How to Become a Battered Woman

My whole life I’ve looked at battered women with sadness and pity, but I have to admit that I always viewed them with a certain level of disdain. I’d never let that happen to me. Never. How do you get in that position? How do you let someone disrespect you like that, harm you like that, and yet not walk away? I could never put up with that from anyone.

But I learned a very hard lesson recently, one that makes me look at battered women in a whole new light. What I’ve never realized is that it’s a quiet, creeping progression. It’s not like a woman gets beaten on the first date and decides that she’s going to live with that person happily ever after. No. You start off as one person, and somehow, slowly over time, you change. Then one day you look up and you say to yourself, “How did I get here?”

You see, it starts off so well at first. You are swept off your feet. You are charmed. You think you’ve found “the one”. You feel loved and protected and cherished and more attractive than you’ve ever felt in your whole life. Your heart is overflowing with happiness, and you dare to dream that you may actually have a bright future to look forward to after all. It’s like winning the lottery when you’ve never even had the confidence to buy a ticket.

That honeymoon stage can go on for a long time. Long enough to really get you hooked. And then one day he breaks through the first boundary. He loses his temper. But not like a typical couple’s quarrel. It’s epic. And all the more so because you never expected that he was capable of such behavior. What happened to the guy you fell in love with? You are kind of in shock. You don’t really know what to think. And the next day he acts as if nothing has happened.

You almost wonder if you imagined it. You make excuses. He was tired. You really were wrong. Everyone has a bad day now and then. Maybe you’re making too much of it. But there have been warning signs. He has spoken of other friends or relatives with anger, and he seems to hold on to that anger without ever moving on. But up until now, it was never directed at you.

Things settle down for a few days, maybe a week, and you really start to think it was just an anomaly. Then it happens again. Only this time, he says something that really, really hurts you. He picks something you’re vulnerable about and he sticks an emotional fork into it and twists. Boundary number two.

This time you’re pretty sure that you did nothing to deserve this. You didn’t realize he felt this way about you. You start to wonder about him, and how he can be so cruel. He saw you cry. He knows he hurt you. You wait for an apology, but it never comes.

The next few days he’s really, really nice to you. He gives you compliments. He makes you feel like you are the most wonderful person in the world. In the back of your mind you try to reconcile this with the cruel things he said earlier, but you can’t.

You tell yourself that he’s being really, really nice because he feels horrible about his behavior, and this is his way of apologizing. Not everyone is good at coming right out and saying things. Men, particularly, are not known for communicating feelings. So maybe this is how he does it. And as he showers you with compliments, you think this is good enough.

But over time, he shows his temper more quickly and more often. You find yourself thinking ahead so that you can avoid things that are likely to set him off. He hates the way you drive, so you let him drive. He wants the towels folded a certain way in the linen closet, and really, is that such a big deal? So you fold them his way.

As you start to accumulate more rules, your ability to function effectively becomes more and more compromised. For instance, he hates to be reminded of things as he’s heading out the door, so even though you know he’s going to forget something, you are hesitant to remind him. But then, he also hates forgetting things, so you are damned if you do, damned if you don’t. Another item on your decision tree is, “Has he started drinking yet?” If yes, abort inquiry.

Don’t misunderstand. You are no shrinking violet. You are not passive during his rages. When he shouts, you learn to shout back. Maybe you even kick him out of the house. But eventually you take him back, because the good times are so good. And he misses you. And maybe you feel sorry for him. You definitely feel sorry for yourself.

It doesn’t help that he can paint such pretty pictures of what your life will be like together. If this one hurdle can be jumped over, everything is going to be so great. The implication being that now he’s under a lot of pressure, but once things get better, he will get better too.

But his behavior is changing. He’s starting to learn from you. He begins to know what things really cause you pain. Do you hate to be considered stupid? Then brace yourself, because he will certainly make you feel stupid when he’s angry. Do you love your dogs more than life itself? Then he will hate your dogs and everything about your dogs and he will imply that you’re stupid for even having dogs.

Then one day he rages about your housekeeping skills, and your first thought is, “Great, now here’s a whole new set of rules, and I’m never going to be able to keep track of them all.” You look forward to a lifetime of desperately trying to keep everything neat as a pin to avoid conflict, and the concept exhausts you.

And the worst part is you watch him behave decently to total strangers, so you know he’s capable of decency. He just chooses to not behave that way with you. Why? What did you do to deserve this? He’ll be happy to tell you. This is all your fault. Nothing you do is right. You aren’t trying hard enough. You are hypersensitive. You’re crazy. You’re the one. And you start to wonder if that may be true.

Unfortunately, by now you can’t talk to anyone about it. You’re too embarrassed and ashamed. You don’t want to scare off your friends, and your family won’t understand why you don’t simply walk away. So you’re completely and utterly alone without any positive validation.

Then one day, finally, he loses it in front of a witness. Boundary number three. Maybe he shouts at you in the driveway in front of the neighbor. And you see the look of shock in that neighbor’s eyes. You remember that look. You used to get that look at first. And suddenly you realize that you are no longer shocked. You’re used to it. You have come to expect it. It has become the norm. When did that happen?

In between all the bad times, though, there are still very good times. And those become all the more precious and poignant because you don’t know when the next bad time will come along. You cling to those good times. You never want to let them go.

Therein lies the problem. In order to hold on to those good times, you have to hold onto the man, and unfortunately the bad times are also part of the man. You feel a thick blanket of depression descend upon you, because you begin to twist yourself into knots trying to figure out a way to accentuate the positive and avoid the negative. You convince yourself that if you can only come up with the right combination of…whatever it is, maybe you’ll get to keep the good guy and the bad guy will go away. But you can’t find that combination, and you therefore feel yourself sinking down into a depressing status quo.

And then one day he crosses boundary number four. A chair gets thrown. Oh, not at you. You’re probably not even in the room. And thank God your dogs aren’t there, either. But you hear the crash, you feel the fury, and you are terrified. Terrified in your own home. Because what happens when he crosses boundary number five?

It is easy to imagine what boundary number five would be like. I will never know if that boundary would have been crossed, because I chose to end things. I’d like to think that it wouldn’t have been crossed because he had no history of ever doing so, but the fact that I couldn’t be sure is what gave me the strength to walk away.

And even though intellectually I know I did the right thing, the insane thing is that I still feel as if I’m going off heroin cold turkey. I miss the good stuff. It was better than anything I’ve ever experienced in my life. I’m in mourning for those pretty pictures of a future that I’ll never have, I’m terrified about how I’ll make it on my own, I practically have a panic attack when thinking of facing the holidays all alone, and I’m lonely to the point of physical pain. I feel lacerated, and I wonder if I’ll ever heal.

I have been to the rim of the abyss and I’ve looked down into it. I didn’t like what I saw. Because of that, I will never ever look at a battered woman with disdain again. Even though I’ve never been beaten myself (thank God), now I understand. I get it.

eggshells

[Image credit: narcissisticabuse.com]

127 thoughts on “How to Become a Battered Woman

  1. Vicky

    Battering is not always physical. You were battered. I was battered. I let it happen for 16 years, but I can admit now I was complicit, I allowed it. I could not yet take full responsibility for myself, so I stayed. Thank God there were no children. And he loved the dog. But the dog died, and there was no other thing we had in common at that point.
    Leaving was not hard the day I finally did it, but it took me 4 years after making the decision to leave to prepare myself mentally and emotionally to actually go. Once I made that decision, I was free inside, and things became better for me, and even in our relationship, because I had a plan, I was working on my dream, and I knew I could make it happen.
    Disdain for anyone is maybe best reconsidered. We are all connected on a level most of us have not yet realized. Lack of compassion for even those we feel no empathy for only draws it back to ourselves. Neither is it helpful, or kind. The line you draw against something you don’t understand does not allow for change, or growth, or healing. You don’t get this in a day, unless you do. This is worth consideration from someone with so much intellect and talent. Your disdain for anything gives it a power that should not be given away. The disdain of others has caused you much pain in your life, because they could not see past x or y to appreciate the precious, valuable, special spirit that resides in you. Don’t pass that pain on to another. Any other. No one deserves disdain. Least of all you, my battered friend.

  2. Jen

    Barb, please don’t go through this alone. Reaching out through the blog is good, but I hope you do more. Even in this mean age of vicious public servants who don’t serve the public, there are resources.

    1. Sadly, in the past I’ve experienced those sliding scale resources that Jacksonville has to offer, and came out the other end much more messed up. But at least I am talking to friends about it now. Once the healthcare.gov website actually lets me progress past my current screen, I’ll have MUCH better health coverage come January first. Fingers crossed.

      1. We will see if my links worked. Because I felt the same as you… how do people put up with it… until I did some guest posts on her blog and really started having to think about abuse… good job, you!!!

      2. Well, this one is having a profound effect on me. Part of me is relieved to put it out there in the world, and not feel so alone anymore. Part of me is kind of nauseous to be able to see it clearly now that it’s written down.

  3. I’m truly sorry for what you were put through, this was not your fault, you didn’t cause it and did nothing to deserve it. I admire you for finding the strength to leave. I know that takes just about everything within a person. The person you were dealing with is a narcissistic/sociopath. I know this becasue you just described what I grew up in, my father is this. They confuse, you, send mixed messages it’s all part of control and manipulation. I “broke up” with my family 3 years ago becasue I couldn’t take it anymore nor could I watch how he treats my mother, and how she lets it happen. I understand why, it’s just painful to watch. There is a huge grief process. Be gentle with yourself. It will come in waves. My heart goes out to you, you’re not alone.

      1. Thanks. I may take you up on that. Have you written about triggers? I’d love to know more. It’s only been a couple weeks. But when I feel myself getting weak, I’ve written a list of all the mean stuff and I reread it. Then I eat ice cream. I’ll probably weigh 300 pounds by Christmas.

      2. Wow this is very recent for you. You’re probably even still in shock somewhat. Do you feel safe from him?

        I have written about triggers in lots of posts, I can’t remember if I’ve written a specific post about triggers but I’ll look and see. 🙂

        You make a list of all the mean stuff he said and reread it? If so, I suggest you don’t do that to yourself.

      3. No worries! I can see how you might. No, it’s not a list of all the bad things he tried to convince me about myself. It’s more a list of his actions, the irrational things that set him off, the ridiculous expectations, and the ways I was set up for failure.So I won’t forget.

  4. Reblogged this on I Won't Take It and commented:
    Another sister of abuse. This post beautifully describes the systematic breaking down of our barriers that leads to our total isolation and destruction. I could have written this post. You could have written this post. I find it unutterably sad that so very many of us could have written this post and yet when we describe our abuse and our abusers to people outside they don’t believe. Be strong, Sister, we are here for you.

  5. I must respectfully disagree with behindthemaskofabuse about your list of his abuses. If I had not started blogging, and journaling, and recording the horrible, nasty things that he said to me, I would still be there with him. I NEEDED that daily reminder that he was a cruel, vicious monster who wanted to kill my soul. The good times were so very good and he had me trained by that time to spackle over the bad times so quickly that even a few hours later it seemed like a faulty memory and I needed the strength of my anger to keep myself moving forward. So long as you don’t buy into his crap, don’t start criticizing yourself for what was done to you, your list is a helpful tool. Soon you won’t need it. Ice cream will not be nearly as tasty as a good, crisp apple, either. You’ll make it through this. I did and life is Fabulous now!

    1. Thanks, Sofia! That’s exactly my feeling about my list. It’s amazing how quickly you can justify things, and more so with the distance of time. So this list keeps my perceptions accurate. And I hope to not need it soon. Apples…I shall aspire to apples.

      1. When I left my narc I worked in an ice cream/chocolate shop. Yeah. I ate myself sick for a few weeks, but I’m happy to say that the craving wore off and now I tend to make healthier choices. You’ll get there, but it does take time. Without my list I don’t know where I’d be today. Now if I can only get the book out of my head and onto the “page” and finally get some real closure on that horrible stage of my life.

      2. I’ve only just met you and yet I have faith in your abilities. Go for it. If I worked in an ice cream shop right now, I’d dive in face first and just whip my head from side to side for a couple hours. I hope the craving wears off for me, too.

  6. Wow,,are you me??? I am going thru this EXACT same thing right now. It’s only been 2 weeks since I left, i’m currently sleeping on a couch for another 2 weeks until my apartment is ready. I still have to find one or two jobs to be able to afford said apartment,,It’s scary but I have to do this,,,I will not be abused anymore or again. I look forward to following your blog and we can do this together, email me at moabrown2013@live.com if you need someone to talk to!

    1. Thank you! It is so comforting to not go it alone. It sounds like you have it worse than I do. The apartment is mine, so I kicked HIM out. There is a huge struggle and anxiety in trying to figure out how to cover all the rent, but at least I’m not on a couch and I’m surrounded by my stuff. Stay strong.

      1. I’m ok, i’m staying at my kids, father’s house so I have them to get me thru. My older daughter is moving to the new apt. with me, so it’s a new adventure for both of us. The stuff will be used for awhile,,but that’s ok.
        You stay strong too.

  7. I know what you are going through. (I came over through Sofia and Behind the Mask). I went through what you did for 13 years. Also I was only hit once. But that was enough for me. As for how to get through the holidays? I won’t lie to you. They can be hard. I had a friend who talked on the phone with me for almost the whole day my first Christmas. Even though she had 3 young boys to take care of. I got through with a good friend, a good bottle of wine and a good cry. You do what you need to do. Find someone to talk to. Come online and talk to us! I am here every holiday. As others have offered thier support I offer mine. Anytime! Any holiday. You can contact me at jlroeder (at)mail (dot) com.

    1. Thank you so much! I’m seriously considering contacting the old folks home down the street and seeing if I can go there for Thanksgiving and volunteer. I have no doubt that more than one of them is spending the holidays alone, too. Even so, it will be rough, so I may be in touch. Thanks again.

  8. I congratulate you on your courage and strength. My grandmother was emotionally and psychologically abused by my grandfather for 27 years before she finally left him. He never hit her but those unseen scars were every bit as real. She rebuilt her life but never trusted another man. She started her own business as a hair dresser and was more successful than gramps ever was, even though their entire marriage he battered her psyche by telling her how dumb she was. All women were dumb to him. She could never amount to anything because she was dumb. She showed him. 😉 And you with your strength and self-respect will come through this life changing moment too. Never doubt it. Bless you. Be well … Dorothy 🙂

    1. Thanks, Dorothy. Trust is an issue for me at the moment, but I’m hoping I’ll get past it because I’m 48, the relationship only lasted 3 years, and it’s my first time in this situation. But for the time being I’m going to allow myself to heal and grieve and I’m not even thinking of getting up on that horse again for a while.

  9. You have taken an important step in ending what I call toxicity. You deserve the best. He will try to lure you back. Please don’t let him. The good times are just a form of manipulation. I’ve been out of mine for 5 years. You will have triggers. I wrote a very similar post to yours, based on a trigger that occurred just a couple of weeks ago.

    It won’t be easy, but you will be rewarded by not having to walk on egg shells.

    Peace, dear.

      1. Each person is different. It could be an event, a day or a word. My ex recently lost the house I refused to cosign for. We couldn’t afford it. He would have shoved the pen in my hand and scribbled my name, if he could. When I heard that he lost the house, I felt sick and a little guilty.

      2. It’s been 5 years since it ended. I was content not feeling anything at all. My mom felt the need to tell me as if it was breaking news and then became chaffed when I wasn’t happy. Strange as it may sound, I don’t want to feel smug or vindicated. I just want Peace, as well.

  10. Great post, so well written easy to understand.

    It is always hard to explain to others why you stayed, even harder to explain to yourself.

    But we are not alone and the cyberworld and blogging has given us all the chance to reach out and find others who do understand.

    I am 6 years out of my relationship but as I had children with him I have not been able to get out from his hooks completely. Finding out he had a personality disorder helped me to understand why and how this happened. I have also written a memoir about our relationship and one day hope to get it published. I called it a Frog’s Tale because of the metaphor of a frog in a pot of boiling water – which is what you have described so well.

    When I wrote it all down it became so much clearer to me how his issues had been present from the very beginning. Journalling and blogging are life savers for many people. Counselling is also another way to get help to break free from the emotional trauma of what you have been through.

    Unfortunately there was another added factor in my 21 year relationship and that was an addiction to sex. Adds a whole other layer to the situation and masked the personality disorder and abuse for many years. It was only when the sex stuff stopped and his abuse of me ramped up that I finally found the courage to leave.

    I hope all of us find the peace we are looking for and deserve.

    1. Boiling the frog! Yes! That’s it EXACTLY. Perfect. And the sex kept me there longer because it was better by a factor of 20 than anything I ever experienced before. I doubt I’ll ever experience it again. But even that becomes not worth it after a while.

  11. You described the progression perfectly. There are many of us who are battered women with the same psychological abuse that you describe. I was in a marriage for over 20 years with the same progressive and cyclic abuse. It was finally adultery that made me kick him out and then I kept praying for my marriage to be saved. I congratulate you for getting out when you did because the progression continues. The control and manipulation tend to increase when you break away and many times the violence increases. My children even feared for my life as his anger increased as I tried to get control of my own life. I have just written a book called The Walking Wounded that is in print now. I hope you read it. You did good to break away. It is not easy and actually scary at times, but you are not alone. So many of us have walked those same paths. Feel free to email me if you need. I will be praying for you…

      1. Thank you so much. You are so fortunate to have gotten out. I was attacked when I was still a newlywed and should have left then… So many of us get trapped in that cycle. I pray that God will bring you a wonderful gentle, loving, kind man for your next husband so you will never get in another abusive relationship. Here is a link for my book but it will be available on Amazon.com and Bushpublishing.com. Many blessings to you my friend…

  12. I used to think that way before it happened to me. I would never let that happen! Why don’t they just leave? People don’t get it until they’ve been there. Thanks for sharing your story.

      1. While it is true that it would be far better if nobody ever experienced it, it’s important for everyone to know that it can happen to anyone. We shouldn’t judge unless we’ve been there.

  13. The same thoughts – about what you would do if it happened to you – and then finding out it is different in real life – applies to finding out your partner has cheated. How many time I have heard ‘If he cheated on me I would be out of there’. It is never ever that easy. I should know. I stayed 5 years and he went onto get someone pregnant when I thought he was in recovery from a sex addiction. Leaving is like jumping off a cliff into the deep dark unknown. It is scary as hell. All of us who have been able to find the courage to leave should be proud of ourselves. It is not easy.

  14. One of my friend is in such a relationship. I’ve tried to convince her to walk out of it but she never listens. Deep down, i know that she is aware about the truth of her relationship but i guess she doesn’t have the courage to walk out.She has lost all her self confidence and self respect. She has even lost her parents and friends because all of them don’t like the guy she is with. Since I oppose him too, she’s not friends with me anymore but it still hurts me to see her like that.

    1. No one could have told me to walk away before I was ready. And he wants her to be isolated from her friends and family. That’s part of the problem. I’m quite sure your friend needs someone she can talk to who won’t judge her, so if you get a chance to reconnect with her, I hope you will do so, and focus on her and your love for her, and just be willing to listen and be supportive of whatever decision she decides to make. That’s what she really needs.

      1. Thanks for your advice. I will definitely try to reconnect with her. I will try to support her.
        But the problem is when i see her all broken and shattered, it makes me want to cry too because at some point of my life i have suffered from such a relationship. And I, too, hadn’t walked out until I was ready. So when i see her in pain, it’s like i am seeing my past alive in front of me and that makes it all the more worse. You are right. She needs someone who won’t judge her. It is definitely not her fault that she has to go through all this. She also thinks that she will not be able to go on without him. And its always those ‘good’ times that make her stay with him. She also keeps making excuses for his violent behavior.
        I hope she realizes this soon. I want my smiling friend back.

      2. Yes, it has to be hard to watch. If you’re like me, when you see someone you care about in pain, you want to go in there and fix things, but you can’t. It’s okay to voice your concerns, I think, but only in the spirit of support, not in the spirit of “Here’s what you should do.” And also share your life with her, so she can remember that it’s possible to have a better one of her own. It’s quite obvious that you care about her, and that can only be a positive force in her life.

      3. Though I understood her situation before, but you post and replies to my comments have made look at her situation in a whole new perspective. Sometimes I would actually go to her in the spirit of “here’s what you should do” and not for support. I am very grateful to you for writing this post and changing my opinion. I think I understand her better now. I don’t know how to express my gratitude in words I guess you will
        understand just from these two words- THANK YOU!

  15. I burst into tears halfway through your post as I could just as well have written it myself. Thank You and Congratulations on making your Decision. Let the healing begin. ((Hugs))
    To lostk9: You are not alone in fighting for a friend.

  16. Reblogged this on robinmcmd and commented:
    Yes, really. I never understood why women chose abusers. Until I discovered that I had. I only pick psychologically abusive men, though. Husband # 2: Demean and degrade anything and everything I care about. Invalidate my feelings. Call me lazy, worthless, and stupid. Seethe with anger while I wonder when it will finally boil into physical violence. We didn’t belong together in the first place. By the time I got kicked out 10 years ago, everyone (including me) believed it was ALL my fault. I was the crazy one. I was the problem.
    Next fella just called me crazy frequently and made fun of my singing and meditation practice. I tried to get him to love me for 3 years. I finally saw the light after he raped me.
    It’s been a long journey back to self respect. And I backslide on occasion. I run when I see/hear signs of abusive behavior today.
    We all deserve better.

  17. Pippa Pirrip

    Reblogged this on Not Your Victim and commented:
    The subject of this post was very familiar to me, it details the steps involved in becoming the victim of abuse. I wrote about the first time TheEx ever hit me last year and you can see for yourself that it’s quite similar to the way The View from a Drawbridge wrote it.

    The one thing I would add is that I feel that we are groomed to be abused. I’m not saying that it can’t happen to anyone, what I’m saying is that there is something similar about those of us who stay even after the relationship has taken a turn toward abusive. There’s something in us that believes repeatedly that if WE are better, if WE can just change those habits that make THEM angry, then it won’t happen anymore. The cause behind that is probably different for everyone, but it’s there. I know how I was groomed for abuse, I know what was done to me as a child and how I was prepped for disaster. In my case, the shocking thing is that I seem to have broken away from it, I seem to be safe now.

  18. This is a perfect description. It’s amazing that one day you have to tell yourself that you are a battered woman. It sounds foreign even as you say it. You fought for so many years against accepting it, choosing instead to remain in a state of confusion or to accept the blame. I just couldn’t let go of the dreams of what it could have been. I wanted to see what other people saw. He was such a gem in public. I didn’t want that to be my life, so I pretended that it wasn’t. I deserved it for staying, right? That’s the catch. I was constantly trying to regain footing. And those wonderful moments supplied after the bad ones? I was just so tired, and they were the perfect cure. Momentarily. I just wanted normal and I was willing to take it. Then hate myself for it later when the bad returned.
    The look of shock. I remember that look on my sister’s face the day I said, “Don’t worry. Sometimes he doesn’t come home.” That look was almost like a slap. Oh, that must not be normal. Most husbands come home on Fridays after work. They don’t roll in at 4am, drunk, so you can’t question it because of the potential fight that you can never win. At first, back when I stood up and fought for myself, I convinced myself that I deserved his anger. I bought his explanation that he only said hurtful things in response, forgetting that he was the one in the wrong.
    I’m glad it’s a place that we both look back on. I might complain about how mundane my life is or how hard single-parenting is, but really, I would much rather this than that roller coaster of self-doubt and hatred.

    1. Mine said he never “really” raised his voice to me, and believe it or not, I second guessed myself for a long time with that. Isn’t that crazy? But then the look of shock, and a few conversations with people who confirmed they could hear him shouting from outside the house, gave me the validation that I wish I had never needed. Somebody the other day in a comment said something about not wanting a lifetime of being ALMOST good enough, and that really hit home, too. I never want that feeling of 24/7 stress of trying to be good enough, ever again.

      1. Exactly! I could never measure up and I accepted his excuses that his actions were result of my many flaws, i.e. going to bars because the house was too messy. The thing is that they are SO convinced in their version of the truth, so you start to believe it too. It’s definitely a crazy time.

  19. Thank you for being honest enough to write this post. The fact that you open with how you felt about battered women prior to your own brush with abuse means a lot. You could gone on with your life and never told anyone about what you went through or how your opinions have changed. I’m glad you removed yourself from that situation. Maybe you lived it -momentarily- if only to gain perspective on the lot of us that have and are still walking on eggshells. Who have seen boundary number five and beyond. I hope you are able to wash away those images of good times with this man because those things are like the beautiful spider web created only to capture prey.

    1. Yes relatively speaking I was very lucky. And I learned so much from it. One of the many valuable lessons was that I’m not nearly so easily intimidated. Someone yells at me at work and I think, “Heh. This is a walk in the park. Don’t make me laugh.”

  20. Pingback: How to Become a Battered Woman | prclassaurora

  21. Thank you for this very insightful blog. As you say, you don’t need to be ‘battered’ in order to suffer horrific abuse or to understand how women in those situations feel. It’s wonderful to read what you learned, and I’m so glad you have taken the positive step of sharing this with others.

  22. Carole Lewis

    Thank you for reminding us that we are not alone. I actually know several men that are survivors of abusive relationships. I escaped physically 45 yrs ago, but the emotional separation took many more years. This 36 year marriage has been wonderful. still in the dark recesses of my mind, I sometimes wonder if I will ever be free of all the self doubts and inadequate feelings I still have from the first marriage.

    This is your most powerful blog. We must always remember… We are not alone.

    1. Thanks, Carole. I’m still getting used to the idea that I find myself in this group, so I have only just begun to try to process and get past the situation. But as you can see from all the amazing comments, people have been very supportive, and that means a lot to me.

  23. Pingback: How to Become a Battered Woman | Not Your Victim

  24. Reblogged this on The Frog's Tale and commented:
    This is a fantastic, clear, well written and well explained post about how easy it is to slowly be drawn in by an abusive partner. That insidious descent into madness that you can’t even see coming. Just like my frog – slowly boiled in a pot of water because she can’t feel the heat being turned up. Not one of us would enter a relationship with someone who treats us this way from the beginning – we aren’t crazy.

    If you ever wondered how it happens and why we stay – read this.

  25. Being abused emotionally and verbally for 42 years I can relate to most of this. However, in my case I chose to ignore his abuse and I was in denial for many years because I was advocating for my twin sons, one of whom had spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy. I made the unconscious decision to devote my life in caring for him . My blog is inspired by my son and finally accepting my abuse and how I am finally healing .

    Thank you for your great post and the bravery of sharing your honest feelings about abuse.

    1. Thank you! And you’ve just brought up another issue that people who haven’t experienced abuse don’t realize: there are often mitigating circumstances. Life is rarely as cut and dried as people would like it to be. I’m glad you’re healing, and writing about it for others.

  26. Susan Boland

    Dear Expat,
    reading your blog was as though you were (and pardon my use of the words from an old song by the Fugees) strumming my pain with your fingers (on your key board) telling my whole life with your words and you write so eloquently. Reading your blog is like reading my own story with my Ex Narc, right down to the umpteenth degree, the irrational rage and violent (non physical) outbursts, the deception, the gas lighting, the devaluation, the degradation and me walking on eggshells every second of every day. Thank-you for sharing as it makes one feel not so alone and isolated, my heartache and (almost physical) pain with the loss the love I felt for him and for the rare good times I had with my exN sometimes over shadow his vile behaviour, but reading of your experience slaps me back into reality and brings me back to the memory of my harrowing life loving and living with a person with NPD.
    Thank you
    Susan x

      1. Susan Boland

        Sincere apologies as I thought it was Expat’s blog I was reading, (my recovery from my relationship causes my brain to be a bit doughy some days) it’s amazing how the Universe works (thank-you Universe and expat) who directed me to your blog. Honestly, as I was reading your post ‘How to become a battered woman’ it was as if we had lived with the same psychopath. I love reading and relate to your whole blog and thank-you again for sharing your experience with us, wishing you peace, light and love,
        Susan x

      2. Thank you Susan, that means a great deal to me. I, too, felt as if I were alone for a very long time. You were on Expat’s blog originally. She reposted my blog entry to her page. I’m glad my blog speaks to you. I look forward to your feedback on future posts.

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  28. Susan Boland

    I hope you don’t mind but I posted a link to your blog on my blog page, I have a difficult time expressing what actually happened in my relationship (and you express it so well) as I kept his abuse hidden and made excuses to myself for my exNarc’s behaviour, I actually did not believe what was happening and blamed myself for the whole nightmare, I really thought I was going crazy. I was so isolated on the farm with only my exN in my life, now I feel isolated without anyone in my life.

    1. I’m very flattered that you posted a link. You can even reblog it there if you like. I can’t imagine how it must be to be physically isolated as well as emotionally isolated. Any isolation is horrible, though. Currently I work graveyard shift so that’s another form of isolation. I am asleep when most people are out doing things.

      Your current isolation, at least, is something you have control over. Think about the types of friends you would like to have, then think about where those types of people would go, then put yourself in those places. You can do this.

      1. Susan Boland

        Thank-you so much for your kind words Drawbridge and I did as you suggested to reblog to my page, I am very new to blogs so I am still learning. I have to say that writing my blog has been wonderful therapy for me, I do not feel so alone and I am able to release my emotions without being a drain anyone, misery is not good company so I feel that I am able to offload without bothering anyone.
        I have just discovered an off leash dog park near my home where I take my little dog to socialize with other dogs and I am socializing as well, thank you for your suggestion.

      2. That’s a great start. Dog people (and I am one) are good people. Good luck. Have fun, and be careful about that worry about being a bother or a drain. That’s an offshoot of being in a codependent relationship for so long. You are only responsible for being you. You are not responsible for how others are burdened by that. They can choose to be around you or not, but that’s on them. Don’t take that on. I highly recommend “Codependent No More” by Melody Beattie.

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