Tag Archives: verbal abuse

Recommended: How Did You Brainwash Me? Kellie Jo Holly

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Excellent article over at Healthy Place. For years, I’ve struggled with the why of the equation. I really identify with this:

According to Ms. Brown’s book, abusers do not “feel” the way we normally think of what it means to feel. Due to childhood abuse or perhaps mental disorder, many if not most abusers detach from their feelings at an early age. Instead of feeling, they observe how other people behave, and then mimic those behaviors appropriately. (emphasis added)

In this way, abusers become expert behaviorists without taking a step inside a class room. They know what works and what doesn’t work to get you to do what they want, and because they’ve detached from their feelings, abusers do not feel guilt for their manipulative actions.

This is probably why abusers cannot take responsibility for what they’ve done to you or admit they abuse you (with lasting regret). They do not comprehend that any wrong took place and may think that your fear and tears are merely a “show” designed to manipulate them, and baby, they ain’t fallin’ for it.

In short, abuser’s use brainwashing techniques naturally because “the set-up” is all they know.

Not sure they can’t take responsibility as much as they won’t.  I believe we all have choices to make and free will. At some point, getting your way becomes more important than loving your neighbor.

You can read the rest of the article here.

Thanks, Kellie~

Recommended: Kellie Jo Holly: The Power-Control Dynamic and Abusive Anger

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For every woman ready to move on and leave all the crap in the backwash, here’s an eyes-open gander on a topic most would like to forget about already.

An abused man/woman/mother/child can become abusive. The simmering anger fueled by our impotence to stop the pain can be redirected at innocent bystanders. We know it, we’ve seen it, we’ve probably tried it out a time or two, truth be told.

Here’s a lovely quote from an article by Kellie Jo Holly, “The Power-Control Dynamic and Abusive Anger.”

Like Kristen, I also heard myself say things that I thought I’d never say. I witnessed myself act out angrily in embarrassing and hurtful ways during and after my marriage. My abusive anger never once helped my marriage, and it holds the potential to ruin any healthy relationship I ever have.

Let’s just say that I learned how to be an abuser from an excellent teacher and could continue that pattern in my life if I chose to do so. Like Kristen, I choose not to use those tools any longer because I am not interested in hurting other people so I can retain/gain power or control.

The problem was that I knew two ways to behave: I could abuse or submit. I did not have any other tools in my toolbox. It’s like trying to build a house with only a screwdriver and an adjustable wrench. Both tools will work, but there are so many other tools that would make the job smoother!

 

Once again, Kellie Jo nails one for the home team.  Well done~

You’ll find the complete post here.

Recommended: Lundy Bancroft: When His Put-Downs Sound True

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Take a grain of truth, wrap with hatred and malice, slather generously with a critical spirit. Serve up constantly with breakfast, lunch and dinner and watch the wife and kiddies develop into raging lunatics, complete with oozing internal sores, easy to jab anytime you  feel like having a little fun.

Nothing like the delicious anticipation of watching a teenager self implode  while awaiting that prime moment you get to crush them for disrespecting your God-ordained authority.

Kiss, Kiss

I have a survivor crush on Lundy Bancroft, no lie. His latest article over at Healing and Hope, is brilliant with a clarity available only to someone who’s fought Goliath a few dozen times.

Here’s number three on his list of reasons *not* to accept  your abusers twisted viewpoint:

(I’d like to just quote the whole article but that seems a wee bit naughty)

3) Because he’s ignoring how profoundly his mistreatment of you has contributed to these problems, or even created them entirely. When you live with a chronically insulting and undermining partner, your self-esteem suffers, your friendships suffer, your concentration suffers. He’s certainly not helping – he’s making everything worse.

One of the reasons we accept the poisonous insults lobbed our way  involves the nature of the sandwich. We can hear the truth and identify. We cannot discern the malicious intent behind the words. There’s no point trying. Throw the whole thing away and start from scratch.

Thank you, Dr. Bancroft.

You can read the entire article here: When His Put-Downs Sound True

Recommended: Kellie Holly: After Leaving Your Abusive Relationship

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A few weeks after leaving the beast, my car broke down in the Walmart parking lot way after dark. Scary place at the best of times but sitting out there all alone in a new town with no way home, I arrived on the threshold of a full on panic attack.

I had no idea what to do. Years of programming made me think I couldn’t make a move without the husband’s input. My first impulse was to swallow my pride, admit I couldn’t function without him and dial the number. No doubt he awaited just such an opportunity.

Fortunately, better sense prevailed. I sent out a half dozen frantic texts/phone calls to anyone vaguely within driving distance and waited in my car until someone answered. I prayed for wisdom and . . . I. . . waited. I remembered that I now resided in the big city. I could call a cab if all else failed. I could leave the car where it sat until morning at which time, I’d do the same thing anyone else would do– I’d call a mechanic.

Eventually an old friend rode in to the rescue. We tried to jump the car and blew out a fuse. He drove me home and the next day, the mechanic took care of everything including my wounded pride by assuring me I’d handled things just fine. I did not contact the beast, I did not explain what happened, I simply charged his credit card for the bill and kept contact minimized. When he sent an angry email asking for an explanation, I told him the car needed repairs and nothing else.

Once you’re out, you must get free. It takes time, deliberate thought and patience with yourself. Only you understand how many nooks and crannies your jailer claimed inside your thinking and only you can root him out.

Kellie Jo Holly addresses this issue in a new post, After Leaving Your Abusive Relationship:

When I left my ex, my life didn’t change immediately. I obsessed over him and our marriage. I imagined conversations we might have the next time we met. I woke to his voice only to find he was not in the house. My heart raced around the time he would normally return home from work.

I was gone, but I hadn’t left him. My old routines remained. I continued to fear doing something wrong that he would discover. I cleaned the house, bought his favorite foods, and budgeted the money he sent me for four despite having only three of us in the house (our kids and me). When he called, I was afraid not to answer. When he emailed, I emailed right back hoping I met his time schedule for responding.

I continued to behave as if he would come home any second. I lived in chaos, attempting to attend to an abusive husband who no longer lived in our home.

I love Kellie’s writing. Here, she nails it– that semi-sick feeling when you realize your abuser moved into your brain without permission.

You can read the rest here.

Thanks, Kellie!

Recommended: The Lord is the Friend of the Lonely by Jeff Crippen

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Jeff’s written a powerful article over at A Cry for Justice titled, The Lord is the Friend of the Lonely Who Fear Him.

One of the themes that inevitably comes through in these stories is the incredible alone-ness of the victims. One recently told me how she felt after finally being able to leave her abuser, “I was grieving for my marriage, my home, my husband, and I was all alone in a new town.” Christians to the rescue? Hardly. Some of you are STILL alone. That is one reason we began this blog. We hope it is growing into a community of real Christians who “get it.” Don’t ever be afraid to contact us. We will believe you and do our best to affirm you and share some of the things we have learned. We will believe you. I wish we had a giant place and we could just tell victims, “come on down here. We have a place for you!” We should all pray that something like that might happen one day.

The works of the enemy thrive in darkness. Just as our Lord delights to see us free and whole, it is our enemy who keeps us bedded in shame, hiding behind closed doors, terrified to speak. Confusion, fear, torment– all from hell itself.

Whatever you’ve done, wherever you’ve been, no matter what happened–you did not deserve the nightmare of torment.

I’ve gotten to know Jeff virtually and I’d like to encourage survivors to prayerfully consider sending your story as he requests in this article. There is power in our collective testimony. As we break the isolation of our suffering and speak out, others will take courage.

No matter where you are on this journey, you have something to contribute.

You may have nothing left but you own the truth of your story, your life, your experiences.

Recommended: Kellie Holly: Reacting to Insinuations in the Verbally Abusive Relationship

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Kellie Jo Holly over at Healthy Place just posted a great article on verbal abuse titled, Reacting to Insinuations in the Verbally Abusive Relationship. I laughed all the way through and her article is not one bit funny. Sometimes a big wad of truth has that effect on a body.

His comment came out of the blue as he readied himself for work. “Some people don’t think,” he stated calmly. My mind raced to figure out what he was talking about. If I were in a normal relationship, I would have simply asked, “What do you mean, honey?” But I wasn’t in a normal relationship.

During the few seconds it took me to connect the dots between his statement and what he really meant, he didn’t say another word. He gave me the courtesy of remaining silent as my mind raced to find a way to avoid a fight that evening upon his return.

Once I figured out what he meant, I felt compelled to discuss it with him (defend myself). I said, “That isn’t true. I am not irrational, my thinking is clear.”

Can we just cut and paste about half my life into the above? I love that line– “I wasn’t in a normal relationship.”

*cue epic music

 

Rough Week

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At one point, I promised writing on the bad days.  Since this is walking-through-pudding rather than stuck-in-concrete, I’m going to give it a try.

The trigger: an encounter with the anti-husband. Came home to find him driving past my home. No words exchanged, couldn’t get a shot of the license plate. But he knew and I knew. Mocking email came the next day.

Fallout: Confusion, anxiety, bad dreams, physical pain. And I’m losing my words again.

Confusion—every thought ends in, ‘but my husband would say. . .’  which generally ends in some type of blaming. Confused enough at the moment I can’t come up with an example although this has been going on for several days now.  I’m reminded of the scripture, “a double-minded man is unstable in all his ways.” (James 1:8)

Anxiety—like swallowing a vibrating rubber ball. Stuck right in the middle, won’t go down, won’t come up. Checking, double checking the doors, jumping at noises, obsessing over trivial things like whether the laundry got rotated. Everything feels overwhelming—how will I support myself at this age? What’s going to happen to the kids?

Bad Dreams—one after the other. Dreams of children closed up in dresser drawers. Holding babies I’m not sure are still alive, getting left behind, tops of feet covered in blisters. Wake up, get water, visit the little girl’s room, go back to bed, dream starts up all over again without skipping.

Pain—neck is tight. Upper back is tender to the touch. Stretching my arms out wide causes so many joints to pop it startles the dog. Migraine threatening, hovering close. Old wounds inside are throbbing.

Word Loss—this one’s hard to explain. It starts when I can’t finish a sentence. This kids try to fill in my thoughts and I pick like multiple choice. “I need to head to the drugstore and get—“  Aspirin? Toilet paper? Shampoo?–  “Shampoo! That’s it.” If it sets in for long, I won’t be able to write. Answering email’s out of the question except for a quick reply. Editing this, or any other post is laughable.

Healing

  • I’ve talked via email with  a couple of friends about the inciting incident. Telling what happened, then listening to their advice provided concrete steps to take for safety.
  • Called the massage therapist and set up an appointment, hoping to break this cycle of physical tension. I live in a big town and we have schools I can afford. The piggies go unpainted this quarter.
  • I’m painting with the music cranked. Working through the process of a few watercolor flowers seems to help.
  • Praying. Lots of praying.

Thankful in All Things

A reminder’s in order that this was my continual state of being for most of three decades. This little spell’s  been going on less than a week. And what started it? The near proximity of the anti-husband. No words exchanged, not heated debate. His email hit the trash bucket without reply. In some ways, it’s a good reminder of how toxic he is.

I haven’t gotten to fetal-position on the bed just yet. I can carry on a pretty decent conversation. I’m still taking phone calls and telling friends I’m fine.

At times like this, I also have to remember—the wounds from emotional/verbal abuse are very real. Healing takes time. And ultimately, the divorce that terrified me years ago will cauterize this wound and give me the freedom to move forward.

 

Covering as God Never Intended

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For years,  I covered for my husband. I thought telling the truth about our family was disloyal. I refused to be anything other than positive, upbeat and supportive which meant for the most part, I kept strangely silent.

My husband did not reciprocate. He took subtle jabs in front of company calling me such lovely names as dimwit and ninny. I shrugged and walked away. To any of our former house guests, in case you’re wondering, those are called ‘red flags.’ Normal, loving husbands do not call their wife a ding-a-ling and no, it wasn’t a joke.

Another favorite pastime involved covering for the anti-husband’s words and actions with the kids.

“Your father didn’t really mean that.”

“You know your dad loves you, he just has a hard time showing it sometimes.”

“Maybe what he said was a little over the top, but your dad had a rough upbringing.”

The day I figured out that—

a)      yes, he really did mean every single word he chose to say with his very own mouth

b)       he loved no one but himself and

c)       his rough upbringing should’ve made him more compassionate not less

–was the day I started walking in truth.

Turning Lanes

I remember the day this Cover for Dad policy changed.  I’d taken to carrying the cordless phone everywhere, 911 on speed-dial. I’d calculated how long it took the police to arrive at our home and kept a close eye on the clock. Things were about to break open.

I knew it. I smelled it. I wasn’t going down without a big fat fight.

The beast had been carrying on for days.  Read that–hollering, yelling, stomping, screaming, slamming, cursing, muttering, raging, without taking a breath—for days. One afternoon things got particularly spectacular so I loaded the kiddies in the car and pointed the front fender southbound. After a few tense moments of silence I turned to the front seat passenger and said, “You know what your father’s doing isn’t right, don’t you?”

My son imploded. He sighed so loud I heard it over Travis Tritt on the radio. His shoulders slumped. He melted on the seat and ran into a puddle on the floorboard.

I’d finally told the truth and there was no going back.

I sat and listened while my son spewed and I did not say one Mom-ism the entire trip. All the kidlets knew—something changed that day. They still talk of it.

Apologies Not Accepted

I tried later to cushion my heinous crime just a little. I told the kids I was sorry for putting their father down that way. What I heard opened more than my eyes—I got a dose of reality nothing else could match. My kids unleashed. They said exactly what they thought of their dad and what kind of man he was (or was not in this case.) They were angry, furious, resentful, frustrated. And hurting like so many scalded pups in a washtub.

Not long after, my grown children took me aside and gave their silly mom an intervention. They said they didn’t want to hurt me but did I have any idea the things dad had been saying, about me, to them, when I wasn’t around? For years.

Well no, golly gee. I sure didn’t know that Bumpy.

The Truth Will Set You Free

Lying doesn’t help anyone. I may not have purposefully told windies but neither was I walking in truth. All my covering, dodging, and weaving just made everybody seasick. I added to the confusion. I was a linebacker, blocking so a man who refused to care for his own family could keep barreling on through, trampling everyone in the process.

I was not being loyal. I was not supporting my husband. I was providing cover, making it easier for him to get a clear shot. Big difference.

Talking to the kids since leaving has been tough. I struggle with how much to say and when to say it. Mostly I just listen and let them vent. The beast says I’m poisoning the children, but saying  I’m at fault for finally admitting the truth goes beyond ironic and borders on the absurd. The fact that the man has no relationship with his progeny rests squarely on his shoulders because (duh!) he verbally, emotionally and physically abused and bullied the dog mess out of them. He refuses to admit he fed them a steady diet of arsenic all their lives and now, for some odd reason, they won’t have anything to do with him.

Several have tried talking to him. Each has come to the conclusion it’s hopeless. He fusses, he fumes, he refuses to accept responsibility saying they are–each and every one– a rebellious lot. Later when they quit taking his calls, he tried playing the god-card, starting with  the ‘if-you-don’t-forgive, you-won’t-be-forgiven’ line but since I taught them the ‘bring-ye-forth-therefore-works-worthy-of-repentance’ retort back in grade school, somehow his biblical fuming doesn’t work so good.

I guess they’re smarter than their mama.

Saint Ida and Her All Girl Band

Before you get the idea that Ida Mae is a saint and all the little kiddies are gathered about, holding hands and singing campfire songs, let’s put that to rest. The kids are damaged. I’m not going to talk much about them here, not yet. They have their own stories to tell and I imagine some day they will. I doubt I’ll get knighted in any version.

Some are doing better than others. Some of the girls have problems picking men. Some of the boys are mad as hell. Oh wait, some of the girls are too. They show, in various degrees, all the effects  of growing up in an alcoholic/abusive household.

One blessing—in every case, their faith is intact. For that, I am profoundly grateful. Now, I have to trust in my Heavenly Father’s care to finish the work He began in them, just as He’s completing the work He began in me forty-two years ago. It’s not easy. Some days it’s impossible.

But there’s always tomorrow and for that, I remain forever grateful.

Recommended: Anna Wood: Alone Except for God

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Anna’s written a heart-achy post over on her blog, At the End of Myself, At the Feet of Jesus.  Many understand the sadness of living without hope but few can articulate so beautifully. Anna nails it :

Some days tears come unbidden, time and again, as if they will never end. Other days, she feels numb, dead inside, and no matter what happens, no matter how her abuser tries to hurt her, there are no tears left to be cried

Often sadness threatens to overwhelm her: the loss of the love she’s never known seeps deep inside her and flows out in aching ways.

She hurts daily for her children: for what they haven’t had and for what they have had to endure. Sadness threatens to drown her as their pain mixes with her own and flows into black. If not for God, she couldn’t hold on another second.

I can relate. You can read the entire post here.

Thank you, Anna.

 

Recommended: Barbara Roberts: Stormie Omartian Doesn’t Get it About Domestic Abuse

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Another one of those Oh-My Gertie, Get My Spectacles moments.

This morning, Barbara Roberts wrote a deceptively simple little post over at Not Under Bondage. I settled in, grabbed the coffee anticipating a lovely time rolling my eyes at the clueless nature of Christian celebrities who think they’re qualified to author books on marriage and stuff. Nothing better than a little wink-wink, nudge-nudge with my friend across the ocean.

Oodles of books have been written advising Christian women how to have great marriages. Trouble is, most of them are clueless about the dynamics of domestic abuse so they give atrocious advice which could be toxic or life threatening to a victim of abuse.

So far, so good.

Then that sneaky little Australian Bulldog links to this.

Ever read a book  on the subject of marriage and want to smack it against the bricks? Yeah, me too.

Barbara honey? You find the *best* stuff!