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Category Archives: Emotional Abuse

Defining the Abuse

Here’s a little essay that’s been sitting in my Draft folder for a long time. Someone close to me is suffering at the hands of an ex and perhaps this short list will help enable some emotional distance for them –

Being able to label your abuser’s disorder is a valuable tool, but not nearly as valuable as being able to label the specific abuse that s/he dishes out. Because of my personal experience, I’ll use masculine pronouns, but remember that abusers come in all shapes, sizes and genders.

Just saying, “he’s mean to me,” is not enough – if you tell others they will want specifics (if they even believe you) or they tell you to be nicer to him, and if you’re struggling to identify within your own mind just what the hell is going on, “mean” is much too vague. Chances are, once you learn the names of the abuses you are faced with every day you will be able to better see just what is going on and make a decision as to whether or not you can live with it. It can be very helpful to write down incidents soon after they happen (if it’s safe for you to do so) because so many abusers alternate between bouts of extremely abusive behavior and bouts of “loving” or at least less abusive episodes, which keeps their victim off balance and confused as to who the “real” person is, akin to Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde of the famous story. They may even convince you an episode never happened, causing you to question your perception and even your sanity. Rest assured, it’s all part of the abuser’s plan to keep you quiet and in their control.

The following are definitions with examples as they applied to my personal situation – your mileage may vary. Definitions from Out of the FOG, a wonderful repository of information for those who are involved in some way with people with personality disorders. They have a forum, too, if you want to get support from others in the same boat. Many thanks to JetGirl for the link.

Baiting and picking fights: Starting an argument for no reason, or making an accusation about one thing while maneuvering you into making an admission or concession about something else. With M, this usually meant he was wanting me to give permission for some sort of behavior that he knew I didn’t approve of by getting me to admit that I’ve done something similar in the past, or he wanted me to do something that I didn’t agree with and would hound me until I agreed just to get him to leave me alone. The property tax fight is a good example. Also the whole Facebook thing. And everything from where to store the dog food to when to take a shower – it was all about winning battles for him and he would stop at nothing to make me admit defeat, whatever that meant for him at the moment.

Belittling: A passive/aggressive method of establishing superiority. M did this with just about everyone and it took me a long time to figure out that his offers of “help” were nothing more than put-downs cleverly disguised – I couldn’t really get upset because he was “helping” me and I was taking his “advice” the wrong way if I protested his interference.

Bullying: Physically towards the dog, emotional towards me. Something new every day.

Catastrophizing: Inflating some incident or state of circumstances into a “worst case scenario.” Property taxes. Toilet seal. Old Dog dying. My FB friends. The list goes on and on and was designed to take attention away from whatever issue I was protesting against.

Chaos Manufacture: The practice of unnecessarily creating an environment of confusion. When the first words out of M’s mouth after two weeks away from home were, “I was hoping you would have mowed the lawn,” before any type of greeting were a clue that he was going to make the next few days hell. He would begin a conversation immediately upon my arriving home from work that was designed to put me instantly on guard or to make me angry, just to get a reaction. He then accused me of being a Drama Queen. I never knew what to expect when I picked up the phone or saw him – he would attack out of the blue over nothing to keep me off balance.

Circular Conversations: Obvious what this is – a conversation without end designed, in M’s case, to exhaust me and force me to agree with whatever his agenda was on any particular day. Of course, his stance on any disagreement can and would change whenever he felt whimsical, making it even more difficult maintain a stance on anything.

Denial: When his lies didn’t work, M would simply deny that he said or did something hurtful – when confronted with his e-mail correspondence with an old lover, he denied it. When told that I knew he was lying he Deflected, changing the subject so that it turned back on me.

Emotional Abuse: “Any pattern of behavior directed at one individual by another which promotes in them a destructive sense of Fear, Obligation or Guilt (FOG).” This one covers a wide range of behaviors and was the first “official” term I learned. Pretty much every post here details the emotional abuse I suffered, so no links on this subject ๐Ÿ™‚ It bears repeating that the abuser uses the non-disordered person’s natural empathy against them to keep them from leaving – if you’re so concerned about how leaving will make you look to others, or you are overwhelmed with feelings of guilt, it’s that much harder to even think of how to get out of the relationship.

Gaslighting: I experienced A LOT of gaslighting at the hands of M. Looking back it was maybe the most powerful tool he used – oh, he didn’t want to convince me I was crazy, just that I didn’t see reality like “normal” people do and I needed his guidance in order to “make something” of my life. In the end, it did make me feel like I was losing my mind.

These were the Top Nine for me, but your milage may vary. Do check out the other 91 ways an abuser manipulates their victim at Out of the FOG.

For me, once I was able to name the Crazy I was living, I was able to gain some emotional distance and begin to move away from my abuser. Without this emotional distance and the rage that came with finally knowing I was not imagining things I would not have been able to break free.

 
 

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The Lawnmower Incident

When I arrived home after work on Thursday, Walt was mowing in front of Towanda. The grass was too wet to be mowed (but don’t ever try to tell HIM that) and was clumping up into those piles that stick to your shoes, to be carried inside and all over the fucking place no matter what you do, but that’s beside the point.

The smell of the fresh cut grass brought to mind an incident that happened the Spring before I left the narc.

I’ve said before that he lost his left leg below the knee and lost much of the use of his lower right leg. Walking over uneven ground was problematic and the yard was very uneven, making mowing a slow and painful process for him.

Because of all his moaning and belly-aching I took over mowing duties soon after I moved to The Coast. I was never able to do the job to his satisfaction or on his time table. It got worse when I started working and didn’t get home until close to dark – too late to get the job done, IMO, but he was in a lather because it was a fraction of an inch longer than the neighbor’s and that could not be tolerated – Narcland must be well groomed at all times.

On this particular day I had worked an eight hour shift on my feet on a concrete floor. I was tired and not in the mood to mow the lawn. It was close to dark anyway and could have waited another day. But, no. He got the mower out after telling me how painful it was going to be for him and how it was MY responsibility to do this job, blah, blah, blah. I decided to use my time wisely (IE in a way that might not earn me a lecture about how I was sitting on my ass while he was “working”) and was pulling weeds in the garden.

He made the first pass in front of the house, and being an arrogant man, he ran the mower too close to the house and broke off the hose bib that sat next to the front door. Water began to spray everywhere.

He screamed in frustration and ran inside to turn off the supply. While he did that, I moved the lawnmower so it wouldn’t get any more wet than it already was. I knew I was in for a tirade and it wasn’t long in coming.

You see, it was MY fault he ran over the hose bib. My working was a HUGE problem because chores around the house weren’t getting done. The yard “looked like a bunch of renters” were living there, renters being the lowest form of life in the narc’s opinion. Of course, the flip-side was that he was desperate for an income and the only way we could have that income was for me to work, him being too disabled to do Real Work.* I had to take whatever job I could get, and the hours that went along with it, just to get him to shut the fuck up about money. Scratch that. He never shut up about money, just changed his rants.

So now the water is turned off to the house, the narc is in a rage and it’s time for me to start dinner. Great.

The narc went into the back room to rummage for plumbing parts to see if he could find a solution. He could not. I suggested he could drive into town and see if what he needed could be found at Fred Meyer – the only likely source after 5:00 PM.

He came back about an hour later saying he’d had no luck. And now he’s hungry and the lectures begin. I don’t remember what I made for dinner that night, but I do remember being chastised because I hadn’t finished mowing the lawn while he was gone. He reamed me for having put some of my “crap” too near the board on the floor that covered the gaping hole that led to the water shut-off when it was actually HE who put stuff there and it wasn’t even exclusively “mine,” proving once again that narcs and their ilk always read from the same script.

The water was off for two days while he tried to get parts to make the repair (he had “more important” things to do first) and he lectured me on my irresponsibility, slovenly ways, uncaring attitude, whining (that was all him,) and lack of concern for what was A Real Problem.

What would I have done if he hadn’t been there? Feeling bitchy after another morning with no shower I replied, “I wouldn’t have sheared the hose bib off in the first place!” which didn’t win me any points but felt satisfying at the time.

I mean, really. The whole incident was a farce. I have no doubt he deliberately ran the damn thing over to Show Me What Could Go Wrong and “prove” how superior he is.

When he finally got the water back on I said nothing, hoping the incident would just go away and I could unclench my jaw. It came up again when the water bill arrived – MY irresponsibility was the cause of the price hike and he made very sure I understood my role in his little drama. I handed over the extra funds without a word because I was waking up to his games and knew it was only a matter of time before I left for good.

What an asshole. And how depressing that the smell of fresh cut grass should instantly call this memory up from the depths of my brain.

* Funny how he could work on his projects all day, though – outside in all weather, long hours bent over a boat, sanding and painting, or carting materials up and down the yard, hoisting things onto and off of trailers and a long list of other things. The problem was that he was unable to take direction from anyone else because he believes there is no one on earth more intelligent or capable than he is. How dare anyone tell him what to do! He just can’t stomach it. Not even for money.

 
 

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One Year Ago – Part 5

The past year has zoomed by at an amazing rate. It’s hard to believe the life I had a year ago. The memories are becoming fuzzy, less distinct and painful.

The narc claimed to have started on the medication his doctor recommended and he was cured! Even his allergies were clearing up! At last he saw the light and totally understood how I could be angry with him, but he was a New Man and I could come back and we could start over! As if. Meanwhile, Sabu started taking Doggy Prozac and my life became a whole lot easier ๐Ÿ™‚

March started out with a conversation that left me infuriated. That he expected me to come over to his house for a conjugal visit after the way he treated me kept me angry for days. He did convince me to house sit for him for a week or so, and I’m sure he thought that as soon as I saw what I was missing I would beg to be taken back, but that didn’t happen, I just moved more of my stuff out of his house. In fact, no matter how many times I told him exactly what was wrong with our relationship, he always pointed his finger at me as the cause of his unhappiness and subsequent abusive behaviors. Sigh. He just didn’t get it and I was beginning to believe he never would.

Being the stubborn sort, there was no going back. Oh, I was interested in watching the narc implode, but going back never entered my mind and that has led to all kinds of wonderful things happening, things that would not have been possible were I still with the narc.

Today I’m very busy. The Fiber Thing is taking off in new, unexpected directions – I met up with the owner of my “old” LYS (Local Yarn Shop) (sadly now closed) and she needs help getting her crochet patterns online for sale. It seems I’ve become the local Computer Expert – Wool Division. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining, but I don’t think I know all that much, really, and now there are people who want to pay me for my time? Too good to be true!

In my quest for seven streams of income, doing computer work to get other people online is #5. Not bad for the third month of 2014 ๐Ÿ™‚

 

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V-day

Here we are again at the second most commercial American Holiday. For those of you not aware, this is the red hearts holiday, as opposed to the red and white candy cane one.

I’ve always had a problem with V-day. It’s so fake. So contrived. So commercial. So fucking stupid. Even as a kid, I resented having to give everyone in class a cheap little card when mostly I hated them all. Oh, Miss Sofie had no use for the imbeciles she was forced to spend time with every day. If she could have stooped so low as to use curse words, she would have sounded like a sailor describing the wild animals in class.

But this isn’t about childhood trauma. This post is all about that most “romantic” of days – Valentine’s Day.

God I hate the hypocrisy of V-day. Last year was the first V-day in 25 years that I “celebrated” as a single woman. The liberation was as sweet as the darkest fudge brownie, rolling across the palate like a fine Merlot, scenting the air with the fine fragrance of a hot lavender bubble bath.

And then the narc started in with his bullshit. I did my best to ignore it, celebrating Galentine’s Day with Awana instead, but the narc was persistent. When I failed to respond to his offers of love, he got mad. And then I got mad. I quit being civil and started telling him what I really thought of him. I had to explain to people why I wasn’t broken up over the ending of my relationship because everyone thought I was nuts for not being miserable to be spending V-day alone.

Ha! You know, I can’t recall a happy V-day. A box of chocolates (cheap, stale chocolates, usually) and/or an impersonal card do not a happy day make. It’s like the men in my life felt obligated to get these things for me but there was never any sincerity behind their actions. It was so obvious to me at the time, but I ignored my gut and thanked them. What a chump I was!

I could go on and on about how if two people love each other, every day should be romantic and loving, but fuck that shit. Being single rocks! I have everything I need with none of the obligations and pleasing another person to contend with. It’s all about ME now and I’m still loving it.

I don’t miss having someone to cuddle on this “most romantic” of days because I know there won’t be any obligatory sex on the agenda either.

I don’t miss being chastised for my lack of romance or abysmal gift-giving skills.

I sure don’t miss being told “it would take eight of you to keep me entertained.

Fuck all that shit. I’m sorry for you singletons out there who are unhappy about your relationship state – I can’t relate, but I do want everyone to be happy ๐Ÿ™‚

On this day, go forth and love the one you’re with, even if it’s just you…

And quit being influenced by the media hype over this stupid day – it’s all bullshit designed to make you feel Less Than whatever the current trend is.

 

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One Year Ago Part Four

A year ago I was posting about how I hate curry (one of the top posts on this here blog, strangely enough) and pissed off at the narc’s efforts to pry every penny he could out of my bleeding corpse.

I was fighting the narc’s indoctrination, the voice in my head that dictated my every move based on what would or would not please the narc on any given day. He was making preparations to go work on his boat, leaving me alone for a few days and I had planned my escape. I was tied in knots, anxious not about my escape plan, but about how he would react and the possible consequences.

That Thursday, Awana and I traveled over to The Valley and found my home and had her hauled back to The Coast where I set about making modifications and moving in. The narc was due to be back some time between Sunday and Wednesday, but I knew it would be sooner because he was always hoping to catch me doing something he didn’t approve of, and that was pretty much everything.

Everything that could be fit into Awana’s van and my car was moved out of the narc’s house on January 20, 2013 and of course the narc had to try to make a scene when he came home to find my Fuck You note, but I handled it okay and was able to spend my first night in my very own space with not too much stress. I didn’t die or have a heart attack or have to explain a nasty public scene or any of the other horrible things the narc had trained me to worry about.

So much has happened in the past year, and all of it has been good. Or at least a Learning Experience ๐Ÿ™‚ No catastrophes, I’m not living under a bridge or starving or in some kind of danger as the narc told me would happen if I ever didn’t have him to “carry” me through life. I have a good job, a warm place to live where everything is just the way I like it, I eat what I want, watch TV, spin & knit, go to the dog park, anything I want to do, any time I want to do it. I can talk on the phone with anyone I choose to with no interrogation afterwards. If a friend invites me out to do something I can go with no worries about narc consequences. I can visit friends and family at any time, even staying overnight with no worries that I’ll have to pay a price when I get home. No one is forcing me to eat or do anything that makes me unhappy. No one is laying guilt trips on me or beating me with words or denying me basic comforts like heat in the Winter. No one is beating my dog or threatening me.

I woke up today (again) with an indescribable feeling of unreality. As I looked around the dim room (it was not even 0630, damn you, Revy!) it felt like a dream and I was afraid I would soon wake and find myself back in that narc-made hell. But, no! This is my life now and it is fabulous! Can’t say that enough!

There was a Big Storm on Saturday, making travel unpleasant so Awana came over on Sunday to stay for a couple of nights. We went thrift shopping, out to eat, watched part of Dexter Season 6 (LOVE me some Dexter!) cooked, and generally amused ourselves doing what we like to do. And you know what? I can do it again today, or tomorrow, or next week. It might not sound like much to those of you have never lived in the shadow of a narc or similarly disordered person, but just being able to cook a meal of my choosing at a time of my choosing, letting the dog lick up the drips, listening to my choice of program on the radio, it’s all still a bit unreal and feels like an amazing luxury.

On Monday I deleted the old email account and changed every name and login for every account I’ve accumulated over the past 10+ years. My old ID is gone from the internetz.

Life is good!

 

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Another visit to Narcland

Just signed on to the computer because Sabu has taken my spot on the couch where I was knitting a hat that isn’t working out the way I want it to (might as well let it simmer in the back of my brain until the dog gets tired of the couch, right?) and found this in my inbox:

Will you marry me?

No, I’m not crazy. dead serious. 

WTF? From the narc, of course. He must have lost his mind if he thinks this is going to get a response from me. If it weren’t so late I would be sending out “update your contact info” messages, but I don’t yet have everyone sorted into groups – I plan to use a couple of addresses to separate “friends & family” from “business.”

Anyway. This. This is beyond the Pale. Part of me wants to fire off a nasty response. A poison missive that will boil his eyeballs right out of his head. The logical part of my brain knows that any response at all would only be feeding his fire. I refuse to play his games. I’m blogging instead ๐Ÿ™‚

In 14 days I will have been away from that man for a full year. I guess he’s getting desperate now. Too bad he’s still a dick. It doesn’t rain but it pours…

 
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Posted by on January 6, 2014 in Crazy, Emotional Abuse, Narcissist, Narcland

 

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More Facebook Irritations

Last night I was cruising around on the internet when I got a photo message on Facebook. It was a pic of the guy (let’s call him Dave ’cause that’s his name) who started the whole FB kerfluffle with the narc. It was a selfie in the bathroom mirror in his underwear with shaving cream all over his face like Santa. Whatever. He’d posted that shot to his wall to show off how he’s getting back in shape.

The conversation went like this (my thoughts at the time in bold):

Uh, huh. You already sent me this one.

I did ??I was going through some photos !!

Yeah, send me something new. Like a shot of him and his daughter skydiving – he’s got some amazing photos of that.

Ya I’m sure I’d make ya blush !!! Lol

I don’t blush so easily these days. Totally rolling my eyes, thinking it would be another “getting in shape” shot because he’s been posting a lot of them lately.

[Insert dick shot here. His hand is also in the shot, with wedding ring in full view]

Oh good !! Remember me !! Lol it’s all good : ) I’m real open with my sexuality !!

“Open with your sexuality?” Um…yeah. Like all boys, you just like to show off your dick. This after much eye rolling and head shaking. WTF a dick shot has to do with “sexuality” I don’t know. It does show that he’s still 13 years old and still not familiar with the dictionary, which I’ve always suspected. Thankfully I dodged that bullet or I would have been bored silly within a year.

True !! Haha .. It’s fun !

Sigh. Boys! I was starting to get irritated at this point. I mean, when did he think I invited him to send me dick pics? Never crossed my mind and I never suggested I would like to see it again. We haven’t seen each other in 25 years or more. Why would he think it’s appropriate? Because I’m in his Old Girlfriend Club? Am I supposed to reciprocate? WTF is he thinking? Besides the obvious.

Yep !! Nap time !! Yay .. Long day of snowboarding

Hope you had fun. Should you really be sending dick pics to a woman who is not your wife? I mean, you can see your wedding ring right there…I really doubt his wife knows about him sending pics to me and I doubt she would approve if she did and now I’m getting really pissed off for her sake.

We have a open relationship it’s not so complicated .. We are very open !

Uh-huh. I’ve heard that one before. Whatever, Dude. Even if it were true, I gave no indication that I wanted to get involved with him so it’s quite a stretch to be sending me this particular pic. Men that I know lie. A lot. I, however, do not, and I would not be a part of an “open relationship” with a married couple. Ewww. And yuck. And who the fuck does he think I am?

What ever !! Too funny ! It’s all good !! Just having fun ! Well now I feel stupid for just sharing with ya ! Probly burn in hell right ! Lol have a great night : ) going to bed !!

Wow !! Nothing ?? I logged out and went to bed, my brow furrowed in irritation, both that he sent such a pic and that I was so affected by it.

Sorry. Logged out to do something else. Trying to spend less time online this year

If you knew what I’ve been through the last 10 years you would not have sent that particular pic. Long story. Just don’t, okay? I am so done with cheating, lying assholes and that he had the nerve to send me an unsolicited dick pic really has me steamed.

Wow I feel like a dick .. Hope things get better for u..

Life is great now, but you broke my winning streak of being a penis-free zone for a year… Srsly. I had just 12 days left! I guess it counts that I haven’t seen one in real life, but dammit!

My first reaction was to send a scathing note back, but he’s an ignorant redneck and he probably thinks shit like this really is funny, so I temperedย  my response and refrained from giving him a lecture about his treatment of women as objects, starting with his disrespect of his wife. He wouldn’t get it and I don’t have that kind of time.

Am I wrong thinking that shit like his is precisely what’s wrong with the world today? Why would he think I’m up for games of this kind? I realize that I’m totally Un-Cool for not playing along, but I don’t want to play along! It’s not funny. At all. It’s demeaning. He could have sent a shot of his smiling face and we could have talked about anything under the sun (although his interests are pretty narrow to judge by his FB wall) but he decided to make a sexual overture instead, leaving me feeling squicky. Yes, squicky is a word and it means exactly what it sounds like.

Am I wearing a sign that declares to men that I’m available? Do I send out some sort of signal that I’m in desperate need of a penis, so please send me dick pics so I can change my status to “taken” once again and make all of humanity feel safe? Why do men (and some women, I know) feel entitled to assault others in this way? Why do we feel like they’ll think we’re assholes for not playing along? Sure feels like emotional battery to me and that’s probably why this little exchange affected me enough to write an entire blog post about it.

Gaaahhhhhhh!!!!! The fucking entitlement complex of some men!

 

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