am i in denial tht my husband is abusive? please help (formerly Jan_1234)

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Registered: 10-26-2009
am i in denial tht my husband is abusive? please help (formerly Jan_1234)
Thu, 12-06-2012 - 5:35am

I haven’t posted here for years but found myself here again trying to both find some comfort and to access my old posts to see if advice is better aged. And it is. I really wish I would’ve listened to some of the wonderful people on these boards but I felt so lowly and unworthy that I did not. I used to post as Jan1234 but I lost my password and so now am posting under my sister’s acc. Some back ground I guess though this is going to get really long. Sorry, writing is more cathartic than anything else. I’ve been married to my DH for four turbulent, rocky years. We both made many hurtful mistakes while dating and worked through these issues out in the open before getting married. I cheated during one drunken night and though I confessed, I did so horribly and withheld some of the details of the night at first. I know that is so hurtful and I felt such shame and guilt over this which I why I finally confessed all well before marriage. I sort of thought we had worked through much of it before getting married (we’d dated off and on for four years and the cheating was during an ‘on’ period in the first year). I won’t go into the hurts he caused me while we were dating as they don’t matter as much, but suffice it to say he had definitely caused his share of hurt. Since getting married however, every few months the past rears its ugly head and the berating, degrading, hurling insults, patronizing, ect are not far behind. Sometimes it’s not that bad and I’ve felt I deserved it as I’ve deeply hurt him in the past, other times it can be painful but even seem good and like maybe we finally have gained some insigh but then other times it’s become threatening or scary. The worst of it was an incident where he urinated on me during a fight when I told him that if I was such a wh)re and so disgusting than I understood and to leave me, he was upset that I was tring to stop listening and go to bed so he peed on me I guess to show me how disgusting I was and when I again didn't react or yell back just cleaned up and then tried to sleep on the couch, he then poured gasoline on me and threatened to set me on fire. I know I probably should have left then but a big part of me thought that I’m so ugly and low inside, that I probably deserved it and he helped to reinforce this view that ultimately this was my fault and due to what I’ve done, I bore the responsibility. Amazingly when he finally did admit it was perhaps a bit out of line, though “not that out of the norm of how couples fight given the circumstances” (his words) ,he mostly just felt bad for himself and I found myself comforting him about it. So nothing like this has happened since just lots and lots of verbal yelling, degrading, and talking down to me. He says he doesn’t do it but I swear I’m not crazy and he does talk down to me, calling me irrational, illogical, too sensitive and uncaring for not listening to him in the way he needs. I really, really have tried but nothing I do seems to work, no matter how many times I admit to my faults, how long we discuss them and how much we talk about how much I have hurt him it just cycles back again. Unfortunately I don’t really have much self-worth anymore. I’m educated, have a great career and try to live a good life helping my family and community where I can but none of those things improve my sense of self loathing. I don’t like myself a lot of the time regardless of the good I’ve tried to do to atone for my past. I’ve felt genuinely good though my job which I’m good at, through teaching part time, and through my family who love me more than I probably deserve. I’m a really good teacher (I have taught nights as an adjunct instructor for adult development classes). I’m really good at this and for at least the time I’m in front of the class, I feel like a somewhat worthwhile human being. So anyway awhile ago, I finally shared these concerns with my husband who convinced me that he sees me as an equal partner and said that he was sorry that I ever felt this way and that he never meant for that. We finally talked about the fire incident and he said that he takes responsibility (though I could tell very reluctantly), he says that even given the context of what I did to him, it was still a bad thing to do. This was really the first time I felt maybe he really understood that I wasn’t all to blame for that incident that though I caused the hurt, he chose to blow up that way and scare me. He convinced me that all these concerns about us not being an equal partnership were in my head and I’d built up this idea that he’d beat my self-worth down over the years but that it was not really true. I can’t tell you how happy I was and I started to imagine us finally having a happy relationship of peace and love. After this we decided to buy a house and I was going to give up my job and settle in the state where he is from because his family is less mobile than mine. I was really okay to make the sacrifices for him because I felt we were in such a good place finally and he also was saying that maybe we could think about having a child now. When we were dating he got me pregnant and then pressured me to abort, even though I had told him that I would either give the baby up for adoption or raise him/her on my own so he wouldn’t have to spend money or be a father, but he said this made him feel guilt and the only option he was okay with was abortion. So the prospect that maybe we could be a family made me really happy. For almost six months while the house was being redone, there were no blow ups and it was the longest period of peace we’d ever had. And he was even doing things in the house to remodel it in ways he knew I would like. After I spent nearly all of my savings on the house though, everything changed. He again says that he does not respect me the way he needs to and we’re again discussing everything that is wrong with me. He also says that having a kid is out of the question now as we are just not in a good enough relationship, and we still need a lot of work to where he can feel as though he has a good solid partner. I of course would never bring a child into this situation so I agree with his assessment but it doesn’t make it hurt less. I think the only chance I had to be a mom is probably long gone and I squandered it by aborting and thus don’t deserve to be a mom anyway. I’d like counseling but that would require that I give up my job as now he is living in ‘our’ house and going back to school there. I really don’t want to give up the only thing that keeps me sane and grounded. Anyway it was just nice to write all this out and of course there's a whole lot more to this. Thanks for anyone that muddled through my incessant ramblings.

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-27-2004

Wow, you really have lost confidence and self-esteem!  To answer your title question first, YES, you are in denial.  Your husband is not hurt by your cheating incident, he is angry, and is going to make you pay for it as long as the two of you are together.  He treats you horribly, and makes everything your fault.

That gasoline incident?  Terrifying!  Gasoline is not a benign substance.  The fumes can combust with very little encouragement.  You could be dead right now, or horribly burned, and from his point of view it would be your fault.  He urinated on you?  That is an expression of the deepest contempt.  People who are hurt don't act like this--it is the domain of those who are angry enough to endanger the life of the one they are angry at; who want to humiliate, berate, and batter the object of their wrath until she (or he) has no self-confidence and feels guilty enough to accept blame for everything that goes wrong in the abuser's life.

You need to get into therapy as soon as possible.  I am not talking about checking yourself into a mental health facility, I am saying find a therapist who will sit and talk with you for an hour or so each week.  You will not need to quit your job--in fact, your medical insurance will probably help pay for it--but you do need to take steps to get away from your husband.  Make no mistake about it, he is dangerously abusive, and worse is coming.

Avatar for cajunharmony
iVillage Member
Registered: 02-28-2001
There isn't a whole lot that I can add to what Geoteo has already said. She's dead on. Your husband is engaging is almost every single trait that abuser's use to keep their victim under their control and to maintain their power in the relationship. He has done a fine job of stripping your self-confidence, esteem and belief in yourself. The very best present you could give yourself is to get an attorney to help you get your share of the house and get divorced from this jerk. What he's done to you already by urinating on you and threatening to set you afire puts him WAY up there on the lethality index. Please consult your local domestic abuse agency about your options, as well as options for obtaining counseling and getting into a support group. You can write, ramble and vent all day long and "feel better", but until you make a decision about your life and making positive changes for yourself, nothing is going to change. Getting away from an abuser and reclaiming your life, and all of the things he has stripped from it is not easy. It takes courage, strength, determination and a willingness to do what you have to do, no matter how hard or painful it might be. In the end, you will emerge, stronger, with boundaries, a renewed sense of your SELF and a life that you can enjoy from the moment your eyes open in the morning to when you go to sleep at night. It's so worth it. Keep posting all you want, we're always here for you and wish you the best. Hugs to you. You can do this.

Mama Harmony