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Breaking The Cycle(S) Of Abuse

Somehow I think this is appropriate for our group. SM's all contain, at their cores, levels of dysfunction & yes, abuse.

I was born to a teenage mom who already had a son (my older brother). My mother was the daughter of a raging alcoholic mother--the youngest, my mother often bore the brunt of her mother's rage. My biological father was also alcoholic and abusive. It was when he started hitting & abusing us that she left him, moving back in with her parents until I was about 8.

I have about three conscious memories of my biological father. I do, however, remember my grandmother's drunken "episodes." My mother one time locked my brother & I in a closet (I think I was around 4-1/2, 5) becAuse my grandmother was on a rage and chasing my mother around the house with a knife. It wasn't always that dramatic--in fact, rarely--but gives you an idea what I was exposed to as a young child. She dated and we met at least 4 of her boyfriends that I remember. I'm thinking that was when it was getting "serious." She married her second husband when I was 10. It has been a sexless marriage with a passive aggressive man. She, is prone to erratic mood swings and at times hit my brother & me as we were children. As we got older, I became the target for her rages. It wasn't until I was 13 (I think) that, during a couple of her rages, I started screaming while she was hitting me. She stopped soon after, but she continued using words to "hit."

I give all this background to demonstrate my roots. My brother struggled with drug & alcohol addiction and has at least twice been involved in domestic abuse issues. He is, though, "clean" and 99% in control and has been for years.

I waited until 30 to marry. My ex was verbally abusive and it was a SM. I divorced him and moved on. I met my STBX a year after the divorce. My STBX *seemed* to be everything I'd ever wanted in a life partner. He also grew up in an abusive home, had/has strong feelings about abuse, was loving, supportive, sweet, etc. He drew me in really well. The sex was never off the charts & signs were there but I didn't see them at the time.

Down the road a piece, it's been many years and we've had all the talks, etc. He verbally abuses, is extremely controlling, and the whole relationship is a giant mess. I am on my way out. We have a child who, I am absolutely determined, will never willingly put up with ANY form of abuse in her life. Seeing mommy take steps to change our lives for the better is the living proof I am going to give, that NO ONE should put up with abuse. EVER.

Why am I writing this story now? I've seen several ILIASM stories lately with different levels and kinds of abuse in them. It's hard to see when we are in it. But it IS abuse. And WE need to stop it.

I remember my mother, when I left my ex, telling me how lucky I was that I had the courage to do it and start over. I remember telling her: luck has NOTHING to do with it. Do you think it's easy? Do you think I'm not afraid? Do you think I'm going to waltz off in to the sunset & be free & clear just because I'm divorcing him? It will take me years to recover from the financial damage alone. But the alternative--staying--is worse. So I am doing it, no matter how hard it is, because I *know* that leaving is what's best for me.

I said it then and I say it now. It is NEVER too late to buck up, gather your courage, and MAKE those positive changes in your life.

BREAK THE CYCLES OF ABUSE.
smithy8015 smithy8015 46-50, F 32 Responses Feb 20, 2013

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in light of some of the stories in the past couple days, thought i would "bump" this up for others to read.

we are all, at some level in a SM, in abusive relationships.

and....our CHILDREN are, too.

strongly urging parents in a SM to BREAK THE CYCLE. give our kids a chance at a less-dysfunctional life than we had.

You are a tough woman and truly love your child. I'd like to shake your hand. Hope you have friends to help you out.

Commend you for being brave and for not letting it rule you.

i have to thank everyone for their replies. i seriously thought ten times or more about posting this anonymously but then thought it wouldn't get much reading that way. and abuse (and *stopping* it) is a subject i get really emotional about.

it's been a really heavy couple days for me as a result. But SO worth it.

i am gonna go get on my elliptical machine now crank some music and leave this all behind again till tomorrow. my poor heart needs a break. please keep the dialogue going i'll come back to it again maybe tomorrow.

for now yes everyone -- take a critical examination of your life and your loves. see what you can do to break negative cycles.

xo

It does take courage and will.

For children:

Siegel and Bryson :
“When a child experiences painful, disappointing, or scary moments, it can be overwhelming, with big emotions and bodily sensations flooding the right brain. When this happens, we as parents can help bring the left hemisphere into the picture so that the child can begin to understand what’s happening. One of the best ways to promote this type of integration is to help retell the story of the frightening or painful experience.”

This comes from a book by these two authors called: The Whole-Brain Child".

I cannot recommend it highly enough to those of you with children. It is a very good learning tool for those wanting to help their children AVOID the emotional legacies of dysfunction.

I bought this book on my iPad and haven't read it yet! It comes highly recommended.

I can relate to growing up with alcoholism with my mother and i became the mother of our family at age 8 , i was sexually abused thru a few of her men friends as a child age 11. But thru it all and growing up i was determined not to use alcohol and i dont, its a lonely place to be in this big bad world but hopeful you can reach deep inside and be the opposite of all that you grew up in....may god bless you and give you peace and happiness

Yes, it is hard born in that kind of family and face the divorce. Your parents and grandparents were giving you bad role models. I don't know how to say anything to comfort you.
I hope you find a happiness in life.

That was very brave of you and I know that many people in your position would not be able to do what you did. You are an inspiration to those who are experiencing something similar. I wish you all the best.

Wow...I wish you well, Smithy....stay strong...you're right, it's never too late...thank you for sharing this :)

well said smithy8015 Well done for standing up to this. Be sure that there are many people who are more than prepared to stand beside you including me.

Hello Smithy8015, you are a very strong and courageous woman...I admire you...Keep it up...

thank you! :)

good on you

Gutsy post.

Rated way up

Tread your own path.

thanks baz. i'm a gutsy gal! ;)

Thanks for your story. I admire you for your courage. Like you say we have to break that ccycle of abuse.
.

I am with you and I admire you, my dear

Thankyou for telling your story. Unfortunetly it is all too common. I too came from an abusive upbrining and went on to have abusive relationships. I finally found the courage to leave but it has left its mark on me and now Im adamant about never getting into another relationship again with anyone ever. Ive now been alone for 8.5 years and I still feel exactly the same about staying alone. I had two long term partners that were both abusive physically and mentally so I dont trust myself to not to gravitate to that sort of man. Although I do get very lonely sometimes I feel its till the better option for me. I wish you good luck and hope you find peace in your future.

nat, i understand the instinct. how about seeing a coach for developing some radar and skills? we go to school for so many other things in life...and isn't this one of *the* most important things in life?

thought to ponder.

My prayers go out to you and your baby...

Amen Smithy!! I too come from an abusive home, and struggle daily with my temper and anger. It's really hard to break the cycle, no matter how much you know you should, or do everything to keep it from happening. It's something I work on extensively in therapy, and probably always will. :( Proud of you! You are setting a good example for your daughter.

txmg, yes--whenever i feel my patience slipping, either i say i need a break (if we're right in the middle of something) or, i step away until i am re-centered.

my daughter is still learning the skills of thinking before she speaks, how to handle her anger, what's ok, what's not ok, etc.

she understands even grown ups make mistakes when they're upset or angry. i have taught her its okay, and actually better, to say she needs a minute instead of just blurting out the first thing she's thinking when she's angry or upset. and that it's really really rude to ignore or not reply to someone when they're talking to you. it's better to say i'm sorry i am not really paying attention or i am really upset (angry, etc) with you right now and here's why, than to say nothing.

she understands words can cut more than knives.

and she understands, we ALL should be very conscious of what we say--and, HOW we say it. even when we say it, sometimes.

now i have definitely done (and continue to do!) as much as my own skills & experiences have taught me. still i know i make mistakes. she's mature enough now i am able to say i'm really sorry sweetie but tonight i am (tired/cranky/had a bad day/don't feel well) and it has nothing to do with you but can you give me five minutes? and i always but always apologize if i lose my temper and say things i regret. not to say parents shouldn't get upset or even yell sometimes. but there's that line -- yeah?

anyway this was long & rambling. 4 hrs sleep per night hasn't done much for my cohesiveness these days. ;)

what it mostly boils down to, IMO, is a willingness to be open and let our kids see that hey, we are still learning about life, too.

I totally agree. And I feel bad bc my oldest has learned my temper and shows it all the time. :( I hope I haven't screwed him up for life. Maybe once this divorce is final I will fell a sense of peace again and can learn better coping mechanisms. It's all part of growth and discovery, and the hardest is unlearning bad habits. Xo.

txmg, i think temper is inherent in all humans. it's what we do about/with our temper that demonstrate our coping skills.

and, they are skills. and, those skills can be learned and improved at ANY point in our lives. your oldest is still young enough to learn--and to learn through example--that learning how to handle one's emotions and cope with big gigantic feelings like anger, grief, rage, resentment, and (yes!) the flip side, joy, love--is a life long process.

it's never a "final destination."

it's always a journey. a process.

xo

Agreed. Thank you. :). xo back.

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<p>The ability to recognise dysfunction and to see it clearly is something very few of us can do. We do seem to develop the skills as the years go by . . . perhaps because we have no choice if we are to live our lives with some semblance of happiness. Sigh . . . </p><p>Dysfunction is usually longtitudinal - far more so than many of us realise. I can trace my "dysfunctional family" back at least three generations before me . . . and I strongly suspect it existed prior to that, but my data is sketchy at that point.</p><p>Interestingly I think I am one of (if the not THE ) first people to acknowledge and accept the dysfunction and work to address it in a pro-active way. Of my three siblings - one refuses to accept the premise and has a SERIOUSLY ****** up life; a second refuses to accept the premise and wears herself to a frazzle trying to be "perfect" and the third does accept the premise but seems unable to address it pro-actively.</p><p>Of course, I clearly see the results in my children and those of my siblings, and can only hope VERY hard that these dysfunctions will not perpetuate into the third generation - our grandchildren. Yet I already see signs of this - my niece has become the "uber Mother" as her direct response to her poor childhood - and yet has no inkling of the "why" this is so. My own daughter is raising her child alone because her child's seriously ****** up and dysfunctional father refuses to accept any responsibility for his daughter. . . . </p><p>So, for those of us who identify the dysfunction and see clearly how it affects our own lives, it behoves us to INTERRUPT it as effectively as we can IMO. Because, just as previous generations have ****** us up, so are we continuing the legacy by seriously ******* up the generations that follow . . . . More sighs.</p>

Well, my (not exactly intentional) childless state is one way of breaking the cycle, I guess ;-D

enna, in my family, my relatives have spent their lives blaming others: their parents, my grandparents, their brothers/sisters, etc.--for all the ills in their lives.

i recall clearly a talk my brother and i had when i was driving him to a surgeon to repair his torn ear from a fight he got into while drunk/high--because he mouthed off to someone.

he sneered at me "you have no idea what my life is like, you're so lucky. you have no idea how hard it is."

i was 24 at the time--he's older than me but in terms of maturity he hadn't progressed much past puberty.

my reply went something like this:

luck has *nothing* to do with my life. don't you ever dare to tell me again how lucky i am. no one has EVER helped me or given me anything the way you've been helped &amp; given for years. i work 3 jobs and go to school at night and on weekends. i choose my friends and my job carefully. i make conscious, careful decisions about my life. don't you think it's time you stopped blaming (parents) for everything that's wrong in your life? GROW UP. sure you had a screwed up childhood. me too. stop using it as an EXCUSE. stand up, look around. who are your friends? are they really your friends? what are you doing with your talent, your brain? do you like your job? no? then DO something to change it. do you think your friends will be true friends for the long haul? no? then DO something about it. it's up to you. nobody can fix your life, except for you. but you have to stop the drugs. you have to dry out. you have to stop blaming everything in your life on someone else. you have to START taking responsibility. you have to be a man. stop being an angry teenager.

when you're ready to straighten out i will do whatever i can to help you. i know you resent me and that's okay. i will still help you if i can. but don't you ever, ever again, tell me i am who i am or have what i have because i'm lucky. luck has absolutely NOTHING to do with it.

&lt;&lt;&lt;&lt;

well now...the rest of my reply is lost in the ether!

statistically speaking i believe generations will repeat the same Patterns and cycles.

i also believe, enna, that you and i, along with others here in ILIASM, are anomalies.

xo

Smithy, are you sure you are not my sister?!!! lol
My brother has always blamed everything and everyone for his misfortunes. And he has always had the same attitude to my successes and those of my sisters. . . how "lucky" we are!!! WTF????????

A little anecdote to illustrate:
Back in the eighties I was a single Mum working full time to support my kids. At that time Australia's social welfare processes were not as well developed as they are today, where sliding scales existed. (Either you worked OR you were on welfare - I worked.)

My parents had left their third world country with almost nothing so were living with me. And although that might sound like it was a good thing for a single mother, there are many reasons why it only ADDED to my responsibilities. My parents came from a country where they had serbvants so they found adapting to life here very hard. It took them a long time to cope with housework, helping with the children etc. . . . so what might seem like a good solution was actually only MORE stressful. I was virtually supporting them financially at this time too.

My brother and his wife were both unemployed and had drug problems. I organised special child care support for them. I paid their electricity bill. My sisters helped too. We were aware we were not helping them get over their codependency but their children's welfare was always our priority at that time.

One day when my brother asked for another handout, I told him "No, I will only pay a bill - NOT give you money." I was then seriously berated for how MEAN I was, how LUCKY I was, how BADLY I treated him, how HE was always the target of misfortune . . . . etc. etc. etc.

Something turned to stone in my heart that day. I have never ben able to feel the same about him since. He has improved somewhat in the thirty years since then, but he still has this sense of entitlement and over-whelming approach to life as one of its "victims".

The world-view of a solipsistic pre-teen in a man's body. Ye gods.

I think I know where you're coming from. I had a friend once who basically spent the couple of decades I knew her, living on handouts. One day I suggested to her that she might want to budget more carefully in order to be able to save money to paint her leaky house ... and i got "Oh, I don't have to worry about money, when I need it, the universe will provide".
Something clicked into place in my head at that moment: basically, this butterfly of a hippy dippy chick is a leech on her friends' generosity. She had a disabled child at the time, and between govt. support and various charities pitching in (buying and paying for a car for her for instance) she never had money, always was in NEED.
I decided at that moment that I cannot let MY life be ruled by HER needs.
Henceforth I only gave what time and resources I had to spare, and would feel I _wanted_ to give, rather than _needed_ to give.
Surprisingly, she soon drifted away from me as a friend .... no? Not surprising, you say? Mwahahahahaha :-D

P and enna:

oh yeah the entitlement. yeah. real familiar. one of the other things for which he still remembers that talk is me telling him "nobody owes you *anything*. NOBODY. (parents) did the best they could. we ate. we had clothes. we went to school. we had a roof over our heads. anything else you thought they owe or owed you? get over it. grow up. go get it for yourself. nobody else owes an.y.thing. to you. n.o.t.h.i.n.g."

he didn't much like it at the time but "gets" it now--and has for some time.

enna, i think there's a mindset amongst people who had kids and raised them out of duty--we were to be seen when they wanted to see us, and most of the time not heard. we were a burden. sometimes we were a toy. often, we were trophies. and yes, YES, we had to "earn" their love. everything came with conditions. strings. and nothing was EVER good enough.

in my case, both my brother and i were literally "accidents"--she had a different form of b.c. and both failed. she, i believe, harbors resentment and anger to this day that she was "robbed" of her youth. she was a child who never grew up, raising children. and she was seriously messed up--still is--so imprinted a bunch of seriously messed up crap onto us.

i consider myself remarkably well adjusted and "normal" considering everything i've been through, and despite that i never pursued any therapy. as a parent now i WILL pursue therapy--for my daughter's sake. i have managed to muddle along and have a mighty fine life in many ways---but, like so many of my peers who CHOSE parenthood deliberately and with enormous amounts of love in my heart--i want a much better life for her. me getting that therapy will help me give it to her. simple as that.

xo

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My sisters and I marveled at how we had all ended up in abusive marriages. How did that happen we wondered? We did not see our parents fight. We only experienced discussions about politics, art, fundraising, music and education. But it turned out that our idyllic life was all a sham for Dad was actually a voracious narcissistic lorathio who demanded that our representation of him be nothing short of perfect. As for our nd Borderline mom, she dealt with her mixed emotions with distance and disregard. (Thankfully she has really tried to grow since she realized how messed up her daughters lives were). And despite the promises that nothing will change at about 17 the war of the roses began in full bloom and I no longer had a home. Literally my dad sold me to the highest bidder and fostered me onto my "fiance's family" . Sadly (sarcasm) I was not content to remain ensconced within the confines of machismo planning the weekly family menu. And I spread my wings to my father's surprise.

College was easy. Scholarships abounded. Awards. Determined, I ended up paying my way. Determined not to fall in the trap ever again I did not marry until I was almost 35 years old. Profession first. So that now my abusive marriage is a tough mistake to swallow. I need closure with his ultimate rejection ..divorce. If what was perfect (my childhood) turned out to be a house of cards and most everyone I've encountered is a replica of my dad why should I leave? My friends don't get it. Why do you stay? Perhaps it's pity for him. Perhaps I feel like I did destroy him...I was his mistress.

The expectation is that I should curb my tongue. That I should look the other way while I enjoy the spoils of his labor. Is this reasonable for my personality? Perhaps not. My sisters and I sometimes lament that if we were born with nothing life would have been easier for the the choices would be much simpler. Intrinsically we know this not to be true. One of us has successfully divorced but the benefits are not yet apparent nor do they seem to outweigh the costs of separate lives for the kiddos.

So how is my marriage abusive? Verbal slights regarding my laziness at cleaning the house, Verbal attacks upon perceived slights (anything I say), emotional withholding as punishment, withholding of sexual intimacy and refusal to interact/communicate which drives me bananas, financial chaos (a total irony) and physically aggressive if I get to close. I'm not allowed to express myself in a passionate manner otherwise I will be accosted verbally.

He loves to say I'm experiencing the consequences of my behavior and you give what you get. I could not understand that for years. But now I do..it's a narcissistic ploy. And perhaps like my sisters I'm destined to be attracted to them and them to me. At this point, almost 45, remarriage would take a huge leap of faith. And I don't have much faith left. People act according to their natures not God. Hopefully, his lover will entice him to file. I meanwhile am focused on rediscovering me for I have already safeguarded the necessary items, discussed the potential outcomes with various lawyers and ripped up all our wedding photos. Now as I am waiting, occasionally hoping for a miracle and trying to learn how not to be abusive (I tend to mimic what's in front of me) I'm also spending considerable time making sure my kids know that our hostility has nothing to do with them.

Thank you for bringing this topic up and allowing me to ponder and share my story. Sorry for taking up the space. I do truly admire women like yourself and do wish I could be more like you at times.

Cheers Mate. You deserve it!

Good for you! I really hope you find some happiness in your life. You deserve it!

I lived a life of rage with my father being a bipolar depressive .

I changed the pattern in my family !

As my kids did not live in fear !!!!

They are over loved but that can't hurt !!!!!

Keep moving forward !!!!!!!!

I LOVE THIS! <3

Smithy, I think this is one of the seminal posts in this forum, on this subject.

Well done you for putting it up, and thanks on behalf of all those who have not really looked into this particular mirror.

thanks P, this is a hard mirror to look in. incidentally, one i look in to daily, because i am and always will be on my guard to not *be* the abuser. and also to no longer tolerate abuse.

it's a fine line to distinguish when to call it quits in interpersonal dealings some times.

Hi folks

Just read Smithy's post and all your responses.

You know what, and I know this is likely to be contentious and then some, but my instinct on reading it all is just how much a lottery the whole "marriage business" is. The abuse and dysfunction that goes back generations and how it seems to self-replicate, presumably on the basis of learned conditioning and maybe even because of 'unlearned' conditioning ie conditioning by omission. Is the risk outweighed by the reward? Can there really ever be a reasonable prospect of that or is it the equivalent of playing the lottery? Is it the triumph of naivety and hope over hard realism and logic? It's hard to not at least wonder.

The thought that I would add, one I have made before, is that I sincerely believe that you don't even need to experience the drama and trauma that so many of you describe here but you and your relationships can be ****** up by as little as what you do NOT learn, what you do NOT experience. So, when you do learn what you have learned, what you have experienced, what hope have you ever had?

Here's an even more perturbing thought. What if is not the dramatic things that either you or your dysfunctional partner HAVE experienced, but what you have NOT experienced that is influencing the way that you are now?

Nailed it!

"... but what you have NOT experienced ..." Too damn right. My father's complete social dysfunctionality can be understood against the background that he never had a father in his live (walked when he was 2), nor a loving mother (died 2 years later) nor caring step-parents (stepmother was straight out of Grimm's grim tales) ... he just Never, Ever experienced love, role models of any kind of relationship, never mind loving relationship. He can't even have a 'conversation' where two people speak and are heard, in turn. He doesn't know how.
Just as clearly my wife when we first met had no idea that conflict in a relationship can be solved through communication. That it is permissible to express emotion. That engaging can be preferable to withdrawl. That a hug can be conciliatory. She had Never Experienced Any Of That in her life before.

I had to find those experiences outside of my own home, too ... only in the way that talking to my parents was like talking to a concrete statue of Zeno of Citium.

yep if you were raised in a disfunctional family you did not learn how to live in a non disfuntional environment.

Gypsy, that is spot on.

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Smithy, You and I have lived similar lives. Ha, at first I typed "knives" instead of lives. Freudian slip there, but appropriate all the same.

You're right about it all. It is very hard to get out and try again to find a healthy way of living. Not hard as in "why bother" but hard as in "hard and WORTH IT".

By the way in the end my grandmother murdered someone in one of her fits. The little crazy things they do really do foretell what they are capable of. It just feels in the moment like "one more of her episodes".

For all you women in abusive situations take them seriously. What they are doing is very serious. It is easy to downplay. It is easy to ignore what is happening because it's only a little worse than what happened last week which is only a little worse than the week before. But compared to healthy and loving... it's off the charts.

Esjey, I am thinking about you as I write this. Good for you for taking his abuse seriously. Good for you for filing a report. Abuse is designed to wear you down and make you think it's not so bad. But it is.

"For all you women in abusive situations ...." Eh, what? I wonder if you're thinking that that issue is not serious for men? We have steeply increasing statistics of husbands/partners being killed (usually stabbed in this country of no handguns) by women.
Did you read the bit where Smithy's mother was chased around the house by a knife wielding woman?

Not to mention the "old research" that came to the conclusion that while men are worse for physical abuse, women are worse for emotional abuse of their respective partners. Not a blanket statement of fact, obviously.

EVERYBODY needs to take abuse seriously. EVERYBODY who witnesses abuse needs to take it seriously too, particularly people who may be called upon to bear witness in custody cases, assault cases, etc etc. cannot afford to be blase, to entertain gender bias. Which, I am sorry to say, we see entirely too much of in some jurisdictions (fortunately not in mine).

Even so - if a man kills a toddler it's headline news. For weeks, months even. When women kill their babies (which happens much more frequently - order of magnitude frequently - in this country anyway) it rarely makes the papers, unless it's particularly gruesome abuse.

Think about it, C. That little slip-up didn't come out of nowhere.

It wasn't a slip up. I was specifically thinking of two women here on Ep deeply embroiled in abuse. So my comment was to those women.

You know me better than that P. I personally know very well that men are victim of abuse. My grandfather was murdered by a woman, after all.

Not a slip. An honest reference to women here I hope are reading this. Perhaps singly focused on their plight because of my concerns for their well being but not overlooking the issues as they apply to both genders.

Frankly I'm surprised you'd even think that of me.

Breaking the cycle of abuse demands a change in one's imprinted core values. And that can be even more difficult if the abuse was subtle or silently administered. Living in denial is far more dangerous than most realize. I think many understand that they are in an abusive marriage but feel powerless to change it because of doubt as to what reality is supposed to look like. Role models are all gone.

Your line "It's hard to see when we are in are in (abusive relationships)" is SO spot on. It's why, I may sound like an alarmist when I reply to other peoples threads and beg them to take immediate action. I did not realize I was in an abusive relationship until my ex left me for dead. I could rationalize that he was sensitive ...every so often...

I believe the first and BEST step for stopping the cycle is recognizing it.

just to elaborate ... I *knew* I was in an abusive relationship. I didn't see how _dangerous_ it could really be. That's a problem.

To add to the data points. My maternal grandfather suffered through a sexless marriage to a domineering, controlling, manipulative woman. They were constantly fighting. To be fair, she was always fine to me, he was dead before I was born - drank, smoked and ate himself to death. He was meant to have been a bit of a nasty bastard, but whether that was the cause of, or in response to, their sh1t marriage, I wouldn't know. From what I can make out, he outsourced by getting involved with a cuckold couple.

It seems my maternal grandparents both treated my mother like crap, although they were softer on her younger sister. My mum is verging on nuts, although fairly serious borderline personality disorder is the label du jour. My parents rowed like cats and dogs on a daily basis, but 'stayed together for the kids'.

My ex was very different, or so it seemed. I didn't really twig that a calm and controlled woman can be just as, if not more, emotionally messed up and abusive. It took me years to start realising this.

Since splitting from my wife, I've had an odd couple of conversations with my parents (they're still together, still arguing). My father more or less stated that they'd never had 'that' problem in their marriage (so I'm guessing that they might have shouted at each other most of the time, but they still f#cked). And my mother, who always tells me I take after her father (err... gee... thanks), just said, "I always thought you were too clever to fall into that one".

As for me, I guess I'm quite possibly batsh1t crazy myself, I just don't recognise it.

With respect to the next generation, it's been unsettling over the past couple of months to observe that my young daughter is quite adept at pulling emotional levers and being manipulative, I know we all do it, but I'm now more aware of this stuff, and what went on in my household, since leaving and breaking the spell. Having a third party pick up and comment on this same thing (wrt my kid), makes me quite uncomfortable.

So, I completely agree with your last comment - I'm working hard on breaking the cycle, that's partly why I'm here.

"I didn't really twig that a calm and controlled woman could be just as, if not more, emotionally messed up and abusive."

yep. same here.

in many ways yes we've broken past cycles. gonna work on breaking more--and part of my efforts will be getting me (and my daughter) some therapy once we are physically in our own space.

Me too. My Mom is borderline and screamed and raged at us throughout childhood and is still verbally abusive now when she gets mad. I married someone I thought was the complete opposite---someone who would never yell at me. But he was so emotionally crippled by his own narcissist mother, his passive aggression was just as bad as being screamed up. Almost worse because it's so deeply confusing and hard to pinpoint how exactly you are being hurt. Neglect is just another kind of emotional abuse.

nyartgal, I personally find being shut out by a p-a to be 10 times more hurtful, at least the screamer is _engaging_ with me, however terrible they may be at it.
The p-a just doesn't give you (or me) the chance to engage in dialogue.

f.w.i.w.

Agreed 100% P. And NY, I thought the same thing about my STBX. Complete opposite turned out to be complete PA.

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