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Lolli needs help.....and this could help you too
November 9, 2006
7:30 am
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lollipop3
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Just bumping this up for anyone who would like to share.......

November 9, 2006
8:22 am
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revelation
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lolli,

The main reason why I stayed and why a lot of people stay, is because I thought it was my fault. I stayed because I believed after every time he lost his temper and raged at me, that if I could only do better, be better, talk better, not eat stuff he didn't want me to eat, not say things he didn't want me to say, not ask for anything, then it would all be ok. I stayed because I thought I was the problem...so if I could only be better then it would be ok.

Its not so much denial...its not that you refuse to believe that you are being abused, its just that the thought of him abusing you never occurs to you because he keeps telling you he is a really nice good person who everyone loves and you just cause him to react this way because you are such a bad person...its not that "deep down" you know this isn't true...the brain-washing is so strong and so repetitive that you honestly whole-heartedly 100% believe that in fact you are the bad guy and he the innocent victim of your unreasonable demands and unhealthy attitude.

Thats it really...

November 9, 2006
8:32 am
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sleepless in uk
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Hi Lolli

Ok I am just going to take a deep breath and go for it.

Your question is one I have grappled with myself

I think there are many elements and not one clear answer as to why I stay, or why I have stayed.

Initially, I think a lot of it had to do with the longing I had for a 'normal' family life. One with 2 parents bringing up their children together. We fought a lot in the early days but I didnt see it as abusive, just as him being better at it than I was. I thought he had some anger issues but believed that if i loved him just a little bit more, or kept the house just a little bit neater or spent just a little less money or kept the kids just a little quieter......I guess you get my drift.

There were some flaws in my character that I was only too aware of, I wasnt the best housekeeper in the world although on reflection I wasnt that bad. But he did seem to pick up on the weaknesses I saw in myself and keep on and on and on. Because he picked on the little things that I knew I was bad at, I ended up believing him, accepting that I was hopeless, accepting that he was right in that and would be right in everything else. As the years went by I handed more and more control to him and accepted his view of the world and all the people I held dear.

He was abusive. I do believe that now and nobody will convince me he wasnt. But he never hit me or hit the children and I was never in a life threatening situation. So I didnt see it as abusive.

The fact that the mood of the whole house was dictated by him, and that the children and I were frightened to disagree with him didnt make me realise he was abusive, just that I didnt like him much. And I always doubted my own judgement, never believed that little voice in my head

And when eventually I was so depressed I couldnt function, and the doctor gave me meds and referred me for counselling, I started to realise how angry I was at him and how much he had hurt and used me. So then it all became his fault; my depression, my misery, the kids lack of confidence....all of it was his fault.

And I couldnt leave easily because he had control of all the finances, decided what we could spend money on etc.

So I started doing work on myself...setting little boundaries, disagreeing with him firmly but quietly, encouraging our daughters to do the same...and gradually I realised that yes he was abusive, but more importantly I had allowed him to be so. I had set myself up to be taken advantage of, treated badly, controlled, abused. I had given him all my power by accepting his behaviour. I had asked him permission to visit my family, I had not done things I wanted because he didnt approve. I had allowed him to dictate my whole life, even down to the job I do.

So now, gradually I make changes. I dont know if they will be enough to allow me to stay with him. I dont know if I want to stay with him. I dont know if our patterns of behaviour are too ingrained. But I wont go back to the place I was whatever happend. I dont know if I am brave enough to go it alone but I want to get to the point that if I stay with him it is for the right reasons...not just out of fear.

dont know if that will help but the short answer is ....why did I stay?

Cos I didnt know I deserved better and I didnt know I was ok enough to make it alone. And he didnt do that to me on his own....I helped him.

good luck

sleepless

November 9, 2006
8:42 am
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(((sleepless)))

You're on your way.

Isis

November 9, 2006
8:54 am
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Awesome thread (((Lollip)))

To (((All praticipants))), My warmest & sincerest regards to you all!!!

Remember that the best is YET to comea and life can unfold lots of pretty opportunities when we get out of our comfort zone.

Way to go!!!

~Ras~

November 9, 2006
8:56 am
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mj
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Here's a question Lolli that you might consider to include in your research.

How many of us had abusive parent, neglectful parents, or overinvolved parents growing up?

I had an abusive and neglectful parent. I think for me that is why I continue accepting unacceptable behavior. I haven't released the pain from childhood.

November 9, 2006
8:59 am
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sleepless in uk
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Wow Isis

thank you so much

November 9, 2006
9:08 am
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sleepless in uk
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And Ras...you are so right about that comfort zone

thanks

November 9, 2006
9:22 am
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Lolli
I'm responding before I've read all the threads because I didn't want them to influence my answer. For me it started out with low self-esteem. I thought I deserved his anger. Then it happened so sporadically at first that I thought it was manageable. He isolated me so quietly and without notice so when the verbal abuse got bad I didn't have anyone to turn to for help. He defined my reality. He told me that I was making too much of him kicking our daughter. Finally, I began journalling my feelings, the anger and what I saw - and my eyes became open. It was happening almost every other day! I then knew I couldn't be making all of this stuff up. I stayed longer for the children. My girls were so young and I knew they wouldn't be able to defend themselves. I wouldn't leave them alone with him so I could protect them. There was also financial reasons. How could I afford to kick him out of our house and still make the mortgage payments, daycare, food etc. Finally it all got to be so bad that I had to start divorce proceedings. Now I'm in a custody battle from hell that's lasted over 2 years. I'm stronger. The girls are in counseling to deal with their anger. We're in a better place. I'm still dealing with the guilt because I can't protect them during their visitations with dad. Finally, it was the thought of my beautiful, smart daughters getting the impression that what their dad and I had was a healthy, loving marriage was something I had to change. They deserve the chance to know what true love/respect is - and we certainly didn't have it.
Good luck with your paper!!

November 9, 2006
9:24 am
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Isis
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Lolli this has got to be one of the most inspiring threads that I've read to date.

With all of this feedback I'm sure you'll get an A. Good luck with your class.

Isis

November 9, 2006
1:01 pm
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lollipop3
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I can't begin to thank you all enough for taking the time to respond and share your stories with me. It has been so helpful to me....and I hope to some of you.

I only have a moment to post but I did want to point out to Sleepless...that I know EXACTLY what you are talking about when you say that you were "only too aware of your character flaws" and how he took advantage of that.

I have seen that many times with others and have experienced the same myself. I think that is a very common tactic that abusers use. We codeps tend to be "open books" in the beginning of our relationships and tell these men about our fears, concerns, insecuritites, and how we feel about ourselves in general. That knowledge becomes a very effective tool for them because when they point out our "character flaws" (generally to take the focus off of their own unacceptable behavior)....we know that there is at least some truth to it...because after all...we are the ones that told them. And because we know there is some truth to what they are saying....we then begin to blow those "flaws" out of proportion. That, in combination with our self-esteem which by this point has been ground into the dirt, plants the seed of self-doubt and we begin to blame ourselves for all the problems in the relationship.

I too have been convinced that I am the worst person in the world and how could anyone ever want me because I'm a bit of a pack rat, I'm not particularly affectionate, and I tend to get quiet and a bit cranky when I'm tired.

Thankfully, I now realize that being a pack rat does not make me a bad person. Nor has it caused any problems in my relationship. Being a pack rat does not change the fact that I am a caring, compassionate, intelligent, and giving human being. Being a pack rat only served to give someone else an excuse to not take responsibility for his own abusive behavior.

I am a good person....flaws and all....and so are you.

MJ,

I think having one or more abusive/neglectful parents has a great deal to do with why people end up in and stay in abusive relationships and it will be included in my paper. It will fall under the catagory of "denial".....meaning that because some people grew up that way....they don't realize that it is not normal behavior and therefore deny that they are actually being abused.

Okay...I gotta get back to work. Thank you all again so much for participating and I'll check back in when I get home.

Love,
Lolli

November 9, 2006
1:08 pm
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Lolli.

Thanks for the 3As I have copied them. I'm sorry I wasn't able to help.

November 9, 2006
1:09 pm
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(((Army,)))

You have helped 🙂

Love,
Lolli

November 9, 2006
1:54 pm
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mj
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Lolli, you stated that powerlessness is a common denominator. How can children get their needs met by parents unable to give what they don't have. As a child you have to accept that your parents are responsible for us children. Yes in that sense we are powerless. As adults I think we are so affected by our training that we aren't even aware consciously that we are attracting others because of our weakness. For me, I have a facade that says I am strong and I don't need anyone. My twelve step program taught me that I am powerless over others and that I can rely on a power greater than myself. In fact, I am beginning to wonder if that doesn't create more dysfunction because you are not practicing self love or trusting your inner child. Just rambling....

November 9, 2006
5:09 pm
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lollipop3
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MJ,

As with any 12 Step program, the advice is generally to "take what you like and leave the rest". So if you feel that the suggestions given are creating more dysfunction, then by all means....leave that suggestion and perhaps investigate different avenues that can help lead you to the serenity you are searching for. In my opinion, spirituality and the idea of a "higher power" can be very beneficial to others. It gives them a sense of peace that they are not alone in the world and they don't need to carry life's burdens by themselves. However, that concept does not work for everyone, especially those that question the very existance of a higher power. I have struggled greatly with this myself.

Having said that.....

Personally I do not believe that by believing in a higher power, you are not practicing self-love or not trusting your inner child. In fact, I believe just the opposite. I believe that by admitting you cannot do it alone.....shows that you love yourself enough to give yourself (and your inner child) a break. Of course, that's just my opinion.

As to your first question. Obviously a child cannot get from a parent what a parent does not have to give. That is an unfortunate and all too common fact of life. I agree that yes, children are powerless. I also agree that as adults, very often we choose people that are unhealthy for us based on what we were given (or not given) as children. And yes, I believe that is an unconscious drive that many of us have. That in itself, is not uncommon, nor is it abnormal. We can't change something if we don't know it is affecting us...right? We live what we know and we are powerless to that.

Until....

We gain awareness. Some people never come to any awareness. They live there lives happily or unhappily oblivious. From what I have seen.....no one here on this site fits that description. We are all here because we have become aware. Aware that we are unhappy. Aware that there is something wrong. Aware that we are in unhealthy situations. That is when the dissonance begins. We are aware that we are unhappy, that there is something wrong and that we are in unhealthy situations but we don't know what to do about it. We have never done anything differently. We don't know what to do. Confusion sets in and we feel powerless. But as adults, we are no longer powerless.....we never were really....we were just unaware. With that awareness comes power. Personal power....ours for the taking....when we are ready.

I will say something regarding awareness that I have learned from my experiences....sometimes awareness sucks. As the saying goes...."when you know better, you do better." And I have learned that you (or at least *I*) don't really have much choice in the matter due to the fact that once you gain that awareness and you do know better....it is almost IMPOSSIBLE to pretend you don't. Believe me, I've tried.

As painful as oblivion was at times....it had a certain comfortableness that I miss sometimes. I said all this to my therapist once and she responded by saying...."welcome to therapy".

I just gotta have faith that it will all be worth it in the end.

November 9, 2006
5:21 pm
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Here's my reason for staying. I think I'm a frog. When you put a frog it hot boiling water it will jump right out. BUT if you put the frog in water and ever so slowly keep turning up the heat the frog will actually stay there any boil to death!

November 9, 2006
5:29 pm
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lettingo
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One more thing, we are not weak women for staying we are actually strong. My therapist told me yesterday that women who can with stand what most of us have have a high tolerance for pain or gain live in very stressful situations because like many of us, we grew up stressful some abusive homes. So of course, we will be able to stand and even survive what most people who run away from.

November 9, 2006
5:37 pm
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lolli -

I just recently found out it was called abuse. Silly? YES! I always found excuses for it. The sad part is that I am in the process of ending things, although its been hard. I had not talked to him for a week and just yesterday I gave in and answered his call.

The first time he hit me, we went out for his birthday and we had argued the day before about what I should wear. I have a sweater that was armless, and he told me I was a whore if I wore it. It hurt my feelings terribly, but being that it was his birthday I didn't want to ruin it for him, ended up wearing something else and met up with him for a few drinks with his friends. While dancing he bit my lip really hard, it started bleeding and I was in so much pain and he wouldn't let go of my lip. Eventually there was so much blood that people started noticing it and he let go and pushed me outside. I was crying because i was scared and my mouth was numb and didnt know what to do. He told everyone that he hit me in the NOSE by accident while dancing. He told me to clean myself up in the bathroom. In the bathroom one of his co-workers was helping me, and realized that it wasn't my nose, it was my lip. She asked what happened and i told her he bit me. She got worried and went up to him and told him why he bit me? He got so mad at me for doing that, he pushed me to my car, hit me continuesly in the car, until I couldn't feel my face anymore. My arm and legs were bruised. I was scared to drive because, we sat in the car and told me to calm down, we drove to his place. (he drove drunk) He was driving so crazy - we went back to his place, things got worse. He continued hitting me, throwing me all over the place, and eventually raped me. (yup - now I realize it was rape) I begged him to stop, but he said I deserved it. I finally let him do whatever he wanted until he calmed down. Eventually his friends drove by his house around 3am to ask him why he isn't partying anymore. THANK GOD, thats when he gave me my keys back and let me leave, while he got into the car with his friends and left. I had pictures of everything and I was going to report it and press charges, but while he was hitting me he also told me that he was a Marine and no one would believe me because I was a nobody and he served his country. His father is also a cop. I believed him, the next day was thanksgiving, I made up so many lies as to why I had a lip the size of a golf ball - he told me he wouldn't ever do that again and that he was sorry and he would stop drinking and go to counseling with me. I believed him, he took me out that day and we had fun. Although I was so ashamed being in public with my lip.

The abuse continued daily - it was verbal. Calling me slut, whore, c*nt and so forth... I became numb to it, even now when he calls me those names it doesn't matter because he has said it so much. He hit me a few more times for different reasons, and each time he kept me in his apartment until the next day where I had calmed down. I stopped talking to him for a few days and then he would charm his way back in again.

The reason I stayed was because I didn't think people would believe me, afterall..I am the one thats more in control when we are out, and he is the one that seems innocent. Iam 26 now, and for 3 years I was abused and I thought it was ok, because I did something to deserve it. I didn't even think it was abuse to be honest, it was always because he is adopted or he was drinking. I recently realized that its called abuse.

I don't know if I helped you any with my story - but I hope if anyone is in my situation and gets hit the first time - don't ignore it, its a cycle. IT WILL HAPPEN AGAIN if you dont stop it right then and there. I wish I had pressed charges.

November 9, 2006
5:49 pm
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(((Jimcy))),

My heart broke reading your story. No one deserves to be treated that way! EVER!

There is help out there for you....please seek help. And keep posting here. The people here are a wonderful source of support and insight and many are or have been where you are.

I wish you continued strength and hope. My thoughts are with you.

Love,
Lolli

November 9, 2006
5:55 pm
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Hi Letting go,

I do not believe that women who stay are weak, but I do believe that they are scared and confused. I know that abused women are strong....if they were not....chances are they wouldn't be abused. Many women are abused BECAUSE they are strong. BECAUSE they continue to "defy" him. BECAUSE they continue to stand up for their rights.

To me it is less about "strength" and more about self-love. We do not lack strength but love for ourselves.

(((letting go)))

November 9, 2006
6:08 pm
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lollipop3

I totally agree. I actually just realized this yesterday and I sobbed in my therapist office and told him I was weak and pathetic. It is nice to know that I do not have to carry around the shame anymore. It will take a little longer to sink in but at least I am aware of the difference. And I also agree with us needing self-low, and self-esteem. I hope to get there some day. I am so tired of living like this. It's is exhausting!!! I know it will get easier but right now it seems harder to take care of myself than taking care of my alcoholic husband or obsessing about what he is going to or not going to do.

November 9, 2006
6:15 pm
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lollipop3
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Letting go,

I have often said that recovery is not an EVENT. It is a PROCESS.

Just becoming aware is half the battle and you are aware. The rest will come. In the meantime, there is only one, wonderful you. Make sure you take care of her.

I've gotta get to school....I'll check back when I get home.

Love,
Lolli

November 9, 2006
6:33 pm
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sleepless in uk
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Lolli, thanks for such a thoughtful response and thanks for the thread. It has made me look again at myself and the way I still continue to accept that which deep down I know I shouldnt.

They are damn clever these guys. You picked up exactly on how it works with me...the areas in which I have concerns about my own competence will always be the ones he picks up on. And of course yes, it does then spread right across the spectrum, till eventually the doubts creep back about whether I am ever right about anything.

I will take this as a timely reminder to be vigilant and also send my love to all the others on this thread who are hurting so badly

again Lolli, thank you for your post and good luck with your school work...go get 'em

November 9, 2006
9:11 pm
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mj
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(((((((Lolli))))))))

I know that the paper you will write will be extraordinary! Thanks for you time and sharing!

November 9, 2006
9:50 pm
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lolli, since this isn't my first rodeo in the abuse category i have been in a revelation period. i finally realized that i am a co-dependent. my early years were with two parents who were both orphaned as children. they knew abandonment at an early age. they passed this trait on to myself and three other siblings. we were NOT to show any anger...walk on eggshells and not rock the boat. no matter what. dad would drive me to the childrens' home and tell me to get out of the car if i misbehaved. so i shut up early on and behaved. obviously, this is what he and mom knew as normal. the neighbor boy next door would use his younger brother to sexually abuse me in the garage. finger me... spank me. and told me it would be worse if i ever told.....i learned early (5)to never ever tell. i kept my secrets...never told. didn't want to be hurt worse and yet knew my silence hurt me the most.

wow. this is heavy stuff. first time coming out of my fingertips and on to a screen.

so out of thinking i am protecting myself from actually telling my little dirty secrets of abuse...i would be able to stay "in"...not be "left" and i learned early how to walk on eggshells careful not to break them.

so, lolli, what type of behavior do i call this? what column do i check off that is applicable to me?

dad locked me out one time when i rebelled as a young teenager. he just drug me to the door, pushed me out of my home and shut the door for me to leave. so i sat for hours on our front porch...not having anywhere to go. until i heard the door open back up and that meant come back in and be quiet. secrets....sad sad little secrets. a house of quiet and no anger and no rebellion. no one to tell this to.

so when my first husband abused me i kept the secret...didn't rock the boat. i reacted the same way over and over again. until he abused me while pregnant with our third baby. he pushed against my stomach so hard that i had to get out. i wouldn't get out for me but got out for my unborn last child.

i kept the abuse secret again with the second marriage to the marine husband of mine. a man i thought of honor and pride...a marine. he hit me in the jaw so hard it moved off joint. it felt like a pencil being jammed into my ear. my teeth didn't line up...i slobbered and couldn't speak. i was afraid if i didn't call 911 i wouldn't be here....so i told. and then the media hit...1 squad....and 4 to 5 police cars. i was a bit bloody on my face...pictures taken that tell a thousand words...reports...etc. the secret was out. i had to admit and my head injury would not let me deny.

so i have to say....the truth hurts... and it is easier to stay in your own boat when you have been conditioned from childhood to not rock the boat. thanks for writing your paper....make me proud and do some good with it and tell my secret. let me know you got an "A". "A" for admission not "D" for denial. thanks lolli thanks.

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