Help - I'm an emotional abuser ! - Talk About Marriage
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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-28-2016, 05:26 AM Thread Starter
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Help - I'm an emotional abuser !

Not sure where to start, a few weeks ago I would have just said my wife and I argued a lot, now I realise I have been emotionally abusing her for years.
I moved out at her request,

I've realised that I have had an expectation of her to be an extension of me instead of her own individual. It's not really important what the topic of disagreement was about - the outcome would be the same. Me trying to 'win' the argument. Shouting, swearing etc.

If we didn't have a 3yr old child, I would give her space to heal. As it is I am trying to see my child at least every other day so he is not too aware of the change but its tough. Tough on me, as I'm trying not to discuss her decision when I go to the martial home and tough on our son as he's definitely understanding that there is a change and finally tough on her as she gets anxious at my arrival on days I go to see my son.



I have been told about my behaviour over and over again about from my wife and family but never took it serous until I left - mainly because I, a) didn't recognise my own behaviour and b) the time apart has given me enough time to see it.

I am taking steps to change, such as phone counselling, 1 to 1 CBT counselling and I'm waiting for a date to start a - Domestic Violence intervention progamme (I have never been physical but clearly is just as bad so this is my only avenue for treatment).

I'm accepting that the outcome is more than likely permanent separation / divorce but don't like it and struggle daily / hourly with accepting it.



I just don't know what to do...



I understand its about patience but there is so much to sort out... paying bills/mortgage / deciding which school to enrol him for / Do I really want to get back together/ am I just holding onto the illusion of the past relationship/marriage ? /



I feel in a state of limbo, and feel that even if we can move forward to another marriage - same person just different outlook - will it work, or have we both been hurt too much ?

I know I have no control over anyone elses decisions and I should only be focused on me and my son and being the best dad I can be and other similar advice but it's hard.

I think the hardest part is the rejection of me - albeit - not a very nice me ....



Any suggestion ?


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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-28-2016, 01:00 PM
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Re: Help - I'm an emotional abuser !

The best thing you can do is keep working to improve yourself, you have damaged your spouse so if there is a chance to get back together it will be a long road.

You need to put yourself first, so that you will continue to get the help you need, once your wife starts seeing the changes she will accept that you changed or be afraid it is temporary. If you do not work it out, at least you will be a better person for the next one you meet.



You do matter!
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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-28-2016, 01:08 PM
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Re: Help - I'm an emotional abuser !

Congratulations on your growth. Most people in your postion never recognize the truth. This will make a huge difference in your son's life and the model you are for him.

Getting into a domestic violence program is exactly where you should be. This is wonderful. Don't think it's only for physical abusers. You are definitely in the right place. Good for you in making that move.

You may feel a bit lost right now, but that's because you are making major changes in your life and your perspective is radically changing. When you go through such a major transition in how you view the world and how you think, it's difficult, but you will come to a place where you are more settled in the new way of seeing things and it will be the new normal.

In the meantime, do not worry about all these choices. Take it one day at a time, not trying to win your wife back, but simply being the kind of man you want to be in all of your interactions with her. Not to win her back, but to be who you want to be. If things work out between you, great. If not, that's okay too. It's all part of the process and the journey of your life.

Best of luck to you. Keep moving forward. Don't look back and definitely don't fall back.

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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-28-2016, 02:47 PM
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Re: Help - I'm an emotional abuser !

I have to say, as someone who has previously been emotionally/verbally abused, there is a very good chance that your wife is DONE. And no matter what positive changes you make, it will not make her want to stay with you. However you MUST continue the work on yourself, if you ever hope to have a relationship in the future. I have TWO emotionally abusive ex husbands...I watched one repeat the same exact mistakes with his next wife and end up divorced again...and I have watched the other turn into an angry, reclusive hermit who cannot deal with other people. (I can pick em, cant I?!)

SO....keep up the work on you. If she sees the changes and you can make them permanent, then that's awesome. If not, if she is hurt beyond reparation of the marriage, then you can move forward to being better for yourself and someone else down the line.

Life is too short to spend time with people who suck the happiness out of you.

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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-28-2016, 02:55 PM
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Re: Help - I'm an emotional abuser !

The one thing you need to do is slow everything down, you're probably experiencing high anxiety and your mind is racing with all the possibilities of how this could turn out, and you're wondering what to do now to change things and you're feeling like things are spiralling out of control, does that sound about right?

If so, you need to realize that it took a long time to get here and it will take a long time to sort out regardless of which way this thing goes.

Since you're the one being pushed out, you need to be extra sensitive to her feelings, don't be pushy, don't try to maneuver your way back in again, and don't pressure her in any way to make a decision.

Let things move along slowly and over the next weeks and maybe even months you'll have a better idea of which way the wind is blowing. You may need to consider that things will never be fixed, and there may be things you need to do now to protect yourself financially but things that people usually do to cover their a$$es (such as closing joint bank and credit accounts) may seem to her like you're cutting and running and if you want to try to save the marriage that's not the best strategy so you need to work on a balance here.

Keep working on yourself through therapy, you know you have problems that need to be addressed, and if she sees you're working on yourself through active counseling she may give you another change to make things right.
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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-28-2016, 03:08 PM
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Re: Help - I'm an emotional abuser !

Quote:
Originally Posted by notsohappybutnotsosure View Post
Not sure where to start, a few weeks ago I would have just said my wife and I argued a lot, now I realise I have been emotionally abusing her for years.
I moved out at her request,

I've realised that I have had an expectation of her to be an extension of me instead of her own individual. It's not really important what the topic of disagreement was about - the outcome would be the same. Me trying to 'win' the argument. Shouting, swearing etc.

If we didn't have a 3yr old child, I would give her space to heal. As it is I am trying to see my child at least every other day so he is not too aware of the change but its tough. Tough on me, as I'm trying not to discuss her decision when I go to the martial home and tough on our son as he's definitely understanding that there is a change and finally tough on her as she gets anxious at my arrival on days I go to see my son.



I have been told about my behaviour over and over again about from my wife and family but never took it serous until I left - mainly because I, a) didn't recognise my own behaviour and b) the time apart has given me enough time to see it.

I am taking steps to change, such as phone counselling, 1 to 1 CBT counselling and I'm waiting for a date to start a - Domestic Violence intervention progamme (I have never been physical but clearly is just as bad so this is my only avenue for treatment).

I'm accepting that the outcome is more than likely permanent separation / divorce but don't like it and struggle daily / hourly with accepting it.



I just don't know what to do...



I understand its about patience but there is so much to sort out... paying bills/mortgage / deciding which school to enrol him for / Do I really want to get back together/ am I just holding onto the illusion of the past relationship/marriage ? /



I feel in a state of limbo, and feel that even if we can move forward to another marriage - same person just different outlook - will it work, or have we both been hurt too much ?

I know I have no control over anyone elses decisions and I should only be focused on me and my son and being the best dad I can be and other similar advice but it's hard.

I think the hardest part is the rejection of me - albeit - not a very nice me ....



Any suggestion ?

First, major respect for sharing this and finding the courage to face down the truth about your behavior. I lot of people never find the courage and insight to take action.

I will ask, are you doing this for you (to improve and be a better person in general) or to win her back? Getting into counseling is a great step regardless, but you need to sort that question out if you haven't already because if you're doing it mostly to reconcile the marriage then you're at risk to revert once you get her back or if you don't, quit going because you've lost your objective for seeking it out in the first place. As someone going through a divorce and making changes, I know it's a somewhat difficult question to answer, but do the counseling to improve yourself above all else.

I think we'd all need a little more information to give the best advice. Have you talked to your wife about your epiphany and shared what you're doing about it? Has their been a discussion about reconciling or divorce or a timeline for the separation? I completely understand wanting to give your spouse space in this situation, but you should probably at least let her know what you've figured out and what you're doing about it sooner rather than later. That alone might organically spark a conversation about what the longterm outlook is for your relationship is at this time. Out of curiosity, does your wife define your behavior as emotionally abusive to you directly, or is that your insight alone?

In addition to getting greater clarity about what is going to happen between you and your spouse, it's important that she knows your doing something to improve yourself because of your three-year-old son. If this does go the way of divorce it could get ugly and that could lead to some potentially devastating fallout for you and your visitation rights. That's why I asked the question about how she perceives your behavior because that could go a long way toward shaping the narrative for whatever happens moving forward.

Hope the counseling helps and that above all else you get to a better place for you.
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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-28-2016, 04:56 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Help - I'm an emotional abuser !

Hi all, thank you for reading and replying - nothing like getting some perspective on the situation.
I am doing this for myself now, initially of course I was doing it for the marriage - just jumping through hoops.... but as I have discovered after reading lots of stuff from Patrica Evans and such - that actually I am not someone I like - I didn't realise I was controlling...
A lot of this has been a slow progression - joking, sarcasm - and I'm very sarcastic, questioning spending etc.
I've never stopped her from seeing or doing anything but I suppose it must not feel like that to her. I never was rude about appearance but I would criticise most things she did.

It's going to be a lot of self discovery.
One of the worst aspects of this situation is that I am living with my mum at the moment, my Dad recently died or Motor neuron disease - but I can see where I get it from the 'controlling' of doing as I should - not being asked what do I think I should do - in turn - doing the same to my wife.
It has always been done with the best interests at heart but I can see that all of this behavior is controlling.
Trying to explain / talk to my mum about what is going on in my mind is causing conflict as she is in the same frame of mind as I was - you know - o they are being over sensitive, or its just arguing etc - she doesn't get it - so I have to try not to explain my learning as I find it - because I get the same reaction as I would have given. She tries to justify it. Or if I highlight the wy she is speaking to me - I get denial - basically all the things I would have said previously with my wife.

I have written a letter to her last week - explaining what I have learnt / identified - but all I have got is a recognition that its been received.
I did state that it was not to pressure her, was just to try and validate all that she has been trying to say to me.
I could cut and paste the letter - if it would help... but I suppose that is between me and her.

Golfpanther - I think it was a bit of both. First it was denial on my part, but once I realised that this might be the end, I researched and had my realisation. She knows I am booked to go on the DVI programme, but much the same as above - she wants me to do it for me not for us or the relationship.
I have tried to broach the subject of trying again, reconciling - after some treatment - but as per the below
As it says somewhere - if you must have an answer the answer will be no. Is what she says.

Think I have to accept this is a dead relationship and she needs to move on from this chapter in her life.
Just sad that I never listened before - I wasn't directed to this information before.
She is happier on our home - when I'm not there - less anxious - so I can't see a way back ..
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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-28-2016, 05:13 PM
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Re: Help - I'm an emotional abuser !

Quote:
Originally Posted by notsohappybutnotsosure View Post
Hi all, thank you for reading and replying - nothing like getting some perspective on the situation.
I am doing this for myself now, initially of course I was doing it for the marriage - just jumping through hoops.... but as I have discovered after reading lots of stuff from Patrica Evans and such - that actually I am not someone I like - I didn't realise I was controlling...
A lot of this has been a slow progression - joking, sarcasm - and I'm very sarcastic, questioning spending etc.
I've never stopped her from seeing or doing anything but I suppose it must not feel like that to her. I never was rude about appearance but I would criticise most things she did.

It's going to be a lot of self discovery.
One of the worst aspects of this situation is that I am living with my mum at the moment, my Dad recently died or Motor neuron disease - but I can see where I get it from the 'controlling' of doing as I should - not being asked what do I think I should do - in turn - doing the same to my wife.
It has always been done with the best interests at heart but I can see that all of this behavior is controlling.
Trying to explain / talk to my mum about what is going on in my mind is causing conflict as she is in the same frame of mind as I was - you know - o they are being over sensitive, or its just arguing etc - she doesn't get it - so I have to try not to explain my learning as I find it - because I get the same reaction as I would have given. She tries to justify it. Or if I highlight the wy she is speaking to me - I get denial - basically all the things I would have said previously with my wife.

I have written a letter to her last week - explaining what I have learnt / identified - but all I have got is a recognition that its been received.
I did state that it was not to pressure her, was just to try and validate all that she has been trying to say to me.
I could cut and paste the letter - if it would help... but I suppose that is between me and her.

Golfpanther - I think it was a bit of both. First it was denial on my part, but once I realised that this might be the end, I researched and had my realisation. She knows I am booked to go on the DVI programme, but much the same as above - she wants me to do it for me not for us or the relationship.
I have tried to broach the subject of trying again, reconciling - after some treatment - but as per the below
As it says somewhere - if you must have an answer the answer will be no. Is what she says.

Think I have to accept this is a dead relationship and she needs to move on from this chapter in her life.
Just sad that I never listened before - I wasn't directed to this information before.
She is happier on our home - when I'm not there - less anxious - so I can't see a way back ..
Sounds like you're doing a great job of doing this for the right reasons and looking to improve yourself. Kudos for that to be sure.

In regards to her, "if you must have an answer, the answer will be no," line, I think that's her telling you that right now, she needs space and time, but if you press the answer will be no. My advice, if you want to have any shot at reconciling, is to not bring it up again and make the changes you want to see in yourself. It's possible that in doing so she'll see the effort and change and start to feel less anxious, and perhaps even look forward to seeing you. At that point, it's possible she'll come to you with the idea of working on things. It's also possible, and probably more likely, she won't, but at least you'll have made massive improvements to yourself regardless.

Do you have any other options in terms of where you can live? It seems to me that if you're mom has similar attributes and it's where you learned your own behaviors that it might be detrimental to your treatment to live with her. Totally understandable if it's the only available option, but if it is you'll probably be better off not talking to her about it because she won't be able to see the validity of what you're doing.

Just work on becoming a person you like and you'll be great in the long run no matter what.
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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-28-2016, 05:28 PM
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Re: Help - I'm an emotional abuser !

Quote:
Originally Posted by notsohappybutnotsosure View Post
I have written a letter to her last week - explaining what I have learnt / identified - but all I have got is a recognition that its been received.
I did state that it was not to pressure her, was just to try and validate all that she has been trying to say to me.
I could cut and paste the letter - if it would help...
As far as the letter goes, don't do that again, and please do not post it here, I don't want to do any more wincing.

Just leave her alone. Please.
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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-29-2016, 02:03 PM Thread Starter
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Browser. ..thanks for the response... not making me feel great that I had already sent the letter...and apologies if I make you wince !!!

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post #11 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-07-2017, 08:50 AM
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Re: Help - I'm an emotional abuser !

You get a "good job" for accepting there is a problem and taking steps to correct it, even if you refer to it as "jumping through hoops."

I was verbally, emotionally and physically abused. The ex still denies it. To him, we just express things differently. I used words, and he put his fist through the windshield of the car. I can say it wasn't always that bad, but the emotional abuse was always there, I just didn't recognize it as such. If your wife has recognized that, too, she's likely done. She does not want to live that way, and at the moment is unsure that she can stop it if you two were to re-connect and the old unhealthy patterns popped up. Sometimes there is too much damage to fix a relationship. I get that is not what you want to hear. But it is more important that each of you heal and grow, than it is to stay married.

You probably are all over the place emotionally, and that might be because the structure you had been using to control your world has been removed. That's scary for anyone. It does take time to build something healthy to take its place. You can do that, with patience. Strive to become the man who will make your son proud.

In youth it was a way I had, to do my best to please, And change, with every passing lad to suit his theories.
But now I know the things I know, and do the things I do; And if you do not like me so, To hell, my love, with you! --Dorothy Parker
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post #12 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-26-2017, 03:06 AM
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Re: Help - I'm an emotional abuser !

I applaud your ability to be introspective and to improve yourself. However, I am also worried you may be falling into a trap that I did with my marriage. I have a few questions. Do you just lose your temper during arguments or do you intentionally try to find ways to put down your spouse and dominate her? Truly abusive people try to unfairly project their power over others. If this does not describe you, and these are just arguments that simply get out of control, does your wife ever own up to her part in them? Do these arguments occur because you have concerns that are never addressed, because she never listens to you or compromises?

I lived for years accepting my wife's label of me as abusive because of my yelling fits. It took separation and the insight of friends to realize that I was the one being abused by her oppositional and manipulative behaviors. She is completely divorced from reality, but calmly asserts her dominance by making me out to be the crazy person.

I don't know you and your relationship, and maybe you are right in assessing it. I just wanted to give you the perspective of a person who would have written the same thing two years ago, when I had internalized a completely distorted view of myself. All that attitude gave me was the beginning of a downward spiral that I am just beginning to see a way out of.
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post #13 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-26-2017, 03:55 AM
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Re: Help - I'm an emotional abuser !

Good job on your epiphany, albeit a little late... She may be done but you may be able to win her back by changing and courting her again. Whether you can keep your marriage or not, you are so wise to realize the truth about your behavior and if you truly do change, even if you can't repair this marriage you can have a happy, rewarding marriage with someone.

MY ADVICE: Get and read the book LOVE BUSTERS by Dr. Willard Harley ASAP. All the behaviors you described are in there. Angry outbursts, disrespectful judgments, all of it - this book was written for you! (And many of us...) You can learn a little right away by starting here:

Love Busters specifically: Love Busters
Overcoming Love Busters: How to Overcome Love Busters

Marriage Builders Concepts:
A Summary of Dr. Harley's Basic Concepts

If that speaks to you, you can even email their radio show and they will give you free help to try to save your marriage. They also have a forum you can post on where they give specific advice for trying to save a marriage if that is what you want to do.

Regarding the DVI program, first, let me say that yes, you abused your wife. But what you did is NOT the same as physical violence, IMO. There is a lot of stuff about anger management on the website I gave you links to. They say that people with anger problems should take anger management classes that teach you to relax when frustrated because you can literally retrain your brain where you actually no longer get angry in most situations. (As opposed to just learning how to not act on your anger.) Wouldn't that be nice?!

BTW - I found it very interesting when you say you thought of your wife "as an extension of you." My husband never yells or cusses at me, but when we don't completely agree on something (a news story, whether a movie was good, what food tastes good, where to live, how much money to spend, could be anything) he seems to take it personally and get frustrated/irritated. He'll talk louder and talk over me and keep repeating his point of view. Often he'll be really judgmental/dismissive of my "stupid/wrong" thoughts. Then I feel like he doesn't understand what I'm saying and I start talking louder and repeating myself. Then we just stop talking... But when he gets like that I've always thought -- good grief, we have different opinions on something - SO WHAT? Why is that UPSETTING him? I think you may have nailed it - he's seeing me as an extension of him and if I deviate from his thoughts/ideas it's like his feelings are hurt or I've insulted him. I also think he wants to have things his way so when I have a different opinion he sees that as a threat to him having everything the way he wants it - he doesn't want to make accommodations for another human being with different desires. (He will when he thinks about it, but his instinct is to resist my wanting anything different than him.)
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