Tag Archives: denial

Lessons in Crazy-Making

Lessons in Crazy-Making

It was not just a bad night among many, it was an insane night.  Our four kids were all asleep in their beds when my husband and I got into an argument about something rather menial, but he quickly escalated into a rage.  Having no success in calming him, concerned for the kids and seeing the extreme manner of his response, I simply said, “I think you need to leave.” 

At that point, he exploded.

“Oh, you want me to leave, do you!?  Well, if that’s what you want, then that’s what you’ll get!”  He immediately went out into the garage and grabbed a couple of suitcases, returned and marched upstairs, tromping as he went while he continued his tirade.  I followed him up the stairs and tried to calm him down and asked him to be quiet so as not to wake the kids, but this was his moment to make a scene.  He went into the bedroom, tossed the suitcases on the bed and began grabbing his clothes from the closet and loading them up.  He grabbed his conga drums and other instruments, dragged them downstairs and began loading them and other favorite possessions into his van.

 “I’m asking you to leave until you can calm down,” I tried to explain. 

 “You said you want me to leave, so that’s what I’m going to do!”  

It wasn’t long before the kids were awakened.  When they came out of their rooms rubbing their eyes and asking about all the commotion, their father loudly told them that I was making him leave.  They all gathered together on the eldest daughter’s bed, held one another and cried, while I working to convince the man that he was being irrational (which didn’t go over too well) while simultaneously trying to assure the kids that everything would be okay. 

 After about 45 minutes of loading up his van, he came in and told me he was tired and was going to go to bed and would finish up in the morning.

 “Fine,” I conceded.  He went to bed, I was able to get our somewhat traumatized kids back to their beds, and I slept in the sofa-bed downstairs, where I had been sleeping for months. 

The next morning, I woke early and called my supervisor at work to let him know I would not be in, as my husband was moving out, and I needed to make some arrangements for the kids.  I got the kids off to school, returned home and was drinking a cup of coffee at the kitchen table when my husband slowly trudged downstairs.  Seeing me in the kitchen, he said calmly, “What are you doing home?”

“I stayed home to take care of the kids,” I reminded him, “since you’re leaving.”

He gave me an incredulous look and shook his head as though I had lost my mind.  “I don’t know what you’re talking about.  I’m not going anywhere,” he said, and retreated back upstairs to take a shower.

I would like to say that I was surprised by the absurdity of it all at that moment, but I wasn’t.  My former husband had obtained pro status when it came to responding severely and irrationally.  By the final year of our marriage, the word I mentally used to describe our relationship was “insane.”  It was. Continue reading Lessons in Crazy-Making

An Abuse Victim’s Secret Fantasy

“He who trusts in his own heart is a fool, but he who walks wisely will be
delivered.” 
Proverbs 28:26

It’s almost exactly 16 years since I left my abusive husband after 18 years of marriage, but I can still remember clearly some of the feelings that overshadowed that dark season.  Having shared many experiences that I thought might be unique to me, I have been amazed at how many of my thought processes are far more common in the lives of other abuse victims than I ever imagined.

Continue reading An Abuse Victim’s Secret Fantasy

The See-No-Evil Disconnect: Abandoning Victims to Protect the Status Quo

“He who justifies the wicked and he who condemns the righteous, both of them alike are an abomination to the Lord.”  Proverbs 17:15

see no evil

It happens all the time.  A victim of abuse finds the courage to step out of the shadows of her shame and fear to reveal the truth about what has happened to her.  The trauma she has endured may be a result of molestation or rape, physical abuse, and/or verbal or emotional abuse.  She wants to believe that, once she shares her terrible secret, the people to whom she reaches out will hear her, validate her and comfort her.  But as horrible and shocking as it may seem, she may not receive what she needs.  For reasons that defy logic, many may rise to defend her perpetrator, and she may instead find herself shamed and shunned and even persecuted.  Such is the absurdity of the See-No-Evil Disconnect.     Continue reading The See-No-Evil Disconnect: Abandoning Victims to Protect the Status Quo

“I’m Trying”: Setting the Stage for Failure

crossed fingersAfter separating from my abusive husband, I made it clear that I would not live with him unless and until his attitudes and behaviors changed dramatically.  After a couple of weeks of listening to him whine and complain about my unrealistic expectations, he suddenly entered Alcoholics Anonymous and seemingly found the will to turn his life around.

His overall demeanor took on a hue that appeared consistent with heartfelt repentance and a drastic change of character.  It seemed he had miraculously been awakened from his toxic stupor.  The nasty man was all at once the happy-go-lucky guy who forthrightly apologized to me and our kids for his hostile behaviors and failings.  Suddenly he wanted to play with our kids at the park and seemed more sensitive and respectful toward me.  He spoke in positive, glowing terms and seemed wholly committed to the follow-through to save our marriage and our family.  The man passionately assured me that our dark days were behind us. Continue reading “I’m Trying”: Setting the Stage for Failure

What Your Emotions Are Telling You

SONY DSC

In her book, “The Emotionally Destructive Marriage,” author Leslie Vernick writes, “It’s crucial that you not lose your empathy and compassion even in a destructive marriage… 

One of the things that kills empathy and compassion for someone we once felt love is the buildup of negative emotions, especially resentment.”[i] 

I must assert from the get-go my strong disagreement with Mrs. Vernick’s basic operating premise that our “positive” emotions are to be embraced while our “negative” emotions should essentially be squelched.

Continue reading What Your Emotions Are Telling You