The two largest issues I'm dealing with right now are safety and honesty. In the aftermath of his confronting me about my A, roughtly within six months, my H became physically violent with me. At the height, it was almost daily that some type of violence happened. It was triggered by me raising my voice, confessing to a lie, or my trying to stop him from things like jumping out of a moving car or taking an iron into a full bathtub with him. Eventually, it was just in response to me "being a bitch," whatever the definition for that happened to be that day. Ultimately, I got three black eyes, several busted lips, a pretty bad blow to the head, a punch to the rib resulting in an ER visit (I "fell and hit my side on the bathtub), and more scratches, bruises, and bite marks than I can remember.
At the time, because he'd never been even remotely violent with me in the past, I chalked it up to his devastation at my cheating, weathered it, and got past it. He elbowed me extremely hard on the bicep during a drive one night several years ago, and that was the last instance of violence for years until a couple of weeks ago. Due to some poor communication between us, he ended up punching me several times in the hip, hard enough to leave a pretty impressive bruise.
I'm never allowed to talk about the violence and how it still affects me and my sense of safety. When I do, he tells me that I started it. The reason he says that is, again back during the hectic days after d-day, I attempted suicide via pharmaceuticals several times. During one of those times, he stayed with me in a hotel room so I could come down. He claims during that night, none of which I remember, I trashed the room, beat him to a pulp, screamed for him to take me to the OM's house, etc. He says he paid for the thousands of dollars worth of damage I caused to keep me from getting arrested. All I remember from that night is taking the pills at the hotel, them him being with me, and then waking up at home so I have no idea if he's telling the truth or not. During another suicide attempt, I was in the psych ward, and he says he kept me from getting arrested then too, that I gave him a fat lip and a black eye. He says he talked the policeman out of arresting me. Because no police reports were ever filed, I have no way to verify any of this.
These are just two examples of how safety and honesty are interwoven concerns of mine. Further examples include his telling me I gave him an STD, which I recently learned is not true and is something he's been lying about for year. After he told me he tested positive (never showed me documentation), I didn't bother spending the money to get myself tested. Seemed like a waste. Well, after years of never having any symptoms at all, I got myself tested, and lo and behold, negative. I haven't confronted him about this, though, because I know he'll convince me he got a false positive or somesuch, which is possible, of course. I'd consider that if he hadn't been tested twice, six months apart, and told me both came out positive. That doesn't seem very likely. My blood is RH negative so if I'd ever even been exposed to it, I would show antibodies. I don't.
Each and every time I become slightly friendly with someone (always female, male friends are off-limits by my choice after my infidelity), at first, he encourages me having a friend. Then, suddenly, he's telling me all sorts of terrible things about this person, crimes they've committed, horrible, immoral things they've done. He was born and raised in our town so he knows everyone; at first, I believed he heard all these things through the grapevine. It seems a little farfetched, though, to believe that every single person I feel slightly friendly to has several closets full of skeletons. He's made similar accusations against my own parents, information he says he got from the PI he hired to follow me.
He says that, at the beginning of our relationship, all my friends contacted him on their own to warn him about what I liar I am. I've asked, repeatedly, for names, but he refuses to tell me even one. I've told him I don't believe him. He claims he doesn't care what I think, but he continues to bring it up so it's obvious he does care.
He hates to be questioned about anything but his infidelity. To his credit, he'll answer any question I have as many times as I ask it, but if I question his word on anything else, he rages. He's always claimed to be an extremely honest and blunt person, someone to never ask a question you don't want an honest answer to. I used to fear that, then I admired it, and now I'm skeptical about it. Why would anyone need to broadcast that? Isn't honesty the expectation?
I'm starting to suspect my H is a sociopath or at least a narcissist, two things he calls me constantly. (Now I fully own that I can have some narcissistic tendencies at times, but I have emotions and a conscience and feelings and empathy.) He has a brilliant mind and can talk his way through, around, over anything and anyone. This is why we're not in MC; that and he says he doesn't want to be in a relationship that needs MC.
For a very long time, I wasn't in IC because he said that would be another betrayal in that I would be going outside the relationship for help. He suddenly flipped on that and said I could go to IC, which I did for a while. I really liked my IC as a person, but we didn't mesh as doctor-patient. I don't see a lot of good in a therapy session where the therapist talks more than the client. I'm looking into finding another therapist, though. I'm not sure how much good it would do because, when I write it all down, the solution seems so obvious, but then, when I'm with my H, all my resolve just splutters out.
I love my husband dearly, and I know he loves me. I don't want to sound like I'm trashing him. I know it does, and I hate that. He just loved me fiercely before I cheated, had me on a pedestal in the clouds, and when I came crashing down, it brought out a lot of anger in him, anger I'm not sure he'll ever overcome. I just wonder if my infidelity and subsequent lying were ultimately dealbreakers for him, but he doesn't want to say because we still love each other so much.
In all other respects, we have really good relationship. We share a lot of the same interests, have similar worldviews and politics, have the same wickedly dark sense of humor. We just can't talk about the past without it becoming an hours-long circular argument that goes on tangent after tangent after tangent.
I'm not sure what I'm looking for, other than support. I'm sorry to vomit all this info on this one post, but I've never really been able to discuss this publically so it all kind of came spewing out. Thank you so much to anyone still reading.
[This message edited by MadnessMuse at 3:32 PM, January 14th (Tuesday)]
I will say I don't think anything you've ever done would justify being hit. Even my H, he did some pretty bad things but if I had hit him I would have been wrong, imo. It sounds like your H is trying to justify his violence to you and that you might be unsure about that, I think he's wrong if he tries to do that. I also think the fact that he won't address it is concerning b/c if he isn't willing to look at it and acknowledge it and fix it, I don't see how it can change?? As i said my ex was pretty good at controlling his rage, except when he wasn't. He never did anything to fix it he just tried to keep it under control, which it sounds like thats what your H is trying to do. That will do nothing to ease your fear and your complete lack of safety, b/c you never know when he won't be able to control it so you'll be on eggshells for the rest of your life.
Personally I think a separation with time to completely focus on yourself would be ideal. You have a lot of pain and fear and unresolved feelings and there is no way, absolutely no way you can sort through that if you're wondering what's going on with him, can you talk to that person or not that person, are you upsetting him, are you not doing what he needs, are you the bad person he's telling you you are??? It's so much drama that is completely revolving around him, there is not a moment for you to take care of yourself and that isn't right. I think you need a break personally, you deserve time to heal yourself and even if he says it, his actions show he doesn't really want to have that time.
Thank you so much for taking the time to respond; it means a lot just to know I've been heard and that I'm not crazy, lol. We've discussed taking some time apart, but those discussions always evolve from "time apart" to "let's just divorce and be done with it." I'm never the one to bring up divorce; I just tell him I'll do whatever he needs me to do.
I geniunely want him to be happy, ideally with me, but happy nonetheless. He has so many wonderful gifts to give to the world that it breaks my heart to see his true self hidden behind so much anger and pain. He claims he doesn't have any pain anymore, just apathy, but it's obvious that's not the case with the amount of anger he still has. I guess that's why I'm still fighting, because his anger shows he does still care.
I discussed some issues (nothing I've posted here) with a coworker/friend of mine through text, which upset my husband greatly because I promised not to discuss our relationship with anyone else ever again after our infidelity. On that day, my H had once again asked for D and blocked my number so he wouldn't receive my texts anymore. I honestly thought it was over and just really needed to talk to someone. No excuse for breaking a promise to him, but that's what happened.
I told my friend that, no matter what happened with my M, that I needed to focus on me and my health. When my H saw the texts, that one message really set him off, and we're still fighting about it weeks later. He says I betrayed his trust for the last time and that he'll never trust me with anything ever again. Totally his choice, and I understand and respect it. So while I agree with what you're saying about taking some time to ourselves to heal, I can't really phrase it that way to him because then I'm just being a selfish, shitty person who only thinks about herself again.
I really don't think he knows what he wants. He loves me; I love him. We want to be together. I'm just not sure that's possible anymore. We've both caused a lot of damage to each other.
If his reaction to the pain you caused is to hurt you then there is something broken in him. I can understand him making a threat at DDay, like I did but to actually to start knocking you around like that is not good or healthy.
I was raised to know that a man never, under any circumstances raises his hand to a woman. Never once questioned it.
I was a police officer for 25 years, so I saw plenty of it. Put plenty of guys in jail. Told them all the same things. If its so bad you want to hit her, leave her, it will hurt worse. No reason to hit women. I also believe women should not tolerate it, even once. The man should be held accountable, jailed, and kicked out every time. To fail to do so only reinforces the behavior. It will be worse for you, or the next woman.
Surprisingly, my wife has said that recently during a couple of arguments she has actually flinched when I'd yell at her. (thru our marriage I've probably raised my voice a dozen times PRIOR to this affair stuff.) Since? I've actually yelled, several times, very out of character.
At any rate, hitting her has never even crossed my mind, in spite of the affair. Its off the table, and should be in all relationships. Solves nothing, worsens everything.
Immediately following d-day, when the anger was almost tangible, he would throw things, yell, say horribly hurtful things, get in my face, all things that are to be expected. He later told our nephew, who was there on d-day, that as angry as he was, he wanted to point out that he never hit me. He spent a long time explaining to nephew (who was maybe 11 or 12 at the time) that no matter how angry a man gets, there's never any excuse to hit a woman.
Then it started slow, a light slap on the cheek to get me to leave. Then it got harder and harder. He was "making himself" hit me in order to get me to leave because I wouldn't. (Eventually, yes, I hit back, on two occasions. Every other time, I was just concerned with getting out of his reach.) Then we were having conversations about how violence can be acceptable in relationships. He loves me so much, you see, that he just can't contain the anger. Situationally, violence is understandable. "You know why I do it, right? Because I love you." All very textbook, I'm sure, but I fell for it.
Now I see it for what it was, rage that he couldn't control. My actions may have pushed him over that edge, but that edge was always there, from the time he endured a terrible trauma as a child. He's been through more than any one person should, and he's survived it all. I was supposed to be his safe place, the one person he could trust not to hurt or betray him, and I destroyed that safety for him. He responded in kind, and I get that.
As I said in my original post, I took the initial run of violence as situational and got through it. Now that it's happened again recently, I'm spinning again and unsure of how to proceed.
God, I just keep repeating myself, and I know it's annoying. I know being apart, even just for a little while, would be the best thing, but I made him a promise years ago that I wouldn't give up on us, no matter how bad things got, something he's thanked me for time and time again when his anger would boil over. I've broken so many promises to him already; I can't stand the thought of breaking another one by walking away.
I'm just spinning my wheels.
He should do the same. He is really raging when he hits you. You may have good days but one outburst of rage and that could be the end of your life and his.
Nothing wrong separating and going to anger management as a couple and individual. His coping with your infidelity is damaging both of you.
Pent up anger and frustration and explosion. Also, if you are going to TT him, you should do it in MC, in the presence of a third party so you are safe.
I certainly am not in any situation to give advice, but I would like to mirror what your initial post "said" to me:
To paraphrase, I "heard" you saying:
"My husband and I love each other, and besides my suicide attempts, him being apathetic at times, physically attacking me at other times, sabatoging my friendships, refusing to discuss anything other than HIS infidelity, a refusal to seek IC, and my feeling that he may be either sociopathic or narcissistic - everything is good."
Something needs to happen. It seems to me that SAFETY is the #1 priority - even above honesty at this point.
BIG HUGS coming your way!
[This message edited by WhatsRight at 8:41 AM, January 15th (Wednesday)]
I will not be vanquished. Rose Kennedy
his anger shows he does still care.
His anger shows that he is angry.
As in "he's angry because he loves me"? I really got the same message as Whatsright did from your posts.
He's angry because of the hurt/fear/rejection or whatever it is that he feels you have inflicted on him. And this is how he is responding to the hurt. He is acting out on his anger. He is not acting out in love or care.
I wouldn't get into the habit of mixing the two.
That's how you will continue to accept this unhealthy cycle you both have created. Caring looks like caring. Caring comes from love. Anger looks like anger. Anger comes from fear. The two really do not coexist except in dysfunctional mindsets. He may care about you, in his way, but care are not expressed as anger and physical harm.
Apathy is also a form of anger. Apathy can be a far more useful tool to "even the score" for the hurts you inflicted on him. Apathy can hurt more than anger on the emotional scale of injury. Self harm is another expression of anger, something you both have engaged in.
It sounds like both of you do things in your own way to settle the score with the other. This score can never be settled. Arguments to be right, whose pain is greater, the desire to make the other feel the pain to prove the point, apathy, self harm, emotional distance...etc...only adds to the total.
I agree that until you both learn how to feel and accept your own pain without lashing out the other, whether with violence or emotional manipulation or self harming. At some point you both will have to feel the hurt and accept it, in order to heal from it. Since you both seem unable to control your reactions to the hurt, a physical separation sounds like safest, healthiest option at the moment.
I hope you can find the clarity and strength to do what you know is healthy.
Whats Right, your summary statement really took my breath away. It put the way I'm being manipulated, both by my husband and by me, into clear focus. Thank you. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
Refuz, I freely admit that I was manipulative in the past with my lying, blameshifting, and promise-breaking. That may not have been my intention, but it was certainly the result. And once I learned of his infidelity, there was a certain "even the score" type feeling within me, especially knowing all the things he'd been saying to me could have easily been turned back onto him the entire time.
I was not what anyone would call a model wayward; I pulled every dirty trick from the WS Handbook I've read so much about here and regret every single bit of it. However, within 8-10 months of our initial d-day, my cranial/anal inversion corrected, and I was finally able to start showing remorse and own up to my actions. That was also around the time the rage and violence were at their height so while I was working to correct all the lies I told, each piece of new information sent my husband off the deep end again. It was a pretty terrible cycle there for a while until I got it all out.
I know what the right thing to do is. I'm pretty sure we both do, which is why we're arguing so much again; we're fighting the inevitable, I think. I'm not one to give up easily, and, much as he says he has no problem walking away, he isn't either. I need to find that place between the guilt of giving up and the peace of knowing I did all I could. I'm not there yet.
I'm so glad I'm able to post freely here. I seriously can't say enough how much it's helping me just to talk about this stuff with someone other than myself. I hate that I'm going behind my husband's back to do it (another lie), but I'm still so grateful.
I don't care what you did. You are entitled to protect yourself from being abused - but the only way to protect yourself is for you to take the necessary actions.
You can't really take in help from yourself or from outsiders if you stay in an abusive environment.
Leave or kick him out, if that's possible.
[This message edited by sisoon at 2:20 PM, January 15th (Wednesday)]
I've done the math, and I'd actually be better off financially paying rent and utilities on a small apartment because I have no desire to eat take-out every day for every meal.
I'm getting myself there. Every response I get is giving me that much more strength. I really need it right now.
It was a pretty terrible cycle there for a while until I got it all out.
You are very much still caught up in a cycle. Your just on a different area of the wheel. You have become an integral part of this cycle. It's no longer about what happened when and who did what. You have become enmeshed.
If you don't leave, the next pay check will end up like the last...so you will wait till the next and the next and there you will remain. You know this.
The only way to break a cycle is to get off the wheel.
It's time to look for some resources in your area to help speed up this process. Even if it means a temporary stay in a shelter for women. A friend, a boarding house, someone who is renting a room?
The abuse has to end first. The healthy can't start until that happens.
Peace, health and strength to you
Setting the physical abuse aside, he also sounds emotionally manipulative and cruel. I know you say you love him, and I understand that, but you can love someone and still leave them because their behavior is unacceptable. If your best friend (assuming he let you HAVE a best friend) told you her H was doing this, would you find it acceptable?
((Hugs)) to you, I know this is hard. Your post honestly scared me. You are NOT safe.
The Government /Women’s aid and other charities and organizations on domestic abuse.
defines domestic violence as "Any incident of threatening behavior, violence or abuse …..
Any Force during an Argument
Abusers often begin by clenching their fists and mimicking punches. They may hold onto their partner to prevent her from leaving a room or walking away from a tirade. Physical abuse can be anything from cornering the victim and holding her back so she can't move, even restraint, such as if he crowds you against a wall
Threats: making angry gestures, using physical size to intimidate, shouting you down, destroying possessions, throw things, breaking things, punching walls…
Physical violence: Grabbing, , pushing, shoving,
Shouting/mocking/accusing/name calling/verbally threatening.
Breaking trust: lying to you, having other relationships, In many instances, betrayal through infidelity can be very close to what we term domestic violence. Infidelity is a choice and that choice is abusive in nature.
Denial: saying the abuse doesn't happen, saying you caused the abusive behavior, being publicly gentle and patient, crying and begging for forgiveness, saying it will never happen again. Abusive actions are frequently followed by expressed remorse, apologies and promises.
BIG warning sign! An abuser may physically restrain you from leaving the room, lash out at you with his/her hand or another object, pin you against a wall or shout 'right in your face'. Basically any form of force used during an argument can be a sign that serious physical violence is a strong possibility.
The abuser will deny feelings stem from within him but see them as reactions to your behavior or attitude toward him. He may tell you that 'you make me mad', 'you're hurting me by not doing what I ask', or that he cannot help feeling mad, upset, etc. Feelings may be used to manipulate you, i.e. 'I would not be angry if you didn't .Consequently, you are also to blame for any negative feelings such as anger, upset.
He may keep you up all night to 'sort this out once and for all'
Beating items of furniture or throwing objects will often be justified by saying you wound him up so much they lost control, once again shifting the blame for this behavior on to you, but is actually used to terrorize you into submission. Only very immature or abusive people beat on objects in the presence of other people in order to threaten or intimidate them.
Very rarely do abusers conform to the stereotypical image of a constantly harsh, nasty or violent person, either in public or in private. More frequently the abuser portrays a perfectly normal and pleasant picture to the outside world (often they have responsible jobs or are respected and important members of the local community or Church) and reserves the abuse for you in the privacy of your own home. Nor are abusers always overtly abusive or cruel, but can display apparent kindness and consideration. This Jeckyll and Hyde tendency of the abuser serves to further confuse the victim, while protecting themselves from any form of suspicion from outsiders.
Purplejacket, I can see now how he's been keeping my isolated by not allowing me to talk about anything with anyone but him. I thought it was a sign of loyalty, of cleaving to each other instead of looking outward, but I know everyone needs a friend now and then. I don't have any anymore, other than people I once knew that are friends on FB. I work, and I come home. I joined a gym for a while, but he said he didn't trust me in that environment so I quit.
I make it a point not to talk about anyone in a friendly manner anymore simply because I don't want to hear about how terrible this or that person is again. I'm in a (relatively) new job, and I'm trying to keep this one thing untainted by our issues.
Since d-day, I was unemployed for a year, then I've started at six new employers. Before d-day, I'd only had three, total, for my entire life. Without going into too much detail, my work history before d-day is much longer than my work history since so that should show how chaotic things have been for me. H says it's because I've become a failure since betraying him and lying to him so much, that I'm now incapable of living a peaceful life. He believes I'm still lying to him about my infidelity, which I understand but am not, and he says until I've been totally honest, nothing will work out in my favor.
Bitterbetrayal, thank you so much for posting that definition. It opened my eyes so much because I saw everything that happened to me. He does still become enraged at times, but hasn't hit me other than a couple weeks ago. He does still throw things on occasion. He bangs his head against the wall, pounds his fist on his desk, or slams whatever he's holding down in frustration.
His major weapon now is his biting sarcasm and outright meanness when we talk about the past. He likes to call me a sociopath if I get angry, saying things like, "That was a pretty irrational outburst there, classic sociopath," or, "I can't reason with you. You can't reason with a sociopath." I've talked to him in calmer times about how his language makes me feel, that it feels like he's trying to control me with the sociopath talk, that we both know he'd throw me out on my ass if I ever talked to him the way he talks to me. He admitted it's a double-standard, but he's made no effort to speak to me differently when we're talking about things, other than to stop calling me a sociopath. He still says I can't be reasoned with, but he doesn't use the word anymore. He says he's just a sarcastic, blunt person, and if I don't like it, I can leave.
The last several times he's told me to leave, I didn't put up a fight like before, I just gathered a few things and left. I didn't contact him or beg. Since then, it's always been him to call me back. That tells me he doesn't actually want me gone; he just uses it as a threat.
I have a credit card he doesn't know about with a sizeable limit. I used it once to pay for the STD test so it wouldn't show on my bank records, and I think I used it to buy my lunch one day at work. Other than that, it's totally empty and waiting to be used for deposits, first month's rent, whatever I need it for.
I know what needs to be done. I know it needs to be done soon. I'm getting there. I've read other posts from other members who say the same thing and never leave; I'm determined not to be the same way. I just need to get my mind as determined around him as it is away from him.
Thank you all, so much, for your support. I really can't say how much it means to me to know I'm not this monumental fuck-up he keeps telling me I am. I'm starting to feel hope for myself again, and that means more than I can possibly say.
That tells me he doesn't actually want me gone;
He wants you to stay so he can continue to abuse you instead of working on his own issues.
Gently, the more you post, the more worried about you I get. You have to hide your STD tests, when he's the one who cheated? You're living with his parents, probably the people who taught him how to be an abuser? Don't you see how crazy it is?
Leaving today would be a great action to take. Tomorrow, if not today.