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Category Archives: Verbal Abuse

Actual instances of verbal 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 🙂 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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One Year Ago Part Three

Last December was a very bad month for me. The narc was amping up his abuses because I finally had a handle on his tactics, a look behind his mask, and he was not happy at all.

November ended with a fight about moving some plywood, of all things. He got mad that I didn’t jump up from my desk where I was doing paying work to help him before he needed to ask. The argument went round and round until I just didn’t care any more and shut down, refusing to respond to him at all. He pretended to “make an effort to change” which I knew was just another tactic to bring me back in line.

Because of my wonderful readers and lots of internet research, by December I knew I was dealing with a person with Narcissistic Personality Disorder and that there was no cure, no hope, and no reason to say with the asshole. I started to turn his conversational beatings around on him, refusing to play his games. I admit I found it thrilling, like poking the tiger in the cage at the zoo. Now that I was no longer emotionally invested in the relationship, I didn’t care if I made him mad and said what I really felt with no regard to what he might think. It was Sofia Uncensored. He hated it. I reveled in his hate. His anger and switching tactics only fueled my own anger and determination to get the hell out.

When he could no longer move me to tears or talk me into submission he changed his approach: suddenly he was helpless, unable to keep his finances in order, broke, sick, depressed, unable to remember a host of little things from one day to the next. He became a toddler again and he expected me to pick up his slack and take care of all his needs.

I had money in my bank account and a plan for the next time he left town, but he seemed determined to not leave me alone. I tried my best to keep from rocking the boat while standing up for myself – not an easy task. I didn’t want him to kick me out before I was ready to go, but I had a backup plan just in case.

And then Christmas was upon us, and he did his usual gift thing. I bought him clothes, careful to choose exactly what he said he wanted. He took back some clothes that he had given to me and whined constantly about how he felt like he’d been taken advantage of all these years by “everyone,” including me and that was why he wasn’t where he wanted to be in his life and why he could not be happy and treat me well. He was laying the guilt on thick at every opportunity.

I was angry. So very angry. I was very impatiently waiting for him to go out of town again so I could put my escape plan into motion. I was keeping many secrets from him and I felt justified in doing so because of his lies and manipulations. I no longer loved him. I did hate him with a red hot fiery passion and I knew that hatred was the primary force keeping my head above water, paddling slowly forward, looking for an opening to get away.

In less than a month I would be free. That last month was the hardest to endure, but I made it and have been narc free for almost a year!

Thank you all for traveling along with me on this journey.

 

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The Narc and Garbage

Usual disclaimer here: I am not a trained therapist, I speak only of the Narc I lived with for 11.5 years, any resemblance to an abusive person in your life is really, really sad, etc. etc. etc.

The Narc has very definite views on waste and garbage, which on the surface are very Green and respectable. My views are similar, so you would think we would be on the same page about this one thing, right? Nope, but you knew that if you’ve been reading here for awhile.

So, basically, we both believe in recycling and re-using whenever possible and throwing as little “away*” as we can. The Narc refuses to pay for garbage service, preferring instead to have three plastic trash cans that he hauls to the dump twice a year in his truck, along with whatever other big stuff needs to be hauled off. He insisted that the load must weigh 400 pounds because there’s a flat fee for up to 400 pounds and he is a tightwad.

On the surface, this all sounds sane and reasonable, right?

When I moved to the Coast into his house four+ years ago, the cans were almost full of his building scrap and whatever else he couldn’t compost or burn. Of course there was packing material that couldn’t be recycled** and assorted odds and ends that moved but should have been tossed and the cans filled all the way up and it was time for a Dump Run.

You would have thought I’d committed some awful crime the way he carried on. First, he insisted that I be the one to load the truck (this would become a theme that ran throughout future Dump Runs and caused many, many arguments) to show that I was responsible. He gave me a long lecture throughout the loading process about how it should be done and how I’d only been there a month and here we were already going to the dump and how it was going to cost him a fortune in dump fees and how irresponsible I was for having so very much to throw away, blah, blah, blah. It was torture.

Once at the transfer station, we weighed and The Rules for Dumping became the topic for the next half hour along with a continuous litany of my sins against the planet with “my” garbage, and on and on.

When we drove up to the window to pay and the trash weighed less than 300 pounds, I got a lecture about “forcing” him to make a trip with so little trash, we were wasting money, blah, blah, blah. I offered to buy another can (he had a freakin’ HUGE flat-bed truck – it could have held a dozen or more garbage cans!) so we would have more weight next time and that earned me a lecture on the Evils of Plastic. All I could do is suck it up and keep my mouth shut until the next Dump Run where it would start all over again. Lather, rinse, repeat.

You may wonder why I remember this event so clearly. I wonder, too. It all came back to me in a rush yesterday as I was cutting veggies and tossing egg shells into the garbage can and I was mad all over again about his Rules about waste of all kinds. I wrote about just one incident in the post called I hate curry.

“Wasting” food was a cardinal sin as far as the Narc was concerned and a constant source of anguish for me. Every vegetable peel, every spoiled whatever earned me a lecture.

He would make a big production of “cleaning out the fridge” in order to lecture me. I had to sit and watch while he took the items out one by one, demanding to know how long it had been in there, forcing me to tell him what it had been intended for, how much it cost, and on and on. I started throwing things out that looked like they were thinking about going bad whenever he was gone for an hour or two, stashing the bags in my car for disposal at work so I didn’t have to listen to him chastise me. Sick, I know, but what could I do?

The whole Garbage issue is still with me today, even though I have access to trash cans that are paid out of my space rent. It’s not all bad – I try to buy as little packaging as possible, recycle as much as I can, and not throw food away (no compost pile here) but every time I make a decision about it, I think of the Narc and his Rules, which makes me angry all over again.

* There is no Away – it all goes into a landfill where it never really breaks down, but rots and poisons the environment for all time. I won’t get started on that rant because I have not exactly been as “green” as I would like to be the last few months.

** Recycling was another hot button for a couple of reasons:

He “once had a friend” who visited a recycling facility some time back in the ’70’s who said if any recycling containers came in that looked like they had garbage in them, everything in those containers was tossed in the garbage (not recycled at all) and consequently the Narc didn’t really believe that anything was truly recycled, and anyway, there has to be a market for the recycling, and did I really know where the “recycled” materials were going?

The recycling had to be delivered to the transfer station because the local garbage company would not pick up recycling if you didn’t pay for garbage service, even if you only filled their can once a month. Same price, no matter how much garbage you actually produced and the Narc was not about to pay for garbage service. Also, he drove right by the transfer station every time he visited his boat. Right.by.the.place. Not even one block out of his way, but directly off the highway he had to drive to run an errand that he routinely ran. Asshole.

 

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The Narc and walking the dog

Disclaimer: I am not speaking of all Narcissists, only the one I lived with for 11.5 years. Any resemblance to an abusive person in your life is pure coincidence and I mean no offense. I have no scientific credentials, only my own powers of observation and memory. This is not intended to be a diagnosis, only a conversation piece and a way to let my readers know that they are not alone.

Our subject for today comes from Lee Woofenden:

The thing is, for people whose lives revolve around themselves, there is no objective standard of right and wrong. “Right” is whatever they think is right at the moment, and “wrong” is whatever you think and whatever you want to do. Even if two seconds earlier they would have thought something is fine, like walking the dog now instead of later, as soon as you mention it, it will be instantly wrong–and they will instantly have a million reasons *why* it is wrong. The only “standard” of right and wrong with people who are wrapped up in themselves is: “I’m right. You’re wrong.”

Speaking of dogs and picking a subject:

Walking the dog.

Let’s address the first part of Lee’s comment before getting to the subject at hand. Lee makes a very good observation: Narcissists (and their brethren Psychopaths and Sociopaths) really do believe that they are the center of the Universe. I don’t think they have any concept of other living beings as anything but tools or toys that will be discarded when broken or no longer useful. There is a vital part of them missing. Once you are able to accept that fact, the game changes and that’s where things get interesting.

So. Walking the dog. Dog Discipline. Oh, yes, the Narc had plenty to say about dogs. First, let me remind you that the Narc is disabled. He can’t walk long distances, it’s just impossible. Oh, he can build boats and ride 100 miles on a bicycle, but he is not able to just go out and walk a dog that needs a lot of exercise. Fine. That duty fell to me and it was a relief to be able to head out the door and get some peace with the dogs away from his watchful gaze.

Neither dog was able to be out in the yard unsupervised. Sabu had a cable run behind the house, but Old Dog had to be taken out and closely supervised. Building a fence was out of the question because the Narc “hated the idea of fences.” Tying a dog up on a rope was acceptable, but a fence was not. Whatever.

Because of his disabilities, the Narc can’t hop out of bed and take the dogs out. He can’t get up in the night if a dog (or cat) decides to puke on the floor. He can’t get up if the cat brings in a mouse or squirrel. Those duties fell to me and if I didn’t get up quick enough a lecture would follow the clean-up and I could forget about sleeping the rest of the night. But I digress.

I took the dogs out first thing in the morning before doing anything else. I brought them back in and fed them and then took them out again after taking a shower. The morning dog chores generally didn’t provoke comments unless one of the dogs looked like she had gained half a pound – then the lecture would start about maintaining a healthy weight and how if I can’t feed them the proper measured amount of food he would take over and ration the food out until he was happy with their weight and by the way aren’t I looking a bit heavier these days…and so on.

During the day I took the dogs out several times, but was instructed to stay in the back part of the yard so the neighbors wouldn’t stop to chat and “waste [my] time.”He could not take time out from his projects to do anything for or with the dogs.

The last walk of the night was between 10:00 and 10:30 PM. He insisted that it be late enough that no neighbors were out to incite Sabu to bark, no matter how tired I was. On a couple of occasions he volunteered to walk them; he then complained about how hard it was for him, how the dogs don’t mind and I’ve “let discipline go by the board” and it’s “obvious that [he] needs to step back in and set things straight again.”

If Sabu barked at a dog going by he would beat her. Old Dog never barked, so she was spared that particular torture. If Sabu barked in the house, he beat her. If Sabu growled at him because he was standing over her being threatening, he beat her. He ruled the dogs with an iron fist between bouts of affection. If he was mad at me, he beat my dog. On many occasions he provoked her into Bad Behavior so he could beat her. Thankfully Sabu is a strong, young dog and he never seriously injured her. I hate him for what he did and I expect I always will.

You see, he believed that he had to be Top Dog; leader of the pack; that the dogs wouldn’t respect him if he wasn’t brutal when he “had to be.” It was clear that he was talking about more than the dogs and I got his message loud and clear. When he beat the dog, he always lectured me about how she “made [him] do it.” How if she would just “show some respect” he could love on her like she wanted him to. And on and on. He was daring me to step over the line in his mind that would make it necessary to beat me, too, and we both knew it. Oh, sure, he’ll go to his grave denying that last sentence, but we both know that it’s true.

The dogs were my responsibility if we went anywhere. I packed their food, water, bowls, etc. and made sure they had leashes, collars, stake-out stuff, toys, bones, blankets whatever. I was responsible for them every minute of the trip, walking, feeding, cleaning up after them, keeping them quiet so no one would be “offended at our wild dogs,” everything. I think he liked the notion of the three of us staying “over there” so as not to offend but coming when he called us over to show us off.

No matter what I did in relation to the dogs, he had something to say about it, yes, contradicting himself at every turn. I never did anything as well as he would have done it, but he would never do it himself, preferring to ridicule and berate me for doing it “wrong,” whatever his definition of “wrong” was at the moment.

God he’s a dick!

Suffice to say that Sabu and I are much happier now (Old Dog having crossed the Rainbow Bridge before I moved out) that we have organically found our own routine and redefined what “discipline” means. My rules (if you can call them that) are much looser than the Narc’s ever were, but I think Sabu is a happier and more well behaved dog because I let her think and reason and most of the time she makes the right decision. Punishment is never beating and I try to reward and distract whenever I can. She still has a couple of strange behaviors that we’re struggling to overcome and I have faith that in time she will be a Good Dog all the time instead of just most of the time 🙂

 

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Labeling

This will be a long post – I need to get this information down before it gets lost somewhere in my “drafts” folder. If any of you are in doubt as to what kind of asshole you are dealing with the following will be very interesting.

Very interesting and informative post by Paula about identifying a narcissistic sociopath. Putting labels on people is a dangerous thing, especially when you aren’t a qualified professional, but it’s helpful for those on the receiving end of a NS’s abuse to be able to logically look at their abuser and name the behavior. Knowing, at least on an intellectual level, that it’s not your fault and has never been your fault goes a long way towards breaking the chains of abuse. For me, being able to take a step back, set aside my emotions and look at the situation as an unbiased professional might is very edifying. It also helps me connect with my anger which makes it easier to see how I will extricate myself from this situation with my wits intact.

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Posted by on November 9, 2012 in Emotional Abuse, Red Flags, Verbal Abuse

 

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Is it That Time of Month Already?

M started in on me before I was fully awake this morning.

“What are you going to do?” he asks.

“What do you mean?” I reply.

“Are you going to take a shower in the next 10 minutes?”

“No.”

“Good. Then I can get in there. Our whole life revolves around you and what you want to do,” this said as he rolls out of bed.

Great. I was hoping he would hold off this shit until AFTER I’d paid the bills – you know, demonstrate that he is aware that I’m contributing to our life together and not being the selfish bitch he accuses me of being. But no.

I am irresponsible because I don’t want to pay the property tax bill tomorrow. It arrived in the mail yesterday, double what it should be because he “forgot” to pay it last year. So all of a sudden I have to come up with an additional $1200 because of his mistake. Fine. I agreed to pay the property taxes. I was not aware that there was a time limit (besides the actual due date*) for paying, but according to him we have to go down there tomorrow and pay in person and all this additional drama and crap that I don’t care about.

According to him, I lied when I told him it was taken care of – before the bill even arrived. I was pretty sure it was taken care of and did not feel up to yet another lecture about how stupid and irresponsible I am. I have enough cash on hand to put in the bank to make up the shortage. I do actually have the money to pay the bill, but that doesn’t matter to M – nope! I am a total loser. The fact that I managed to save $3000 between June 1 and Sept 15 on minimum wage while maintaining the lifestyle to which I have been condemned doesn’t merit even a passing wave of congratulations.

According to M, if I were a mature adult able to talk about money, I would have seen the bill and then opened a dialogue about how I was a bit short and asked if he could make up the difference and we would have sat around like Normal People and it would have been a Simple Discussion instead of the Lecture it has to become once my “lie” and “childish behavior” had been exposed.

Which led, as it always does, to how Truly Awful his life has become, how lonely he feels, how much of a failure he is, how all he wants to do is live on his boat, but he just can’t handle being alone, how his mind is becoming more and more confused, how he just can’t physically keep up with house maintenance or even his Fun Activities any more, oh, woe is me!

We got back around to the Budget Bullshit. When I suggested that we look at what’s coming in and what’s going out and figure out what we should do he said, “That’s all I ever wanted,” shaking his head and looking at the floor.

BULLSHIT!! I burst into tears of rage and frustration and said that he did not say that’s all he wanted and he was a liar. Deny, deny, deny. The Last 10 Years exercise was for my benefit, a learning tool that I was to do because I care about him and some other crap that made absolutely no sense.

Either he’s losing it, or he finally realizes that I see just what he is. He alternates between rages and tears and the longer I sit and calmly look at the floor the less he seems to know what will move me. He’s coming unhinged, I swear.

Anyway. I had to leave for work, so I told him that I could not continue this conversation and left.

He called the shop a couple of hours later. I saw it was him on the caller ID and debated even picking it up, but I wouldn’t want him to drive down here – I just might get physical and end up behind bars.

“Hi! How are you?” he says in a false cheery voice.

“Oh, just fine,” I replied, my standard reply, my space holder until I see what his mood is. You know what I mean.

“I knew it!” there’s an edge to his voice, like I should be standing here in tears waiting for his call? As-if! “Are you busy?”

“A couple just walked in the shop,” I said.

Blah, blah, blah a stupid question about bed linens and where they are kept and then he said he would “let me go.”

“Bye,” I said. Click.

Whatever.

* Correct me if I’m wrong, but if you pay all your bills on time, every month, doesn’t that make you a responsible person? There is no moral penalty for paying bills by the due date, right? According to M, if you don’t have the money in the bank to pay all of your bills a year in advance you are irresponsible. Srsly. Welcome to NarcLand!

 

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Whores Get Paid

Let’s talk about sex, shall we?

M is a twice-a-day kinda guy and he mourns the “passionate beginning” of our relationship. Can’t get it off his mind, in fact. It’s a huge problem. He feels unfulfilled. Lonely. Out Here on his own. Unloved.

He says that sex with me isn’t fulfilling because I’m not “enthusiastic.” Because I don’t “beg for it.”

I’ve explained on numerous occasions that if I don’t feel good about myself there will be no desire for him. That if he yells at me, while it makes him feel like King of the Mountain it leaves me feeling like a doormat and that is not sexy.

He refuses to do anything to spark my desire. He is a typical Narc – tearing me down to make himself feel good and then pressuring me for sex as the icing on his Narc cake. I should be panting hot for him just because he took off his clothes, right? He can’t understand why I’m not. Or so he says.

I’ll be honest here and tell you that I generally give in. There’s no bonus in it for me to refuse him – he just escalates his other abuses and his episodes last longer. It’s easier to pretend and let him get it over with. Frankly, I don’t think he cares if I’m even in the room – it’s all about him.

So, I’ve been keeping track of just how much sex he’s been getting – from me, at least – if he has someone else or helps himself I don’t care.

Since May 19, when I started keeping detailed records, he has had an orgasm with me 75 times. That’s 170 days, minus the two weeks he was away sailing and the five days he was out of town, for a total of 156 days when he slept in the bed we call “ours.” Divide by 75 and you get 2.013333333.  That number does not take into account those nights when we had company sleeping over.

So, basically he’s “getting his” every other day. How many times did I “get mine?” Eight. He wasn’t in the room every time, and he wasn’t in my mind any of those times. That speaks volumes, doesn’t it?

Does that make me a whore? You betcha! If I had charged $50.00 each time I would have $3750 in my bank account. And, of course, I wouldn’t also be housekeeper, cook, psychiatrist, etc. I can’t help but think it would have been an easier career choice.

 

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