Abusing the abused

It has been a LONG time since I have the time, space and mental energy to be able to write.  It’s the thing that I have to keep myself on a level and the first thing to indicate if my head is not in a very good place.  Once it’s established that one of these options are the reason, it’s then a case of eliminating possibilities until I reach the crux of the situation.  Currently, as it turns out, I am in the situation of having a husband who is showing the signs of my previous abuser, but with added voracity.

I have documented my history with my first husband, quite openly, so that I could get to the bottom of all of my issues and baggage regarding him.  The beauty of being philosophical and self-analytical as a person is that it makes things less likely to bite you in the bum all over again.  When I finally got out of my first marriage, I swore blind that I would never get married again and my current situation just seems to feel like a reminder of why I had come to that conclusion in the first place!  Now, I don’t think it’s a healthy frame of mind to swear blind that you’d never get married again (or married at all for the super cynical out there) but I think it was an easy way of explaining trust to myself.  When you marry someone you expect them to put you first, before anything else, including themselves until children arrive.  It’s the thing I automatically do for the people I love and the only way that I would ever stand a chance of getting any kind of positivity for myself is if someone else felt driven to do that for me.  Given, that may well sound like I have high expectations of my partner but that really couldn’t be further from the truth.  All I need is to be considered.

Not long after we got married, my husband had a little bit of a pseudo-breakdown.  We have had a lot of troubles in our years together (external to us) but he seems to be very emotionally immature.  My pet hate is people who will read that, roll their eyes and think “typical male”.  There is no such thing as a “typical” anything.  There are stereotypical examples, but that is very different from reality.  People are just people and have varying levels of emotional, mental and social intelligence.  My husband just happens to not be very emotionally intelligent, therefore has no ability to look into himself to see that anything is failing or lacking.  During this initial low period it became second nature for me to try and pull out of him what was internally causing all of his anger and clinginess towards me.  He would start arguments over the tiniest thing and swear blind that I was to blame for all of the problems.  If I hadn’t had my friends around to witness the reality, i may well have believed it.  At the time, I found a really fantastically written piece on spotting the signs of an abusive situation.  I chose to have a discussion with him about it before leaving him to read this piece on his own.  He responded amazingly well to it and started to realise all of the things that he was guilty of doing.  Obviously, no one party could ever be completely innocent of blame but not part of mine was anything other than reactionary when I wasn’t guarded.  We worked hard to talk about everything and got to the bottom of as much as we could, before finding logical ways of solving as much of the problem as we could.  As a separate force we were nothing, but joined together covered all of the bases to sort it easily.

For the last few years things have been absolutely fine.  We had our highs and lows, like any other couple, and without him I would have been lost when I was incapacitated.  I also suppose the fact that things have been so good for the last while makes this time’s nosedive all the more severe.  He was always an angry boy inside, and has always had issues expressing himself effectively, but this time the anger has come to the surface in a lot more of a physical way.  He hasn’t actually hit me at the moment but it very much seems to be a realistic possibility, based on his recent actions.  There have been times where he has raised his hand to threaten the hit, he has swiped at me ‘in his sleep’ (i’m not entirely sure how much sleep was actually involved at the time) and has thrown heavy items close enough to me to get his aggression across.   At one point there was even the question “do you know how many things you do that make me want to hit you?”, which is about as obvious a domestic violence alarm bell that could exist!   There is a protocol in place, should he choose to snap and actually lash out at me, and he is aware of what that is in order to make him realise that his actions have direct consequences.

Best friend 3 has been witness to his aggression, on a few occasions, and has seen how quickly he turns and how it can be entirely unprovoked.   Her opinion is that she would be surprised if we lasted the year, and she genuinely does like him.  Things with her are a lot of the reason that things have been brought to the surface with him, as his insecurity is particularly piqued right now.  He expects every second that he is not working that I be with him.  It is also no longer enough to be sharing the same environment but if I am not fully interacting with him at all times then he accuses me of “zoning him out”.  It is incredibly tiring trying to be everything that someone ‘needs’ you to be and it has the effect on me of having to distance myself to regain energy.  There are a few friends that I have been awful with and not made contact with in a while, but that is less than no reflection on them or the way that I feel about them.  My emotional energy is at an all time low and it just makes me need out.

One thing it’s made me wonder though, is how people can survive an abusive relationship, get out of said relationship, fall into another relationship, have that become abusive and not notice that it has happened again.  I can see that there would always be an element of denial involved, but surely you would notice if your head goes back to a place that was dark?  Because of my first husband, I will never stick around to be abused again.  I have worked on the situation, put full effort into trying to mend any cracks and been patient in a manner that has even surprised me!  There has even been a conversation that has taken place asking him if he realises that I have tried to make this work.  According to him he does, but words are cheap.

The most interesting thing is that people at his work have started to have little chats with him, stating that he is not his usual self.  He has started a new job, with a higher level of responsibility, and it has definitely been affecting him but the people there have had to explain to him that if he doesn’t switch off when he leaves then there will be a divorce in his near future.  I don’t know any of these people, have never met them, but even they can see how his general demeanour could be affecting his home life.  I am hugely grateful to them but, in a lot of ways, it kind of feels like the damage has already been done.  Once someone has raised their hand, as if they are going to hit you in anger, you just find yourself waiting for that time where the restraint is no longer there and they knock ten bells out of you.  He would just need to hit me once for him to no longer be my partner.  I never cower, I never look intimidated, I never give him the satisfaction of him feeling like he has scared me in any way.  It’s his choice, his life, his actions.  I don’t need to be in this relationship, I don’t NEED  to be in any relationship, I am only ever with someone through choice.  In the same respect, I would never want someone to be with me for any other reason than choice.

I have helped best friend 3 a lot recently because I’ve had the time and ability but she wants to take me away to say thank you.  She needs a break, I need a break and she needs to feel like she’s done something to “pay back” what I have been fortunate enough to be able to give her.  To me, time is nothing, it’s just that.  I should be able to feel like I can go away with her for a few days and my husband be fine with dealing with himself for a couple of days but he makes that an impossibility.  His level of emotional control has started to concern me.  I feel like I am answerable to him and, where that should be the case to a certain degree of consideration, it just doesn’t feel healthy any more.  Everything I do or say has seemed to hurt him in some way or other, yet he’s not willing for me to be out of his sight.  I just don’t get it!  He is obviously not in a good place but I’m not his psychiatric nurse, I’m his wife.

I am aware that in a lot of ways I can sound uncaring, that I have distanced myself from him (and in a lot of ways I have had to) but getting to this place in my head is daily battle.  I am not willing to be dragged under again, by anybody, and need to think of what I need for my life and my future.  No rash decisions need to be made, nothing needs to happen right now but there may well be a time that comes where those things do need to happen.  In the mean time, I just need to find a way to get more time for me without him feeling like he is nothing to me.

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