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Why do I stay?


How is courage found?  

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  1. 1. How is courage found?

    • Inside oneself
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Why do I stay? Is it because I love him? Is it because I think he loves me? Is it because the sex is there whenever I want it? Is it because I think that is what is best for my children? When I actually stop and honestly think about it, it is because I don't want to be the one to end things. It would be so much easier for me to figure out exactly what will push him to leave and then do it. That way I am not the "at fault" , not the one that left.

Other times, I think it would be easier to just run away! Then I can't let myself do that either because of my children. If I were actually selfish enough to runaway, that is not what I would do. I would do the most selfish act ever! I think everyone knows what that is!!!

Why can't he just leave this "basket case"?

Please people respond with whatever you have, harsh or not!

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VA,

I'm sorry the situation is so full of conflicting feelings.

I doubt that anyone can tell you why you do things.

Moreover, it's unlikely that we'd be harsh, or that our being harsh is what you really need to make the decision.

Genders reversed, I feel as if I know exactly how you feel: I was in a similar marriage, for too many years, with all the feelings of "why doesn't she ..." and "why don't I ...". Over that period, we separated dozens of times, only to reconcile because, in some way, that's what we wanted. Couples therapy, not wanting to be the one to leave, running away many times, and finally, suicidal thinking because I wasn't listening to my own pain.

I don't have a universal answer. Mine came in stages.

The first was when I really realized (not just thought to myself) that there was nothing I could do about her behavior. I spent an awful lot of time trying to adapt, to minimize conflict, and it never worked. People (therapists in particular) described it as a push-me/pull-you relationship, though that was hard to understand while we were immersed in it.

Well, the second stage wasn't even my action: the apathy that came to me with the first realization must have scared her, so she got a protective order and had me removed from the house. What followed was a bit of scrambling, for me, but I had family support, and I managed to set up a separate place to live.

The third stage took a while, but I later realized why I had stayed for so long. It was the original dream that got me married in the first place, that I might suddenly become a Husband and a Father (she had a teenage boy and a grown daughter when we married.) Poof! Just like that. No learning curve, no diapers. Just, Husband and Father; a free identity with a secure future. No wonder I didn't want to give that up.

Too bad it was a pipe dream. My wife had never really allowed me to be either a husband or a father. Her definition of those terms was the only one acceptable, and her definition didn't really include me at all. To her, I was at most an accessory, who paid the bills. Everything else I did, I did wrong, or at best inadequately, in a way that required her to "help" me to correct my deficiencies.

In other words, I was fighting for a prize that didn't even exist. That's when I knew what to do.

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Thank you for your reply malign. What does that mean anyway? malign. I can not honestly say that I am like your ex. I used to think so. But now, there is no way that this is the facts for me. I have stayed with him during periods of unemployment, living in a camp trailor and so on. It can not be that it is only money for me. I can't even say stability either. I keep going through so many mixed emotions on an almost daily basis, that I wonder if I am just doing this to myself. How can a person decipher?

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The word "malign" is a synonym for "sly" or "evil"; on the other hand, it's an anagram of my name, which is why I used it. I do my best not to live up to my screen name. :-)

No, you misunderstood me: I said, with genders reversed. It seemed to me that you and I had similar experiences, so I tried to share what helped me.

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Define "real".

My wife and I both experienced a feeling that we described as "rollercoaster", at the time that the couples counselor called it a push/pull relationship, but your experience is almost certainly different. If you mean that your feelings are going up and down, I'd call that a part of reality, though. Maybe the thoughts you have because of the feelings have some flaws, but I don't know.

For instance, whenever I felt better in the marriage (just after a reconciliation, say), I thought that meant that it was really going better, that our future might be better. But when I look back, the thought was a mistake: all it meant, to feel good at that moment, was that we weren't in conflict at that moment, but that meant nothing for the future.

You said you worry that you might be "doing this" to yourself. Doing what? Are you the one calling you names? Are you the one discounting your feelings, labeling you "at fault" or "basket case" (quotes from your first post)?

The answers to those questions might help tell you who's "doing this". Of course, they still leave you with the question of what you're going to do about it.

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"Where do I find the courage?"

I wish I knew. That was the hardest part for me, too. Not that I was in any fear, physically. But I knew I would lose what I thought I had, what I had spent all those years trying to keep, and I was afraid of that loss. Only afterwards could I see clearly that there was nothing to lose, that I had never had it.

Are you physically afraid of him, VA? I know you've said that he's never done anything physical. But, is that the fear you mean, or is it something else?

I can remember hours-long lectures I received from my wife, putting me down in all sorts of ways, including calling me or my parents (depending on her mood) "sh-ts". It works on one's brain ... even though I knew that the specific things she said weren't true, I believe I must have agreed with her, somewhere inside, or I wouldn't have sat through it.

I've changed some, since then. ;-)

I believe you can, too. Courage may be part of what you need, but the knowledge that you don't deserve to be treated that way (no one does) is valuable, too.

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I know that deep down I don't deserve to be treated this way. The ironic part is that he knows too, if he hears our children talking to me exactly the same way he does. He tells them "that is no way to talk to mother". I can't count the times I have wanted to ask him, then why do you? Thing is I don't want to do this in front of our children, I feel I need to "shelter" them somehow. My husband seems to enjoy having an "audience" whether it is children or not.

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Guest ASchwartz

I totally agree that this should not be discussed in front of the children. And, its really a good thing that you want to shelter them as much as possible from his behavior.

Based on my experience, I am will to guess that, if you ask him why he is abusive to you, he would have no real answer. Oh, he may say the typical stereotyped things that abusers say: "its your fault, you provoke him, etc." Its all nonsense. Most abusers do not know why they behave that way and, in the end, what difference does it make? If he won't stop, can't stop, won't get psychological and psychiatric help to stop, then, you need to take the kids and get away from him. That is my opinion.

What do you think?

Allan

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