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How do you get past abuse and move forward?


Just Me
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How do you get past it and go on?

My husband was physically abusive, it's been going on for years but very sporadic and in the last couple has gotten much worse. The whole entire thing has ended and he's getting help.

Abuse is all too easy to sweep under the carpet, the dirty little secret you keep because you KNOW it's wrong and you know what everyone will say about it if you stay. Nobody gets why you stay. Worse when it all ends in a 911 call and the name goes in the paper. Doesn't matter if my name was published or not, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure it out.

I feel like such a fake. ME, the least likely to ever have been abused. ME the one who lifts people up and shows them how not to take crap from other people and still be true to your gentler side. ME. And in all of that, it was also easier for him to hide. Sure the whole world knew he had a bad temper but nobody would have ever thought that I could be beaten up, less likely to even stick around afterwords.

I feel guilty, because I stuck around and I let it continue and I didn't hold my head up high and leave. I feel weak because had he been a stranger I could have taken him. Grab a baseball bat, yeah right! Whoever gives this advice has never been in a position of having to cause another human being physical and potentially fatal harm.

He blanked it all out, until this time where he couldn't and now he's coming to the realization of it all. It's quite painful for him. Sadly, I am coming to the realization of it all as well and he's only just beginning to scratch the surface. I don't want to think about it. I just want to move forward but my mind gets stuck in rewind and bit by bit, incident by incident..... How the hell do you make that stop?

I know who I am, I know what I'm worth, I have self esteem, plenty of confidence.... I'm a failure, I failed myself. I stayed, I let it all happen. I didn't cause it, don't get me wrong, it was his choice to do it but it was my choice to put up with it.

Since it's came out, I've gotten this far by sitting on the lid of Pandora's box and letting it slip out bit by bit but my recall is getting greater than my release right now. I've talked to his/our counselor and we've discussed that at some point my stuff needs to be addressed but he's not ready for it all just yet. No big deal, we'll get to me in time, bit by bit as he can handle it but late at night or when I sit and think too much.... the world comes crashing in on me. It's becoming debilitating. I need to stop thinking so much and simply relax and appreciate that it's over but the road I'm on is no less scary.

I'm open to suggestions.

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All I know, and it's pretty limited since I stayed through half a dozen years of verbal abuse myself, is that guilt will kill you. It's one thing to take responsibility for your own contribution, so that you'll change. It's another to tell yourself that you failed; that's just beating yourself up.

If he's not ready to address your pain from the abuse in couple therapy, do you have the option of talking to someone on your own? He's not the only one who needs forgiveness here.

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Thanks malign. It's funny how we can beat ourselves up some days. What I ended up doing was typing it all out on the computer and cry my eyes out of course :) I think I just needed to totally crash. Anyway I left it up on the computer, husband knew I was having a bad day and when he asked why and wanted me to talk about it I told him I couldn't because I can't but I did have it all up on the computer. By that time it was late in the evening and he was wise enough to drop it but he read it before I woke up in the morning and had time to process it all with his coffee. After I had had my first cup he came up and hugged me, told me he had read it and understood things allot better. He's emotionally clueless but he's trying so this let him see what was going on with me without him feeling like he was being confronted. Not sure if he would have or not but that's one the patterns of our communication failure.

We've had 3 major breakthroughs so far. Two came from me ripping into him on the phone, phones are safe, they can get as angry as they want but they can't hurt you. Next is the writing. It helps me say the things that I don't quite know how to say and again, I don't have to fear his reaction to it. More than likely while we work our way through this there will be more writing. I have to say things are much nicer, he's learning not to be confrontational so if I say NO or I don't want to talk about something he is learning to respect that. Since we have had a few major understandings and awareness's though we are able to sit down and talk about things that we normally or I would not normally talk about before.

Abuse is hard to talk about. It comes with allot of emotions that are hard to sort out and it feeds upons itself and sends you in a downward spiral. I have the feeling that allot more people are reading this than are willing to talk about it so... I guess I'll keep posting. Who knows, I may even work a few things out for myself along the way :D

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I think it's great, and really hopeful, that he can even understand some of what you're going through. Being emotionally clueless myself, I know that's not easy.

Don't worry too much about how many replies you get. I find that the deepest posts about the most dreadful experiences are the ones that are the hardest to reply to. It's hard to think of anything positive to say, sometimes, and you don't deserve more negativity. So don't think of a low response frequency as a rating of your post; it might mean it struck a chord with a lot of people, who just aren't ready to talk about it yet.

So, please don't stop, especially if it was cathartic for you and even helped you communicate to your husband. After all, it seems likely we'll learn something from you, too.

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Thank you, I think I will. Mainly because since this all came down there was nothing out there that fit.

Dial 911 or 1-800 my spouse beat me and someone will protect you and get rid of the big bad monster for you, nurture and take care of you but that isn't all there is to abuse. Most certainly people do require protection but after hitting the point where I had made the final decision to walk away from it, he had woken up. Abuse is confusing and not just for the abused but for the abusers as well. Not all abusers are narcissists. My husband actually blacked out the abuse because that is not who is and confronting that part of him was too shameful. Being abused is too painful so you tend to black it out when it's not around and looks like things are getting better. In my case, we both woke up at the same time, well, I should say I was fed up and he woke up but he sincerely went for help and cried out to get the help. We have allot of marriage problems for all the crappy years of this stuff to work through but this particular man is a very good fit for me and even if we were both the same sex and in a platonic relationship we would be best of friends. Try explaining to people that you want to stay with your abuser, holy crap! Yeah, ain't going to happen. The abused should have more dignity than that and the abusers should be hung from the highest tree so it leaves people in a really bad place to hear from others who want to work it out.

My ex husband was verbally abuses and a control freak, my husband now is not a control freak at all. He highly regards women, does not fit the profile of an abuser and there were no signs that he would ever become abusive. Yet I fell back in the trap of being with someone who is abusive. That part is highly confusing to me. I like to examine parts of life to insure you don't fall in the same pits and here I am, I only managed to go from one type of abuse to another. I guess questions don't have answers.

Friends, family, society make surviving abuse worse. They don't comprehend it and are quick to judge it. This leaves both abusers and abused left to hang out to dry because they can't talk about it with anyone. Going to seek counseling is a last resort for most people. There is a stigma attached to that as well especially for the abusers who tend have to face the fact they are out of control in their own lives, seeking a counselor underlines their feelings of inadequacies and weakness. People who are abused don't seek counseling because they just want to move on rather than get sucked into the poor, poor pitiful me routine.

Next up, abused people do go into depression, slowly and long before it all comes to a head so when they finally can lift their heads up and go on, without facing it, without anyone who understands, they have locked it all inside. Seriously, why bother telling anyone when you know their first words are going to be, why in the hell did you stay?! THAT is the last thing you need to hear and probably the number one reason why abused end up beating themselves up emotionally. Shortly after this all came to a head, not finding any online support I finally broke down and called the stupid abuse hotline locally to be greeted by hello, Catholic Charities. Gee thanks so much. Truth is, they are straight up and religion is not a part of what they do and truth is, you won't get me near them with a 10' pole no matter what you say. No right or wrong answer there but I highly doubt I'm alone in my reaction to that. For me it was just an insult to injury that I didn't need. Because of my first failed and abusive marriage that cause me to be a single mom and on social service where humiliation seems to be the name of their game going to any social services program is hard enough to deal with.

The system is not very nice to people especially and I hate to use this word, the victims. Being married to a control freak (1st husband) I was a stay at home mom with a college education and when I finally woke up and and announced I wanted a divorce, life got really interesting and I was left to support 2 kids with no job and nobody would hire me because I was over qualified. Meanwhile I was fingerprinted to receive Medicaid, welfare and food stamps and treated like the scum of the earth. Those people are such automatons they fail to see people as individuals and abuse of the system is so much that they forget that not everyone wants to be there and they treat everyone like crap. Great place to be when you are just getting your self esteem back. Add in the unemployment office.... depression, oh yeah. I don't care how it works out there is so much going on in a persons life that depression happens. The problem is at that same point your are fighting so hard to get yourself out of it that your pride and independence prevent your from seeking help. About a year after my divorce evidently I wasn't sleeping at night so I finally called a hypnotist/counselor. We talked for about an hour or so which was the majority of it then I was hypnotized to find a (hate to word it this way) a happy place and to see my life as I wished it to be without the dark shadows around. That was that. For the very first time, my past was in my past and I felt euphoric about it.

This time is different. When I get down, I get flashbacks of the abuse, the shame, humiliation, realize how much I have never said all because of fear. My relationship with my husband is odd. We can work side by side as equals but as partners we suck. Our friendship and working relationship is awesome.

Abuse and anger are weird. My family was quiet but as the white collar shoe never fit my foot I moved to blue collar. What happens when you hit your finger with a hammer, you yell and scream. Yelling and screaming do happen more often in blue collar work. Not like Orange County Choppers, that's not normal but simply because with all the noise in the background and because many times communication has to be harsh and direct because injury will occur otherwise. Anger lots of times is also an adrenaline release. Consider the new logging show and a giant log comes rolling at you, you jump out of the way and narrowly miss being crushed. This is why sailors swear like sailors. I also worked for many years in the identical white collar hot seat. This is one reason why abuse is both a white collar and blue collar thing. People get in habits of those kinds of intense emotions and adrenaline they take it too far. Myself, I was in such a habit of understanding those kinds of intense emotions and facing them head on, attempting to cool them off that I didn't even see it and actively ignored the part of it that didn't fit. Initially you think it's OK when someone yells, we all do at times, they are just blowing off steam, then it's OK for them to throw things they are just releasing anger but you somehow justify or ignore it when they throw something at you. You somehow justify and ignore it when they choke you or shove you and once you can justify that, it gets worse and at some point you know it's bad but by then you are normally so trapped in your life you can't get out.

I had a male friend who stayed with an abusive wife, the consequences of leaving meant losing his house and his business and go from finally making it in life to being flat broke. I let it happen because it would have forced me to be homeless and jobless with 2 kids to support and loss of a business as well. Why do we put up with it? Because we do. It's like having an old car, you know it needs work and doesn't run right but your best option is to trade for the unknown of door number 2 and door number 2 promises 2 things, to lose everything or to gain a brand new life filled with hope. People in abusive situations are not in a position to chance it all until it gets to be too much and nothing at all is better than what they have now.

Enough of my blog for today. I can blog it because I'm getting better, I finally got most of the crap out. I can hand anyone the crying towel because I come from a place where I can now comprehend just how physically wrenching emotional pain can be. That pain is worse than the actual physical abuse but it somehow manages to bring up all of that emotional abuse and make it feed upon itself. I have to say, breaking in such away and allowing myself to wallow in such pain was one of the best things I ever did for myself. It is exactly like grieving for a lost loved one. You can do it today, you can do it tomorrow but fighting it will not matter. No human is strong enough to repress emotional pain forever. People who cry at the drop of the hat never seem to go through these things because they've learned to release it.

Good day to all. One great thing about this place is when you get done wallowing in the mud of self pity and playing in it until you are satisfied someone here will hose you down with warm soapy water and dry you off with a nice fluffy towel.

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Just Me, I don't know if you saw it, but we in fact have an entire blog section out there, if that appeals to you. I use it myself in lieu of a physical journal, though nowhere near as coherently as your post. Whatever works best for you.

You'll note that the last question I would ask you is why did you stay. As you said, it's a slippery slope without a unique decision point. For myself, I've tended to focus on my life before the abuse, to find out what made me accept it when it began.

I like the image of mud-bath attendant; close your eyes, here comes the hose.

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This is insightful, Malign:

"Don't worry too much about how many replies you get. I find that the deepest posts about the most dreadful experiences are the ones that are the hardest to reply to. It's hard to think of anything positive to say, sometimes, and you don't deserve more negativity. So don't think of a low response frequency as a rating of your post; it might mean it struck a chord with a lot of people, who just aren't ready to talk about it yet."

Hi, Just Me (I like your username, btw). Maybe things will work out. Who knows?

That’s really interesting that he’s capable of “blacking out” his abuse of you. In my own humble experience, abusers are emotionally like children. Not the cute ones, but the spoiled little bratlings: they lack empathy, want the world to revolve around them, want control and almost anything is an excuse to throw a tantrum. The two I’ve known, rather than denying what they did, blamed those close to them. (It would be so much easier to treat someone who denies their behavior!)

And in my experience, abusers, being the emotional children that they are, don't make any changes unless they see the cost of not doing so depriving them of something they want. Or someone, permanently. If they think they can seduce you back, all the old behavior comes back with a vengeance or doesn't change in the first place.

The two abusers I’ve dealt with HATED it when I called a duck a duck. They don’t like the reality of that word, “abuse,” and I, like you I’m sure, hated saying it because it was like admitting I was a victim.

As far as blaming yourself goes: don't. That's one of their tactics, actually, and I see you already know that. You also knew you were hurting yourself by staying, but then you had your reasons. So why feel guilty?

On the other hand, when there’s children involved, then guilt does come into play. Exposing them to abusive behavior would be the only really legitimate reason for feeling guilty. As a little girl, I would have been much happier living in a shack than dealing with the constant hate and neediness emanating from a bi-polar, verbally abusive father. But then, that’s a little girl’s perspective.

I'm glad he's getting help. That's unusual for an abuser, and encouraging.

Something else, and I don’t assume you need to be told this: you’re a very strong person and very intelligent.

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If nobody has told you this lately you are a sweetheart.

I put it hear because I I didn't know there was a blog and when I was looking I could not find a single point on the net to relate until I came here and I wanted nothing more to have found one person who understood. I felt so alone and so horrible that if my post hear is going to be the most readily accessible to people then so be it.

I'm off to read your blog. Can't be any worse than mine B)

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That’s really interesting that he’s capable of “blacking out” his abuse of you. In my own humble experience, abusers are emotionally like children. Not the cute ones, but the spoiled little bratlings: they lack empathy, want the world to revolve around them, want control and almost anything is an excuse to throw a tantrum. The two I’ve known, rather than denying what they did, blamed those close to them. (It would be so much easier to treat someone who denies their behavior!)

You nailed that one dead on. Two much older siblings, both parents worked, Mom and older sister catered to his every whim, whimper and tantrum just to appease him rather than telling him no. A product of the children should be seen and not heard generation.

The two abusers I’ve dealt with HATED it when I called a duck a duck. They don’t like the reality of that word, “abuse,” and I, like you I’m sure, hated saying it because it was like admitting I was a victim.

That was one of the blow outs on the telephone. Long story short, something had happened and he wasn't facing the fact and I called him a coward and said he was to chicken to face himself in the mirror and fess up to what he had done. BINGO, that was the last of the breaking he had to go through. Two days later when I finally spoke to him again he walked in the door and admitted as much. He had never owned it. Was too hard for him to face and admit that that was a part of who he was.

On the other hand, when there’s children involved, then guilt does come into play. Exposing them to abusive behavior would be the only really legitimate reason for feeling guilty. As a little girl, I would have been much happier living in a shack than dealing with the constant hate and neediness emanating from a bi-polar, verbally abusive father. But then, that’s a little girl’s perspective.

For me that was the last of the last. He had never beat me in front of anyone or when my children were around. Last time they were home and one teen son broke it up, the other dialed 911. At that point I flat out told him I was done. Get help or c-ya because I will be damned if my children have to live in a home where they are required to defend their mothers life. I might have well raised them on the streets to ever put them in that position. Funny what you will take for yourself but don't touch my children.

I'm glad he's getting help. That's unusual for an abuser, and encouraging.

Something else, and I don’t assume you need to be told this: you’re a very strong person and very intelligent.

Thank you, means allot.

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