Abuse Hides in the Dark. Turn on Your Light.

Better than "It hurts my feelings when you…"

A comment on the previous post helped me to realize that I’ve got to come up with a strategy for dealing with my husband that doesn’t include telling him that he’s hurt me. He doesn’t care. Or rather, he’s glad that I’m hurt because that means he has the upper hand.

I’m ripe for travelling down the path plotted by him. How does it go?…

“I felt humiliated when you yelled at me like that in front of the boys,” I could say.

“Oh yeah? (smiling to himself, I’m sure) Turning, “Yeah, I wish that hadn’t happened too. If you could have heard how ridiculous you sounded, then you’d be glad that I cut you off.”

“I don’t think what I said was ridiculous, I think – ”

“That’s the problem,” he would say, “you think after you speak. It would be better if you…” Let me finish that statement in a way he never would, but is more truthful than what he says:

“It would be better if you…didn’t think things that I wouldn’t think or say. I would really like it if you would run your little thoughts by me first. Then, I could tell you how dumb they are before you open your mouth and embarrass me.”

Or maybe, “It would be better if you…sat in awe of me at my feet while I lectured you for hours about how right I am and how wrong you are if you disagree. I want you silent and compliant, and if I have to humiliate or suffocate you with MY words to make you respect my superior intellect then I will.”

The second I let him in on how I’m feeling, he sees an opportunity to attempt crushing me further. He’s really good at it. One way I can counteract his manipulativeness (is that a word?!) is by denying him the opening.

If he yells at me in front of my children, I won’t engage him. I won’t argue with him. I will say something like, “If you want to talk to me about this, we can go to the other room. I will not stand here and allow you to scream at and lecture me in front of our children.”

There’s no opening there. He doesn’t have the emotional ammunition he feeds on to continue in the same manner.

If I know him though, he’ll continue to push the boundary. Either he’ll ridicule the stand I took or continue saying whatever it is but in that tone of voice that oozes disdain, trying to make me feel small.

I can repeat myself, “I will not stand here and listen to this. I asked you not to speak to me like this in front of the children, and I don’t want you to speak to me in this way at all.” (He’s probably talking over me as I state these things, but that’s okay. I’m not repeating myself, and I’m doing my very best to NOT let him touch my heart.) And then I will walk away. Probably to my room where I can lock the door. (Note to self: put headphones and zune in bedroom so I can drown out his voice.)

Will that work, do you think?