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Verbal Abuse

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click4it posted 9/6/2013 00:30 AM

So, there are pros and cons to counseling. Pros being you get to "work" on yourself and have someone whom you can vent to.

Cons being you get to "work" on yourself ... and you get to constantly see stuff that you didn't really see before or forgotten about.

I have the most awesome counselor EVER...never did I have one that I have stuck with this long.

Well, tonight I talked about watching my wedding video last Sunday and the grief about my father..I even showed her pictures. It was all fine and dandy until suddenly I remembered about how my ex-h told me how he felt I verbally abused him at certain points in our marriage. Then I talked about my anger over the years and how I had to own my part of how I did "wrong" in my marriage.

Suddenly, I felt a shift change in our session, like suddenly she saw me in a different light. Like she had finally saw that he wasn't this "evil" one who walked away, but that maybe he had to walk away - and maybe that's just my interpretation, but ugh....that's how I feel.

So anyway, here it is 12 years later and I'm thinking again that I diserved what happened (ex cheating & leaving). I didn't cheat, but what goes around comes around right?

I'm not looking for hugs or pity, I'm just honestly looking at this realistically and owning up to the fact that my ex may have had very good reason to LEAVE. This could be why he never got "karma" handed to him...because maybe there is none to get!

Ugh, anyway, these are the pros and cons to counseling.

HurtsButImOK posted 9/6/2013 03:48 AM

I think I get where you are coming from. Looking back over my relationship, I did some shitty things.

Depressed, utterly unhappy and essentially a functioning alcoholic. I still didn't deserve what he did to me or how often, how deliberate and for how long.

My take away message though was that I could face up to and admit the shitty things, it has helped me to work on myself and want to be a better person. Remorse for shitty coping mechanisms, I have it in spades. I am not totally innocent in the relationship. Being able to face this, acknowledge it and work on it is a good thing.

Him, his cheating, his shitty behaviour that's all on him.

That's the pros of counselling, its all about working to make you a better person. Obviously the cons - it friggen hurts and is hard work

stronger08 posted 9/6/2013 04:27 AM

I firmly believe that there is a big difference between marital issues that result from personal shortcomings as opposed to infidelity. After all he could have addressed with you the problem prior to cheating. And if he did there was always the option of asking for a D before he went out and screwed another person. Apples and Oranges as far as I'm concerned. During my short attempt at R with my XWW she too threw out all the problems she had with me. Some she mentioned to me and some she had not. Yet she could never answer my question as to how did she think our M could have gotten better by fucking some other guy. Naturally she found us a MC that practiced the notion that affairs are symptoms of a problem M. And when I disagreed loudly that marital problems and affairs are separate issues the MC told me I had anger issues. I told her "Look lady, if your spouse were to go out and have an A, lie to you for months, have you arrested on a false DV charge just so they could continue the A without your interference. How would you feel ?" Her silence was the answer to my question and affirmed my theory.

million pieces posted 9/6/2013 06:06 AM

Do you have any examples of you being verbally abusive? My ex accused me of this too. I have a very dry sense of humor and can be a tad sarcastic. This morphed into me being a little critical of him. My IC and I explored this and well, bottom line is that he withdrew from the family and I was overworked and sleep deprived and I may not have handled it the best, but I didn't abuse him. I had lost my patience with him and had run out of "...can you please"

And his parents treated/treat him like the golden child, he never did any wrong.

I also got, I was controlling. Yes, I had to because we had 2 kids, 2 dogs, a house a yard that you did jack shit for.

I stepped up, he stepped out.

Evidently this is a COMMON complaint of waywards.

hexed posted 9/6/2013 07:07 AM


I will always struggle with this same thing. I contributed enormously to the issues in our M. I was downright awful sometimes. It doesn't excuse the cheating. I think he was probably cheating for most of the M thought I'll never really have proof. I was spoiled, self centered, and inconsiderate for a lot of our M. It caused a lot of problems. He was/is a cheating alcoholic. That caused a lot of problems.

I've learned a lot of lessons. I don't like some of who I was. That's all I can do for now. I've apologized but my time machine is broken...I can't undo it.

2kidsandadog posted 9/6/2013 07:50 AM

Yeah, I certainly contributed to the creation of our marital problems by being verbally abusive. I won't ever accept that it caused his cheating because he has an addiction and always did; I was just too naive and scared to understand that it was developing right under my nose.

I admire all of us at being able to look at ourselves, in spite of the wrong doings that went on with your/our significant others.

At this point in my life, I can take a much better look at myself in the mirror and see that I'm difficult to be in a relationship with and men tend to posses baseline intimidation when I'm around.

Sadly, at one point in marriage counseling many, many years ago, my ex and I actually supported the "tit for tat" dynamics in our marriage in front of our counselor. She was not impressed nor amused.

How we treat one another is ever so important no matter what the other person is doing how they are behaving (well, most of the time)

SeanFLA posted 9/6/2013 08:07 AM

I constantly have those feelings still that I deserved this. Even through everything I've read on SI and affirmation from a psychiatrist and an IC that this was more about her personal unhappiness and her fucked up FOO issues than anything I ever did. But one thing I know I never did was verbally abuse my spouse...ever.

She tried to accuse me of this. Said on a youth hockey tournament trip for my son that I called her a bitch. I was stunned as I know I would never use this word towards her. I don't even like the sound of it. She told me I said it right in front of my own mother (who was on the trip with us). I asked my 80 year old mother about it and she said she never heard me once say such a thing. And my mother agreed with me that if she ever heard me using that kind of language towards my wife, she would have grabbed me by the ear and taken me aside to let me have it. My parents did not raised like that. I think many WS's make crap up in their head. Sort of like rewriting your marriage history in an attempt to redirect the blame for their poor coping skills off of them and back towards the BS. I'm wise to that now.

damncutekitty posted 9/6/2013 08:12 AM

My XH verbally and emotionally abused me for our entire relationship. But after d-day he started buying all these self-help books for victims and making up stories about how controlling I was.

The truth is that he was the abuser. The truth is that he was the controlling one. He just needed to make himself into a victim so he could have an excuse for cheating.

I was not a perfect wife. But I tried to be a good one. I know I did not deserve the cheating. Or the abuse for that matter.

IMO if you still think after all this time that you deserved what he did, then he was a far more effective abuser than you realize.

jennie160 posted 9/6/2013 09:33 AM

The truth is that he was the abuser. The truth is that he was the controlling one. He just needed to make himself into a victim so he could have an excuse for cheating.

I was not a perfect wife. But I tried to be a good one. I know I did not deserve the cheating. Or the abuse for that matter.


XH would accuse me of things that were actually a reflection of his actions. He would intentionally try to push my buttons just to get me defensive to were my mean words would match his. Then he would throw out the abuse card.

Lola2kids posted 9/6/2013 09:47 AM

With an NPD ex it was always my fault.
During arguments he would bring up the most un connected thing that I had done to make him do whatever we were arguing about.
It was no different after discovering the A.
He was unhappy because he would come to talk to me about his concerns and I would roll my eyes.
Yes, people, he had an affair because I rolled my eyes.

I take responsibility for anything that I did wrong in the relationship but his perception of what I did wrong is worlds away from my own perception.

ETA: when you are in the heat of an argument isn't it easy to construe anything said as verbal abuse? I have been thinking a lot about this lately. If ex said something stupid and you tell him it's stupid, is that verbal abuse?
I realize now, through IC, that he was verbally abusive to me but of course he just thinks he was being honest.
How do you know what is or isn't verbal abuse?

[This message edited by Lola2kids at 9:55 AM, September 6th (Friday)]

little turtle posted 9/6/2013 10:17 AM

Now that I'm thinking about it... I think XH accused me of being verbally abusive while he was re-writing history. Is this from the WS handbook?

I know I'm not perfect and I contributed to some of the rocks during our marriage, but I was never verbally abusive. He was controlling. It was his way or no way. I look back and can see flags now that I didn't see before.

Anyway, you didn't deserve to be cheated on. Your XH chose to cheat on you instead of work through your problems. Even if you were verbally abusive and angry through the years, those are both things he could have talked with you about. You could have gone through MC. I hope you're able to fully work through this thought process and realize that your XH cheated and left because he wanted to. Not because you deserved to be treated that way.

SBB posted 9/6/2013 10:38 AM

The truth is that he was the abuser. The truth is that he was the controlling one. He just needed to make himself into a victim so he could have an excuse for cheating.

I was not a perfect wife. But I tried to be a good one. I know I did not deserve the cheating. Or the abuse for that matter.

IMO if you still think after all this time that you deserved what he did, then he was a far more effective abuser than you realize.

^^ A-men! Nailed.It.

meaniemouse posted 9/6/2013 11:08 AM

Hmmm. . . I guess that is a good strategy---providing all kinds of reasons (excuses?) for their infidelity. I think perhaps my ex wrote the book on it. Trial lawyer that is was, he could make a very convincing argument, saying things like,
"YOU are controlling, impossible to please, never want to have sex, spend too much money, never want to travel or leave the kids, don't wear enough make-up and think your work is more important than mine."

And there's some truth in all of that--which is always why those kinds of statements make us think that were the CAUSE of their cheating behavior. But then I remember:

1. he told me a week after our wedding that one of his old girlfriends (who was invited, by him) told him ours was the only wedding she ever went to where the groom was prettier than the bride;

2. When I got home from the hospital after having our first child he made the unilateral decision to leave his salaried job with the county and go into private practice. No salary, no benefits, no security which put all the pressure on me to keep my job which had all of those things.

3. That private practice allowed him total and complete free time to screw any and everybody he wanted. Plus I never had any idea how much money he made. The money he accused me of spending paid the bills that my job didn't cover.

4. I neglected doing things for myself or buying things for myself so my girls could have what they needed. Plus I was busy going to grad school which he has pushed me to do.
His first AP (that I knew about) wore enough make-up for five women, had a fake tan, fake breasts, fake nails and barely graduated from high school.

5. The first time we separated he told me on our 14th wedding anniversary. Then he asked me to go with him to help him find an apartment.

6. Even after repeated phone calls to our home, some of which were answered by our daughters, about his cheating and many other suspicious behaviors, and even when I said--"hey--I get it--you want out, just say so," he refused to admit to doing anything wrong, said people were just "out to hurt him because of his position" and said he did not want to file for divorce. The worst of this went on for TWO years. When I finally caught him I kicked him out and the divorce was final 60 days later.

Did I so some things wrong? Probably, but everything I did was usually in response to the way he treated me or our girls, which I tolerated for far too long, thinking he was just "damaged" by a bad FOO and that he eventually would come around.

That's 25 years of my life I'll never get back. Hell, people get less time for murder or bank robbery. Whatever he says or thinks I did or whatever I might have actually done is nothing compared to what he did to me and our family.

click4it posted 9/6/2013 11:21 AM

This is all great insight. I appreciate all of you sharing your own personal stories and insights into this topic.

After reading what you all wrote, here's what I'm thinking.

Yes, he was maybe "controlling" in a passive way. He always seemed to so things better than me. Even domestic stuff - like cooking, cleaning. If the things in the cabinet weren't a certain way, he didn't like it and would re-arrange it. But he never got mad at me for it, he just said he didn't like something falling out of the cabinet and would change it. He would never say anything rude, hurtful or wrong to me - really he didn't. However, he also didn't talk to me a lot - so a lot I had to guess and I could tell if he did or didn't like something. Me, on the other hand, I was very expressive especially when I did NOT like something. Probably more so than when I DID like something. Do I honestly think I was actually verbally abusive? In all honesty, YES. Every so often, maybe once or twice a year, I would get so angry about something that I would go into a rage where I would start swearing, yelling and throwing things around the house. Wow, that's hard for me to share and not fun to admit that. I remember this even happening before we were married. Afterward, I would feel horrible at the way I acted and would apologize, thinking to myself I won't do that again, but I did. It did not happen often, but that doesn't excuse the behavior. I remember another thing that he said when he left: "I didn't realize that it was normal to live with someone who didn't fly into a rage." That really got me because he was right.

Now, when he left, he emotionally abused me and my kids for at least 4 years. I think he felt that was his payback. I don't think its right that he did that nor do I think its right that he cheated. Two wrongs don't make a right.

I guess what I'm trying to say is I don't excuse his behavior nor do I excuse mine.

Yeah, yesterday when I wrote this I thought "well I diserve the horrible things that I experienced because of what I did too", and maybe there is a part of me that still believes that or maybe I just acknowledge that I had issues that I have worked on and continue to work on. And he is now in a marriage that he had wanted all along.

jennie160 posted 9/6/2013 11:32 AM

If ex said something stupid and you tell him it's stupid, is that verbal abuse?

Honestly, depending on the way it is said, I think it is. But there is a big difference between "that's so stupid" and "that's so stupid, you're an idiot for thinking that". Our verbal abuse is also caused by a fight or flight reaction. I fought for awhile, spewing back the verbal abuse, but realized it got me nowhere and just drew out the inevitable (my losing) so I stopped fighting. It was like I had come to a gun fight with a knife and I was doing whatever I could to defend myself.

ruinedandbroken posted 9/7/2013 22:28 PM

If he felt he was being abused or mistreated then it was his responsibility to speak up about it. Having an affair is completely unacceptable and in no way your fault.

persevere posted 9/8/2013 00:09 AM

I completely agree that the problems within a marriage are not black and white - typically no one person is completely responsible for every problem within the marriage. However, the choice to cheat changes the dynamics considerably. It shows a complete disregard for the marriage itself as well as any effort to work on it.

So, while any verbal abuse dynamic you both had going would certainly have contributed to your marriage problems, his choice to cheat, which you had NO opportunity to weigh in prior to, negated any opportunity to address the issue.

Can this recent revelation help you in the future? Absolutely. But I wouldn't spend a lot of time blaming yourself - it's simply not productive.


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