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dealing with criticism
April 11, 2000
5:52 am
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shazzy
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When my alcoholic partner gets drunk he becomes very critical of me. He can be pretty insulting. A regular insult is to tell me what a bad mother I am. I do not react at all well. Usually I get very angry and at times I become violent. I have hit him, spat at him, thrown things. Not good! What I would like to learn to do is to let the comments and criticisms roll off me like 'water off a duck's back' but I rise to the bait EVERY time. When he is sober this doesn't happen at all. Anyway I'm not really interested in mhy he does it or even if he means it. But I'd like to be more in control of my reactions. Has anyone had similar experiences in this?

April 11, 2000
7:17 am
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janes
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Why would you react well to be told you are bad? You would be very demented to react well to this kind of abuse. ABUSE IS WHAT IT IS...drunk or not it is not right for him to do this to you.

It is also silly that you don't care why (because he is abusive) or care if it stops (codependent behavior)

Are you really willing for your children to keep hearing this from the man who supposedly loves their mother? Are you willing to let them grow to adult hood and find mates of the same type?

Why should you not be violent physically when he is violent verbally?

I think you need to examine what you are accepting as normal behavior from him...the drinking and resulting verbal abuse. If you want to control your own violent reactions then you just need to do so. But WHY would these kinds of comments even be acceptable to you at all?

April 11, 2000
8:38 am
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hazza
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Shazzy,
i sgree with eveything Janes said.
I too had the same situation. My partner would get drunk and be so horrible to me and like you i would feel so angry but i FELT i was unable to do anything.
I was wrong. There was something i could do. And it was NOT about learning to accept it. It was the opposite.
I learned that this kept happening becuase i was ALLOWING him to treat me this way. it took me a long time to learn about co-dependency but i did.
like you, i was letting this man talk to me like dirt.
i woke up to it one day when i realised that he was going too far. i told him that i was sick of it and that i wanted him to go. i was serious and he knew it. but this jolted him into realising what he had done, i spent the whole weekend telling what he done to me and how i was NOT taking it anymore and that he had a choice, he either stops doping it now and stops drinking or he leaves but there was no way in hell i was taking that anymore. I had just reached my limit. the relationship was NOT worth that kind of insults and verbal abuse.
He ahs now stopped and is seldom that rude to me, in all i think he was as much in denial about his behaviour as i was, so he has made great effort to change.
He would not have changed at all though unless i had demanded it.

You are asking us basically "How do i continue to allow this man to verbally abuse me withou it hurting as much?"
let me tell you the reason his behaviour upsets you is this
IT IS WRONG BEAVIOUR AND YOU KNOW IT IS WRONG.
you are saying to us, "help me change my HEALTHY reaction so that it will fit better with his UNHEALTHY behaviour"
it is not you who needs to learn to accept this. You need to learn why you are allowing it to continue.
you need to learn about co-dependency.
for some reason, you are accepting this man's alcoholism and abuse towards you - WHY? maybe like me you are afraid that if you don't he will leave you? well that is classic case of fear of abandonement.
What is the point in anyone telling you how to "toughen up" so that you can continue to be abused? do you really want this relationship to kill off those parts of you that care about yourself and your feelings???
I bet you have lost enough of yourself already.
please take it from one who has been there. I spent years putting up with it. over the last year i have decided not to. I WISH i had done it sooner. I wasted so much time allowing someone else to abuse me. being scared he would get drunk because i knew it would all start up again. I AM NEVER going back there!
many many people here can help you if you want to learn about how to change the situation you are in, but i don't think anyone will tell you ways to learn to deal with it, because you SHOULD NOT PUT UP WITH IT< you deserve more. You deserve not to be abused ever, read some of the threads on co-dep. speak to us here, but please think about what you are asking. Is that really what you want? do you really want this lifestyle to continue? would you not be better if the abuse was not happening rather than just asking how to cope with it better? if a woman who was being physically abused told you "i will stay for the beatings, but please hand me a pillow so i can soften the blows" you would think " hey lady, that is not the way to deal with this, get out of the room or stop this guy beating you" it is the same with you. this will continue until YOU decide you have had enough. When you reach the point that your first priority is to not be abused anymore, then you will be able to take back control of your life. but you have to want that above all else, for yourself and for your children. Peace, and remember i have been there, i am not telling you anything i didn't have to learn myself, so i know how difficult it is, but talk to us. what may seem scary can become a lot clearer if you share it. HUGS Hazza

April 26, 2000
6:42 am
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shazzy
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Janes and Hazza, thank you for taking the trouble to reply to my thread. This is the first chance I've had to read your replies as I do not have regular access to the internet.

Since my first message I've not been having a good time. Two days after submitting my message he took the day off work and started drinking at 7am. By the evening he was in a really bad way and used me as his emotional punchbag. I was told I am ugly, he doesn't fancy me anymore, I'm a bad mother, that he'd rather have a w*** than have sex with me... need I go on?

My reaction was awful and I kicked him in the balls - hard. A big row ensued and he hit me across the face causing my mouth to bleed. My son witnessed this.

I'm so pathetic and so scared to leave (it is his house as he always reminds me when drunk.) He tells me to "take your boy and fuck off" and I can't believe I'm so crap that I put up with it. I have been living with him for 3 and a half years now. My experience over that time has told me it's not going to change, but still I put up with it, still when he is sober I tell myself it'll be alright, and when he is sober and nice I feel I cannot hurt him by leaving, even though I know I'm unhappy and even though I know that my son is being damaged.

Where do I get the strength to decide enough is enough?

Sorry to go on so long-windedly. I may not be able to read any replies for a week or so, but any replies from others who have been in this situtation will be gratefully received.

Thanks.

April 26, 2000
8:36 am
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hazza
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Shazzy ,
the man is no good right now. it is HIS business to change himself. Maybe he will maybe he wont.
But i tell you, once it gets physical you need to not be living with him right now.
you have a child to think of here.
please please please phone a helpline for women who are being physically abused and get yourself to a safe house. TODAY.
you will never wake up and feel strong enough to do it, you must just do this and trust that it is the right thing to do now.
this is to take you out of immediate danger.
until you leave, this man has NO reason to even question his behaviour.
there are times when people can stay together and work on things, but i do NOT think this is one of them.
firstly, he is violent. secondly he shows NO feelings that he thinks his behaviour is wrong. these two things tell me that you staying there is NOT going to make things get better. he is not even trying to learn and grow himself. he is not at that stage right now, maybe he never will be, but you cannot stay in that situation.
for right now, you need to go into "survival" mode and that means YOU and YOUR CHILD, leaving that situation right now.
please keep us posted here.
there is a way forward i promise you and you WILL find the strength once you leave, so just concentrate on getting yourself out of there and into a shelter and don't think beyond that for the moment, the rest will become clearer after you do that i promise you.
but please do that, you need to is you want to start getting back your life. it is scary but so worth it.
hugs
Hazza

April 27, 2000
10:44 am
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hazza
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shazzy,
i also want to tell you something else, my dear,
you are not crap. look at the postings you have made, you are intelligent, you have a good command of language and grammar and spelling, you are a mother - one of the toughest jobs around, you are smart enough to know this is a bad situation, even if you feel powerless right now. So i can see all this in you already and we hardly know each other right? so please listen when i tell you this, YOU ARE NOT CRAP.

you have got caught up into an abuse cycle, and it can happen to anyone. I used to wonder myself why women put up with abuse, but once you have been there you realise it is not that easy.
what happens is that too often we genuinely care about this person often because we feel that no-one else cares for them (even themselves) so we want to help them and by doing this we allow their dysfunctional behaviour to become the norm. Now maybe it is the norm to us as well, maybe we have witnessed this kind of behaviour all our lives, all around us. it seems normal and we feel it almost fits better that a different way of relating to people.

so we find that slowly from the intial relationship where we felt that we had found someone who understands us, usually because they too have witnessed dysfunctional behaviour, suddenly we are all acting out this way of life, because we KNOW NO DIFFERENT.

I got in the same place as you are, but i refuse to call myself crap, and so should you. it happens and yes i am angered that i didn't see the pattern before, but how are we to know until we learn different? but we do know now. and you need to know too. please try your best to also read up about co-dependency, make it your job to understand this subject well, it is because we are co-dependent that we cling to these types of relationships because we so fear the alternative.

but as a mother, you will want your child to see a different way. You will want him to grow and see that there are healthy ways for him to relate to other people in his life and he will only learn that by watching you show other people respect and watching you DEMAND respect from other people and not tolerate it when they don't show you that respect.

and it is natural for you to feel overwhelmed right now, you feel maybe it is all too much for you and you will never be able to manage, but you will, remember a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.
Peace
Hazza

April 27, 2000
8:41 pm
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janes
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So take your boy and go...you need his house like you need a hole in your head which is what you will get if you stay.

YOUR SON DOES NOT NEED THIS AND NEITHER DO YOU!!!!!

A shelter for homeless women and abused women would be safer, more emotionally satisifying etc.

he has stolen your only prize..your self. How can you be strong enough to go? Why shoudl you be strong enough to stay?

He will not decide to change unless you set boundaries.

Your self esteem has no price. Your well being and your sons are of the umost improtance.

As Hazza says..the abuse cycle. And you can end that treadmill by doing one thing...leaving. With only the clothes on your back.

Most likely you were looking for a man when you found him. Leave. And before you seek another man seek your self. You are the only stablity you really have. Give your child the gift of your courage. There are jobs, low cost housing, cheap motels. Your son's school should have a cousnelor or social worker he could see.

Good luck. Be brave. You are the only one who can make a real differnecne in your life.

April 27, 2000
9:52 pm
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Brenda
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You need to help your yourself, your husband and your child by leaving.
You are enabling your husband and yourself to stay sick. YOu BOTH need counselling, support and most of all to break the cycle before your son is swept up into it forever.
Reach outside of your enclosed world, yoru mind is tired, your body is tired and your self esteem is non existant. The only and most imp thing you can do is tell someone what is happening and get into a shetler support group asap.
God bless you my dear. I understand and care.

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