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Here are some techniques of abuse: Withholding, countering, discounting/demeaning/devaluing, dismissing, joking/ blocking, diverting, accusing/blaming, judging/criticing, trivialising, name calling, forgetting, revising/rewriting, ordering, manipulating/lying, denying/negating, anger/aggression, echoing, humiliating, condescending/mockiing
So how do you know if you are being abused?
You are afraid and off balance You enforce your boundaries and that is ignored You feel like nothing you do is right Feel guilty Walk on egg shells Avoid public appearances are subject to shifting sands of expectation Always cave in Subject to threats or intimidation are ignored Embarrassed or social isolated as a result of your partners actions Occasionally 'love bombed' or 'groomed' then ignored Belittled or trashed The first year or so was loving The abuse gradually intensified with different behaviors
I think this is a really great thread but can I add a codicil to this?
Marriages hit turbulence. When this occurs people usually react poorly.
So, I would really like to repeat a caution which Vanilla brought up a couple of pages ago which I think was the most valuable when discussing emotional and/or verbal abuse.
Emotional and/or verbal abuse is an attempt to change your spouses behavior or the dynamics of your marriage. Emotional and/or verbal abuse has an intent attached.
Couples fight. And when they are in the worst part of their fighting...sometimes they yell and say very mean things to each other. Sometimes when they fight they will threaten or use intimidation to win an argument. They will cross boundaries. And when they are fighting they try to make their partner feel off balance and unloved. But this is not abuse.
This is fighting.
Can it cross the line to abuse?
But, I think it hurts a marriage when one spouse believes they are the victim of abuse when, in reality, they are just fighting.
I think the internet has made it too easy to validate a belief and vilify behaviors we find unpleasant.
Everyone who has been caught in a bald-face lie has felt off balance; afraid; felt guilty; walked on eggshells; avoided public appearance; subjected to shifting sands of expectations; probably caved in; and were (or should have been) embarrassed.
Being caught doing something bad and being victimized usually produces the same physiological reaction.
Abuse is terrible and no one should be the victim of abuse. But we need to recognize there are a lot of psychological factors at work when dealing with an abusive personality.
I think it hurts a marriage when one spouse believes they are the victim of abuse when, in reality, they are just fighting.
Hope414 has made a great point! I think either this thread or another one should talk about VICTIM mentality and how we get off of the VICTIM's triangle. I personally see this a lot on the boards and we do not want to get STUCK in this mode.
I think either this thread or another one should talk about VICTIM mentality and how we get off of the VICTIM's triangle. I personally see this a lot on the boards and we do not want to get STUCK in this mode.
A great resource for this is a lady named lynne forrest, she tells people how to get off the triangle. I think my friend Cadet would want you to know that. Try googling her name.
There is a big difference between being a 'target' and being a '.victim'.
I have been very careful (at least I have made a big effort) to refer to target in this thread.
The reason for that is that most targets never become victims, systematic abuse denies the target the 'victim' mentality. If you examine my thread, Zeldas or even TLees you will see it takes a great deal before a target excepts abuse. They struggle to reject that designation, it is much better to look at being targeted. I don't see myself as a victim, and have never cried that out, in fact I see too much denial for that. Even after crisis there is denial, heavens in some sitches there is Physical abuse.
Victim mentality is about denying responsibility, targets usually accept all responsibility for everything. They are polar opposites.
Baffled, bemused, hurt and eventually accepting yes, but 'woe is me' - no.
This thread is about being targeted not about being a faux victim.
Only 1-5% of sitches will be systematic and abusive. The question for each poster is that your sitch? If it is can you truly recognise it. If you are abusive in any way change it, don't just say my spouse is a faux victim. Can I refer you to the irrationality post on this thread please?
It is almost an irony that for those to whom it applies are likely to deny, to be Stockholm and dissonant, unlikely to be wayward, perhaps reactive or situational. Take a long time to say I am the target. Whereas those who cry 'victim' may well be just simply in a difficult M. It's an easy label to give for effect, but at its essence there is a difference between a target and a victim.
Last edited by Vanilla; 07/17/1509:07 PM.
Freedom is just another word for nothing left to loose. V 64, WAW
I respect the intent of this thread and I admire you for starting it. This thread provides a valuable avenue of expression for many people.
My concern is some people may misdiagnose their spouse as “Abusive” and act accordingly.
For example, some people may stop contact or refuse to engage in conflict resolution because they believe their spouse is abusive. If their spouse is not abusive this behavior would exacerbate an already terrible situation and may have a detrimental impact on resolving problems in their marriage.
Again, no one should be in an abusive relationship. But there is a difference between someone engaging in abusive behavior and an Abuser.
Many of us, under the right circumstances, could act in an abusive manner. An Abuser suffers from a psychological disorder.
For example, a child throws a tantrum by screaming and physically hit people when frustrated or angry. This is abusive behavior. But not every child engaging in this behavior is an Abuser. Most of the time a child’s behavior can be changed when they are taught the appropriate method of communication.
If anyone believes they are in an abusive relationship, I strongly urge they seek marriage counseling with someone specifically trained in this area. If joint counseling is not possible then I strongly urge individual counseling.
You are doing a wonderful job with this thread and your insight into abuse has been extremely educational. Again, thank you for starting it.
Hope thank you, your concern is a valid one. Abuse of any kind needs to stop, full stop. It's inappropriate whatever the circumstances. An abuser can take ownership and heal and atone for their own sake. Whether the target excepts that is entirely their choice. The target may also react back as in my own case and that too should stop and be atoned for.
Abusive behaviour is for me always inappropriate and in my own sitch by me, destructive as it allowed WH to justify his own actions. So ineffective too.
However abusers like my WH are systematic and deliberate, such abuse generally arises from a personality disorder. And not from temporarily disrupted behaviour. It's ingrained in the person and hard but not completely impossible to change. I may never know if WH was borderline (a old category where a person lies between category B and category C on the DSM. I will put a post together on this.
I actually don't believe in diagnosis I am of the new thinking on this that there are two elements to personality, 1. a strong behavioural element which is mutable and changes throughout life according to situation and 2. personality traits developed as a result of a combination of genetics and early environment, (later environment having a lesser role).
I am not sure I believe in labels of types either and unless there is a proper clinical diagnosis. Whenever I see a label either of the self or another, I can always ask was that a diagnosis? And generally it isn't, it's a self diagnosis or amateur diagnosis. Besides things change and sitches change, labels shouldn't be per enact but can be useful. Some types of personality disorder have a strong genetic component, my own Paradoxical ADD ( hyper focus or mild savant syndrome) is autistic and also genetic. Others are carefully nurtured personality traits. Both can be managed. Incidentally that was diagnosed in childhood because of dyspraxia (clumsiness) and dreamlike distraction (live in the real world not Vs world). It's a case of using the positives and some of this has great potential for good if managed.
There is enormous power and great goodness in being a managed abuser.
Behaviour is different, if someone believes they are abused even if they aren't that although irrational is a valid experience for them and to deny that is invalidating their view of the world. Of course there are those who deliberately outright lie ' I have been abused' for gain in a D or as a justification and I often suspect the reverse twist of abuse. Be careful who you point at as four fingers point back.
Targets of systematic abuse often can't accept it, they won't be the ones crying wolf, until a spell breaker incident. Mustardseeds spell breaker is above, we were also privilidge do to see Zeldas on the board and my own. Sometimes it's a series of steps before we break free. Systematic abusers quite often don't stop and when they do they move on to another target. Originally I saw the thread as helping targets of systematic abusers but it's more than that to me now it's about stopping abuse of all types and often that means bravery by both abusers and targets. I really believe we can only do that if we are open and honest about our sitches. In my own case I accept I was a reactive abuser and a target of systematic abuse. I can only manage myself and stop my behaviour whilst removing myself as a target. Nothing I can do will change WH, he has to want to do that for himself and have the tools to do it.
We can't love the abuse from an abuser although we can provide the environment in which loving change is possible if the abuser wants to change as I did. It will be a lifelong mission. It is far too easy to condemn and much harder to support.
I think it works (as I learned in Gamanon) according to the 12 steps with acceptance being the first step. In order for that to happen then there has to be awareness. Before awareness comes knowledge, before knowledge comes information. Then as in all behavioural change there has to be a toolkit for change. I can think about a resource kit for the thread. I think one of the issues is there is too much available and some of it needs filtering. Accepting that you are either an abuser or a target is very hard sometimes and many sites are damaging because they are 'bashing'. Whilst I believe you can't love the abuse away, there has to be toughness, I do believe that healing is possible and great personal growth from it. That will only come with connection and self responsibility for both target’s and abusers.
Using abuse as a label for other inappropriate behaviour isn't useful although if it starts us thinking about change I am not sure that matters. If we say my spouse/loved one/work colleague is accusing me of abuse, is it valid? Not really. Then why are they doing that? Do they truly believe that? If the answer is yes then why do they? Should I tackle it? If so how? If the answer is no then am I actually a target? Etc
Accusations, whether false or not are a stepping stone to awareness and acceptance, even if the label isn't valid.
Thank you for posting.
Last edited by Vanilla; 07/18/1507:41 AM.
Freedom is just another word for nothing left to loose. V 64, WAW
Lots of you are very fimilar with my stich, there was plenty of abuse. He hit the child for no reason, he took no responsibility for any of his actions and blamed me for anything that was done to me and s17. Took almost 6mo of ic to come to terms and admit it was always moving down the abuse road.
The other kicked was knowing that he told me he was accused of the same behaivour with his wife. Do I think he's abusive and indulges in repeat behaviour?
Yes I do, I saw him assault his own son in the name of disapline and I saw the huge tempers and nasty nasty jibes that he continued with the gaslight and stealing money.
So once the ic started to try to iron out the abuse I defended him, accepted Balme but have not seen myself as a victim more of being stupid and allowing my self to be taken advantage of.
Last edited by Ggrass; 07/18/1508:51 AM.
M 46 h54 Both married before T 11y Bd 2/14 I must see where ow leads! Ms 18 hs 26
your post about grooming was terrifyingly resonant with me. It was almost hard to read.
I appreciate your insight so much.
Thank you RAI, the posts here are based on a combination of other posts, regretfully some posts are reworking of others insights and not my own. I don't want to take credit for others work. It is probably helpful for readers to know that. Plus Zelda has had a great deal of input here too.
That particular post was from a number of sites and questions raised about how predators worked.
I think we also have to realise WS are also culpable they can say no to seducers. There is a point at which they should say no and they don't. We may need to let them come to their senses.
Last edited by Vanilla; 07/18/1511:17 AM.
Freedom is just another word for nothing left to loose. V 64, WAW
Am I unjustly labelling my partner as a systematic abuser?
This is a valid question and before we self diagnose or amateur diagnose another , it is one which should be answered seriously. As each of us is in an R or M which is failing, it is valid to ask why and is it because there is abuse. We need to be careful as abuse as diagnosis is one way of avoiding personal responsibility . There is also the question, as in my own case of reverse abuse, that is we are part of the problem. My own stance is simple and straightforward, irrespective of another's actions abuse should stop and we tackle our own issues.
We cannot escape the fact that we are not responsible for another's behaviour but we can provide an environment for change, we can provide healing and growth, acceptance and repair. Love is part of that equation in providing that environment for ourselves and others. It is up to each of us to change. That change can be an enormous gift.
However there are some key questions to ask before we label our partner
The Start of your R Was the start of your R idyllic? Have you been together a long time, and had normal ups and downs until now? If the former is a pattern then that can be an indicator, if the latter then systematic abuse is unlikely. If you can say my H was a wonderful man until he lost his job or my W was a wonderful loving mother then this looks situational, even if there is abuse it's likely to be behavioural. It has to change of course and there is the capacity for change.
However if the start of your R was wonderful and went downhill then that could be a sign the glowing start to an R that can't be maintained. When mistreatment starts in a minor way then it is assumed. The behaviour arises assumes from something that has gone wrong inside of the other-what else can be concluded, given how wonderful it was to begin with? Do you let go of the dream or did you do something wrong. Most true targets question themselves at this point, so if you suspect abuse then it's likely you have strong boundaries and these are crossed by the other. The irony is that those who can say "this is abusive behaviour, stop" are those most likely to have strong boundaries and are unlikely to be targets. systematic abusers don't develop into that within the R, they come into it already set. In this way they are usually in Rs with those who are unaware or have weak boundaries, most systematic abusers are looking for low hanging fruit.
Does a systematic abuser deliberately plan to become abusive when beginning a relationship?
The target is looking for an equal partner to love and be loved by.
The systematic abuser is dreaming of having someone that meets all needs, is beautiful or handsome at all times of day and night, has no needs of their own and are in awe of their brilliance and charm. Desiring one who will cater to them and never complain about anything they do or cause frustrations or unhappiness. Abuse is not the goal, control certainly is. Abusers then find himself abuse to gain the control they feels they have the right to. So abuse is about control. As far as the abuser is concerned all partners are wanting and it's a case of finding the perfect one, which of course doesn't exist. put on weight, be ill, lose a job, suddenly not so perfect and the target is the next to be discarded after attempts at being remoulded.
So when you say your spouse is abusive are they trying to control you and can you be controlled?
Systematic abuse is different there has to be an abuser and a target with a strong control element. An early theory was that targets liked control, the majority of targets are unaware they are being systematically abused, there are a few (a very small minority) who relinquish control and from childhood trauma prefer to allow others to run their lives. They go from abuser to abuser and never call on it.
Systematic abusers are human beings with profoundly complex and destructive problems that should not be underestimated. They usually need clinical help to recognise their behaviour. A systematic abuser’s behavior is primarily conscious-they act deliberately rather than by accident or by losing control but the underlying thinking that drives behavior is largely not conscious. It is by creating realisation and conscious awareness that behaviour can be tackled by an abuser, but that moment of clarity has to be sustained and turned from a glimpse to a glowing sunlight exposure. That is very tough for abusers and at that stage they need support to accept, change, atone and eventually forgiveness for them and of themselves. This is enormous, I observe some LBS having these moments of awakening and becoming a spouse only a fool would leave. I am quite clear from my gam anon associations that many mental terrorists are amazing enlightened spouses and parents when in recovery, and let's be clear not every addict is abusive of others.
Accusing a spouse of abuse or being a systematic abuser without looking inwards to the self and saying my boundaries are weak or I react back isn't helpful and it lets us off the hook. Those issues can be resolved, boundaries strengthened and our reactions changed. Even if we move a new R those tendencies will be restrictive, how better to be empowered than change and DB is an amazing toolkit for change.
A systematic abuser learns manipulative and controlling behavior from several sources, including key role models (mimicry), peers (inclusivity), and pervasive cultural messages (media absorption and suspension of disbelief). By the time they reaches adulthood, they have an integrated manipulative behavior to such a deep level that they acts largely on automatic. They know what they are doing but not necessarily why. In other words a systematic abuser enters the R with these behaviours they don't have them to begin with. A happy early childhood is a good sign. ------------------------------------------------------ How can you know if abuse is systematic or if it's just an argument or deterioration in what could be a healthy R?
A list of abusive behaviours will assist and that is only part of the answer. Systematic Abuse was there from early in the R (in the idyllic or sweet phase although it want observed because the sweet phase is of itself fakery). They speak disrespectfully about former partners and a certain amount of anger and resentment toward an ex-partner is normal, but beware of bitterness or emphasis on it. Be cautious of someone who characterises themselves as a "victim" of abuse. Be alert if they say that previous Rs falsely accused them of being abusive. Be cautious of someone who says that you are the first partner to treat them well, or that earlier partners have not understood.
When a partner is disrespectful early in an R beware. There are stages in an R, from the limerence to the settled and dissatisfaction and disrespect early is the soil in which abuse grows. If someone puts you down or sneers at your opinions, is rude to you in front of others, is cutting or sarcastic, they are communicating a lack of respect. They do favours that you don’t want or puts on such a show of generosity that it makes you uncomfortable they are creating indebtedness. Look and consider the R stages, knowledge is key.
Possessiveness and jealous is one of the surest signs that abuse is down the road as this masquerades as love. Jealous feelings are not the same as behaviours. Someone with insecurities may naturally feel anxious about same sex associations especially ex-partners, and might want some reassurance. But if they indicates that they expect you to give up your freedom to accommodate jealousy, control is creeping up. Possessiveness shows that you are not loved as an independent human being but rather as a guarded treasure or belonging. After a while you will feel suffocated.
Systematic abusers are selfish they haven't learned to be self interested or self centred. An interest in ones own wellbeing is healthy and necessary and well balanced individuals know that being a strong partner is in their own best interests.
Watch out for someone that does most of the talking, listens I attentively and switches the topic of conversation back to themselves. The old adage is "let's talk about you, now what do you think of me?" Self-centredness is a personality characteristic that is highly resistant to change, as it has deep roots in profound entitlement or to severe emotional injuries (in non abusers) or both (in systematic abusers). Is a row about listening to rants, can you give as good as you take?
These characteristics are exhibited from day one and won't suddenly arise. Couple can learn anger is healthy and how to argue constructively. It's a skill, if you have argued successfully in other Rs why is this different?
An R where some of this is exhibited isn't necessarily systematically abusive. Nothing is ever a systematic abusers fault there is always something or someone for anything that goes wrong. As time goes by, the target of blame increasingly becomes you. They may make promises they can’t keep, coming up with a stream of excuses for disappointing you or behaving irresponsibly, and perhaps taking serious economic advantage of you in the process.
They gets too serious too quickly, planning your future together without taking enough time to get to know you and grow close, because it can mean they are trying to wrap you up tightly into a package that they can own when you M. A big change on or soon after the wedding day is another sign. Again behaviour from very early in the M and not sudden, relaxation into 'normal' mode.
A series of out of pattern recent rows isn't usually systematic abuse, this needs resolving with relationship help of one kind or another. Each party owns responsibility.
Abuse of drugs or alcohol or behavioural addictions
Although substances, porn, gambling etc do not cause partner abuse, they often go hand in hand. This is an indication of lack of impulse control. Addictions need treatment and in many case managing the addiction first brings with it management of abuse. Twelve steps brings awareness and insight with knock on effects. Attend a support group for those affected, consider codependency, grow boundaries (b@lls).
Intimidation and Physical abuse says be safe
If the arguments have intimidation in them, physical threats, even if they appears unintentional, is a sure sign that emotional abuse is on the way-or has already begun-and is a warning flag that physical violence may eventually follow. Be safe and make sure any dependants are safe.
These are examples:
-Getting too close to you when angry, putting a finger in your face, poking you, pushing you, blocking your way or restraining you, in my case standing over me when I was naked in bed, shouting at you when you are in the shower. - tells you that they are “just trying to make you listen.” -raises a fist, towers over you, shouts at you, or behaves in any way that makes you flinch or feel afraid. In another sitch blocked an exit, smashed crockery, threw a phone -makes vaguely threatening comments, such as, “you don’t want to see me mad” or “you don’t know who you’re messing with.” In my case "my brother knows someone who can make you disappear and no one will know. Downloaded personal assassin onto joint iPad account -drives recklessly or speeds up when he is angry. Cuts people up when angry, road rage. -punches walls or kicks doors, slams doors damages furniture or mirrors -throws things around, even if they don’t hit you. -States they will harm you it they know someone who will -puts you in the position of defending yourself so you appear intimidating to others -also doing this to others who are dependent in their intimate circle
Treats you differently around other people. Adult abusers tend to put on a show of treating their partners like gold when everyone is watching, reserving most of their abuse for times when no one else will see.
So where is the line?
Is your R like in the film wars of the roses or the breakup? Then it's crazy and reactive and argumentative and systemic abuse isn't it. Consider the film Lady Caroline Lamb or Sleeping with the enemy which are both extreme forms of systematic abuse. Think Alfie is, Arthur isn't.
A great deal of systematic abuse is hidden but it isn't temporary.
Physical abuse is always an R exit indicator and above all be safe.
Popular programs portray systematic abusers so negatively and extreme that targets don't recognise the majority, the every day kind of systematic abuser. And who would want to see themselves as a big screen systematic abuser, it's going to put a restriction on thoughts of examining behaviour ' I am not like them'.
The line is where the target sets their boundaries, in an earlier post I tried to put a number on it by allocating levels 1-5 with level 6 as physical and intimidation. Ideally we tolerate nil abuse but realistically Rs are growing and developing with teething and adaption. It will usually be the target that says enough is enough.
In other words, we can't just simply say our spouse is a systematic abuser without examining ourselves. If it is the case then NC and healing is mandatory. If it isn't systematic abuse then there is self responsibility DB and standing.
In most sitches there can be profound change.
Seek independent advice and if possible record interactions, the next argument is the time to start.
This post was created from three or four internet sites dealing with battering. -----------------------------------
I still stand for me and for love.
Edited for V - If this is not right please advise with another post which I can delete later.
Last edited by Cadet; 07/25/1501:01 PM.
Freedom is just another word for nothing left to loose. V 64, WAW