Scapegoat for his drama

Something happened after I posted this morning.  I might be too upset to be coherent.  I hope you can follow my attempt to tell it.

I mentioned in a comment on a recent post that I’ve been sick.  He never seems to handle my being sick all that well.

I think this really started last night when I came out at bedtime to a huge mess in the kitchen, and that upset me.  When I say it upset me, I didn’t yell, swear, or name call.  I just said to my husband that it really upset me.  He started to get mad at any and all of our kids, and I reminded him that he was my husband, and in my opinion, although not responsible for taking care of all of it, he was responsible for communicating with everyone so it didn’t come to that mess.  He was initially angry about it, but he actually seemed to calm down and agree.

I’d started on the pile of dishes, and not too far into it,  he told me not to worry, and that he’d take care of it.  I turned my computer on, sat and calmed down for a few minutes, then asked him nicely to just come to bed, and we could take care of the rest in the morning.  Both of us had done some cleaning up already at that point, so it seemed reasonable.  He said he’d be there in a couple minutes.  But he wasn’t.  I was too tired to see why, but I suspected he was covertly upset with me.

Late this morning, my youngest son walked up to me and asked who was giving him a ride to work.  I looked at the clock on my computer and realized that someone needed to leave right away or he’d be late.  I’ve been not feeling well the last few days, so even though I look like the dickens, I was actually feeling better than I have.  I jumped up and told him to see if his dad was ready to leave, and if not, I’d be getting my shoes on just in case.  I put my shoes on, grabbed my purse and glasses, and since no one else was there and ready to leave, got in the car.  The car made a funny noise, but finally caught and started.  My husband came from somewhere outside and yelled, “What are you doing?”

Um.

I opened the door and said, “I’m giving him a ride to work, and we have to leave right now or he’ll be late,” closed the door and started to back out.

He just yelled again, “Why are you doing that?  ‘Brother __’ is supposed to do that!  Get out of that car!”  I just shook my head and kept slowly backing in the driveway (because I knew there was no time to switch plans at that point).   Then the door to the garage opened, the brother supposed to give him a ride was standing there in bare feet, and my husband yells again, “He’s supposed to drive him to work.  Stop and get out of the car!”  I knew that in the time it would take for that son to find shoes, get them on, and come outside, it would make my youngest son late.  I just shook my head and kept slowly backing out on the driveway.

Then my husband was shouting and repeatedly banging and banging on the car and the window with his hands!  He was yelling at me, and as we were driving away, I heard him yell at the son that was supposed to drive originally.  I kept going, but it shook me up.  Being in a car when he’s angry is a trigger for me.  I didn’t want it to hang over my son’s work day, so I changed the subject and got him to work about one minute before he was due to start.  Maybe ninety seconds.  Just enough time to punch in without being late.

After I dropped him off, I called my husband as I was driving home.  I told him that I wasn’t upset about giving youngest son a ride to work, but I was upset about his yelling and banging on the car, and was most upset about him yelling at our other son.  I said he needed to apologize to that son.  He responded by saying that I seemed upset when I was coming out of the house to drive him, and said that I’d told him to shut up.

Did I?  I remember yelling through the window for him to Stop that!  I remember that.  Maybe I was so upset I also said shut up?  Either way, I reminded him that at that point I was upset because he was shouting and banging on the car.  I also told him that I didn’t think the car should even be shut off, but that he should take it when I got back and drop it off at the mechanic’s.  The son that he’d yelled at went with him, but was cold and angry with me when they left.

The downside was that the son who was supposed to drive him and wasn’t ready, got the brunt of it.  I heard from my daughters how their dad yelled at him after I left.  That son is upset with me.  He was obviously very angry with me as we passed in the driveway when I came in and he left with his father.  I’m the scapegoat again.  That was what finally got me crying.

I came in the house and cried.  My daughters asked me what was wrong, even though they must have known because they filled in the missing blanks.  At some point, my oldest son walked in the room.

My oldest son just sat and listened, then had a good discussion with me about it.  He said that even though it’s wrong, it seemed like growing up, whenever their dad was upset and angry about something, it was connected to me somehow.  He said he was pretty sure that if he sat his brothers down and asked them about it, it would be their perspective, and that’s why they get upset with me.  He also said it wasn’t right, and that I didn’t do anything wrong this morning.

My husband  punishes me covertly by lashing out at the kids.  I’m the scapegoat for his anger, unfairly viewed as the reason their father gets upset with them.

He just called and in a meek, sweet tone, asked if I wanted anything from the grocery store.  I’m calmer, and I’m going to take what’s left of my day back.  The sun’s shining, so it’s a good day for a walk.  I’m going to think about what I need to do to nurture and heal myself.  Damn his unnecessary drama.

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23 Responses to Scapegoat for his drama

  1. Bronze says:

    My husband never would have been angry, EVER, if it wan’t for me, either. No matter what the situation somehow I was the cause – even if I wasn’t there. The kids thought WE fought and that I started it. It is much easier to blame the mum, she isn’t going to stop loving. Dad’s can be very cold and dismissing if they are displeased with the kids – they know that. I sucks to be the scapegoat. It wears you down and also in healthy marriages, those ‘blow ups’ are just done and dusted. There is no covert manipulation going on in between on a daily/hourly basis that make all of this a pattern and not a normal tiff/blow up. I doubt you said shut up. My husband once said to me ”I’m sick of all the name calling”. Could have fooled me – he was the only one who called names. I deliberately refrained for our whole marriage. I begged him to stop calling me names for over ten years and then all of a sudden HE was sick of it??!!! These men are plain, straight up liars or to put it nicely twisters of the truth. Up is down. Crazy making. But just as you don’t remember saying shut up and it’s probably not even something that would automatically come out of your mouth without you knowing (same as I don’t call names and KNOW it), you’re still willing to contemplate the possibility that he is right and you are wrong. How convenient for him and he knows this about you very well by now, and probably uses it for his best advantage.

    Like

    • WritesinPJ's says:

      It is bizarre how a passive aggressive man will assimilate your words and feelings, then parrot them back as though they originated with him. It’s crazy making in the most unsettling way.

      I really may have said shut up when he was banging on the car and shouting. I really don’t remember because it was such a triggering thing.

      Like

  2. Newshoes says:

    I’m sorry that happened PJ, I’ve gone through too many times to count. What frustrates me is that they cannot see what they’ re doing wrong at the time it’s actually happening long enough to stop themselves from exploding. Once they a re in that mind set, watch out, whomever is in their path whether it’s kids, wives, pets anything at all will suffer their ire.
    So many times apparently I’m the instigator except I’m always the one that tries to manage him, calm him down or downplay what he calls issues… But because I’m there at the time or even I I wasn’t, just like Bronze, I’d be to blame. I got blamed for decisions the kids would make that wouldn’t turn out right and instead of being there to support these kids, he would say “I told you so” even though he hadn’t and then would turn to me and tell me he was right and I was wrong for “allowing” the boys to make mistakes…. Trying to discuss issues with a pa person is like throwing gas on a fire, they only explode louder and stronger. The half assed apologies after don’t mean squat to me anymore, too much pain and hurt. Done with the whole thing at last.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Newshoes says:

    And you did nothing wrong by the way. Nothing at all, please don’t cry, he’s not worth.

    Like

    • WritesinPJ's says:

      Thanks, newshoes ♥ What makes me cry now isn’t him, it’s grief for damaged relationship with my kids, and also seeing how what they grew up with has impacted them (especially when they seem to not see it).

      Like

      • Newshoes says:

        I understand completely. I take a lot of blame for staying with him way past the expiry date because I see now what it’s done to my boys… It’s not something I’m ready to forgive myself for and hopefully I can still show them that there are great relationships out there. In the meantime, they are ad at me but I know I’m doing what is best for the whole family.

        Like

        • Exodus says:

          New, the boys are probably not mad at you as much as they are just upset that their world has changed. They will adapt and one day be grateful for the courageous sacrifices you have made on their behalf. They will love you and respect you even more.

          What should you forgive yourself for? For trying to save your marriage? Trying to hold on to dreams? For struggling to choose the lesser of evils? Change comes when we are ready and able to accept it. That’s just life. No need to waste a precious moment feeling guilty.

          Like

  4. Jane D. says:

    You probably didn’t yell “Shut Up!” He probably did, and projected it on you.

    Darn these guys and their crazy drama!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. lonelywife07 says:

    PJ…I’m sorry that your husband treated you AND your kids that way! It’s rotten, unfair and sick! He was very abusive to you and your kids!!
    My life has changes in the last several weeks…I’ve started telling my kids, that they’re dad has a sin problem, and we need to pray for him…and I say it right in front of him and the boys look at him and say “Yes you do dad. And it’s wrong.” My youngest has been telling his dad that he needs to go to counseling, that he is destroying our family, etc.

    I NOT be his scapegoat, Nor will I cover for him any longer!! No more nice mommy who tries to smooth things over. He’s going to be accountable to his ENTIRE family now…he can look my kids in the face and explain himself.

    I am committed to speaking the truth, with firmness and love, if I can, so that my boys know that we are now living in the open, no more hiding, no more covert abuse. No more anything!!

    I now leave the room, or the house, telling him that he has no right to speak to me that way, or ignore me, or…whatever. And I don’t try to “talk” him into a better mood, I leave him alone. And when he decides to speak to me again, I am cool and a bit detached, but friendly.

    I have read Leslie Vernicks books and blog, over and over again, and also A Cry For Justice and that has given me the strength to change what I can…and I have also turned my husband and my marriage over to God. I literally got on my knees by my bed and told God He is in control, that I’ve tried controlling things all this time…and I’m done.

    I am over it all. If my marriage ends…it ends.
    Last Thursday, I confided in a friend, and it was hard since I knew she thought I had the “perfect marriage” and she was shocked and said she had NO idea and her eyes filled with tears…and then she told me that her sister is in a verbally abusive marriage, so she understands totally!
    My friend is a Godly woman, and I told her that I need her to pray for me and for my husband, and everyday since then, she has sent me a text telling me she is praying for me.

    My husband made an appt last Friday for counseling, and that’s good….but I’m not jumping through hoops! Been there, done that! Is he doing it so the boys will think he’s not so bad?? Maybe…but that’s between him and God.
    He knows if he quits again, he moves out. If I don’t see a huge change in him by next Feb. he moves out. Those are my boundaries, and I’m sticking to them.

    His passive aggressive crap has damaged this family enough. He can get his butt in gear or leave us alone!

    Your oldest son seems very mature, as do your daughters. I think it’s time for a talk with your kids, and let them know that this isn’t going to happen anymore, that is is abusive to you and them….because if you don’t I fear that your kids, as they get older, will forget the crap their dad has pulled over the years, and blame you for all the anger and abuse in your home….we read about this happening over and over again!
    No family should have to deal with this….it’s unGodly.

    I’m sorry PJ, what you’ve described is terrible, just awful. I’ll be praying for you.

    Like

    • lonelywife07 says:

      PS. Sorry for the typos, I’ve had back spasms for the last few days and typing is difficult…but I just had to respond to you 🙂

      Like

    • WritesinPJ's says:

      My kids already forget, but I have been speaking up the last handful of years. I just need to get physically well and financially independent now. I never thought my health would crash like it did, and once upon a time, I never saw the extent of financial disaster that was looming either. Hindsight is cruelly sharp and clear. Hopefully, some readers won’t have to take the long and disastrous path.

      Like

  6. paescapee says:

    I’m sorry- it sounds like a horrible situation and very upsetting. PA’s have the advantage that they are not prioritising the happiness of the family as a whole, and you are. So we will compromise and support and not ‘upset the apple cart’- and they know this and start situations knowing that you won’t be able to address them because it will be upsetting to the children. Just one thing- I’ve pulled out my co-dependence book- I can’t see how you got involved in taking your son to work at the last minute? (Honestly not being critical at all). One son had not addressed how he was getting to work until the last minute and the other had not stepped up to do the job of getting his brother to work on time. That was their responsibility, not yours, and the consequence of being late belongs to him too. But in my experience, I found it hard to address genuine situations where I needed to be firm with my daughters about their responsibilities as their father would take it as the ideal opportunity for a witchhunt and cause a huge (taking sides) row. So diificult for you.

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    • lonelywife07 says:

      That’s exactly my point paescapee….”So we will compromise and support and not ‘upset the apple cart’- and they know this and start situations knowing that you won’t be able to address them because it will be upsetting to the children.”

      I have found, now that my boys, especially my youngest son, are holding their dad accountable, he’s being a little more open, and even made his own counseling appointment!!
      For the last few years, even though he denied it, I have seen PA Man hiding behind my youngest son, because I foolishly said that I won’t do ANYTHING to upset him, (my son) because the trauma of finding about his dad’s affair had upset him so badly!

      But now, NOW that my son has told me several times that he sees how his dad is lying, and also how it might be better for all of us if he moves out…now PA Man is trying to manipulate all of us with his going to counseling this week….but we are on to him!
      I told him, right in front of our boys, if he quits counseling or we see no change in his behavior, then he will need to move out.

      He’s not making me the freaking “bad guy” anymore!

      The skeletons are outta the closet, no more Ms. Peacefaker around here…I tell the truth and I tell it where they can all hear me…and since I’ve taken that stand, it’s been a lot calmer around here..we actually had a good weekend, the first in many months!

      These PA abusive guys LOVE living in the darkness of covert abuse….even though PJs H wasn’t hiding his abusive anger this time….and I say if we start shedding the light on them, stop “protecting” them for the sake of the family, they will either stay the same, exposing themselves for all the world to see…or they will make an honest effort to change.
      PA abuse is like any other abuse….it’s a prideful sin problem, and for most of the men on these blogs who profess to be “Christians” they are playing a dangerous game…with God.
      If they can act like “normal” people while at work, church or out in public, the. They can damn well act like that at home!!

      And if they can’t….they can leave!!

      PA Man is no longer going to be allowed to hold MY family hostage!! I am angry now, and it’s a good anger, a cleansing anger, and he’s either going to get his act together, or get out!
      Divorce is no longer a dirty word to me. In fact, Divorce spells F-R-E-E-D-O-M!!!

      Like

      • paescapee says:

        Hi ‘Lonely’ – I love your Peacefaker description! I was heavily criticised in our couple’s counselling for letting him get away with stuff and ‘controlling’ him i.e. managing his behaviour and I was genuinely mystified at the time as to any alternative. They really do hold us to ransom, and it is very damaging to families, I feel, as firstly, (I’ll speak for myself) I was exhausted and could only focus on keeping the family ‘safe’, letting other things slide; secondly I found it very difficult to set ordinary boundaries for the children. You know, things like homework and untidy bedrooms. He would use this as an opportunity to point out that I was a bad mother for letting it happen. I ended up defending myself AND the daughter who really needed a reprimand! It took me a long time to stop sheltering the children who actually are not stupid and could see the situation anyway. Divorce is definitely Freedom – and our family dynamics have quickly become normal without his influence. Even if we disagree, we do it with honesty. Thank you for your reflections.

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        • Newshoes says:

          I could hardly discipline my kids because if I started to do what I consider my job he would step in the muddle and screw it all up leaving us all upset and crying when it should have been a quick discussion between mother and child… He would use the opportunity to start fights and leave in the middle when everything is chaos, people are crying or screaming and upset… Just thinking about those rotten times makes furious!

          Liked by 1 person

          • paescapee says:

            Absolutely impossible to set any boundaries, and this makes children feel unsafe and upset and their behaviour gets worse- what a horrible cycle.

            Like

          • Exodus says:

            This is why PA is called ‘ negativistic personality disorder’. They are in a negative state all the time and hence, the polar opposite of positive. Your husband was always in competition with you. They use any ‘safe’ opportunity to release repressed anger and unfortunately, happy family is one of those places where they can release without being punished -like being fired from a job or being disliked by a coworker, neighbor or other person. That’s why I always say that the abuse really isn’t about us as much as it is that we are unfortunately, the safe targets for them to abuse. It sounds crazy, I know. I mean, what’s more important, losing a job or losing a family? But, in their twisted minds, the job is the keeper because it doesn’t require emotional investment like families do and therefore, it’s easier for them to invest in and nurture those superficial relationships rather than in more intimate relationships that can hurt and cost them more. It’s all so illogical but that’s because it’s all emotionally-driven and emotions are always subjective and therefore, not grounded in logic or reason. A well adjusted person knows the difference and they can blend emotion and logical thinking to create a healthy emotional experience. PA’s can’t do that.

            I mentioned a long time ago about how I spent hours training our puppy one year only to have Norman come home and refuse to do anything I showed him and he would deliberately undo all the progress I had made. It was so disgusting and it infuriated me – not because he was dismissing me but because I train my dogs so they are safe, not because I need to control them. It’s not a competition for me. Everything is a competition to Norman. I would get upset like you did and then the dog would be confused and upset and run and hide. It makes me sick to even remember this shit.

            Like

    • Exodus says:

      Ditto to paescapee’s remarks. I had the same exact thoughts when I first read about your horrible drama. PJ’s, it’s these types of family dynamics that are most harmful and leave the deepest wounds that I don’t believe ever heal completely and become transgenerational. Oh how the road to hell is paved with good intentions. It seems that no one was accountable for their actions and that everyone instantly became a link in an explosive chain reaction that started with one son who didn’t honor is commitment.

      I’ve witnessed and played a role in this dynamic in my own family and I was always cast into the role of scapegoat. I resented it but I wasn’t wise enough or mature enough to understand and end it then. When I finally wised-up and severed ties with my mother, my brother phoned me and was very angry at me and said, ‘ I can’t believe you did this to me!! Now I’m going to have to deal with all the shit by myself.” Ah ha!! It was in that moment that I realized that everyone was perfectly aware that I was the scapegoat and they didn’t care! In fact, they were happy about that. It was truly one of the rudest awakenings I’ve ever had in my life. I became keenly aware of how there are very specific roles in dysfunctional codependent families and how the roles quickly shift when someone drops out of the drama. I began to understand how each of the roles served to keep the dysfunction machine running.

      Many years ago one of my counselors told me that I needed to learn how to say no and ‘ F it’ and I did learn. I know it’s hard to let go of control PJ’s but unless you learn how to do that you’re always going to sucked into other people’s drama. It may help if you pause for 30 seconds before jumping into action and weigh the consequences of enabling someone’s irresponsible behavior vs not enabling in every situation. When Norman screws up, it directly affects me and our business most of the time and he knows that I won’t let something fail or cause us permanent harm but If it doesn’t directly affect me or permanently harm us, I let him screw up/screw himself knowing that he won’t have the good character to rectify his mistakes. So be it. If I lose a few hundred dollars or a customer, oh well. He carries that guilt to his grave, not me. A week or so ago I was listening to Codependent No More AGAIN and it occurred to me that while I have been accusing Norman of covertly controlling me ( which is true) it was actually me that was trying to control and then manage his behavior. That’s the problem- Norman is Norman and it’s unfair of me to expect him to change. I shouldn’t be with someone that requires me to manage his character and behavior. It’s quite enough trying to manage my own thank you! Controlling other people’s behavior ( enabling) does’t help anyone and it only provides positive reinforcement for bad behavior. Why should anyone develop good character if they don’t need to?

      Tough love isn’t easy but it’s pure and honest benevolent and unconditional love.

      Take care of yourself PJ’s. You’re number one!

      Like

      • WritesinPJ's says:

        The problem in the moment of my decision to say, “Sure, I’ll give you a ride if no one else is ready,” was because I was completely unaware of any other arrangements. It was a choice ‘in the moment’ to drive him to work. I had no idea that it would cause anyone any bit of trouble, other than my minor inconvenience of driving to town and back.

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      • paescapee says:

        Ouch and ouch! Absolutely my experience. I have downloaded Co-dependent no more after you mentioned it- I’ve read it a few times but it seems more powerful aurally. I was quite indignant when I first read it but now, years later, I identify with it more and more. It’s so unfair that women living in chaos are then criticised for trying to manage the situations, but it is the way to empowerment in the end, I believe. Lots of very painful lessons here 😦 an ex-rescuer (nearly!)

        Like

        • Exodus says:

          Cathy, there have been so many books that I read in the past that take on a different meaning to me at different times in my life. It’s interesting to notice what I highlighted in the books and read my notes on the pages. I often hear myself thinking, ‘ Oh please girl, that’s nothing compared to what you’re dealing with now!!”
          I always knew that I was codependent but I never realized how ‘dangerous’ my behavior was to my well being until several years into my marriage to Norman. When I first began my codependency therapy many years ago, I was focusing on it relative to my family/mother and lost sight of how it was affecting my personal relationships as well. I never knew anyone like Norman and so I never experienced anyone as toxic as he is and how important it was to address the codependency and ‘ cure ‘ it. If I had, back in 1990, I probably wouldn’t have continued to date Norman after our first date. Live and learn.

          Liked by 1 person

  7. Jane Thorne says:

    Sending you love, hugs, prayers and healing to deal with all this. ❤ xXx

    Liked by 1 person

  8. WritesinPJ's says:

    paescapee asked a good question: ” Just one thing- I’ve pulled out my co-dependence book- I can’t see how you got involved in taking your son to work at the last minute?”

    Fair question! My youngest son recently started his first job, and he’s saving for his own car. Until that happens, he’s dependent on rides. It’s about a fifteen minute car ride from where we live (rural) to where he works (and some of that time is going 55 mph, so takes close to an hour on a bike). When it was warmer, he was riding his bike back and forth.

    At the moment he asked me, I glanced at the time and made that split second decision, the kind where you calculate the various facets at that strange speed the mind is capable of. Yes, he should have talked to me sooner. That was irresponsible on his part. Yes, his brother should have been ready to leave (although this brother notoriously procrastinates). At the moment I was asked, I wasn’t even aware that that one brother had been asked to drive him to work. Possibilities flew through my mind, but I really didn’t want him to be late, so there literally wasn’t time to discuss the whole ‘let’s get this worked out so it doesn’t happen again, and if it does, it’s YOUR responsibility if you’re late’ issue without actually making him late. No matter which factor I looked at, the end result was he’d be on time or he’d be late. It became a voluntary instantaneous choice on my part, because I wanted him to be on time.

    I was slightly flustered, but not even perturbed at having to drive him. That’s the part of codependency that would be a warning sign to me; in other words, was I doing something I felt like I ‘had’ to do? No. It was Sunday morning. I’d slept in a little, and was finally feeling better than I had in days. This was the first time that I was involved in any ‘last minute’ driving him to work. His brothers had given me a lot of help in the last few days (pressure washing the house, clipping branches etc.)

    In other words, I wouldn’t want a pattern to start, but it wasn’t a big deal in my Sunday morning world.

    A few days ago, this same son spent the night with a friend an hour away, probably stayed up gaming the night before, and called me the next morning to ask me to call his work to tell them he’d be late. I told him that I wouldn’t call for him, but I’d look up the number if he needed it.

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