Verbal abuse is described as a negative defining statement told to the victim or about the victim, or by withholding any response, thereby defining the target as non-existent.
Story: It started when I met this guy out with a friend one night for a drink. This nice looking man was sitting by himself to the left of me at the bar and my friend and I started talking to him. He was charming, good-looking and a business professional. During that time I had a medical situation happen to me where I had lost my home, my career and my finances and was working a job that was below my educational level and wasn’t quite feeling the same self-esteem level that I usually did and was at a vulnerable place. I was down on myself and this man showed interest in me as well as I did with him. He also had a great sense of humor.
We started dating immediately and I felt excited that I met someone who seemed like a great guy. He was an engineer and my father was also an engineer before he retired, so they had a lot in common and my father had always commented on how those engineers are good solid people…so I thought maybe I had met a good man. We dated for 10 months and within that time I started slowly but surely be exposed to different parts of his personally.
I wanted to deny many parts of some of the “Red Flags” that I saw, because I felt that I might have already fallen in love with him. I really didn’t want to face that there could be these flaws and then have to leave the relationship, when I thought I finally found the man of my dreams. I was in my 40’s and was never married before and the connection I felt with this man, felt more true than anything I felt before.
There were so many wonderful things about this man. He was intelligent, loving, funny, charming, good-looking, nice body and we also had a sexual connection. During the Christmas of 2008 he asked me what would I like for Christmas and this meant the world to me, because I had not shared a Christmas with anyone in a long time and many of the Holiday Seasons had been rather lonely (This was 3 months into the relationship, before the red flags started showing).
About 4 months into the relationship, after he had already won my heart, a few digs or small putdowns started to come my way. He knew I had to move in with my parents due to my medical situation and one of his first comments to put me down was ironically when we were having a good time and he was getting close to me. He said “Susan who lives with her parents” in a condescending and in a hurtful tone. I asked him why he said it and he said, “I don’t know why I said it, sometimes when I get close to someone I say something to push them away from me,” then he apologized.
I was hurt and taken back by his comment, but there was so much good in him already that I just pushed that comment aside. I look back at my journal now however and saw that I had journaled that I was concerned that he might have emotional or verbal abuse tactics within him or he was pushing me away because he was afraid of closeness. Either way, I should have listened to my intuition. It is always right.
Months started going by and between many of the good times, there were put downs here and there. Going to a restaurant, where there was this table and a chair near the wall, he says to me, “Why don’t you sit there in the corner and put a hat on it”, like I was a dunce or something. Other comments like Idiot, Crazy Bitch, Whore came later as the intensity of our relationship got worse due to the verbal abuse and other factors.
I kept staying with him because I just wanted to believe that this man who I had met that evening still was the one and that he could change. I didn’t want to accept the fact that he became this “Other Person” at times…but the truth is…he had.
He also told me,
Over time, I realize now that he manipulated me to make me think that I was the reason for his emotional or verbal abuse. He would say things like,
It was always my fault. So, you see, I started to think that there was something wrong with me. Not only was I already at a place where my self-esteem had decreased due to the many losses, but then it further decreased by his verbal put downs and abuse and then decreased even more, being manipulated thinking that I was wrong. Losing my self-esteem even worse made the cycle continue on and put me in more of a “Needy” place that made it harder for me to leave and almost made me feel that I needed him to survive.
I know that sounds crazy, but I believe that he has made me sorta crazy. I started having “Outbursts” of anger and rage after the several months of his verbal and emotional abuse and when I would react in those ways….he would then call me “Crazy” and then feel there was justification on why he would be acting the way that he was to me.
I read later, that it was normal for me to have these “Outbursts” because after all, I was being abused and I was only human and a good person who gives all the time can only take so much. I noticed also the way that he handled situations, he would go from black to white with handling them in an irrational way without much emotion, feeling, regard or empathy. A couple times when I was hurt, he tried to minimize my experience to say, that it isn’t that bad, but wasn’t being there for me or taking into account what my experience was for me.
He also was pretty much a loner and very introverted. Many times when I would compliment him, he wouldn’t take much of a compliment and he didn’t have the best self-esteem. He also had referred to his ex-wife as a “Heartless Ho” and “YES” this was a red flag to me then, but once again, I didn’t want to listen to it, because all the other times were good. I knew then, when he called his ex that, that he could call me that and yes he did end up calling me a “Whore”. Funny out that intuition thing is usually right huh?
He had told me that his ex-wives hair fell out one time “Due to an Autoimmune Disorder and her work”, but I know in my gut that it also had to due with having to deal with his emotional abuse. I know. I have seen the stress on my face. I have seen this wrinkle line on my forehead appear suddenly within this year. I have felt pain down my left arm on many occasions and I have had many sleepless nights.
You see, this man and I went to church together. We even went to see a counselor together because I cared enough for him during that short time that I was with him, to do anything I could to make it work. But the sad part is, he was not in the place to be ready to change and I had to finally wake up, that I could NOT change him or make him ready to be in a place to change.
Many people would say, “A leopard does not change it spots” and unfortunately, being the ex-triathlete and ex-sales representative that I was, I had so much tenacity within me, I thought I could somehow do this, due to part of the love that I had for this man and because I simply didn’t want to leave him, because I did value the other parts of him and did feel a connection that I hadn’t felt in a long time or maybe never felt in my lifetime…but the truth is…a leopard does not change its spots, or if it does, it needs to do it on it own or when it is ready.
I couldn’t continue to stay around this man who 1.) wasn’t ready to change, 2.) gave me no solution for how he was going to change, 3.) kept apologizing each time but it kept occurring and 4.) couldn’t subject myself to losing me and my Spirit due to HIS problems, which were NOT mine. It is so hard to “Let Go” of someone that you care deeply about when there are so many wonderful things about them and you know that there would be something wonderful between you two, if he would just address his issues.
But until he does, I couldn’t take his put downs or abuse any further and when the next Christmas rolled around and when he was unappreciative of my gifts and made hurtful comments when he received something from me each time, I realized “Wow, how can a person truly be this way. This is NOT me, this is HIM”.
So, the greatest gift that I am going to try to give myself this Christmas is to walk away from him and give myself the Christmas gift of my spirit back. There is a heavy price to pay for losing my spirit. The year 2009 has been a hurtful one and one that I will NEVER forget. I can NOT go into 2010 by NOT being TRUE to myself. He has abused me long ENOUGH.
If our roads cross again and he has addressed his issues then wonderful, but otherwise, I can no longer be the person he has to hurt so he can feel better. I am scared, I care deeply for him, but I need to leave. I am asking for your prayer dealing my healing process and asking for your protection to keep me strong.