There are SO MANY rules to follow in abusive relationships that I can’t help but screw up sometimes and receive my punishment! It doesn’t help that my husband gets to change the rules at any time for any reason without telling me about them.
Here are ten of my husband’s commandments:
10. I am not allowed to touch any guy except for his best friend, his father, and our children, and if I talk to some other guy he’d better be a service person, store clerk, or one of the boys’ teachers.
9. I am allowed to wear low-cut dresses when we go out, but he reserves the right to complain about it at any time because those are “his” boobies.
8. I am responsible enough to pay the bills, but when our bills vary by more than $5.00 from the previous month, he reserves the right to tell me that I don’t know what I’m doing and must not be paying the bills correctly. Bill amounts should never vary month to month.
7. I am not allowed to disassemble any appliance in order to fix it or to assemble a prefabricated piece of furniture because only he can do those things correctly. Women can’t do handyman tasks.
6. I am allowed to choose my own kitchen appliances if he goes to the store with me because only he knows if the store is ripping us off or not.
5. I am a great mother! I am so great because he has given me the training I needed to become like his mother…Oh wait – no, I’m not always a great mother because sometimes his training is ruined by the interference of my screwed up thinking.
4. I am not allowed to complain about his drinking because I take a prescription pill for depression so I’m a hypocrite if I complain about his chosen vice. And it is NOT true that drinking has caused our marriage more problems than my prescription medication - my perception is clouded by the effects of the medication, and he is really tired of dealing with it.
3. It is true that he is a chauvinist, and he is allowed to be that way because it’s how he was raised and I knew it when I married him, so it’s something I’m going to have to get over.
2. He will not be happy until I give up on my stupid idea that what he does and says is abusive. I am easily swayed by the opinions of doctors and authors and counselors who are only out to get my money and will tell me whatever I want to hear. Until I return to his way of thinking, he will continue to be unhappy (and therefore, just plain mean.)
1. Since he’s been deployed, my decisions have not been in the best interests of the children. Therefore, there is to be no counseling and no more sharing with strangers the goings-on of our family. There is to be no more decision-making prior to checking with him, especially when it comes to extra-curricular activities such as going to the YMCA, or allowing the boys to make choices for themselves as to which activities they want to actively participate. If I make any more of these decisions without him, he is seriously going to risk damaging his career to request early R&R leave so he can come home and straighten things out before I make them worse.
Crazy making is a huge component of domestic abuse. All of the above “rules” are examples of crazy making! What are the rules you live by in your abusive relationships?