I just came across this site, and SO many things hit home with me...Like others have said, I feel like I'm reading about my own situation. It's all so eerily similar! Permit me to share some ways in which I related to the other posts. It would do me some good to vent.
- My husband is 100% the "lecturer" who wants a full-time listener. He talks to me, never with me. And then, inexplicably, he tells me he wishes I would talk more, and asks why I never talk to him. I appreciate the sentiment -- I think he really thinks he wants me to talk, but I know that's actually the last thing he wants. I also appreciate how intelligent he is; but it gets old! He'll wax pedagogical about molecules and brain chemistry for hours on end without taking a breath (I'm usually zoned out by the third sentence, but he doesn't seem to care). I like that he is passionate and enjoys talking about his field, but I'm a grad student -- the last thing I want when I come home from school is to sit through another lecture. Other times, he'll just chat about nothing, or make silly jokes, or recite scenes from movies (and I'm like, uh huh, I saw it too). And he cannot make it through a movie or TV show without talking the entire time. If there's something I really want to watch, I'll do it with my ipad and earphones.
Whenever I do try (emphasis on the word TRY) to talk, he interrupts me. And when I point out that he's interrupted me, he gets all worked up and says something to the effect of: "Okay, go, go, finish your sentence. Come on, say it already!" His body language also speak volumes; he tenses up and nods real fast, and stops just short of the "okay get to the point" hand twirl. Of course, I then feel horribly on the spot and regret even trying to say one lousy sentence. So I've resorted to being a silent figure in the house, for the most part. This has perpetuated the vicious cycle of his just talking more to, as he puts it, "fill the silence." What I wouldn't give for some silence!! He also gets angry when I zone in on my school work (which is admittedly a lot), but God help you if you interrupt him when he's zoned in on something!
- He also has serious bouts of rage and cruelty. He is the one with all money (he had it before we married, I came from nothing), and he's constantly rubbing this in my face. On his nice days, it's all "the money is half yours, get whatever you want!" But on bad days, everything is thrown in my face. He'll say, "I pay your rent, I pay your tuition, I pay all your bills, and this is how you treat me? After all I've done for you?" How did I treat him, what did I do wrong? It could be anything. Usually, it's that I didn't read his mind and therefore didn't do something he expected me to do (get his dry cleaning, for example). He also constantly runs out of his medications (either by misusing or by not being on top of his refills), and when I don't take full responsibility for this (by contacting his dr. [and making up some excuse if necessary], and by running to the pharmacy the second it is filled), then it's World War III. In short, he's a blame-shifter extraordinaire.
- He insults me (calls me stupid, moron, idiot, etc.), tells me I'm nothing without him, tells me I'm a bad wife, insults my mother (I don't have the heart to tell her, bc she is his biggest fan), and he loves telling me how I would end up in the gutter without him ("Go back to your pathetic life, maybe then you'll appreciate me!"). While he's never been violent directly towards me, he throws things and breaks things on a pretty regular basis.
- Worse than the insults are the threats. Again, he never threatens to harm me physically, but he is constantly threatening to harm or embarrass me in other ways. His "go to" is to say he won't pay my tuition anymore, or that he'll challenge the payment already made. His second favorite "go to" is to say he'll break my computer. As a student, this is my most important possession -- it has all my notes, papers, etc., and he knows that of course. Just the other day (while I was out picking up his medication, mind you), he texted me a picture of my computer with the caption "SMASH." He then told me I had 1 minute to get home before that happened. He's also threatened to email colleagues, professors, and family members and tell them secrets about me. He's never come through on any of these threats, but the level of vindictiveness is what terrifies me.
- Like others, I've spent many a night crying in parking lots or crying myself to sleep. To make matters worse, we live in a loft -- i.e., basically one single room. I have NO WHERE to go or hide when he starts yelling at me. I can go in the bathroom (the only place with a door), but I can only stay in there for so long. I've come to love earplugs, earphones, and 24 hour restaurants. I feel childish sticking my fingers in my ears, but sometimes it's my only immediate escape. Leaving is always the best option, but every time I do I always resent having to leave. I've spent several nights in a hotel room, but "wasting money on that" is just one more thing for him to yell at me about. And often, when I do leave, I'll just get "yelled at" via text, so I'm never totally away. I've gotten better at ignoring those, but it's not always easy.
Last week, ironically during our date night (the thing we're trying to do to improve / save our marriage) we were having a great time at dinner until he brought up an old argument and insisted on discussing it. He started harping on me (why did I pick up his medication 2 hours later than I said I would?), he got real heated, his voice started to raise, and he started angrily moving things around on the table (throwing his napkin down, pushing plates, pouring drinks so that they spilled), so, as per usual, I went silent. But it started getting embarrassing, so finally I got up and walked out (something I've never done before). Of course, now I'm in the doghouse for that. "How dare I do that to someone who is paying for my dinner!"
- He also twists my words / puts words in my mouth. Actually, his whole family is skilled at this. I like to think I am relatively coherent with my word choices, but he and his family have a remarkable ability to turn a well-meaning remark into a slanderous insult or offense. When I first learned his mother has a Master's degree, I said something along the lines of "oh, wow!" This was twisted into me being shocked that she was able to accomplish something bc I obviously think she is too stupid to do anything like that. (???) This kind of stuff used to baffle and really upset me. I would go overboard trying to defend what I actually meant. Now I know that it doesn't matter what I say. They will twist anything if they are intent on finding something to twist. Again, my (probably unhealthy) coping strategy has been to be as silent as possible. "Anything I say can and will be held against me" is what I remind myself. But even this doesn't work. One time I shrugged at his mother--the "shrug heard 'round the world" as I like to call it--and this later came back to haunt me big time. I was disrespectful, rude, and offensive, or some nonsense like that, and I got punished for days for it by getting yelled at by my husband. I know these are mother-in-law examples (and I used them bc I actually find them kind of funny now), but my husband will twist my words (or non-words!) in just the same way.
- He also reads my texts and emails, and then gets mad at me for them -- and without fail, it's bc he misunderstood or misread something! I've been accused of countless things that are not even remotely true (affairs, talking shit about him, etc.).
- My husband is also a good liar. He lies to therapists, usually regarding medication, but a few years ago he lied to a therapist by making up a child!! He invented this daughter that we had, and would go in and tell stories about her. Thank God he doesn't go to that therapist anymore, bc his stories started getting ridiculous (he couldn't keep track of her age, and I think he changed her name a few times). Yes, he told me about all this (not sure why). They say trust is the most important thing in a marriage, but I never fully trust anything he says. Not that I think everything he says is untrue, but I sure have learned to take everything he says with a grain of salt.
- He has a litany of "valid" excuses for his behavior. He's in pain (he suffers from headaches), it's his ADHD, or it's just "the way he is." Sure, at least the first two can be real explanations for bad behavior, and I do cut him a LOT of slack. But at what point is my (emotional) suffering not justified by these valid excuses? At what point is it too much? At what point is he just a jerk who happens to also have pain and ADHD? Of course, I get no such excuses. Like everyone, I mess up and behave badly myself sometimes, but I am not allowed to pull any of these "get out of jail free cards." I understand that that's just being an adult who has to take responsibility for her actions, but I do find myself resentful that he "gets" to yell at me and vent all his anger with total impunity. I daydream about getting to finally say all the things I want to to him, and then using the Men in Black memory eraser on him.
We have gone to a few marriage counseling sessions (and I hope to keep going), but believe it or not it's all him doing the talking...When our therapist tries to bring me in, I find myself dumbfounded and speechless bc I'm so used to reverting to silence. So nothing I say is actually what I really want to say (I'm so out of practice "talking about feelings" in a constructive way). I should clarify, when I say my usual strategy is to revert to silence, that is very true -- but I do have my breaking point. I've done my fair share of yelling back during arguments. I hate falling into that, and I've said many things which were cruel and that I regret. And he has the memory of an elephant -- he never hesitates to throw these mistakes in my face, despite my sincere and abundant apologies.
- Lastly, what resonated the most with me from other people's posts are the expressions of love for their husbands. Most people, if they read any one of these things above, let alone all of them, would think I am INSANE for staying with him. But, despite it all, I still love him. I still see the good in him -- bc it does come out, in full force, on his good days. But the good is a Sword of Damocles hanging above my head. Whenever I consider leaving him--lately, it's been a lot--I can never pull the trigger (or even come close) bc I actually love the f-ing bastard. When I fantasize about leaving him, I imagine myself being quite happy -- aside from the fact that I would miss him terribly. It's heart-wrenching even to think of not having him in my life. It would leave a giant whole in my heart. So, instead, I stay but let him continually beat up my heart...Does that make any sense? I don't entirely understand myself on this.
Well, I don't know if anyone will read this long essay, but it sure felt good to get it out! I've never had a place to share these thoughts, bc I know the one and only reaction I would get would be the old "You better leave him, Honey!" Thanks to anyone who did read, and thank you in general for his forum.