Sleepless

I remember as a newlywed that we had a clock that used to flip over numbers as the minutes went by.  I laid awake so many nights watching those numbers flip, full of tears, anger, confusion, and pain.

Last night there was no clock watching, but I still laid awake.  No tears or anger and not so much confusion, but still pain.  After all these years, the pain is like a dull numb thing in the core of my being, almost a part of me now.  It feels a lot more like sadness now.

It didn’t feel different last night, but for some reason it kept me awake.  Maybe the reason was that at bedtime (seemingly out of the blue), he was affectionate and speaking loving words to me.  Last night as he spoke sweet words and was hugging me, I could only hear the hurtful things he said earlier.   There were other words from him earlier that day when I called him out on giving me conflicting information on a business invoice.  Cold blaming resentful words.  When he’s angry, he especially likes to tell me how different things have been the last several years (since the time I was away and we were in a kind of separation).

Even though he gave me conflicting information regarding the invoice, even though he flipped into passive aggressive accusation mode when I asked which information was correct, he still held onto not doing anything intentionally wrong.  He admitted to a kind of wrong, but couched it in words like trying to understand himself when he reacts a certain way when he feels like I’m interrogating him.

I replied that it’s reasonable for anyone to want the truth, and using words like interrogating are a kind of shifting of responsibility and wrong doing onto me, and putting himself in victim status. I said that I viewed his selective truth and withholding information as playing fast and loose with the truth, and as a passive aggressive dynamic.

I agreed that I’ve changed in the last several years, but not in any way that’s less loving to him.  I’ve changed with boundaries, and intolerance of abusive behavior from him.  I don’t see him as having changed.  He can be as wonderful and horrible as I’ve ever known him to be.  I’ve heard the words saying he was sorry when he was caught, but not the behaviors that reflected a repentant heart.

Well that didn’t go over well with him!  More accusations flew my direction.   I asked him if he even wanted to work on our marriage, and he said he didn’t know.  He said that his true heart wanted to, but the other part of him wanted… (at this point he made a waving goodbye motion with a sarcastic look on his face)… and would be relieved.

Throughout the entire conversation, I remained in a strange and quiet calm.  Detached.  Feeling almost unhurt by his accusatory words shooting at me.  Instead of striking my emotions, it was as though arrows were flying and shooting a small winged bird that was fighting to stay aloft.  It was killing hope.

That was the difference at bedtime.  When he was hugging me, I told him that there were certain things he tends to say when he’s angry, and that I can’t discount them as just angry words.  Instead, I listen to them as telling me how he really feels, believing him, and it was killing the shred of hope I’ve tried to keep for us.

His response was silence, and then finally rolling away from me in the dark.

Then I just laid there in the silent dark.  Not really thinking.   Just there.  Around 4:00 a.m., I sat up briefly out of nervous curiosity to see what time it was.  I’m not sure what time I finally fell asleep, but I was awake by 8:00 a.m.

We’re both up.  He made eggs and coffee, the girls are chatting, the old doggie is settling on her pillow near me, and I need to start making the first pre-holiday checklist.  Another day of quiet crazy on the crawl to finding life.

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This entry was posted in abusive husband, abusive marriage, Christian marriage, covert abuse, emotional abuse, insomnia, passive aggressive abuse, passive aggressive husband, truth and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

15 Responses to Sleepless

  1. Exodus says:

    I used to ask Norman all the time what he wanted and there was always silence or the ‘ I don’t know’ bit. Norman’s therapist asked him the same question and even she got annoyed with him that he couldn’t answer the question. Norman almost quit therapy because she got so annoyed. A therapist can’t help a man who doesn’t know what he wants and a wife can’t be a wife to man who doesn’t know whether he wants one.

    I quit asking Norman what he wanted because I already knew that despite him saying that he wanted to be married and that he did care and that he did love me, those were just empty words that would never be supported by any action or behavior. The truth comes out every so often WHY Norman really wanted me. He’ll say things like, ‘ Yeah, I see how you are- leaving when the going gets tough. You’re a weak coward who can’t handle the truth. You just used me for money”. I know who he’s really talking about- himself!

    The only reason I ever asked him what he wanted was because I thought I needed him to provide direction in my life. I needed him to confirm whether I should continue cooking dinner for him, cleaning the house, doing his admin work, buying him presents, painting the house, etc.. I basically needed him to provide reason why I should leave as if I didn’t already have enough reason. Silly codependent me. I didn’t want to invest anymore of myself in someone that didn’t cherish me. Did I really need him to tell me that he didn’t cherish me? No.

    PJ’s, Beware of the messages you send your husband and how they will be used to punish you. If you’re going to allow him to hug you or be affectionate to you in any way, then don’t remind him during his affectionate displays that you’re harboring hurt and want to talk about it. . Either let him ease his conscience by being affectionate or don’t let him at all. You have to decide which is the lesser of evils ( as usual). If you allow him to hug you, you’re telling him that everything is alright and that you’ll settle for those shallow displays of affection despite all the hurt. Then when you try to express your hurt in that moment you’re giving him reason to believe that despite his thoughtful heart-centered gestures, you are the one who is cold and uses that opportunity to remind him that he’s a ‘bad’ husband. This is exactly what PA husbands want us to do- they use us to express their anger and hurt and affirm their self fulfilling prophecy of being an unworthy man. This is exactly what Norman did to me and why I quit allowing him to touch me, have sex with me or be affectionate toward me. It’s a no win because if I allowed Norman to be physical with me in any way, I wound up feeling extremely used and pathetic. I decided it was healthier for me to at least set those physical boundaries in order to protect my own dignity and self respect. Norman told his therapist that he was always a loving affectionate person and that he always tried to be nice and affectionate to me but I was so angry and bitter all the time and would make him feel worthless and just used. C’est la vie. He left out the other half of the story about how the only time he was affectionate or thoughtful was after he had abused me and that it was given with the intention to lure me back into his trap. I was never ugly or bitter toward Norman about why I set the boundaries. I just told him that I didn’t feel it was right given how we didn’t have a healthy marriage.

    Liked by 1 person

    • WritesinPJ's says:

      I do realize I could be punished… for almost anything. I’ve learned it would drive me crazier to try to anticipate what might be his reason for withholding relationship, so I just accept that there will always be ongoing reasons, and try to go on with my own life and day and path.

      There are times I choose silence as the better path for self-nurture for my day, or even to protect myself from a potential ramification that I’m not ready to deal with.

      My inner mantra is to keep integrity with myself, and to speak truthfully when I’m respectfully bearing witness to my own heart, and accepting that his reactions or responses are his own responsibility.

      Like

      • Exodus says:

        You only need to tell yourself the truth PJ’s. There’s no need to remind him. Our actions speak just as loud as their actions. The drama stops with us when we don’t allow ourselves to become their inner critical resentful voice,

        I know it isn’t normal and healthy to not express ourselves but we need to be realistic about who we are expressing to because it’s even more unhealthy to keep talking to a dismissive person. All we end up doing is victimizing and traumatizing ourselves over and over again. The PA person doesn’t hear anything you say and even if they did, your words would be translated in a different language and taken out of context. Remember that lunatic fake translator at Mandela’s memorial service? He had a straight focused face the entire time and everyone thought he was a pro. When I first saw the footage, I thought of how that could have been Norman translating what I just said. blahbleeblahdiddledeedoo. I also think that Norman hears me as the parents/adults on the Peanuts cartoons.

        Like

      • paescapee says:

        I admire that you are exceptional at being able to analyse and recognise the aggressive behaviour P.J. as I’ve said before, I really struggled at identifying it. You inner mantra is to keep integrity by speaking truthfully and I really respect that, but the internal conflict that kept you awake may have been that your behaviour (in allowing him to be affectionate) was out of alignment with your truth as you were still angry. It is somehow easier to use words as we ‘know’ they ignore them, but changing your behaviour is harder as we ‘know’ they will retaliate with spite. Words are just la la la to them but preventing them getting what they want angers them.
        I had an occasion where my ex was repairing our car (I was paying him!)on our drive but after he had moved out and I was responsible for the house bills. He knocked on the door ‘to use the toilet’ (he didn’t’t ask) but I pointed out that he only lived across the street, he could use his own. He ignored me and pushed the door open and used the loo. Later, he knocked the door again, and I answered with the chain on. I was so scared of the repercussion of doing that! He was truly shocked and asked me why, I told him because he had disrespected my wishes earlier. I didn’t let him in- but he had obviously completely ignored my previous words. I would have been too scared in the past to bar him because of the backlash that would ensue. Mind you, I discovered later that he had done the brakes badly, not bothering to clean the dust off first before fitting the new ones. He tampered with my brakes!!! How bad is that?

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        • Exodus says:

          Oh my gosh Cathy, Norman did the same thing to me with my brakes. The title of my journal is ‘ I knew there was something wrong with my brakes’!!

          I’ve learned a lot from my counselor and from reading information on the borderline personality forum/website about how to live with someone who is mentally ill. Although I knew in my heart that I was always justified in stating my defense to Norman, I also knew that I was contributing to my own abuse by doing so. I had much stronger boundaries in place as far as intimacy goes so, I felt even more justified in stating my feelings since it should have been clear to Norman that I wasn’t going to ‘play marriage’ as if everything was Kosher. The mixed messages in my marriage resulted from me just being present every day and investing time and energy into caring for our home and our business. Norman’s therapist told me many years ago that just by being present, I was giving Norman everything he wanted and needed. Even with my intimacy boundaries, he deluded himself into believing that I had emotional issues that prevented me from being affectionate and that it had nothing to do with him expecting me to role play his parent. It’s very difficult to assume the role of emotional nurse for these mentally ill people but that’s what we must do if we live them. It is very difficult for codependent spouses to manage this dynamic because we have to be consistently mature, strong and very grounded in our values.

          Liked by 1 person

          • WritesinPJ's says:

            Exodus, I look at my boundaries as being different, not less, because my current status is not one of leaving my marriage. It is one of preparing to leave, and there has been slow steady progress towards that. By preparing to leave, I mean that I’ve communicated clearly what it would require from him for me to stay in our marriage, and asked him to please also let me know what his needs are for our relationship, so that I can respond with a yes or no to what he asks for.

            My husband has let me know that he’s not happy with this ‘me’ (the me with zero tolerance for abuse, boundaries, and accountability), and my response has been to consistently tell him that I understood, and was willing to switch in that moment to discussing an agreed plan to end the marriage. He always stops, and at some point says that he’d rather accept what I’m saying, and work on it.

            My problem, of course, has been that while he says that, he slips back into not doing what he said. This is why I continue to prepare to leave, and why I keep praying for a miracle until the day comes that I do.

            When I say that I speak my truth, it’s for me, not him. Rather than contributing to my abuse, for me it helps me to stay out of the fog and keep moving forward.

            Liked by 1 person

            • Exodus says:

              Pj’s,I know you are speaking truth for yourself. That is why I wondered why you were saying it to him. My intimacy boundaries were set many years ago before I considered divorce. I simply couldn’t imagine allowing an abusive man to touch me. That was the easiest boundary I’ve ever set for myself. Golly gee, imagine that! The way I felt at the time was that we needed to work on our relationship ( establish trust, better communication, etc..) before including sex as part of it. Of course, the relationship never improved and hence, no more sex.

              During our marriage, it was only through my actions that I ever felt I was actually serving my well-being. Several years ago I stopped pretending that Norman and I were married when we attended social or family functions. I either drove myself or we may have arrived together but I never allowed him to be affectionate toward me in front of others and I also spoke the truth when anyone asked why I wasn’t doing such and such anymore ( because of Norman not allowing me). I don’t discuss my dissatisfaction with Norman anymore because it never benefited either of us in any way to do so since it would just create more insecurity in him and fuel his PA attacks against me. Trying to explain my feelings to him did nothing to benefit me in any way. In fact, I was always left feeling even more dismissed, more hurt and more miserable.

              I think it was NewShoes who wrote about living as independently as possible in preparation for leaving and that’s exactly what I’ve done- mentally, financially and physically. I imagine that he’s not in my life at all and when he is, he’s just an employee. It’s not always as easy as I make it sound. It still hurts when I see him carrying on like I never existed but when I begin to feel pathetic and stupid for staying with a man who objectified me, neglected me, abused me and used me, I turn off those thoughts and think about all I’ve learned and how it’s going to help me in the future when I’m on my own. I feel sorry for Norman because he has nothing positive to take away from this relationship that will improve his life. He will carry an even larger boatload of anger and negativity right into his next life and use it to abuse himself and his next wife if he ever remarries (which I know he will given how he is a survivor and desperately needs a mother). Norman will continue to create damage and suffering where ever he goes and will become someone else’s problem ( my gosh, this is what his mother told me on our wedding day). Norman still pulls PA doozies out of his sack but I address him the same way I would an employee who behaved that way. It’s nothing personal for me, it’s just business. Norman is in the real time driver’s seat now that I’m indifferent to him and our circumstances- ‘mom’ isn’t home anymore. He hates it because he knows that his PA attempts to annoy me will only end up creating more work for himself. He is now ” steam” cleaning the house with all his angry hot air and washing his own dishes, etc..while running around like he’s so rushed and out of time and too busy for such things. Such a drama king.

              Like

        • WritesinPJ's says:

          It’s all about that bass… boundaries… ;P

          Oh, the affectionate behavior stopped as soon as I spoke how I honestly was feeling.

          I’ve been giving more thought to the insomnia (which is a lifelong battle for me), and will probably write about it later.

          Awesome story about using the door chain!

          Like

  2. DaMama7 says:

    Wow PJ’s! I have had a situation somewhat like what you just described happen just last night. My H and I were in bed with the baby between us when he asked me about a party that took place at my sister’s house. She invited me to some sort of sex toy party something called Pure Passion or close to that but I didn’t go because I am not interested in improving my sex life-I know a decent relationship with my husband would do that-but because some of the lifestyles and relationships there are completely out-of-line with my personal convictions. Anyway, my husband asked if I ever thought about using “toys” and I said I had no problem with that. As long as something wasn’t expressly spelled out in the bible as sin anything a husband and wife agreed on within their marriage was fine. He seemed kind of interested in talking about this more, which in a normal marriage is fine but I was kind of surprised. I enjoyed hearing him talk, even if it was abiut sex, and talk about something that pertained just to us…about something that involved me! 🙂 It was a pretty short talk and then after a few minutes he asked why I have been somewhat cool towards him. Ok…do you really want me to answer that??I think to myself. What info do I divulge? How do I say in the most respectfully? Should I even say anything at all? Do I have the energy to do this again? So I did say something. I said once in a while he puts a bit of effort into pacifying me by giving me a hug or sitting with me instead of watching tv or making coffee, whatever token action it is, it is very hard for me to accept because I don’t know how long it will last and I know there hasn’t been any change of heart but just some very minimal behavior modifications. He said that me reacting by being cool towards him wasn’t going to help the situation out. He said both of us being emotionally unavailable won’t get us anywhere. Oh. No. He. Didn’t. I proceeded to tell him him (I am not loud or angry at this point by completely mystified. He also has read something somewhere because he said “emotionally unavailable. Hmmm…) Well he asked so I begin to talk. Like I said the baby was between us so things stayed nice and quiet and calm but I did talk. I was calm and respectful but uncensored. You all know the things I have said because you have said them too so I won’t bore you with details. To my dismay I called him an a**h*** about 4 times which I felt bad about but It also was pretty good feeling to say that! Haha, I am terrible. It has been years since I have cussed at him. He isn’t really offended by cussing. Then I stopped talking. I opened my heart and waited on what he would say, if anything. Then after about 1 minute I heard deep breathing. I spilled my heart out and that a**h*** was falling asleep. As I write this I am smiling because what was I even expecting ?? I woke him up and we actuly both kind of laughed about it. I told him I was going to let him sleep and like usual I would stay awake wondering how the heck I got myself into this mess. He said he did understand he had dropped the ball with the kids and me. I didn’t say anything. Then he went to sleep in like 1.4 minutes. And you guessed it! This morning I am staying home from church with a sick child and he bought some coffee for me when he left this morning. We talked about the weather and some of the other kids. He asked if I wanted to come sit in the bathroom with him while he filed the floor. Um, no not really but thanks for the offer. I don’t want our sick child asleep on the couch to roll off. So, here I am another day. He will pretend nothing happened last night. I have no idea how but that is what he does and I guess what I do too. :/ How do I tolerate his small efforts? How do I let him touch me without cringing inside? How do I open up and then act like nothing happened? I am learning how to navigate and learning so slowly how to distance myself or really my heart; but what an unnatural thing to have to learn to do. :/ Happy Sunday everyone. It helps to know you all are out there and please know I am praying for us all.

    Liked by 1 person

    • AlonewithGod says:

      Hey DaMama7 – Yes we are all here for each other, helping and learning from one another. I have done what you described many times. Over and over and over I was still
      hurt and reeling in the morning after something said/happened the night before and my ex acted like nothing’s wrong. He would cuss me into the ground and I never got a word of apology and he thought I should still be loving and affectionate. Because it was my duty as the wife. And I didn’t have the knowledge and understanding of the personality disorder that I have now, so there were no boundaries.
      The times I stood up to him and tried to set boundaries either resulted in a full-scale explosion of anger and threats or the yeah,yeah,yeah “agreement” from him which was
      just me sounding like Peanuts adults like Exodus said. (wahwahwah, wahwahwahwah).
      He never heard me trying to connect with him. All men have selective hearing and tune their women out a lot, but my ex was so narcissistic, he dismissed me always. He was the
      man; it was his house; I was supposed to be submissive, etc,
      I even tried the aggressive approach one time, many yrs ago, since he acted so big and bad. I hit him hard in the face, knocked him down and beat the crap out of him till he pinned me. He said if I ever did that again he would throw me thru the window. I apologized and meant it and that never happened again. But he continued abusing me emotionally and verbally. He withheld sex from me on good days when there was harmony and peace. He accused me of choosing to not be his wife (his words) after I
      had become so walled in with my emotions. He wanted total admiration from me but that was simply impossible with all our negative experiences.
      I can tell you are trying and you love your husband. So did I. Do not let your self-esteem suffer because this is not your fault. Please remember that.

      Like

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