My spouse says I am an abuser, how do I know?

Abuse is a very easy accusation to make, so before you answer this question about your own behaviour identify if there is any truth in the accusation. In the next post we can discuss what to do with an unfair accusation or even If there is some validity. How do we respond to the accusation. If unsure then record your interactions. Clearly physical abuse is obvious to us there are bruises and cuts.

In my own sitch I identified behaviour that was called 'screaming banshee' which is verbally abusive and most unpleasant. This type of abuse is referred to as reactive abuse, in other words it was my abusive response to my WH and his originating verbal abuse. Not nice and unworthy of me. I have had to both apologise and atone for this. This is the most likely abuse type so consider this, are you reacting to your S behaviour? If so it is reactive and this is the easiest to resolve by substituting different reactions.

Most of us as humans find methods of abusing sometimes as a reaction to our situations, that isn't good either and needs to be addressed but largely this is not central to our personalities and we care not to do this, we feel guilty and ashamed and are willing to put this right. This is situational abuse.

The final abuse type is born from defective personality and these abusers abuse deliberately as a way of life, often they have major personality disorders. This is called systematic abuse and is the type my WH used on me. Others such as Scherman and Greengrass have been strong enough to admit their WS are of this type too.

Many targets don't recognise themselves as targets because they have not been hit, but pain and bruises fade and psychological abuse does not without resolve without great help. Most systematic abusers don't recognise they abuse, because they don't want to undergo the long and painful process of examining their behaviour, taking responsibility for their actions and functioning as an equal partner. They usually blame the target. The most likely scenario for the LBS on this board is that they are not systematic abusers, if there is abuse it is likely that it is situational or reactive. Many WAS or PWAS who are not wayward are often tied to their WS and may like to consider if they themselves are targets.

So, if you suspect there is an element of abuse what do you do?
Firstly drop the excuses, no matter what the behaviour of the other; abuse is unacceptable. we have to forgive ourselves for this and take steps to stop completely. Say "I am an abuser and I am going to stop and manage that." It isn't easy as in my case screaming banshee was protecting me ineffectiveness and therefore I had to learn different strategies. Many felt V was justified and supported her and sympathised and empathised. This comes naturally to kind and loving people, but all abuse needs challenging and stopping, nothing justifies it. I hope and trust that I will never be that deeply abusive again no matter what the provocation. When you are knee deep in crocodiles it's hard to remember the aim is to drain the pool.

Actually you think you are the target
Having read this you may learn or suspect that not only are you a target but actually the abuse used by you is reactive. You are not the abuser but the target. Then be safe rather than sorry and look to the truth for your own sake. You may need help from an IC. This thread is here to help you decide that. You may be additionally vulnerable if you are pregnant or the home maker

Unhealthy relationships are not necessarily abusive, appropriate use of anger is not abusive. Rs are tested.

The target isn't necessarily a mouse hiding in a corner, they can be like me a strong confident career person, powerful, financially solvent, outgoing, hard working, or like everyone else! Most abuse occurs in private against family members, targets are often tied to their abusers and therefore are very unlikely to go wayward. They spend their time pleasing the systematic abuser and their lives are ruled by them, this is least likely for wayward.

So was my marriage abusive
Not every SOB is an abuser (Weiss 2002). There are bad Rs, that lack trust intimacy or common goals. That isn't abuse. There are Rs where the two parties haven't said a kind or civil word in years and that is not abuse either. There are many reasons other than abuse for Rs to drop to pieces.

From my own experience an abusive R is one in which one partner uses any combination of physical, financial, sexual and psychological (verbal and mental) abuse to gain control. So how was that for me, I wasn't hit but I was intimidated, I wasn't forced to a sexual act but I was told I was unattractive and unworthy of sex with my WH whilst he chased very downmarket POWs, my verbal abuse is well documented on my thread. It did not stop even after S, my H downloaded an app called personal assassin etc. Targets feel ashamed, heartbroken, and have self doubt, it is a human rights issue. Leaving an abusive R ends with a single act but there is a process to get there.

Every couple argues at some point and this can escalate to slamming doors, storming out in a huff, and in that R there are many other moods.

But in essence an abusive R feels like this, is today the day my WH will drink orange juice or is today the day he prefers apple juice. If I have no choice he will throw a tantrum. So I breakdown at the supermarket over AP P L E juice. Abuse is a campaign.

My spouse says I am abusive? Am I?
So if you have got this far then the likelihood is you are saying but my spouse says I am an abuser. Yes but saying this doesn't make it so, you can call a table by the name chocolate but it doesn't make a table into an Easter egg.

There may be abusive behaviour but that won't make you a systematic abuser. Stop the abusive behaviour now forever.

1. admit abuse to yourself
2. Agree it was inappropriate behaviour
3. Acknowledge it has an effect
4. Identify what you do
5. Become respectful, stop
6. Create a correct view of your spouse
7. Make amends
8. Accept the consequences that resulted
9. Commit not to repeat
10. Give up privileges
11. Accept its lifelong management that is required
12. Be accountable, your R may be irrepressibly damaged

An earlier post by Zelda gives much more detail


Last edited by Vanilla; 07/10/15 08:19 PM.

Freedom is just another word for nothing left to loose.
V 64, WAW