The Calm Before the Storm

26 May

We’re in a phase that doesn’t happen very often, a phase I call the Calm Before the Storm. He seems to feel guilty about something (his “old lover (who I still care about)”?) and is treating me much better than usual. This is one of those phases that makes me doubt my sanity. If I had not recorded our conversations over the last couple of weeks, I would be questioning my memory, especially since he regularly denies many of the things he says to hurt me.

For instance, last week he said that, “it would take eight of you to keep me entertained. Do you understand that? Eight of you.” I have it on tape, so to speak, so I know for a fact that those were his exact words. It was not said in jest, but to point out how boring and stupid he thinks I am. Other things were said in the same vein during the conversation. He made it very clear that he needs many more people than stupid little me in his life to keep things interesting for him.

I brought it up last night after he asked me why I was making intelligent dinner conversation (I generally let him lead any conversation to avoid his dismissal and/or a lecture on how boring/uneducated/naive I am) I told him that I was stepping up my game so he wouldn’t need to go out and find seven more of me to keep him entertained.

“I never said that,” he protested.

“You said exactly that just the other night, that it would take eight of me to keep you entertained. Exactly that,” I replied.

“I was just joking…” he muttered.

Right. He “jokes” like that constantly. I’ve told him in plain English that he hurts my feelings with his constant put-downs and that I would like him to stop. He tells me that I’m “too sensitive” and shouldn’t take it so seriously, he only jokes with me out of affection.

Where does one draw that line? I do understand joking, and in fact have been told that I have a great sense of humor. A “joke” doesn’t go on and on until the person being lampooned is in tears, right? That’s not joking, that’s torture, right? Doing it deliberately with no witnesses, over and over again, day after day isn’t joking, is it?

Where do you draw the line between joking and verbal abuse?


Posted by on May 26, 2012 in Gaslighting, Today, Verbal Abuse


Tags: , ,

4 responses to “The Calm Before the Storm

  1. Paula

    June 14, 2012 at 4:59 pm

    They, people who emotionally and verbally abuse people, claim that their honesty is their best trait. But what they consider honesty is actually judgement. For example, my X had passion for watches, expensive watches. He would comment about everyone’s watch and it always pissed me off because it was such a superficial thing. When my son started kindergarten, his father (my estranged husband at the time) and I took him to school his first day and I took a little video of him with my iPhone. I shared the video with my X when I got to work. I emailed it to him. He responded, “Is that a gold watch his dad is wearing? That is sooo ghetto!” I responded by writing, “Really? That’s what you see when you watch this video, the brief flash of his dad’s arm around my son. It’s a watch. Nothing important.” His response, “It’s gold and in very bad taste. I’m just being honest.” What the f#@k! No. He’s being judgmental and petty. Big difference.

  2. iwonttakeit

    June 20, 2012 at 10:56 am

    Exactly! At one time I viewed his “honesty” as a good thing – when it’s aimed at someone else, it’s funny and he’s only saying out loud what everyone is thinking, right?

    You never think that it will one day be turned on yourself, the person he claims to love and esteem above all others. I mean, it’s you and he against the world, and the two of you can laugh and joke about others and it’s perfectly alright, isn’t it? You’re a team, united against all comers. But it’s not like that at all after awhile, it’s him against everyone else and all are found wanting, including you.

    How do you know in advance if you will operate as a team or if suddenly you will find yourself on the outside, along with everyone else that he finds inferior in some way? That’s the question that has to be answered before it’s too late…

  3. El Guapo

    January 2, 2013 at 11:42 am

    When I joke around with my wife, I’m conscious of not going over the line. Fortunately she gives as good as she gets (better, in fact), so I don’t have to be too worried.
    And she’ll let me know if I go too far.


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