by Mary C.

spousal abuse
When it’s time, compel yourself to step away from spousal abuse and come to know and love yourself again.

I am by no means an authority in human emotion. Therefore, what I tell you is merely my opinion and lessons I had to learn in order to have a contented and happy life.

Even though I have experienced many forms of spousal abuse, I am now happier and more confident than I have been in a very long time.     

There are many faces of spousal abuse. Emotional, mental, sexual, psychological, and physical abuse are only a few ways that one person can use to oppress another. Of course, physical abuse is probably the most recognizable due to the cuts and bruises it leaves behind. The wounds of the others are usually on the inside; however, they can change to physical abuse in many circumstances.

Nevertheless, the pain they all cause is very much the same. Words can sometimes feel like a slap in the face. No matter the type of mistreatment used, they all empower the abuser. Because of their own insecurities, the abuser imagines it is the only way they have of maintaining control.  

I recently wrote about the extreme methods my second husband used to terrorize me. Many people who read the article interpreted it as physical abuse. It is completely understandable how someone would come to that conclusion; however, he didn’t actually strike me. In the ten years we were married, he only used physical abuse once. Of course, that was one time too many.

Words are an extremely compelling means of controlling another person. My spouse had the ability to use words that caused me to fear for my life. He first tried to crush my sense of worth. I knew I wasn’t wrong and I was not going to allow him to make me blame myself. When he realized it wasn’t working, he began using a different method to intimidate me into remaining with him. In the end, I was forced to take a potentially life-threatening action in order to free myself.  

See also  4 Ways to Empower Yourself After the Emotional Affair

Even though I endured physical abuse numerous times, I was never more terrified than by the words he used. On occasion, we hear someone ask why the mistreated person doesn’t just leave. In my case, I was petrified and the fear was genuine. He certainly had me totally convinced, which is what he intended. I’m still certain that I am fortunate to have survived.  

Spousal Abuse is Not Your Fault

Someone commented on my last article that she always knew inside that it wasn’t her fault. Take a good look at yourself. Are you a dreadful person? Do you intentionally attempt to harm others? Was it you that cheated, name-called, or hit? I doubt you can sincerely answer yes to any of those questions. Therefore, how are you so despicable to be blamed for the situation? You’re not!! If you look at it honestly, you will see it is just common sense. You cannot change your mate, but you can change the way you react to the abuse and control. Bring that knowledge to the surface and it will give you power.

I believe that some victims feel they should change themselves into what they think their partner wants them to be. Then the abuser will love them again or will no longer be angry. They think things such as, I should have tried harder, I didn’t keep up my appearance enough, or I should have been a better spouse somehow. The instant you begin having these thoughts, you should deem it an enormous red flag. It is a warning that your self-worth is deteriorating.

See also  7 Tips For Backing Off After the Affair

You have to remember that this person is hurting you due to his or her own insecurities. By making you feel inferior, they feel superior. It seems that people who abuse never take the blame when something goes wrong. Have you noticed that? It’s always someone else’s fault.

My point is there are countless ways someone can manipulate us. You are helpless if you are threatened or actually injured. All you can do is remove yourself from the situation. You cannot coerce them to stop if you remain. Unlike physical abuse — mental, emotional, or psychological abuse is something we can control. We can use our mental muscle to defend ourselves. No one can defeat our spirit unless we allow it.

Whether you decide to stay or go, you have to heal yourself and regain your self-esteem. If you ever catch yourself examining what you did wrong, remember to ask yourself instead why you would accept the responsibility for another person’s actions.

Remember that at times things just do not work out the way you would have liked them to. 

It is my sincere hope that you are able to rescue your marriage and be happy together eternally. I know I do not sound like it at times, but I consider a happy and loving marriage to be incredible.

However, I beseech you to recognize if it is time to go. Please do not squander years of your life in pain. I believe when we do that, it’s because we are exhausted. We provide ourselves with an excuse to stay and endure the cruelty. At times, that seems to be easier than confronting it. Life is a precious gift and you deserve to live it to the fullest. When it’s time, compel yourself to step away from spousal abuse and come to know and love yourself again.

See also  Discussion: What Will You Do to Make Them Stay?

 

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Regaining Control:
Dealing With Obsessive Thoughts, Triggers and Memories of the Affair

Arm yourself with a variety of techniques, practical strategies and  knowledge to help you to manage those intrusive thoughts, triggers and memories of your partner’s affair.

    35 replies to "Spousal Abuse – Words Can Sometimes Feel Like a Slap in the Face"

    • Amanda

      Mary C.
      Excellent article, I know for myself I was blamed for my own exhusband’s infidelity, and several cruel mean spirited
      were said telling me if I had done this or not had done that, and if I had been, than none of this would have happened.
      Also another article that was written here brought back
      on of those memories of “Happy Husband’s Don’t Cheat,”
      I can only speak for myself, and my reply to that statement is hog wash, and I no longer except those kind of phases
      because when your married one of the wedding vows is
      fidelity.
      We each are responsible for our own happiness and its
      not other peoples jobs to make us happy.
      Also I can only control myself and my behavior, I didn’t have
      control over how my exhusband behaved or what he did,
      therefore I will never except the blame for his past actions.
      I don’t need to and I refuse to.
      I also believe that we each have a set of standards that we
      live by.
      If a person lets themselves fall from those standards, they need to except what they did and not blame others.
      As a former betrayed spouse, I have refused to except any blame for someone who cheats, they get to own that.
      Those kind of statments and phases are absurd.

      • Amanda

        Sorry for the mispells I am in a hurry to get off to work this morning.

        • Amanda

          Since time was running short this morning I didn’t get the chance to finish my post.
          When adultery happens in a marriage, its not about the innocent spouse, (yes they were wronged), but the issue lies with in the spouse who was unfaithful. In the Bible
          James chapter 1 verses 13 through 16 addresses this.
          When someone is tempted they are drawen away by their own desires and enticed.
          The innocent spouse is not responsible for their mate
          committing adultery. It doesn’t matter what excuses a cheating spouse makes, in the Bible, it is clear about
          temptations (the other woman or man), if a person
          desires them and they don’t resist or run from them.
          Well we all know what happens infidelity.
          This article about spousal abuse is so interesting,
          when a unfaithful spouse blames their innocent spouse for
          their own sin.
          I am so thankful for God, and the Bible, it gives me my
          sanity.
          God said to forgive others who hurt you, and to overcome evil with good, I forgave.

          • Amanda

            I love God, and he brings about changes in me from Glory to Glory.
            I have learned my worth and value comes from God, and not by how others treat me. God asks us to forgive others and not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
            Romans 12 verse 19, tells us that vengeance belongs to God.
            The most important part of this all is that I am forgiven.

            • Mary

              Amanda,

              Thank you so much for your comment. Needless to say, I didn’t care for that “Happy Husbands Don’t Cheat” statement either. Bravo to the Hog Wash!

              You are obviously a very strong woman and it does my heart well to hear it. We all have different ways of healing. Your faith is one of your ways and I think that is awesome. Stay strong.

            • Amanda

              Mary,
              Thank you, and I wish the very best to you also.

    • chiffchaff

      I think there’s a huge difference between changing yourself into someone that you feel your spouse wants you to be – and deciding for yourself that you had changed into someone you didn’t like and that maybe this was something you need to change.

      I recognised fairly quickly on discovery that I had been in a negative spiral about lots of things in my life. I had neglected my H and concentrated on the absorbing aspects of my own business at times and excluded him. I had become entrenched in the way I thought about his family (with good reason at times) and also gradually less and less self-confident with new people. Yes, I could also see that my H’s neglect of me before and during his PA/EA impacted on that decline, but I was also entirely responsible for how I had let myself develop, or not develop as the case turned out. It was up to me how I reacted (and for a while I acted like a doormat and ignored my own gut instincts).

      Yes, his affair was all his own work and as a result of all his own lack of ability to deal with things as an adult, but I had to also accept my own issues and deal with the ones I could. It’s important to try and salvage the positives wherever they exist. I feel stronger in myself for how I have responded to the abuse my H has inflicted on me and our marriage. I refuse to be an affair victim or to have my life labelled by his weakness.

    • Natalia

      The day before Dday I had been thinking about how bad my relationship with my husband was. I wanted desperately to fix it because I thought I was responsible for the way things had turned out. I thought it was my fault because he was the one who would be constantly angry at me and impatient too. So I must have definitely be doing something wrong. I thought that if I changed he would love me again and be happy. I had even devised a plan of the things I would improve, such as, my appearance, my clothing, my hair, my teeth, the way I spoke to him, I would read more to try to educate myself on subjects that would interest him so we could have meaningful conversations (just like the ones he had with the women he interacted with), etc.

      After Dday I felt like the most stupid person on earth. How could he have blinded me for so many years? How could I think I was responsible for all the crap he had subjected me to? The minute he mentioned that he had found his ex-girlfriend on Facebook, his words hit me like a slap in the face, hard enough to WAKE me up. That’s the moment I saw all the red flags. And I became very angry. How dare he do this to me! When all I had ever done was love him! I also realized how my self-worth had deteriorated to the point that I was accepting all the bullshit he was feeding me. He made me feel inferior because he’d blame me for everything he didn’t like and always turn things around to make it appear as if he was smarter and always RIGHT!

      I started reading all the books I could find in order to give this mess a name, just like a sick person wants to know if his disease has a name. And I found that it had several names: Emotional Affair, verbal abuse, narcissism, the need to be in control, and insecure. I took a good look at him and at myself and decided I was not going to put up with this nonsense anymore. I was not responsible for his actions. At this point I felt strong enough the fight this because I needed to regain my self esteem and be the person I once was. I also knew that I couldn’t change him, he had to realize on his own how wrong he had been all these years. I needed to be happy again, with or without him. I was not going to waste anymore time on him or his behavior. I was not getting any younger and if he didn’t value me I’d find someone else who would. Now, I’m glad I didn’t give up on myself or my marriage. I’m sure my husband feels grateful I didn’t give up on him either. Not a day goes by that he doesn’t thanks me for putting his life in order. I appreciate this.

    • Rachel

      Natalia,
      Your postnis all about me except he gave up on me and our marriage.
      I will copy this and reread it when I’m feeling down or blaming myself for this nightmare.
      Thank you.

      • Amanda

        Rachel,
        You are not the blame for your husbands actions. His actions belong to him.
        You did not deserve any of this, and you were wronged.
        It doesn’t matter what his excuses are, he is wrong for
        mistreating you.
        He’s miserable inside and that’s what he displays on the outside. If things were right him on the inside, you would
        see this on the outside of him.
        He is responsible for taking care of his own well-being,
        had he done that, you would see a different person than
        what your seeing now.
        People who are happy inside also display happiness on the outside. Hurting people hurt other people.
        Each one of us is responsible for our own well-being.
        Rachel, for your own peace of mind, when he displays
        a ugly attitude, you need to keep going with your own
        day and not let his ugly attitude affect you. Your seeing
        whats inside of him when he behaves like this, and its
        not your job to blame yourself for whats wrong inside
        of him. He needs to fix his own issues.

        • Amanda

          Rachel,
          I can never say this enough, when someone mistreats us we need to forgive them, so none of what they said or did, is allowed to seep inside of us. Forgiving protects us and it
          acts like a shield to our hearts. When we don’t forgive, were allowing what someone said or did to go inside of us, and it becomes like a poison, and it turns us into
          bitter resentful person, and we become just like the person who mistreated us.
          If the other person is unwilling to change, for your own self
          protection your better off not being around them.

    • Amanda

      Rachel,
      The next time he starts to become rude, walk away, by doing that your not only protecting yourself, your not giving him an audience so he can preform his rude behavior,
      its not much fun to act out when no one is there to watch and take in your performance.
      This also protects you from his crude behavior.

    • rachel

      Well his rude actions should take place tonight. It’s date night for him. He’ll come home after midnight. I don’t say a word but I do think it’s very disrespectful to our 16 year old son who knows where he is.This is why H needs to leave. Go off and live his life of freedom to date whomever he wants.
      Monday is court day. H is taking me so I will sign he home equity line of credit.
      My attorney is also going to try and get him out of the house. Let’s hope so!!
      Thank you, Amanda!!

      • Natalia

        Rachel, please don’t sign anything. I’m sure your attorney has already advised you not to do it. 80,000 is a lot of money and a lot of debt. If you keep the house you’ll be responsible for that debt plus anything else related to the house. Should he choose not to pay it back then you’ll be in a terrible mess. He needs to come clean as to what he’s going to do with the rest of the money after paying for your son’s college tuition. Is he going to buy an apartment? Is he planning on taking his slut on a European tour? Find out. You should demand to know since he wants you to sign. In any case you should be getting 1/2 of the balance. And tonight, just ignore him. Put on some headphones and listen to really fun music so you won’t have to hear him talking. If he gets irrate, call the cops! That will get him out of the house really fast. Good luck tonight and on Monday.

    • rachel

      Well, there won’t be court on Monday. H claims because he works for the power company and with the storm he can’t make it to court.
      My attorney isn’t happy and neither am I.
      He still has control. Always has, always will.
      My attorney feels that he won’t be using the loan for college since only 14,000.00 is due but he’s probably going to buy a house.
      Even if my attorney gives me the ok to sign the papers, I’m not going to. Why should I. The abuse that I have put up with for the past years and this past year of b.s. NO WAY!

    • exercisegrace

      I can truly say that through the pain of my husband’s EA/PA, some of the biggest pain was the lies he told me and some of the things he said. Just prior to, or entering into the EA he had depression over a number of things going on in our life beyond our control (losing two parents, financial woes, adopting two kids, etc) The deeper his involvement with her became, the deeper his depression went. He began to blame ME for his depression. If only I kept the house cleaner, the kids quieter, the laundry caught up with. On and on. I made a mental list, and tackled every issue he brought up, no matter how small or ludicrous it iseemed. It frustrated the kids because they felt that no matter how many chores they did, it was never enough. Well of course not, it was never about the lists, it was about the justification.
      When I confronted him about my suspicions he told me I was crazy, paranoid, trying to ruin his business, I needed help, on and on again. How could I think those things about him? At times I ttruly did feel I was losing it. Not trusting my man of thirty years. Turns out my instincts were absolutely right and I will never doubt them again. But all of this has been hard to heal from. Words DO hurt.

      • Amanda

        Exercisegrace,
        Your right it was all about justification to relieve his own
        guilt. It seems like most cheating spouses follow this same pattern to justify their guilt.
        You could be the perfect wife and have everything perfect and it still wouldn’t matter, because when they are involved
        in an affair, they will find something or use anything as a means to disconnent. An affair divides a cheating spouse’s heart, and the cheating spouse isn’t able to give
        themselves as a whole to the wife or affair partner, so they
        will use any means to disconnent from their spouse.
        Of course your instincts were right, because you could feel
        him pulling away.
        Exercisegrace, I hope its better between you and your husband now, and I wish you both the best.

        • Amanda

          Exercisegrace,
          Whats important now is that he doesn’t have contact with this other woman, and that he can use the tools that he has learned and to put them in place when he is around other women. He needs to set boundaries for himself
          and stay within them, to protect your marriage.
          My heart goes out to you.

        • Exercise grace

          Divides their heart……very good. That is it exactly. Even as I made all the changes he said he needed, he nitpicked things to death, getting increasingly desperate to justify his actions.

          Things are better now. We are in counseling, he is remorseful. He says it’s like a nightmare and he can’t believe it was him. He doesn’t even remember half the awful stuff he said. Part of me wants to recount every bit of it, part of me holds some back. It’s hard to move forward with healing if I am making him feel like I’m rubbing his nose in it all the time. I know you are a believer too, and honestly I am struggling. Would you lift me up in prayer for this bitterness to leave?

    • Amanda

      Exercisegrace,
      This is off the subject but I want to share something with
      you from my own experience being a divorced woman and this also can happen to single never married woman and widows, however I was married at a very young age.
      When I was married, most married men would treat me as such, now that I’m divorced, I was shocked, some married
      men are very flirty and they act very much different when their wives are not around. There behavior is different when their wife is present, their more toned back and they
      act like a married man. Now this is not all married men, but some of them are like this.
      Its very uncomfortable to be around a married man who gets very flirty, and I find any excuse to get away from them.
      They become like innocent little angels when their wife
      are present.
      This was a wake up call on me after my divorce.

      • Amanda

        I also want to add that there are married men who joke around and their behavior is the same, and they act the exact same way with their wife present. There’s nothing
        to their joking around because they do it in front of others and also joke the same way with others.
        Its the one’s who do this when no one else is present and
        you know whats on their minds, because they change the moment someone else shows up. The moment I get that vibe, I am out of there.
        This has happened to me a couple of times and I have learned that you can smell a dirty rat before you see one.

        • Exercise grace

          Sadly this doesn’t surprise me at all. I am realizing that the married state receives no respect at all. Now that we are more attuned to flirting, now that we have boundaries and have discussed certain situations (sanity check) with our counselors, I can’t believe how often people are willing to cross that line. If you are single it must be unreal. I think I’d wear a ring to just try and ward a few off!

          • Amanda

            Exercisegrace,
            In the beginning that though did cross my mind about wearing a ring, but I know how to handle myself now, and
            I have no problem speaking my mind.

    • Natalia

      Amanda, you’re right, some men don’t have boundaries. However all their joking around even if it’s in front of their wives is disrespectful to everyone but more so to their wives because who knows what they’re capable of when their wives are not around. Those men should save their joking for their wives making their marriages stronger. Just like author Gary Neuman says in his books on EAs.

      • Amanda

        Natalia,
        Your right about that.
        But the men who I am talking about are the ones who joke
        with everyone it doesn’t matter how old or young the person
        is or weather their male or female 20 or 80, Their behavior
        is the same.
        But I do agree with the kind of joking your talking about, that
        is a horse of a different color.

      • Rachel

        My h was flirty in front of me and even our youngest son. He’s always been flirty from day 1. Yes another red flag that I chose to ignore. Then as the years went on I started saying to him that it was not appropriate but he just said that he’s a friendly guy.
        Two years ago when he took my sons friends mother out for drinks and left his cell phone in his truck , I was upset and he thought I was all wrong. Our youngest piped in saying ya dad it’s very embarrassing when u stop baseball practice to talk and flirt with Alex’s mom( divorced).
        We saw this woman in the grocery store and I disappeared from the circle. It was just them and the ignored me. He was asking her personal questions and wanted to know why she was divorced. Can we say another red flag !!!

        • Amanda

          Rachel,
          Now that your about to be divorced, get ready you will receive many phone calls to date, The problem I ran into was none of them were my type, or ones I didn’t want.
          Oh well maybe someday the right one will come along,
          until then I rather be at home with my dog watching a good
          movie verses being out on a date with someone I’m not interested in.

    • rachel

      Oh Amanda, some days I say that I will date and others I sound like you. Staying home and not getting involved with anyone.
      I was betrayed for 25 years by a man that was still in touch with his ex girl friend. How will I ever trust anyone again.
      I thought I new this man inside and out, and I was wrong.
      If I am financially able to afford a dog I will. I have always wanted one, but wasn’t allowed. He doesn’t like animals.

    • Natalia

      Rachel, after your divorce you’ll feel like a burden has been lifted off your shoulders and dating will be the last thing you want to do. Enjoy your freedom, have a party and do all the things you couldn’t do because of him. Dating will happen later, not all men are like him. Love yourself first and then someone will definitely love you too.

    • Amanda

      Rachel,
      Natalia is right not all men are like him. Someday if its meant to be the right one will come along.
      At first some of my friends wanted to set me up with someone they knew, it was nice of them to do that, but the
      only problem with that is sometimes their not your type and even though they are very nice, the chemistry is missing.
      I told my friends not to do that anymore. I would rather wait and if its meant to be it will happen. My friends also
      accused me of being to picky, and I do agree I am, but
      after going through a divorce with a unfaithful spouse, I have become picky, and it very well could be that I will end up being single for the rest of my life, but I’m ok with that,
      its better than me forcing myself to be with someone that I really don’t want.

    • Amanda

      Linda T.
      I switched over to this blog, the blog we were on was so long with replies that it was slowing down my computer,
      my computer is getting some age on her.
      Hope you don’t mind.
      Linda I wanted to mention that I do understand, and I am
      a divorced woman myself.
      Sometimes after you have given and given and forgiven
      we come to a point where we evaluate if having that relationship is more harmful to stay in or is it better to let it go. I do believe in forgiving those who hurt us, but I also
      believe we don’t have to stay in a relationship to forgive that person.
      Your children are adults and with time they will adjust.

    • Battleborn

      Amanda,

      I find your remarks amazingly similar to another blogger we had on here. She too had all the same attributes as you, divorce, her love of God, etc. Her name was Anita. This all goes to prove that different (?) people who have had similar tragedies in their lives all seem to find solace in each other.

      I must say there is one thing I am surprised about is the talk of dating when the divorce papers haven’t even been signed. Isn’t that putting the cart before the horse? I too have been divorced prior to this marriage and I would be very wary of discussing dating on any open blog where her husband can read anything like that. It is often the unscruplous spouse who will use anything against the other spouse in order to get what they want or need in court.
      In other words, her husband may read her talking about dating prior to divorce and he may be able to use it against her if the divorce goes to court hearings. I would hate to have that happen as she has already been through an EA and does not deserve to be hurt again.

      The only reason why I am bringing this up is because it has happened before and to someone very dear to me.

      • Mary

        Hi everyone,

        I am so impressed how you all support one another on here. Don’t stop. Sometimes it feels like we are alone in our sorrow. It helps to know there are others out there going through the same thing.

      • Amanda

        Battleborn,
        My real name is Amanda, when I first came to this site
        I went under the name Anita, by mistake a awhile back
        I typed in my real name Amanda. It doesn’t matter which
        name you want to use, Amanda or Anita is fine with me.
        The phones calls I mentioned in my above post, was a
        warning, that this does happen and don’t be shocked when it does. It happened to me.
        I wish you the best and I hope all it going well.

    • Nicole

      Scientific research (Harvard) has found that emotions account for up to 90% of decision-making.
      There is a scientific explanation for why people reject reasonable offerings. The brain’s reaction to new ideas is driven by instincts, emotions, and logic. Interestingly, the instinctual and emotional brain parts mostly overrule the thinking brain. In other words, neuroscience is firmly holding that humans do not predominantly behave based on logical reason.
      “When dealing with people, remember you’re not dealing with creatures of logic, but are dealing with creatures of emotions. ~ Dale Carnegie
      Cheating is a choice and not a mistake. It takes time and effort to cheat on someone. People who are proud of what they are doing don’t lie about it. Why all the secrecy? Treat people like you want to be treated. If you’re ever unsure if what you’re doing with another person is disrespectful to your spouse, the best person to ask is, your spouse.
      To excuse infidelity or whether someone wants to place infidelity in a gray area,(emotional affairs) these ideas don’t hold water when marriage is discussed in terms of the contractual obligations two people have made to one another. Just as if you hired a painter to paint a house and instead the painter stole your money, infidelity is also wrong and a violation of a contract.
      Characterize people by their actions, and you’ll never be fooled by their words. Let people do what they want to do, so you can see what they would rather do. That will answer all the questions you have. When you can’t control what’s happening, challenge yourself to control the way you respond to what’s happening. That’s where your power is.
      “We create our own destiny, and we all have a lot of choices about our behavior,”

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