Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Verbal Abuse In My Marriage

I had no idea what verbal abuse was until I accidentally ran across something on the Internet. I wasn't even looking. It was a pop up on the side. I thought, "What the heck is verbal abuse?" I clicked & it was an article about a guest on Oprah's show. I ran out and bought the book the next day. Hid it in the house. It was MY MARRIAGE! Everything I didn't understand and couldn't wrap my mind around. It was all there in black & white.  

At first I was in denial. I didn't believe that my husband could be doing this intentionally. I thought that he too didn't understand that he was being abusive. I didn't show it to him or say anything. BUT when he was verbally abusive, I would say -- "Can't you see how your phrase there implies X which is hurtful to me? Can't you see how that (blah blah)." He would deny. When I suggested that "name calling" was very hurtful & should not be done, he told me that name calling was NO BIG DEAL & not hurtful & I really had a problem. His ex-wife & ex-girlfriend had called him names all the time. It's no big deal. Yep. The whole devalue & discard & the bolstering & negating my feelings.
I started reading more & more. I think all people are verbally abusive & even abusive at one time or another. It comes when we are unhappy, etc. Also, most people grow up with it to one extent or the other. My reading certainly brought chagrin to myself & I saw that I too have been verbally abusive, angry & controlling. I tried to STOP all that immediately. There are a few folks out there I really would like to apologise to.

But I also learned there are other people who are simply abusive = angry & controlling. And I finally got out of my denial & accepted that my husband was an abuser. As I told you, when I read the book about "gaslighting" and saw that he was a textbook case -- and the worse kind of gaslighter -- the book had several different types. I got very scared. I think he was an "intimidator gaslighter." If I remember. It predicted physical violence. And, as I learned from his exes -- he can be very violent. I just "handled" him very well & managed to diffuse the situation . . . or I think he sensed that if he really hit me or slugged me . . . I'd be gone & I might have him arrested.  

In the end he did get physical . . . but I had told him I was leaving. And I deeply regret that I did not call the police or get a restraining order. I wish had had taken him to the rails & gotten him convicted. And thrown out of this country.  

But anyhow. I think children either "get" that the parent is abusive & avoid it when they grow up. Or they go the other way . . either become abusive or get involved with abusers.

Hopefully you can teach your children to see the BS -- avoid it when they can . . . & to never do it themselves.

Even when I left my husband, he said to me:  "I'm not so bad. I don't beat you." Excuse me? What a jerk!  Minimizing the abuse inflicted.   AND, I will never forget the day that I told him to back off; I had no more time for his drama; I was finished.  I told him, "Yes.  I am going to the gym now."  He asked, "How can you leave me like this when I am so upset?"    Well, husband -- I am saying the exact words & doing the exact stuff you did to me when I was so upset.  I said, "I gotta go to my job.  I gotta go to the gym.  I gotta take care of myself.  I gotta work on the house."  An hour later, when I came back, he had packed a little bag & was leaving to spend time with his gal pal colleague & her husband.  He accused me of being "verbally abusive" and that "nobody speaks to a dog" the way I spoke to him. He ran away to his gal pal's house & told her & her husband that I was abusing him!  

So...he knew exactly everything that he was doing to me. And in the end, would deny everything he did to me. I was the liar & I was crazy. Sound familiar? Even had several of his gal pals in the house tormenting me & protecting him from his abusive & thieving wife!

One can never win with these types. Maybe your children will reflect & understand intuitively why you have NO CONTACT with their father. Because it's actually the sane reaction when confronted with somebody so useless & hurtful.

This post, "Thoughts On Verbal Abuse" 
was written by my Coach.  


Image by The LAMP on flickr
Creative concept of what verbal abuse does to an individual"
Used under the Creative Commons License


  1. Wow this all sounds so familiar!
    ...and is reminding me of how my counsellor gently suggested I read a book about verbal abuse (physically handing it to me), me bug-eyed at home reading realizing just how abusive he was, being terrified he would FIND the book because he was following all the patterns of escalating verbal abuse, starting to get physical (all physical abuse is preceded by the escalating pattern of verbal abuse). I was blind to it for years because of conditioning (frog in slow boil pot), and the flowery words and GASLIGHTING (e.g. he would say, "I never said that" "That man you are describing is a jerk. That's not me"....and eventually me getting wise and deciding to record an argument so I can play it back to him and say "See? Yes you DID say these things, and you DID make these threats"....in the hopes that a marriage counsellor would help to fix him....Ironically in that same recording he is threatening to admit himself to a psych ward if I don't stop and also threatening me with, "I'll fix you!").

    To this day, he still emails me with subtle suggestions of how broken I am and how I need to change. He got a copy of that recording because it later ended up in the hands of the police. He claims it was doctored, and that I somehow edited my yelling voice to be quiet and turned up the volume on his....and that I deleted all the parts of me abusing HIM. That is how messed up his brain is. I think he has a dissociative personality disorder component because something in his brain will not accept the devil in him and he seems to truly believe he was the victim. It's a form of blindness that does great harm in this world.

    Little did I know about the everyday psychopath at the time. But that's the explanation that actually makes sense of the decade or so of life with him. He is a master of disguise, mimicking and blending in. Narcissism and being high on his employment status and "good man" public standing...keeps him from going off the deep end. But I would definitely fear for my life if he lost his job/friends and went into severe depression.

    He did get violent in the end when he got the sense he lost me, and that I would leave.....and prior to that it was only a little rage maybe once a year, as I knew my codependent eggshell-walking dance off by heart. I knew my place to never dare question his royal highness. But the minute his manipulations stopped working to control me (guilt tripping, playing the injured party if I dared to express how what he did hurt me, and stonewalling were his favourites), all bets were off....and so began the shoving, the poking, yelling, following....to the point where police involvement WAS necessary as above was well fueled by liquid courage (which he of course DENIES....and claims he is some classy snooty wine snob who enjoys a fine beer or wine - which is complete bullshit - he is a full blown functional alcoholic. And his homemade wine is actually crap anyway, but I digress...). And of course he claims this was some sort of plot to have him arrested, and that everyone, including the police know it was a false allegation, blah blah blah. Crown and police DID indeed believe me; however, it wasn't worth setting a trial (a relief to me), and said that we needed to get protection orders in the family court system (yet another downloading of a criminal matter into family court). Some people will buy his version of events. Some day those same people may find themselves in a similar situation....and realize I was completely truthful and feel bad for not having supported me through the unbelievable events that happened. Or maybe not, as I would not wish this mess on anyone.

    Rose Lee - was your pscyhopath by chance a "Water Torturer" style of abuser? (from Lundy Bancroft's classic book "Why Does He Do That") Mine was...

  2. Thank you for sharing your story here. Our stories are so similar.

    The post "Verbal Abuse In My Marriage" was written by my Coach, as I call her, whose experience with a Psychopathic husband is so similar to my own.

    I have not yet read "Why Does He Do That".

    You sound very strong and well into the "over it" phase of recovery. Am I right?

    Best Wishes,

    Rose Lee

  3. Oh definitely check out Lundy Bancroft's writings! He has a Facebook page now (under his name) and has a new book out. He seems to know abusers inside out (having worked in batterer intervention programs), and is especially in tune to the manipulations that fool untrained observers. I think he has also been a custody evaluator and is an advocate for family law reform. He has written another book "The Batterer as Parent" that is on my reading to-do list.