Tuesday, May 24, 2011

After Escaping a Violent Marriage

After Escaping a Violent Marriage

I don't know which is worse, dealing with the domestic violence or the post traumatic stress disorder that followed.

It began within 5 days after I finally separated from my husband. I tried to go to sleep at night. Within minutes, I would fly out of bed with my heart racing. Sometimes I ran. I had no idea where I was running to or what I was running from. I felt terror and needed to escape but there was nothing to escape from. I didn't sleep for 2 solid weeks. My memory no longer worked. I was slurring and unable to speak. When I did speak, I was unable to remember what I was trying to say and couldn't complete a sentence. Sometimes my heart would race for no reason. I forgot major important information like what state I lived in.

My first sleep after 2 weeks did not go well. I kept waking up from horrifying nightmares. In all my nightmares, there was death, gore, and a prevailing sense of helplessness. Sometimes I would fly out of bed, or tear up my bed, sleep walk… and almost every morning I awoke to a state of paralysis. I would feel that I'm floating over a dark abyss or a black hole that is trying to suck me in. I couldn't move. I couldn't scream. I felt death was sitting on top of me and I was helpless and weak.

Eventually, I refused to sleep at night. I would play endless hours of solitaire and average 1 to 3 hours of sleep. When I did sleep, I left the light on. I felt afraid of the dark, afraid of night, and most of all, afraid of life/death. I wanted escape worse than anything and began plotting my suicide. It was my intense fear of death that kept me alive. Soon, I discovered the wonderful world of alcohol and used it to escape life and to sleep at night.

Before alcohol, I tried to go to counseling. I was diagnosed with PTSD. My counselor treated me with EMDR. I had to relive all the awful events in my life and especially the trauma. I had to relive my friend's suicide. After a few sessions, I quit. I hated therapy and never went back. The nightmares persisted and I began to live my life in the club. The strobe light, the alcohol, the music… it was like being in another world and it was escape.

For the first 6 months after the trauma, I wanted no contact with my old friends. I felt that they could hurt me and they did hurt me and I just can't bear more hurt. I found life unendurable. Pain/hurt/terror/fear/pain/pain/DEPRESSION…. Was all I could feel.

One night while I was sitting with my parents, a heavy blanket of fear came over me. It wouldn't go away. I lost faith. In one second, I no longer believed in God. Suddenly life took on a horror movie perspective. Everything looked dark and sinister. I was unable to locate my lost faith. Everything was hopeless and I was helpless. Everything was evil and there was nothing good. I felt that death was imminent and I had no future. No hope for a future. In one minute, I lost all happiness, hope, faith, and vitality. The feeling never went away. I was under this heavy blanket of fear and horror and I couldn't shake the feeling. Not sleep, not time, nothing in the world could make it go away. I also lost my memory. I didn't lose my complete memory, just a few years, a bunch of friends, and a million things I used to know. I passed by a church building everyday to work and I thought it looked familiar. It took me a year to finally realize I used to attend church there and even work in their daycare.

I didn't associate with my coworkers or family or friends. I felt alienated. They lived in a world of hope, friends, and family and I wanted to keep my horror movie to myself. I felt awkward. I felt foreign. I received no support nor did I ask for any. I refused to cry. I just picked myself up, went to work, and paid my bills as if the trauma didn't occur. I picked up as if I wasn't suffering memory loss, alienation, anxiety, or loneliness. My sleep suffered greatly. I could no longer solve puzzles or equations or any of the other things I used to find easy.

About 6 months after the trauma, I went numb. I was walking across the parking lot to work in the morning and couldn't feel my legs anymore. I went physically and emotionally numb. Whenever someone made a joke, I was unable to laugh. I was unable to cry. I lived like a robot or a zombie. I processed everything logically and distanced myself even more from people. I no longer felt emotional connections. Everything seemed to be a dream and I felt disconnected from my body. I lived in a trance. Time would pass by quickly and I felt like I was moving through a pool of molasses. I still couldn't shake the feeling that I was going to die and it was going to be horrible and nobody cares. The world was a cold place and the only reason I lived is because my heart kept beating against my will.

During the state of numbness came a feeling of euphoria. It was like a drug. A friend referred to this as the 'laughing phase.' I was laughing and like, 'la dee da, I almost died, I lost everything, hahahaha….' This persisted for about a month. It annoyed the heck out of everyone. I began to actually speak of what happened to people who didn't know, but I was all 'blissful' and people wondered what drug I was on.

After the state of bliss came anger. I was very angry. I was angry at life, angry at people, imagining with longing for the death of certain peoples. I would curse and pound my steering wheel. I would break my belongings. I was too angry to handle life. I felt robbed of hope, robbed of a future, robbed of my life. I wasn't ok anymore and someone was to blame and I wanted him dead. With anger came hatred. I'd never hated anyone before. I used to choose not to hate because hate was immoral. Now, with my faith gone, my morals uprooted, my way of life disturbed… I hated with an intensity that would shake my body.

After everything, after all these stages, I began reliving the event. I would have flashbacks. One moment, I would be washing my hands, next moment I was on the floor in tears after having relived the event. I would go a few days where I would be o.k., and then I would have another sleepless week of night terrors and emotional crisis. Eventually, there became more days where I was o.k. and could handle life.

I kept having anxiety attacks whenever someone confronted me about a problem. I wished people would just leave me alone. If someone was unhappy with something I did, I couldn't handle their disapproval. I would be shaking and in tears whenever my boss would point out a mistake I made at work. I became an extreme perfectionist. I tried to be absolutely perfect so everyone would be pleased and happy. Also, I couldn't handle change. When a new road was built, someone married, or a coffee shop closed, I couldn't cope with it well. I wanted, desperately needed; my world to go back to the way it was before the trauma. I wanted to be 22 again. I wanted to start over. I wanted to deal slowly but the world was changing too fast.

It was only this year that I began to hope again. It was only this year that I started finding my faith again. For a year I've been remembering more and more things from my past. I can now speak about the trauma without choking up or hyperventilating. I began to speak to strangers again. There is barely a trace of the PTSD left except that I still have occasional nightmares during stressful weeks. I'm finally investing more into my future and I'm beginning to believe I have one. I have collected 3 new good friends and lots of good acquaintances. I thought that life ran me over and I had nothing left to grab on to, but I'm now happy and smiling again. I can't believe I actually survived all this. It took almost 4 years to deal to the point that I'm now regaining my freedom.


The above I wrote years ago and since then I’ve sought counseling. I used to believe that I was strong enough to handle anything and to handle it alone, but it hurts never to talk about it. When I talk about it to people who never have survived such a thing, it is hard for them to hear. Counseling has made it possible to share my story and hear I’m not alone in this.

These days I’m doing well. I went from severe shyness to teaching a classroom full of adults. I haven’t had night terrors in over a year. I’m in a committed relationship with a man who discusses his feelings and lets me share my own freely.

I no longer feel that I’m walking on eggshells and I’m not afraid any more.

Methods My Abusive Partner Used to Control Me

Methods My Abusive Partner Used to Control Me

Bond Formation

1. requesting advice

2. bringing up topics that he thought were of mutual interest

3. claiming I was his best friend

4. claiming that we were meant to be together (soul mates)

5. claiming he knew me better than anybody else in the world

6. insisting I share his hobbies and pastimes

7. having a temper tantrum whenever I expressed opinions that differed from his

8. mentioning problems that caused me anxiety and then offering to take care of those problems

9. imitating my speech pattern in order to form an unconscious bond with me (using the exact same words and phrases that I said to him when I tried to calm him)

10. claiming that he could not control his anger and only I could make him better

11. reminiscing on the good times

12. claiming that I couldn’t live without him

13. claiming that he couldn’t live without me

14. insisting that everything I have is due to him

15. claiming my life was miserable before he came into it

16. reassuring me that I have nothing to fear from him

17. making his mother’s welfare my obligation

18. asking me to pray for him

19. mentioning gifts I’ve given him in the past

20. trying to convince me after I left him that his entire world view has changed and is now aligned with my world view


21. threatening to sell our house and have us move to a new city

22. insulting my family

23. refusing invitations from my family

24. demanding that I treat his family better than my own

25. complaining about my friends

26. antagonizing my friends

27. sabotaging the time I spent with my friends (for example, calling me and telling me to come home early or interrupting phone conversations I was having with my friends)

28. dictating which friends I could speak with and which friends I had to drop

29. claiming that he was the only person who loved me (my friends and family did not)

Utilization of Fear of Abandonment

30. threatening me with divorce

31. withholding affection

32. giving me the silent treatment

33. mentioning that he is leaving the country on vacation soon and will be far out of reach

Incitement of Guilt and/or Pity

34. describing difficult periods in his childhood in order to make me sympathize with him

35. making a big deal out of every physical discomfort he had

36. claiming that others don’t understand him

37. claiming that others were out to get him

38. asserting that I didn’t care what happened to him

39. bemoaning the fact that I no longer loved him

40. claiming that he moved to Texas just to make me happy

41. complaining that I kept a picture of my dog on my desk but not a picture of him

42. saying that I purposefully was trying to upset him every time we had an argument

43. alleging that it was my idea to buy our house, thus it was my fault whenever anything (such as plumbing problems or peeling paint) happened to it

44. threatening to quit his job and then going into a rage and claiming that I wanted to work him to death when I asked him not to quit before he found a new job

45. blaming me for putting a curse on him if something bad happened to him

46. comparing the food I put on his plate with the food I put on my plate and then complaining if he did not get the best cuts of meat, largest serving, etc.

47. complaining about the cleanliness, price, and/or nutritious value of restaurant food whenever we went out to eat (in order to make me feel bad about not cooking)

48. suggesting that I had poisoned him if he got an upset stomach

49. threatening to harm or kill himself

50. begging me for mercy during the divorce

51. implying that he may die soon

52. trying to make me feel guilty for hurting him by getting a divorce

53. asserting that I am hurting the dog by keeping the dog away from him

54. accusing me of breaching an agreement he said we had made when I petitioned for a divorce

Distortion of Reality and Disruption of Mental Balance

55. swinging rapidly from one mood to another so that I would be unsure of exactly how to act with him

56. continual changing “the rules” so I could never completely adapt to them

57. countering statements I’ve made

58. claiming that I do not remember events correctly

59. repeating over and over lies he wants me to believe

60. pretending that an instance of abuse had not actually occurred

61. reframing an instance of abuse to make it seem like he was the one being abused

62. refusing to apologize for his abusive behavior

63. blaming me for his abusive behavior

64. refusing to discuss any injuries he might have inflicted on me

65. trivializing my feelings

66. making promises that would always be broken

67. refusing to let me have quiet time

68. acting charming and friendly in front of others

69. claiming that he treated me like a princess

70. forbidding me from telling his friends that I worked (he wanted me to pretend to be a house wife, thus implying that he earned all of our money)

71. making up elaborate lies about his life and demanding that I verify these lies to others

72. attempting to force me to change my name

73. sabotaging my work, special events I wanted to attend, vacations, etc.

74. constantly promising me vacations, trips to the spa, etc., that never actually happened

75. claiming that he is now a completely different person in order to lure me back into a relationship with him

76. claiming that I am still his wife even after we got a divorce

77. excusing/discounting his previous behavior

78. claiming Satan is to blame for his previous behavior

79. using gentle humor in regards the current state of our relationship (in an attempt to diminish the seriousness of our divorce)

Humiliation/Belittlement/ Character Attacks

80. embarrassing me in front of my friends and family

81. threatening to tell others some of my secrets

82. spitting on me

83. demeaning me in public

84. accusing me of lying

85. accusing me of stealing

86. mocking me if I made an error or didn’t know something

87. becoming enraged if I told him I made a mistake with my job

88. belittling my taste in art, music, etc.

89. comparing my housekeeping skills unfavorably to his mother’s

90. calling me foul names

91. using critical adjectives to describe me (lazy, stupid, slow, hard-hearted, difficult, useless, stubborn, dirty, etc.)

92. repeatedly telling me that I was sick and/or there was something wrong with me

Strategically-Timed Affection/Flattery/Remorse

93. claiming to love me

94. pretending that he was grateful to me

95. complimenting me

96. calling me by affectionate nicknames

97. using flattering adjectives to describe me (perfect, beautiful, smart, the best, etc.)

98. bribing me (giving me small gifts, promising other gifts, etc.) in order to persuade me to do something I was feeling reluctant about

99. sending me flowers and doing other romantic gestures after particularly violent outbursts or whenever he sensed he had pushed me too far into depression

100. expressing concern for my wellbeing

101. holding me blameless for my actions during the divorce

102. reassuring me that he knows I’m a good person

103. promising me all his money and property if he dies

104. reassuring me of his family’s unceasing love

105. apologizing for what he’s done

106. offering to undergo any type of punishment I see fit

107. admitting he made mistakes before

108. addressing me as though he was a respectful supplicant

Assertion of Male Privilege

109. claiming he was superior to me and had rights over me because he was a male

110. reminding me of my duties as a wife

111. demanding I give him respect and follow his orders

112. telling me that I did not have a right to tell him “no”

113. denying me the right to defend myself against his violence

114. refusing to allow me to decline sex

115. demanding that I stop using birth control and become pregnant

116. constantly denigrating other women and using their behavior as a reason not to like or trust women

117. joking about getting a mistress because he claimed men could not be satisfied with just one woman

118. insisting that, as a woman, I should be morally “better” than him (in other words, I should act like a “good girl” while he gets to act like a playboy)

Forced Servitude

119. demanding that I cooked breakfast, lunch, and dinner for him every day

120. demanding that I keep track of all of his belongings and papers at all times

121. demanding that I examine and treat all of his cuts, bruises, insect bites, zits, joint aches, colds, etc. (he was a hypochondriac)

122. demanding that I take care of *everything* (broken appliances, plumbing problems, car accidents that he caused, shopping for his clothing, etc., etc., etc.)

123. pressuring me to start a business for him

124. coercing me to run his business for him

125. criticizing how I was running his business


126. refusing to allow me to express admiration in other males

127. refusing to allow me to shake hands with or smile at other males

128. repeatedly interrogating me on my past life (especially my past boyfriends)

129. becoming upset when my grandfather would kiss me on the cheek

130. becoming enraged if he thought I was dressing provocatively

Control of Resources

131. claiming that my dog was actually his dog

132. stating that everything we owned was his, not mine

133. complaining about the fact that some of our property had my name on the title

134. scrutinizing our financial records every day in order to control my spending

135. spending my money on his family and toys (motorcycles, jet skis, etc.)

136. giving his mother my ATM card to use when she needed money

137. making large purchases without consulting me

Regulation of Behavior

138. dictating how I dressed

139. criticizing how I walked, talked, breathed, etc.

140. trying to control what words I used

141. demanding that I ask permission to leave the house

142. choosing which car I was allowed to take and where I was allowed to go

143. making me account for all the time I spent out of the house

144. interrogating me about every conversation I had with other people

145. spying on me (read my emails, opened my mail, listened in on some of my phone conversations)

146. controlling which foods I was allowed to cook/eat

147. filling my time with a daily list of chores

148. complaining about how I completed the chores

149. throwing a temper tantrum if I couldn’t complete all of the chores

150. forcing me to convert to his religion

151. rebuking me for watching scenes in romantic movies in which characters kiss and embrace

152. sometimes supervising my showers to make sure I washed my body correctly

153. checking the length of my nails weekly to make sure they were trimmed to his liking

154. dictating how I had my hair styled and cut

155. monitoring how much time I took to complete tasks

156. repeatedly testing me by suggesting we break one of his rules so that he could see how I would respond

157. insisting that he sleep with his body draped over mine

158. punching or yelling at me if I moved during the night and woke him up

Intimidation and Terrorization

159. raising his voice

160. using foul language

161. claiming he knew my thoughts before I had even formed them

162. threatening to throw me out of my house

163. destroying property that I valued

164. threatening physical violence

165. engaging in actual physical violence

166. threatening to kill or give away my dog

167. beating my dog

168. threatening to kill me

169. threatening to kill other people

170. reminding me how easily he could get away with murder

171. keeping a loaded gun by the bed

172. killing animals

173. forcing me to help him hurt or kill animals

174. sometimes waking me up in the middle of the night by playing loud music and/or turning on all the lights in the house and starting one of his interrogation sessions (sleep deprivation)


175. threatening legal action

176. bombarding me with multiple letters within a short period of time

177. calling the house and hanging up

178. having his friends call in order to talk me out of leaving him

179. repeatedly sending me emails and gifts after I have made it clear that I no longer wish to communicate with him

101 Ways I Was Abused

Alcohol-His alcoholism is a key problem in our relationship.
When he is drinking:
1. he repeatedly says he will sacrifice our marriage, but he will not give up drinking.
2. all communication shuts down even when there are critical and time-sensitive issues to discuss.
3. he shuts me out completely. He is in his own world and I have no way of approaching him.
4. he is very belligerent and pushes all my buttons trying to pick a fight.
5. he verbally abuses me--viciously.
6. he says he drinks because I am too hard to live with or too negative or too anything and then he says his drinking is not about me. Which one do I believe?
7. he feels fine n the morning, while I am still reeling from all his verbal destruction.
8. I never know whether he is late because he ran errands or because he got drunk again. By the time he gets home, I am on edge and defensive and he gets angry “because I’m always so negative.”
9. I find myself holding my breath and studying his face and voice carefully to see if he has been drinking so I know whether to lay low or if we have hopes of having a normal evening.

Financial Manipulations
10. I technically have no control of our finances and my savings are constantly depleted covering expenses when he is out of work.
11. He has stolen money from my accounts — thousands of dollars and then says I’m lying or I don’t know what I am talking about.
12. I never know whether we will have enough money to cover expenses each month. Even though we work out a budget together and he agrees to it, he never sticks to it. We are often short at the end of the month and can’t pay all our bills.
13. He ran up so many debts that we have declared bankruptcy twice and then says it was my fault. He even says he can show me the papers. That’s because he charged things on my credit cards.
14. He tells me he will transfer funds to my account to cover expenses, but doesn’t. If I dare bring it up, we get in a huge fight.
15. When we sold my home to buy our place in the country, we agreed to not spend over $100 at a time without both agreeing to how the money was spent. Several months later, I suggested we start building our barn and was informed that the entire $80,000+ had all been spent.

Emotional Manipulations
16. At one time I had been diagnosed as bi-polar, but found out it was erroneous. I was so excited I could hardly wait to tell him. His response: “You mean I’ve put up with all these years of hell for nothing?”
17. Frequently he tells me that I want to control everything and order him around.
18. I find myself apologizing to people for his behavior when I am treated badly in public or he is out of control — usually from drinking.
19. My self-esteem is battered by him telling me I’m stupid, don’t know what I am talking about, am not smart enough for him to carry on a conversation with me.
20. He ridicules, humiliates, or insults me in private and public and makes me feel unworthy.
21. He ignores my feelings and I am left feeling unloved and doubting I am worth his time.
22. He withholds approval, appreciation, or affection. He no longer has sex with me or even looks at me or touches me, which makes me feel ugly and unworthy. He has never explained why.
23. He gives me the silent treatment which says to me that I am not even worth answering.
24. He tells me I am negative and all I do is complain when I am telling him issues that need to be resolved.
25. He walks away without answering me which says to me that I am not even worth his breath to answer.
26. He laughs scornfully at my suggestions.
27. He compliments me enough to keep me happy, yet criticizes me enough to keep me insecure.
28. He manipulates me with lies and contradictions and then if I try to confront him says I am the one lying.
29. He accuses me of behaviors he is acting out.
30. He says things that make me feel good, but does things that make me feel bad.
31. He makes me feel like I can't win — damned if I do, damned if I don't.
32. He incites me to rage, which he says is "proof" that I am to blame and that I am the one who is abusive.
33. He tries to convince me he is "right," and I am "wrong" even though we both know better.
34. He frequently says things that are later denied and accuses me of lying or being nuts.
35. He criticizes me and undermines my self-esteem, but brags on me to other people—they say.
36. He ridicules me by scoffing at me for expressing myself.
37. He makes me feel like I am wrong, stupid, crazy, or inadequate.
38. I feel that nothing I ever do is good enough for him.
39. He makes me feel as if I’ve done something wrong but I can't figure out what it is.
40. When he wants me to shut up, he uses his hand to mimic talking and puts it right in my face.

41. He has unpredictable mood swings, alternating from good to bad for no apparent reason, which keeps me in constant emotional turmoil.
42. Numerous times when I have tried to have a normal conversation with him, he accuses me of being angry or yelling at him. Although I know for a fact I am in a good mood and just want to chat and I tell him he is mistaken. He says, “I know better. I can hear it in your voice and see it in your body language.” Then we usually end in a fight over whether I was angry initially or not.
43. He switches the subject to other arguments that have nothing to do with the current topic and are usually directed against something I did or didn’t do.
44. When I try to discuss any serious issues that need to be resolved, he gets angry or worse yet, just gives me a blank stare like I don’t even exist.
45. He "twists" my words, somehow turning what I said against me.
46. He seems to stir up trouble just when we seem to be getting closer to each other.
47. He says I never give him a chance to “defend himself,” but when I tell him I will be silent until he says he is through talking, he goes silent and doesn’t say anything. Then if I start talking again, he says the same thing and I just walk away.
48. Refuses to talk because he is not as “poetic” as I am. (Poetry has nothing to do with it.)
49. When we argue, he does what is called “collects brown stamps.” He not only fights about the current topic, but he brings up topics from the far past that were supposedly resolved a long time ago.
50. He has called me about every name in the book and none of them are nice.
51. Presents a wonderful face to the world and is well liked by outsiders and makes me look like the “bad guy.”
52. He complains about how badly I treat him and I usually end up being the one to apologize.
53. He rarely apologizes for anything he does wrong, while I apologize for almost everything — even things I didn’t do, just so he will hush fussing at me.
54. He does not forgive, but holds on to grudges for years and years and does not hesitate to constantly remind me of supposed or real wrong-doings.
55. He asks my opinion on something, and then when I can’t second-guess his already prepared plan, he gets angry and starts an argument.
56. The angrier he gets, the more he clenches and unclenches his fist. I find my eyes glued on his hands wondering just how far it will go this time.
57. When we used to go to his family gatherings, we would have horrible arguments all the way there. Then he would walk into the house cheerful and happy as if absolutely nothing happened. I would be cool, unsure, hurt, on the verge of tears and his family began to blame me for being ugly all the time.

Physical Abuse
58. Once he accidentally (and I do believe it was an accident) fractured my clavicle during a physical fight we were having. All the way to the hospital he griped and complained about how tired he was going to be at work the next day. When he left the next morning, I didn’t see or hear from him again for three days. I had no idea where he was, if or when he was coming back and I couldn’t even take care of myself.
59. I had a breast biopsy done and the next day he got angry with me and was pushing and pulling on the arm on that side. He was pushing me against the wall. He also denies this and says I’m crazy.
60. I have been physically abused by him on more than one occasion when he was drunk and angry. Usually he doesn’t remember it and tells me that I am lying.
61. He minimizes the abuse (physical and verbal) or denies that it occurred. He commonly shifts the responsibility onto me: He has even denied he abused me and said that I attacked him.
62. When there wasn’t any physical abuse, the air would be so full of tension that I could scream. I began wishing he would hit me just to break the tension.

63. When he is upset with me and doesn’t want to talk any more, he turns on the TV, goes out on the porch to smoke and/or read a book, or goes to bed and I am totally ignored.
64. He interrupts me constantly and then when I try to finish what I am saying, he says I am interrupting him. This is an effective way to end a conversation that is going badly for him.
65. I hear him talking freely to other people in long conversations. When I ask why he won’t talk to me that way he says because I am too ignorant to waste a conversation on.
66. When I talk, he usually doesn’t even listen. He will ask a question that I just finished answering.
67. I am hard of hearing, yet he constantly breaks all protocols we learned for speaking to someone who is hard of hearing — not facing me, walking away from me as he talks, talks with his mouth full.
68. My hearing is also an effective weapon he wields. When he says something and I ask him to repeat it, he says, “Don’t you have your hearing aids in?” “You just got new batteries for your hearing aids.”
69. No matter how busy I am or what it is that I am doing, if he wants to talk, he calls me and I am supposed to drop everything and come to where he is and even follow him around like a lost puppy while he talks.

70. He has lied to me so many times about so many things; I no longer trust anything he says — especially if it is a promise.
71. He rarely accepts responsibility for things he says or does. It is always someone else’s fault or it was my imagination that it ever happened in the first place. He looks at me like I have totally lost my mind.
72. He says he can tell I am upset, even when I’m not.
73. Double standards: Things that he thinks are okay for him to do or say or not do or say are okay. But if I try the same thing, I get yelled at.
74. He does not respect my wishes — Even though I have asked him repeatedly not to smoke in my car when he borrows it, he does anyway and then it smells like stale cigarettes for weeks afterwards.
75. Other than anger, he shows absolutely no emotions at all even when I tell him how much I am hurting or how afraid I am. This makes me feel like he doesn’t care at all and it hurts deeply.
76. I feel like I have to "walk on eggshells" to keep him from getting angry.
77. He constantly tells me to look for things for him when he is fully capable of doing it himself.
78. He treats me more like a secretary than a wife by asking me to write down phone messages, get phone numbers for him (even though he knows where to find them), look up this, look up that. Then he tries to smooth it over by saying I do things so much better than he does. BS!
79. He criticizes me for little things
80. He blames me for his violent outbursts
81. He tells me what to do, and expects me to obey without question. If I don’t do it immediately, then he gets angry and says I don’t think he is important enough or that I just don’t want to help him.
82. He treats me like a servant, or a child, but he tells me that I am a controlling bitch.
83. Our relationship swings back and forth between a lot of emotional distance and being very close. I never know what to expect and don’t understand what causes the change.
84. He rarely comes to give me a hug or kiss; always demands that I come to give him a hug or kiss.
85. When he is upset with me or depressed he cuts off all communication. He won’t read or answer any e-mails and he won’t answer his cell phone.
86. He steals my issues. Things that I have struggled with or fussed about in the past, he suddenly brings them up as being his issues.
87. He keeps our lives and our home in constant chaos even though I have explained to him in detail how emotionally upsetting it is for me. I am a compulsive organizer and having everything in disarray usually results in deep depression for me
88. He denies that certain events occurred or that certain things were said. If I confront him with it he says, “I never said that,” “You don’t know what you are talking about,” “You’re a lying bitch.”
89. When I am feeling particularly down or upset and try to talk to him about it, he (a) looks at me blankly and says nothing, (2) continues reading his book, or (3) watches TV and never responds.

Why I Stay
90. I have the urge to "rescue" him when he is troubled.
91. I long for that softer, more vulnerable part of him to emerge again; the one that used to exist.
92. I sometimes feel trapped in the relationship because of finances. At 63 I am not really inclined to walk out of my home with no money, and no place to live.
93. I hate what he does, but I love him as a person.
94. I hope/believe that he will change back to the person I first met if I just love him enough and show him understanding.
95. Shame and guilt — this is my fourth marriage and I don’t want to fail at yet another relationship.
96. Our interactions frequently follow the abuse cycle — He is very abusive and just when I think I can’t take any more, he starts doing and saying all kinds of nice things to make up. Then I start thinking that maybe things aren’t so bad after all. Also, I don’t want to leave when things are going well.
97. He says he will contest the divorce and I can’t afford to fight him.
98. I feel vulnerable and insecure with him, but even more so without him.
99. I think of how lonely I will be when I am old and need help taking care of myself. I want someone around, even if he hates me.
100. I have an unreasonable fear of being alone.
101. We are upside down on our mortgage so if we could even sell the farm at all, we would probably end up owing money.

A Little Bruise

A Little Bruise

Did I fall, or bump my head against something?

A long time ago I recall, dimly, that something might have happened.

Perhaps while running down the street to call the cops,

Or cowering in hostile fear against my father’s rage.

It seems that it would take more of a bump,

Yet a long time has passed.

Back then, alone, walking through the blinding sand,

Alone, feeling guilty, poor, desperate,

Daily seeing love curdle and die,

But without no real point of impact, no sound.

Strange how it works, coming from the capillaries first,

To spread the angry purple through the limbs.

Then tender to the touch, and soft, then warm,

And pliable in spite of all.

Sometimes it seems to take a while to stop,

This mystery of bleeding underneath the skin.