Abuse Hides in the Dark. Turn on Your Light.

Or Not.

“You are a good person. I wish you would stop analyzing every thought you have – it has GOT to be emotionally draining. You already know what is right and what is wrong. You shouldn’t have to think about it every step of the way…Stop analyzing the decisions that revolve around the basic nature of a happy life. You DESERVE a happy life. Just do it.”

Analyzing…emotional drain…. Sure, it is draining sometimes. But here’s the deal: I am trying to decipher and define who I am. I want to discover what words describe me. When I clarify to myself the definition of a word (such as selfish in the other post), it is gratifying, not draining.

My husband tells me that I am selfish. In the beginning of our relationship, maybe I was able to tell myself, “No, that isn’t true” (I do remember telling myself, “No, that’s not true” when he called me “whore” – whore never stuck because it was so obviously untrue to me). However, words like “selfish” (when they come from someone who is supposed to love me) cause me to ask, “Am I?”

When someone I love says that I am something so negative, so hurtful to others, I want to examine it. If I am “flawed” in that way, I want to change. I want to change because I do not want to be selfish in a way that hurts the one I love. Normally, I assume, a person is able to evaluate their loved one’s claim, decide if they really are flawed OR NOT, and then try to change OR NOT.

You notice I wrote, “I assume”.

Normal hasn’t happened here, within myself, for a long time.

In the beginning, when I heard that I was selfish, I would probably try to list the ways in which I was NOT selfish. List the ways in which what I was doing or saying was not selfish. Justify why I did what I did. Explain why I did what I did. Hope that my husband would “understand” me better and let go of the notion that I was selfish and start working with me instead of fighting me. But that hope and those explanations and justifications fell on deaf ears.

My husband does not want to “understand” me. He wants to control me. Therefore, he wants me to continue explaining and justifying myself because it’s so easy to play with someone in that state. It’s too easy to give (false) arguments for each and every explanation (which he calls an “excuse” ). Remember, I think I’m dealing with someone who wants me to be myself – someone who wants to love me for me. Every time he argues against my point, he gives me another “aspect of myself” to think about.

Verbal and emotional abusers are capable of having conversations that last half a day. In those conversations, he strives to keep me doubting myself. I dutifully listen to him because I think that if I understand him, then he will do the same for me. But remember, he doesn’t want to understand me.

So, in the end, I consider all the ways in which I am selfish, bolstered by his reasons why he thinks I’m selfish, leading into half a dozen other character flaws of mine that feed into my inability to see how selfish I am…and I lose sight of what being selfish really entails. I’ve been derailed from the original conversation that happened maybe 17 years ago, and pointed straight into a never-ending circle of self-doubt and self-analysis.

And that’s where he wants me to be because when I’m running around in circles in my head, he’s better able to control what I do in the outside world.

Now imagine this same scenario with a thousand other words like “selfish.” Words like liar, sneaky, untrustworthy, disorganized, lazy, over-emotional, weak, manipulative, holier-than-thou, a drama-queen, overly trusting, naive, condescending, unappreciative; someone who wants to fight, wants to push him away, wants to live in la-la land; someone who uses her children against him, uses her book-smarts against him, who doesn’t understand the value of a dollar,…

Hundreds of hours spent diminishing me into his definitions. HE has defined “selfish” and all of the others for me.

If it seems like I’m over-analytical about a definition of myself, do you wonder why any longer?

But then, I do want and need to define “selfish” for myself. I want and need to use my own thoughts to determine IF I’m selfish OR NOT, flawed OR NOT, want to change OR NOT. That post about selfishness was me defining myself, for myself, by myself. And that’s exactly what I need and want to do right now. I’m tired of his voice in my head.