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Conditioned to accept abuse

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cayc posted 12/4/2013 06:46 AM

Some of you may remember me posting about 1.5 months ago about the guy I was dating and how he literally lost his shit with me and subjected me to quite a bit of verbal abuse (basically every confidence I had given him was turned back on me).

It took a couple of weeks to muddle through, finally get him on the phone and officially break up with him. The break up only halfway stuck. That''s my fault. Because I didn''''t feel comfortable walking away when he was AWESOME during the break up conversation. Owned it all, no blame shifting, nothing but complete ownership of what he did.

So, we are broken up, but we''ve been talking. And it''s been utter confusion. Because I asked him for some simple things. And he began to do them. But he also began to disappear for days at a time. Calling, texting, emailing was futile. His excuse when he resurfaced was always the same: pain. He has several herniated discs in his back (untreated military injury) and does live with a significant amount of pain. But, the going dark, I don''''t understand. And when he resurfaces, he acts as if no time at all has passed, and acts as if we are still in a relationship telling me he loves and misses me even though I don''t say it back anymore. I''ve also come to see that he can''t hear me - he thinks that the issue is I don''''t believe his commitment to me and that I''''m afraid to take care of him if he has surgery. Sigh. I get it, he''''s projecting his fears on to me.

Anyway. That''s all backstory for what I''m really posting about. I can see that my M with ex-asshat has conditioned me to abuse. My love interest can treat me shabbily and I don''t walk away, I try and work with it. I''m tortured with breaking up with this guy. I feel awful reneging on my promises to him (that he can move overseas with me), I feel awful that I need to re-have the break up conversation with him and this time go NC during the window of the anniversary of his parents death (when his mom died it literally derailed him, for him, the anniversary of their death is similar to how we see dday anniversaries, the triggers and negative feelings that roar back full force). I wish breaking up with him would spur him to address things, but I suspect that he''ll just disappear and I''ll be left with some residual issues (the money I leant him, which he still swears he''ll pay back but ... so far, he has shown a distinct lack of follow through).

The drama of the past few months has sent me into my usual spiral of shit coping mechanisms. My self-care suffers, my diet suffers, my energy level suffers due to lack of self care and eating for 20 at every meal, and snack ... so I see that abuse causes me to ratchet up the abuse on myself too.

Other guys are asking me out. And it makes me feel guilty as hell. As if I haven''t cleaned up the last relationship.

So my head is spinning a bit. But recognizing that I''m conditioned to abuse. I just now am seeing this. And I"m looking at exSO and seeing ... that''s abuse, right? That''s why I need to make this break up stick right? Because the going dark - there''s no excuse for that right? I know the answer. I''ve set myself up to excuse abuse. That''s what this is. Because what kind of partner is someone who shuts down at the first little hiccup instead of talking about it. Someone who is going to continue to let me down in the future probably.

[This message edited by cayc at 6:55 AM, December 4th, 2013 (Wednesday)]

Williesmom posted 12/4/2013 07:00 AM

I totally agree. I find myself in the same predicament. I'm OK with being treated like crap because it's still better than how my WXH treated me.

I think in this case, NC is probably best for you. A bit like detox.

cmego posted 12/4/2013 07:24 AM

cayc~ I lost my Dad several years ago, and I think it was far more painful than all of the other shit I've had to deal with, miscarriages and the spectacular end of my marriage included. The death of a loved parent is hard, no doubt.

But…but…like everything else, you grieve and you move forward. I miss the hell out of my Dad. On a daily basis. I think of him every day. The anniversaries don't make me go dark. I might be a little quiet the day of, but I would tell the important people around me what the deal is so they CAN support me. Going dark is almost passive aggressive. It is like you WANT the attention by making a big deal about it, then hide behind, "I don't want you to see my pain" or whatever the excuse is.

How is this for an analogy: remember the Jack/Rose death scene in Titanic? She has to dislodge his dead hand from hers so she can continue to live a good life. She loved him, but had to let go or otherwise she would have gone with him.

At some point, all BS's have to learn that poor treatment isn't OK. It is OK for us to let go of people that treat us poorly.

Pentup posted 12/4/2013 09:46 AM

Get the money, break up, go nc.

Treat yourself like you treat others.

Pass posted 12/4/2013 11:19 AM

These things seem so obvious when we see them in other people. I know because I put up with over 17 years of emotional abuse from The Princess. It was only when I found out she was screwing around (and received some ass-kicking/advice from my SI family) that I decided I wasn't putting up with any more of it.

What would you say to a friend who had suffered this verbal abuse and passive-aggressive horseshit? I bet you'd tell them to end that shit.

And do you know why you'd tell your friend that? Your friend deserves better.

better4me posted 12/4/2013 12:33 PM

Someone who is going to continue to let me down in the future probably.
Take the word "probably" out of this sentence.

He fooled you once. You write that he "completely owned" his behavior before, but it sounds like he just shifted his verbal abuse to emotional abuse (making you feel guilty, going dark so you'll have to wonder what he is doing and feeling, projecting his worries about his surgery on to you). It is still abuse. It is still power and control. He is still trying to get you to think about him all the time, whether he is communicating to you or not, you are thinking about him. That's what he wants. He didn't change anything really. Regarding feeling guilty about breaking up with him during the anniversary of his parents' death...that is his consequence to bear for behaving the way he is behaving now. Yes, the timing stinks for him. Boo fucking hoo. Not. Your. Problem.

We cant fix other people, they have to fix themselves. Let him go. Go NC. Screw getting the money back, consider it the price you paid to learn this lesson.

You know what you need to do. You can do this cayc.

ladies_first posted 12/4/2013 13:10 PM

And I"m looking at exSO and seeing ... that's abuse, right? That's why I need to make this break up stick right?

There are many, many reasons why people break up while *dating*.

No, things don't have to get "bad" before you leave. No, things don't have to be ABUSIVE before you chose to end a relationship that's not working.

stronger08 posted 12/4/2013 17:43 PM

I believe that people can be conditioned to accept abuse. You see it over and over again. People fall out of one lousy relationship and into a worse one. I personally think its the old "The type of bait you use, attracts certain types of fish" If you give off a vibe where a person thinks they can abuse you they will. And after many years of allowing abusive behaviors to be bestowed on you, I guess you kind of get used to it. Its like any other bad habit, it takes work to change. I see this happening with people who claim they have a certain "Type" that they date. When you date within a type it locks you into a select group of potential mates. And if that happens to be possible abusers, well abusers are what your gonna get. I'm not saying that's fool proof. But if you eat Chinese food 5 days out of the week, chances are your going to be around Chinese people a lot. KWIM ?

gonnabe2016 posted 12/4/2013 18:36 PM

I thought you broke up with this guy. Why are you still having *conversations* with him? And why in the f'n hell are you chasing after him by calling/texting/emailing him when he 'goes dark' on you?????

he thinks that the issue is I don't believe his commitment to me and that I'm afraid to take care of him if he has surgery.

Right. Because it could have NOTHING to do with the fact that he threw out the "you deserved that shitty treatment by your XH" card. It MUST be *your* fears that are causing the problem.

Stop being so accommodating and *nice* to a person who has treated you so shittily. Seriously. He's not even in your time zone so it's not as if you have to even deal with him ever again if you don't want to. Put him in your rear-view mirror and go out with one of those guys that's asking......guilt-free.

cayc posted 12/4/2013 20:02 PM

Yes gonnabe, I will

I'm just a little taken aback at realizing that my instincts are off when it comes to how I interact with romantic interests. I'm being too empathetic and get caught up in looking for reasons for behavior rather than just saying no, not for me.

mixedemotions posted 12/6/2013 02:16 AM

Hmm...any chance he experiences memory loss, blackouts, out of touch with reality, etc. and when he resurfaces from disappearing still does think you're together? Or at least thinks the breakup wasn't serious? Kind of far-fetched, but could be possible considering what he's got going on. If so, or if anything related to psychiatric illness, it sounds like he could use some support from the VA.

I definitely agree with the conditioned to accept abuse concept and have seen it in myself. People think I'm nuts for putting up with what I went through with WXH, and I was, but also that wasn't my only experience with abuse. It started small with my first romantic relationship, the stage for which was set by emotional abuse and neglect from my parents, and then each romantic relationship after that was progressively worse until I was literally living in a life-threatening situation. I didn't dive into the deep end of the crazy pool. I waded my way in for years.

I wish breaking up with him would spur him to address things

Not addressing things is the reason you broke up with him and the reason it's dangerous to continue the relationship, which is what you're doing. You can't say the magic words and turn him into something he's not ready for. When he's ready, he'll do it on his own. It's not your fault now and won't be your victory (or anyone else's but his) then.

I learned something in Alanon that stuck with me. A lady said that she used to think her behavior had an impact on whether or not the alcoholic in her life treated her well. She thought, if only I'd done this or hadn't done that, today wouldn't have been such a bad day. (I can totally relate to that feeling) but she realized that thinking you have an impact on an abusive, unhealthy person's behavior is like thinking a coin landed on heads or tails because you called it. Sometimes you call it and you get it right and think "yesss! I did it!" But really, it just happened. You could call it again and lose.

No one deserves abuse of any kind. If you're questioning whether or not it's abuse, it very likely is. Abusive behavior does not get better until the person gets serious, long term help, and in the meantime it gets worse. The kindest, most loving thing you can give an unhealthy person is consequences. It's not selfish or showing lack of commitment, it's showing strength and appropriate standards. Staying is enabling and that's not beneficial to either of you.

Give yourself space to heal. You can do this, you're worth it!

cayc posted 12/6/2013 06:20 AM

Hmm...any chance he experiences memory loss, blackouts, out of touch with reality, etc. and when he resurfaces from disappearing still does think you're together? Or at least thinks the breakup wasn't serious? Kind of far-fetched, but could be possible considering what he's got going on. If so, or if anything related to psychiatric illness, it sounds like he could use some support from the VA.

Yes, definitely there is something to this. I think he's in a worse place than he's admitting to me or himself and he's pursuing patchwork medical help rather than really getting to the core of the problem. Funny thing, he works for the VA. He's in a place to make it happen and instead he's just suffering. And making me pay in the interim.

You know unlike with my xWH where I fell into the trap of thinking if I were thinner, prettier, a better cook etc he'd stop fucking around on me behind my back, in this experience I'm not so invested in thinking I caused it. But I was thinking me being supportive and logical would be good support for him and serve as a catalyst. It seemed a situation of someone who but for some love and support, would be on top of the world. But logic isn't cutting it, b/c whatever is going on - and I am clear I'm lacking the full story - his behavior veers off into destructive and his energies are mis-placed.

This is what has been hard overall for me with dating. At my age, everyone has a tragic story, everyone has some hurt and self-protective behaviors they are carrying around, and so I find myself in this position of needing to be understanding/accepting to date, and yet that exact same aspect opens the door to my being too empathetic and accepting situations that are harmful to me. And what's troubling me is that I don't see at first, my instincts are to try harder rather than throw up my hands and give up. I mean this time, it only took me 3 months instead of 10 years ha ha, but still ...

Amazonia posted 12/7/2013 06:50 AM

I'm being too empathetic and get caught up in looking for reasons for behavior rather than just saying no, not for me.

This is codependence. You know that, yes?
All this business of being overly invested in seeing him fix himself is.

exhausted lady posted 12/8/2013 19:22 PM

Oh cacy.....RUN! There is no excuse on earth for this type of behavior. He's a world-class manipulator!

I don't care how awesome he was during the "break-up" conversation. To him, that just presented a challenge to keep you on the hook for even more abuse.

Please, please, please value yourself enough to go NC with this clown right now. Write off the money. NO amount of money is worth staying in contact with an emotional vampire like him!!!

As to the pain thing.....I'm calling bullshit. I am in pain every single day of my life from back injuries. Do I treat people like this? No. I have PTSD from #2 H who was a certified sociopath and pedophile. Is that an excuse to treat my loved ones like shit? No.

Run. Run fast, and run far, and if it costs you some $$$ - so be it. Far cheaper to escape with your soul, ya know?

cayc posted 12/8/2013 20:36 PM

Oh yes, it's done. I'm still struggling with seeing him as manipulative, I still see reasons for his behavior, but you know what? It doesn't matter because I felt like shit. I was getting dark & twisty in my mind, I was self-sabotaging by binge eating, and I was walking around with that dark black cloud over my head that was pushing people away. That's why I broke up with him really. Less what he was or was not doing and more because I know that if I'm imploding that's my mind telling me that something in my world isn't right and I need to fix it. I wish I were the sort that didn't need to attack myself to see something isn't right, but I'm not. I have at least learned to honor it.

So I'm free, I won't capitulate, it's done. I'm very sad though. This was definitely a NB lesson (how to break up with someone when you still care about them).

In a weird way it's good to have my first NB relationship go south because now I'm not just a divorced woman with a horrific xWH story to tell. And I kind of like that.

thyme2go posted 12/8/2013 23:05 PM

Just curious - exactly what traits did he have that were so favorable that you would tolerate being treated like you were? Even if he had reasons.


cayc posted 12/9/2013 06:10 AM

Just curious - exactly what traits did he have that were so favorable that you would tolerate being treated like you were? Even if he had reasons.

No offense, but see the title of the thread. I'm not interested in dissecting his behavior, building him up or tearing him down. I wanted to talk about me and why my reaction tends to be "let's talk about this" instead of "fuck you go away" when someone does something "wrong". I'm not good at identifying "wrong". I don't fully grasp where the line in the sand is for what's acceptable or not. After all, I wouldn't have stayed married to a philanderer for 10 years if that were the case.

thyme2go posted 12/9/2013 11:46 AM

As you wish - no offense taken. As a guy, your situation is one that is extremely difficult to understand your position about accepting abuse if I don't know what he was doing that was favorable. I am an analyzer/organizer by nature and your back story leaves me with nothing to work with.

I will step back.


Pentup posted 12/9/2013 12:17 PM

I thought T2G had a valid question. I think it is looking at it from a different perspective. Not why accept abuse. But what do you value in a relationship? If someone was an a-hole 100% of the time, very few would stick around. So what traits do you value that you would need 100% of the time and showing behavior even once that was incongruent with that would be a deal breaker for you? That line is probably different for everyone and may give you insight to your question.

I can take a lot of verbal crap from most anybody. But the c word or the n word will make me walk out the door and never have contact with someone. FOR ME, those words are too powerful for me to ignore. So having some be sarcastic or negative, ok, but there is a line in the sand. If someone was kind and caring to all humans but not to animals, again, that would be my line in the sand.

So maybe evaluating what you liked and then contrasting that to the negative, you would be able to identify where you need "conditioning" to prevent making similar choices.

Just a thought.

cayc posted 12/9/2013 21:03 PM

I thought T2G had a valid question.

Ah, well the eye roll icon implied an insult, not a legitimate question.

I guess I'm clear on where the conditioning came from (my marriage) but what I can't figure out is why I need other people to tell me something is wrong and I can't see it for myself.

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