Living with a Yeller... - Talk About Marriage
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post #1 of 43 (permalink) Old 12-12-2015, 05:17 PM Thread Starter
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Living with a Yeller...

I am here seeking advice from those of you who may be dealing with or have dealt with living life with a yeller. By nature, I am a shy and generally soft spoken person. I am 38 years old and have been with my partner for 4.5 years and noticed the yelling started pretty early on. As I have never had any experience with a yeller, never grew up in that environment, never dated someone who I would classify as a yeller, I didn't understand the weight of it nor the psychological toll it would eventually take on me. Now here I am, nearly 5 years in and I find that it has just shaken me to my core. It has changed me as a person. I've regressed.

We have our issues and I'm not perfect by any means. I am not a very good communicator, though I want to be. She communicates her every feeling and I try to be a good listener. I think the potential for greatness is there, despite all the lows we've had. I just feel it's so far gone, this yelling, everything piggy backs on everything and there's very little restraint in going off on a yelling tangent.

Yelling renders me an emotional mute, this I know. I am more clammed up than I have ever been. I often times don't talk about what I'm feeling because when I say something that she finds offensive or is blaming, she completely fly's off the handle. I can't even understand it sometimes, that sort of anger, that need to react in that way... I mean, she literally foams at the mouth... How can that be normal? I've had her so close to my face on a number of occasions, I can feel the heat of her breath. She must know what it does to me. I stop dead in my tracks. The flight or fight response kicks in. I'm paralyzed. Sometimes I try to pacify her, respond in a way to bring her down, sometimes I say I'm going to leave until you calm down albeit not often enough, sometimes I make remarks that are like throwing kerosene on the fire and I regret them instantly and try to not do that anymore. I just feel there's no reasoning with her. I can't talk to her. We live in an apartment and I'm sure others can hear her.

I am at this point now where I fear even bringing something up, I know it will set her off.

I know people in relationships sometimes say they feel like they're walking on eggshells and I have to say, I feel that very unease in my bones. I feel I have lost my very identity. I find that the motivation behind just about all of my actions is, how will this cause the least conflict, the least anger, the least tension. My actions are based in fear. I fear this person that I say I love so much and in my logical mind, I don't know how those two feelings can co-exist. I've told her many times that she scares me, that I'm afraid. She says that she's afraid of me because she doesn't know what I'll do to her.

I know she has full control over her outbursts, I don't excuse it, ever. She'll always say she needs to get away from people who take her from zero to sixty. Those people are me and her family because we're the only ones she ever yells at.

I've never seen anyone in her family yell. I don't know if they have but I haven't seen it and I don't know where it comes from. She says other people drive her to yell but in my book, it's no excuse. I think I've allowed her to get away with it for nearly 5 years and that's why she does it.

I'm completely ineffective at arguing with her. She's as sharp as a tack and able to keep her train of thought while shouting at the top of her lungs and aggressively pacing the room, meanwhile, the yelling takes me to a place of complete fear, I panic, I can't concentrate on anything but the fear and I feel the physical toll it takes on my body. In moments when I tell myself to pull it together, stand up for yourself, I try to hold my ground and I think it angers her more. Just today, I tried communicating with her while holding my hands behind my back and she started to mock me then she told me how tired she is of looking at my face. She'll call me names in these moments. These things throw me off, bring me to tears, deflate my defense. I cower to her.

She once called me a milquetoast. I didn't know what it meant when she said it, didn't get the reference... I looked it up and literally felt myself die a little inside. But I see why she said it and I've come to think that I am a milquetoast. I don't want to be and I try to give myself pep talks all the time but I feel myself sinking further and further into this depression. I want this relationship to work so bad that I feel I've compromised my own self worth and in becoming weak, I am sure she has no respect for me, I don't even respect myself when I don't stand up for myself.

When I was 10 years old, I woke up one morning and my mom was gone. I asked my dad where she was and he said "she didn't come home last night". I've seen my mom once in the last 28 years. I was close to her and I never felt close or comfortable with my dad, truth be told, I was afraid of him, he was cold and distant, he worked a lot and he was the disciplinarian. When my mom left, she may as well have left me with a complete stranger. I barely knew the man and I feared him. That fear never left me, I grew up in a household with little love, little attention and always remaining quiet because I didn't feel safe. Being in this relationship takes me back to that place and that's why I say I've regressed. I fear the person I am in a relationship with and that keeps me quiet.


I am seeking advice from this forum because I do not have any family or friends in my life nor do I have the money to afford counseling. I am trepidatious about hitting submit on this post but must confess that just typing this out has helped me tremendously already. I know I need to grow a backbone and stand up for myself. I thought I was in a good place when I met her, I felt I had spent a lot of time working on myself, felt I could defend myself. Something in this relationship... somehow... made me regress. I don't want to be this weak person.

Thanks for listening... It's literally been years since I've discussed my relationship with anyone. I keep these feelings to myself and have no one to bounce them off of, to gauge what's normal, to help in the process. Thank you.

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post #2 of 43 (permalink) Old 12-12-2015, 06:16 PM
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Re: Living with a Yeller...

I am so sorry to hear that your mom abandoned you. That is so sad.

I think it would be best if you and your partner parted ways. You need to be with a loving, patient woman, as the right person can help you fill unmet needs from your childhood. I don't think your current companion can do that.
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post #3 of 43 (permalink) Old 12-12-2015, 06:52 PM
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Re: Living with a Yeller...

I also feel like need to remove yourself from your current living arrangement at the very least.
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Originally Posted by thirtywhacks View Post
I am not a very good communicator, though I want to be.
You say that you are not a good communicator. Maybe not verbally, but your post is articulate.

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Originally Posted by thirtywhacks View Post
I've told her many times that she scares me, that I'm afraid. She says that she's afraid of me because she doesn't know what I'll do to her.
What is this about? She's afraid? Has there been any point in the relationship that gives her cause to be afraid? It's the one thing in your post that doesn't fit with the rest, and contradicts all of her other words and actions. People aren't generally afraid of milquetoasts.

Forget enough to get over it, remember enough so it doesn't happen again.
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post #4 of 43 (permalink) Old 12-12-2015, 07:09 PM
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Re: Living with a Yeller...

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Originally Posted by sixty-eight View Post
I also feel like need to remove yourself from your current living arrangement at the very least.

You say that you are not a good communicator. Maybe not verbally, but your post is articulate.



What is this about? She's afraid? Has there been any point in the relationship that gives her cause to be afraid? It's the one thing in your post that doesn't fit with the rest, and contradicts all of her other words and actions. People aren't generally afraid of milquetoasts.
I was thinking the same thing.. confused...

I googled verbally abusive women & found this website.. could be a resource to you..

>> Welcome to Verbal Abuse of Men.com

Quote:
* Verbal abuse is not a side issue. It IS the issue in the relationship.

* Verbal abuse creates pain and trauma and can lead to physical illness.

* Studies have shown that emotionally abused men can experience depression, psychological distress, and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

* Once your wife or companion has chosen abuse or violence, end the relationship promptly and irrevocably, or, if you wish to stay together, AND your wife or companion acknowledges the abuse AND wishes to receive counseling to positively change herself and the relationship, find a counselor who has experience with abuse of men.
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post #5 of 43 (permalink) Old 12-12-2015, 07:55 PM
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Re: Living with a Yeller...

You need heavy duty counseling to work through this.
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post #6 of 43 (permalink) Old 12-12-2015, 09:21 PM
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Re: Living with a Yeller...

There is a reason your wife yells. Most likely she doesn't feel heard. Key is there is a difference between feeling heard and being heard. For her it's a force of habit. You won't make her stop doing that. You do need to tell her how her behavior makes you feel and that you want to seek counseling, if you're interested in trying to make it work. Do not try to talk with her when she is raising her voice. Tell her calmly that you are willing to listen. If she refuses to stop, leave. Leave the room, leave the house, whatever you need to do.
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post #7 of 43 (permalink) Old 12-12-2015, 11:05 PM
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Re: Living with a Yeller...

I sympathise having come through a somewhat similar situation. My wife was a yeller too. I can offer my techniques, but am unsure if they are applicable.

It sounds like your wife triggers faster than mine. I got warnings that she was getting emotional and the yelling might follow soon. This gave me time to get ready mentally.

I also repeated told her that these yelling outburst cause me to shutdown for maybe the next 24 hours. It was something I was working at reducing, but also something she didn't like. So she knew if I wasn't talking it because she yelled at me yesterday, so partly it was her fault. Gradually both of us improved ourselves.

My wife's family all 'discuss' things with what I consider yelling arguments. They once had a 1 hour tag-team yelling match about what take-away to order for lunch. My family never raised their voices. So she explained her yelling as what her family did. I countered that it was not what my family did, in my family such behaviour was unacceptable. Given you can't point to a source, this probably doesn't help you.

My martial arts included a training technique for very light contact close quarter 'sparring'. It was close enough for knees to touch. When she got 'in my face' I calmly stood my ground and sometimes got even closer. For me the sparing training was a relaxing game. When she realised I was playing it sometimes infuriated her, but after a while she tended to realise what I was doing and why and she would tone down.

I also had a problem with shutting down and not responding. This was my problem and my behaviour did not help the situation. I needed to develop and follow a plan, which I called seige mode, I would stand my ground and calmly and quietly respond that I was not going to negotiate at this volume, that I would not agree to or apologize for anything while being yelled at, and in bad cases that she had x minutes to calm down or I was leaving. It took a while before I could reliably implement seige mode without shutting down entirely. Initially I sometimes needed to leave the room listening to "you're not a real man" etc. And I needed to negotiate as soon as the volume went down, rather than staying locked down for a day. And in calm times I repeated told my wife that yelling is unacceptable and I will not agree to anything while being yelled at.

Not sure what you can use out of all that, but the issue can be overcome.

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post #8 of 43 (permalink) Old 12-13-2015, 12:38 AM
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Re: Living with a Yeller...

We teach others how we will be treated. She yells because you have permitted her to for nearly five years. Explain to her that you will talk to her respectfully and you expect the same. If she starts with the temper tantrum, pick up your car keys and leave. Do it every time. It won't take long for her to figure out that if she wants to express herself that yelling isn't a path to success. She gets in your face, tell her to back out. If she doesn't, leave. Do it every time. Nobody changes bad behavior that gets rewarded. She yells, you melt, she wins, and the bad behavior is reinforced. She gets in your face, you feel intimidated, she wins, her crappy behavior gets reinforced. If you give a dog a treat for crapping on the floor you can't be surprised when it frequently craps on the floor.
You don't need to become some domestic warrior. Most people don't like yelling and screaming and there's no reason an adult has to live that way. The problem isn't you. The problem is you married a loud, pushy, battle axe. Pushy, loud people need other people to intimidate and boss around. In her case, she's got you. Walk away. Unless she's clinically insane she won't yell without someone to yell at. It's not your job to calm her down or appease her. She's an adult and presumably had parents who should have taught her how civilized people behave. Your words or behavior aren't responsible for the words or volume she chooses to use. She is an adult, responsible for her actions. A woman would call me a milquetoast only once. Your choice is not one between living with hostility and disrespect or living forever alone. There are loads of reasonably functional human beings on earth. Is this woman adding something positive to your life? Does she make you a better, more complete man? Does she inspire you to greatness? Does she make you feel good about yourself and the world around you? If she left forever what would you be losing? The world is chock full of wonderful women who know how to behave in polite society. Why would you put up with this screaming narcissist? You might try my suggestions a couple times and if she doesn't pull her disrespectful, screaming head out of her buttocks, leave permanently and let her be the queen of nothing.
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post #9 of 43 (permalink) Old 12-13-2015, 01:02 AM
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The thing with yellers is that they only do it to people they know they can get away with it with.

Does she yell at her boss? No. Why? Because her ass would get fired.

Does she yell at her friends? No. Why?
Because she would soon be friendless.

I'm not sure what advice I can give you. Except some history.

I hate yellers. My family also yelled all the time. It was as if everyone was trying to force thier opinion and also yell the loudest to be the only one in the room that was heard.

It drove me nuts. I don't yell. I never did. So I didn't partake in speaking around my family. That didn't mean I didn't stand up for myself or have a spine. I just realized it was pointless to participate.

Then I dated yellers. It drove me nuts too. And they were gone like yesterday's donuts. With about the same regret as I would have as throwing away stale donuts.

It's easy to be labelled a milketoast by a yeller. Of course you are. What other display are you going to exhibit when you realize yelling back is pointless? Good for you in not getting sucked into that exchange.

I do need to ask, though. Why are you still with her? What can you possibly be getting from this relationship? Other than stress and emotional breakdown. You do know there's 3 billion ladies on this planet, right? What makes you think she's so special that you need to take this abuse?

Id be laughing at her milketoast comment than advising her not to let the door hit her in the ass on the way out. And then I'd throw her suitcases out right after her.

And then!!! Then I'd just start dating again, maybe one of the 2,999,999,999 ladies left out there. Because I'd be damned sure there's a good chance I'd get one that wasn't such a royal, abusive, insulting beotch.
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post #10 of 43 (permalink) Old 12-13-2015, 04:20 AM
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Re: Living with a Yeller...

my wife used to yell like that. would chase me around screaming. even escalated to physical violence, quite often at first.

what worked was consequences for her destructive behavior. my wife had abandonment issues, and the one thing that scared her the most was the thought that i was going to walk out and abandon her one day. her actions were like a self fulfilling prophecy. had it continued, i would have eventually left her.

i also had to have a vision of what kind of person i wanted to be. remembering that vision kept me on track.


eventually, i realized that it was never going to change unless i changed my own behaviors. basically, i did what unbelievable suggested to you. i provided consequences for her destructive behavior. i also avoided arguing anything that i could not know for certain, ie, her emotions, thoughts, and intentions.

that last bit was kinda important. you have said that she has a sharper wit than you when you two are arguing. as you have already identified, it is because of the fight or flight hormones. when you start to feel anxious, your brain is flooded with chemicals that make it very difficult for you to think. so, instead of trying to bolster yourself and think while your brain is locked in fight or flight mode, crystalize your whole argument strategy to simple truths that you know for certain, and don't argue anything else. in other words, don't say anything about what she intends, thinks, or feels. only defend your own mind, ie, your own thoughts and feelings.
instead of saying "when you do XYZ, it makes me feel like you want/feel/mean ABC", say "when you do XYZ, this is how i feel".
its an incredibly simple thing to say, and truth be told, is the only thing you really need to communicate anyway. most importantly, it is something you should be able to hold onto even if you are all amped up.


next, you need to provide consequences for her behavior. the number one consequence that you can provide for her is physical space. tell her upfront that if she gets in your face, you are going to leave for fifteen minutes(or however long you want) and will not speak to her until she calms down. check back in, if she yells at you again, leave again for another fifteen minutes. do this consistently until she learns that she simply will not be able to speak to you unless she is willing to be civil about it. if she suggests that you two resort to texting or writing notes to each other for a while, accept it. remember, its going to take a while for her to change her emotional responses to things as well. while you are away, practice things to get your body to produce more testosterone and less cortisol. things like exercise, pushups, meditation, or even laughing. practice then any time you feel anxious. here is a video to get you started with some ideas: https://www.ted.com/talks/amy_cuddy_...re?language=en
some of them, like a power pose, can be done pretty much anywhere and can even be done in public without people noticing what you are doing. i know because i have done them a lot. nobody has ever noticed that i was doing it, but pretty much everybody has noticed the change in my personality.

if she calls you a bad name, tell her that you will not tolerate such disrespect and will not talk to her for the rest of the day, or until she apologizes, whichever comes first. and then go out and buy a VAR and keep it on you the next time you speak to her. show it to her, let her know it is there, and tell her you want to be able to review your conversation with her to find out if you really deserve to be called the names that she calls you. after all, if she did not apologize, that means she must not have been in the wrong. maybe you said something you shouldn't have and she responded in kind. either way, with a VAR, you will have a record of her verbal abuse, and both of you will know it. the goal is not to catch her and gain dirt on her. the goal is to get her to practice moderating her own emotions and talking to you in a civilized manner. the more she forces herself to calm down, the better she will get at it.

another thing you should try is active listening, but don't even bother with it if she refuses to apologize for insulting you. until she is willing to admit that her behavior is wrong, she will likely only use your attempts at active listening as more fuel for her anger. she will see it as patronizing. if she is willing to apologize and admit that she did wrong by her treatment of you, then listen intently to what she says about how she feels, and paraphrase it back to her so that she knows that you were listening.


understand this, there is nothing wrong with you. the way you feel is not an indication of how strong or weak you are. think of it like this... i am a paratrooper. we jump out of perfectly good airplanes a lot. some of us are scared ****less when we jump, some of us are not bothered by it at all, but we all jump. everyone views us exactly the same so long as we all jump. we are not judged by our feelings at all, but rather by our actions. you are no different. you can be scared ****less and paralyzed, but if you can remember the action that you need to take, and then take that action, you are not weak. you are not spineless. if you state that you will walk away from her the next time she tries to intimidate you, and you actually manage to do it, you are not weak. you are not spineless. you are not Casper Milquetoast. you are a someone who has stated how they wish to be addressed, stated a consequence for refusing to address them in such a manner, and followed through with the consequence.


don't ever say you are going to do something unless you are willing to do it. if your partner wanted to keep you around and you told her that you would immediately start separation proceedings the next time she insults you, she likely wouldn't believe you today. if, however, you plainly state each action you are going to make and follow through with all of them over the next couple months, she will likely believe it. after all, if you have meant absolutely everything that you have said, and proven that you meant it by actually doing it, why wouldn't she believe you? this goes back to that vision of who you want to be... do you want to be the kind of person who makes empty threats whenever they feel they are not in control, or do you want to be the kind of person who clearly and openly decides exactly how they will act? do you want to be someone who attempts to try and control that which cannot be controlled, or someone who exerts complete control over their own actions, regardless of their fleeting emotions?

personally, i like to be in control of myself.


eventually, if you stand up for yourself enough in a consistent form, you will start to notice that you are feeling less and less anxious. you will know that even if your partner does blow up in your face, its not that big of a deal. you can put an end to it as easily as walking out the door. because, lets make something clear, you didn't really ask for advice about how to fix your relationship. you asked for advice on how to fix yourself.


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post #11 of 43 (permalink) Old 12-13-2015, 05:15 AM
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Re: Living with a Yeller...

Personally, I think you should leave her. Some people just aren't worth the effort and I don't see anything positive in what you've written about her, which indicates you have lost all respect and liking for her, you just haven't made the final decision to move on out of fear of change.

If you decide to stay, do yourself a favour and take up martial arts in order to work on controlling your fear response. You can't control her actions, but you can certainly work on your reaction to her.

Books that helped me:
"Getting the Love You Want" by H. Hendrix
"His Needs, Her Needs" by W. Harley
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post #12 of 43 (permalink) Old 12-13-2015, 06:05 AM
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Re: Living with a Yeller...

Allow me to play devil's advocate, in the voice of my then yelling wife ...

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Originally Posted by alphaomega View Post
The thing with yellers is that they only do it to people they know they can get away with it with.

Does she yell at her boss? No. Why? Because her ass would get fired.
Yes she might. And she might do it even knowing that she might get fired.

And as a boss she had fired people for yelling. But she kept other yellers too, they weren't all fired. She is able to separate the volume from the emotion or intent.

I would have probably sacked anyone who yelled.

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Does she yell at her friends? No. Why?
Because she would soon be friendless.
Yes, even to this day she still sometimes yells at friends. Many of them remain friends. There have been some casualties though.

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I'm not sure what advice I can give you. Except some history.

I hate yellers. My family also yelled all the time. It was as if everyone was trying to force thier opinion and also yell the loudest to be the only one in the room that was heard.

It drove me nuts. I don't yell. I never did. So I didn't partake in speaking around my family. That didn't mean I didn't stand up for myself or have a spine. I just realized it was pointless to participate.

...
Devil's advocate off...

I am impressed. It is difficult to break the mold of your own family upbringing while still in your family.

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post #13 of 43 (permalink) Old 12-13-2015, 06:30 AM
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Re: Living with a Yeller...

Thinking back about my earlier post, maybe there is a suggestion within the martial arts sparring, even without you learning martial arts. I had taught her some of my training, so I knew her punches were softer than her yelling insults. So it was a simple decision to call her bluff by standing firm and calmly telling her to be quiet or I would leave. And if she ever did hit me it would have ended the yelling outburst with her apologising and me still OK. So it was a simple decision to face it.
This is a sexist assumption, but I guess you could safely take a punch from your wife. She is probably not trained. It is the yelling and insults that hurt most. So don't back down.
Of course the other side to this is you have to stand in the face of yelling and NEVER attack. If you cannot trust yourself to do that then leave.

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post #14 of 43 (permalink) Old 12-13-2015, 06:40 AM
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Re: Living with a Yeller...

Crap doesn't just happen. If you are living with someone who abuses or disrespects you, unless you are paralyzed, you are part of the problem. At some level you must agree with her that you deserve to be mistreated or you wouldn't tolerate it. You can walk away and you've always had the ability to walk away. What is there to fear? The crazy bat is going to hit you? Brings to mind those little yappy dogs who consider themselves quite vicious but, in reality, could be punted over the back fence with great ease if one were so inclined. This loud, obnoxious woman has no power unless you just give her some. Nobody promoted her to be your boss. Don't raise your voice, don't cuss, don't threaten. Calmly explain the terrain she sits on. She plays nicely or she plays alone. It's cool to have a discussion or a debate and it's ok to verbalize one's displeasure but wearing one's butt for a hat is not acceptable. Yelling, threatening, intimidating, and generally acting like trailer trash isn't acceptable. If she wants to live that way she needs to find some redneck in a wife beater in an Alabama trailer park. We can all enjoy watching her on "COPs".
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post #15 of 43 (permalink) Old 12-13-2015, 07:50 AM
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Re: Living with a Yeller...

Some great posts here.. if one of our sons was in this situation.. I'd be absolutely FURIOUS that he was taking some bi*ches crap left & right...and living miserably.. No sire 'ree.. get the hell away from her.. Don't be an enabler.. not many men is going to put up with a unruly volcanic witch like this..

I was in the store the other day.. and in the next aisle some Mother was swearing at her young child , really laying into him -not just swear words but words to belittle, demean... it was sickening!@#$... she didn't have any care how she came off - one can only imagine the abuse at home ... I was thinking..... this poor little boy -when I seen him.. he's going to grow up feeling this is OK behavior & likely verbally abuse others , given this is his "normal"...

Just so sad.. some people don't deserve children.. and some don't deserve to be married either.
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