I’m on vacation this week spending time with my granddaughters so instead of answering a question, I’m going to give you a short 15-minute video to watch and then I’d like you to answer some questions. The video is in French (with subtitles) but a very powerful example of what emotional abuse looks like.
Here’s what I want you to pay attention to.
1. In what ways did Fred undermine Marie’s sense of confidence?
2. How was Marie’s freedom to choose limited by her fear of Fred’s reaction?
3. Describe the elements of confusion and crazy making that you noticed. What kept Marie drawn into maintaining the relationship with Fred? What gave her the courage to be herself?
4. Did you notice any similarities to your own marriage or relationship?
Click here to watch the video, Fred et Marie.
Friends, Post your responses here and let’s get a good dialogue going.
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I need your prayers and you’re invited to Friday night!
Hi to all of you who stop by to read my blog, It’s Monday night and I still haven’t gotten to this week’s question. It’s been a crazy two weeks and tonight I’m on empty and so I decided just to ask you all for prayer instead of trying to get it all done. I…
Dealing With A Self-Centered Spouse
Good Monday Morning friends, I have been crazy busy this week and I deeply appreciate your prayers. I’ve been doing grandma duty all week taking care of three little girls and their mama plus working on my new book. I’m flying home Monday but wanted to…
Consequences In Action – What Worked And What Failed
Morning Friends, One of the biggest criticisms I receive about my work with women in destructive relationships is that I speak to the “victim” about recognizing her part of the destructive dynamic. To my critics, that feels like I blame her for being abused in the first place. Let me be crystal clear. If you…
I watched this video multiple times several years ago and again recently. It does an amazing job of depicting the subtlety of abuse that is so hard to explain to anyone. The roller coaster ride that an abuser puts their victim on is very evident in the video. I most definitely lives that. They can flip on you at the drop of a hat. When they turn mean, they catch you so off guard you have no response; then, just as quickly, they turn back to ‘nice’ and ‘caring’ so you wonder if you just imagined how nasty they just were……..and if you remain distant for self preservation, everyone wonders why you don’t forgive them…..after all “he’s sorry!” One thing that really stood out to me was that Marie had a friend that saw it for what it was. Unfortunately for me, the people around me were more like Job’s friends for 10 years. A year and a half ago I got into a different circle and have some more supportive friends at this point, but when I watched this the first time, what went through my mind was that I wished I had a friend like Marie had……..
If only the whole world would watch this and have their eyes opened!!!!!!…….and then be willing to step up and DO something about it!!!!!
What’s hard for me is that my friends and family don’t see it. My husband will pull me aside or find me alone and whisper insults or something, then go back to the group as if nothing happened, and I am left there shaking and trying to put on a happy face. Oh how I wish he would slip up in front of others. But even then, I don’t think they would think anything of it because they would only see it as one incident and not a way of life.
Searching, I SO know the feeling!!!! They are great at hiding!!!! There were so many things on the abuser list that I kept saying my H didn’t do, but the more I implemented consequences and didn’t let him get away with things, the more he ramped up his game. By this time, I can’t put anything past him. He is now on an all-out smear campaign because I took the kids and moved out and have gone no contact so he has no way to control me anymore. So now he is doing everything he can to discredit anything I say and get people to believe that he is changing and I am too bitter and unforgiving to see it. I know it is incredibly difficult when nobody believes what is happening to you–i was there for quite a number of years. Keep searching….you may find 1 or 2 who get it. Just a small handful of good people in your circle makes a world of difference. I will pray that our Father will bring then to you. Meanwhile, lean heavily on Him–He is a good good Father. He lives you. His heart breaks for what you are going through…….
My husband is also a great hider…He would never act that way in public with friends..just behind closed doors or his family.
Friends- for those who have seen my earlier posts- I am considering separating again due to ongoing emotional and verbal abuse towards me and the children. I separated briefly last summer only to return prematurely due to pressure and fear. Since then I believe my husband has become more covert in his measures.
I had a conversation with him last night…if any of you can shed some light on what happened because there is a lot of confusion and crazy making during our conversations.
we initially both agreed that essentially our marriage is dead and that something has to be done.
I told him I think I may need some separation from him so we can work on our own issues.
I told him I feel like he has no respect for me and that his behaviors have been very destructive and hurtful to me….He actually said that he was sorry for doing those things..sorry that he hurt me.
then he said he has been doing a lot of reflection and thinking lately as to why he treats me this way and he says its because he was very hurt and unloved by me. I am still confused as to what he means by me being unloving but he always says things like- I asked you to do something and you dont’ do it right away or get to it. I write you these long emails and you don’t respond right away…..
and then the whole sex thing again…
I feel like he is trying to paint himself as the victim here…saying ” I have been so hurt by you so that is why I act the way I do”
Guilt used to follow and I would feel terrible and try to change…for years.
But now I think I can see through it a bit…but what through me off this time is that he actually acknowledged that he was sorry for hurting me – he has never done that before….
and now again I feel confused…..
any thoughts on this?
Sweetheart. Go back and read the beginning of your post again. You know this isn’t confusing, so why be swayed by words? What I see in your description of this conversation is: I’m sorry I have hurt you but if you would behave differently then I wouldn’t do it.
If he is sorry he will be sorry and get help while you are away and staying safe and protecting your kids from living and learning this… and getting yourself strong and healthy. He can do all the changing he needs to without you in his way.
You can watch and see if he does it or not.
Read your post at the beginning. Nothing has changed except a few words. But God didn’t listen to words only when “these people honor me with their lips but their hearts are far from me.”
You raised the stakes by telling him you needed to separate and he called your separation with an I’m sorry for hurting you.
Praying for confidence and clarity.
I could be wrong, but maybe he is acknowledging guilt so that he can reel you in a little and then slap the fault sticker on your back…again. Responsibility for an issue or problem is usually put back onto the victim by her abuser.
Just read this today in this article (http://www.halcyon.com/jmashmun/npd/traits.html):
Run for cover when they start acting normal, maybe expressing a becoming self-doubt or even acknowledging some little fault of their own, such as saying they now realize that they haven’t treated you right or that they took advantage of you before. They’re just softening you up for something really nasty. These people are geniuses of “Come closer so I can slap you.” Except that’s not the way they think about it, if they think about it — no, they’re thinking, “Well, maybe you do really care about me, and, if you really care about me, then maybe you’ll help me with this,” only by “help” they mean do the whole thing, take total responsibility for it, including protecting and defending them and cleaning up the mess they’ve already made of it.
I fearfully hit the link because I knew what the film might expose, a typical day in my life, day after day, year after year, the silent endurance of abuse. Hats off to the French for putting together such a powerful film. The tentacles of abuse cross cultures, socio-economic divides, national borders, age groups and races.
I think one the saddest portion of this film, was the help line telephone number listed a the end. I have called my local DV service three times in the last two weeks. Each time I am promised that a counselor will call me back, yet no one has. I was told they are short on staff and need to train more counselors. I contacted a counselor at a local church who said, “Why haven’t you left?” and “there is nothing I could say or do that any of the fine resources you have used haven’t told you.” So, I have no support team. My girlfriends have been helpful, yet I do not want to over burden them. I read Robin’s entries and wonder how she ever found someone who is experienced in abuse work.
I need a team to help me figure out how to more forward/out/over/around my relationship. How to manage finances, living arrangements, communication, and how to structure a plan with accountability. The harvest is plentiful yet, the laborers are few. I believe that is part of the reason so many of us are still living in abusive relationships, there just aren’t many professionals interested in this field and I believe even fewer who are willing to work with abusive men.
Rebecca, there are lots of things you can do on your own to start the process. I spent about 18 months reading books (Lundy Bancroft especially) and websites (Absolutely every post on Leslie’s blog) and took Leslie’s CORE class to educate myself to what was happening in my marriage. Armed with my knowledge, I contacted my pastor. Because I was educated, he couldn’t ignore me. He HAD to look at the evidence I had collected. At that point he helped me find a good Christian counselor. He also helped my husband find his own counselor. We’re actually on the mend now. But, it was my education process that started the whole ball rolling.
You can do this! The internet is full of help. Don’t wait for the right team to help you. It might take a while to find them. You can educate yourself. Best wishes!
Rebecca, I was fortunate . My daughter had been seeing her 5 years before me. You could say, I stumbled upon her. Leslie has mentioned in other posts the questions to ask a counselor, to find out if the one you’re seeing will be able to help you. I agree tho- out of 30 years of going to counselors, this was the first one that was well versed in abused. I would start by praying the Lord lead you to the right one. I’m sorry to hear about your experience with DMV. That ought not to be. !!!!
. . . .oh my . . . . so Marie looks beat down and very afraid from the get-go. . . . . . Her whole body posture conveys abuse. . . . Where is the energy, the life? . . . . Notice how her posture is always so protective. . . . Everything is in here: denial; repression; suppression; projection; fantasy; regression; displacement; intellectualization; rationalization; reaction formation; sublimation; compensation; dissociation. . . . . everything. . . . .
1. In what ways did Fred undermine Marie’s sense of confidence? Fred ruined the meal by not getting the important ingredient, the parsley. . . . . He just tells other people she “is busy” . . . .“What is that red dress? You don’t look good in that dress, et.al.” Fred tells Marie what to wear, what friends to have, what to think, what to be. “Now you dress up for my friends!!!!!. . . . Fred realizes he has overdone it. . . . Hey Love?” ―Marie’s got nothing, she knows that ―look at her face and posture.
2. How was Marie’s freedom to choose limited by her fear of Fred’s reaction? . . . . . Police style interrogation: “What’s going on?!?!?”, et.al. Look at the body posture when Marie says: “I finally decided to invite Geraldine.” Fred (violently): “You invited her. . . . . “You know I can’t stand her?!?! Don’t do this to me tonight!!!” Making her choose between her friends and him. . . . . “Geraldine is not coming!” Deciding her friends for her. . . . . and Marie just covers “I screwed up. I don’t have enough room.” “No it is not Fred.” (―denial, et.al.)
3. Describe the elements of confusion and crazy making that you noticed? Fred convinces Marie that something happened when it didn’t (and vice versa). . . . Passive-aggressive behavior, all through the video, everything is somehow Marie’s fault. . . . Lots of projection! . . . . . Look at all of Fred’s non-verbal body language sending a total dismissive message . . . . Making Marie doubt her perceptions . . . . . Hypocritical behavior . . . . Everything is about gaining control. . . . . All manner of subtle brain-washing. . . . Setting Marie up to fail . . . . Marie is damned if she does and damned if she doesn’t. . . .
4. What kept Marie drawn into maintaining the relationship with Fred? . . . . I really think we would have to do depth psychology to know the real, real reasons BUT on the surface it looks like Fred gives her just enough affection, affirmations, et.al. to keep her hooked. It is like a meth drip . . . . but I don’t know what from Marie’s past makes that attractive to her. Maybe she was abused in childhood and abuse feels safe and familiar to her?
5. What gave her the courage to be herself? . . . . . Watch Marie, she already knows what she knows. She knows! . . . . . but Marie does NOT want to know that she knows for some reason. . . . . Marie was finally willing to know what she already knew. Marie knew all along.
6. Did you notice any similarities to your own marriage or relationship? . . . . In my marriage, I use projection (―for sure) “. . . Look at your study, it looks like we have been robbed, everything is everywhere. . . . Then I look at my home office and I see a scene that looks like a bomb hit it. . . . . Sigh, so I ask for forgiveness and admit my projecting. . . . I use passive-aggressive behavior (―sometimes) and I am hypocritical (―less frequently). I also notice elements were I am accepting scapegoating, projecting, blaming because of my own abusive past. . . . . Oh, I am so not what I should be or what I am going to be, . . . .but thank God I’m not what I was.
Whatever happened to us as humans? . . . . demands, requirements, force, manipulation, moves the relationship entirely from love to obligation. ―And all the energy, creativity, ―all the real life is inside freedom, safety and love. Safety is romance.
I have been subjected to the undercurrents of emotional abuse from a “great” man myself. Most everyone thinks he is such a good husband/ father. But unfortunately, even the ones who see how he treats us will not stand up for us. Why can friends not back each other up in abusive situations?
What would be the healthy way to deal with this scenario?
I have seen this video a few years ago. I consider myself a survivor now and see the video in a different perspective. I am supporting a friend dealing with her abusive husband, I know how to do it now.
I cried, I got angry at Fred for the way he treated Marie. Memories of emotional abuse I experienced flooded my mind. It’s been three years since I moved out . I have tasted freedom and peace (especially God’s peace!) though I am separated and not divorced … I still relish having my own place, though living on a minimal income, going back to him without agreed counselling would be the most foolish thing I could do. I am at peace about divorce because God holds me in His righteous right hand, promises never to leave me nor forsake me and is my Jehovah Jireh, my provider! Amen! 🙂
. . . I thought it important to add this to balance my response. (―I don’t really know if what I am thinking here is totally the case but it could be.)
Re: shaming people’s defenses as a defense
. . . Shaming Fred for his defenses (which is often an expression of the defense that is splitting) can be very damaging as it either encourages the very defense it attacks, or it is shown ALL too often to throw the person into depression by ripping away their defense when what is needed is a therapeutic environment where they can work through what sustains it. What Fred is doing is not THE problem, it is the solution to a massive problem Fred has. What Fred is doing is a really horrible, destructive solution to the problem but what Fred is doing is not the same as Fred’s problem. Marie needs to exit, forgive but asking to trust is a very different issue; go “no contact” in order to protect herself.
A good question for us to ask concerns what position we take toward our defenses…
1) Are we even aware of them? ―My counselor says most people have at least 15 going at once, that’s a lot of overhead.
2) Do we try to work out what causes them, heal them?
3) Do we find ways of giving them positive outlets?
To be fair, in many romantic contexts someone with NPD often is paired with someone who has mental health concerns of their own and there can be mutual victimization. In fact, that is probably how Fred and Marie found each other and fell “in love.” Marie may be internally abusing herself or she would have never fell “in love” with Fred. . . . . Given that one with NPD is predisposed to make a victim look crazy, it becomes difficult to parse out what is the NPD person’s portrayal, and what is a genuine concern.
. . . . Also, and I don’t know how we avoid it, but I clearly see the issue, categorizing people via their symptoms is a reductionist and violent act that allows for dehumanization and lack of empathy. It allows us to distance ourselves from others, and to temporarily avoid those parts of ourselves that we fear. All of us have lots of defenses, and the game of “thank the Lord God I’m not like them” is evidence of one of them. . . . Anyways, that is enough speculative balance.
I can clearly see my own situation here and have never had the chance to see it portrayed this way. Hopefully this will shed more light on this type of abuse. I will show it to my friends and pastors to help them relate to what I am living. I do have an exit plan in place. In my situation, there are children so I can not go with no contact. I have boundaries in place. I can see NPD in Fred, especially when he is concerned about Marie trying to impress his friend and wanting the attention to be on him. I can also see it in the “crazy making” behaviour: ie giving praise and then taking it away, the quick switches from caressing to demeaning. I am very familiar with these tactics. Unfortunately it is hard for those who don’t live it to understand. I hope this video will help.
Thank-you, Leslie!!! You wrote this one for me, didn’t you? ;0)
34 years (28 of them married), 2 brilliant daughters, 7 countries…I’ve been too busy trying to keep a nice home to notice the decay. Always trying to be the good wife, in addition to believing I’d escaped childhood abuse, always trying harder, praying harder, seeking hope and clinging to fantasies.
It’s time for the exit strategy, but where in the world to go? And how to take responsibility for my own decisions without that ever-present critic?
He’s still traveling, so I’ve got another 2 weeks of fresh air in my home before his return…Our Father is so good, so gentle, so true! How can I keep His presence more real than this nightmare?
Note how when Fred walks in the door he turns off the music that Marie was listening to as she was cooking. They are getting ready to host guests for their 5th wedding anniversary. Marie is working in the kitchen preparing dinner and listening to music. She is sweating as she works to get everything ready for their dinner party. Fred is out for a run, also sweating doing something for him- getting exercise right before the party. When Fred comes in they don’t greet each other. She asks him if he got the parsley. He says he forgot- ” You could have bought it yourself- it’s not like you have a lot to do” This was something she had asked Fred to do to help get ready for the party- a small thing. He didn’t do it and he cuts her down and insults her when she asks him about it. Marie would be feeling disappointed, frustrated and that’s when Fred moves in to be affectionate, loving and physical. Words- drama. ” You made an effort tonight, Marie- 5 yrs.
My mom’s recipe-It’s just missing a little something.
OK this opening scene is very familiar to me. I love listening to the radio and to music. I actually love cooking and doing chores, cleaning up the house when I can listen to music or listen to an interesting radio show. I have always loved listening to CBC radio, our public broadcaster in Canada for interesting, thought-provoking programming. Even if you’re a stay-at-home Mom and in the house all day you can keep in touch with what’s happening in the world, current events and keep your mind stimulated and have something to discuss. I love listening to Focus on the Family broadcasts, or podcasts or music I love. When my husband walks in the door, the music/radio goes off. Either he just walks over and turns it off or he is irritated and asks that I turn it off. It doesn’t matter if you were in the middle of listening to a show or enjoying the music. The soundtrack in the house now becomes him and his voice only. No matter what you’re doing or if you’re in the middle of something or busy, all attention must be on him and I need to listen to his story, his account…and never ask any questions or add ( interrupting). When my husband was working, I would still listen to the radio and music and devotionals at home on my own…That part of myself still felt intact. Now that my husband is home during the day…I don’t listen to the news, current affairs shows, spiritual/encouraging shows, music. It is quiet. It has to be quiet when he’s working or it’s him talking. Sometimes now I listen to programs on my phone with earphones as I do the dishes, make dinner, clean. Doing chores and cooking to music can be fun and enjoyable and everything gets done easily. Working hard to do all the chores and cooking in silence and then having someone criticize your work or complain about what you’ve done or haven’t got to yet feels like you’re a servant or a slave.
When my husband is around the house all day, he demands my attention and wants me to sit down and listen to him. I find it hard to get all the chores done and then I’m the one to blame and there’s more criticism and complaints about the house, dinner not being ready etc.
Getting ready for guests coming to the house….everything falls on you, you’re doing all the cleaning, all the cooking, preparing. My husband will do something for him right before we have guests over… going to a workout, going for a run, helping someone else with a job, meeting a friend for coffee. It would be great to have help getting ready to host Thanksgiving dinner or a dinner party. You feel like you’re doing it all on your own. Then there’s conflict, and everything just goes on… the show must go on, guests arrive and you have to put on a smile and act like everything’s ok
With the kind of husband you speak of, don’t wish for help. I used to ask for help. When he started helping, it was worse than his absence. He will criticize my requests for help and try to entangle me in an argument. (Why do you do it this way…enter a teaching lesson. Who are you trying to impress? Why clean up before guests, You don’t need that many chairs, why didn’t you just order pizza etc….). Any way, it is better to do it yourself, than to endure a mouth beating while you prepare. Also, when he has vacuumed , he will do it at the last minute while guests arrive.
” You could have bought it yourself. It’s not like you have a lot to do.”
I often do not have access the car. I will ask to have the car so I can do a grocery run. My husband’s schedule gets busy with his activities. His sessions with his personal trainer, his events, his courses, meeting up with people for coffee, meetings. It’s often last minute, not on the calendar, I don’t know his schedule, he’s gone and he doesn’t consult with me. I feel like I’m always at home by default, the one looking after our son, at home doing chores. Often we don’t have the groceries we need to make a good dinner, make lunches. It’s chaos. When I speak up, he always comes back with ” noone’s stopping you from getting groceries, you had all morning yesterday but you decided to go to your womens group. The car was here yesterday you could have gone then. It’s noones fault but your own….You had all day to yourself…
Fred answers the phone. It’s Geraldine, Marie’s friend. He say’s she’d busy, she can’t come to the phone right now, she’ll call you later. He could have taken over in the kitchen for Marie and passed the phone to her so she could talk to her friend.
My husband answers the phone almost all the time. He spends a lot of time talking on the phone. For a long time we didn’t have an answering service, so if people were trying to call they would just get a busy signal. My husband will answer the phone and talk to my family- my sisters or my father for a long, long, long time before he asks them if they want to speak to me. My dad will have said everything he has to say and it’s time to go…so I end up not talking to my Dad or just saying a few words and then it’s time for him to go. And sometimes for my sisters or my friends they don’t have enough time to be on the phone for a long time, so we don’t get a chance to talk to each other for long. My husband is on the phone a lot, while dinner’s being made, while I’m putting our son to sleep, looking after our son….he gets a lot of uninterrupted time for telephone conversations. I don’t do as well keeping up with family and friends by phone. If his family calls and I answer the phone, he will be waiting right by the phone motioning at me to hand it over, so I don’t get much of a chance to talk with his family.
Fred shouts out Marie’s name from the living room and has her come in from the kitchen where she’s busy preparing supper to discuss his issue- the drama of her inviting her friend to dinner. I don’t like when people yell or shout people’s names in the house and expect them to come. My father did this all the time to my Mom and his kids and we all had to come running. I don’t like it if my son does this. If you need to talk to someone you can get up and go to them. Fred could walk in to the kitchen and talk to Marie where she’s working or they could have a conversation as they worked alongside each other. My husband will do this, shout out at me from somewhere else in the house, if I don’t come when he calls, he gets upset, tells me I’m being difficult, not normal. “Why don’t you answer?
Why didn’t you come when I called your name?”
***”Do you want me to set the table?” Fred offers to set the table. “No it’s ok,” “Ok then I’ll go take a shower” Why doesn’t Marie accept Fred’s offer to help? He’ s just subtly criticized her by saying that her cooking isn’t quite as good as his mother’s- it’s missing a little something ( here’s the bar, jump, you didn’t quite jump high enough, you’re not good enough but you’re making an effort), then they’ve just gone through a little roller-coaster drama about Marie inviting her friend Geraldine who is important to here but who Fred can’t stand. He is asking her to put him first, and them first and forget her friend…goes from upset to loving, affectionate, then quickly offers to set the table….
she says no, it’s ok…..
Sometimes we refuse their offers to help because we’d prefer to have time to ourselves, our own space, it’s easier to be on our own then around them and their negativity so we’re just relieved to have them out of our space for a while.
sometimes we want to do more to please….to show that we’re good enough, to be as good as his mother, to make an effort to have everything nice for our anniversary…maybe the recipe didn’t turn out as well as your mother’s, sorry to have upset you, we don’t want any more conflict so I’ll set the table.
Sometimes asking for your husband’s help causes conflict, his defensiveness, criticism. To avoid more conflict, sometimes it’s easier just to do everything yourself. And so we overfunction and we get exhausted, run-down, isolated, don’t take time to do things for ourselves ( like take a run or exercise), and struggle with keeping up with all the chores and receive criticism when everything isn’t done.
Maybe Marie’s dish is missing the parsley!
“Don’t do this to me tonight”
All Marie did was invite one of her closest friends who is important to her to their wedding anniversary party. It’s not Fred’s birthday party. It’s their wedding anniversary. She’s not doing anything to him.
“Geraldine is not coming” Final decision- not something they discuss together. His decision is final.
She is the one that has to call and un-invite her friend ( lying to her friend, not being kind) He listens in on her conversation.
What’s more important to you? Me/Our marriage or your friends, Church or me? Womens Fellowship or me? You love our son but I don’t think you love me? Do you love me? Do you really?
In a respectful relationship you shouldn’t have to choose between your friends and activities that you love and your husband. Your husband would not put down and criticize your best friends, your family members.
I used to love dinner parties. I used to love getting together with friends, other families for dinner. I loved having conversations with friends and being social. I love being social with friends at church and having a sense of community. My husband always complains about my friends and people we meet. He hates just going to someones house for dinner and sitting around having conversations. He has no time for it. He criticizes everyone. People aren’t good enough for him. People we meet at church. He says” I would never choose to hang out with someone like that. There just not my type of person. I have no interest. I’m bored out of my skull. I’d rather slit my wrist.”. I often feel very isolated. We don’t get together with other families. He has a separate social life where he goes out as an adult on his own to events. My social life was with other families with young children during the daytime at playgroups, the library, parks. At night I was always at home with our son alone. A lot of people in our community didn’t even make the association that my husband was my husband and my son’s Dad, or even know that he has a son.
At the party, Fred talks about himself, he monopolizes the conversation. Before dinner he’s talking about their vacation and his guests are asking him questions. He’s comfortable talking about himself. As a host he could be asking his guests questions and participating in a 2-way conversation. But he is doing all the talking. At dinner he’s telling jokes, all eyes are on him, he’s soaking in the attention, everyone’s laughing at his jokes. Later after all the tension, he goes right back to “What were we talking about….vacation” He’s telling the same stories as he told earlier in the night. This is my husband…at social gatherings and together with all the people, he loves to do all the talking. He monopolizes conversations. He loves to tell jokes, be entertaining. He never tires of telling the same stories over and over, the same jokes, the same expressions. He loves having all eyes on him, being the entertainer. He never asks other people questions or shows an interest in their lives. He has very little patience for listening to another person’s story. In our marriage relationship, it’s the same- he does all the talking. He has very little interest in what I have to say. Whenever I try to talk to him it always ends up feeling like a debate. He can never just consider what I’ve said, or ponder it or agree. It feels like he always has to negate what I’ve said or tear it apart, or prove how it’s not true or he will simply shut down conversation. I used to love discussing current events, ideas. He has no time for this. He shuts the conversation down he will not talk about anything in the news, current events etc. “Who cares?” ” I have no time for that.” I have no interest” ” That has nothing to do with me.” I have so longed for adult conversation. It is such a treat when I get to talk with another adult and have a rich conversation, get excited about sharing information, learning, discussing. You get tired of spending time with someone who monopolizes the conversation and only talks about themselves. When you’re a couple….this affects your social life. On my own, I was very social and would get invites to peoples houses all the time. As a couple we receive very few invites. My husband even though he is part of a family with small children has friends who are single, no kids, not interested in kids. His social life is adult-only not family oriented.
Raised voice, in-your face, words flying in your face, almost spitting in your face
Marie is quiet not saying a word eyes downcast as Fred lets his anger fly.
This is what you do you grow quiet, look down, don’t say anything…if you try and say something or stand up for yourself, the conflict only escalates, and you never get anywhere, never get your point across- frustration
Marie ends up crying. After being on the receiving end of a verbal tirade you feel like crying, you can feel so small, like your soul is crushed, you feel so hopeless
And then the roller coaster-When Fred sees that Marie is crying he says sorry and starts to be loving calling her ” My love” flipping around “actually I think it’s pretty cool that you get along with my friend Alain”
Ok Hurry up- Debrouille- Again it’s ok let’s get going, get on with thing’s like nothing’s happened..yup we’re still having people over, the party’s still happening, hurry up we’ve got to get ready.
There have been so many special occasions, special dinners where I have felt like this, been reduced to tears, we’ve had major conflict drama and then you just have to get over it and pretend like everything’s ok and host friends and family and not talk about any of it
Fred is monitoring her on Facebook, not just reading her posts and taking an interest in her ideas but monitoring who she’s friends with. Jealousy…upset that she’s friends with his friend ” My friends are my friends” Doesn’t want her to wear the red dress…. you’re wearing it for someone else.
I have experienced this irrational jealousy, false accusations, so far from the truth…he had nothing to worry about I have very strong values and integrity I have always been faithful in all my relationships. The jealousy was crazy early on in our relationship, our engagement and early on. It became less of an issue once I was home with our child. I simply didn’t have interaction with other males. I realize that I altered my behaviour to avoid conflict and wouldn’t converse with male friends. I know the feeling of having your e-mails monitored, your husband checking your browsing history to see what sites you’ve visited, monitoring your facebook, listening in on your telephone conversations, sticking close by physically as you try to have a conversation with friends or family, wanting to know what you’re reading, what you’re spending your money on. Calling you constantly when you’re apart to know where you are and if you’re with someone ( early on in the relationship) now I’m usually alone. Isolation can sometimes mean less conflict but isn’t good for our souls
“Tu fais rien de ta journee, tu te plains.” You never do anything with your day, you complain..”
This sounds like my husband
” What did you do all day?” It’s your choice how you spend your time, you could have done this yourself, you had all day to do it” You are always nagging. Nothing’s ever good enough for you.” You’re so negative.” All this if you just ask them to help with something. If I ask my husband to help with something he goes into defensive mode and lists all the things he’s done today and makes a point of proving how unreasonable it is that I just asked him to do something.
Notice when Marie is sitting in front of the mirror putting on her make-up and Fred enters the room. Her body language shows her shutting down. She stops applying her mascara, almost bracing herself for what might come next. I know this feeling. Some people call it walking on eggshells. Just how it feels when they enter the room or walk in the door how it feels. I can notice that I hold stress and tension in my body, My stomach feels tights, sometimes I realize that my jaw is clenched or that my hands are tense. It is such a relief to have your own space and to have peace when they walk out the door or pull out of the driveway.
Fred comes over with the dress that he has picked out for Marie to wear. Je t’aime. I love you You will look gorgeous in this. Allez, habille-toi. Come on get dressed” Sounds like he’s talking to a child. Sometimes you feel like a child in your marriage rather than a partner. And the way they talk to you is as if you’re a child.
Fred’s best friend Alain is not respectful of women. His comments are rude. ” J’ai trouve ca dans la porte ” in reference to Catherine and boasting of his affair with an airline hostess who had “le cul de ( sa ) vie” ” So Cath- you’re still single” She has a reply for him ” And you’re still an ass” He precedes to insult Geraldine, Marie’s good friend, behind her back. When your partner/husband surrounds himself with this type of friend, friends who are not respectful of women, make fun at other people’s expense…it’s not comfortable to be around your partners friends. He’s not surrounding himself with other men with strong values, integrity, supportive. I know this feeling of being made fun of in public, being the butt of jokes, being put down ever so subtly in conversation. The conversation including swear words or being disrespectful of women. My husband hangs out with friends who drink a lot, some use pot, they stay out late. They are not family men. He hangs out with them lots, they don’t spend a lot of time around me. His story to them is that I struggle with mental illness, depression, bipolar disorder and that I am abusive. I have been sponging off of him for years. They tell him advice like ” Cheat on her and just don’t tell her” or “Leave her and take your son” or ” She needs to start working- out of home.” or “I wouldn’t put up with that.”
“Why don’t you speak up to him? Everyone thinks Fred is so great.” ” Often he is great” When Marie’s concerned friend Cath is talking with her… Marie ends up defending Fred, speaking up for him saying often he is great. I know this so well. The cycles, emotional rollercoasters are so confusing. All through my marriage the theme has been Should I stay or should I go. When they are being loving or positive or caring or being present as a father….we stay in the cycle. It’s so confusing and hard, and then another moment you’re feeling crushed, and small and hopeless and like crying.
“Reprends-toi” encourages Cath, Marie’s friend. In the subtitles this was translated as “Get over yourself” but that translation doesn’t really seem to fit. Reprends-toi is what we do when we regain our Core strength and dignity. Taking back our power and sense of self. Her friend is so encouraging and smiling and positive. She encourages Marie to wear the red dress she wanted to wear. When Marie comes out wearing the red dress and goes to speak, Fred loses it and bangs his hand down on the table. I was surprised by this. People can control their actions and this is surprising that he would do this in front of the dinner guests. My husband probably wouldn’t do this, but there are other ways of silencing your wife without a violent display in public so that you look bad
Anne, thank you for your insight (in this and your other posts).
Fred’s speech. Oh my….being so poetic and romantic, talking about how he fell in love with her from the very first day… I will always love you . The poetic talk… You illuminate the party as a rose…This is my husband. He loves telling the story of how we first met, how quickly he fell for me, our first date, how he walked me home, our first date. He remembers the dates of our first kiss. He loves to tell these stories to people he meets, coworkers. Everyone is so impressed at how romantic he is, how wonderful it is for a guy to remember the dates of all those anniversaries. He loves to wow people with the story of our romance, how he proposed, our wedding.
He would often make a show of showing up to my work with big bouquets of flowers after a disagreement or conflict or to say sorry after he had acted out or been jealous. He would come into the school where I was working to bring me flowers in front of my students and coworkers. Everyone would be so impressed- how romantic. Meanwhile you’re still reeling inside from the emotional upset from the night before and figuring out how you’re going to get out of this mess.
He’s such a great guy. My husband loves being the hero. He often offers to help people, saves the day, rescues, volunteers to help someone moving. Meanwhile he is not even showing up at home to be a responsible father and respectful husband and to be present and devote time to his family.
” Everybody thinks I am a great guy and loves me, the only person in the whole wide world that doesn’t get along with me is you”
At the end of his romantic speech, Fred downplays everything he’s said by joking ” actually I don’t remember a single thing about that night” ” Where was it again” and making a big joke of it. When Marie goes out to the kitchen, Fred raises his eyes. This is like rolling your eyes. Its body language that communicates ” What’s her problem? See friends what I have to live with?” It’s not respectful. He says ” Party time” Total disregard for the fact that he has really hurt Marie’s feelings and messed up.
It turns out too that Geraldine was the one that introduced them so it actually was inappropriate that she wasn’t there for their 5th anniversary!!
Catherine is a caring friend who wants to be there for Marie. She shows concern for Marie and wants to talk to her about what’s going on. Marie is a little bit rude to her saying It’s not the time to talk. Laisse-moi tranquille un petit peu. Can’t you all cut me some slack? We don’t mean to but sometimes we can end up not treating our friends respectfully and maintaining our relationships as we’re going through this stress and the reality of living in an emotionally destructive relationship.
I remember someone once saying to me ” When are you going to put your foot down?” and another friend saying” So you’ve been hiding away in your house eh? , we never see you anymore” Friends notice changes in you. Cath said to Marie, “I don’t recognize you anymore.”
At the end of the clip, Fred goes back to talking about his vacation and the camera shows Marie, head down, eyes downcast, just surviving.
I remember when we moved to where my husband is from in a rural area, that feeling…just going through social gatherings numb. Many times we went to get togethers and I barely said a word. I was very isolated there with no close friends or family nearby. I can remember feeling so small and sad, crushed spirit, no one to talk to and no one even asking me really how I was and taking time to listen to me talk, noone safe to share with as we spent all our time with his family and friends. And there was a lot of drinking and often negative or degrading comments about women or people where I’m from. Not a lot of respect. Lots of jokes, laughter, stories, loud banter and none of it very comfortable. And I faced all this as things were incredibly rocky and abusive at home when noone else was around.
. . . . wow, Anne that is really comprehensive, really clear analysis!
. . . . Marie is obviously, possibly? just as broken as Fred because she empowers Fred not facing himself, et.al. Marie may be internally abusing herself or she would have never fallen “in love” with Fred. . . . . Obviously, if we don’t transform our pain, we will most assuredly transmit it and repeat it. My situation involves occasional changes in the actors and set design but I have learned that: My mother massively abused me, very badly; So, I abuse myself AND I attract those types of people (they are familiar/ like family) into my life; they see my permission slip and they abuse me too. We find ourselves condemned to re-enacting a painful past if we were abused in childhood.
We might, for instance, seek out husbands who are distant from us, dislike us, or cause us damage. Indeed, if our husband doesn’t manifest these traits, we can find ourselves losing interest in them, or acting in ways that provoke them to play the sinister part. . . . . I know I do that some times. I know for me some of my acts (―now confirmed by my older siblings) were manifested from early relational experiences that I was oblivious to. Experiences I had long forgotten in the register of my conscious, but that were etched into the vinyl of my unconscious.) . . . . That is why, obviously, if we do not transform our pain, we will most assuredly transmit it and keep repeating it. . . . it is like this . . . . hmmm. . . . .a repetition compulsion? –My abusive past invades my present in an overwhelming way, causing me to rewrite the drafts of my life again and again and again with only slight changes in the characters and context. I am like. . . . well, like a player in some theatrical performance that plays night after night after night after night.
So, for me, I abuse myself before anyone else does. If I can solve the inside, the outside would be mostly fixed. The abuse would not be happening *externally* if it is not happening *internally*. I have to BE the change I want to see in my world. . . . . . sigh & huge exhale. . . . .I don’t know if I can really do that but that would be honoring to God I am sure. . . . I create my problems. If I were not abusing myself no one else could either. They see my permission slip, they take it and abuse me. . . . . I seem to be able to do very little about it myself but I see the model of how it works.
. . . .If we allow others to paint their portrait over ours, we become massively confused in our hearts because we know the ugly picture they’ve painted doesn’t really look like us but we begin to doubt ourselves. . . It hurts so deeply. . . . but it is their blackness, their shame, their emptiness, their evil.
. . . . Marie needs to exit, forgive but asking to trust is a very different issue; go “no contact” in order to protect herself, etc.
. . . . But, again, I think Marie’s real opportunity is what is going on inside Marie. . . . . We want to put our problems out there, its “THEM,” its “those type” people, not us. I do that. But, again, that abuse, maybe?, generally? can’t happen –externally- if it is not happening –internally- I am the first cause in my abuse and it allows abuse to continue, even with the next friend, etc. We have to BE the change we want to see in our worlds. . . . . Your spouse reams you out? Stop speaking ream internally. The abuse would not be happening *externally* if it is not happening *internally*.
. . . Anyways, I should check myself because I don’t want to make a dogmatic religion out of my thoughts . . . . . people are massively complex but that is what it looks like to me. . . . But, I also know whenever any explanation appears to me as maybe the only possible one, I take this as a sign that maybe I have neither understood the theory, nor the problem which it was intended to solve. It’s what you learn after you think know something that really counts. . . . Skepticism is thus a resting-place for our reason, where we can reflect upon our dogmatic wanderings and make a survey of the region in which we find ourself, so that for the future, maybe?, we may be able to choose a path with more certainty. . . . .And, of course, as always, every side attacks you when you don’t take sides! ―If it is even possible not to take sides.
As soon as Fred came into the kitchen and she asked if he had picked up the parsley, he said he forgot, but could do without it, but then said the recipe needed something. He tells her he loves her, but then puts her down. He’s jealous of her relationship with her friend Geradine, as well as with his friend. He refuses to let her wear the red dress, saying she has no taste, and chooses a drab dress instead. He again demeans her in front of their guests. She fears confronting him due to his anger. Finally a female guest encourages her to stand up to Fred, and he become angry when he sees she changed to the red dress. He notices she wants to say something and tells her to do so, but immediately interrupts her. I can relate to most of this because my ex-husband was much the same.
It’s deeply satisfying to watch this now vs last time- and knowing once this was my life and I didn’t have the faintest idea how to escape it. I became very determined after seeing a situation that my husband was still abusing and threatening my adult son. Nothing had changed from when this child was much younger and being abused, belittled, oppressed. I ran to the counselors office, I had an excellent DV counselor also, and built a new support team. It wasn’t easy, several of my support were over an hour away, but I persisted. I am so thankful I received the information and education and truth I needed to escape an oppressed life – for me and my children.
I’ve been separated from my husband for 6 months now, and this was still very difficult and painful to watch. My husband did not raise his voice much or react with violence, but he was passive-aggressive, and abusive in so many ways. I know that feeling well– the “I’m-going-insane” feeling. And the fear. It’s horrific.
Be kind to yourself. Hold on to Jesus. If you dont know Jesus. .. i recommend you get to know Him. HE’L SHOW YOU HOW TO HEAL, FORGIVE AND LOVE AGAIN, SAFELY.
If you want to that is.
You’re not crazy, you’re free!
LESLIE, WITH REFERENCE TO THE FRED AND MARIE FILM I SAY….Oh Lord. … if only the emotional and mental abuse i suffered for 27 years HAD BEEN so overt and obvious!
I cannot even imagine HOW ANYONE COULD PORTRAY THE SUBTLE AND COVERT MANIPULATIONS AND ABUSE THAT I EXPERIENCED…
even now..3 yrs separated and almost divorced, and having GOD AS MY TEACHER….. I STILL QUESTION THE REALITY OF MY 30 EXPERIENCE with my husband. …
Such a fine line between truth &lie… so very carefully orchestrated and strategically choreographed & long term outcome planned and subtley outworked and carried out, SYSTEMATICALLY. … so natural to HIS BEING!!!!…. HIS PERSONALITY IS THE ABUSE…., if u dare to upset him… the question how did i ever upset him? Or what was the defining moment when he decided to destroy me/end my life….???? Did he decide to end my life or was he sadistically enjoying the fun and games he had created with my mind and our life? AS I CRUMBLED AND GAVE HIM HIS 2nd outcome. (WIN OPTION)?
Yes! He always has 2 outcomes. .. just to make sure he wins! He’s the master of HIS GAME AND HE’S PERFECTED IT OVER 60 YEARS. (I THINK IT WAS PROBABLY PERFECTED BY THE TIME HECWAS 17YRS OLD.
Afterall… its his game, his rules and his ENDING that gave him the “WIN” HE MUST HAVE, AT ANY COST…. EVEN THE LIFE OF HIS OWN DAUGHTER!!!!..
had i not met THE GAME CHANGER.. JESUS CHRIST!!! PRAISE GOD FOR HIS TIMING, THIS WEB SITE, LESLIE VERNICK’S ONE SENTENCE “RUN TO GOD NOW!” & my obedience, trust and faith in God’s promise “to heal me”..
my daughter is safe and well and so am I!
Im not suggesting “my case” was/is worse than anyone elses…
I am suggesting that there are still women out there stuck in a crazy confusing “love/care” ABUSE MARRIAGE /RELATIONSHIP that is NOT SO OBVIOUS…. as in this film…. I’d defy anyone to pick out the same “things” as Leslie suggests, if they were to see “my husband”.
Not one of our friends/relatives did….and still don’t!
Leslie… Please watch the film “JOSHUA” a child prodigy….
i think this is the full title.
Be alert from the very start to the very last song…..
How long did it take for you to SEE the SIGNS in this film?
What was the FIRST SIGN?
Was JOSHUA’S BEHAVIOUR A NATURAL AND INEVITABLE manifestation in ANY CIRCUMSTANCE?
OR WAS THE catalyst the 2nd baby’s arrival?
WHAT IS THE REAL PROBLEM HERE?
Who is responsible for JOSHUAS BEHAVIOUR????
THAT WAS MY LIFE…. FOR 27 YEARS!!!! This is the nearest i can get to finding anything that captures the COVERT “BRUTALITY AND COMPLICATED, BARBARIC ABUSE” I suffered.
I wonder… does anyone else recognise this silent abuse?
Sadly, The reality of the factual scenarios, i experienced, are far more reaching than this film conveys.
However, THE FILM HAS PERFECTLY CAPTURED THE STAGES OF CONFUSION, denial, AND FINALLY the realisation and UNDERSTANDING, that i experienced through 27 years of (inner battling/outer striving )from this kind of subtle crazy making and intentional manipulations.
THE MUM, THE DAD, AND FINALLY THE UNCLE.. play well the “parts of me that felt the trauma of it all…. BUT ONLY A PERSON EXPERIENCING/ED THAT KIND OF COVERT mental/emotional crazy making SUBTLETY, COULD even begin to understand the enormity and impact of the actual trauma…. even AFTER ABUSE IS RECOGNISED. .. THE SHOCK, REALISATION AND ACCEPTANCE OF THAT BEING THE REALITY OF YOUR (DELUDED LOVE/HOPE/OPTIMISTIC) LIFE/MIND… KNOWING YOU WERE DELUDED AND YOUR WHOLE LIFE /TRUTH AND BELIEF SYSTEM WAS A LIE!! leads and contributes to the trauma of the abuse and truth. (Of your “participation /co operation/enabling!)
NOW….3 years later and of letting God speak, teach, explain and heal me, and im still reeling from the reality and the subtlety of “invisible” “silent” abuse that i experienced. …
I am definitely not minimising anyone elses experience… or comparing…. im compassionately empathising with those who are NOT IN an overt (and still covertly) abusive relationship. Like the one seen here with fred and Marie.
AND i know i have 1 friend TRAPPED right now, in that same prison of trust, love and belief…
I believe her “trap” is called “stockholm syndrome”
My heart breaks for her, especially when he’s “won her back over” by convincing her its for her own good, and she needs him…deceptively cleverly and covertly, of course. which “she believes” &agrees with!!!
He’s not sapped and drained everything from her YET, and when he has, then of course, HE must be the one to discard her!!!! I mean… how dare SHE LEAVE HER SAVIOR!!!!! After all HE DOES FOR HER!!!!
I dont think MY SITUATION WAS A was stockholm syndrome…
Maybe co-dependant???? Im still not sure about that. I left within 18 month of realising, and understanding that I could do no more to “fix” me or us, or him.
Once i knew, it was not “my fault”, “it wasnt me, it was HIM” & HE WOULD NOT STOP, NO MATTER WHAT I SAID OR DID.
Maybe I HAD a “cinderella syndrome” belief system that one day we’d live happily ever after because he was almost my soul mate… if only…..
Usually this IF, would end up as ” if i could just. ..”
But then my eyes were opened to the impact on my daughrer, and how he was Now working on her to get to me…. (bring me down/destroy me)…
By suicide of course….
AND God told me, I COULD NOT POSSIBLY RECEIVE HIS HEALING IF…. “I DIDNT FIRST REMOVE THE STONE”
see LAZARUS RAISED FROM THE DEAD… SCRIPTURE.
(Sorry, i dont know chapter and verse from the top of my head).
My problem now, is recovering and healing from complex PTSD….
And D.I.D.(disossiative identity disorder), that UK drs and psychological therapists, rarely or do not even recognise.
Least of all if they have not diagnosed and labelled you!!!
Don’t get me wrong, MY HUSBAND DIDNT CAUSE MY MENTAL HEALTH PROBLEMS PER SEI…
I believe i simply gave up on believing i could cope…i finally gave in…. .and i cut myself off from myself in order to survive, what i thought was “MY FAULT ” & a “no hope for help” “powerles and unable to speak of or express my situation” “no one to turn to”
He simply trained and conditioned me to “self destruct”. At his pleasure and Will. I thought i was, to some extent , street wise, yet an abuse naive, ignorant 20 yr old when i met him.
I had been perfectly groomed for a man like him, by my parents, from birth… unintentionally i suppose…. ABUSE WAS MY NORMAL..? I DIDNT LEARN “MY CHILDHOOD WAS ABUSIVE” UNTIL I WAS 33 & 13 YEARS INTO THE RELATIONSHIP WITH HIM. (WHO DISPLAYED NO SIGNS OF “THE ABUSE” TRAITS, I WAS EXPERIENCED IN.
he didnt even shout… EVER!!!
SO I GUESS
I was a “sitting duck ” (i believe this is a psychological label too)…
Even now, somehow, there’s still some part of me that hopes for (HIS realisation, REVELATION/ REPENTANCE/RECONCILLIATION). EVEN THOUGH I KNOW…. NARCISSISTIC PSYCHOPATHS DONT CHANGE… i wonder “if God will do SOMETHING WITH HIM BEFORE HE DIES, (FOR his salvation and GODS GLORY… but yet, do i want reconciliation now????
Im not bitter, i have and do forgive him, for my healing sake…..
I am hurt, yes, very.
And still so very sad. For so many reasons. But im believing for healing for that pain (s) too.
As much as i understand hace been healed and have growm, Still something in me cries BECAUSE I STILL LOVE him… the “ALMOST SOUL MATE ILLUSON! Part of him.
Was it all really such a dream… well, nightmsre/horror story.
Except the my 51 year age tells me, it was no dream. That time really has gone by!!!!
I would like to hear other views from you lovely people if you have experienced such “invisible” covert emotional and mental abuse?
Ross Rosenburg on utube gives an extremely accurate discription of covert emotional and mental abuse.
He describes the impact and reality of my husbands behaviour accurately.
God bless strong and mighty warriors! You are STRONGER THAN YOU THINK…. and you men (suffering silently). THIS IS NOT YOUR SHAME!!!!!
DO NOT LET HER/HIM DESTROY YOUR GOODNESS. HOLD ON TO THE TRUTH!
STAND FIRM ON THE ROCK OF TRUTH!
CALL ON JESUS. HE WILL AND CAN HELP.
I agree in the film short, it was very clear that Fred was ” a bad guy”. His actions were very obvious. I think often times emotional and verbal abuse can be much more subtle, can be done without raising your voice all the time or being physical. And is much more confusing, difficult to understand for the other partner. If I shared this clip with my partner or his friends they would probably scoff at it. My husband would probably say well that is definitely not me, I’m not like that, I’m not that bad…
I’ve reviewed all of the comments of my dear “sisters” and can so relate to your heartbreak, as I’ve experienced. I totally agree that God does not expect us to suffer abuse of any kind, and we must trust Him to give us the strength to stand up against it. I’ve been divorced for a year now, and although lonely at times, I praise the Lord for the peace and freedom I now have to serve Him, as never before. In fact, HE is my true husband, who loves me unconditionally, now and forever!
The emotional abuse I have suffered is more overt. My husband loses his temper when stressed and utters a lot of unkind things. Or when he wants something done, and is too lazy to do it himself, he uses anger to get people to do it. The abuse that Marie is experiencing is more covert and definitely more difficult to recognize. In some ways it is more calculated, more premeditated.
Dont get me wrobg this kind of demeaning, crazy making treatment is STILL much more covert than the obvious overt bad and abusive behaviour.
It is apparent Marie is struggling to make sense of it all and feel strong enough to disarm his aggression.
I did want to make a point of raising an awarenes that there is even a more “invisible” covert crazy making abusive behavour, than this which is portrayed in this short. Hopjng to show an understanding through my testimony, for the “someone else” out there, who is struggling to recognise the covert emotional abusive behaviour, because “surface” affection and “normal” behaviour is just as cleverly used to cover the “projected abd transferred”anger, that is really going on.
The gas lighting/provocations????? Often for long periods of time, until “inevitably” id crack…. then it was “my anger” not his being lived out….
He used me to re enact all of his emotions.
Even the good ones….
Because “he wasn’t allowed” to have/express emotions.
Therefore, calm, laid back, passive self contained, sturdy, solid, salt of the earth, dry throw away humour (sarcasm, used to cover his overt traits) e.g. tight with money….. (the reality was in private, he was controlling, critical, coercive and financially abusive)
Excused because everyone could see and hear his “humour”
Not one person can believe that the man i luved with was really the same man they saw, knew and love.
Which is why, iv told very few people, and still, im the bad guy, for leaving such a good solid all rounder.
If only someone else knew what this silent abuse was like, id at least not be STILL questioning the reality of what I really know is the reality of our lives….. somehow, not always, and certainly not as often, but yet, i catch myself doing this….
I think its ptsd and dissociation, because it does come as flashbacks and surreal “rememberances”.
If i knew for certain full healing would be, one day mine, id feel more hopeful at these times, but as im the only person, to my knowledge to have experienced this extreme kind of covert abuse, at leadt on this side if the Atlantic, I find myself doubting my healing and freedom.
The UK does not recognisenthis behaviour and in fact, is only just beginning to recognise emotional and mental abuse as domestic abuse, and yet, they still do not recognise it as “violence “.
As a survivir of both, i can assure you, physical and sexual violence is not the ONLY “VIOLENCE”, where abuse is concerned.
My husbands silent “rage”was just as traumatic, and as LOUD AND SHRILL AND TERRIFYING as any shout, punch or scream iv ever experienced.
I understood that
(The fear of) “upsetting him” was more than my life was worth.
I know the healing power of a relationship with my Lord and saviour jesus Christ now. Which is the reason that i live.
I’m so glad you posted this.I needed to see this from the outside looking in.This story is real life.My is nice then mean then nice again. It’s a rollar coaster ride ,I’m so glad I’m not riding it anymore. Thanks for posting.
. . . . it seems you can have some hope when this is a husband. As an adult we can be “out-of-there” as fast as we can practically and safely be. . . . .When it is your own mother and we are a child in our formative years, we are completely, utterly trapped, no matter how much we pray. . . . . Sometimes being a supportive friend to that monster is the only way to get anything slightly positive from “Mom.” You fall into the friend role willingly, not even realizing there is something terribly wrong with the arrangement until much later in life. This mental mix of both engulfing and ignoring behaviors, ―maddening. . . . . And since the court system just assumes mother’s “care”, . . . well, the entire system operates on a massively adversarial basis. . . . . Usually the daughter of a narcissistic mother will choose a spouse who cannot meet her emotional needs. As always, our intuition tells us when something is not right for us, we do know. . . . but we tend to block it out if it isn’t saying what we want to hear. When the hope for love appears, we override the intuitive inner voice and our own gut feelings. Everyone I have every gotten to know seems to have a deep sense of intelligent intuition, but it seems to be accompanied by a special brand of “deafness” when we see something we “want.” This is why we shouldn’t want things too much, we just don’t know. In the desperate search for love that did not exist in childhood, maybe we choose not to pay attention to all the red flags clearly waving. . . . We do know. We just don’t want to know that we know. Knowing is very different from wanting to know that you know. . . . I was thinking last night, maybe I see my mother in God who is constantly sending messages to me about who He wants and needs me to be, instead of validating who I really am. Desperate to merit His love and approval, I conform, and in the process, I lose myself. An authentic, healthy adult life: ―with as much kindness and compassion as possible, write your own gospel, live your own myth. …or someone else will do that for you. . . . .Or, maybe it is the entitled role of victim that I enjoy wearing. A familiarness to pain that I enjoy because I get a payoff from it. I am always trying to analyze what those payoffs are because I assume understanding them is the road to freedom. . . . . A truly free woman is the one who can kindly turn down an invitation to dinner without giving any, zero excuse. . . . But I was not born to be free, I was born to adore and obey. It seems sickening somehow.
On Focus on the Family last week, a couple discussed ‘Love Syles’, which we develop in our formative years through experiences in our childhood. The good news is we can change these negative styles. The couple has written a book, “How we Love”. Here is the link (there are two parts):
Thank you Maria! I very much enjoyed listening to those. . . . . It is truly amazing how complex and nuanced everything is, especially love. I never seem to have a problem with words for what is conscious inside of me but being fully known and understood, wow, that requires that I say aloud what is going on within my very soul and even the unconcious. I don’t always know how to get that up the the surface. Anyways, I am seriously considering purchasing re:How We Love companion workbook, not because we are in crisis, but because when God shows you such an easy concept to enrich your life and marriage in grace and love, why not? . . . . In reality, I bet there are not five but like fifty-five real love styles.
I also want to say to anyone who is a parent. I am not but Maria I know you are. . . . .Anyways, we just need good enough parents, that is all, just good enough by the grace of God. Literally every type they state can be a result of bad parenting. But only the really terrible parents create huge deficits in their children’s ability to love. . . . .Sans the axis-style personality disorders listed in the DSM IV, parents can’t be so hard on themselves that they just give up. We CAN have the relationships we all hope for but we have to have knowledge, keep asking forgiveness and tap the grace of God. . . . . I still see no real unifying theory of marriage: lack of nurturing in a primary relationship, problems of love or respect, the first year of life, imago relationships, et.al. all these are parts of the issue but you clearly see the gapping holes left when you look at the questions coming from those doing depth psychology. Yes, there is an outside world, and yes, there is an objective reality, but in moving through this world, we constantly apply unconscious filtering mechanisms, and in doing so, we unknowingly construct our own individual world, which is our “reality tunnel.” The vast majority of people are unthinking prejudice machines, including me I am sure, but I so, so want to be far more self-aware. The reason we might not be creating the life God wants for us is that maybe we are making most of our decisions unconsciously, and most of my subconscious policies are probably fear-based and inaccurate.
Anyways, thank you again Maria!
That was my guess as well Sunshine..but he has such a way of doing it that makes me feel bad…and hiding things so well…I always end up feeling terrible after our conversations…always guilty in some way
I always feel so terrible for suspecting that he is trying to manipulate me though I don’t think he does it intentionally…
I hate this roller coaster ride that I am on …
Have you ever watched Patrick Doyle’s videos? They have helped clear up some behavior issue questions. It might be worth your time. Leslie has done a beautiful job of describing emotional abuse and how to get help. Mr. Doyle has a different voice and sometimes it just clicks and makes sense from a different perspective.
I agree, you can find Patrick Doyle on youtube: Recognize and Prevent Emotional Abuse-Patrick Doyle-theDove.us
Wow! So difficult but necessary for me to watch… Because I am a SURVIVOR of “domestic abuse”… 5 1/2 years ago!! I usually don’t refer to the word violence.. Because when I was growing up(I’m 52 now)…Violence was a word that was referred to as physically assaulting.., and my husband was wise enough to never bring that into our relationship … Until the last months of a 20 year marriage!! So when I share my story.. I referred to it as domestic abuse.. Because it opens more women up to their “silent life”! … The word violence.. Kept me from looking into the truth of my marriage, unfortunately! Yet, the word means … Trauma… And I sure lived under that.. Emotional, spiritual, psychological, financial and sexual trauma!!
The video surely was helpful for me ! It depicted the “power and control” soooo Much apart of my relationship… And the “quick” rollercoaster you live on… Crazy making for sure!!
I lead a group of women every week through their own journey of delusion… I always provide these links from Leslie to share with them… Knowing the Lord will help guide them to each of their “truths”… With a trusting support group to come along side them!! To be BELIEVED is such a important part of each women’s healing journey!!????
Please, speak out loud to someone… Step on the lie… The doubt that “no one will believe me” … Believe me .. Your man/husband is counting on your doubt in yourself to keep you silent and imprisoned!!
“The truth will set you free”.. God NEVER intended for you to be treated this way!!
I have more to say about the whole thing, but only time to say that perhaps Marie is ashamed, ashamed she fell for it, puts up with it, endures it, that some of her friends know, that she feels helpless, that she is damned if she stays or leaves. Perhaps he is good for a time, and she thinks maybe he is repentant, maybe things are changing, her confidence builds, the marriage seems great, and then it starts, a tease here (ouch! Was it playful banter or do I have to brace myself?) a remark there…stuff that in a normal, respectful relationship aren’t red flags at all, but in an abusive dynamic, they are darts.
And really, the battle ahead can seem bigger than enduring. It’s like leaving the security of a prisoner of war camp for the active battlefields, razor wire, and mines around it.
The kitchen scene at the start got to me. I don’t consider my husband abusive, just difficult at times, but the parallels were obvious. If I am listening to music, he won’t turn it off, but will come in blaring his music louder on his phone. Not always, but sometimes. Right before I watched the video, he did the subtle insult and insulting affection move. I had said unwashed hungry and going to make dinner. He replied with, “I am hungry, too, and I worked all day.” (Vocal emphasis on I. I called him out on it before exiting to the kitchen.) He followed me to the kitchen, embraced me at the sink and kissed my neck saying, “this is where I want you, right here, barefoot and in the kitchen.” It was all, “just teasing,” and maybe it was, but when the teasing comes more often than words of kindness, affection, sincerity, and edification, it can really dig.
I don’t think my husband does it to deliberately control me or cut me down, like Fred in the video. Part of it is the culture in which he grew up where husbands often teased and trash talked their wives and man-of-the-housed around. I also notice he does it around those who are his peers, but he feels inadequate around them, like my handsome, driven, and accomplished brother in law. Hubby teases him mercilessly.
The difference (and why I call it difficult instead of abuse) is that when I gained core strength and started speaking up for myself, he backed off. He is teachable and correctable a good portion of the time.
Still, there are issues and it can be exhausting. I related to some of the video, enough to hurt to watch it. I also recognized how I can be verbally nasty to my kids and not even realize it. For example, my daughter is what is classified as a picky eater. She asked me what was for dinner repeatedly today and after several I don’t knows because I hadn’t decided yet, I snapped, “what does it matter to you? You don’t like anything.”
I immediately apologised to her and prayed that God would reveal to me how I have become verbally or emotionally abusive.
When it becomes a household daily norm, it is frightening how it spreads like a disease. I have taken a stand to stop it.
This video helped me to see that I am not crazy, that is exactly the way my husband acts. Nice in front of people but between closed walls he is very agressive. What drives me crazy is when he gets really angry for minor things ( I am always walking on eggshells), then he is tender and loving with I love you’s. Nobody sees what he does. At church he will whisper in my ear during the songs: Do you see anyone else here this morning with a sleeveless dress like you’re wearing? And goes back right to singing, leaving me confused. He is jealous always making comments on what I wear, but goes around telling everyone that I am jealous. Thankyou so much for this video, it has helped me a lot. These kind of persons can lead one to commit suicide. God kept me alive.
It is confusing, and crazymaking.
Reading some of these comments from you who have Christian husbands (so-called!), I now wonder if all those years I stayed married to a non-believer, praying for his salvation, believing then all would be well, was simply another trick of the devil. I wish I hadn’t listened to what I was taught about “staying & praying, and had left early in the marriage. I could have saved my children and myself many years of emotional abuse. They escaped our home as soon as possible after high school graduation to marry, and both marriages failed.