Sunday, 30 January 2011

Why Does He Do That, 3 copies in the post.

So, my new 'Bible': Why Does He Do That?  Inside the Minds of Controlling and Angry Men I ordered three copies from Amazon last week.  I got them at the beginning of the second week of separation.

My plan was - one copy for my sister who has been out of a very physically violent relationship for over ten years but still struggles with it all.  I think it will be really helpful for her.

One copy for me.  I've been reading a copy on loan from the library but was unable to highlight anything obviously.  So I was looking forward to sitting down with a pen and a bunch of those mini post-it's to go through the book so that I could find info that was useful easily.

The third copy.  Well, this was going to be a risk but my plan was to give it to my husband to read.  I didn't know what might happen, but I will stick my neck out and be painfully honest here and say that the small ray of hope somewhere deep inside that has so stubbornly refused to die out was still shining strong.  Somewhere inside me is the hope that he might read it, see the truth for what it was, seek help with an abuser programme, be one of the tiny minority to see it all the way through, be one of the tinier minority who *actually* change for good and then we might actually have a healthy, happy relationship.

I know in my head that this probably ain't gonna happen.  But that ray of hope is a dratted, stubborn thing that seemingly can't be stamped out.

My head was telling me to be careful, he'll go mad when he even sees this book.  But I couldn't help but hope, for him - for me - for us - for the family, that it might start off the journey that leads something I've always hoped for.

My husband was having the children on the Saturday and Sunday (day 8 and 9) so my plan was to give him a bag of his stuff and put the book in it at the bottom.  Then when he would be back at his place I would text him.
I wrote him a letter, which said that I'd read this book and had been able to see our relationship in a totally new light, that it had cleared up a lot of the confusion about the last fourteen years and that I hope he will read it too.  It was a two page letter, and it was hand written so I can't remember exactly what I wrote.

On the Sunday I put the letter in the book, the book in the bottom of the bag and waited for him to drop the kids off at lunchtime.

I gave him the bag and texted him 1/2 an hour later to tell him about my letter.  I didn't hear anything for two days.

Finally he called me.  He sounded emotional.  He tried to talk but said it was too hard and that he'd have to email. 

He sent this email:
well since i read your note and read the book my mind has been spinning, I have gone through all emotions and feelings, firstly annoyed that you label me as abusive, I immiediatly started to read the book with a feeling that I just wanted to rip it up and throw it away  thinking 'how can she be comparing me to these people, some of the references are about total bastards'.
I then read a story that I could relate  to myself and i began to see that abuse is not just beating up someone or being directly abusive and confrontational. Depending on the section I was reading I would be shaking my head thinking 'that just isn't me' but others made me cry with a slow realisation of where you are coming from.
I have nearly finished the book and within the short time I have had it have felt resolute to change, i cannot obviously say that will happen but I can look at myself objectively and see faults that are totally my own and are damaging me and people around me (mainly you). I have thought back to my previous relationships and I can wholeheartedly say that I have a very destructive nature which is jealousy, so far i feel that this is the biggest contributor to my negative actions not only with you but with my previous girlfriends and also I think possibly my mum (not in a sick way: time spent with me, feeling she should care more for me etc.) as far as she goes I think i need to speak to counsellor about that, it feels too complex to consider on my own. There are probably more issues to consider but for me right now jealousy in all its forms I feel is a huge factor in my abusive nature, i feel it goes hand in hand with self esteem, which I have a fairly low regard for.
From your letter and the book it seems I have to take 100% of the responsiblity for the breakdown of our marriage, if I have got this wrong please tell me. There were parts I was reading that I can relate to how you used to treat me and as the book is written specifically for female abusee's does not entertain the prospect that women can be controlling and abusive also (except when in a lesbian relationship, which makes me think why can lundy only accept that a woman can be controlling only if she is with another woman, he is obviously very intelligent so I assume as his job and the book are directed at helping women he actively ignores this may happen as this thinking may undermine his client base).
"...when an abused woman refuses to "look at her part in the abuse", she has actually taken a powerful step out of self-blame and toward emotional recovery. She doesn't have any resposiblity for his actions. Anyone who tries to get her to share responsibilty is adopting the abusers perspective"
This is the closest thing I could find to how I think you are feeling, and I understand and agree with it, but I dont agree that for the past 14 or so years it has been a one way street, over the years I feel it has definatly become more one sided and majority if not all abuse has come from me over recent years, i feel you have solved or come to peace with whatever used to motivate your negative actions. I have responsibilty over my own actions and acknowledge they have been corrosive and have led to the dimise of our relationship. I do not however think that you have not been abusive nor that my abuse outweighs yours to the extent that your actions are insignificant.  
 I understand that you may not agree with me but if that is the case then any discussion we have together will bring up all the old arguments. I feel really confused, I feel that ultimately I did run the relationship down as I am the one struggling to get out of an abusive nature, but i also feel you either do not think you used to be abusive or you think you were but will disregard it.
If the issue is belief that I can change, then I can understand that.
With that in mind i would like to thank you for bringing this book and different approach to my attention, as in many other areas of our lives you have questioned and researched and come up with a possible solution. If we cannot begin a new relationship with eachother after this I feel that I at least  can be a stronger more positive person and while I hope and need to acheive change for us, ultimatley I need to change for myself.
yours respectfully
I was shocked.  Firstly, it was a far better response than I could have expected.  I didn't really expect that he'd have read the book at all.  I thought it ironic that his initial response to a book subtitled 'inside the minds of angry and controlling men' was to tear up the book and think 'how could she say...etc'.

Thanks to the book I was also prepared for the fact that he'd try to say that I was also abusive, or in some way blame me. 

I know that I'm no angel, but I also know that I'm not an abusive person.  From reading I've done, and the experience that I've lived I can only assume that when I have reacted in defence of myself (shouting back, being assertive, refusing to believe his view of me, asking him not to be abusive) he has believed that to be abusive when in fact it was a self-defence mechanism. 

The main thing is that I knew he'd get into distracting me from the main issue (his abuse) by getting involved in a discussion about something else (my alleged abuse) and that he'd try to blame me in some way.  Thanks to the fact that I had read this (and a couple of other) books, I didn't get drawn into this confusing spiral of discussion that goes nowhere, or leaves me wondering if he was right and I was abusive without being aware of it.

So, I replied:
Firstly, after reading this book (and a couple of others that were recommended in this book) I sat down and thought long and hard and have written a list of the times you have been physically abusive and all the different ways I can think of that you have been emotional/psychologically abusive.  It's a long list.  And a lot of it has been ongoing throughout.
I feel like I've finally regained my mind.  I feel like you have been messing with it for years and I find it hard to believe that it has been unintentional.  You have been spinning a story to me, about me and how I am and what I do and what you do, a story that is total and utter lies.  The confusion and doubt came about because I couldn't understand why you would do that, because I believed you loved me.  Now I can see clearly why you have done these (and all the other) things.  I do feel devastated, disappointed and let down.  But I also feel like my mind is clear for the first time in a very long time. 
For this reason I am not going to argue about whether I have been controlling or abusive, and therefore how much blame you can dump on me.  I can see your game.  I know myself.  You can't tell me I'm delusional or have a warped idea of who I am any more.  Well you can, but I don't believe it any longer.  I know it to be false.  And I know why you are saying it. 
From what I have read so far it will take you a very long time to truly come to terms with all the ways you are abusive, and to stop trying to blame it on other things/people/situation, and to also to admit why.  The evidence shows clearly that the likelihood of you changing is slim, and the likelihood of me believing in my heart that you have changed is slimmer.  I hope, god I hope, that you do.  Even if it's too late to start over with us again. 
My anger and pain on this runs deep and there are lots of things I want to say to you, but I don't think now is the time.  You have only just started reading about this and thinking about everything.  Hell, so have I.  I think there will be a long period, for me, of contemplation and reflection on everything.
I have re-read the book a couple of times over the week, highlighting parts of particular importance or interest for easy reference.  I have researched the author and he is one of the most eminent and experienced professionals in this area, and not only that but I know that so much of what he writes is true-from my own life and experience.
I hope you do re-read particularly pages 49-170 and pages 334-336.  These I found the most enlightening and informing about our relationship.
I think we need to put in place solid arrangements about the children and if/when we put aside time for us all to do activities as a family.  I think the family activity thing should be put off for a few weeks though, as the ramifications of all this sink in
Now, that was a strong reply and nothing like I would have written before I realised that what has been going on all along has been as a result of my husband's abusiveness.  The reply was strong and the knowledge was there that this was a smokescreen thrown up by my husband.
But, fourteen years of questions and doubts is hard to shake of and I then did spend a couple of days considering whether there was any truth in his email.  I couldn't get it all out of my mind.  I re-read my list of all the abuses that had happened, and read through parts of the book, and online and felt strengthened.

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