Thursday, 31 March 2011


If you are able to follow the blog, you will see that we've had some hot dialogue since the weekend.  The dialogue continued last night by text:
DH:  I don't know what I think or what to say, from your message it is clear we dcisagree with things that happened in the past, when I see you I don't care about it, when I think of us together as a family it seems futile and petty to bring up the distant past.  But as the other night proved sometimes I can't let it go.
ME:  I may well not be remembering it as it happened - I just can't remember, it's so long ago and so insignificant for me.  I can only comment on those things i can drag from my memory..but just think how does this stuff matter?  I just don't get it... Maybe it would help to think about why you want to bring this up and what exactly you WANT me to say - I presume there is something?  Agree with you?  Apologise for being insanely jealous in the past just like you?  Tell you I am just as much to blame for everything as you?  Just what do you want from this discussion?  I can only presume it is the blame game again?
DH:  Each individual thing may seem insignificant but all put together they make the abusive stuff a chronic problem (I am baffled by this statement) so when we don't agree on what happened I find difficulty in addressing my abusive behaviour because I don't want to apologise for things I don't see as my wrong behaviour, when I see it that it was you in the wrong sometimes.
I have been asking myself the same question all day.  I thought I would be happy knowing that you felt some of our problems were your responsibility.  You have done that so am I now changing the goalposts?  I suppose so.  It was fine until Sunday.  I think I feel you have only got the right to challenge me on certain aspects as I believe for the  majority of our relationship you have used emotional abuse against me, but as Lundy says I can't challenge you on that as I am the main perpetrator.  So I feel if you don't look at your side then you cannot judge me about mine.  I know this is probably text book abuser mentality, I am not saying it to start another row, I am being truthful to how I feel.
I am, once again (tiresomely), astonished.  I can't believe that he thinks I have been emotionally abusive for the 'majority of our relationship'.  I didn't know that he believed this.  It's so wrong, but yet so expected that it makes me feel a mixture of pity and sorrow. 

Basically, any normal reactions that were objecting to his poor behaviour he cites as 'abusive' because I was trying to stop him doing what he wanted.  Anything I did to challenge his abuse is also considered abusive.  I am going to ask him for a list of my abusive traits and incidents to see exactly what is going on in his mind!

Wednesday, 30 March 2011

What was on his mind..

So, we had the disastrously depressing 'date' night on Sunday that did not end well.  Yesterday (Tuesday) morning, first thing I received the following email:

I feel a bit dissappointed about last night, i was really looking forward to it and treating it like a date. I think that it was a mistake on mybehalf to expect a light hearted chat with some amiable comments on our relationship and how things are going. On a positive note i would rather flush out all my abusive thoughts now and so having disagreements/discussions i hope will prove constructive in the long run.
I felt my 'hackles' (is that the word) raise when you said that you feel i would rather have a doormat wife. I understand how through my abusiveness it is a logical conclusion to think that, but i find it very difficult to label myself like that. I would say that in any relationship abusive/ non abusive /personal/lbusiness etc that each party would like the other to agree with them, so looking at our relationship where i have been abusive and it is personal i cannot think of any discussion/argument that we have had where I would feel happy with you just 'rolling over' to let me get 'my way'. The closest i can think of was going to Cuba.
I think i misunderstood your intentions for saying it at first by pointing out that you have had 'your way' through a lot of our lives as you have been very instrumental in what we do.But taking what i think you meant which was simply 'i would prefer you to be a doormat' then no not at all, any time that i have said 'why wont you just obey me' i am sure would have been said in jest and you will have probably echoed my sentiments (in jest......possibly).
I feel I would like to either convince you of my point of view or visa versa eg. home ed. I dont really have much self pride and would always prefer to be convinced or proved wrong than you just go along with whatever i say.
I dont know if you still think that about me, it would slightly bother me if you did but I understand I have given you good reason to come to that conclusion so it hopefuuly wont be a big problem.
this may be a problem:
After that i couldnt really think straight so the next part you actually may not have said anything or you may have and it may have been intentional or not and you may agree with it whether you said it or didnt;
before i start i want to say that i realise this is coming from a blame/accept responsibilty perspective and to clarify how i see myself:
My abusive behaviour is 100% mine.
You have done nothing to cause it
I display abusive behaviour without any incitement by you as well as
Reacting in an abusive way as a way of dealing with everyday problems/differences
I still feel i need to put some blame on you for negative parts in our relationship. A while ago you sent an email or text in which i understood that you felt that you do have some culpabilty for bad parts of our relationship but that my abusiveness has far outweighed and so you are not willing to look at your previous responsiblities. I can accept and deal with this because though i see my abusiveness as my problem that i impose on you, you do admit that our relationship had other negativities that you brought to it. In short I am not 100% to blame for our problems but 100% to blame for my abusiveness.
I would like to know how you feel about this.
when I was talking about jealousy you said you didnt understand how I could be like that. and when i said you have acted out of jealousy in the past (distant i know) you justified it because of our circumstances. I know that my depths of jealousy are a lot deeper and still current but i felt you were being slightly aloof. to analogise: you were the older alcoholic who has been on the wagon for 10 yrs telling the drunk 'i dont understand what your problem is'.
i cant think anymore
It felt like a spiralling down.  :-(  Yet again, back to square one - will anything ever change?  I felt so despondant and had to do a day out with the children (pre-booked and paid for) which did not go well as I felt so stressed about everything. 

Last night I sent the following reply:

Well I didn't really want to reply, but here I am replying.  If there is even any point.

I felt really down and deflated and disappointed after the other night.  To be honest I don't feel like I want to do that again.  I don't know when I will feel like doing that again.  I suppose I had idiotically built up to thinking things might be nice and believing the hype about how much you'd changed and were viewing everything differently.  Stupid.  I knew that it was all going to be pretty surface-level but I suppose extreme gullibility and stupid levels of optimism have always been weaknesses of mine.

I just think... god, I can't say anything without it needing to be analysed to death.  This isn't really conducive to me wanting to communicate on a personal level - do you know what I mean?  

As far as doormat - yes, this is what I have deduced based on your actions.  I guess I couldn't figure out what would make you happy because I never seem/seemed to be able to, and all the evidence pointed to this.  I don't really want to go looking at everything that has happened to make me think this.  I just want to do a giant sigh at this point.

Yes, you being abusive is 100% your fault.  Any other problems that we would have been able to get over probably relatively easily are probably 50/50 but your abusiveness have actually made them into giant problems that are impossible to get over.

Re: jealousy.  Again... there is 'appropriate jealousy' and 'inappropriate jealousy'.  A lot of things you have attributed to me being jealous and unreasonable are actually nonsense and I was acting normally.  I have been confused over them for a while - i.e. me being jealous of you going out.  Well, I was puzzled about that.  Actually what made you come to that conclusion was the fact that I used to (errr... 10 years ago +??!!!) react negatively to you going out.  Now, when I think about it I know that it was reasonable to feel like that based on the facts that:
  1. You used to 'pop out for a drink' and then 5 hours later I'd get a call to say you weren't coming home.  This was horrible for me.  Any normal person would find this not a good way to conduct a relationship.
  2. When I couldn't afford to go out you still would *on a regular basis* AND be irate with me for having a problem with this.  At best, this was totally insensitive behaviour and again, most normal people wouldn't find this ongoing an acceptable way to behave.  I even remember getting ready with you to go clubbing and then when your friend drew up in the car you shouted that there wasn't enough room for me and off you went without me!!!  That is just total arsehole behaviour!  Do you really wonder why I used to be upset with you?  
Other times I probably was jealous over stuff that I shouldn't have been and it's another one of those things that I used to do in the stupidity of youth and that I've grown out of.  Yes, it was horrible to go through and I was probably unreasonable and nasty to you over stuff that was irrelevent.  If we'd both gone through that 'natural' phase of youth and then grown out of it then we'd not have these issues - I don't know.  But based on the fact that I haven't really experienced this unreasonable and unacceptable jealousy levels for so many years it really isn't appropriate.  

I do find it unfathomable like I said before, that after everything we have been through you are still acting like that towards me.  I can't understand it.  I can only presume that nobody ever would be able to ever prove to you that they are trustworthy.  I can't really say that I know how that feels, because every time I've been in a relationship and fallen in love and come to trust someone then that jealousy hasn't been there.  

You say you have little-to-no self pride.  I suppose that's part of the low self esteem thing.  I don't know if that's linked to the jealousy.  I have no idea what is psychologically going on with all that.  I do know that I can't help you with this, because I have been (I think) trustworthy, loving, tried to be supportive etc and it's not enough.  I don't think it's made any difference, which is sad.

I'm so exhausted of trawling through every minute of our past history (every minute that might somehow shift some blame from you to me, that is)..... when will this end????  When will it be enough?  

I feel so down about the last few days.  I know it's because I was too optimistic.  But still, I feel really down.
He has texted today to say that he feels down to, and feels negatively about my reply.  I don't know or want to guess what he was hoping to hear. 

I'm just left thinking why am I even contemplating the continuation of this relationship?  What is the point?  This kind of to-ing and fro-ing is going to continue for at least another year if not more.  So, I feel like I have two options:
  1. I continue as I am, wait-and-see.  Hopefully the programme and work he is doing will enable him to change his abusive attitudes and values.  If not, then in a year or two I have to go through the stress of separating totally.  So, basically 2-3 years of uncertainty, emotional overload and grief for the possibility of a 'happy ending'.
  2. I decide to end the relationship fully now.  Then in a year's time I will probably be fully recovered and the uncertainty/fear/grief will be over pretty much - or minimal.
This is the choice I face.  What I have been doing is choosing option 1.  What will probably happen now is that I won't be able to decide and therefore, by default, I will be choosing option 1 still.

Sometimes I wonder what is wrong with me?  Why can't I just move on and get over it?  What is it I am clinging on to?  The relationship has *never* been amazing or supportive or fulfilling - so why am I so reluctant to let it go?  I guess these are things I'll be contemplating over the next few days/weeks.

Monday, 28 March 2011

Feeling miserable

There are a few competing emotions going on with me right now:

  1. Anxiety
  2. Sadness
  3. Loneliness
  4. Anger
  5. Sorrow
  6. Confusion
Unfortunately the result of this is that I'm feeling very edgy.  I feel like I need a break from every day life and the continual mentally-exhausting cycle that I'm in thinking about my relationship, my future, my kids, my life, money etc etc.  I just need a rest.

Where are all these people I thought would be here for me?  Friends... family?  Where are they? Not here.  This means I'm trying to cope with these emotions alone for the vast majority of the time.  I'm not sure whether that is good or bad for getting through this.

How to tell if he is REALLY changing

Quote from The Book (Why Does He Do That by Lundy Bancroft):

Steps to Change

  1. Admit fully to his history of psychological, sexual, and physical abusiveness toward any current or past partners whom he has abused.  Denial and minimizing need to stop, including discrediting your memory of what happened.  He can't change if he is continuing to cover up, to others or to himself, important parts of what he has done.
  2. Acknowledge that the abuse was wrong, unconditionally.  He needs to identify the justifications he has tended to use, including the various ways that he may have blamed you, and to talk in detail about why his behaviors were unacceptable without slipping back into defending them.
  3. Acknowledge that his behavior was a choice, not a loss of control.  For example, he needs to recognize that there is a moment during each incident at which he gives himself permission to become abusive and that he chooses how far to let himself go.
  4. Recognize the effects his abuse has had on you and on your children, and show empathy for those.  He needs to talk in detail about the short- and long-term impact that the abuse has had, including fear, loss of trust, anger, and loss of freedom and other rights.  And he needs to do this without reverting to feeling sorry for himself or talking about how hard the experience has been for him.
  5. Identify in detail his pattern of controlling behaviors and entitled attitudes.  He needs to speak in detail about the day-to-day tactics of abuse he has used.  Equally important, he must be able to identify his underlying beliefs and values that have driven those behaviors, such as considering himself entitled to constant attention, looking down on you as inferior, or believing that men aren't responsible for their actions if "provoked" by a partner.
  6. Develop respectful behaviors and attitudes to replace the abusive ones he is stopping.  You can look for examples such as improving how well he listens to you during conflicts and at other times, carrying his weight of household responsibilities and child care, and supporting your independence.  He has to demonstrate that he has come to accept the fact that you have rights and that they are equal to his.
  7. Re-evaluate his distorted image of you, replacing it with a more positive and empathic view.  He has to recognize that he has had mental habits of focusing on and exaggerating his grievances against you and his perceptions of your weaknesses and to begin instead to compliment you and pay attention to your strengths and abilities.
  8. Make amends for the damage he has done.  He has to develop a sense that he has a debt to you and to your children as a result of his abusiveness.  He can start to make up somewhat for his actions by being consistently kind and supportive, putting his own needs on the back burner for a couple of years, talking with people whom he has misled in regard to the abuse and admitting to them that he lied, paying for objects that he has damaged and many other steps related to cleaning up the emotional and literal messes that his behaviors have caused.  (At the same time, he needs to accept that he may never be able to fully compensate you.)
  9. Accept the consequences of his actions.  He should stop whining about, or blaming you for, problems that are the result of his abuse, such as your loss of desire to be sexual with him, the children's tendency to prefer you, or the fact that he is on probation.
  10. Commit to not repeating his abusive behaviors and honor that commitment.  He should not place any conditions on his improvement, such as saying that he won't call you names as long as you don't raise your voice to him.  If he does backslide, he cannot justify his abusive behaviors by saying, "But I've done great for five months; you can't expect me to be perfect," as if a good period earned him chips to spend on occasional abuse.
  11. Accept the need to give up his privileges and do so.  This means saying good-bye to double standards, to flirting with other women, to taking off with his friends all weekend while you look after the children, and to being allowed to express anger while you are not.
  12. Accept that overcoming abusiveness is likely to be a life-long process.  He at no time can claim that his work is done by saying to you, "I've changed but you haven't", or complain that he is sick of hearing about his abuse and control and that "it's time to get past all that".  He needs to come to terms with the fact that he will probably need to be working on his issues for good and that you may feel the effects of what he has done for many years.
  13. Be willing to be accountable for his actions, both past and future.  His attitude that he is above reproach has to be replaced by a willingness to accept feedback and criticism, to be honest about any backsliding, and to be answerable for what he does and how it effects you and your children.

Phew!  If you are in or have ever been in an abusive relationship you will probably look at this list and think "that'll never happen" like I did/am.  I think it probably highlights how long and difficult the process of changing core beliefs and values will be.  I look at a few of these and can see that my dh will find those probably reasonably easy but others virtually impossible for him.  Properly - I suppose any change can be faked (and I'll copy over the list of 'how to tell when he's not changing' another time!) but they can't fake it indefinitely.  The truth of what they think/believe will have to come out at some point.

For my husband, I can see he's right at the beginning, making headway on some but probably hasn't achieved any of the above steps yet.  Step one - admit fully, without minimizing etc - well even yesterday I reminded him of when he sat on the bed saying "why can't you just obey me?" (in a half-jokey way) and his response was "but you said stuff like that".  (Which I didn't)  So, even with step one his sense of entitlement is (as Bancroft says) "like a rude, arrogant voice screaming inside his head".  I do have to wonder how far he can drag his sense of entitlement and justification before he falls back.  Pessimism, or realism?  Time will tell.

First 'date night'

I had decided at the beginning of our separation that after a 'suitable time' had passed I would want to start seeing dh again, just the two of us.  Well, apparently I felt that nine-and-a-bit weeks was a suitable amount of time because we went out alone together last night (well, early evening).

He'd already been over in the afternoon finishing some jobs around the house that I can't do and that he was supposed to be doing but then obviously left.  I was doing work in the garden so it wasn't much of an issue, but then the children started playing up and acting strangely.  Obviously they were a bit unsettled and wondering what was going on.

I was leaving my youngest (5) for the first time with my eldest (16) so was worried.  He is a very anxious child.  I set up the three younger children with a DVD and popcorn in one of their bedrooms so I knew they'd be engaged for at least an hour an a half.  I explained to the kids that I was going out with daddy to have a talk.  I think this probably added to their confusion and I'm not sure it was helpful, to be honest.

We went out to a pub about 5 minutes away, had a drink together and a chat.  It was very strange.  Not only because we rarely went out alone prior to separation over the last few years, but also because of everything that's been going on.

He talked a bit about his program, what happened last week on it, some of the other guys on it etc.  We talked about how we had approached so many professionals for 'advice' on our relationship and nobody had ever picked up that the problem was abuse.  Then I mused that I used to say to him 'you should have married a doormat, that's the kind of wife you want' or something like that.  He objected, that isn't the wife he would want and X (ex girlfriend) was a bit like that but that's something he didn't like about her etc.  I just said, well you say that you don't want a doormat but all your actions show that you did.

The conversation then moved around to other things, we left and came home and had a cup of coffee.  He asked about support I was getting from the program (not a lot because I'm not local) and what I was going to do.  I mentioned the therapist I am probably going to be talking to and rambled on for a bit about what I'm hoping to get out of it (see previous post!).  He then asked the same question again and I realised he wasn't listening and hadn't been listening for a while.  At that point it all felt a bit pointless really - what I mean by that is that I had nothing to say, he had nothing to say and we were both tired.

I suddenly felt very exhausted and just wanted him to leave.  He turned at the door and apologised for being distracted and said that since I made the 'doormat' comment his head had been racing and he hadn't been able to concentrate on our conversation etc.  I just said 'Bye then' and he left.

So now, I'm feeling deflated by the whole experience and I'm not feeling like I want to repeat it!  The first half hour or so was nice, and felt like it might be useful.  After that it was aimless, wandering, pointless and in parts negative.

Whether I decide over the next week that I still want to continue with the idea of spending a couple of hours together every week - I don't know.  I think discussions about the abuse need to be done by email, for me to feel comfortable.  And I suppose what I'm wondering is - what else is there in our relationship?

Sunday, 27 March 2011


So, I've kind of absorbed the information that I will need to have some kind of therapy or counselling.  This has cropped up in the past but has never worked out well, so I'm a bit apprehensive about it.  Plus, I have no money.

With this in mind I called the local Domestic Violence charity that offer free counselling.  I called twice.  I emailed them.  I have heard nothing back and have given up now.  I just don't want to go down the GP route, because this has never been good in the past.  Plus, I would like to talk to people who know about emotional abuse and how it effects you.  I'm not confident that the random counsellor who pulled my name out of the hat would know about that.

A friend of mine a while ago had trained in a kind of counselling/approach called The Human Givens which I read up on at the time and was interested in.  It made a lot of sense to me.

By chance I came across a counsellor who uses this approach along with lots of others and also has lots of experience in the field of domestic violence.  She is a long way away, but offers telephone counselling AND asks clients to pay only what they can afford.  I emailed her to say that I have no money right now, but hopefully will be more financially OK in the next couple of months.

She replied with lots of info and wants to talk to me, so I am going to call her tomorrow which I'm excited/worried about.  So, I've been thinking since I heard from her .... what do I actually want to get/achieve from counselling?

I already see a homeopath who has brilliant counselling skills and I feel has helped me see through the worse, most crisis-y part of the separation.  Also, the remedies have really helped.  I talk about it to friends/family a reasonable amount too.  So what do I want from the counselling?  At the moment, I'm not 100% sure on the answer to that one and am going to be thinking about it a lot over the next 24 hours.

Monday, 21 March 2011

Family time

It's so difficult knowing whether it is good for the kids for us all to spend time together 'as a family'.  dh, me and the kids.  Or do they get the wrong idea, get confused, get their hopes up or what?

As with most other decisions now, I'm just having to go with my gut instinct and hope for the best.  So we all went and had a day at the park/forest on Saturday.  The kids played in the park, we had a picnic lunch, we walked in the woods afterwards and then we came home.  I came home, the kids and dh went to his place.  It was nice spending time together, but there were times when I just wanted to come home... just because I guess it was a constant low-level stress.  Stress of uncertainty and worry I suppose.

While the kids played in the park we sat on a bench with a coffee and talked.  As usual, something arose that we disagreed on.  Unusually, he said that he knew his viewpoint was wrong and abusive and he asked me some questions.

He seems to spend a lot of time thinking of hypothetical situations that he might find himself in with me (that have maybe happened before or have happened to other couples) and tries to figure out how he should respond in that situation.

e.g.  We discussed a friend of ours who is also in an emotionally abusive marriage.  She received an unsolicited drunken email out of the blue from a male acquaintance asking to 'meet up sometime'.  Her husband was secretly checking her emails and went crazy, accused her of all sorts of things, threw and broke the computer etc.  Dh said that he can't imagine that in the same situation he would act any differently.  He said that he'd wonder 'what has my wife done so that this man thinks it's ok to send this email'.  Now I said that anger should be directed at the man who sent the email, not the wife.


Sorry, mid-post I just remembered something that happened between us about 9 months- a year ago.  My dh got a test message from his best friend's wife asking if he wanted to have sex with a woman they both know.  I was really upset about this.  I was really upset with his best friend's wife for sending it, but also with my husband and I believe I said to him "what have you done so that X (best friend's wife) thinks it's OK to send this text?".

This sort of thing always happened.  He has an amazing capacity to store phrases or actions for a long time and then throw them back at me in this way.  I will have to email him about that.

Now I get to thinking... am I being hypocritical here?  Thinking my friend's husband was being unfair blaming his wife, when I kind of blamed my husband a bit?

I suppose the situation was different - my friend was emailed by an acquaintance she'd met once so I would assume that he doesn't particularly know her.  My friend's husband went crazy, yelling, vile accusations, intimidating her.

In our situation the person texting was someone who'd known my husband for a number of years.  I was just very hurt.  It turns out she'd apparently sent the text to dh accidentally (not sure if I believe that) and so the matter was dropped and I haven't really thought about it since.... Interesting.

Anyway, back to the 'family time'.  I suppose this sort of focus on abuse and getting over it, which is the focus of our relationship at the moment, is kind of draining.  And though I enjoy spending time together as a family, I worry about how the kids are perceiving it all.

So - will we do it again.  Yes, I think we probably will.  Bearing in mind that long term the plan is to resume our relationship if I am convinced he will no longer be abusive, then I believe it is right to maintain some sort of family time together.

Thursday, 17 March 2011

and the rollercoaster goes down again

Yes, I am feeling down, lonely and stressed again.  The lows are not as low as they were before, but they are still here and I still need to deal with them.  The emotions seem to be lasting longer now... I'll feel positive and upbeat for a longer period of time but then downbeat for longer too.  But the highs are less high, the lows less low.  So it's kind of evening out a bit, if you know what I mean.

Just over two months since we separated so still obviously a long way to go.  You don't recover from a 14+ year long relationship in two months.  Of course, we are still communicating and it's not just 100% 'over'.

I'm just fed up of everything at the moment.  Fed up of stress, being on my own with the children, having money problems, uncertainty, huge responsibility.  I'm sick of it all.  I wish I could fast forward 6 months :-)

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Ownership, jealousy, possessiveness continued...

You are right, it is down to ownership and other things that cause jealousy, not you. I will take a while I think to resolve it in my head, yes I too hope the jealousy part comes soon.
Yes there are plenty of other examples of my jealousy like thinking crazy stuff about D, but I look at that as me being totally wrong and paranoid. There are other things I have seen or assumed to have happened that I think i would find inappropriate then and now. So I question on a few levels; is it just my jealous mind skewing everything or are there occasions where you may have flirted but it shouldn't be a problem or you can understand I may have felt hurt and wouldn't act like that now. We have discussed this stuff before and I understand it is not good for you to 'defend' your actions or inactions all the time, it is specific incidents that i will discuss in group and maybe we can see if I change after looking at my beliefs and values, at the moment I can't see that resolving the problems I have though.
Well, we have to hope that it does work.

There may have been things I have done (innocently) that are hurtful and I am not bothered either way that I would have ordinarily said "oh I won't do that if you find it upsetting" but in the context of this abusive relationship that isn't appropriate to discuss now, because it isnt an ordinary relationship.  There is so much more going on.

Whatever ways I would have or have changed my behaviour (which generally you wouldn't have to do when your behaviour is actually ok) has never been enough.  For example this dancing or J. Yes, you might have thought that then but since then you have come to know me better, we havd been committed to each other, we have children together, I have proven my trustworthiness a million times.  Therefore to still want to discuss these things is totally unacceptable and needs to be changed.
Thanks for being understanding. I feel I need to look at my value and belief system and question it with the group/ on my own, I need to change for us and as I said before myself.
I do feel that he is trying.  He is obviously spending a lot of time thinking about his values and viewpoints, and challenging them.

I was thinking, for me, that I didn't want any part of this.  That I needed him to go through it on his own but I'm actually feeling now that I do want to know how things are progressing and to see with my own eyes his thought processes.

I believe that he is being honest and is genuinely thinking about all these things rather than 'talking the talk'.  Again, only time will tell for sure.

Yesterday we had a doctor's appointment for our son and afterwards we talked a little about the abuser programme and some of the things my husband is thinking a lot about.  Particularly he was discussing blame, it was interesting to hear what he had to say in light of my new-found knowledge.  I think it's worthy of another post though!

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Jealousy, possessiveness, ownership

Part of an email my husband sent after week 3 of his abuser course.  He was role-playing a woman in a domestically violent relationship, set in a club where she was innocently dancing around and he was 'watching and stewing':
The scene they set was so true to our life I had to point out that it had direct relevance to me. We are covering jealousy later on the course but they 'indulged' me for a while. 
I said that while i was playing Sonia, i had been 'innocently' dancing with other blokes, i told them that when we were out I wouldnt think of you dancing innocently and i would stew about you wanting to be with other blokes. I cant even remember you dancing with anyone else except J and maybe R (two of his friends), but i know i have been in clubs with you 'spying' on you and waiting for you to go off with someone else so i can then justify my mental paranoia. 
Since we have had kids this sort of thing hasnt been a problem as we havent really been out. I have thought even before the course, how will i react if in a few years we go out and you are dancing with other men, i dont know. I dont think you would be going around dancing with one man to the next, but i would like to be the sort of person who can look at their wife dancing with someone else and think 'i am glad R is having a good time'.

I am wondering if it is my pre conceptions of what dancing with someone means, to be honest i think if someone was dancing with someone else in a club they would therefore fancy them, however if you had been dancing with R, i would see that as nothing, but i see J as a threat as i probably would a stranger.

I keep going back years ago when you would explain to me about life in <Caribbean> where anyone was dirty wining with whoever and it was just about having a good time, In my head i think it is too intimate to be 'just dancing'. If someone danced with me like that i would assume they wanted to have sex.

I know this is part of the bigger picture of jealousy and because i know i am really jealous i see that my view is probably skewed at best and actually wrong. I am looking for discussion/guidance.
I went to sleep, slept well (!) and this morning composed my reply to him:

 I don't think this is deliberate on your behalf, but what I see here is distraction away from the actual problem (your jealousy/values/attitudes) to focus on something which is not the problem at all.  I don't know if it's uncomfortable for you or hasn't occurred to you, to actually look at what values are driving this relentless unwarranted jealousy.  Lundy basically says that it's down to ownership - you basically think that I belong to you and all your jealous behaviours come from that value.  I don't know if this is true, or whether you could admit it if it was but might be worth thinking about. 
Anyway, I am not going to get into a discussion about this for a few reasons.  
Firstly, the problem here isn't my behaviour so it is pointless discussing my behaviour in hopes it will solve the problem.  I think of A here (my friend).  Her constant obsession over one part of her body - which part of the body she focusses on changes over time - but one thing I can be sure of is that she will not suddenly be happy if that certain part of her body is changed.  She will then fixate on another part of her body.  Not because there is anything wrong with her body, which isn't perfect but isn't fundamentally flawed either, but because there is a problem inside that needs to be fixed.  Likewise, your jealousy problem is not caused by any external factors or behaviour of another person, it is caused by something inside you.  Discussing the particular behaviours will not change the problem.  
Secondly, you might think it will change the problem but I assume we can both agree that in the past constant reassurance, discussion and my *actual* behaviour (never having been unfaithful) hasn't changed your jealousy.  You may disagree and still think it could, but I don't believe it can.  In fact, for me, it is actually harmful.  I need to reassert to myself and you that I haven't done anything wrong, I don't need to justify myself, that undermining like this (which it would be to get into a discussion of this) is really unhealthy for me.   
Thirdly, if anything else needs to be said... I don't think that this is the only thing you can't handle jealousy wise - as I mention above.  This is just the thing you are thinking of at the moment.  It is crazy to be wanting to discuss something that hasn't happened in over a decade because you are still fixated on it!  See 'did you sleep with J' (aforementioned friend of his) last year!  Plus, I'm thinking of the fact you think I'm sleeping with anyone I talk to (D?! (a female friend of mine)) and I hope you can see why I think the problem is not my behaviour and whether it is or was justifiable in any context, but your values and jealousy. 
I hope that part of the course comes round soon! 
It's interesting what you say about the role play.  I can't imagine that a role play would be so effective, but it sounds like it was useful.  Maybe I'm being ... suspicious here... but reading your email it felt a bit like you'd only mentioned the role play and apologised for physical violence etc to 'soften me up' so you could then discuss the perceived dancing issue.  Maybe you would have felt embarrassed going straight into the jealousy thing?  Maybe I'm over-thinking it. 
I know this probably isn't what you were hoping to get back in response, but hopefully it's of use.

I was hoping to back up with a few quotes from Why Does He Do That but I didn't have the time to read through it.  However, there is loads in there about this abusive possessiveness and jealousy.

I await his response, but am happy with what I sent him.

Monday, 14 March 2011

After the sex.

He went home.  I went to bed and got barely a night's sleep wondering what on earth I'd done and with a zillion things racing through my mind.  I was also a little bit happy.

The next day we had planned to spend together as it was our daughter's birthday, so we were together all day.  It was a little awkward, but nice.  It felt a bit illicit.  I started to feel uneasy through the day.  I thought I'd just gone and buggered up everything I've worked for over the previous 2 months.  I started to be anxious about what to say and how to draw this back.

In the evening I asked dh to email me his thoughts on everything.

Firstly, you looked beautiful today, not that you dont everyday and even in old jogging bottoms and t shirt you are irresistable. But sometimes its like you are shining like an angel.

About me and you I feel hopeful, since we have looked at the abusive side of things i have always wanted to meet it head on and address my problems (once i realised i was abusive), i have been unsure of whether you even want to stay together and at times very sure that you dont. Last night hasnt changed how i feel about addressing my problems and i dont see it as a guarentee we will be together, i see it as a sign of your intentions and how you feel about me. As to whether we stay together is about how I have changed/will change and if you can accept me back, as at the moment as you know there are still things we disagree about.  Right now all the things we were recently 'discussing' i just feel like they don't matter to me now, i know you may need more than that as anything less than me denouncing my old ways is a compromise, as well as in a few weeks or mths i may feel actually i cant let those things go and self destruct as i cling on to what i see as right.
If I can be the husband you deserve i feel we need to kind of start again, i dont feel like i have been an independant person living in partnership with my wife, it has felt more like we have been a tangled and emotionally volatile ball rolling through life reacting to situations. i want to treat you better in every aspect of our lives. I dont want to fall into the 'controlling man' catergory, but i feel i need to control my life rather that letting run out of control and then blaming you as you are standing next to me when it goes wrong. If i can control my own life at the same time as supporting you through yours i will make myself and you happy.

I fully realise that over the months we may have some more altercations, i hope not but for us to come to an agreeable partnership unless i wake up suddenly free of any former traits then it may take a bit more than just attending coventry 2hrs a week. But please know (especially if things turn a bit sour) I love you R, you are so special to me and i want to give you everything in life that is good.

I love you, i love you, i love you
I read this and it felt like it might be OK.  Thoughts were still whirling through my mind, and I replied to this email.  I replied over the course of a series of emails as my thoughts kept changing.

Email 1:

I am afraid.  Your email reassures me, but I am still afraid.  Have I made a mistake, should I have maintained a distance for longer?  For your benefit and mine?  I feel I have none of the answers so I have to try to go with my gut feelings and hope that it turns out the right way in the end.   
I think your description of the volatile emotional ball is a good one and is how I picture it too.  I am just unsure right now how much if any of that was engineered deliberately by you?  The book seems to say quite clearly that actions by the abuser to control, manipulate and confuse are deliberate but what I seem to hear from you is that it never has been.  This makes me confused and then I wonder if this is a new trick?  I think most of my reaction to your abusiveness over the years has been shock (that someone would say/do that) disbelief (that *you* would say/do that to *me*) then confusion (I can't believe you would so I must be wrong/have misunderstood etc) Now I distrust you and myself, because I have beenwrong so often and I know thatyou have at least consciously contributed to that over the years.  So how on earth can I be confident in myself choosing to act in ways everyone everywhere says are wrong??  Getting involved again, believing you are being honest and truthful, hoping you will see it all through and change.  It all points to me being naiive and allowing myself to be hurt again... 
I wonder how we should start over again.  I am aware of my victim reactions and really struggle to control them.  I overwhelmingly want to dismiss my fears and 'get back to normal' because anything else is terrifying.  When you say or do something I feel uncomfortable or upset over it's really hard for me to stand up and say so (dunno if you can believe that but its true).  I have had to be forcing myself to make rational decisions for the last two months, believing it is for the best.  They don't come naturally and I have been forcing myself to ignore my victim, emotional reactions.  It has been a minute to minute struggle.  I think I have failed over the last 24 hours, but I hope it is not all lost.  The last two months have been the hardest of my life and I don't want yo do that again, but I am opening myself up for that. 
Do either of us know how to conduct ourself in a good, healthy relationship? I don't know how we would go about starting that, but think we should probably wait to start again til you are further in theprogramme? Or should we start slowly now? Dating maybe......obce a week or something?  I am so scared of making a fucked up stupid decision.  I feel like I have done that so often and have had so much pain as a result.  What is wrong with me that I am choosing that possibility again? 
But, god, I love you too A.  More than you can probably ever know.  Am I the biggest idiot in the world?  I wish I knew the future. 
I guess pouring out my ongoing pain and confusion is no help to either of us but there it all is anyway.

 Email 2:

I am obviously in purge/revalation mode so gonna keep going....

I know I have issues including but not only:  1. A desperate need to be loved and 2. A desperate fear that you won't or don't.  Irrational but present in me.  Driving lots of my behaviour over our 14 year relationship.

I do show all the behaviour associated with Stockholm Syndrome.  I am painfully aware that the last 24 hours I have been reacting to the fear/shock/disbelief that I felt as a result of your email.  I wonder if I have fallen into the cycle again.  Being hurt and then relief at someone taking the pain away, even though the person who caused both was the same person (you).  Does this make everything I have just done/felt a sad part of being a victim?  

This is what I amworried about.  Am I still making abuse victim decisions and reacting purely in that capacity?  I think it's too soon for me to believe the answer could be no.  This scares me.
Email 3:

I think I would like to step back again.  I am hoping to get abuse counselling sorted out this week so that I can be confident and reach a place where I am a strong and independent woman who doesn't rely on you for all my self worth and to feel loved.  So that I can hopefully make healthy decisions and conduct a healthy relarionship. I am nowhere near that yet. 
I want to get some distance again so I can think clearly.  I think maybe we start to rebuild our friendship, try to get some time to ourselves but I am not ready to get back into relationship mode yet.  Know i love you and this is want I want.  But I also want it to be right, for us and the kids.  I hope this doesn't piss you off but I think it is for the best. 
Let's start slowly and hopefully build some strong foundations for our future.
I felt so much better after going through all these fears and emotions and telling him!  And also felt relieved that I'd said that I was not happy with what had happened.

I thought I would be able to tell a lot from his reply to this, which came the next morning:
 I totally agree and echo your feelings about having space to be your own person. The other night i had 2 things on my mind once it was apparent you were in a 'friendly' frame of mind the first was obviously desire to have sex with you, you are a hot woman R and difficult to resist. The other thing I was very conscious of was by either having sex or not would you see that as giving me control of you again. If I said no and left, would you feel worse afterwards. At the time I felt whatever happens because you have laid your emotional cards on the table you would feel bad afterward. I didnt take advantage of you but I do think I should have recognised you were very vulnerable and I should have showed restraint, so maybe I did take advantage......... 
As far as physical relationship I will do whatever you want, i think we should abstain from intimate affection until we are properly ready. I don't know how long that will be but I think when we both feel ready we will know, the other night did feel wrong as from my point of view it was driven by desire and missing you. If you think we should set a time span that would be fine and if you wanted to then extend till whenever I will understand and respect that. 
Depending on next few weeks and discussing difficult things, maybe we could meet socially somehow for an hour or so? 
I love you, you do whatever you need to I will put no pressure and help when I can.
He had the children that day and I spent the day chilling out, reading, a bit of housework, baked a cake, went to my eldest daughter's show etc.  It was my dh's birthday, so I got him a card and wrote something inside that showed that I hope we can eventually work things out.  (I hope).

So today - the Monday after the weekend before! - I am feeling really positive.  The tumultuous previous week has taught me a lot.  I'm not overly happy with all my actions, but I know why I chose them so I am not beating myself up over it all.

I feel that the two months of total distance from dh was good for me, but I need longer.  It won't be total distance now.  I have said that I am happy to meet up - away from the house - once a week for a couple of hours, maybe in a pub, restaurant, go for a walk etc (just meet up away from the home and kids).  For the forseeable future - maybe six months - I think this is how our relationship will be.  Separate, but we will spend a couple of hours a week together.

I don't know how it will work out, but it does feel like the right step at this time.

And then what happened?

After I sent that last email (previous post) I was absolutely high on anger.  However during the course of the day it subsided into disappointment and pure sorrow.  The possibility of him making any kinds of change just seem to be a million miles away from this email, even though it is such early days.  That small candle of hope died out a little bit more.

He didn't reply to that email until two days later when I asked him why the woman from the abuser programme was phoning me (I couldn't talk, was out with the children) and received this text:
Probably to let you know your husband is one of the best abusers they have seen and that despite still showing abusive traits of criticising, blaming etc he thinks you are a wonderful person.
I was obviously thrown off by this, following from previous emails.

He was picking up my eldest in the evening and dropping her home, so I asked him to stay back to talk.  I didn't want to talk about this specifically, but our daughter's birthday was the following day and we had to discuss plans/arrangements etc.

I have to be honest at this point and acknowledge that I also wanted to see him.  I suddenly missed him loads and wanted to be close to him.  I was also hormonal.  The hormonal time when you want sex (around ovulation).  God, I can't believe I'm being so honest on a blog!!  I was totally aware of this by the way.

So he came over in the evening and we talked for three hours.  Mainly about birthday arrangements, ongoing problems with the children etc.

Then I laid my cards on the table.  I asked him why it's so difficult for him to change if he loves me and lots of other things I can't remember.  He said he's sorry, he knows that everything is his fault, he is sorry that he's hurt me and that he knows that after everything that has happened it must make me feel even more hurt to read his abusive email.  He apologised for that, said he wrote it in anger (as I could tell due to lack of punctuation) and he doesn't know why he said those mean things because it's not what he thinks at all.  He spoke about the programme and various things in the book.

And I believed him.  I wanted to be close to him so I hugged him, we kissed, we ended up having sex.  :-/

Thursday, 10 March 2011

Well, my anger took over.

My reply to my husband's email in the previous post was initially a short 'let's not do this, nothing is being achieved' type reply.  However, I felt angry with him and angry with the situation and as I'm trying not to repress my feelings any more and go with my intuition, I decided to send a 'fuller' email:

Ok.  Didn't want to get into it but I just have to reply.  I know it's pointless, and not good for me (or probably you) but anyway.  Will just have to 'act in haste and repent at leisure' or whatever the saying is.
I refered to D as you give the impression that it was just me that thought the house used to be messy, and that even if it was then so what.
Whether people like the house clean is not the issue!!!!! Of course people like to live in a clean house.  The issue is that you thought it was my job to clean the house to your spec.  Or that someone with X amount of young children, with various other issues going on was sitting on her fat ass living the life of riley and doing 'fuck all'.  D wouldn't think that!  Neither would most normal non-abusive people.  That is what I was saying!!  
It sounds as if your friendship with D is a world away from that of a few months ago when you said you found it difficult to talk with her as you felt she was being 'indirectly critical of you in some way.
Again, storing up something I've discussed with you that I was worried about to twist around and 'use' against me.  God, could you be any more of a text book abuser?  What I was discussing with you in relation to D was that she didn't understand some of the parenting decisions that I have made.  A lot of people don't because people generally want to just control their kids.  But D is my friend so that upset me at a time that S was being particularly difficult.  NOTHING to do with this discussion at all!  
Yes i did mention my mum,but then said for obvious reasons wont use her as an example. I was looking to use someone that you would feel comfortable with to say 'look its not just me that likes to live in a tidy house, 'normal' people like it also'.
Again, twisting everything.  THIS IS NOT THE ISSUE. 
Your workload; as far as stuff round the house i would agree that you did lions share, i would not question that at all. and you must be happy that the small increase in workload has meant the house is nice and tidy now.  Little dig there?  I haven't had a small increase in workload.  I have had a large decrease in workload which is why the house is nice and tidy now.  Because you are not here being another person creating mess and I now have a bit of time each week without the children to potter around and do housework. 
The quotes from the book you used i understand and recognise in me. I struggle with the concept 'he doesnt believe that you should set any limits on his conduct or insist he meet his responsibilities' Is that not the conditioning that you as the woman are trying to escape? I understand that part as the man has should have no control over you (which i agree with) but the woman can have control over the man because we will substitute the word control with limits his conduct, and who is setting these responsiblities, you, me, lundy, society. that part to me seems like double standards, i dont get it.Well I hope that you do get it during the programme, because you are misunderstanding this bit.  Deliberately or not, I don't know. 
I enjoy knowing that it is ok to go out and be tired/hungover the next day without being judged as a bad father.I am glad that you can enjoy this now.  Of course, let's ignore the fact that I rarely ever went out or had any time to myself.  Maybe I was a little irate about that.  Especially as if I did ever do something for myself then I got hauled over the coals for it (I can only use the writing course as an example because there has barely been anything else over the last 5 years).  
that if i have to work late on a job i have not failed as a husband.Ok.  I am sure I have never said or implied that you have failed as a husband.  You have.  But I have never before said it, and not for this reason. 
that if i spend money on tennis i have not taken it away from the family.
Does the twisting around just come naturally?  How many times did I encourage you to play tennis with people or say that it might be a good way to make friends?  The ONLY times I ever discussed tennis in the negative was in reaction to you complaining about my writing course - trying to show that we both NEED to spend time doing our own thing.  And when you said you didn't have any time I would say 'what about tennis'.  REACTING TO YOU REACTING TO YOU REACTING TO YOU.  Likewise, if I ever mentioned money it was because you would have been complaining about me spending money on myself that 'we didn't have'.  REACTING TO YOU REACTING TO YOU REACTING TO YOU.  Get it?? 
Yesterday when you called and i was at M's i had a worried feeling that i was out late doing something i shouldnt, i am sure that will pass with time. I expect you will deny you ever treated me like that, maybe over the past few years, but over a decade of being made to feel guilty for going out kind of gets ingrained into you.
You!?  You, who accused me of cheating saying this.... it's really quite funny.  'Abuse 101' as Lundy might say.  If I ever made you feel guilty for going out it was because I NEVER WENT OUT YET ANY TIME I TRIED TO HAVE TIME TO MYSELF YOU COULDN'T LET IT GO - writing course.  (have to harp on about this because I never had any time to myself otherwise).  You are right about double standards, but I'm not the one who had them. 
I know that in the sexist world we live combined with my physical abusiveness and ongoing emotional abuse you have suffered more than me, but you have given me some crap as well.REACTING TO YOU. 
I know I probably seem angry and irrational here A*****.  But I just can't believe you are still living so firmly in this justified, entitled world you have built around you.  Has nothing made any impact at all?  Nothing?  You are so firmly in denial it is scary. 
I think it's going to be a long while before we can actually discuss any part of our relationship.  We are still poles apart.  Poles apart.  Let's carry on as we have been for the last few weeks while you attend the programme, and I carry on with what I'm doing.  I'd say it will be another couple of months or more before we might be ready to discuss this stuff properly.  I don't know what you think.   
I just would like to add:
"Step number 4 demands that the abusive man accept his partner's right to be angry.  He actually has to take seriously the furious things she says and think about them rather than using her emotional pitch as an excuse to stuff her opinions back down her throat".  (the part about real change).
Although I know this was probably pointless.  Actually, I feel a whole load better having said it.   

How is all this change coming along?

After my blog post the other night I called my husband back and we had a long conversation.

It was the same old stuff, he was re-gurgitating the old 'housework' stuff and making out he couldn't understand when something was a simple request or abusive blah blah blah.  Really, he is just feeling exactly the same.  He played a couple of new cards in this conversation though, so must have been thinking about it all for a while.

The discussion was interrupted when my youngest woke up so was continued briefly by text.
Me: Hmmm. I feel a bit like we've done the same old, same old a bit there.  Discuss different times/ways I didn't live up to your expectations, then how I behaved the same as you did.  Do you honestly believe that to be true?  That I put the same level (or anywhere near it) of expectations, forced my opinions or general disappointment as you did me?
dh: No, I never felt physically intimidated as you probably did, and I know that when you wanted me home instead of work it was because you needed support/wanted your husband to be with you.  At the same time if you say you have never imposed your beliefs onto me then I don't agree and will give examples.  There are what I see as easy fixes (for my own abusiveness) like the physical abuse, I can identify and rectify and say I would never do that again.  But the belief part I am finding really difficult.
Me: I know.  I don't want to get sucked back into endlessly discussing the trivia which i believe strongly are not the problem.  I know you prefer single incidents to highlight things but in this situation it doesn't work (in my opinion) because it is the whole picture.  Yes, someone can say "what have you been doing all day?" but that action is not abusive, it's the pattern/underlying attitude that pervades every interaction and emotion that is the problem.  Saying for example that I did 'X' doesn't really help unless you are saying that to a)justify what you did or b) show that you were no worse than me.  If this is the case then what is the point?
dh:  I was using the work examples when you said you have never made me feel bad by imposing your beliefs onto me.  I cannot think of any other way to try and validate my point of view on that matter.  I know that re hashing the old arguments isn't constructive in itself, but like I said I know that imposing my beliefs on you is wrong, so why do I still feel there are certain things I am justified about?  I don't think you are 'beneath' me at all, I don't feel woman are subservient to men, but I still feel there were things I 'had a right' to feel justified about, and that is a fundamental problem and it manifests itself as domestic duties which is why it keeps coming up time and time again.  I am sure you feel exhausted going over the same stuff again.  The only things I need to clarify with you are what you feel actually happened and hopefully within the group I can discuss it an not make you feel worse or critisized.
Me: I never said "I have never made you feel bad by imposing my beliefs'.  This is where I see you changing what I said and what I meant to excuse/justify your own actions.  I asked you specifically how you would have felt if I had spent the last 14 years continually telling you or implying that you were not earning enough money to support the family and that if you were out working then I expect you to bring home a certain (unspecified) amount which you never quite managed.  Continuing the analogy I was using in the hope you might find it useful (clearly you didn't) would have been about how I would also disapprove of anything you did which wasn't getting the money - bar certain other activities that I defined as acceptable - and so on.  It was pointless really, as I should have known because yet again you changed what I was trying to show or what I said and took a few isolated incidents that were largely unrelated to 'prove your point'.
Oh, and I honestly think that over the years what I was doing was trying to support you in what I thought (because you said it) that you wanted - to be able to be working less.  Maybe I over-assumed that your priority would be spending time with the kids but most times I was talking about hours you were working in relation to showing you that you could work less to achieve what I thought you wanted.  Not what I believed you should want.  Obviously if you tell me that you never wanted to work less or be home more then I was incorrect in those assumptions.  That is totally different to the whole thing to do with you, me and my role as the perfect wife, mother, cleaner.
I can't believe the lengths of those texts!  He didn't reply to the above for some reason and I had a sleepless night.  Fell asleep after midnight, woke frequently and finally woke before 6am.

What I've decided to do is be true and honest to myself.  If I have anything I want to say to him, I'm just going to say it.  With that in mind the next day I wrote the following email:

Ok.  I had hardly a wink of sleep last night - don't know about you... 
So, you say that the only thing you need to clarify is what I think happened.  I don't know what you are referring to with regard to this...? 
Anyway, I felt like I needed to write an email because text is ridiculous for communicating anything. 
I couldn't believe the conversation last night.  Although you were saying that you understood that this thing of expectations (or entitlement) was wrong that you didn't yet believe it.  That's no surprise considering you are only on week 2, but so much of what you said last night was pure entitlement and justification.  Example - D (a good friend of mine)!!!  I couldn't believe that!  If I walk into D's house and say 'what the hell's going on, it's a tip' or vice versa it's not actually an accusation that I/she believes that she/I hasn't been doing what they should be doing, or what 'everyone else' ought to be doing.  I think maybe you should phone D to find out if she believes that there have been times when I've not done all I ought to have been doing in the house.  I'm sure she'll be honest  with you about what she thinks.  This is another example of storing away a comment or even 10 that D may have made and then using them to justify your own sense of entitlement!  For goodness sake!  I know that D thinks I have and always have had my work cut out, that I rarely get a minute to myself, that I do everything for or with the kids, most of all that I work hard.  I don't think she ever would say that I live a life of luxury, lounging around reading and having a self focussed lifestyle as you have attempted to assert for a long long time. 
Yet again, we are discussing this topic!!!  Will it ever pass???!  You using something else to 'prove' that really you were right, which is taken totally out of context and/or is totally irrelevant. 
You also mentioned your mum's opinion which made me smile and shake my head.  Your mum got the edited version of our life, one where you came home from work bringing shopping on the way, cooked meals, cleaned and tidied around, basically did stuff that was not your normal thing!  I always felt like I had a bit of a holiday when your mum came!  Was great!  But it was not how things normally were.  You may disagree and I won't be surprised if you do, but that is my opinion of the truth.  So any opinions your mum has formed are not really accurate, I feel.  Also, she has lived with an emotionally abusive man for a long time and probably thought what she saw of our family was loads better than hers, but 1. it was edited and 2. being a bit less shit than shit doesn't make it good.  Also, I've overheard your little comments to your mum and occasionally Abi, last time at Christmas when I walked in as you were saying you'd 'had enough of waiting on me' and implying I wasn't really very ill - what a joke!   
Anyway, here I am yet again arguing with you over this trivia.  Sigh. 
So, moving on.  What do I feel happened?  I'm not sure what you are referring to. 
I think this sums it up:
"The Demand Man is highly entitled.  He expects his partner's life to revolve around meeting his needs and is angry and blaming if anything gets in the way.... The partner of this man comes to feel that nothing she does is ever good enough, and that it is impossible to make him happy.  He criticizes her frequently, usually about things that he thinks she should have done - or done better - for him."   
"The abusive man's high entitlement leads him have unfair and unreasonable expectations, so that the relationship revolves around his demands.  His attitude is "You owe me".  For each ounce he gives, he wants a pound in return.  He wants his partner to devote herself fully to catering to him, even if it means that her own needs get neglected.  You can pour all your energy into keeping your partner content, but if he has this mind-set he'll never be satisfied for long.  And he will keep feeling that you are controlling him, because he doesn't believe that you should set any limits on his conduct or insist that he meet his responsibilities". 
"He exaggerates and overvalues his own contributions... He seems to keep a mental list of any favours or kindnesses he ever does.. He thinks you owe him tremendous gratitude for meeting the ordinary responsibilities of daily life - when he does - but takes your contributions for granted" 
In fact, as far as clarifying what's happened in our relationship from my point of view - the book pretty much spells it out perfectly.  Every problem or issue practically is discussed at length.  That's why I feel pretty confident now in my perceptions of what has happened.  You'll never be able to convince me, no matter what you pull out of the bag, that I have been self serving, lazy or lead a selfish lifestyle.  I always knew it was incorrect, because I lived my life and knew that your description of it was wrong, but now I can be confident that you are wrong and see clearly the reasons why you are still trying to explain how I was like that, and even how other non-abusive people saw me like that too (D).  I am so happy to be free from the questioning of myself that you used to impose on me! 
One thing I've noticed since you left is that my workload at home has not hardly increased at all.  I think maybe one or two extra dishwasher loads to empty/fill, take the bins out and maybe an extra wash load a week?  It's become so obvious to me that I was indeed doing 95% of everything to do with running the household (including bills/paperwork/food/clothes etc shopping).  I'm so happy to have that confirmed.  Another area of A*****-imposed self doubt slips away. 
 I'm not saying this because I want you to feel bad, and I'm sure you don't - you probably just disagree and think I've still got it all wrong - but I do want to be honest.  I don't want to keep quiet about what I feel and think any more. 
So, although I miss you and your company I don't miss most of the things that you brought with you.  I'm absolutely enjoying being my own person.  I can cook what I want, buy what I want, clean what and when I want, read if I want, watch what I want on the tv etc.  Nobody disapproving of me and my actions.  It's wonderful.  I finally feel that this is my home.  To live under watch is not a positive state. 
I mean most of this discussion is about one small area.  We've not touched on the jealousy, accusations that I've been unfaithful, and so on.  These are the things that I wonder about.
If we lived separately forever, but decided to be in a relationship then ?maybe the issue over whether I am good enough around the house wouldn't be an issue.  But what about the rest.  Even if we didn't live together wouldn't you still make snide comments to belittle me?  Would you believe I was unfaithful and accuse me?  Would your need to control me get even worse?  Would you be able to argue without twisting things round?  Would you ever be able to take responsibility for your actions instead of blaming me/anyone else?   
I suppose these are the issues that will hopefully be decided over the next 6 months - I hope.
So, this is what I think and how I'm feeling at the moment.  I do still feel I love you and want to be with you, but am wondering if I even know you?  The real you, under all this crap ... or is this crap the real you and there is nothing underneath?  If I knew 100% that we'd be able to have a happy, healthy, normal relationship I'd be back together in a heartbeat.  I don't know if I'll ever know that. 
None of these opinions or feelings or emotions are up for debate, or to being denied.
I didn't hear anything all day yesterday, and was slightly apprehensive.  I thought that the reply I got would tell me a lot about how things are going for him.  This was the reply he finally sent late last night:

As you say we have gone over this subject too many times, i think i understand the accepted view that it is not right to judge or expect others to do things to your own expectations. So when i ask about clarification it is because as i said yesterday are couples not allowed to request anything from the other incase it is seen as abuse. From what you said i understand it depends on whether one of the parties has had a long history of negative attitude and disapproval of the other, this then taints any 'reasonable' request. 
This is how i now understand it from speaking to you yesterday, so i look back to things i have requested from you that I feel are not overstepping the 'abuse boundary' such as asking you to sew my trousers. If you think this sort of thing in itself is abusive then i still dont understand, but if it is that on top of abusive beliefs and entitlement it is tainted then i do undertand that.

I refered to D as you give the impression that it was just me that thought the house used to be messy, and that even if it was then so what. I dont think it is wrong to want to live in a clean and tidy environment and I feel that people like D have the same opinion. I have not given any thought as to whether she feels you work hard, live a life of luxury, lounge around reading having a self focussed lifestyle. I know these are things i have rashly said before, but not regarding this. It sounds as if your friendship with D is a world away from that of a few months ago when you said you found it difficult to talk with her as you felt she was being 'indirectly critical of you in some way.

Yes i did mention my mum ,but then said for obvious reasons wont use her as an example. I was looking to use someone that you would feel comfortable with to say 'look its not just me that likes to live in a tidy house, 'normal' people like it also'.

When my mum was here yes i did sometimes get some shopping, cook meals, cleaned and tidied, basically did stuff that yes i did normally do, not the majority of the time but regularly (especially at weekends) so if she was here at those times she would witness that. But unless it was xmas the majority of the meals she ate were yours, you did most of the shopping and tidying. it sounds like your implying that i only ever did stuff when she was here?
I dont agree with a lot of my mums opinions regarding domestic stuff and  it gives good examples of how i am abusive with you.

Your workload; as far as stuff round the house i would agree that you did lions share, i would not question that at all. and you must be happy that the small increase in workload has meant the house is nice and tidy now.

The quotes from the book you used i understand and recognise in me. I struggle with the concept 'he doesnt believe that you should set any limits on his conduct or insist he meet his responsibilities' Is that not the conditioning that you as the woman are trying to escape? I understand that part as the man has should have no control over you (which i agree with) but the woman can have control over the man because we will substitute the word control with limits his conduct, and who is setting these responsiblities, you, me, lundy, society. that part to me seems like double standards, i dont get it.

I too share your feeling of freedom, it is nice and i am still getting used to it. I enjoy knowing that it is ok to go out and be tired/hungover the next day without being judged as a bad father.that if i have to work late on a job i have not failed as a husband.that if i spend money on tennis i have not taken it away from the family. Yesterday when you called and i was at M's i had a worried feeling that i was out late doing something i shouldnt, i am sure that will pass with time. I expect you will deny you ever treated me like that, maybe over the past few years, but over a decade of being made to feel guilty for going out kind of gets ingrained into you. 
I know that in the sexist world we live combined with my physical abusiveness and ongoing emotional abuse you have suffered more than me, but you have given me some crap as well.
So, I would be really interested to hear what other people make of this reply.  I just hear the same stuff and think nothing has changed at all!  I know he is only at the beginning of this so-called journey to change but even after reading the book, attending 3 individual sessions, 2 group sessions and us being separated... well, nothing seems to have changed.  

Most of what is in the email is just lies, or more accurately things that have happened but have been twisted around to try to blame me.

One good thing - I've decided to look for abuse counselling for me asap.

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

The big question.....

The period of time from when we had our final argument to my husband moving out was 24 hours.  Within a week he had rented a new flat and brought a new car.  It all felt sudden and was a real shock.

Obviously for the previous two weeks or so my husband had also been implying that we were 'about to go through a difficult time' - well he was actually saying it, not implying.  It was like he set everything up to happen like this.

Naturally, this has made friends and family suspicious.  I have also been suspicious on and off, but have had many other emotions and feelings to deal with too.  This has been the bottom of my 'to-do' list of feelings.

Anyway, he called me early evening - 5.30pm ish.  I missed the call, then my phone ran out of battery, then I put the kids in bed etc  so I didn't return the call til after 9pm.  I called twice on his home phone.  Then I called on his mobile. 

He called back and was acting so strange, talking funny, cutting things short and clearly didn't want to talk to me.  At one point I thought I heard whispering.  I asked who was whispering, he said it was the TV which I could also hear in the background, but I'm sure I heard someone whisper.  Then he said "look I'll call you tomorrow, OK".  I said OK, then put the phone down.

Clearly somebody was there.  So, now I guess it's time to suspect.  On one side, well - we are separated and I don't know if/when we'll ever get back together.  On the other side, if he so-called loves me and wants us to get back together then what is he doing if he is having an affair?  At least that will be the definite sign to me.  I will know then that there is no going back, and will have to fully mourn the marriage.  

I know I sound rational here, but I assure you I am physically shaking right now and a whirl of emotion is going through my head.  I would be utterly devastated if he is having an affair, utterly.  I would be distraught.  I still consider us as married and together, just separated while we see if the abuse programme will enable him to recognise and change his abusive behaviour.

But maybe, for him, it's just an excuse to say 'we were separated' when it becomes apparent he has had a relationship.  It doesn't matter though, because there will be nothing to excuse.  Our relationship will be finished if this is what is going on.

Now, in my bloody-mindedness and curiosity I want to call back and see if I can draw him into a discussion about us, where he declares his intention for us to get back together.  Maybe I will, maybe I won't.

Sunday, 6 March 2011

Does he love me?

I have been wondering about this lately. If my dh loves me and wants to get back together as much as he professes then why doesn't he just decide not to be abusive? Why do we have to separate and him go through 7 months of group therapy before he *might* see the light??

This is what Lundy Bancroft has to say:
"The more a man abuses you, the more he is demonstrating that he cares only about himself. He may feel a powerful desire to RECEIVE your love and caretaking, but he only wants to GIVE love when it's convenient.

So is he lying when he says he loves you? No, usually not. Most of my clients do feel a powerful sensation inside that they call love. For many of them it is the only kind of feeling toward a female partner that they have ever had, so they have no way of knowing that it isn't love. When an abusive man feels the powerful stirring inside that other people call love, he is probably largely feeling:

* The desire to have you devote your life to keeping him happy with no outside interference

* The desire to have sexual access

* The desire to impress others by having you be his partner

* The desire to possess and control you

The confusion of love with abuse is what allows abusers who kill their partners to make the absurd claim that they were driven by the depths of their loving feelings. ... But what could more thoroughly prove that a man did NOT love his partner? ... Genuine love means respecting the humanity of the other person, wanting what is best for him or her, and supporting the other person's self-esteem and independence. This kind of love is incompatible with abuse and coercion."

Friday, 4 March 2011

Want, not need.

Today I talked to my husband.  Sounds weird.  Obviously we have talked, briefly, over the last 6-7 weeks since we separated.  Mainly it has been practical arrangements to do with the children.  I didn't feel able, or willing, to talk to him.  Any other discussion has been done by email, as you've seen if you've been reading the blog.

Our eldest daughter's birthday is coming up which has necessitated some discussion and arrangements.  I also wanted to discuss with him how the kids are handling everything and whether we need to do anything else.  Particularly, I feel they have no idea why we separated and may be worrying about that.

Anyway, during our phone call I said to him that it's a shame he couldn't just decide to stop being abusive rather than have to go through all this.  Obviously I didn't expect a reply - it sounds like a flippant comment but it's something I've been thinking.  If he really loved me he'd just stop it.  Surely it wouldn't take months in an abuser's group to be able to do that?  I know it's the core values that need to change, not just the behaviours so I know this is over-simplistic.  But, hell, I'm in a place where I want to say what I think.

Anyway, of course he had no reply and the conversation moved on.

We discussed how difficult it is to communicate.  I said that I feel slightly in a limbo.  I don't know if we will or won't ever be together again.  I don't know how his abuser programme will go, whether he will change or anything else right now.  I don't hate him.  We aren't definitely separating forever, or definitely getting back together.  In this light, communication is a bit awkward with neither of us sure of the boundaries.  That's something I need to think about, I guess, because he is taking the lead from me.

I enjoyed the sun today, we played tennis at the park (me and the kids), they played in the playground, we had lunch at a cafe and walked the dog.  We went to the library, got books and a DVD and the kids watched the film while I read my new book with a coffee.  It was a lovely day.

At the library I paid nearly £40 in backdated fines (mainly for kids DVDs I overlooked returning during the worse part of the separation).  I paid over the money, paid for lunch, brought some groceries and came home.

I came to a few realisations this afternoon.  Firstly, I'm an adult.  I am spending my time how I want to without fear of disapproval.  This feels good.

Secondly, I am comfortable and happy in my home.  It feels like my home.  I tidy up, cook, shop, pay bills etc on my own timetable.  Nobody is looking over my shoulder, whether metaphorically or physically.  I read for an hour today, I've been online chatting to friends and it's fine!  It's just absolutely fine.

Thirdly, I am standing on my own two feet.  With a lot of assistance from the state, I admit, I am paying for my house, my debts, my bills, for food, for fuel, for clothes, for days out.  I have a plan to earn more money and am confident that I can do it myself.  Nobody telling me I'll give up if I don't like it.  Nobody to stop me giving up if I don't like it and doing something else instead!

All of this leads me to thinking that I no longer need my husband in any way.  I am my own person and am living my own life, without him.  And it's okay.  So if I no longer need him, the only reason I will get back together with him is if I want to.  And the only reason I will want to is because the relationship will be positive to me and my children.

I feel I have a bit empowered by thinking about all of this.  It's crummy at the moment, I'm up and down missing him and wishing things were different.  But I can and am handling it.  I'm not making contact when I feel like this.  I'm not allowing things to slip back.  I'm acknowledging it's shitty and I wouldn't have chosen for 'us' to end up like this.  But I'm also ramming it into my head that these feelings are temporary and that gradually I'm on an upward curve to feeling better.

In fact, it's astonishing how much has changed in such a short time.  The highs and lows are not as extreme, but more than that.  I can no longer imagine living how we used to live!  I can't imagine ever being able to handle living slightly on edge, wondering whether I am doing the right thing, feeling constantly disapproved of or not quite good enough in any way.  My god, I won't now choose that life.  Not now that I know what it is.  I choose a better life.  Sure, it's sucky in some ways - I miss my husband, I still love him, I wanted my family to stay together, finances aren't brilliant - but the positive aspects far outweigh the negative.

And I'm thinking now.  Why would I choose him, now that I know him?  If I could instead choose a relationship with someone who thinks I'm great (most of the time), who trusts me, who believes me to be a good person, who loves me, who thinks I am equal... why would I choose my husband over this other person?  My husband doesn't trust me, seems to think I'm inherently a lazy, selfish person, thinks I need to be told how to spend my time and live my life otherwise I would do nothing,  is unhappy to see me happy.

So, I suppose this just means that my husband will have a very long way to go to convince me that it's worth the risk of getting into a relationship with him.  Because the risk is great.