Under the category of Verbal abuse / Emotional abuse
1) He says he has not cared about me for four years.
2) He says he wants me to be happy and to date because if I am not happy or if I am stressed, it negatively affects the kids. (As if his bad behavior did not / does not affect the kids.)3) He said we should never have gotten married because we are too different and I am not emotionally capable of appreciating him, he thought he could change me, but was wrong.
4) He says I am the least attractive person on the planet because of my personality and that I am ‘boring’ and that’s why I had such a hard time with guys when I was dating before I met him. I am boring, apparently, because I don’t open up emotionally on the first few dates. (Whatever that means - I would think opening up emotionally too soon would be a big red flag to most guys.)
5) He says he would “drop everything including a date” to be with the kids. (Implying, of course, that I would not).
6) He says I am a narcissist because I told him some of his behavior seemed jealous so I am completely focused on myself and not him or the kids (This is rich. He is firmly in the narcissistic camp, classic projection).
7) He’s furious because I ‘lied’ about what the kids were doing that Friday night and that I dropped them off to play with McDonalds food while I “went to have a nice dinner.” He thinks I am a terrible mother because I put my needs above the kids’ needs. (I had told him we did not any have special plans, and he’s assuming I went to dinner, I never actually told him that.)
8) He insists that I not tell him what I am doing when he has the kids because I might ‘use it against him later’. Well when he asks “Will you be available later for a call from the kids if they miss you” and I say “Yes, I’m just going to Walmart” - I don’t see anything wrong with that, but he does somehow. It’s all very complicated and controlling and vaguely jealous. He’s telling me what I can and can’t say and then blaming me when I don’t do it right. He thinks I should discuss this problem I have (about telling him what I doing) with my therapist, so I can get past it.
9) He says after he’s been working for two years, he can go back to court and get 50% custody of the kids. He says he won’t do this as long as I let him have the kids as much as possible. (Clearly a threat).
10) He says I am too sensitive and too defensive, and am reading things into what he says, so it’s my fault if I think he’s being condescending or whatever. (Heard this a million times during our marriage).
Under the category of Physical abuse1) He followed me outside the gymnastics place when I tried to get away to stop the discussion.
2) He prevented me from leaving in my car by standing in the door and insisted we finish the discussion.
Under the category of Really?1) He thinks the physical abuse “wasn’t that bad” and that he only did it when I was screaming “to protect the kids” (So let me get this straight, you put your hands around my throat to stop my screaming and that was better for the kids? Got it.)
2) He says he did everything he could to make me leave, like the not working, and the gaining weight, and the abuse. (Why didn’t he just leave? He would alternatively threaten divorce and then say he would kill me before we got divorced). Crazy, crazy, crazy.
3) He says if I had appreciated him he would not have abused me. (Of course, it’s all my fault).
4) He did not accuse me of cheating because he was jealous.
5) He says he accused me of cheating, so I would cheat, so I would realize how good I had it with him and appreciate him. (I heard this while we were married. I can’t possibly imagine how this thought process works).
6) He wants to know what day in December he can take Cassie for her birthday dinner because he needs to make plans. (In August for December?)
7) He insists I don’t have the kids’ best interests at heart if I would consider a babysitter instead of him. (Sure – it can’t possibly be the fact that he is an angry abusive man and I don’t want him to have them more than legally required.)
8) He says if I get depressed or upset over a break up with a future boyfriend – I can send the kids to him for a while, so they don’t have to be affected by my bad feelings. (I guess he thinks I am an emotional weakling. Everything I have done over the last year and a half has been very emotionally stressful and yet I manage to keep it from affecting my job or my kids. He, on the other hand, quit working, became an alcoholic and extremely abusive because he was ‘not happy’ with our marriage. You tell me – who’s the emotional weakling?)
9) He’s worried when he sees strange cars out in front of my house, not because he’s jealous, but because he’s afraid it might be a burglar.
10) He says he had to tell me when we were married how beautiful and wonderful I was to convince himself that I was worth being married to, because I am such an unattractive person to him. (This in between the torrents of verbal, emotional and physical abuse).
11) He said he was glad to hear me say (quite a while ago) that I would never want to speak to him again it if weren’t for the kids. (Not sure what to make of this at all, I would have thought that would go without saying).
12) He says we can have a ‘good divorce’ if I would just lower my defenses when dealing with him and stop assuming negative meanings behind his words. (Again, all my fault).
1) He agrees the name calling was bad.
Under the category of I might actually believe that
2) He agrees he cornered me a lot, which caused some of the ‘screaming’ mentioned above.
3) He said he was sorry that I felt every interaction with him was stressful, essentially ruining all extracurricular activities.
So is this a good basis on which to proceed? He clearly has not learned what verbal abuse is, or how not to do it. He clearly has not learned that following me around to argue with me is not acceptable. At one point I was trembling and almost in tears, remembering all of the other fights in the past, because all his tactics were so similar.
A lot of what he says is demeaning or condescending. A lot of what he says seems crazy. A lot of what he remembers is just flat wrong. But I’ve gotten a few things off my chest. He is so manipulative and controlling, that at one level I feel like I can’t believe anything he says. However, it feels a little like he is trying to come to terms with the past and move forward. I do believe he wants to spend more time with the kids. It also feels like he is still in la-la land about what happened in the past and how bad it really was. He clearly has some bizarre ideas about me and how I will react in the future, and about my motivations. I really struggle with this.
He will never understand me, and I can’t change that. He will never understand how bad he was and why I did what I did, and I can’t change that either. Can we come to terms and proceed peacefully when he is so deluded about even his own emotions? I cannot let myself get sucked in to his beliefs, otherwise it will be like when we were married all over again. I have to remain objective and make the best decisions I can based on his actions and not his words. The difference between us is, he thinks he is right, but I know I am and I have to keep reminding myself of that.