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p38lightningbolt

Insensitive Spouse

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Thanks again everyone. I really do appreciate everyone's advice. I did remove the auto password complete from my browser. Frankly, I've been really surprised at the response. You don't know me at all, but so many seem to really care.

To answer some questions, I am not religious, although I did attend a very conservative Christian school for 11 years. I have had some counseling, but not for a few months now. Things were going okay until we lost a renter, the housing market crashed, and my husbands industry slowed down significantly.

When I say that my husband is a good father most of the time, I mean to say that he loves our daughter, and she loves him. He is a good dad as long as he is not sick or tired or angry. Then he ignores her or gets very annoyed with her. I don't think that's unusual, but then again, our perceptions of what is normal are based on our experiences. The worst thing he does is verbally abusing me and/or fighting with me in front of her. He just does not get that that is totally unacceptable.

Our is a strange situation. I've studied psychology, and neither of us is what one would call "normal." I tend to dissociate myself and my emotions from conflict and negativity and overanalyze. He has all the symptoms of a borderline personality. He is very emotionally dependent on me, while I am self-contained. I think a lot of his anger and negativity are caused by his feelings of inferiority and frustration. Those feelings seem to be his natural response to anything that goes wrong.

There are so many factors that play a part in my situation... It's complicated, and too personal to go into on a public message board. I'm sorry that I haven't messaged everyone back, but it's hard to know what to say to people that I don't know.

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It's true LighteningBolt, none of live in your situation, none of know what he is like or what you are like and none of us live in your situation--everyone is just showing how much they care and some of what they have been through. Usually, what a person has lived through is so hurtful that it is hard for them to see others in the same types of situations and certainly we give our opinions on how we feel and they are honest opinions.

I stayed with my ex for 25 yrs for because I felt kids should have both parents together, would I do it again--no. I thought I was doing the right thing for the kids and now, at least once a week I get a reminder from one of my 5 kids reminding me why I made a mistake staying. He wasn't physically abusive, but I have always felt mentally abusive is much worse--bruises heal--words can't be taken back and the words behind the bruises can't be taken back.

I have many fears and for years I couldn't understand where these fears came from because I had blocked there bases. One huge fear I will explain so you can understand what I mean. I am terrified of mice and rats. TERRIFIED, to the point of not being able to breathe. When I was a child, I remember coming across a nest of baby mice and trying to save them, so I know I used to handle them, so I could not understand why I became so terrified. Then a few years back I was talking to my boyfriend and some memories came back. Little things, like mice in my home and them running and spooking me, me screaming and my ex berating me for being afraid, telling me I was scaring my kids for nothing. We had a rat get into the bathroom and I was so scared, he caught the rat, and I shut myself in the bedroom until he took it out of the house, but he trapped me in the bedroom, holding the rat outside the door for some time, laughing. One time, he threw a dead muskrat at me, it landed at my feet and you know I almost fell trying to get away. Once, as I was driving down a country road, doing about 25 mph, he says to me, "Now don't panic, but there is a mouse by your foot", honest to God, I couldn't stop that car fast enough to get out. He thought it was so funny. He didn't see any cruelty in any of it, he always thought it was so funny and for years I blocked all of that. I have a horrible fear of mice, rats, possums, any of those types of critters now and I actually can not breathe when I see them. It's terrible what another person can do to our minds!

Once he was preparing a car for the junk yard, he came in and sat down to watch tv. I looked outside and I saw one son standing about 30 feet from the car and one son standing right beside the car and I thought nothing of it until I saw flames shoot up and the son next to the car was totally enclosed in the flames. I ran screaming outside and of course I ran for the hose. My oldest is screaming, "Mom, not water, it's a gas fire!" I just knew my baby was on fire and I had to get him out. Thank God, he wasn't on fire, it just looked that way from the window. My ex had them pumping the gas out of the car using the ignition--it's a long story and a foolish one and to this day, I have not forgiven him for that one.

He never felt he did anything wrong. We have been divorced now for 9 years and he still doesn't think there was anything wrong with our marriage, he thinks it was all me. To be honest, he would take me back in a minute.

It's very easy to think everything is ok while you are living it. Sometimes, we do not realize what is going on in our lives until we have time to sit back and evaluate what actually is going on or has gone on.

I hope everything works out for you and your family.

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i'm so glad to see that you are an intelligent and well educated gal. i'm sure all of the words of caution here are merely because we all have had our experiences and wouldn't want to see ANYONE relive them, whether we know them or not.

my ex would pick arguments with me, criticize me endlessly... follow me into the bathroom where i could never believe such a strong woman like me would choose to go and cry. he would yell at me and beat on the door. then there was the name calling. i was stupid. illogical. irrational. over-emotional. this was almost a daily occurrence. he tore me down bit by bit. he fell in love with me because i was a strong woman, then he seemed to need to destroy that in me. he would do this in front of the baby and think nothing of it. the rage and his inability to control himself were terrifying. it's funny how my emotion of hurt and despair seemed unwarrented in his eyes but he couldn't view rage as an emotion or even one that needed to be reigned in. not funny "ha ha" but funny -- horribly sad.

when my daughter was 18 months old i went from living in a condo i owned, being a stay at home mom and house-wife with a vehicle to being a single mom on welfare with nothing. and to tell you the truth, i hadn't been happier in 6 years. the peace was incredible. i knew i could NOT have him teach her how a woman should be treated.

he never did understand why i left and to this day still carries an incredible amount of anger towards me for leaving him. he has since remarried and that anger at my leaving is still as strong as the day i left.

sounds like your husband is doing some leveling. he feels inferior. he has to make you feel too bad to ever feel like you deserve more or better. there is hope that you can talk him into some councelling. he is probably not a bad guy but more a guy with bad coping skills.

good luck and keep us posted. i'm rooting for you.

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It sounds like you're doing ok right now which I'm happy about. But I am still concerned. 5% of the time still doesn't make things ok. Financial problems make life stressful, but it is not an excuse for abuse. My worry is 5% will turn into 10% which will turn into 25%, etc. It sounds a little bit like you are trying to justify his behavior. The fact that you no longer auto-logon to this site worries me, too. It seems like deep down you are worried. Sorry if I've gotten this wrong, I'm just trying to state my impression of the situation.

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He is a good dad as long as he is not sick or tired or angry. Then he ignores her or gets very annoyed with her. I don't think that's unusual, but then again, our perceptions of what is normal are based on our experiences. .

I'm sure that he loves her, and that he loves you, too. But that doesn't justify abuse.

Ignoring a 2-year-old or getting very annoyed with a 2-year-old is not good parenting, period.

As to whether it's usual--look at any inner-city bus stop, and you'll see lots of low-income moms, snapping at their babies for crying, or even hitting them, or else just ignoring them. Some high income parents do this, too, I'm sure--but they're not at bus stops. (I work downtown, and see this happen pretty much every day.)

When we think of "abuse," we assume that it's a constant thing--but it's not. It starts out as a very occasional thing.

As far as personal experience goes, I cannot remember my own father EVER being unkind to me. EVER. And my husband has never been unkind to our children. EVER. This doesn't mean that we don't get frustrated occasionally, but NEVER at a 2-year-old.

I do apologize here, because I'm afraid that it's going to feel like we are attacking you and/or your husband here. But we are just all very concerned for your safety and for the safety of your little one. It does sound like you are extremely intelligent and caring.

I think we have all either been in a position where we have either justified someone's behavior that we knew was wrong, or justified our own decision to remain in a bad situation--and then regretted it.

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I understand that your situation is complicated and personal, and no one on a message board is going to be able to even approach understanding it all...but I would like to tell you a few things.

Firstly, concerning your daughter. Every 2 year old loves her parents (ie, the people she lives with and spends time with). It's biologically programmed in, it's impossible not to. Even if one of the parents is actually physically abusive, a child of that age is still attached. Kids that age have absolutely no concept of relationships/attachments outside of their experience...that is why the lessons they learn from their parents about healthy relationships at that age are so crucial. My husband's dad was very abusive and my husband now hates him, but when he was a kid he loved him to death, he looked up to him, he wanted to be like him. When family services got sent to the house, he defended his father up and down, even while his dad was making the lives of everyone in the house a living hell. Not until his mother finally got out of there when he was 12, did the attachment begin to fade and even so it took a lot of counseling to even start to begin to unlearn the abusive behaviours he learned in that home. How much better off would he have been if his mother had left 10 years earlier? Immensely, even though if you had asked him at that age if he wanted to leave his daddy he would have emphatically said no.

As for your husband's feelings towards her, they're just as biologically programmed. Parents can't help loving their children, especially when they're small and cute. That doesn't necessarily mean that they are good for them, though, and it doesn't mean that his behaviour towards her won't deterioriate as she gets older.

And let me tell you, the fact that he fights with you (and in such a denigrating way) in front of her is something I see as the WORST thing a parent can do for a child, worse IMHO even that physical abuse. The job of parents is to insulate their children from the worst things in the real world until that child is mature enough to deal with them herself. Every kid I have seen that is the product of a screwed up household, I think that is the reason why they are so screwed up...even if the abuse only goes on between the adults, the children see and it teaches them that the world is a scary place, not the lesson they need to be learning at that age. Parents are supposed to create a safe place for their children to develop in.

Only you know your situation, only you can make the final decision. Keep in mind, though, you don't necessarily have to decide, "ok, I'm getting a divorce." There are smaller steps you can take, like leaving the house until he agrees to counseling. You need to make him understand that these things are truly problems and get him to work on them before anything will improve. Otherwise, the only directions he's likely to go are straight or down.

Also, I empathize with him being emotionally dependent and you being self-contained. That is me and my husband to a T, and goodness knows we fight. Both of us are really weird and he's obviously messed up with his past. But he's never threatened me and he actually cares about my health and well-being. Being weird or messed up does not make abuse OK. If your husband is doing these things about your diet, it certainly does not seem like he truly cares about you. Buying you flowers or whatever and being nice to you when he's in a good mood isn't indicative of true caring, taking care of you when you're sick and trying to control his negative feelings for the sake of you and your child is. Almost all marriages start with two people who love each other and treat each other half-way decently when everything's going well, that's why people chose to get married; but it's how things work when things get tough that really matter. I don't believe in divorce either, but that's only a statement that I can make because my husband is not abusive and/or we do not have children.

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I have many fears and for years I couldn't understand where these fears came from because I had blocked there bases. One huge fear I will explain so you can understand what I mean. I am terrified of mice and rats. TERRIFIED, to the point of not being able to breathe. When I was a child, I remember coming across a nest of baby mice and trying to save them, so I know I used to handle them, so I could not understand why I became so terrified. Then a few years back I was talking to my boyfriend and some memories came back. Little things, like mice in my home and them running and spooking me, me screaming and my ex berating me for being afraid, telling me I was scaring my kids for nothing. We had a rat get into the bathroom and I was so scared, he caught the rat, and I shut myself in the bedroom until he took it out of the house, but he trapped me in the bedroom, holding the rat outside the door for some time, laughing. One time, he threw a dead muskrat at me, it landed at my feet and you know I almost fell trying to get away. Once, as I was driving down a country road, doing about 25 mph, he says to me, "Now don't panic, but there is a mouse by your foot", honest to God, I couldn't stop that car fast enough to get out. He thought it was so funny. He didn't see any cruelty in any of it, he always thought it was so funny and for years I blocked all of that. I have a horrible fear of mice, rats, possums, any of those types of critters now and I actually can not breathe when I see them. It's terrible what another person can do to our minds!

He never felt he did anything wrong. We have been divorced now for 9 years and he still doesn't think there was anything wrong with our marriage, he thinks it was all me. To be honest, he would take me back in a minute.

This is the problem with abusive people....they just don't see that what they are doing is wrong. It's like they have no empathy. And that's why some of them never get better, and certainly why you can't count on the situation to just resolve itself. My husband tells stories about his dad, like how they would be driving home from school and they would play this game where his dad would hold his hand above my husbands leg and tell him to try and slap it really hard before it moved...invariably he would end up slapping his leg, but he couldn't not do it or slap less hard because his dad would get mad. Or how his dad would tickle him and it would be hurting and digging into his muscles, but he still couldn't stop laughing. Things like this give him nightmares. His dad probably had fond memories of it, time spent playing with his child. Any non-abusive parent would think, "my child does not like this, maybe I should stop." Abusive parents either don't notice or care more about their own enjoyment.

And he was the same after the divorce....his ex-wife is terrified even of a mention of his name, he on the other hand sent her a 25 year anniversary card years after they had been divorced. When we saw him 3 years ago, he kept saying "let's not talk about the past" whenever my husband wanted to talk about some crappy abuse thing, but what he actually wanted to talk about was why my husband thought his wife left him. He just doesn't get it. 20 years later he's still obsessed with her. He actually invited her to come stay at his vacation home, he accidentally called his girlfriend by her name while we were there. He probably thinks this is how you love someone. I just don't know how people get so screwed up. It's sad. No abusive person is a complete devil, they've usually got some good qualities, it just makes you wonder what went wrong with them.

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I can identify

my wife thinks my gluten diet is just imagination...she expects me to do the dishes (full of gluten) and I comply. We used to fight a lot always even before my diet. The only thing that helps me was the technique of Katie Byron who has a very good idea: just accept your abusive partzner as a God-send : try to investigate your upset when it happens and if you start this technique and do not react too emotionally then the conflict might defuse...Any way, in yr place I would buy glutenfree bread and pasta and wheat and "experiment" with this mercurial husband it is quite possible that he is a celiac too and when on diet he will become less irritable.

By the way a dieting person in a non-dieting family is irritating, let us accept that.

geo

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