Archives for posts with tag: Anger

I read an article in Psychology Today entitled What drives emotional abuse in relationships.  I could identify with so much of it.

Firstly, the blame.  ‘I feel bad, and it’s your fault…You push my buttons’ is the accusation the article highlights.  For me, this translates into ‘You make me angry’ and what this does is shift the blame onto me.  The article suggests that angry and abusive partners fear their inability to cope and seek to control their environment and the people in it.  My sister recently mentioned how he has always been quick to anger.  She cited the example of when the girls were young and they dropped their ice cream.  He would shout at them but, as she pointed out the other day, no child deliberately drops their ice cream; it’s an accident.

‘Disengaging partners…try to deal with their sense of inadequacy about relationships by simply not trying – since no attempt means no failure’, the article goes on to explain.  So true, as every time I tried to discuss us, he got angry and blaming and gave no indication that he cared about me or the relationship.  Stonewalling and disengaging by one partner can make the other feel ‘unseen and unheard; unattrative; like you don’t count; like a single parent.’  This was exactly how I felt.  I used to describe myself as being single in a relationship.  I know I was definitely lonely, incredibly lonely when I was with him, yet fine when I was alone.

The following extract sums up my situation in a nutshell: ‘The most insidious aspect of living with an angry or abusive partner is not the obvious – nervous reactions to shouting, name-calling, criticism or other demeaning behaviour.  It’s the adaptations you make to try to prevent these episodes.  You walk on eggshells to keep the peace, or a semblance of connection.’  No relationship should be conducted in this manner.  Even now, I’m finding it very hard to stop automatically reacting to others in this way.  It’s become my way of life.  I engage in ‘constant self-editing and self-criticism to keep from pushing [people’s] buttons’.  I second-guess myself to the extent that I’m aware that I don’t know who I really am.  But I’m working on changing this.

‘Victims’ it goes on to say ‘will blame themselves…when the abuse is subtle…implying that you’re ugly, a bad parent, stupid, incompetent, not worth attention…you are more likely to think it’s your problem’.  This couldn’t be more true.  Look back through my past journals and you’ll find me analysing situations and searching for ways to get things right.  I had an ‘if only I could be a better wife, mother, housekeeper, cook blah blah blah, or sexier, thinner, better organised, more fun blah blah blah.  I didn’t feel that I was good enough in any respect.  I was working out and losing weight, to the point where I was less than 8 stone and could pull my jeans over my hips without undoing them.  His response: a look of disgust and a comment that I wasn’t back to my pre-baby weight.  I had a housework schedule to ensure that everything was done on a regular basis: he would always find something to fault.  I was cooking meals from fresh and on a budget: he didn’t want fish that day, he wanted a roast.  There was always something.  And I’d kick myself for getting it wrong.  Why?  I was never going to get it right.  For him, it would always be wrong.  I asked him what he found fun – I would do it, just to try and get some kind of connection, but ‘I don’t find anything fun’ he would say.  And I felt that was somehow my fault too.   I look back to that time and think I was pathetic, pathetic to be trying so desperately hard to please him.  Then I think, no – I should admire myself for being so determined to do my best to make it work.  At least, I can say with utmost honesty that I tried everything.  And despite his constant blaming me for ‘what you’ve done to me and our family’, I know that there was nothing more I could have done and I am not to blame.  I’m so thankful I wised up.

So now I need to watch my reactions and put a halt to the habitual responses.  We are divorcing, the relationship has been dead for a long, long time, and it’s time for me to make no apology for getting on with my life.

Thank you Psychology Today for giving me greater insight into my situation.

It’s my life!

Advertisements

My youngest daughter was unhappy the other day.  I asked her why and she told me that dad had been acting aggressively and she’d been scared.  I still don’t know the exact details but he had been drinking and apparently locked her in the back garden for 45 minutes because she spilt some sugar.  When my eldest daughter got in from work, he had face cream smeared on his face like tribal paint.

We we need to be out of this situation as soon as possible. The house sale and my new purchase are moving far too slowly, in fact no progress seems to be being made.  He has made offers on five properties and withdrawn all of them.  He’s on various medication and is drinking on top of that. Yesterday his drinking started at 10 o’clock in the morning.  It is evident to me that he is depressed.

I can’t have my daughter scared when he is with her but I need to go out to work. So I had no choice but to confront him. I asked him what had happened the day before. He got angry and warned me not to start. I pointed out that I wasn’t ‘starting’ but had simply asked him a question. I was calm. He wouldn’t tell me. I said that she had been scared and that was unacceptable and that he should consider the effect of his actions on and the feelings of his children.  He told me I was ‘high and mighty’ and that I had ‘put the events in motion’, that I was ‘to blame’ by filing for divorce.  At one time, I would have been enraged by this and fought back, but I no longer care. I know the truth. I’d made my point and I hoped that a little part of it would sink in and cause him to reconsider his behaviour.

Our elder daughter says she never wants to see him again. If he’s not careful, our younger daughter will take the same line.  And I think that’s sad because I might not want him as my husband but he is still their father.

Our younger daughter has said she would like me to meet someone else. She realises that this has not been a proper relationship, she says she thinks of me as single, feels I deserve more and, as she put it, she doesn’t want me ‘to die alone’!  I’m glad she recognises that the relationship is not ‘normal’.

Yesterday my my daughters went shopping together. They bought me a dress and a card with a lovely message of encouragement and support in it because they recognise that I have been feeling down. And they’re right: the days when I’m feeling low are becoming more and more frequent. But when I stayed at a friend’s place while they were on holiday, I quickly bounced back to my normal self so I know that this is only temporary. But I’m fed up with feeling tired and stressed when I’m in my own home.  It wasn’t until I was away that I realised how my body is in a permanent state of fight or flight and this can’t be any good for me.

The situation is driving me crazy.

But hopefully it won’t be long.

And in the meantime I can continue…

Dancing with another.

He got physically abusive. Just over a week ago. This is what happened.

It was Saturday. I cooked dinner as my daughter was hungry. He wasn’t back from work.  I never know when he’s going to be back: it could be 4.00pm, it could be 10.00pm.  I prepared some for him and left it on the side – I still cook for him even though the decree nisi has come through, it seems petty not to.  We ate at about 5.30.

He got in at 7.00pm. I was getting ready to go out.  He stormed upstairs shouting that his dinner was ruined and he might as well cook his own dinner when he got in.  So I said that from now on I wouldn’t cook for him anymore and I didn’t want him to eat inferior food.  I was very calm because I’m done with all this. It will be over soon and he will be out of my life.  There was more salad and meat and potatoes so he could start cooking again from fresh and have the quality of meal he was demanding.

I started to walk downstairs. I don’t know whether it was to get away from the shouting or to do what I eventually ended up doing, but as I was walking downstairs, he shouted “Don’t throw it away!”  Did that give me the idea or was the idea already there?  Who knows?

I threw his dinner in the sink and dumped the plate on top of it.

And he lost it.  He grabbed me, shook me, shouted in my face, shoved me away, grabbed me again, shouted in my face again. My daughter was watching, screaming at him to stop, crying.  Eventually, he let go and I turned and walked away, which was when he pushed me from behind and sent me hurtling across the hall.

I walked upstairs.  My daughter got all my things together, hugged me, and I left, shaking.

My children went on holiday together the following day.  The younger one told the older one that she didn’t want to go because she was worried about me. I was scared to be in my own home with him. I never expected to feel scared and that in itself was frightening.  He hasn’t hurt me, and part of me thinks it’s not physical abuse unless you’re injured, and I kept telling myself that he wouldn’t actually hurt me but another voice inside me kept telling me that’s probably what all women think before they’re injured or worse.  And he hadn’t been drinking.  So I’m staying with a friend until my daughters get back.

I’ve learnt so much this past week.

I’ll tell you another time.

I’m remaining strong…

which is just as well because yesterday, when I was trying to help him with something (at a time that wasn’t convenient with me), he looked at me with disgust and called me a w*****.

So although things have been peaceful of late, that proves that the monster is still there waiting to unleash itself.

The difference now is within me.  Instead of feeling upset, trying even harder, beating myself up, and generally acting like a submissive kitten, I got angry.  (The counsellor is encouraging me to feel and express my emotions instead of bottling them up.)  I’d always felt that anger was a bad thing, that negotiation was better, but you can’t reason with a madman.  So I asked him, quite loudly, how he would feel if I asked him to do one thing for me half an hour before he went to work, that I was going, and would look at it again later when I had time.  He didn’t say goodbye!

When I got back, he was ok. He asked me if I’d sort it out, but I was going out again so I firmly said that it wasn’t a convenient time for me.  I set boundaries and I stuck to them.

I let my anger out and prevented it from poisoning me.

And I feel better: stronger, more powerful and in control of my life.

And that’s great!

I survived yesterday’s lunch with husband.

But it was hard.

There’s obviously so much wrong with our relationship and yet he doesn’t say anything.  I’m obviously not myself and yet he doesn’t say anything.  He’s obviously not happy and yet he doesn’t say anything.

And I can’t.  I can’t because whenever I’ve tried to discuss it in the past, I’ve been silenced, silenced by anger and recriminations. So I’m afraid to say anything.

So we talked about the children and the house and the plumbing problem and football. And all the while I just wanted to scream with frustration becaause the one thing we need to talk about is us.

I think he’s frightened to because he doesn’t want to hear what I might say.

And I’m frightened to because of his anger.

I want him to ask me what’s wrong; I want him to put his arm round me, hug me and show me he cares; I want him to give me just a slight glimmer of hope.  And yet there’s nothing, nothing except plumbing and football.

And I’ve lost all hope. And it’s been so long that I’m not even sure I could respond, that I even want to respond. I don’t believe he has it in him. He can’t show a glimmer of care; how could he give more?

And I need more.  I need passion.  I need him to show me that I’m worth fighting for.

But he doesn’t.  So I can only conclude that I’m not worth fighting for.

So as we sat there discussing plumbing and children and football, I felt my insides were going to burst out of my body.  I wanted to scream and shout with frustration and anger.

But I didn’t.

I sat there quietly holding it in and wished I was…

Lunching with Another.

 

Post title is a line from a Tone Damli song ‘Stuck in my head’

I’m all over the place at the moment.

One minute I feel strong and in control.  The next I’m as weak and confused as a new-born kitten.  One minute I’m riding on a wave of euphoria.  The next I’m plunged into despair.

All day I felt in control.  I went to my hairdresser, who’s become a friend.  Since I’ve become more independent, I seem to be forging friendships everywhere.  We were talking about our relationships and I found myself explaining how husband has rejected me for years, pushing me away when I sit next to him or hug him.  And now I’m no longer in denial about the state of my marriage, I even confessed that we hadn’t had a sexual relationship for at least seven years because he just doesn’t want to.  She was horrified, and I was horrified that she was horrified!  And I realised that I am normalising a lot of what goes on in my life; I’m just accepting that this is the norm and this is the best I can expect.  She couldn’t believe that I had never had an affair because of this.  She said I’m really attractive with a good figure, I get my hair done regularly, I always wear make up and dress well, I work out, I look after myself, and I’m still young (well I look younger than I am and I feel young).  She couldn’t understand why he wouldn’t be attracted to me.  And I felt bloody angry because I’ve been going along with things the way husband wants and completely denying my wants and needs, feeling unattractive and unlovable and undeserving.

Then I went to a gym class and a friend there (another new one) asked me why I didn’t go to the gym in the evening and I told her that husband was already complaining that I went out.  She said “Well, why doesn’t he go with you?” – her husband is in the class with her.  And again, I felt angry because other couples do things together but we don’t, and again I’ve accepted this as the norm and resigned myself to the fact that I can expect no more than I already get.  I’m undeserving.

So I was feeling strong and angry and decided that it was time to really regain control of my life and that I was taking no more **** from husband.

Then when I got home from work, he was already home, and my heart sank and my resolve went.

And I didn’t go to my ballroom class tonight because I didn’t want to cause trouble.  I’ve missed so many classes lately that I’m falling behind and letting my partner down.  So I stayed at home staring at the TV screen – because that seems to be the only thing I can do that is acceptable to husband – and he didn’t even acknowledge the fact that I had stayed in.  And I stared at that TV screen getting angrier and angrier, both with him and with myself for not being stronger.  And I felt really resentful that I’d given up an evening of pleasure, yet got nothing in return from him.  He went off to bed at 9.30 without even saying goodnight.

And I’m angry now, two hours later; my heart is thumping in my chest and I want to scream at him; I want him to understand my hurt and frustration.  Because he blames me for this failing marriage.

And I think that I’m slowly beginning to face the truth of what I have to do.  But I don’t know how to do it.

And it’s scary, but, I’m starting to realise…

Inevitable.

 

Post title is from a song by Caro Emerald.

But the time is