I was talking to a friend today who told me she had read the blog and could completely relate – almost like I was writing about her experience instead of my own. Many of you who read this blog tell me the same thing. In fact, my business card says, “Read my journals…you’ll think I married your husband.”
The experience was the same for me when I glanced through Patricia Evan’s book, The Verbally Abusive Man: Can He Change? It seemed as if she had interviewed my husband.
I thought “How can this be? How can all of these women experience the same thing I feel?” I almost believed that I was a drama queen, finding problems where there were none. Making it up. Making it worse than it was.
At times, I wondered if I was losing my mind. I knew something was said or happened only to have him vehemently deny it (or look at me with feigned uncomprehending concern).
It was worst when I’d casually mention an event from yesterday and he’d tell me I had the details wrong. Something tiny, something that didn’t affect the event at all. Eventually, to end the argument, I’d agree with him. It was ridiculus to argue. But over time, all of that giving in I did caught up with my psyche.
I was conditioned to agree that I was wrong.
I suspect it made life much easier for him.
My abusive husband tells me in overt and subtle ways that what I feel, think, believe and suspect is untrue. He attempts (subconsciously? does it matter?) to undermine my faith in my own perception.
He successfully made me believe that I was incapable of remembering, deciding, doing and thinking for a very long time. I could trust only him. He lived in the “real world” and I did not.
I couldn’t feel the way I felt because I had such a deficiency somewhere inside that I didn’t even know when I was wrong about the tiniest of things, and I believed him.
It’s up to him to tell me when I am wrong, and he is the only one who knows when I’m wrong. Like during our phone call yesterday when he said that if he were me he wouldn’t write what I write AT ALL. He would keep it to himself.
I suppose he would. He has hidden it from everyone but me, our boys (and choice others) for years. He wouldn’t write what I write, he wouldn’t say what I say, he wouldn’t be the man he reads in these entries. And I am wrong for writing about that man that I perceive to be my husband because I know damn good and well that I can’t trust my own perception.
What I want you all to know is that you are not wrong. Your perception is valid. Your ideas, beliefs, memory and all the rest of you is intact and functioning.
Write what you know to be true. Keep a record and refer to it. Instead of being the abuser’s lab experiment, turn the tables and examine him. You don’t have to tell him you’re doing it, this is for your sanity. When he tells you it’s day when you know it’s night, check your record. You’ll see.