I’ve been in denial about how much damage my marriage has done to my daughters, about how much damage my husband has done to my daughters.

I simply have blocked it out, not thought about it.

I couldn’t face it.

I’m trying to face it now.  But I am not sure how.

They are in so much pain.  They are struggling.

They do well in school; they do well at work; they have friends they hang out with.

But they are in so much pain.

I don’t know how to face this.

This entry was posted in covert abuse, divorce, emotional abuse, family, marriage, passive aggressive, passive aggressive behavior, relationships and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to denial…

  1. newshoes123 says:

    Awh my poor dear. I know how you feel, by staying with my pah, I feel very responsible for screwing up my kids. The way they deal with their respective relationships is so totally based on my relationship with my pah, and it scarry because you don’t think about that when they are little. You think you have time to raise them and to instill in them the correct way of dealing with issues that crop up in every marriage. Except life with a pah is so unpredictable and I just posted about this on another blog, but really we can only do the best with what we have. I know that they have seen is exactly what they are reproducing right now. One son is just like me, he tends to let his partner walk all over him and he caves into all her demands; the other son is explosive like his dad and rude, and he had to have his way or nothing else will do; the other son won’t have anything to do with anyone in case he ends up like us. It’s so sad… I feel bad and guilty and I can’t fix it but I can show something different.

    I’ve made a change and I’m leaving my pah and I can only hope that the boys get to see that relationships do not have to all be the same. And I hope they later on realize that I’m not just doing this for me but I’m doing it for them too. Before you can respect and love someone, you must love and respect yourself. I couldn’t respect or love myself in the pa relationship, I had enough and now I’m wearing NewShoes :)

    I know you’re struggling dear, but keep at it and get sad, mad and upset about your girls if only that helps you get the heck out of there and into a much much better life.

  2. Patience says:

    Was it always like this? Or did things with their dad change as they matured and became their own people….?

  3. I am so sorry. I can completely relate. My children are struggling for the same kind of reason. Hold on for them.

  4. Dawolf says:

    I’ve been lurking and following your blog for a while and you have my deepest sympathies for the abuse and insanity you have been put through.

    I have lived through something similar to you and your daughters, with both of my parents and part of my family being extremely passive-aggressive, when not just plain outright abusive (sometimes criminally so). The daily lies, insults, slander, low blows and so on drove me to the brink of suicide, and it’s only with the help of a few caring friends and siblings, not to mention a few years of regular therapy, that I have finally managed to regain some measure of normality in my own life.

    So here’s my advice: for both your sake and your daughters’, get out! Don’t wait until you’ve suffered more abuse. Don’t “stay for your children”! Staying is what is hurting you in the first place. Any further contact with such toxic behavior will only deepen the suffering that they and you have to deal with. Any further contact with your husband will only validate him and allow him to further inflict his abuse on you and them, and as long as you stay, he will keep doing so, if only because there is no incentive for him to change. Only him can own up to and fix his own problems and attitude, and he cannot and will not do that as long as you try to do the fixing for him. If there is something to be salvaged from your relationship, it will only be able to happen sanely after you have learned how to set healthy boundaries with him and in your life, something which will be impossible to do as long as you live together.

    Chances are the best way to help your daughters right now is to teach them that abuse in intimate relationships is unacceptable, and the best way to teach that is by example. Helping yourself will help them, by showing them that neither you nor them have to accept this kind of abuse in your lives. Also, once you are freed from your husband’s influence, you will have more energy and a clearer mind to build a better life for all of you. Think about these times when he wasn’t around and how free and well you felt! Without him to steal your energy, dealing with life in general will be much easier.

    So, I know it must be extremely scary for you right now, but take it from someone who has been there: get out. Learn how to set healthy boundaries and not to compromise your dignity and integrity in exchange for a “half-life” of misery. You are worth it, and your daughters are worth it too.

    Best wishes.

  5. lonelywife07 says:

    I agree….GET OUT! Even if you have to work two jobs, give up the gym membership, eat beanie weenies…without the weenies…GO!!
    NOTHING is worth losing your sanity! See a lawyer…your PAH will probably have to pay alimony…there is legal assistance for those who have no money…look at other options instead of living this half life!

  6. GainingStrength says:

    Your daughters will struggle and heal at their own pace. Do not take on their pain and struggle, they have to experience it to get through it. All you can do is give them love and time and the complete truth when they ask questions. Pray for strength and wisdom.

  7. Another One says:

    I am new here, been reading your blog and comments since this past Sunday. I can tell this is a nice “safe” place and attracts many caring and empathetic people. All are giving excellent advice from experience.

    I came here because of a current relationship duration 4 years, that I suddenly awakened to the patterns being passive aggressive, and wanted to do some internet research to confirm my suspicions and figure out what to do. Well, all of the many commenters here have definitely confirmed it for me, and I’m finding the support here to leave the relationship — so thank you!

    But I also want to offer my perspective and a tiny bit of history of my own, in case it might be of any use or help to anyone here. I am 52 years old. I married and divorced an abusive man and had 2 children with him, who are now young adults in college. The kids were age 3 and 5 when we divorced. Since it was so long ago, we didn’t really have the internet then like we do now, to easily find out info. So, I found some books on “the verbally abusive man” and much later, I found books on borderline personality disorder and the Lundy Bancroft books, and Jekyll/Hyde books, etc. to be very helpful. I have been wanting to “diagnose” my ex-husband in my mind, to help me understand his behavior (he was charming before we married and then “switched” suddenly on the honeymoon and I was very committed to marriage and didn’t “believe in” divorce so I just kept trying and trying and trying, as so many of you here have done and are doing). During the marriage, I did not try to diagnose him. I was, rather, looking for mutual solutions to our “difficulties,” working on the marriage (we went to lots of counseling!), and assumed I was married to a grownup who would meet me halfway. One day he took off the gloves (lost control) in front of the children and threw dishes full of food at me (for no logical reason obviously, except what was in his mind). That helped me wake up, that these behaviors were NOT going away, they were escalating and the cycles of abuse growing shorter, and I was dying a slow death. In fact, I had been sick for NINE MONTHS (one cold after another) and my husband was getting angry with me for being sick! I finally woke up and realized, “this man does not cherish me. This man does not love me. This is not the marriage I believed I was getting. In fact, he is angry at me all the time, and I cannot figure out why. I try asking him and sharing my heart and feelings with him, but all he does is mock me and sneer and criticize. And then he wonders why I never want to have sex with him! I know it is my “duty” but I have lost desire for him. I do want to be close, but I don’t feel safe with him (emotionally). Whenever I do give in to sex, it is not loving — it is forced, it hurts, and it is humiliating (the things he made me do).”

    In any case, when I read your “list” and you mentioned leaving your garden, that reminded me. Yes, in my mind in the 5 weeks it took me to realize no, it is hopeless, and I MUST LEAVE FOR THE SAKE OF THE CHILDREN (it was heartbreaking), I found saying “goodbye” to my garden to be one of the hardest things of all.

    Today it is 15 years since I left. I have a new garden. Not one day has gone by in those 15 years where I regretted my decision and action to leave. I know it was the right decision for me and the kids. Yes, I HAVE looked back, if only to see if I made a mistake in leaving. No, I definitely did not make a mistake.

    Over the years, time and again, he has shown his “true colors,” and has driven his children away from him. He has accused me of parental alienation, when I have done nothing of the sort. He has alienated them all on his own, without any help from me. On the contrary, I have continued to try everything I can to foster a relationship between him and the children (even a limited one), but he keeps playing these PA games with him and I am left to pick up the pieces.

    Now that the children are in college, they want nothing to do with him. There’s no “there” there. I have never badmouthed him to them. However, I am validating to them, if they come to me in tears about something their dad has done to them (and usually it is something subtle and they think they are going crazy). I tell them I believe them, and that their dad is who he is. They see how different he and I are, and express amazement that we were ever married. They cannot believe that someone like me would ever have been married to someone like him. But he was very nice to me for the first two years I knew him! How can anyone fake being nice like that for two whole years??? The cognitive dissonance made it hard for me to believe what I was seeing with my eyes (his actions) were the true HIM, rather than his pretty words, or his increasingly rare niceness.

    This is the hardest thing in the world, I gotta say. Divorcing them does not always mean you are free of them (no contact), if you have children. But looking back, I know my kids were better off in a divorced family with shared custody (I had them about 70% of the time) than in an “intact” but super dysfunctional family.

    I think I modeled for them how to stand up for myself in a relationship. They were too young at the time to remember how I acted then in the marriage (trying everything I could, and sometimes being provoked into crying while he stood there rolling his eyes at me derisively and telling me I was “playing the victim” and how disgusting he found my emotional “display”) but I am grateful now that, as hard as it has been over the years, they did not have to experience me modeling for them, staying in an abusive relationship for ANY REASON AT ALL.

    I’m not criticizing anyone who stays for any reason. I know it is complicated. It was the hardest thing I ever did, to leave, stay at home mother that I was with 2 small kids. I did have some financial support from my family and some alimony from him for 2 years and some child support, so the financial struggles have been hard but not impossible. He is wealthy and I left a comfortable home and life, to live an extremely frugal and modest, “working class” life, but I am much happier and healthier now.

    I hope to give any of you who feel stuck, courage to leave. It IS very hard to overcome the psychological and emotional barriers to leave. I hope you can find the strength. A beautiful world waits on the other side of your abusive relationship, once you extricate yourself. It is a prison you are in, but it is one that you CAN leave. Just lift up your eyes, away from the ugliness, and look for something better. You deserve it and so do your children.

    I know this is long — hope that is OK. I also want to add that, as I alluded in my first paragraph, yes I am currently in the process of leaving a very subtle passive aggressive man. I feel a bit stupid that I have blinded myself to the patterns and situation, because “I should know better.” But now that I see the patterns, I know it is hopeless, and I’m going to cut my losses and leave. Thank goodness, that doesn’t mean moving houses. And it doesn’t mean kicking him out. We have not been living together. That makes it easier. It is still sad and hard, though. And I think I am “done” with romantic relationships. I clearly keep getting involved with PA men. This current one kept up the nice act for nearly three years! I thought I had finally found a real gem. So it is just in the past year that I have been making allowances for him, thinking “he’s going through something” rather than “OMG! Another one fooled me!” but now I know.

    In case you are wondering, yes I have been trying gently to tell him that I “think I know what’s going on” that we should examine, to figure out some unproductive patterns in behavior, what part I play, what part he plays (all stuff I learned in therapy LOL) but surprise! He does not admit to any part in the dynamic! He blames me! I am calm and tell him, “we each play a part. I am interested in knowing what you want, I’ll share with you what I want, let’s see if it aligns and if so great, and if not, well then we can discuss, take turns, compromise, whatever!” But no, he cannot be direct with me. In fact, my gentle and respectful, loving attempt to coax out of him a direct expression of what he wants (rather than expecting me to read his mind then punishing me when I “guess wrong”) inflames him! He gets so angry! Then I say, “you seem very angry.” And he immediately denies being angry. Crazy, right? Well, I’m out of there.

    I don’t have low self esteem and never did. I am only a caring and giving and trusting and forgiving and empathetic person who is willing to admit to my mistakes and work through problems in relationships, learn my lessons so as not to repeat mistakes, and I try hard, and I tend to believe the best about people and assume they are believing the best about me. But with PA, they are dishonest about their feelings! I have been too easily fooled. PAs also target nice people like us. Like predators.

    Hang in there, all of you.

    • lonelywife07 says:

      Another one…thank you for sharing your story..and I’m sooo glad you had the strength to leave when you did!
      And good for you for recognizing another PA in sheeps clothing…he covered it well, so glad he’s coming out now, so you can make your escape! :)

    • AnotherOne,

      Thank you for sharing your story. Wow! Such lessons for us all. I know my situation is bad for my children and want them and me out so badly, but in my case custody is such a gamble. I really appreciate that you were able to share about two different relationships and the similarities. My PA man is also of the very subtle variety, which I think may be the most dangerous animal of all. Sneaking all that poison in under the radar. I believed he was good and I was bad for so long and I almost completely lost my identity. I was so blind for almost two decades and it destroyed my health. I am now trying to pick up the pieces to find any kind of healing so I can even fight for my children. We live separated within our home now and now that I can see and don’t cooperate within his PA tactics anymore, he is still acting as PA as ever, if not more so, but he is slipping up and revealing what he really thought and felt about me all the time. He never valued me at all. I was supposed to play a role in his little world where he was in charge and where I was the scapegoat for all blame and failure in his life and in our household.

      I know what you mean about romantic relationships. If I ever get out of here, I don’t think I could ever risk my freedom again. There are too many predators masquerading as sheep and it’s just too hard to tell the difference early. If my personality and bent tend to attract them, I would much rather be alone. I finally like myself again, which is a start. I am careful now when I meet someone – even neighbors, friends, etc. – not to assume the worst, but not to assume the best.

      Thank you for the encouragement. I am so glad you are getting out again. Enjoy your freedom :)

  8. lonelywife07 says:

    Seriously…get the book The Emotionally Destructive Marriage by Leslie Vernick…it’s helped me soooo much! Also, she has a blog on her website…it’s awesome!
    You don’t have to stay in this kind of marriage….God wants better for you!

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