counseling…

Several weeks ago,  I wrote about talking to a realtor/pastor who works in my building who offered to counsel my husband and me.  (see this post)

Well, my husband and I met him for lunch today.

It was awful.

It didn’t start out bad.  He told us a little about himself.  No problem.

He asked us how we met and how we envisioned what would make a happy marriage and stuff like that.  No problem.

But as the conversation went on, my husband would tell half-truths.  Or, maybe I should say, he would tell the truth, but not the whole story.  And then when I would try to fill in how I viewed it, I would end up looking like the bad guy.  Or in this case, the bad wife.

For example, one of the things we discussed was money.   At one point, the realtor/pastor asked if we had done Dave Ramsey (link) or anything like that.  So my husband said, “I’ve done Dave Ramsey, but she hasn’t.”

Okay, so that’s the truth.  He did a Dave Ramsey online course.  I refused to take it with him.

And here’s the back story, the part he didn’t tell.

For YEARS I asked my husband if we could do a family budget, and then, when I learned about Dave Ramsey, I asked if we could do Dave Ramsey’s course.

And my husband would not.

Then, suddenly, about three years ago, when I started working and opened my own checking and savings accounts, then, he wanted me to do Dave Ramsey with him.

Why the change, you might ask.

Well, Dave Ramsey advocates that in a marriage, the money is not “his” and “hers;” it is “ours.”  To me, this was a way my husband thought he could manipulate me to get his hands on the money I was earning.

For the record, I agree with Dave Ramsey.  However, I also believe that there are times when a woman (or maybe a man, depending on the situation) may need to protect herself.

So that was one example of my husband telling the truth, but not the whole truth … and I ended up looking bad.

I did tell the realtor/pastor that for years I had asked my husband if we could do a budget and he wouldn’t, but that by the time my husband wanted to do the class, that I had a bad attitude and wouldn’t do the class with him.  The realtor/pastor said, that’s sin.  You should have jumped at the chance to take the class with your husband.

When lunch was finished and it was almost time for me to go back to work, the realtor/pastor said something about attending church.  Oh, he was telling us that we had to do things together – eat together, spend time together, go on mini-vacations together, go to church together.   He stopped and said, you do attend church?  My husband said that he attended church but that I didn’t.

Okay, so technically, that is true.  But, once again, it is not the complete story.  Yes, my husband attends church.  He shines at church.

While I do belong to a church, I don’t have a physical congregation to attend and I watch and/or listen to services online.

But then this pastor starts preaching about that if you don’t attend church, you are going to fall away from Christ, etc. (quoting Heb. 10:25) And my husband knows my church situation, but he said nothing to defend me.  I was stunned by the preacher and my husband.  And then I was offended; this man knows nothing of my relationship with God!

Anyhow…  his “assignments” for us are for my husband to find us a Dave Ramsey class to actually physically attend, for me to buy the book “Love and Respect” and its accompanying workbook(s) and for both of us to decide within the next week whether or not we want to council with him (my husband does).

(I’ve read reviews that say that book is heavy on the “respect” stuff with very little on the “love” stuff, but I have not personally read the book.  Have any of you?)

So, I ended up feeling shredded and crazy.

I should have known better.

Oh, and “always the gentleman,” in public, at least, my husband paid for my lunch.

Chalk up another point for him.

Posted in codependency, covert abuse, emotional abuse, family, marriage, money, passive aggressive, passive aggressive behavior, passive aggressive husband, relationships | Tagged , , | 11 Comments

I slept in the living room last night

I slept in the living room last night.

I asked him to, but, well, you know…

You know, when he starts accusing me, the thing is, he’s not completely wrong.

Last night, after I had asked him to sleep in the living room, he told me that I only remember the bad things.  That is partially true.  I do tend to be more “glass half empty” rather than “glass half full.”  I guess the bad things cause more pain and somehow pain sticks with you more than pleasure?  Or maybe I am afraid of pleasure because so often pain follows?  I don’t know.

He told me that I don’t forgive him.  I asked him what he had asked me to forgive.  “Everything I have done to hurt you.”  I told him that maybe it wasn’t about forgiveness.  Maybe it was about that I don’t want to be hurt anymore.

I do believe forgiveness is vital.  But I ask him, how many times should a woman forgive a man for hitting her?  An issue like that is not about forgiveness.  It is about abuse and I told him that.

He said that he tries to do nice things for me.  I told him roses on the table didn’t make up for the fact that my daughter couldn’t come sit at the table with me.  He said that was her choice.  He still maintains that he was there for his daughters and that it isn’t his fault that they have nothing to do with him.

When he started to talk about that people aren’t perfect and that there are just going to be problems and that that is just the way life is, I grabbed my pillows and a sheet out of the pile of clean laundry and when to sleep in the living room.

Posted in codependency, covert abuse, divorce, emotional abuse, family, marriage, passive aggressive, passive aggressive behavior, passive aggressive husband, relationships | Tagged , , , , | 16 Comments

It’s me.

“You don’t know what you want so I have a hard time giving it to you.”

Oh, and apparently, he is compassionate and  I’m just too stupid to realized it.  (He didn’t call me stupid.  That is my sarcasm.)

He just wants to love me and get along with me and make me happy.

Obviously, I am the difficult one.

Yep.  That’s me.

The terrible wife.

Posted in codependency, covert abuse, emotional abuse, marriage, passive aggressive, passive aggressive behavior, relationships | Tagged , | 3 Comments

his mom – or rather, me

Last night, halfway through dinner, he said, I’m worried that my mom is going to die.  I think this thing that she has is going to kill her.

(His mom has bone cancer that is in remission.  However, she is very frail and currently has some sort of respiratory infection that can’t be treated.  Apparently they can treat the symptoms of the illness but not the illness itself.)

He said several times that he was worried about her dying and I told him that when the time comes, that my job would give me time off.

I asked him if she had been to a different doctor.  (The current doctor that she has has been proclaimed a quack by my husband and his dad.  I keep telling him that they should find a different doctor for her.)  He said that they will find her a new doctor after she gets over this illness.

He said he had gone to visit her that afternoon, but that she was taking a nap.  He could hear her breathing and was worried about her.  I asked him if he needed to go back and check on her again that evening and he said, no.

So, she has a “quack” doctor, which they have known for a number of weeks now, if not months, and yet they haven’t set her up with a new doctor.    And he is worried about her, but evidently not worried about her enough to go back and check on her again.

That was last night.

This morning, I was sitting on the floor eating my breakfast, reading emails, when he said that he had something to say to me.  I set aside my laptop.

Him: I need to say something to you and I know this is going to sound cold.  When you were pregnant with [older daughter] and you had to stay in bed [for three months], even though your mom lived next door, she never did anything for you.   Other people said it was really nice that your mom lived next door and could help you, but she never did help you.  Other people cooked food for you, but your mom never did. *

Him:  You never visit my mom.  Other people go visit her but you don’t.  She is not strong enough to do much housework, but you  never do anything for her.  I know you think they should hire someone to help her, but they think about money the way your sisters do instead of the way you do.

I asked him what he meant by that and he said that money is to only be spent when absolutely necessary.

I asked him what she needed done.  He said she needs the floor vacuumed and dusting and stuff.  He said his sister comes sometimes and helps her but that isn’t enough.

I asked him if he wanted me to come home from work and go help her instead of coming home and making dinner.  He said, no.

Him:  You said your job would give you time off for the funeral.  My mom doesn’t care if you come to the funeral; she would rather see you now.

I told him that I said what I said about my job giving me time off was for him, that I would be there for him when his mom died; it wasn’t about her.

Him: My brother’s adopted children who aren’t even related to her go by and see her, but you and [younger daughter] never visit her.  She would love to see [younger daughter] and see her art.

I started to say something about that our younger daughter won’t visit her because of him, but he stopped me and said – don’t say anything.  I know it’s all my fault.

With that he walked away.  He was getting ready to leave and went into the bathroom.  When he came back out, I just sat on the floor, where I had been for the whole conversation, and didn’t get up to give him a hug good-bye like I usually do.  I had my arms hugged around myself and tears were rolling silently down my face.

He said, I’m sorry.  I didn’t mean to upset you.  I just know that my mom would like it if you would come visit her.

I didn’t say anything;  I just shrugged.

There was nothing I could say.  He said exactly what he meant to say.  He wanted to lash out at me and he did.

He didn’t start the conversation by saying I’m worried about my mom and I know she would like to see you.   He started out by telling me he was going to be cold, by criticizing my mom and then criticizing me and then criticizing my daughter.  What was there to say?

He has his own business.  His shop is on his parent’s property, less than 100 yards from their house.   Surely he could take a few minutes and go vacuum and dust every so often since his parents need that.  But he would rather kick back with Josh and go to Wal-Mart or wherever and then have ammunition to blast me.  Oh, he did tell me that he  helps his parents however he can, like taking his mom to the emergency room when she needs to go.

Yes, I should be a good daughter-in-law and a good neighbor and go visit her.  Yes, I should do that.  There are probably no excuses there.  Well, there are a few reasons, but probably no excuses.

Anyhow, he left me in shreds.  I had a rough day yesterday (did you know that being co-dependent causes problems at work, too?) and I woke up depressed and I was struggling already.  But, just to be sure I didn’t enjoy my time at home without him, he had to go and tear me to pieces.

Whatever.

* In defense of my mom, at the time she was a widow, working full time with three children, ages eight, thirteen, and fifteen, still at home.

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“prison dinner”

Last night, my husband made dinner.

I told my daughter that the food was ready and she could come get some food.

My husband and I sat down at the table to eat.

In case you don’t know, my daughter hides in her room when my husband is home.

I heard my daughter’s door open and then close again.  But she didn’t come out of her room.

I left the table and went into her room.  I asked her if she was going to get dinner.  She just looked at me and told me that she wasn’t hungry.

I asked her if it was because of him.  She nodded, yes.

I asked her if she was hunger.  Again, she nodded, yes.

I went back out to the kitchen and fixed her a plate of food and took it to her.  She told me thank you.

It made me think of those scenes in movies where they pass a tray of food to prisoners through a slot in the door.

Anyhow, after I finished eating dinner with him, I went and hung out with her for awhile in her room.  She like that.

And maybe it eased my guilt a tiny bit.

Posted in codependency, covert abuse, emotional abuse, family, marriage, passive aggressive, passive aggressive behavior, relationships | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments

first date…

This morning he reminded me that today is the anniversary of our first date – twenty-nine years ago.

Wow – that’s a long time!

He asked me if I wanted to go out for dinner tonight.

I told him I would see how I felt.

Posted in codependency, covert abuse, emotional abuse, marriage, passive aggressive, passive aggressive behavior, relationships | Tagged | 6 Comments

later that evening…

So my previous post was about Sunday afternoon.

Sunday evening, well, Sunday night, as I was getting ready for bed, I checked my email.

He had sent me an email with the subject, “an interesting article.”  And the only thing in the email was a link to this article: “What ‘War Brides’ of the Greatest Generation knew about Marriage.

(By the way, I had seen and read the article all on my own the day before.)

I ignored the email and went to bed.

About half an hour later, I was almost asleep when he put his hand on my waist and said…

….

….

“Will you make love with me?”

I was quiet for a long time and then I replied, “Having sex tears me up.”  *

Next he said, “How about if we just kiss and cuddle?”  **

Again, I was quiet and then I said, “Did you hear anything I said this afternoon?”

He said, yes.

Then he said, sometimes I want sex so bad I can hardly stand it.

Fine, I said.  Stick your penis in me and use my body.  I don’t care.

He said that wasn’t what he wanted.

I told him, yes, that was what he was asking for.

He said he just telling me.

Thankfully, oh, so thankfully, that was the end of it and he went to sleep.

*   In case you don’t know, I started crying after sex almost every single time we had sex after about ten years of marriage.  So that means sex has made cry for over fifteen years now.   That doesn’t seem to bother him.

**  Okay, this may be TMI, but while I felt nauseous about having sex with him, I felt absolutely revolted by the thought of kissing and cuddling.  I can detach, to a certain degree, if he is just in me.   But kissing and touching I can’t detach from in the same way.

Posted in codependency, covert abuse, emotional abuse, marriage, passive aggressive, passive aggressive behavior, relationships | Tagged , | 14 Comments

another “discussion”

We had a “discussion” this afternoon.

I was studying for my final exam outside under “my” tree.  About mid-afternoon he came and asked me if I wanted to go see the new barn of somebody he knew and pick up some tin for a roof and then go out to eat.

I didn’t answer for a minute or so, but then I told the truth.  I told him that it sounded stressful.

He asked me why.

I told him that don’t feel close to him and that I feel a great conflict being with him when there is so much hurt to my daughters because they don’t have a daddy.

He asked what would make me feel close to him.

I tried to explain that he seems like he doesn’t care about me, that he is wrapped up in what is important to him, but he is not that concerned about me.

He said that we never do anything together because I don’t want to.  He said that our daughters decided that they didn’t want him to be a daddy.

I told him that he asks me to do stuff when it is not convenient for me.  And gave him the examples of him asking me to go canoeing when it is a hundred degrees and ninety percent humidity.  Or asking me to go see a barn and go out to dinner when I have a final in two days.

He said that I went to concerts by myself and didn’t invite him.  (Yes, I’ve been to two concerts on my own – in the past three years.)  I told him that a few weeks ago I offered him baseball tickets and he turned me down.

I told him that I know I have done many things wrong as a wife, but I feel like that at least I cared.  At least I tried.  I told him that I felt like he doesn’t care, that he doesn’t have empathy.

He started telling me things I do wrong and blaming me.  He said that he has told me that his love language is touch and that never touch him.  (That is not quite true.  I give him a hug when he leaves in the morning and sometimes I hold his hand in bed.  But, no, I don’t want to touch him.  Not anymore.  I used to be much more affectionate than he was.  But that died.)

Anyhow, the whole thing went nowhere and I ended up feeling very drained and worthless when it was over.

I went back to my studying and laundry and food prep, etc., and he went off to his fort in the woods.

There is no way for this to get better on its own.  It is just not going to happen.  At least I can see to some degree some of the things I have done that have hurt the marriage.  But he can’t see, or at least, won’t admit, that anything is his fault.  Oh, yes, he’ll say, “I’m not perfect” but it is in a “poor me – you are being unfair to me” kind of way.  Not –  I’ve made mistakes.  Let’s look at this and see what we need to do differently.

I told him that I felt like we never learned to work together, to be a team.  I told him it wasn’t about either one of us being perfect, but rather learning to be connected, to be partners, to be a team.  I told him that for years I wanted to be connected with him but that he seemed like he really didn’t want to connect.  He just wanted to do what he wanted to do and liked having me around.  He, of course, disagreed with me.

When he left, I looked up into the tree and told God that I couldn’t fix this.

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a lesson for me to learn

I’ve been taking a online class.

Several months ago, my supervisor at work asked me if I wanted to take this class and the company has payed for it.  (It is NOT a cheap class!)

The class is the basics of the industry in which I work and I have learned a lot.  Although I’m not really interested in this industry, I do like learning about different things.

This class has been kind of hard for several reasons.  One is simply the amount of time it has taken because it is actually pretty intense.  Another thing that has made it a little hard is that I am not really interested in this industry.  So while it has been interesting to learn about, I’m not really excited about it like I might be some other topic.  I hope that makes sense!

And the third reason why it has been hard is just me.  I’ve been a perfectionist most of my life although I am not as much so now as I used to be.  And, therefore, anything less than 100 percent is simply not acceptable.  So I have put much more pressure on myself than really was necessary.  Even if I failed the class but learned something, it would be okay.  This class is not for a degree or anything.  It is just to learn.  It really doesn’t matter to anybody how well I do.  But I’ve made myself crazy over it sometimes.

For the most part, I have gotten 100’s on the assignments.  There have been a few where I haven’t, but I do have an “A” in the class.  But even if I didn’t, it would be okay!!!

Assignments are always due by Sunday midnight, and since I also tend to be a procrastinator, I often find myself doing my assignments at the last minute.

The final is this coming week and I wanted to get this past week’s assignment done before the week-end so I could use the week-end to start studying for the final.

And I did get my assignments done by Thursday!  There is always a quiz and a vocabulary quiz.  There is also at least one, and usually two, written assignments.  I did the quiz.  I did the vocabulary quiz.  I wrote both of the written assignments and felt good about them.  I posted the first assignment, knowing I aced it.  I posted the second assignment…

And then I read what someone else had posted for the same assignment.  I felt horrible!  I realized I had done mine wrong!  I had misread one part of what the assignment had asked for.  I felt wretched!  Even though I now knew what else I was supposed to look for and could do that, if I posted again, it would look like I was cheating.  But if I didn’t have this part of the assignment, I would surely get a low grade on the assignment.  I could find the answer I needed, but how could I post it to show that I had researched the answer without it looking like I just read the answer off of somebody else’s assignment?

I had posted my answer about mid-afternoon on Thursday.  For the rest of the day, I felt just sick about it.  I even cried at work about it, although, thankfully, nobody saw me.   At the gym, at home, I tried to figure out what to do.  I felt miserable.

I woke up Friday morning with that sinking feeling in my stomach – you know the one you get when you dread something.   And I already have enough trouble waking up depressed!

I took my shower, got my breakfast, turned on my laptop and logged into my email.

The instructor had already graded my assignment.  Great, I thought.  No way now to try to redeem myself.

But….

…. I got 100!

I had given the exact right answer that he was looking for!  I couldn’t believe it!

So then I felt really, really, really stupid for wasting all that time and energy worrying about my “supposed” wrong answer.

I worry too much and it is my hope that by sharing this story it will help me to remember to not worry so much!!!  Because it really does no good.  It doesn’t change anything.  It just makes me miserable.

I found this and have now posted it both by my desk at work and on my vanity mirror at home.  Maybe it will somehow help me to let go…..

Posted in codependency, covert abuse, emotional abuse, family, marriage, passive aggressive, passive aggressive behavior, relationships | Tagged | 6 Comments

“A Cry for Justice”

Recently, through some of my readers, I have become aware of the website “A Cry for Justice.”

Whenever I read things posted on that site, I start feeling really shaky and really scared and almost tearful.  I don’t know why and I can’t really describe it.

While the title of my blog is “Passive Aggressive Abuse,” I often feel it isn’t fair to compare what I go through to those in truly horrible abusive situations – physical abuse, sexual abuse, verbal abuse and much stronger emotional abuse.

And yet when I read the emotional reactions and thought processes of women in abusive situations, I realize that my emotions and thought processes are very similar.

It scares me that my responses are the same.  I don’t know how to explain it.

I’m not sure what I am trying to say here.  Maybe I’m just trying to sort out my thoughts.

I really, really, really appreciate the definition of abuse that is given on “A Cry for Justice“:

Very few people know what abuse really is, though everyone seems quite ready to give advice to its victims. If you believe that abuse is physical battering, you have some learning to do.

Abuse is fundamentally a mentality. It is a mindset of entitlement. The abuser sees himself* as entitled. He is the center of the world, and he demands that his victim make him the center of her world. His goal is power and control over others. For him, power and control are his natural right, and he feels quite justified in using whatever means are necessary to obtain that power and control. The abuser is not hampered in these efforts by the pangs of a healthy conscience and indeed often lacks a conscience.

While this mentality of power and control often expresses itself in various forms of physical abuse, it just as frequently employs tactics of verbal, emotional, financial, social, sexual and spiritual abuse. Thus, an abuser may never actually lay a hand on his wife and yet be very actively terrorizing her in incredibly damaging ways.

Abuse in any of its forms destroys the victim’s person. Abuse, in the end, is murder.

* Sometimes the genders are reversed.

And I find that the “Abuse Cycle” chart, again on “A Cry for Justice,” often fits with passive aggressive behavior as well.

 

Abuse Cycle

 

Posted in covert abuse, divorce, emotional abuse, family, marriage, passive aggressive, passive aggressive behavior, relationships | Tagged , | 4 Comments