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A metaphorical smack in the kisser.
April 10, 2005
11:45 am
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Worried_Dad
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I just read this twinks. Let me ponder a bit. It is somewhat complex. Maybe even a head scratcher.

No, I'm not going to smack you in the kisser. Not because you are a woman, but because adults just don't do that.

April 10, 2005
12:32 pm
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Worried_Dad
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Okay, I'll take crack at this Twinks.

Yes, I've heard from folks here sometimes that they don't feel responded to. The only posts I don't respond to intentionally are the ones that just don't feel appropriate and that I feel comfortable with and which I hope will just peter out if I don't fuel them. You haven't actually written any of those, Twinks.

As I said, I never intentionally try to slight anyone--it's just that I can't read minds and it is not always clear when someone "really" wants a response from me.

The post you mentioned--I meant exactly what I said there, no hidden meanings or anything. I'm not a very subtle person. I am more of a let 'em have it with both barrels kind of person.

My Mom wasn't overcontrolled--she was out of control and the style of emotions and relationship she taught us was hysterical and melodramatic. For sure, I have made a life's work of learning to be the opposite of that, which is difficult because I am a firey person--what they used to call a choleric temperatment.

It's like the old joke:

Q: How many New Yorkers does it take to change a light bulb?

A: None of yer fuckin' buisiness!

As to why I "let" "D" slap me or punch me. I think that one has been answered many times in the literature of abuse but I will explain again.

She didn't hit me every day. Physical violence was actually fairly rare in our relationship. I certainly didn't feel as if I ought to hit her back. It wasn't like a fist fight where the to opponents square up and put up their dukes. It was more like a random, explosive ending to insane arguments.

I guess I didn't really think she could hurt me--she hit like a gilr. I got hit harder by "A." "D." couldn't really hurt me except by dumb luck, persistence and cheap shots. I realize now that I underestimated both her desire and her ability to do harm.

And there were good times in between violent episodes. That kind of cycling between aggression and sweetness produced traumatic bonding. And there was a lot of other traumatic stuff happening there too, like the 2 1/2 year period where she claimed she was being stalked and I acted as detective-body guard.

Of course she was avery demanding and controlling person. I just didn't know it at the time. Remember I was being counseled by the Holyshrinks who let me know again and again that I was being unreasonable and mean to ever consider leaving the woman--even after they knew she was hitting me.

I was just ignorant, Twinks. I didn't realize my peril. And my shrinks just made things worse. It didn't occur to me that there was a subtle sexual blackmail thing going on betwen "D" and my shrinks that created a conflict of interest for them.

"D's" motives for running like she did are pretty clear now. She didn't want to go to the trouble of wxplaining to a Family Court Judge something to the effect of:

"Your honor, it is that I like to have affairs with married and unavailable men and wreck their lives, and that I have been very unstable in my relationships, living situation and employment.

It is true that I have had a history of serious mental health problems in the last few years--everything from amnesia, to crippling psychosomatic illness, to paranoid delusions to psychotic episodes complete with hallucinations.

And it is true that I sometimes starve cats to death, that I like to withold medical treatment from our son to hurt his father, that I have a history of abusing men, and that I occasionally assault my child's father while our son watches.

And it is true that my therapists are concerned about my neglect of our child and my leaving him in unsafe conditions. And it is true that my child's father is his primary parental attachment figure who has done most of the child care since the baby was born, and that ur son is much closer to his Dad than he is to me.

Nevertheless, your honor, my partner has done quite a few things to make me angry. For example, five years ago I asked him to have sex with me and he refused! And just recently, I was slapping him around and he actually said he would call the police if I didn't stop! Can you imagine the nerve of that guy?

Therefore, Your Honor, I think it is important to hurt our child in order to teach my partner a lesson. So I think it would be best for our child if I removed him from his father's home, relocated him hundreds of miles away and arranged for him to never see his father again. What do you say, Your Honor, this is a no-brainer, right?"

See, Twinks, that just wouldn't have worked. So she had to come up with a different plan.

As far as your husband goes, well, he does sound rather annoying. Crazymaking even.

April 10, 2005
12:46 pm
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Twinks,

Yes, one of the tricks of an abuser is to do subtle things to hurt you--until the victim explodes and acts angry. That is proof that it is the victim who has the problem.

I'm not sure how to read the situation with your husband. I hear that he was emotionally unavailable, and did the crazymaking number on you. I hear that you think that he didn't know what he was doing. I just can't tell what was going on with him from here.

I do know that some people have different emotional styles in relationship. I have a friend whose Mom said she chose his Dad because he was unemotional. Those two were compatible, because the woman didn't want a a lot of emotional connection. Doesn't work for most people, though.

If you feel guilty, talking about it might help. At least that way you can get things out in the open and let others help you know if your guilt has any rational basis at all. I don't think you should feel guilty for being unable to stand living with an impossible person, though.

April 10, 2005
6:43 pm
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Hi there, Twinks. I've been following all this, with discomfort, interest & trepidation, 'cos much of it applies pretty directly to me & my ex-hub too. And my reactions are v much like yours, I think so far.

It's my son's Birthday, so no time to work out how to express my v complex take on all this.

But I suddenly, really strongly, wanted to send you a huge, empathetic hug. (safe in cyber - but embarrassing & 'not my style' in real life - lol.)

Imagining myself in your shoes, (I'm a classic projection-junkie ) my response to WD's reply would be: "curate's egg"! Hope you understand me - even if I'm totally wrong in my imagined reading of you.

My ex is extremely undemonstrative, unemotional, has flattened affect, nil spirituality (he's a dyed-in-the-wool Catholic, so that figures IMHO). He is perceived as so nice, harmless & non- aggressive; 'kind', 'helpful', 'sweet'... a Goodie ...

So I must have been the unreasonable, demanding, never-satisfied one! But I was bitterly unhappy & lonely for 18 desperate, depressed, guilty years.

He NEVER even once RESPONDED to anything that was emotionally or mentally important to me. Things generally accepted as being of immense emotional importance & power - like getting married ... the arrival of our children ... the death of our parents. Not one smile / tear / sign of ANY response whatever. It nearly killed me. I kept wondering what I was doing wrong to elicit NO RESPONSE from the person supposedly closest to me, supposedly my most intimate co-supporter. When I say "respond", I mean with some personal fellow-feeling, some intuitive underststanding, some empathy that comes all-too naturally & powerfully for me. (Read self-styled 'victim & martyr, too good for him & misunderstood /unfullfilled'. 'I deserve better... I deserve love ... where is all the fun & closeness everyone else seems to have?' etc, etc. ) I still hate myself for still defining my situation in those disgusting terms. Self-pity - EUGH!!!!!! Pass the razor-blades, or sword to fall upon!

[Must see to son's birthday with teeange friends doing 'rock band practice'.]

Love to you, Twinks.

Your perceptiveness & honesty rock! - gazelle.

April 11, 2005
12:35 am
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Worried_Dad
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Well, Gazelle,

I'm not sure what parts of my reply make the whole of it unsatisfactory to you. I tried to respond to every issue. Ohe well, can't please everyone.

April 11, 2005
7:01 am
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gazelle
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Sorry, WD. I stupidly didn't think you'd read all that & pick out the 1 little expression of solidarity with how I imagine Twinks might feel. After her shocking outburst, and being told off, she still had the 'bawlz' to face it and pour her heart out with feeling, depth, perceptive rationality and humility. How courageous & honest is THAT?!

You reply seemed cautious, restrained, emotionally dry. Personal trigger for me - being unresponded to! Reply doesn't necessarily = response, see? I am intensely emotional AND rational at the same time, & seem to be projecting this onto Twinks.
(Twinks, how wrong am I? Do I mis-perceive you totally?)

I'm not taking sides. But perhaps a little childish upset at being left out in the playground sneaked in. You have never responded to my posts much - even ones I spent ages thinking about. I felt shut out, because despite my attempts to join the gang, I wasn't one of your acolytes. Judged unworthy. Eeeeeeek!!!
So yes, I have been feeling unfairly excluded / ignored etc by you. Feeling that your self-centeredness leads you to crave your dues of praise in order to feel worthy. Er.... the words 'pot' and 'kettle' spring to mind!!! Lol.

So, MY BAD. I have no beef with your reply, WD, and feel bad if I hurt your feelings.
My desperation to be acknowledged. I'm aware of & working on it. Huge, gargantuan SORRY.

I'll back off now and let you two sort things out. Irritating interruption over - back to the main film.

Blessings - gazelle.

April 11, 2005
8:56 am
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gazelle
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IMHO, a fulfilling RESPONSE (rather than a reply) is an emotional reaction - rationally expressed - to the other person's thoughts & feelings. And to their deeper INTENT. It involves more than the analytical intellect alone. It involves imagining oneself into another's shoes wholistically, with head and heart.

PS. Whilst putting words into other people's mouths in order to make one's own point might well serve that purpose, and temporarily relieve anger, it is unfair & immature and ultimately unhelpful in understanding someone else's viewpoint. Although troubled people behave horribly at times, surely no-one really, consciously thinks & feels 'like a Baddie' as you describe with such bitter sarcasm in that 'speech'. But of course, I think you know that. You need to vent, which is fine.

Does anyone really see themselves at the time as an abuser, with a bag of nasty tricks? Isn't all hurtful behaviour / attack perceived as defence (or revenge for received hurts) by the perpetrator? However warped their thinking?

Perhaps you need to demonise her in order to detach and self-protect. Here is a safe place to do that. As long as you know if that's what you are doing, it's fine. I'm sure you are sensitive enough to others to realise that they too are confused, in pain, feeling terrible and unfulfulled, unhappy etc. rather than deliberately choosing the misery option. No-one hurts without hurting themselves - all hurt stems from hurt. Million $ question: How to break into & heal the cycle???

Of course your feelings are utterly valid and understandable though. And deserve sympathy, support and good wishes.

You certainly have mine.

Blessings and definitely bye for now - gazelle.

(Twinks, I'd love to talk with you elsewhere sometime.)

April 11, 2005
11:10 am
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Worried_Dad
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gazelle,

You and I are very different. To me an satisying response is where someone address the data content of my posts. If they don't I feel it is discourteous. Pure emotion is hard to receieve for me unless it has some content to it.

For example, gazelle, I have several times described what goes into my decision to either respond or not respond to any given post. But you have ignored what I wrote and instead came back with emotionally based stuff that completely misses me. And then you went on to ascribe motives to me.
Well, guess I'll essay a little more about it over in "WD Invites."

gazelle wrote: "You have never responded to my posts much - even ones I spent ages thinking about. I felt shut out, because despite my attempts to join the gang, I wasn't one of your acolytes. Judged unworthy. Eeeeeeek!!! So yes, I have been feeling unfairly excluded / ignored etc by you."

April 11, 2005
12:17 pm
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gazelle
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What is "pure emotion"? Different from impure emotion? Isn't emotion people's RESPONSES to 'facts' & experiences? Isn't that important to examine on a co-dependency site?

I find it discourteous when anyone's good-hearted openness of tone is ignored / belittled / left dangling. Witholding acknowledgement of vulnerable people's affective responses to concrete facts is a hurtful way to treat people, and can be seen as passive-aggressive. Both the hard facts and the reactions to them need addressing, in my view.

If you bother to read me open-mindedly, (perhaps where it's not about YOU - so you will see more clearly,) you will find there is much intellectual & analytical "content" in my posts. I just express myself more wholistically. With more warmth. I might not be right, but I honestly do my best and try to learn to do better. Cold self-centeredness and refusal to consider the feelings of others never serves its purpose, imho.

It is perfectly natural and legitimate to expect one's feelings & intentions to be noticed and to matter. You do yourself. So do we. That's all.

You are right. We are very, very different. I am upset, but I'll get over it. Gazelle.

Question: Ok, I ascribed motives to you in trying to understand why you were putting ridiculous words into your ex's mouth that I assumed she would never say (or see) like that herself. I did it kindly, too. If I was wrong - then why DID you do it???

April 11, 2005
12:35 pm
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gazelle,

I can't always tell if you are addressing me or someone else.

As for putting words in someone's mouth--I didn't do that.

What I did do was basically explain what "Ds" situation would have been if she had chosen to do things on the up and up.

Her motives for doing what she did is the same as every abuser. Her motive for doing things things the way she did them was as described. If she had gone the straight woute, she would not have gotten her way.

Abuser do not think of themselves as abusers. They do know what they are doing though. Ted Bundy did not think of himself as an abuser. BTK did not think of himself as an abuser. You need to get it through your head gazelle--some people derive pleasure from hurting other people, and they believe they have the right to do so.

"D" has explained her viewpoint to me at length Gazelle. I encapsulated her own description of her motives in the post above. "D" explained to at length that she has the perceprions, thoughts and motives of a batterer. A pretty nasty one to.

You need to stop thinking of abusers as "normal" people, because they mainly are NOT.

As for your good heartedness of tone, I just don't see much of it on this thread towards me gazelle--you have mixed in so much...stuff it is hard to see your "my bad" as anything other than left handed. THat's just my own emotional reaction though.

April 11, 2005
1:31 pm
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gazelle
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WD - You are so wrong about me with your assumptions about what I think that there is no point my continuing here. It is not serving me, or you.
I tried & tried, as anyone can see, to explain how I see intellect and empathy as functioning best together. Integrated.

But you refuse to hear me. Then you misinterpret me horribly. This hurts too much for comfort. I'm frustrated and cross. My head aches.

( I've never heard of those abusers you quote anyway. American perhaps. Whyever would you think I consider them 'normal'?)

I had naively expected open, mutually-helpful exchange of validation, shared insights, support and encouragement.

If you really cannot see any genuine good-heartedness towards you from me, you must be blind in head besides heart. I DID MEAN all that warmth & support that I wrote. But it feels as if it has vanished into a black hole now, because your comments utterly misunderstand & hurt me too much.

Hopefully someone might see my points as being relevant, and see them as well-intentioned as they were.

I too have been through a lot of abuse, and this miserable failure to get through despite my best efforts isn't helping me recover strength. So goodbye and good luck - gazelle.

April 11, 2005
1:44 pm
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gazelle
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Thanks, Twinks. We crossed in the ether.

Catch you on another thread some other time. I need a break!

April 11, 2005
3:48 pm
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Oops, I have let myself be triggered again.

I guess I can handle a wide variety of questions about abusive relationships that OTHER people are involved in, but I am going to have to draw a boundary when it comes to my relationship with “D.”

What gets victims into trouble is when they try to understand “why” their abuser is doing the things they do in terms of the psychology of “normal” people, or when the victim tries to figure out what “their part” was in the abusive relationship. “Neutrality” when it comes to abusive relationships amounts to collusion.

With “D” I have been there and done that and I am through doing that. People like her have what is called “low neuroticism.” That means that they are utterly untroubled by self-doubt, conscience or guilt. They are having a good time at all times, except when someone thwarts them or disobeys them.

Gazelle, I can't read your mind. I know you mean well, but when you say things like the quotes below, it just comes off as…well, it just triggers me.

So from now on, I would just appreciate it if people did not offer me insight into “D's” motives unless I ask for them, or unless it is something that is likely to be helpful that does not sound like justifying her behavior. I just get too upset.

Gazelle wrote:
“Although troubled people behave horribly at times, surely no-one really, consciously thinks & feels 'like a Baddie' … Does anyone really see themselves at the time as an abuser, with a bag of nasty tricks? Isn't all hurtful behaviour / attack perceived as defence (or revenge for received hurts) by the perpetrator? However warped their thinking? …I'm sure you are sensitive enough to others to realise that they too are confused, in pain, feeling terrible and unfulfulled, unhappy etc. rather than deliberately choosing the misery option. No-one hurts without hurting themselves - all hurt stems from hurt. Million $ question: How to break into & heal the cycle??? “

April 11, 2005
4:28 pm
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Gazelle,

I don’t mean to hurt your feelings and I apologize to you. I am not very good at picking up subtle emotional things, even in person.

I do know that I can NOT be cool when speaking about “D’s” behavior. I think we’ll do much better if we just leave that one alone.

Let’s just start over in a place and time removed from that unfortunate subject.

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