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Emotional abuse?

Alyssamd24 posted 3/5/2021 13:18 PM

I started a new job recently in the mental health field and have been doing many trainings on things like trauma, domestic violence, and other triggery topics. The trainings combined with things that have been going on with my XBH lately have been making me do a lot of thinking on things that have happened in the past. (this also includes things from my childhood and my parents but that is s a whole other thing I need to process)

Many of the things I have been learning about domestic violence and emotional abuse are things that I experienced when I was still married to my XBH and part of the reason I finally asked for a D.

Additionally, many of the things that I have learned about trauma are things that I see in myself, both from my M and more disturbingly from my A...like thinking about it still and how awful I was is something that still haunts me today. I still have dreams often about my AP and my old job, but they are never good dreams about him. They are usually replaying when I finally confessed everything to my boss.

But then that makes no sense either cuz I feel like I can't call it a trauma because its something I did to myself?? And as for the emotional abuse, that is also something else that I feel I caused to happen, if that is even what it was.

I look at my behaviors now when I have tried dating and have been getting to know someone, and many of the negative things that I find myself doing are things that appear to be common with people who have experienced , you guessed it, trauma and emotional abuse.

I also feel almost guilty for saying maybe thats what it was because the emotional abuse wasn't as bad as the textbook definition of abuse or domestic violence.

I realize this doesn't make much sense and may be unorganized but I just need to get it out.

OwningItNow posted 3/6/2021 04:01 AM

Many of the things I have been learning about domestic violence and emotional abuse are things that I experienced when I was still married to my XBH and part of the reason I finally asked for a D.

I look at my behaviors now when I have tried dating and have been getting to know someone, and many of the negative things that I find myself doing are things that appear to be common with people who have experienced , you guessed it, trauma and emotional abuse.

It's hard to know what you mean, what you suffered through and how you are behaving now. Did you want to give any examples? And are you in IC to work through this? Did you do IC after your A and work through those Whys?

Relationships can be very dysfunctional and toxic. If we don't figure out why we accepted, created, or even sought out that type of relationship, we will most likely carry pieces of it into new relationships. Even if our role was very small or we were mostly a victim of a traumatic situation, there is damage to work through and make peace with. Otherwise, without even realizing it, we can bring overzealous reactions, protections, or even false beliefs into new relationships.

At a very minimum, you would want to explore why you entered into an abusive relationship and coped by cheating, right? I don't know your story, but if it involves placing yourself into powerless situations and then passive aggressively lashing out to survive as opposed to standing up for yourself and leaving, you'll want to figure out why you did that. My first instinct is to say that you were recreating a FOO dynamic, a powerlessness with a parent that forced you into learned passive aggressive survival. But that's no way to live. It seems to me that you may need to learn to love yourself properly to fully heal, especially if you are having guilty dreams about your poor behavior and the way you mistreated an abuser? I know all about such conflicting feelings and wishing abusive people would love me. Self-love is the cure, along with accepting the limitations of the people in your life.

Regardless of the reasons, it sounds like you need to do some work before you attempt to enter anything new. Most of us do.

[This message edited by OwningItNow at 4:13 AM, March 6th (Saturday)]

grubs posted 3/6/2021 04:14 AM

But then that makes no sense either cuz I feel like I can't call it a trauma because its something I did to myself?

Why not? Trauma is a result of a wound. It matters not that it is self inflicted.

deena04 posted 3/6/2021 07:30 AM

The fact you are recognizing this is a great step forward because now you have an understanding of steps you can take to learn to feel the way you want to feel. You cannot control all trauma that occurred to you. However, you can recognize it, work through it, and find a balance in life. I hope it works out for you.

Alyssamd24 posted 3/6/2021 08:55 AM

And are you in IC to work through this? Did you do IC after your A and work through those Whys?

I am not in IC at the moment but have been in the past a few different times. I did go after my A to work through my whys and think I have uncovered some of them.

I do agree that I need to learn to love myself and its something that I am working on constantly. My XH was not abusive when we first met, it was something that happened gradually and like I said I still don't know if it was.
I wo

Since my D I have dated off and on, mainly attracting men that aren't good for me and have their own issues. At first I also found that I was confusing sex with love..I was having too much sex just to feel wanted and loved. This was in the beginning and I am really happy to say that I recognized it eventually and set my boundaries and this is no longer an issue.

But now I am still very hesitant to trust anyone and assume every man is interested in me just for sex and nothing more. I either push men away or get way too attached to quickly and usually just assume the worst.

I was actually in a relationship a year ago and was with him for almost a year so I at least know I am somewhat capable of being successful.

Why not? Trauma is a result of a wound. It matters not that it is self inflicted

I guess I have always thought of trauma more as something that happens to people that isn't self inflicted.


And thank you deena!

grubs posted 3/6/2021 09:51 AM

I guess I have always thought of trauma more as something that happens to people that isn't self inflicted

Someone drinks and drives and thier best friend is killed as a result. Totally self inflicted, but most people would be pretty traumatized by it.

Two wrongs don't make a right. That your A was wrong doesn't mean your WH's physical and emotional abuse wasn't equally or even more wrong. Give yourself grace. It might be time to see if IC can help you process more now that you've had some space to settle some.

Alyssamd24 posted 3/6/2021 10:45 AM

That makes sense Grubs thank you. And just to clarify my XH was never physically abusive to me.

grubs posted 3/6/2021 14:59 PM

And just to clarify my XH was never physically abusive to me.

My apologies. Multitasking today.

Darkness Falls posted 3/6/2021 16:26 PM

Many years ago, I got myself into a really bad situation, “relationship”-ish. Lots of abuse, coercion, isolation, control, the works. I have always been clear that I had choices prior to and during (part of) the fiasco and that I got into the whole thing in the beginning of my own free will. Yet it absolutely was traumatizing, and negatively shaped the course of my life thereafter. I agree with grubs that trauma can result from any traumatic incident or ongoing scenario, even if we play a part in getting there.

[This message edited by Darkness Falls at 4:27 PM, March 6th (Saturday)]

Alyssamd24 posted 3/6/2021 16:46 PM

No worries Grubs. I appreciate your input. Just wanted to put it out there.

Darkness Falls, what did you do

Karmafan posted 3/6/2021 17:55 PM

I also feel almost guilty for saying maybe thats what it was because the emotional abuse wasn't as bad as the textbook definition of abuse or domestic violence.

I used to think that abuse was just the overt type: shouting, name calling, belittling, cheating, all the way down to physical violence. Short of the latter, I experienced it all with XWH.

I then had a relationship that showed me that you can be a victim of abuse even if voices are not raised and put downs not so obvious. My ex was a control freak who liked to show me, rather than tell me, how little he thought of me. He never took me out for dinner, never bought me flowers or presents, made casual remarks about me needing to be more physically active (= fat), more ambitious work wise (= not earning enough), labelled any complaints I had as trivial (= not his problem), blamed his impotence on me (“it’s normal to become desensitised after a while”), pretty much ignored my kids and exploited me financially although he earned ten times what I did.

Bottom line: abuse doesn’t have to be textbook. Any relationship that makes you feel drained, empty, stuck and unappreciated is abusive. And if it’s true that we are allowing them to do these these things to us, no man (or woman) should feel they have the right to systematically tear another human apart

[This message edited by Karmafan at 5:55 AM, March 7th (Sunday)]

Darkness Falls posted 3/7/2021 09:59 AM

Alyssa,

I did a lot of things wrong. It took a lot of time and distance from it to get perspective. Looking back, I should have been honest with key people in my life about what was going on, and not been too prideful to ask for help. I damaged relationships and irreparably altered the course of my life so there wasn’t much I *could* do, once done, but IC has helped in recognizing where I was a victim vs. where I own responsibility (it’s somewhat of both) and how I can be different going forward.

barcher144 posted 3/8/2021 08:43 AM

But then that makes no sense either cuz I feel like I can't call it a trauma because its something I did to myself??

I am certainly no expert on trauma... but...

It seems to me that we don't get to decide what is trauma versus what is not. When something "bad" happens, it either affects us or it does not... and we don't have a choice in that.

My first wife cheated on me. I had horrible mind-movies for at least two years after I found out.

My second wife cheated on me. I did not have a single mind-movie after that.

My first wife told me a lot of lies about her infidelity. It didn't seem to bother me that much.

My second wife told me a lot of lies about her infidelity and I became obsessed with finding out the truth from her.

My point being... what is traumatic to us might even vary depending on where we are in life and the small details that no one can put into a book.

EvenKeel posted 3/12/2021 08:44 AM

more disturbingly from my A...like thinking about it still and how awful I was is something that still haunts me today
Remorse is good. But my friend, so is self-forgiveness. While you will never be ok with what happened, you have to find a way to be able to process and heal yourself.

I also found that PTSD is not always instant. One of the traumas I experienced was years ago. I thought I was ok with it all (or maybe that was a defense mechanism in hindsight). But then BAM....decades later it surfaced. I sought IC and the more I talked, the more the counselor pointed out many more abuses that were done to me. Things I didn't even realize because that was 'my normal' and it didn't seem so bad to me in the realm of the world.

I have aged a lot since that time (3 more decades) and I can now really see it better.

So do not dismiss the trauma you feel because just maybe you subconsciously feel it is punishment for what you did.

It will manifest on you and come out someday down the road.

[This message edited by EvenKeel at 8:44 AM, March 12th (Friday)]

OwningItNow posted 3/13/2021 00:33 AM

It just occurred to me this week, after 25 years of marriage and IC, that one of my H's behaviors is emotionally abusive. 25 years!!!! And now that I see it, I can't unsee it. How did I miss it for so long? Why did I tolerate it? (I know that answer. FOO. My mother did the same thing.)

Here is what my H does. I bring a concern to him, and it might be very hard for me to share. I might be crying, but I force myself to sit down and share. It's usually that he has done something hurtful. He will mumble an apology and then sit there. Sometimes he starts using his phone or flipping the tv channels. If I demand more conversation or accountability, he gets angry at me--says I won't let it go, says he already apologized. If I do just let it go and leave, assuming it won't happen again, it does. And when it happens again, I am even more upset.

So I try to raise a concern, he feigns an apology, he stonewalls any discussion, makes me feel emotionally out of control if I insist on discussing or forming a plan, and then ignores my concern and does what he wants. None of my issues are ever resolved, and I carry the sadness and resentment.

Of course you can be upset about abuse you are only realizing! As we get older and wiser, we can get super upset at the realizations. We have to work through them. Cheating as an avoidant solution was wrong, but that does not negate the emotional trauma you may have lived. One does not cancel out the pain of the other.

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