Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Abusive Marriage - Indepth view of the sickness

Posted by Hannah at 11:15 PM

What an awesome article! LINK

Here are some snippets! I would encourage you to read the entire thing!

I feel an urgency, almost a fury, to send out this call across the nation. This is not written as an appeal to your emotions, to evoke sympathy nor even compassion. The purpose of this writing is to state facts, to uncover the secrets of abusive relationships and to reveal the nature of abuse-induced instability, causing the mind of an abused woman to be incapable of thinking realistically and making rational decisions.

It's as if society expects abused women to think and act as mentally healthy, stable human beings, while scoffing at what could possibly be wrong with such a person who would stay in an abusive relationship. She's already fully aware that no one understands her and that she is judged and ostracized. Yet, she is expected to courageously and confidently embark upon a whole new life for herself in a society which looks down their noses at her, whispers and laughs behind her back, and avoids contact with her as if she has the plague.

WOW that was very powerful to me!!

Unless you have lived with a person who suffers from a mental and emotional disorder -- be it alcoholism, drug addiction, schizophrenia, manic depression, personality disorder caused by childhood abuse, the list goes on -- you have absolutely no idea the impact. Insanity is contagious. Unfortunately, sanity is not. We start out being sensible, rational human beings, attempting to deal with the sick person as if he were mentally sound. We try to reason with the unreasonable. We do not have the education and training it requires to effectively communicate with a mentally ill person and therefore treat him as we would anyone else, expecting him to respond as anyone else would. Of course he doesn't, but we are at a loss. We don't know any other approach. Periodically, he behaves as a sane, rational individual, exhibiting sound judgement, and we forget it is fleeting, or we believe he has finally stepped out of the fog. Certainly we hope he has, for this is what we are giving our lives for -- dying for. We who have lived with such a man know there is something more to him. Had we not seen goodness and love in them, we never would have married these men. To this day I am still uncertain if the goodness and love I believed I saw in my abusive husband were real qualities, true to his nature or merely manipulative tactics to control and dominate me. We hear over and over again that he will never change and there's probably only about 2% that actually do. Yet, we feel it so unfair to make such a judgement of another human being. We feel it would be playing God to decide such a verdict, believing there is always hope. What we cannot see is that staying with him is where we are playing God, attempting to be his savior, healer and redeemer. If he is to change, God is certainly the only one who can do it -- through his willingness to change -- and we must first get out of the way. Until he has run out of people, places and things to use, abuse and blame, he will probably not become willing to change.

None of us know what we would actually do in any given emergency situation. We know what we hope we'd do, what we believe we'd do, but are deciding those things in a calm, rational state of mind. We don't know how our minds and emotions will react in the face of an actual crisis. Living with an abusive person is like creeping silently through a darkened jungle. We are aware of the possible dangers awaiting us but comfort ourselves with a belief that we are careful and prepared. If we follow specific guidelines and take certain precautions, we believe we'll be safe. Even with the ever-present sense of peril, we still feel in control. I could also equate domestic violence with a sudden tornado ripping through your house, being trapped on the 20th floor of a burning building, or being awakened in the night by the sounds of an intruder breaking into your house. If you've never faced the adrenalin-induced panic of such an instance, how can you say what you would do? If your home is burglarized, will you automatically move to another house? A different city or state? Or will you assume preventative measures and believe it probably won't happen again?

What an awesome way of putting it! I mean its true! We never know HOW we are going to react to an emergency, etc do we?

Abusive people honestly believe they are victims and always take every destructive outburst and turn it around so that they are the helpless and hurting party. Suddenly, the perpetrator is the victim and the recipient is the savior. Quite insidiously, without our awareness, the abnormal becomes normal, as we make excuses for his behavior and minimize the impact. Simple acts of considerateness are seen as shining stars of promise, illuminating the darkness of depression and cynicism. For a few days or weeks, he is full of kindness, bringing us flowers or presents, complimenting us, taking us out to dinner. Then suddenly, sometimes without warning, it all blows up in our faces as we're accused of expecting too much, of being selfish and thoughtless. We certainly don't want to be those things, so we apologize and tell him we're happy without all those "extras" -- the extras being mere kindness and common courtesy. All we want is what we see others enjoying and taking for granted -- a peaceful, loving family. Is that too much to ask? And we are willing to pay any price to attain the treasure. Dreams die very hard. We truly believe we are in love with these men when actually we are only in love with the illusion we so cherish and desperately cling to.

We read books, listen to tapes, even attend marriage seminars and earnestly apply what we learn to our own situations. We are told the promises and guarantees of applying these principles and hear testimonies from successful others. With our spirits revived and strength renewed, we gain fresh confidence and determination, believing we have now found the solution. We are recharged with that false sense of power, thinking we know what to do to make it all better. Everything we learn is true and highly effective in the average marriage. There's only one thing missing -- a sane, rational partner. It doesn't matter how fluently or eloquently you can speak English if you're trying to communicate with someone who doesn't know the language. We continue to treat them like normal adult human beings, expecting them to respond as such. When it doesn't happen, we try harder, applying still more patience, effort and understanding. It's like expecting a man with no legs to get up and walk. But we keep expecting, praying, hoping.

WOW - how many have walked down this road huh? Do we expect the person with no legs to get up and walk? At times I think the church in some ways does tell you that! Its hard to show them that we aren't dealing with a sane person on most people's level....heck its hard for US to understand it and we live IT!

The reason we cannot stand up for ourselves is because we daily live with his defensiveness and paranoia, falsely- accusing us and refusing to acknowledge our goodness and sincerity. We are determined to prove our worth, to make him see and admit that we are right and he is wrong, that we are good and he has been bad, that we have been saints and he has been a devil, and that he owes us the return of all the love and loyalty we have invested in him. If we do or say anything to make him mad, that will only give him a reason to defend himself and say that's proof that we are not loving, good- hearted women. We mustn't give him any real grounds to base his accusations on. We must always prove ourselves worthy, nobel, honorable. As a result, we are driven to give, do, be, and sacrifice anything in order to prove our worth. We lose our self-worth in trying to prove our worth to him. But it's never enough and we are human -- we make mistakes, we sometimes blow up from all the tension, and these things are unforgivable to him. He waits and watches for us to slip up and make one little mistake or to show one negative quality so he can swoop down and devour us with accusations, insults, mockery, and blame. Unknowingly, we sell our souls in becoming more or less than human, disallowed human needs and emotions. Only he has the right to his feelings and needs while we do not have the freedom to feel any differently than what he wants us to feel or to feel nothing at all.

or to feel nothing at all I bolded myself. Its very true I do feel abusers wish we didn't feel. That we were some pet dog and was wagging our tails and always waiting to give them our individed attention. We must be that dog that doesn't bite or nip back tho. It may be a bad example, but if you think how most dogs are in homes. THEY LOVE to lavish you with attention, and they love the attention they receive in return no matter what it is most of the time. I mean you could really be annoyed and turn to the dog and say, "YOu know what? LOL you can really be a royal pain the butt!"....and what will the dog do? Wag their tail! When we get excited - they get excited. When we cry they want to cuddle. They are in our world, but detached enough.

I think one problem is that the outside world cannot possibly comprehend that any human being could be so cold, calculated and mechanical as the abusive person is. No one, they think, could be completely void of conscience that he could be so abusive without provocation. It must be the woman's fault, at least partially. Thus, we stay for the very same reason.

I think this statement can be approached towards both genders. I also think when the author states how the 'outside world' cannot possible comprehend is the BIGGEST problem........I mean most that live it have the same issue no?

These men value only possessions, property and material things. They are interested only in their own needs and desires and we, the wives and children, are possessions, prisoners, expected to be there for his convenience and to be put in the closet when we are inconvenient. We are to satisfy him and to take the blame when he is dissatisfied. These men are so disconnected from humanity that they are barely human, themselves. Other people are merely extensions of themselves, not different, unique individuals. To them, everything in life revolves around them. Everything anyone does, says, feels, or thinks is centered around them -- in their minds. They cannot comprehend that people do what they do because of who they are inside. They believe everyone does what they do because of them. They are like a two year old child who has not yet developed the capacity to realize that other people have needs and feelings, too, independent of themselves. They are self-consummed, self-obsessed, and completely self- seeking, with all people and things being merely the means of self-satisfaction. They cherish possessions because material things have no needs, make no requests and haven't a will. Possessions can be bragged about, to make him feel more like a man and they can be blamed, likewise for his inadequacies. We are to be like a pet, requiring only food, without a will of our own, loyal, obedient and affection, regardless of how the master treats us. If we get out of line, we are beaten into submission, whether physically or psychologically.

If he gives us a place to live and food to eat, we are not supposed to want or need anything else. Even those provisions are inconvenient infringements upon "his" money. Everything is "his". His money, his time, his house, his vehicle, his feelings... He will rarely refer to anything in the marriage as "ours". If the wife has a car, it will be "her" car, meaning she is completely responsible for the maintenance and condition. He will not contribute time nor money to her car. The children are "hers" too, unless he needs to use them as trophies to brag about, and then they aren't our children but "his". Practically speaking, they are her children and she is completely responsible for their care and for their behavior. There is very little he will label as "hers", but the minute she gets out of line, he will take what is hers -- the car or the children -- away from her, to punish her, threaten her and thereby put her back in her place. They will almost always use the children to keep a hold of their wife.

Others are seen as completely responsible for the way he feels. If you make him feel good, he loves you. If he feels bad, it's your fault and he hates you. They expect wife and children to run to them with open arms, lavishing them with love, devotion and praise, making him feel like a god, and they are to treat him this way regardless of how he behaves, never asking nor needing anything in return. Sometimes, he offers attention and affection, which we are so hungry for that we rejoice and feel satisfied. Our hopes are renewed with the vision of how it could be, having been given just a taste. Pathetically enough, we have been reduced to the family dog, sitting at the master's feet, waiting for crumbs to fall to the floor. We are so hungry for love that we thankfully lap up any crumbs we can get and hope for more. This is his control. We are starving to death, managing to survive on the few crumbs he offers, while awaiting the grand feast he continually promises.

No one can understand why so many of these women go back to their abusive husbands after finally leaving, and they believe she must have some sick, masochistic desire for punishment. That couldn't be further from the truth. We have learned to monitor his mood, taking his emotional temperature before we know whether to talk, laugh, be attentive, or to be completely still and silent. We may need something from the supermarket, but we must first determine his state of mind before we even ask to go. The children may have a problem or a need, but we don't dare bring it up until we are certain the coast is clear. There is a tremendous problem with building and centering your life around someone else. We do not crave the excitement of crisis, the heartache, turmoil nor abuse. Even after we leave, we do not know peace. We cannot hear the silence nor feel the tranquility in his absence for the raging storm which continues to blow like a hurricane in our minds. We have lost ourselves in basing every decision and action on him. We have become conditioned to think, feel, and behave according to what we believe someone else expects. We have lost the ability to act independently and base our decisions solely on our own needs and desires. We have learned to base everything we do or don't do on what we believe or hope his reaction will be. For those women who grew up in abusive homes, they have thought and behaved in this manner all their lives and have never known how to be an individual. Without intense, professional help, we cannot learn to function as whole human beings, separate from another. Thus, many go back.

As a thirty-nine year old woman of a small town in Oklahoma, I can witness to the fact that girls of my generation, of my culture, and those of so many others, were not raised geared toward college, career and independence. We were raised by a mother who stayed home with the children, who cooked and cleaned, and spent her life being of service to her husband and family. I was so very fortunate to be raised by loving, caring parents, who taught me to be kind, compassionate, loving, and loyal. I am so grateful that I was taught these morals and values growing up, but they were also a great handicap to me, making me a prime candidate for an abusive relationship. Abusers intuitively seek out women who are kind, loyal, sympathetic, and understanding, because they can use these assets against us, until they become our vices. They tell us the heart-wrenching stories of being abused, abandoned, unloved, and we, the care-takers, feel their pain and instinctively want to love their wounds away. We try so desperately to show these men the love and devotion they were deprived of, to prove that we are trust-worthy, where others weren't, that are sincere, where others were deceptive. The more we are falsely accused of being liars, whores, manipulators, and thieves, the more we double our efforts to prove that we will never leave them nor forsake them. You see, we understand that these men are only striking out at us because of their own fears and self-hatred, and more than ever, we feel the call to love them. We become their god, feeling completely responsible for their well-being, even for their very lives, as they tell us over and over that they cannot live without us and even attempt suicide, if we leave. It is the abuser who is the most dependant, while the abusee becomes dependant upon the feeling of being needed, of being so important to someone else's life.

No, we are not weak and spineless. Far from it! We have the strength and fortitude of a dozen people. We have to, in order to do all that we do in any given day. Those of us who have lived in abusive marriages are not victims nor antagonizers, and neither are we inadequate wives. We have done our part to make the marriage work, but it cannot be done alone. If it were possible for only one spouse to create a successful marriage, we are the ones who could do it, as we have carried full responsiblity for the quality and content of the relationship, as well as obligations to the children, family members, friends, and finances. We have done everything in our knowledge and power to be the best wives and mothers we know how to be, and we are the ones who have fulfilled our marriage vows. We have paid a debt, for crimes we never committed, and continue to pay over and over through the stigmas and misconceptions of society.

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Anonymous said...

I have a friend who is going thru a divorce w/ what amounts to a psychopath. he is abusive, stalking her, abusive to their son, threatens to kill her and her friends, anyone willing to testify, he is a convicted felon who is a snitch for the local pd and they will do nothing to protect this woman. she is in constant fear for her childs life and her own and no one in the judicial system will help. who can she turn to?

Anonymous said...

I cannot stress to you enough how much this article means to me. I have been lurking at Dr Irene's sight and here for over 6 months. The comfort I have gained knowing that I am not crazy-that other women know exactly what I am going through has been priceless. Thank you.

Hannah on 10:45 AM said...

I'm glad both sites have brought you comfort! YOU are not crazy, and God also knows what we are dealing with as well! He will always be on our side!

Thank you for your comment!

Hannah on 10:52 AM said...

I would try to get in touch with the national DV center - along with the local one! Contact Focus Ministries for additional leads, and possibily Faith Trust Institute - their websites on are the side of this blog!

Your friend will be in my prayers, and I hope she continues to look for leads and never stops! Churches, Newspapers, Organizations, Individuals, etc can all help her and her child in some way.

All these places may have limits to what they can do, but I pray that she doesn't give UP! God is also there for her, and she can turn to him as well!

I wish I could help more!

Unknown on 6:04 PM said...

Why should I, someone who suffers from mental illness, be lumped together with someone who abuses?

Am I really someone to be avoided, who stains another with her affliction?

I hope to God I took this out of context.

Hannah on 8:34 AM said...

I'm not sure I understand your comment.

This article is geared towards those that are dealing with abusive people in their lifes! Mental illness doesn't equal being abusive. Some people should be avoided because they are to dangerous for you to have in their lifes. Not all people with mental illness fall into that category. That would be very close minded to think that.

At times the spouse isn't the best person to help the abusive one, because of the their own damage. In alot of cases people that need help have a loving support system, and then you have those in the church with abusive situations...they are ignored and told to deal with things and are given no tools to even start. I think like most things like this - its fear based and ignorance.

In the church at times people avoid the fact that these dangerous broken people really exist, and apply rational - logical approaches to someone that isn't capable of understanding what is being presented enough to live it. Its like they claim if you love them better - they will be cured. If you would act a certain way - they would turn around. Go to a marriage retreat at your church, and your husband will stop hitting you! Go to marriage counseling and your wife will stop abusing you. Both situations above dealing with abusive people, and never addressing the real issue...the abuse...the illness.

Not all people with mental illness fall into this category of abusive. No one is saying to avoid them, and lump them into that category either. That isn't the context of this article at all. I'm sorry you took it that way.

Anonymous said...

Great find H! I am gonna take it and give you attribution.

If you are dealing with a psychopath I strongly recommend going to:

If he's a narcissist then

You are not crazy - abuse can come from a mentally disordered person. But mental illness DOES NOT ALWAYS EQUAL ABUSE

Anonymous said...

I have known that the intense love and committment I have felt can't all be Godly love because I am not that Godly of a woman.I have known that there is something sick about loving such a crazy abusive man, but how when it is the kind of unconditional, persistent love described in the Bible?I know the difference now.I am not God, I am human. When God loves like that it doesn't destroy him.It put him in a grave, but he rose again.I cannot rise again. Only God can love so perfectly.If it comes that easy for me, I know I am being compelled by something else.Still nothing tangible, but very well pictured in this article.

Unknown on 5:50 AM said...

Thank you for this article. You described my husband perfectly. I believe he is a sociopath - but, after I spend time with him (or with his words and actions echoing in my head) - I wonder about myself. I especially relate to the statement "Insanity is contagious...sanity isn't" He will not change and I need to get myself and my son out. I know this. I live in a small, rural area and most people think he is funny, etc. but they don't know him like I do. Thank you for just being here. Just to know others do understand, even if they are in cyberspace.

Hannah on 9:07 AM said...

Change to me is a choice, and its not easy! Alot of people are much different behind closed doors, and I think at times when it comes to abuse fear tends to turn on the denial button as far as what is realistic.

Just keep in mind that you are stronger than you think! Living in hell does tear a person down in some ways, but we forget how much stronger it makes us in others. We forget how much we have accomplished (in realistic terms) while living in unbearable situations. WHat is normal and healthy at times get very distorted after dealing with the ugly for so long.

God will be with you and your path! I find that most people that leave, and struggle at the beginning BUT find the peace they are after in time. The timeline is different for everyone, but I have rarely found one person that missed the old enough to truly wish the separation had never taken place.

Society concentrates so much on the abused changing, and doing things that won't set others off. To me they concentrate way to much on that, and not enough time on the ones that have anger and abuse as an everyday lifestyle. I guess the path of less resistance in a way. Somehow i don't think that is what God had in mind!

zoeygirl on 1:12 AM said...

What a great article. I feel emotionally spent after reading it! I found it particularly refreshing to read after surfing the net and reading an interview with Nancy Leigh Demoss, a well-known Christian author and radio host, who was perpetuating the ignorance of the church regarding abuse. It was very discouraging to read. Verbal abusers need a slap on the hand. A physically abusive man just needs to be prayed over and be held accountable by church leaders. Almost impossible, as most church leaders don't know what they are dealing with when it comes to abusers. She was doing what this article points out--assuming that dealing with an abuser is dealing with a rational person.

Another thing that the church does is to not follow through. They may try to hold him accountable, if you are lucky, and they may even tell you to separate, but they don't tell you what to do from there. You are pretty much on your own.

Anyway, I love how this author expressed herself!


Anonymous said...

I consider myself bright and intelligent yet it took me a good seven yrs or so before I realised that I was being emotionally abused. For years I have prayed to gGod to Save our marriage, I gave myself up just to please him and went out of my way to prove that I was A GOOD PERSON.It took prayer ( one day I asked for wisdom) to finally open my eyes and what I now see is shocking. I am now committed to leave but I have resolved that I need to put myself in a situation whereby I do not have to rely on him financially, we have got two children whom he uses as trophies. I am tryng to finish my Masters degree and he is not supportive at all, my best is not good enough and had it not been for good friends who have kept reminding me that I deserve better and that they believe in me , I would have found it hard to arise and shine. Thank God for this Blog, I am not mad, he is twisted, manipulative and such a loser. He wants to keep in his place just so he can feel like a man, to the outside world, he is a gentleman...he even volunteers in church as a steward. The other day, after finishing a night shift, I confronted him about his behaviour , I actually wrote him a letter. He read it out and said that "this is the kind of thing that I use when I go the the toilet". He took the kids to church afterwards. I have told him that he can't fool God, and that it is the same God who will always be there for me. I pray that I get out of this marriage safely, with my children and am considering counselling for my own sake. Thank you for describing him in great detail, how can people be so manipulative and calculating?

Hannah on 7:49 AM said...

Good for you and your plan.

What you describe reminds me of the ever ending race to the finish line.

I will love you properly if you do x,y and z

So you scramble to do x, y and z to the best of your ability - and you accomplish it.

That should make them happy right? Their motive comes clear when that makes them mad instead, and take the finish line - and place it out further with a, b, and c to accomplish now.

You find over time that they don't wish to accomplish those things, because they have you right where they want you when you don't. You are in the whipping boy position. Instead of being proud of a spouse that made their goals they are threatened. It shows their insecure nature.

The keep placing that finish line out further each time, because you aren't suppose to accomplish that. You aren't suppose to be 'good enough'.

Get counseling - and can I say even secular at that? Get mentoring within the spiritual realm so that you are getting both needs taken care of.

We aren't suppose to hit the finish line of the race Anonymous 12. They are sick enough to enjoy beating us down due to the fact we can't. That is why they get mad when we do. That is why they add additional 'items' to the list. We get stronger, and they get more threatened.

One day we realize the game they play clearly. That is when they race stops, and reality plays out.

Anonymous said...

I was married to an abuser for 26 years. I finally filed for divorce last June when a dear childhood friend found him in the park with his "girlfriend". Abusers think they can do whatever they want and everyone is just suppose to by "okay" with it. I should mention too that he is an alcoholic as well. My saying is "unless you've walked in my shoes, you cannot know what I have lived with". At one point, both of his sisters were telling me what I needed to do and what I needed to change. Would they have put up with being called names by their husbands? or their husbands texting, emailing, calling, meeting another woman for breakfast or lunch, or kissing in the park? I think not. I simply couldn't do it any longer. He is sick. I know this. I am sick too for putting up with everything I did for so long. I am healing now though. I moved in with my mother, took my youngest children and life is so very much better. We don't walk around on eggshells anymore. We laugh together and love each other. He is still drinking until he passes out every night and still texting his girlfriend. She is still married by the way. She will pay the price one day too. He is her boss at work and she knew he was married. I even went to her house one day when I first found out about their "affair" and asked her to back off. She said she would but she's a liar too. I am better off without him and this I now know for sure. Sometimes I miss the whole "family" thing but we didn't have it anyway. He never wanted to do anything as a family - I did everything with and for the kids. The kids all know that he is a loser too. No one wants to be around him. He is a pathetic narcissist. God will always be with me - he has lead me to where I am today.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this article. I believe and hope, that by publishing this you will have helped countless victims, including myself.
I no longer want to take responsibility for all that has gone wrong.
I no longer wish to make excuses for his bad behavior.
I no longer will allow screaming about my inadequacies after I have done ALL the household duties as well as the duties involved in running our joint business. No longer will I tolerate laziness in him while I work 70 hours per week (while he sleeps and complains of being ill) ,
I tell him to go to a gym, get healthy, love life. Instead he tells me I ruined him, that he was a healthier better man before we dated.
We are not married, have no children. He says I wasted his life and he could have had kids by now.
He is mean, vindictive. For 20 percent of the time, if not less I get affection, maybe hugs. But that's it. No support.
I will strive to look inward and heal me. In the end, that is the only thing that matters.
I cannot heal a damaged soul. And I cannot take the blame for their damage anymore. One life. Peace.

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