a passive aggressive snipe attack, or withholding punishment,  felt like a death knell was tolling, while simultaneously I was able to talk myself out of it and go full steam ahead.  I was getting solid A’s, and led two courses as the top student among all the freshman enrolled (including Biology).  I was in my late twenties, constantly mistaken as having just graduated from high school, and asked out on dates (which I thought was funny and annoying at the time).  I thought I was so old.  Wow.  If only I could go back in time and talk to her!

The downside was that there was constant and subtle teflon pressure and tiny sabotages and hidden punishments going on at home.  Could I connect it to my going to school and doing so well?  Only the suspicion in my deepest gut, and certainly not to explain to any outsider.  If I’d even tried to acknowledge it and explain it, I would have sounded paranoid, crazy, and like some unappreciative nag.  Because he was handsome, funny, charming, worked hard, helped with the kids and pets, and disarmed people with his smile and humor.  I was inwardly becoming wary with no outside validation for it whatsoever.

The one thing that was a legitimate challenge was childcare.  I viewed it as the sticking point for me to keep going and succeeding to reach my educational goals.  Since my conscience worked over-time, it was difficult to justify that expense (at the time it was difficult, now it wouldn’t be).  I came up with the perfect plan when I realized that every class I needed for the next semester was offered in the evening!  How lucky was that?  I felt like nothing could stand in my way now, at least not for the next semester. 

How wrong was I?  I finished the first semester on the dean’s list with honors.  Semester two and I was full of excitement and hope.  Barely days into the second semester, as I stood pacing and waiting for him to get home from work (dinner made, house cleaned, laundry done), the phone rang.  He was going to be late.  So sorry.  He’d get there as soon as he could.  I walked into class when it was half over.  When you take an evening course, it’s like taking 2-3 day classes in one session, so missing half a class is bad.  I scrambled to connect with other students to get notes and assignments.  I was stressed.  Really stressed. 

You all know the rest of this story, right?  Another phone call.  So sorry, but he had to work tonight.  Another phone call.  So sorry, he had no choice but to work late.  This missing class or missing half a class continued for half a semester.  The stress of trying to keep up was draining and overwhelming me.  I dropped out in the middle of the semester.  I felt beaten and demoralized.  Deep inside, very deep inside, came the skeptical questions of why suddenly he had to work late or work evenings.  That just happened ‘coincidentally’ when I was taking evening classes.  I wasn’t at the point yet to consider he was just… a liar… or to call him one.  But the seeds of doubt were planted.

I certainly hadn’t reckoned or considered that he might actually want to hurt me… intentionally.  That was just so wrong that it couldn’t find a reasonable place in my thoughts when I weighed and analyzed things.

Meanwhile, he’d continue to be consistently inconsistent at behaving as though he loved me.  So I bobbed up and down on that roller coaster, always seeing that sparkling magical carrot just barely out of reach.  I still believed that love would make us turn a corner, and bring our happy ending.  I don’t know that it was about my loving him, but my believing that loving him was the right thing to do. 

Circumstances arose that required my working some temp jobs, and that distracted me.  It also ate up more time, but I was too young to see the big picture.  I began to consider a new plan that would lead to my finishing my educational goals.  I certainly didn’t plan to give it up.

“The years teach much the days never know.”  Ralph Waldo Emerson

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69 Responses to What time changes pt. 2

  1. It is horrible that your husband did that! But very subtle initially, I agree. Have you heard the term “boiling the frog”? The frog is put in room temperature water in a pot, the flame is turned on, and by the time the frog realizes the water is boiling and tries to jump out, it’s no longer in a condition to be able to do so.
    The second of my husband’s long-term jobs during his adult life was one for which he was a poor fit. Nevertheless, he tried hard. I could sense that he was struggling at the job and I tried to help by taking on as many of the household and parenting tasks as I could, while also working at my part-time jobs. I felt a little resentful but I acknowledged to myself how important it was that my husband keep this job, because it was our main source of income. Then he got fired. Then I was the only one working. Did my husband jump in to help with the household and parenting tasks, now that he had ample free time and my work became that much more essential? Well, I think you know the answer.

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    • Exodus says:

      These men are also CHAUVINIST PIGS who subconsciously hate women I think. My husband is such a chauvinist that it just blows my mind that i’m living in the 21st century. This is a result of his parenting no doubt. My MIL was making her other son’s bed and cleaning his room when he was 35 years old and when I told her that I thought it was very unhealthy for her to treat him that way she responded with, ‘ Well, I’m his mother and I enjoy doing that” What a bunch of dysfunctional sickos!!

      Boiling the frog is spot on. How depressing though to imagine myself that way.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Exodus, a few years ago I learned a word that is right on the money. (I think I heard it on a television show, had never heard it before and had to look it up – had a teacher that ingrained that into me 🙂 ). Misogyny. The google search definition is “dislike of, contempt for, or ingrained prejudice against women”. Oh, yeah. Many of them are misogynists. It goes beyond any societal or cultural prejudices regarding men and women. It is contempt. I’ve seen it here.

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        • Exodus says:

          Ah yes. When I first saw that word, I thought it had something to do with enjoying eating Miso because I eat a lot of Miso……hahahahha Now, I hate the word and it even sounds dirty to me.
          I would agree that many PA men are mysogenists- especially the ones who were not loved properly by their mothers.

          Is there a word for having a prejudice against men?

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    • WritesinPJ's says:

      Yes, so much of it is cumulative over time.
      The lack of reciprocity in basic caring is so hurtful. My husband does help with kids, pets, yard, house etc. but not consistently, and not without a price or often buried resentment.

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      • PJs, your phrase “not without a price or often buried resentment” reminds me of something I used to say to PA man before I understood what was happening. I used to tell him “you never give anything freely”. Isn’t is something how we can feel and know they are doing something, we just can put the puzzle pieces together until that moment of revelation.

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        • WritesinPJ's says:

          Seeing, yes. I look back on things that I knew at least in my gut. Sometimes I’d say something to him, and the words that came out of my mouth would surprise me. It was like having an understanding that hadn’t reached my head yet.

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        • Exodus says:

          Narcissists operate the same way. My mother never did anything for us with there being a price on it. To this day my brother won’t allow anyone, including me, to do anything for him because he has such a deep seated fear of being held hostage to anyone’s kindness.

          I’m broke and can’t afford their prices….I’ll have to shop elsewhere 🙂

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  2. GainingStrength says:

    I used to tell myself I felt so protected and safe with him around. He was so strong and he would protect me. Uh….no. As time has passed I have come to realize as my marriage is ending that he would not have protected me and my sense of safety was false. He would tell me that he had my back, he would protect me, blah blah blah blah blah. I felt so safe.

    When the times came that I felt he should have stood up for me he didn’t. Why? Oh you want to know the excuses. 🙂 I couldn’t take a joke, I was too sensitive, or (my favorite) if he confronted the man he was afraid he’d hit him (or something nonsensical like that). So he would never protect me because he would have an excuse not to. He never “saw” it the way I did. Me: I felt intimidated Him: I didn’t see it that way, you’re exaggerating. This hurt so bad every single time it happened. Why wouldn’t he protect me? Wasn’t I worth it? That’s me in my marriage…useless and worthless, oh and towards the end…invisible.

    His line that I came to detest was “nothing is going to happen.” He worked evenings when the kids were babies, when asked to shift to days he would say “nothing is going to happen.” Later when he worked days he would leave early and not lock the front door! When confronted with my fears he would say “nothing is going to happen.” And since nothing did happen (thank God) he believes he didn’t do anything wrong. Don’t try to make your wife feel safe, just make sure you are always right.

    Over time I came to understand that under dire circumstances it would probably be every man for himself. I did not feel protected or safe with anymore with him.

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    • Exodus says:

      Same here Gaining. He has never defended me or protected me and that only makes things worse in the long run because it creates more shame in them that ultimately, we get punished for. If we didn’t exist then they wouldn’t feel any shame and so, it’s our fault.
      I never could go anywhere with my husband and feel safe because , for example, if we went somewhere and we had to leave for any reason, he would never leave and if I said something to him, he would get mad at me in front of everyone and make really arrogant comments like, ‘ What’s your problem? Relax. Quit being so uptight’

      If we went some place and I got sick, G-d forbid- I would be up the creek without a paddle. It’s not like my husband would care and in fact, he would make every effort to avoid me , abandon me and make me suffer.

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    • GainingStrength, I know what you mean. No protection whatsoever. Ever. There was a time when I was at my weakest and most vulnerable – in every way – physically, emotionally, spiritually – you get the picture. An old friend of ours who had been my friend as much as PA man’s before we were married and who had drifted away from me and towards PA man after the friend got married laid into me verbally ripping me up one side and down the other about how all of my problems, including my health, was due to my sin and I needed to repent. I lost it. I had gone into the conversation completely unaware anything like that was coming. I couldn’t catch my breath. PA man saw my reaction and did nothing. Instead he appeased the friend and made nice. Days later, I begged and begged him to stand up for me with this person (which means very little when you have to beg for it anyway). He kept insisting he couldn’t because this was his friend. Finally, shame made him say something to him because I wouldn’t drop it (I didn’t get to hear it – I can just about imagine what he said – please tell her you’re sorry or she’ll be mad at me comes to mind) and it got our “friend” to give me the kind of apology a child makes when a parent forces them to tell their brother or sister they’re sorry, which was volleyed at me from ten feet away as they headed out the door for some guy time together. I suspect now based on conversations over the years that he was smearing me to this mutual friend behind my back for a long time, while I was still trying to be the wife I was supposed to be. This whole scenario made me feel utterly vulnerable and without value from beginning to end. The funny thing is that he struggles to keep even this friendship going and since I now have no relationship at all with this man, he has blamed me for the difficulties in their friendship. There are so many other examples in my life with him where he didn’t stand up for me and didn’t physically protect me though he is so much stronger. They really do a great job at making you feel worthless as well as crazy.

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      • GainingStrength says:

        It’s one of the most brutal betrayals of marriage. We are worthy of our life and these abusers almost succeeded in taking away our worth. Getting out is tough and the future may be difficult also, but it’s WORTH it, I am WORTH it. 🙂 They can live in their lies, but I will live in the truth.

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      • WritesinPJ's says:

        Wow. Seeing, I had a similar experience years ago. One thing I learned at the beginning of my recovery was that it starts to not only rock the boat, but it tended to illuminate people in my life that apparently didn’t want me to get healthier. I’ve learned to let those people go.

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        • Seeing the Light says:

          So true, PJs. Now when I think about this particular “friend,” I wonder about his own narcissism. I was a magnet after all. His poor wife started having health problems years ago and to listen to him talk about it, he didn’t exactly exude compassion.

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    • WritesinPJ's says:

      Gaining, I felt so sad reading this because I understood it. There was one time I can remember my husband acting in a protecting way, and I’ve held on to that memory like a starving person hoards bread. I have too many other memories of feeling like he left me hanging and alone.

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  3. Exodus says:

    But PJ’s it’s not over till the fat lady sings. Don’t give up PJ’s..pick yourself back up, dust yourself off and get back in a class- ANY class. The world needs you to share your gift of writing. You are our voice.

    Boy, Emerson really described the cumulative effects of abuse in that quote.

    Good luck with the insurance company. Remember the movie, ‘ The Rainmaker’ I love that movie.

    Reading this post is like viewing a snapshot of my own life. Everything from the community college ( my tuition was 125 a quarter flat rate for 12 plus credit hours..amazing isn’t it?) to the predictable interferences and obstacles and their favorite excuse, ‘ sorry I have to work’.

    I came to the conclusion a few years ago that anything my husband recommended or suggested that appeared to be good for me wasn’t going to be good for me. It was my husband that found the job online at the Uni a few years ago and he said, ‘ Oh wow, this job is perfect for you, it’s what you used to do, right up your alley…” I was so depressed at the time PJ’s and had been out of the work force ( other than my business) for so long that I didn’t feel confident at all. Then one day I just decided that what the heck, I’ll apply just to gain experience applying on line since I had never done that. What a nightmare. It was a state application and it had so many time-outs and well, it was just intimidating because of my lack of experience with such things. I was supposed to attach a resume but somehow I ended up sending the application before I even edited it or attached my resume! I cringed with shame and the horror of anyone seeing that application. The month of December passed and then in January, I received an email requesting an interview. I couldn’t believe my eyes. For real? Now, for the pathetic part : I was so stressed out about finding the right building, finding a parking space and finding the room where my interview was going to be. That’s how truly mentally and emotionally disabled I had become. I made my husband do a test run with me a day before the interview so that I would know exactly where to go and would not be nervous when I got there.
    They offered me the position as a level one scientist. I was so excited. It was truly a miracle and I mean that given how my resume never got attached and how I never edited my application.

    I came home and I told my PAM and I explained to him that I wasn’t going to accept the position unless he agreed to change. Change? How stupid of me to even ask. ( I can hear each of you laughing..cut it out!) I very specifically asked him to make certain changes and explained that I couldn’t handle doing that job AND having to micromanage him and clean up after him and fix all his unintentional mistakes. ” Please!” I begged. He nodded and started the ‘ I know , I know, I promise things will be different, I hear ya, I hear ya! let’s drop it now ok?” I knew he was full of you know what but I took the job anyway.

    The first week was fine but he began resenting my enthusiasm and he was becoming extremely jealous. My work involved a lot of lab work but also field work on boats so , I heard things like,’ I don’t get to hang out on a boat all day getting a sun tan. Must be nice.” I don’t know if any of you know what a typical marine biologist does on a boat but it’s hard to get a tan with a hard hat on, long pants, boots, PFD and long sleeve shirts and drenched in mud. I was pulling cores out of the bottom of of the bay which is no dainty task. Even so, I was dealing with balancing work and home and our business fairly well. It wasn’t until I began waking up to the unexpected inconveniences that I knew I was in trouble. Fortunately, being late to work wouldn’t get me fired but it upset me that I had to be late to work almost every day because of my husband’s antics and of course, he couldn’t take care of anything because he had to get to work. I couldn’t leave home before he did because he might just leave the front door wide open and then my dogs would run away or the house would get robbed or both- both of which happened a few times on his watch. I had to deal with him leaving the coffee pot off the machine so that all the coffee would run down the counter, down the cupboards, into the cupboards onto the floor and rug but, he couldn’t clean it up because he had to get to work. I used to just paint over the stains but then I gave up so, I still have the stains to prove it and I still find dried coffee in the bottom of some of my bakeware that I haven’t used in years. My husband told me that if I want the coffee made right, to do it myself. So, I had to be the one to make the coffee even though it is the only thing he ever did around here besides take out the trash when I asked. Another morning I noticed that there was goopy wet stuff all over the carpets. The dog had apparently vomited on the office floor and my husband didn’t feel like cleaning it up so he just walked through it, tracking it all over the house but he didn’t have time to clean it up because he had to get to work. I had something to deal with every single day and he dumped a lot of unexpected things on me right before he left like telling me that he spent 200 dollars the day before and that I would have to deposit the funds in the bank before 2pm and he couldn’t because he had to work. Really? Now, how can I do that if I’m on a boat? So, there were a lot of bounced checks.
    I had days when I would get to work and just be shaking and sometimes crying and I always hid my real life from my coworkers. No one knew what I was dealing with and even worse, they thought my husband was a great guy because he volunteered for the Chesapeake Bay Foundation. His picture was even in the newspaper! There’s those pictures again..the ones that paint the perfect image of the hero that saves the oysters from extinction. There were also those times when our department would have meetings, seminars, parties, picnics and I could rarely ever go because I had something to deal with and besides, it would have been thrown in my face how it must be nice that I get to have lunch in a restaurant with my coworkers and how he didn’t have any friends, etc.. So, I wasn’t able to take advantage of any perks. I may have even been able to work with another dept once my grant expired had I been able to meet other scientists. The worst part of my job in the beginning was realizing how I had become so nervous and withdrawn and so socially awkward which was very uncharacteristic of me in the workplace. I usually adapted very quickly and made friends very easily. A man once asked if I needed any help loading a box and I very rudely responded with, ‘ NO, do YOU need help?!!!”. Oh my gosh, I felt so horrible that I ran back to him and apologized. Thankfully, he wasn’t phased and joked that he thought I was one of those radical feminists on campus. No, that’s not me at all. Everyone on campus was friendly and so willing to help with anything- even if they didn’t know someone- and I simply wasn’t used to that. One day out on the boat, another scientist said, ‘ Ah, I knew there was a reason why I liked you so much” and I instantly froze, unable to speak. I couldn’t imagine why he would say such a thing to me. Was he being sincere? Was he trying to flirt with me? Was he being sarcastic and attempting to insult me for some reason? Of course, now I know he was being sincere and complimenting me but at the time, I really didn’t know how to react and I couldn’t even trust him enough to fake a ‘ thank you’. Things in every day life that so many take for granted became triggers of absolute terror for me. I also had to cope with my shame and the fear of anyone finding out about my secret and well-protected life which interfered with my concentration and ability to relax. No one really noticed but I did. The dept head was such a stuffy feminist and if she ever found out what a loser I was, she would have made my experience there very miserable. She hated weak women and any that were submissive in any way. One of the grad students got married and during her very traditional wedding with traditional vows, the dept head became outraged by the ‘ man and wife’ bit and threatened to leave. I’m tellin ya, some of these feminists have done more harm than good in our culture. No wonder men hate us! hahaha

    Exhausted? I was exhausted before I even woke up. It’s not that healthy exhaustion from physical exertion that warrants a good sleep. It’s the mental fatigue that occurs from just thinking- always trying to plan a step ahead of the game and just trying to make sense of insanity in order to prevent further chaos and drama and it’s the type of exhaustion that keeps me awake all night.

    Sorry for writing another book. I get so wrapped up in my thoughts. I haven’t done much packing today because I ran out of boxes 😦

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    • My husband specializes in demonstrating how irrelevant he is. No matter how low I set the bar, he won’t get over it. Example: he claims to like to vacuum; I freely admit that I hate to vacuum; he said he would vacuum once per week; I didn’t remind him, because he’s a grown-up; he very rapidly stopped vacuuming once per week. And there I was, making more money, doing the finances, helping our daughters, doing the rest of the housework, cooking, grocery shopping, etc.

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      • Exodus says:

        Why do they enjoy such unflattering behavior. I have asked my PAM many times why it is that he wants me to know him as unreliable, incapable, immature, unloving, inconsiderate, disrespectful and just plain stupid at times. Why would anyone want to be thought of that way?
        A friend of mine once told me that her sister played stupid quite often as a child in order to avoid doing chores.

        There’s not a single thing in our household that my husband will do entirely by himself. If he washes dishes, he doesn’t get them clean so that I have to go back and do them again. If he vacuums he deliberately misses noticeable piles of debris and i have to do it anyway and so on. Our therapist asked him to write down a few things that he can do all by himself without me having to get involved and he got angry and quit going to therapy and said she hated him.

        Liked by 1 person

        • OMG, my husband does that with dishes, too! He would take twice as long as me to wash them and leave food on at least half of them. Then, when I would comment, he would say something snarky like, “I just can’t do ANYTHING right.” My thought in response? Oh, yes, he can, but he chooses not to.

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          • Exodus says:

            “Twice as long to incompletion ” is the motto around this house. The insanity and abuse results from this being typical and predictable. I know that anytime I ask my husband to do anything that it will take at least twice as long and require me to complete it. If he takes a load of laundry out of the dryer he ALWAYS leaves one sock or one other item for me to have move. So, I figured out a compromise. I told my husband that I will only pick up his items ONE TIME and that’s only to throw them in the trash. That way, I never have to pick up that particular item ever again.

            For many years, I was always in a constant state of questioning whether he was clumsy, learning disabled, autistic, hearing-impaired, sight-impaired, brain damaged from an auto-accident, narcissistic or sociopathic. When I went to see the therapist a couple of years ago I had reached a point where I was so frustrated from not being able to ‘ diagnose’ his problem that I took a list of his behaviors, including the incompetent dishwashing and asked the therapist, behavior by behavior, if they were typical or abnormal behaviors. That’s just how confused and powerless I had become. She explained that while many men and women in their typical roles in a relationship may not equally fret over the fine details of household chores and childcare, auto repair or lawn care and often need a bit of coaxing to get them started or involved, it’s very abnormal for them to always be apathetic, negligent and full of resentment and leave everything they do unfinished. A mature responsible person- male OR female- knows that life requires them to do things that they don’t always enjoy and things that they may not excel at doing but will want to do it as well as they can and as efficiently as possible. Sounds reasonable, right?

            Ah, but PA people don’t operate using reason and logic. They are controlled by their emotional ego. Imagine a crew of sailors that must meet a deadline to deliver a load of medical supplies to a port-half of them working with a common goal to sail the ship as efficiently as possible while obeying the rules of sailing and etiquette and the other half feeling in competition with their ship mates, needing to prove their worthiness by doing things their own way even if it means putting the ship and crew in harms way by defying the basic principles of sailing. The reasonable and logical sailors board the ship on time and are prepared to aid their shipmates in sailing to their destination. The egomaniacs arrived late and ‘ almost missed the boat’ but they slowly get into their positions and the boat finally begins to sail. Not soon after departure, the logical sailors begin to notice that they are working twice as hard to sail the ship and wonder why their efforts are not steering the boat. They soon become exhausted and eventually one of the logical sailors realizes that something is wrong with the crew and confronts the other sailors. A scuffle on deck ensues and now no one is sailing the ship. The ship begins to toss in the waves, time is lost and the cargo is at risk of being damaged or lost. The ego-bound sailors accuse the others of always having to do things their way, always having to take the same route, never wanting to try something different and never listening to their ideas or letting them have their own opinion. The ship goes no where at this point because there is no captain and the entire crew is immersed in drama and chaos. The ship begins to take on water and slowly sink. The logical sailors realize that unless they throw the ego bound sailors overboard, they will all go down with the ship and everything will be lost. In a desperate move to save themselves, their precious cargo and the ship they throw the ego maniacs overboard, resume their roles, recover their position and bring the ship safely to harbor without a minute to spare. Dazed and confused, the sailors wonder why any sailor would board a ship that requires the teamwork of a crew if they would have preferred to sail alone.

            Liked by 1 person

      • WritesinPJ's says:

        marriedwithouthusband, some of it gets almost comical in this area. The contrary stuff especially. It used to drive me crazy so I couldn’t laugh, now ‘most’ of the time, I’m detached so much that it’s just ludicrous.

        Like

    • WritesinPJ's says:

      Write and write and write! Because I think soon you’re going to be in an interesting job, creating a safe home, and finally writing about your new dog.

      Like

    • AlonewithGod says:

      Exodus – I am so very glad for you that you are packing up and getting away from him. What an awesome job!! Marine biologist, working with intelligent and well-adjusted people, being on the water alot… It is heartbreaking that you were so undermined the entire time. Like living with a mentally handicapped person that must be monitored at all times, so you were not able to enjoy your great job or function at your best. I am so sorry you had to go thru that. Many days I have felt utterly beat down. You really deserve a better future than with him because he is abusive and cruel to you. Keep on packing!!!!

      Like

      • Exodus says:

        Alone, I often wondered if he was intellectually handicapped. It’s very sad that he can’t find some way to tap into his anger and release it. What a wonderful world it would be if only he could.
        Thanks for your cheers! I’m still packing!

        Like

        • AlonewithGod says:

          Exodus, maybe they don’t choose to release the anger. Because that is how they control others. My ex certainly controlled me with his anger and verbal abuse. And like I read on another blog, because I allowed it, it continued. They are capable of self-control when they need to restrain themselves (like when the cops show up). I am convinced that my ex thinks he simply has an “anger-management problem” and sees no need to deal with it. Because his nasty behavior gets results. I cannot tell you how many times I have been told, “If you don’t like it, you can leave”. What a miserable way to live. His leaving me is such a blessing from God. I cannot wait to see the great future God has in store for both of us. Your comments have helped with my healing. Thank you.

          Like

          • Exodus says:

            Yes, it’s a terribly miserable way to live and with all the adversity that life deals us every day, it’s even worse when you have to navigate with an abusive partner.

            Alone, your comment about how they can instantly restrain themselves when they need to is exactly what I noticed and convinced me that he has a lot more control than I gave him credit for. I quit doubting that my husband behaviors were ‘accidents’ or poor judgment or temporary character flaws. He’s perfectly capable of behaving like a gentleman but he couldn’t do that around me.

            Yes, you are so blessed that you didn’t have to be the one to leave!!! My husband told me last week that I could stay ( he would leave) and yes, it would be easier but I don’t want to live here anymore. I also know that he wasn’t sincere and that he had some hidden agenda in wanting me to stay here…….most likely so that he could attempt to worm his way back into my life. I don’t want to stay in this area anyway. My entire neighborhood is full of people like Norman. I need to find a nice little town with nice folks and lots of dogs 😀

            I’m glad that my words have helped encourage you and thank you for sharing that with me. You’ve been given a second chance and I know you will bloom into a beautiful flower now that you are able to care for yourself properly.

            Like

  4. christine says:

    Can I say “thank you” again?? I read this post with a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes. I could “SEE” you, I mean literally SEE you in my minds eye as this strong, but supportive young woman who had the ability to care for her kids, wait her turn to seek her goals, put her self on the back burner if needed while truly trusting that he would do the same if need be. Able to support him and make things easier on him during the times he did have to help you, feeling older than those around you in school, feeling older than you were, and having enough sense to know that people don’t purposely snatch dreams away from you as a way to hurt you, especially not the other half of you that you vowed to love and cherish and promised to share in each other dreams….
    I had to stop reading at one point, because I saw myself as well, so full of hope and mature for my age, I look back at who I was and I teeter between wanting to cry over lost years or angry at him for interfering with the WOMAN I was suppose to grow up to be.
    I caught so many things that grabbed my heart, the having the house clean, dinner cooked, kids fed, everything ready so all he had to do was come home and watch his kids. I did that as well, for evening classes that lasted four days a week from 5 to 10 pm. Looking back now, I can safely say that already even way back then, something in me felt guilty about leaving him with the kids or maybe going back to school, because from day one I looked at it as my job to have EVERYTHING done so all he had to do was walk in the door and do nothing but be the adult present in case someone needed 911 while I was gone. I wonder sometimes WHY I did that, what subtle things had I missed that made me think I didn’t deserve him to come home, send me out the door and tell me not to worry about dinner, bathing kids or cleaning house first, but to go and focus on school.
    Because had done exactly that for him when the shoe was on the other foot and he went to school at night for FIVE years.
    I have asked myself before and again reading this, why did I, being as smart as I was, think that I didnt deserve that much from him, or at least deserve back what I had given to him?

    I would come home and the clean house would be trashed, his supper dishes left out, the kids either on a sugar high and homework left unfinished at 10:30 at night, or notes from him reminding me to dry his work clothes or some other need he had and he would be in bed fast asleep.
    I was up half the night cleaning, waking kids up early to finish homework. It was hell..and he made it that way, yet made me think somehow he was doing me a favor by sitting in his own home in front of TV while I was at school. And if he didnt feel like even doing that, he worked late. The man worked late more during that year than in any other year of our married life.

    I finished that course, but only because I had a teacher that basically refused to let me quit when I tried to withdrawal half way through. She took some interest in this mama of four and made it her job to see that I had extra time, notes if I came in late or what ever to keep up and pass the class.

    The “swinging at ghost” you mentioned is so correct. And only YOU can see the ghost. lol SO it makes you feel crazy. It took him getting older and more set in this crazy behavior for me to start looking for what didn’t make sense and what I couldn’t justify, explain, excuse or ignore any longer.
    Im a fixer, we probably all are, I think this type of man needs a fixer and had me pegged from day one as his suitable mate.

    I searched everywhere for the answer, from badgering him to see every doctor from hormone doctors, looking for tumors in his pituitary gland to low testosterone. He sabotaged his own doctors visits to the point that after one doctor had looked for everything under the sun to explain his low levels of oxygen in his blood and his high red blood cell blast that seemed to cycle, he finally called me. This doctor was stumped. He told me he had gone over every interview and office visit with my husband, re read all the notes, compared all the test and the last thing he had to look for was carbonminoxide poisoning.

    I had hoped he was calling to tell me that he had found a brain tumor. I know that sounds awful, but a pituitary tumor would have explained so much and been fixable so that I actually had my hopes set on that. How messed up is that?

    When the doctor said he found no tumor and was so stumped that he didnt know where else to look; but had called me to ask about ventilation and such and gain a better understanding that maybe my husband had not given him. I literally started crying, the poor doctor must have thought that I had lost my mind…I was crying and saying how bad I hoped he had found a tumor-that I needed a tumor to be the problem. I had a little melt down I guess..

    I then started telling this specialist about how I was ready to get divorced, between all of my husbands constant confusion and mood swings, isolating himself and making my life a living hell that I couldn’t take it anymore, I was ranting, crying and somewhere in the melt down I added that I was also exhausted from lack of sleep because the man snores so loud that I ended up awake half the night and I was moving into another bedroom!

    The doctor literally yelled at me to repeat that part. I stopped crying, still sniffing and by the time the doctor made sure he understood me correctly about the snoring, the doctor started cussing.

    Evidently…..he had asked my husband repeatedly if he snored…. “NOPE” he had told him, no one had ever even told him that he snored!!!!

    I had sent the man to a sleep study, he stayed awake and refused the sleeping pill they offered, he left the place and came home in the middle of the night and blamed the sleep study facility and it being to close to a rail road track as the reason he was unable to sleep. THE MAN FALLS ASLEEP WITH TV FULL BLAST IN A CHAIR EVERY TIME HE SITS DOWN!

    The specialist had no idea about any of this and it seemed that sleep apnea was the FIRST thing the doctor had suspected until my husband LIED to him and told him he had never had any issue with snoring.

    My PA husband was furious when I confronted him and actually, when all this came out after a full year of doctor visits and test and looking for a mystery problem his blood was so thick they were worried he would have a stroke. He almost killed himself by lying to the doctor for a reason he still refuses to explain or own that he did. But when confronted over this, he had one his worst fits of rage ever. He flipped his lid and told me that was his doctor and I didn’t need to talk to his doctor.
    That is when I realized this truth. YES he sabotaged me, and every good thing I ever tried to do….because in truth….
    He sabotages his own life, so why would this man not sabotage mine at every turn as well.

    That was the beginning of me discovering about passive aggression,

    But the stories here, the blog, it takes it to the point of truly understanding its NOT you, to read and know that this sickness seeks to devour anything that is good or threatening in any way. Its the truth to the saying that some people are happy being miserable. my PA husband does not think he is miserable, he thinks everyone around him is. He cant see that his actions or attitude is what brings the misery, because in the midst of chaos, confusion, sneakiness, half truths and a thousand other child like antics, he is happy…..those things make any normal person NUTS.

    It took me years to get my peace with God to leave. I felt like God had made this marriage, God could heal him and heal me and heal our marriage. I prayed and I prayed and I prayed and eventually I got mad at God for the roller coaster ride, things would get better, I would praise God, things got worse and I would feel like God let me down. One time in an honest cry to God in prayer I let loose my anger- I prayed things that put the blame on God for not being GOD enough to fix this man, that nothing I was asking for was out of Gods will…I was asking for holy things, Godly things, and getting evil put on me in return. During this anger session with God in prayer, he spoke to me. I know to some that may sound insane- but it happened. God instantly reminded me that what sets us apart from every other of his creations is our “free will” and as much as he wanted all these things for me, as much as he desired my marriage to be lifelong and full of blessings, GOD was GOD and he would never take my husbands free will away from him, anymore than he took mine. The will has to surrender to God. God had pursued my husband, he had shown himself to him over the years in mighty ways, he had placed Godly men around my husband to show him another way, gave him the family in adulthood that he didn’t have in childhood, but God would NOT take my husbands created right of free will away from him, and it was that stubborn will that is stronger than anything I have ever encountered in a Passive aggressive person that wont bend, much less die to that self and truly allow God to work in their heart. They are stubborn to a point of insanity, and to repent you must first surrender and a PA person lives life passively finding ways to NOT surrender to anything, they actually hate giving in more than anything else in the world.

    I was able to let go of blaming God that night. I also understood that this man had already broken every vow made and my marriage was not a marriage in Gods eyes anymore anyway.. I also felt like God didn’t want me jumping from pan into the fire and felt a peace about knowing I was “already gone” and waiting for God to provide each blessing I need to physically be gone from this marriage in his perfect timing.

    Liked by 3 people

    • wornout says:

      Christine, thank you for your post. It was especially helpful for me tonight. It’s one of those days that I know we all have sometimes where I don’t feel like I can face another day of this. Just before I read your post I had been so sad wondering if God even loves me, because if he does, how is it ok with him for me to be in this situation. You reminded me that he can’t take away our husbands free agency. Thanks for all you said, it was a great reminder. Sometimes it can be so hard to keep the faith when we can’t see any light at the end of the tunnel. But that’s what we have to do, keep believing that God loves us, has a plan for us, and will help us.

      Like

    • GainingStrength says:

      Christine, I was also told during praying about free will. It made sense out of the chaos. They have to sincerely turn to God for help and they won’t. When mine would lie I think he believed that God “understood” he didn’t mean it! Therefore, it wasn’t a lie! Insanity living with these abusers. It helps so much knowing I am loved by the Lord.

      Mine has a pain and we spent money trying to find out what this pain was. They never found out what it was. Well I mean he never found out what it was. 🙂 The doctors said it probably was due to allergies. Nope, no it can’t be because he has tried everything and nothing worked…blah blah the doctors don’t know what they’re talking about blah blah blah can’t trust doctors blah blah blah and more blah blah blah. I used to be so concerned always asking how he was and researching online, etc. Come to find out on a scale of 1-10 (10 being worse) his pain was a 1 or 2!?! I have headaches way worse than that! He wasn’t concerned about that because he knows I have headaches??? But his 1-2 pain was dire and needed attention and multiple doctor visits. I stopped asking and caring about it. As one doctor said if it was life-threatening he would have died by now (this has been going on for years). 😀

      I’m at peace with getting a divorce.

      Like

    • WritesinPJ's says:

      Christine, what you wrote about free will is so well said! I gave up trying to talk to one sister have her last response was to ask me to have ‘more faith’ and then sent me a book about praying wives.

      Like

      • Jane D. says:

        Ha ha ha ha! Sorry. The summary of advice to all Christian wives in practically all Christian marriage books is “pray and be nice”. Does not work with an abusive spouse. Better coping strategies have improved my life immensely.

        Glad you are ignoring your sister on this point. 🙂 If it were only that easy!

        Like

    • AlonewithGod says:

      Christine – It sounds like your anguish drew you into a deeper relationship with God. It happened for me too. Everything you wrote concerning wanting God to change him, I relate to. But God was changing ME – because I was surrendered and I humbled myself under His mighty Hand. The PA man may pretend humility but its a lie. Giving control of his life to God will not happen. I prayed for something drastic to happen to my husband-for God to get his attention. And He did. So my husband changed his behavior a bit and pretended to be “with God”. That’s what he called it. But he was lying about it, all the while suppressing his anger and building resentment against me for unknown slights. Then having an affair and eventually moving in with her. So it seems he’s turned his back on God, ignoring the deliverance God gave him a few months ago and justifying his sinful evil behavior once more. God is supremely patient with us, but the Word is clear there is a limit as to how much evil God will tolerate. Your posts are good. Keep writing. There is help and healing here.

      Like

  5. WritesinPJ's says:

    Christine, your posts connect with me on so many levels. Your descriptions and explanations are so good, and have also really helped me.
    It really is a kind of insanity. I think you would also like this blog if you haven’t found it yet:

    http://passiveaggressiveabuse.wordpress.com/

    Like

  6. lost7658 says:

    I thought I was the only one who noticed the sabotage involving school. I am only 23 but he tried everything in his might to make school ” difficult ” for me, and much like everyone on here I at first couldn’t pin point it. I was in school when I met and married him and was pursing my AA for transfer and the first year I was married to him was a nightmare. There was the constant game playing and micromanaging all tasks that I felt like I never had time to do anything. He also used to keep me up with his gut wrenching games conveniently the nights before I went to school. So I would often not go to school that day. As a result of the drama I went from having straight A’s to barely pass the two semester that I was enrolled in when we first got married. For example, for a basic 101 music class I was required to attend a professional music concert . I had plans to take my mom but at the last minute my husband showed up and claimed that he was able to finish work early and take me. Of course, this was a lie and he actually had one job left . So he showed up at our house 5 minutes before we needed to be dressed and on the road. The concert was downtown during rush hour traffic. I maybe called him over 10 times , crying, asking where he was. When he finally showed up at the midnight hour , I was visibly shaking and really didn’t feel like going to the concert. Of course, that wasn’t an option so I went. He was fine during the concert but I felt uneasy the whole time because of the scene that took place before we went. This scene would occur over and over again throughout the whole year. Until finally less than 8 months of marriage I left. I fell for the excuses though and came back and fortunate for me my parent’s didn’t trust him after what they had witnessed. Prior to leaving I didn’t know how to drive and was dependent on him for everything. When I came back I had my licence , a car, and had found a job. I miraculously completed my AA degree and as revenge two months after my graduation , I was arrested . Honestly all the little behaviors leading me up to my arrest were all predicable PA behavior. I just snapped and put soap into a fish tank that had no fish in it. So when the police came he told them I was crazy and bi- polar. That is when I came to the realization that they can and will hurt you. After the arrest , where he was also arrested , I had to come back home. Where I heard that ” I had problems ” that needed to be fixed. Only after he found out that he might lose his job and he needed my financial aid money did ” I have problems” turn into ” we have problems. Let me to you nothing has changed. I still clean , cook, pay the bills, grocery shop and take care of everything basically . All while going to school full time and working 30 hours a week. I finally came to the conclusion that is almost next to impossible to obtain any type of goals for yourself while with them. They will set you up for failure every corner all while smiling and telling people how proud of you they are for going to school. I am a year and a half away from BA but I am trying to move out this upcoming January. I lost my job and have been looking for a new one. My hurt hearts for all of you older ladies who had your youth and brilliance taken from you. Just reading your Blog PJ’s you were robbed. You write better than me and most college graduates I know. I hope one day you can gain a degree that you so rightfully deserve. I also hope that everyone in these pathetic excuses for a relationship gets out in some way.

    Liked by 1 person

    • WritesinPJ's says:

      Dear lost7658, I had tears and shivers down my skin reading your post. I wanted to grab a stick and start smacking your hopefully soon to be ex husband. You are one of the very huge reasons that I fight my personal wish to be a very private person.

      I’m angry for you, sad for you, but mostly I’m happy for you! I really hope you post often, and that you are the one that escapes early and moves forward to the life and love you deserve!

      Please, unless you have a child to protect, find a way to escape. Don’t wait, dearest. Just run and escape. Everything else can be replaced and start over.

      Like

      • Exodus says:

        I say that if you have a child to protect, that’s all the more reason to get out!

        Like

        • WritesinPJ's says:

          Exodus, I should clarify my comment. Lost7658 said she was going to try to move out in January. I meant unless there’s the safety of a child to plan for (time to document for custody), then from where I am down the road, I’d advise someone so young to just get up and walk out. Never look back.

          Like

          • Exodus says:

            Everything is complicated when there are children and assets involved. I’m so jaded that I think I may end up like Oprah if I ever meet another man…’ THIS IS MINE, THAT IS YOURS..HANDS OFF’…hahahha

            Liked by 1 person

    • Exodus says:

      I’m glad posted and described your experience in such detail because it’s those details of our abuse that each of us connects with. My PAM is as obstructive and dangerous as your PAM and he’s sent me into those insanely frustrating episodes like you putting soap in the fish tank. Years ago, I broke one of my husband’s fishing rods and afterward realized that it didn’t make me feel any better. In fact, I felt so truly juvenile and pathetic and I knew that he wouldn’t really care anyway because he doesn’t really value anything to begin with.

      You are so young and if you get out now, you will recover quickly. You have plenty of time to finish your school as long as you get out now. Don’t waste a minute wondering if he’s going to change and don’t allow his charms to cast doubt in your mind about his intentions and ‘ accidents’.

      Trust me, you don’t want to be where I am at age 53. Get out now!

      Like

    • Jane D. says:

      Dear lost,

      Please help yourself and get out ASAP. Then get some counseling. Don’t waste your time trying – these guys don’t change.

      Jane D.
      50+ and older and wiser, now

      Like

    • newshoes says:

      Lost7658 – please get the heck out of there as soon as you can, otherwise he will find a way for you to stay with him. And you will not even realize you did until it’s too too late. 19 years later for me and I’m finally getting out, wish I had done that when I could.

      Like

      • lost7658 says:

        Thank you all for the comments. I am trying to get out but I know have a record because of the incident I am on a deferred judgment and then my charges will show up as dismissed . I won’t be off probation until September 19th. I was offered a job at the bank but they haven’t run my background check yet. I really appreciate all of the concern and advise. I don’ really believe anything he says to me but the day to day living with someone as awful as him can be draining.

        Like

  7. christine says:

    Exodus your post hit home as well. I finally had time to read the rest of the comments on this blog post and wow. Its like each of you keep writing about another chapter in my life. How can so many people go through the exact same thing and it be so unheard of, I literally had to stumble across the blog after a night of hell and literally choosing to google passive aggression while lying in bed over going nuts on my PA husband. I had read every book and was out of options, one click on a blog and WOW- I was typing a response before I knew it. What you said about your husband always having to “get to work” over taking time to clean up a mess, even his own mess with the coffee, I get that one. I cant count the things my PA spouse uses “gotta get to work” to get out of.

    But reading your post also made me laugh. I have a messed up sense of humor, I find things in life funny, and life is constantly throwing me things that can ONLY happen to me. He on the other hand sees little humor in anything. But your post made me remember back years ago when I finally got to where I would make him go grocery shopping with me. It was either leave him home with the kids and go alone (perfect choice) but that meant I came home to God only knew what and the grown man blaming the babies…

    So I took the kids and him… it drove him nuts, but this was during the first ten years of our marriage when I didn’t understand these weekly treks to the grocery store more than likely coincided with the days of no sex and no speaking to me for a few days later while he gave that weird smile and said “nothing is wrong”

    But I use to joke about how every single time we got in the door of the grocery store, he would start complaining of having to take a BM. He would get louder and louder and walk behind me or beside me and keep telling me over and over that we had to go, his stomach was hurting. It happened EVERY SINGLE time. I can remember laughing at him and saying well, they have a bathroom- he would say he didn’t want to blow up a public bathroom. We actually had to leave a buggy more than once and go home for him to use the bathroom and I got stuck going back out later either dragging the kids by myself or leaving them with him and coming home to a mess or a kid crying and him watching TV.

    Then one day, I over heard him and a guy he worked with joking about the port-a-jons on a job site. It dawned on me that he used worse facilities every day at work at that time than any public restroom. So I refused to leave the next week when he started the whining and complaining. I even brought up the port a jons I knew he had to use and kept on shopping.

    I’m sure I paid for it, but didn’t know enough to put two and two together back then. I remember another time when I asked him just like I would the kids if anyone had to go to the bathroom before we left the house, he pouted the entire time and refused to help me do much of anything and actually aggravated the kids and had them crying, then started horse playing around with the kids to the point that I had to get on to all of them, him laughing and refusing to stop, throwing stuff into the buggy from the other end of the isle and acting like a ten year old.

    Needless to say, those antics continued until he got to stay home without the kids and I drug them to the store every week and left him home alone. It was leave him or him make my trip so filled with stress that I forgot half of what I needed from the store.

    I had forgotten all about those days until reading on this site. But that made me realize how many times in the past ten years, and I cant count them, that every time I start to talk to him about an issue, he would use having to go to the bathroom as an excuse to get up and walk off and try and wait me out in there. He has used having to take a Sh%t as a way out since he was in his early 20’s and I never put it all together. We even fought one time over me claiming he even lied about having to have a bowl movement. He actually asked if I was so suspicious that I needed to see before he flushed and when I said yes, he flushed anyway and walked out. LMBO.I KNOW HE was so sitting in that bathroom just waiting out a confrontation.

    I did however use a few suggestions on here as to how to deal with the absurd questions. I have been packing all day long for a planned annual trip and I stopped counting the questions he asked me when I got to 30. He did not say ONE single word to me all day long that did not take the form of a question and questions meant to provoke and confuse.

    I answered the first ten by repeating back the question and looking at him confused, but not aggravated. He seemed startled when I said “I dont understand what your asking me”

    example. He asked me if I was packing, while I was putting things into a suit case. I said “Are you asking me if I am packing” while continuing to pack. He was so taken back that he didn’t know how to respond. That would normally have me saying something like “YOU SEE ME packing RIGHT” and him acting offended and saying “YOUR SO ANGRY, I was just asking you a simple question”

    Today, he was already in the process of responding that he was just asking me a question and accusing me of being angry before he even realized I hadn’t popped off at him. He snapped his mouth shut right as he was about to act all offended and just stood there a moment —It was comical

    Instead he said “Well are you?
    I simply answered Yes.
    He walked off….

    this went on for the first 20 or so stupid loaded questions, then he finally got more ridiculous with what he was asking and then finally a few hours later asked “well are you NOT packing for me?

    I responded back with “are you asking me if I am packing for you?

    He got angry and said “I WILL PACK MY OWN STUFF THEN!

    I shrugged and said, “Ok if that’s what you want to do, I didn’t know you had asked me pack your things”
    (because he never asked me anything reasonable all day. lol

    He finally stopped asking me anything and gave me the silent treatment and didn’t speak, which worked for me, I got everything done faster and calmer and wasn’t near as mad, I didn’t loose my cool one time all evening- but I had a close call. He came and asked me where something was. I told him where it was. He came back and asked where else I would have put it. I said NO where else, that is where it is.

    He never said he couldn’t find it, or even that he had looked. He then asked me if I was sure I had bought it.
    YES was my answer and again, I told him where it was.

    I really think he was waiting for me to blow up. When it didn’t happen, he stomped off and mumbled to one of the kids that I wouldn’t tell him where something was at.

    I refused to walk in there and get it for him. I knew where it was and I knew what he was trying to do. I kept saying what one person said today, DONT BITE. I actually repeated that in my head and took a few deep breaths and somehow did NOT bite the bait.
    A little while later I saw him with what he had been looking for, he was literally making sure I knew he had it, and waiting for me to comment on it. I didn’t.
    I am sure a few days of this new approach will have him pushing other buttons, but I did get some pleasure from seeing the emotions constantly play across his face, once you KNOW whats happening, you can see what their thinking all over their face.
    He was not happy in the least. Right before he went to bed, he even asked me one last question of the day. A REALLY LOADED ONE. I knew he wasn’t gonna let the day end without getting at least one spark from me. It was a below the belt question, meant to hurt. When I calmly smiled and answered with a simple but pleasant NO.,…I have to say, the man looked more off his game than I have seen him in a long time. Maybe because I never lost my temper and was able to observe, either way. It was much better for me.
    SO all in all, a much better day of surviving. I feel like I learned a new way to swim!

    Liked by 1 person

    • WritesinPJ's says:

      Christine, you just made me day 🙂

      Like

    • Jane D. says:

      Way to go Christine!

      Based on my own experience of learning not to react – you are likely to see some really AWFUL behavior. He is going to ramp it up. Forewarned is forearmed – you can plan some additional strategies if things get really bad.

      It ultimately does work – doesn’t turn these guys into “normal” but will decrease your stress level tremendously.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Seeing the Light says:

      AWESOME, Christine! I can just see this whole thing playing out from your description, and his total confusion at why his game isn’t working! Hehehe. Are they just ridiculous or what? Keep it up!

      Like

    • Exodus says:

      OH gosh Christine, my husband has used the bathroom escape, the punishment for the grocery store ( even when HE offers to go) and the ‘ where is such and such’ as if he’s glued to a mouse trap and can’t fend for himself. Hey, maybe I’ll invent a human size PAM glue trap or better yet, ” accidentally” put a drop of crazy glue on the toilet seat. ” Oh I”m so sorry, I was gluing that dish back together and I didn’t know that some of it dropped on the seat”

      You think you have a sense of humor? You wouldn’t believe some of the sicko torture fantasies I’ve had about punishing my husband.

      My husband will stand in the kitchen while I’m working back in the office and yell, ‘ Do we have any ketchup? What about milk?” It’s a deliberate attempt to obstruct and interrupt and make me get up and serve him.

      Here’s a typical grocery store scenario that happens every time he must go without me. (Keep in mind that I’m fully aware that I can’t add more than 3 items because if I make a list, he will accidentally leave it in the car)

      So, I put the 3 things on the hand written list in big letters:

      Milk
      Rye Bread
      Dozen eggs

      My husband comes home with :
      2 bags of cookies on sale
      coconut water
      energy bars
      oat bread
      10 cans of green beans
      Milk
      5 boxes of Matzo ball mix on sale

      I immediately begin searching for the eggs because I need them to make dinner. NO eggs. What happened? He tells me that he was sure he got the eggs and I ask for the receipt..NO EGGS. Then I notice all the other shit we didn’t need but he explains that it was on sale so he bought it anyway. Why oat bread instead of rye? Well, he though it would be nice to change things up even though he loves rye as much as I do. We don’t eat canned veggies so why buy them? Well, I thought we could eat them if we lost power. Matzo ball mix? Well, I know you like to add them to soup sometimes. Where’s the soup to add them to? OH yeah he forgot that.
      By now I’m furious and blowing my stack and I tell him to take all the shit back and just get the Rye bread and the eggs and HURRY!

      An hour later he He comes back and he’s got the rye bread and a 10 lb bag of organic apples and he took all the other stuff back but he forgot the eggs. The traffic was horrible and he was so distracted that he forgot the eggs. Why did you buy TEN lbs of expensive apples since we can’t eat that many and they will rot. He blows and tells me that he was planning to make applesauce this week and that he can buy whatever he wants because he works for all these things! Applesauce? He doesn’t even know how to cook canned soup and I’m not joking! How much applesauce were you planning to make and what were we going to eat with it? ” NEVER mind, you never let me do anything around here”

      By now he’s too embarrassed to go back to the store again so he tries to convince me to just let him get eggs from another store that is even further away. NO…take the damn apples back and get the eggs. If you really want applesauce, buy a jar. By now two plus hours have passed and I haven’t got time to cook dinner. He finally arrives home with the eggs and 3 packs of gum.
      What’s for dinner?
      I guess gum because after wasting all that gasoline, we can’t afford to turn on the stove.

      It’s good to keep a sense of humor about this while being realistic. It’s truly miracle that I haven’t had a heart attack or stroke. I have one friend who knows how I suffer and I can laugh with her because she does know that it’s truly NOT funny. It’s all so absurd and ridiculous.

      Like

      • marsocmom says:

        You made me laugh, Exodus! I’m sorry you had to put up with that, but if we couldn’t look back and see how ridiculous they are, we would just fall apart. What’s for dinner? An energy bar and a dish of green beans. Thank you, Sweetie.

        Like

        • Exodus says:

          Glad I could make you laugh! Laughter is the best medicine and there’s nothing better than sharing that with others who can appreciate it while understanding the underlying pain that supports it.
          Oh, and you left out the gum for dinner. Gum du jour anyone?

          I don’t know about the other husbands but if there’s anything that I absolutely need from the store, it’s always, without a hitch, the ONE thing he will forget to buy. I can never tell him that I need anything.

          Can you imagine a PA rescue worker? Imagine him treating a patient in heart failure and he’s about to apply the paddles to someone’s heart when another paramedic suggests holding the paddles a certain way and the PAM holding the paddles gets mad and refuses to use them at all and walks away. I wonder how many people have died in the care of PA healthcare workers? Kinda scary, eh?

          Like

      • I am always using the word absurd. When I can find someone to share with a little bit about the dysfunctional world I live in, we always end up laughing about it. I can make people’s jaws drop just by sharing an everyday type of scenario experienced with my parents. That doesn’t even count PA man. People are sick and dying from all the crap going on, but it is absurd and ridiculous and irrational. Maybe laughing is a coping mechanism.

        Like

        • Exodus says:

          Seeing, you’re so special. I hope you will one day find yourself surrounded by friends and family who value your smiles and ability to laugh at life’s adversity. That’s a very precious gift.
          Comedians are very broken people and look how much joy and laughter they emanate!

          Like

      • GainingStrength says:

        Exodus, mine would open the pantry door and stare. Once I was in the kitchen (we weren’t doing well at the time) and he said “where’s the lard”. I replied “in the pantry.” He continued to stare. Now in the past I would have irritatingly gone over and pointed at it or handed it to him. He says “I don’t see it.” I reply “it’s in there.” He continues to stare. Now realize that the tub of lard (that’s another joke in itself…hehehe) is in PLAIN SIGHT and his bag of chips that he eats everyday is sitting on the tub of lard. Finally he says “I can’t find it.” I don’t reply. He grabs the vegetable oil instead. 😀 I leave the kitchen with a exasperated smile on my face. He does the same thing with the refrigerator. 😀

        Like

        • Exodus says:

          Oh my gosh….now, I’m laughing! Gaining that is one hilarious image of your husband standing at the pantry and just staring. Lard looking for lard in all the wrong places…hehehhe

          My husband does the same thing with the frig and it drives me mad because he’ll stand there for 5 durn minutes and never once use either of his hands to move anything around.
          So what about the store? My husband will stand right in front of the very thing he needs to get and tell me they are out.
          I’ve often said to my husband, ‘ Where the heck do you live? Who are you? Are you an imposter?” heheheh
          The selective hearing, selective memory, selective sight gets very old and boring! What’s going through their minds when we ask them a question?
          Remember how the adults sound on the Snoopy Peanuts cartoons? I think that is how I sound to my husband.

          Like

          • AlonewithGod says:

            Oh my, girl!! You are cracking me up. Hilarious!! I never had the grocery store fiascoes, thank goodness. Because I never asked my ex to do any shopping for us. I figured he’d screw it up and/or get mad I asked.

            Like

            • Exodus says:

              “..I never asked my ex to do any shopping for us. I figured he’d screw it up and/or get mad” You sound like a very reasonable and intelligent woman!

              Like

  8. RockyRoad says:

    PJ, I felt like I was engrossed in a novel reading this post and it ended too soon! It is so, so, so sad to read over and over again the same story about sabotage and stolen dreams. I was catching up on all the comments from part I today thinking how eerily quiet you were. I’m so sorry to hear you have one more heartache to deal with your son’s accident and the whole insurance nightmare on top of it. But I was in awe of your determination to complete your college degree in spite of your PAM’s efforts to stall it. And I was fascinated by Exodus’ career choice.

    I think your blog has turned into a GREAT support group for those of us all who understand what doesn’t make any sense to the rest of the world. As valuable as your blog is to all those wives who stumble upon it as the rest of have, I wish there was a way we could form a private support group and throw off our veils used to disguise us. We could use our real names, find out what part of the country we live, reveal our hobbies, children, careers and really introduce ourselves. From all the comments I’ve been reading, there are a fine group of ladies here with lots of personalities that shine thru despite how beaten down and defeated we all feel.

    Like

    • WritesinPJ's says:

      Rocky Road, it’s been almost five years since that awful accident. I’m thankful my son survived it, and I know it could have been so much worse in many ways. There are residual aspects from the traumatic brain injury, and you’d think something moderately fair and just would be simple. But it’s not.

      Rocky, did you see the post where I gave a link for a safe, simple way for those of you who want to exchange real life information to do so?

      Like

      • RockyRoad says:

        Yes PJ I did see the link. I’m skimming the posts and comments briefly because I am supposed to be working right now. When I have more time in the evening, I will go take a look at that.

        Raising children with a PAM is difficult enough in itself. I don’t know anything about traumatic brain injury, but I would imagine you have educated yourself about that new aspect of your life also.

        Once again, PJ, thank you for putting yourself out there, baring your soul and sharing your pain in a way that has brought us together for this tremendous source of support. Reading the books is entirely different than actually living it. And I think we see now there are different degrees of abuse, but all in all, it’s still abuse.

        Liked by 1 person

  9. newshoes says:

    PJs, sometimes those mini covert passive sabotages are so subtle, you don’t notice until it’s been done. For example, I would work hard at my job and come back with either a promotion, more money, a work award or a new better paying more responsability job and he would be jealous. Never mind that I worked so hard for all of it, because he didn’t have that in his job and wasn’t being valued or validated or didn’t make more money than I did, he would be jealous and I would pay dearly. Sometimes, it was just a bit of negative rants about his job and how I WAS SO LUCKY (sarcastically of course) and how HE WOULD DO THE SAME SOON TOO (of course of all it sounding great but no “good for you honey” – no “I’m proud of you honey” like I would tell him if he had something great happen at work) and sometimes, it was something less subtle like sulking and pouting and not speaking to me for days afterwards.
    The same thing would happen if by any chance I was successful at anything, like losing weight. My weight fluctuated my whole life but after I made a major life change and stuck to it and loss a bunch of weight, the pah would bring home 2-3 bags of chips and other nasty snacks or he would want to go out out out all the time to restaurants, and he would get jealous about what I wore and he even got jealous of the dance class I used to take to get in some exercise. In the beginning of our relationship, I would stop all of those things but in the end, not anymore. Whether I went to those or not, I would still get in trouble for even mentioning it so I decided if I was gonna get in trouble I would go anyways, and continue my diet anyways and look good to go to work anyways 🙂
    It’s confusing though. Those poor young wives, they do not know any of this until it’s too late and they’ve invested so much time in their relationship, I remember feeling lost after a few years. I thought I must be the worse wife and mother and I read all kinds of books to please my man – lollllll. None of it worked as you can imagine!!

    Like

    • Exodus says:

      They always keep score with everyone, especially us. They are like spoiled narcissistic brats.Everything and everyone is a reflection of them in some way. You can’t have anything that is yours without it being hinged to them in some way. You can be sick without them being sicker, you can’t be sad without them being more depressed, you can earn anything on your own..if you do, it’s because of them. They are always in a state of assuming someone else’s identity.

      My husband always pay close attention to what I am wearing when we go anywhere and he will change his clothes to match me..even down to his shoes.

      I recently had a very upsetting situation: I had begun walking with a woman for exercise a few times a week. She knows my husband because we rent a building from her for our business. Anyway, I explained to her that under no circumstances can my husband know about my walking with her and why. This woman was married to an abusive alcoholic for years and I figured she would respect what I was telling her and honor it. No, she told my husband last week. Can anyone be trusted? Is there anyone out there that has a grain of honor about them?

      Like

      • newshoes123 says:

        lollll my pah does that too – he’ll make sure that he is as dressed as I am OR he will make sure to look like a bum especially around my family…. weird but that’s the truth.
        I’m sorry to hear about the lady you walk with. Perhaps it was just a mistake? or she is pa as well and made sure he knows…. I don’t know. It’s weird and I would call her on it for sure.

        Like

  10. WritesinPJ's says:

    newshoes, get ready to repeat your story soon. I think a post on ‘stupid jealousies’ or resentments would be helpful to new readers. I read your post here and was just nodding.

    Like

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