Down The Rabbit Hole-Emotionally Abusive Relationships

This is such a good article about how anyone can find themselves in an abusive relationship, and how difficult it can be to get out.

Michelle Ray Cox

When you combine two imperfect human beings in a relationship, there are going to be some challenges. There are going to be ups and downs, good and not so good times. I think we all understand that.
How do you determine if you are going through the normal growing pains in a relationship vs an emotionally abusive one?
My friend “Shelia” is my age, and has been married less than a year. She is very confused, doubting herself, and having doubts about her marriage. This was not one of those conversations about “He drives me nuts when he leaves the wet towels on the floor”.
My conversation with her today led me to tell this story.
While my experience was very painful, I have to say I am so thankful that it happened, and that I lived through it. It allows me to understand what women are going through if…

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3 Responses to Down The Rabbit Hole-Emotionally Abusive Relationships

  1. Exodus says:

    All abuse puts people in the constant highs and lows from day to day. The only reason that our abusers get away with this is because we allow them to for whatever reason. Not all women or men tolerate abuse. So, the question is why do we? Each of us has to answer that for ourselves.
    I know why I tolerated the misery and then the makeups and it’s not all that complicated. I didn’t believe that I could do any better for myself and with each passing year, I became more and more invested in more responsibility in my marriage and with our company and managing all of Normans self destructive habits that constantly set us back. So he earns 5 thousand this week, spent 1 thousand and he loses 3. Of course, he only remembers the 5. I hated any time that we had to invest in our company. I think I’m the only VP in the world that opposed growth. The other reason I stayed was because I didn’t have money. It’s not as if I didn’t go to attorneys many times and try to get out but it all seemed so overwhelming, futile and I feared being in a worse situation. Even the attorneys would just look down and shake their head. I never had anyone in my life that was willing to use their damn brains and help me figure a way out. Nonetheless, had I believed that I deserved better, my cognitive skills would have been in better shape and I would have made decisions that enabled me and not disabled me. I could have left my company and my marriage a long time ago had I believed that there was hope for me. What’s so insane and unreasonable about my behavior all those years is that now , I”m leaving with less than I’ve ever had in my life- not a penny to my name, no family, no insurance, no retirement, very little SSI and not a single friend to help me! There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think about how truly unreasonable my judgment was. When I had thousands in the bank and could have left with ease, I didn’t think it was enough ( because I lived in fear of spending money that I needed to clean up Norman’s manic financial disasters) and yet, I’m now scrounging every penny off the ground and selling things online just to pay for my moving truck and 3 months rent. I’m living an a house that is completely boxed up and echoes and I sleep on the floor on a plastic mattress. The only furniture I have to sit on is in our office. My house now has black mold which is going to be treated next week and that’s costing us an arm and a leg. Norman’s Christian therapist has turned him into an anorexic who is obsessed with exercising and losing weight even though he is only 150 lbs and he’s become obsessed with new age spiritual guides and watches ” The Secret” every morning. He is also accusing me of being like his mother one day and his father the next and then he goes on manic shopping sprees. I even received a call from a customer asking if he was ill. ” You mean physically? No.” As much as I hate this and I REALLY DO HATE THIS, I won’t unbox anything until I’m in a new home. The only person who is going to get me out of this is the woman who got me into this…ME. We can sit here all day, beating this dead horse and make excuses as to why we can’t leave but what is anyone waiting for? There is no perfect moment or perfect time to leave. It’s highly doubtful that a windfall is going to come our way or that King Arthur will send Lancelot to rescue us and with each passing day, we are losing money, losing time, we’re aging, our hips are getting wider, our brains are shriveling, our teeth and bones are decaying, our children are being put through unnecessary drama and our emotional and physical well being is being weakened. I still have enough resolve in me to make this work but I’m a realist and I know that it’s going to be extremely hard on me trying to support myself.
    I am not stupid even though I’ve been dumbed-down for the last 18 years so surely, I can pull myself out of this and build a new life. Compared to a lot of abused women or just the average family living in poverty today, I’m very blessed and I need to focus on my strengths and the positive things in my life that are going to help me become independent & successful.

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  2. Almost inevitably, the worse the situation is overall, the worse it is financially, and that makes it hard to leave the situation: I think that sums it up.

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  3. Bronze says:

    The article is spot on – and I thought maybe she was actually talking about my ex husband it was sooo similar and his gf had kicked him out and written a blog!! Until she got to the gun bit (we don’t have guns in Australia) but the rest was almost carbon copy. Eerily so. Especially disappearing for hours on errands. My husband looked at lot like dexter when young and after watching that series and remembering all the places he stranded us for hours while disappearing(eg. the middle of the bush – he would ”forget” something and drive off leaving us for hours!) or all the hours he spent somwhere(I don’t know where) after running out of the house in a rage, all the hours he disappeared from picking stuff at the shop – I actually checked for missing persons around where we lived!! That lack of emotion and how he manipulated people into reacting in public to him. HUGE similarity.
    Money is a big issue – 75% of women in abusive marriages cite money as a main reason although many women who live in mansions get treated just as abusively if not more so(OJ Simpson etc.). I don’t think money makes it any less confusing. I know a woman just married a football star after being knocked out by him in the US, didn’t she? She is obviously suffering from traumatic bonding – I read an excellent article a while back about the reasons why she believes that marrying him will make him stop abusing her – that her forgiveness and loyalty will cause him to see how valuable she is and stop. I spent 20 years thinking that. I didn’t see it as ABUSE for many years. He could stone wall me for days, swear at me, smash things, completely ignore me at outings, call me names, push me around etc. and I still didn’t name it for what it was. I thought is was A) my fault – I must be so flawed that I made him so angry at me or so repulsive he couldn’t bring himself to speak or look at me, B) that I really was too demanding and controlling (I wasn’t- the thing I asked for were normal expectations and given freely in other marriages) and C) that we had communication problems. If I wrote down all the things he told me I was a ‘selfish b***h/c***” for you would be amazed that I actually thought I was SELFISH for asking and still didn’t see it. eg.wanting to celebrate our 10th anniversary, buying him concert tickets and asking him to a concert, asking him to pick up the kids from school on his regular day off while I was at work(he didn’t – I rushed from work to do it), asking him to go for a walk. I honestly thought I was selfish, controlling, demanding. It wasn’t until I was out did I even see that it was him that controlled with his anger, temper tantrums and refusal to discuss anything – he completely controlled what could happen, what could be talked about, what events went smoothly, what events got ruined, if we were late, if we arrived calmly etc. It was him that was demanding and selfish – but for years I did more, worked harder, tried to look better etc. because he told me that I was too demanding and selfish. He demanded that his hobbies and work take precedence – if I in any way wanted anything or any time for myself – I was demanding and selfish. I would wait until 11pm to study or he would stand at my elbow screaming at me to stop using the dining table or some other thing I should have been doing instead. But until I left – I thought I was selfish and demanding. When I look back and remember so many instances of disrespect eg. asking him not to read at the dinner table and to talk to all of us and him saying ”you should be thankful I even bother to come home when I could be down the pub with all the g-string girls”. I thought he was right. In fact, he should have been thankful he had a beautiful young wife with three amazing cute kids who were brilliantly behaved all sitting at the dinner table with a healthy home cooked meal on the table every night. When I think how little he valued me and that whenever I complained, fought back he told me I was selfish, controlling and demanding I thought it was I who had to adjust my expectations. He wasn’t going to be happy until I had no expectations of him – not even for civility inside my own home. And now he wants civility for the kids sakes – I wonder where that was when he lived here? How didn’t I see it? Because he isn’t bad all the time, it a little bit here, a little bit there, brain washing, insidious and slowly sneaks up on you until you have nearly lost your mind. All I knew was I was unhappy, depressed, felt suicidal but I thought it was ME and my wrong expectations of how I should be treated. And of course as the article states he constantly told me my feelings were wrong about his behaviour and he outright denied almost everything he said or completely lied about what he said. His version of threatening to burn the house down? He ”believes” he screamed that he was coming around to talk and work it out – I know he doesn’t believe it – but he thinks I will accept it as I used to accept it in the past. It is indeed a rabbit hole.

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