Some of the hardest put-downs to deal with are the ones that seem to have aspects of truth to them. Maybe he’s snarling at you that you can’t handle money, and the truth is that your finances really are in a mess. Maybe he’s calling you fat, and in reality you have indeed put on some pounds. Maybe he’s saying that everyone thinks you’re a psycho, and the truth is that some important friends actually have turned against you.
Does this mean that he’s trying to help you to face some things that you need to face? Does this mean you are wrong to feel bad about the ways you are being verbally torn apart?
The truth is that even when he seems to be right, he’s still wrong. And he's definitely not trying to help, though he may tell you he is. Here are reasons not to take his statements to heart:
1) Because he’s exaggerating your difficulties in order to hurt you, even if there are partial truths in his words.
2) Because he’s telling you that everything that is difficult in your life is your own fault, and that it shows what a weak person you are underneath. And that’s completely false.
3) Because he’s ignoring how profoundly his mistreatment of you has contributed to these problems, or even created them entirely. When you live with a chronically insulting and undermining partner, your self-esteem suffers, your friendships suffer, your concentration suffers. He’s certainly not helping – he’s making everything worse.
4) Because people’s difficulties don’t – and shouldn’t – define who they are.
A man who chronically mistreats you is a terrible source of information about who you are. His vision is too distorted, too self-centered, and too self-serving to have any useful clarity, especially when the subject is you.
To put it concisely: It is impossible for a man to see a woman clearly while he is controlling her, abusing her, or cheating on her
A meditation for today: “I will listen carefully to my own inner voices, and to people who love me and treat me well. His harangues need to go in one ear and out the other.”
As always, words of wisdom and validation from one who understands. Thank you, Lundy.ReplyDelete
Thank you, Mr Bancroft. All of your writing has given me the strength to finally break through the fog that my husband so carefully created, and eventually I know I will leave, and I have you and your understanding and encouraging words to thank for it. I know I am not alone when I say there are no words to thank you enough for sharing everything you have learned with the world.ReplyDelete
There's a phrase that appears in Scripture: Speak the truth in love.ReplyDelete
Anyone who neglects to do that has suspect motives, regardless of any grains of truth their speech contains. Here's another oldie but goodie: Treat others the way you would like to be treated.
Thank you so much for this post and information. While I did get out of my abusive, controlling, and addicted (drugs and alcohol) ex-boyfriend, much of what he did and how he did it, you described here to a tee.ReplyDelete
Even after being gone from him for three years, I still hear these words of his and have wondered if he was right. I agree he knew I had some challenges (like my battle with depression) and he played on it and overly exaggerated it. I literally felt as if I was going crazy and spinning in circles with him because as you said there was a smidgen of truth in the large bubble of lies and abuse.
I truly hope to eventually get past this very hurtful time in my life and move forward. It's truly hurtful and strong voice I heard at times in the back of my head. However, your words are something I take stock in and look forward to.
I personally find scripture quoting 'suspect'. Great blog post, nonetheless.ReplyDelete
I agree. Because the abuser likes to twist scripture to his advantage.Delete
Thank you. I´m in a terrible situation, dealing with an ex who after 3 years won´t leave me alone. He is creating drama through our child and the child support. Everything seems very innocent and I can´t report anything to the police or the authorities, but I live in a terror and I wish he could just let go of his need to control me and to punish me every time I try to live my life and move on. Please, can you write about how to deal with a co-parenting situation with the abuser. I live in Sweden, and I cannot get a sole custody of our daughter as long as there is no proof that she is not well at his house. So I have to co-parent with the man I´m terrified of. He abused me mostly verbally and emotionally, and the last 6 months of our relationship he started abusing me physically. I´m scared of him. Please write something about how to set up rules and how to manage a co-parenting situation with the abuser when you can´t get away from him. Thank you for your books, they have given me amazing strength and clarity. /L.ReplyDelete
Amen! Please please do write about how to coparent with a man who terrorized you and still does -- legally! I am living this nightmare now and have looked everywhere for suggestions but none speak to dealing with a personality disordered "terrorist" type abuser who knows how to push the envelope within a breath of the law.Delete
To top it off, my ex is in a public safety position, so he has the good old boy system as extra protection.
Thanks Lunday for such great books.
I am going through a lot of the same things. I left my ex husband almost 4yrs ago yet he continues to control and harass me in every way he can. He lies about everything and tries to set me up for disaster constantly. He makes false allegations all the time about anything he thinks he can get away with. Up until two months ago we had joint custody with me being the primary residence for our girls. This should have never been the case . We got back together for 2 months though from dec of 2008 til feb 10th of 2009 . That's when I stopped the custody case cause he bullied me into signing a seperation / custody agreement. I ended up leaving him for good about 4 or so days after I signed it. He eventually served me with papers for custody and he now has our girls. None of it makes sense to anyone who knows this circumstance. I had everyone / agency on my side yet the judge went against all of them including the childrens lawyer , and childrens aid society. My ex is now saying that he is not going to allow me to have our girls over night . He is only going to let me have them for a bit in the afternoon on everyother Saturday . I'm suppossed to have them from 5pm fri to 5pm sun every other wkend , courd ordered. He is somehow turning everything around on me and making me feel like I am somehow bad and maybe doing the things he says I am. Everyone tells me I'm not doing anything wrong or remotely close to what he says. I'm feeling hopless and do not know what to do or how to deal with this. Might I add that my ex husband is a nurse and makes somewhere between 40/50 an hr and I have nothing anymore. Him and his lawyer keep pushing that hes an RN and it seems to be working in his favor.Delete
AND... he should not be telling you what your faults are period! If he can't do it in a way that is genuinely helpful and you asked for it, it's not his place. Period!ReplyDelete
I am now dealing with just that kind of criticism from my adult daughter who is the product of my first marriage (which was to an abuser). She is criticising me, my character, my motives, my actions, my facial expressions, my speech, every little thing. And while a little of her criticism has kernels of truth occasionally, it is given with vitriol. I believe she learned this way of criticising me from her father. But she would never accept it if I put that to her.ReplyDelete
I'd like to thank you for this post and your book which has helped me to see that I was in an abusive relationship. My partner has now ended it (just 8 days ago) but your book is the biggest key to my recovery and it's helping me to look forward and not to regret the past. Although I'm terrified of the future.ReplyDelete
I felt lonely when I was with him. Cut off. He controlled my conversation and made it very clear right from the beginning that I wasn’t allowed to talk about certain things. Mostly I wasn’t allowed to talk about things that interest me, that I’m passionate about.
I was discouraged from being with other people. This was not ever said out loud but there was just an air of disapproval about my having any connection to anyone else. He didn’t have any friends. He called himself a loner and said he didn’t need anyone and I somehow allowed him to guide me into this same state and to live like him.
There were small punishments, looks of disapproval, coldness and put downs and these came at times when I’d talk about what friends had said or done or if anyone but him had made me laugh.
I can’t remember what our first row was about, I just remember him shouting and shouting and walking off and saying it was over.
I remember feeling so shocked – disbelief. But I do remember that first Christmas we spent together alone at his mum and dad’s house. We had a lovely romantic day, just the two of us. We cooked Christmas dinner and watched films and talked. But then on Boxing Day he seemed to change and then he started shouting out of the blue that I had ruined his Christmas because I’d been careless when dishing up the Christmas dinner. He said I’d just thrown it on the plate. He shouted and shouted about this and when I cried, he towered over me threateningly and shouted some more about how awful his Christmas had been because of me.
This is when I first started to lose my mind because my whole perception of our romantic Christmas Day together hadn’t been his experience at all and he forced his version of the day on me with such determination that I began to doubt whether the Christmas I thought I’d had had been real.
Continued in next comment...
Unfortunately, I was so caught up in my feelings for him that when he stopped shouting and started to be so ultra nice to me, as a sort of apology without actually apologising, I was, I’m ashamed to say it now, grateful. Him shouting at me felt so painful that when he was nice the relief was so great that it felt exhilarating.
From then on I was hooked on a roller coaster that lasted for five years, each time it happened I would lose a little bit more trust in my sense of self and doubt my own mind more and more.
He never asked me once about my past – he made it clear that he wasn’t interested when I did talk about it. He didn’t seem interested in me as a person. He never read my book or anything that I’d had published.
I was being trained like a dog with small electric shocks whenever I went out of line so I gradually came into being in line all the time and lost all sense of myself. I became invisible.
I tried to make myself visible by helping people on the internet and getting my book published and becoming someone to strangers online. I didn’t wear make up or do my hair and my physical self became pointless as my life grew online to the point where if I had to actually show up anywhere in person I felt uncomfortable and anxious.
I spent my whole life trying to get his approval and never seemed to realise I couldn’t ever consistently please him – I just kept on trying to solve the puzzle of pleasing him to the point where I disappeared and became a nothing, a vapour. So I would search for myself online through the eyes of others. If I pleased people online I felt like I had some sort of substance.
Now he has ended our relationship because there's nothing left of me. He shouts at me that we never do anything together and I'm always on the internet and never present.
I don’t know how I got into the situation where I let this happen. It was like a subtle, gradual process, so slow – like a plant growing – I couldn’t see it but it was happening. Each time I looked it would have grown a little more. Like a fly in a trap, I didn’t know I was trapped, I thought I could escape at any time so I felt safe staying, then one day I found I was stuck.
I'm lucky, in a way, that he hates his creation because now I'm free to rebuild myself.
When I read your story, I felt as if I was teading about myself. I lost weight with a trainer in a gym just to be perfect for him. The house was perfect. Everything had to be made that way because nothing was good enough for this man. No matter how perfect....the abuse was forever present.Delete
I He's sort of in the past but makes his presence known. I've made mine known too. There are things he thinks he can get away with, but can't. His tactics are fear so I won't do anything. Won't let him play that game. Take away that power game and then they become fearful when you use the system to stand up for your rights. It can be scary....but only we can take back the control that leads to peace in our lives.
Thank you!! This is just the kind of validation I am in need of. We are divorced and the stuff still goes thru my head, I finally went no contact, but it's a long process to get over. He constantly went off on me for smoking, I know it's not healthy. But he took it to the extreme of screaming at me and telling me how much I stunk and telling me I am killing myself and what kind of person does that, yet I knew he was right, but really? And all the while he smoked pot the whole relationship, cause that made him energetic and artistic. Again thanks!!!ReplyDelete
Sounds like your ex is a loathesome hypocrite, which is typical of trash like him. Smoking certainly is bad for you, but there is no excuse for extreme reactions like that, ESPECIALLY since pot can be worse than cigarettes.Delete
I don't recommend smoking, but if doing so is a way to reclaim your life, then more power to you. :)
This is lovely and I look forward to sharing it with survivors.ReplyDelete
Just have to say...'amen'ReplyDelete
True-sounding put-downs are, unfortunately, a big problem for disabled people who are abused by caretakers (institutional or otherwise, which can include therapists who psychologically abuse them), spouses, or loved ones (who may also be caretakers but aren't always). Often, it comes with using a victim's disability as an excuse to dismiss their concerns (i.e. an autistic person has to be misinterpreting the situation because they are bad at social skills).ReplyDelete