'Tis the Season for victims of abuse, narcissism, and/or sociopathy to be WARY. Holidays are the perfect time for an abuser to act out with impugnity - he/she has the excuse of being stressed, under the proverbial gun, and being financially "strapped." All of these ingredients bake up for serious trouble, to be sure.
In my case, the days preceding whatever event were peppered with a lot of withold/reward episodes, especially with regard to the children. For example, my abuser would say (behind closed doors, of course), "If you don't get your parents to help us pay for Christmas, the kids won't have anything to open!" Or, another favorite was, "You aren't 'authorized' to use the checkbook. I earn the money that goes into that account." Under that directive, we went several Holidays without what I would consider to be a proper Thanksgiving or Christmas meal. I mean, come on! Hot dogs for Christmas? Knowing the numerous facets of abuse finally helped me to recognize what a codependant victim I had become! Spiritual, emotional, physical, sexual, financial, religious, and verbal abuse all have one thing in common: dehumanizing the victim. And, I experienced all of the above symptoms to one degree or another for well over a decade until I realized that I was too fearful to commit suicide, and that I didn't want to murder my abuser and leave my kids without a parent.
"But, what about the children? They shouldn't have to see their father/mother taken off by the cops on Christmas!" is a typical response of denial. Children absorb everything that they are exposed to: music, art, poetry, beatings, verbal abuse, denial, etc. What they observe in their family dynamics is what they will equate to normality. If not for one's Self, the victims of abuse must take a proactive step to safeguard innocent lives that had no choice in whom their parents would be. In addition, a child will recognize that abusive behavior will not be tolerated.
"But, I love him/her and he/she loves me!" is another response that is not only typical, but textbook (my case, included!). No, an abuser does not, DOES NOT, DOES NOT love their victims. The abuser only loves one thing: control, control, and more control over his/her property. And, those qualities that the victims fell in love with never existed - the kind, caring, giving person that seemed to exist was a facade intended to reel in the unsuspecting victim. To the abuser, the victim holds no more meaning than any other object - the victim is equated to property (and, this is NOT flattering, folks), much like a straw that one places in a fast-food drink.
Be aware of the reward/withold tactic. If your partner starts to exhibit a more-than-usual level of glee with regard to your emotional discomfort, be very, very wary - he/she is setting the stage for a round of abuse that could possibly end in violence. If the violence starts, CALL THE COPS! Pack your stuff, your kids' stuff, and call a family member (if your partner hasn't managed to isolate you from them, yet), and get to a safe place, whether it's a friend, family member, or shelter. No matter what promises that the abuser makes in an attempt to draw back his/her victim(s), they must not be taken as bond - I know this from personal experience. Once the victim goes back, the situation may be smooth for a week or month, but once there's an opportunity to further dehumanize and objectify the victim, whatever abuse that the victim was experiencing prior to leaving will become much worse, more violent, and extend to the children (if it hasn't, already). If you are planning on leaving, make your plans in absolute secret and contact your local Social Services office, ASAP (from a pay phone, if necessary) - they will be able to direct you to safe housing, employment opportunities, and priceless counseling. They will also be able to put you in contact with Legal Aid and/or attorneys that specialize in abuse cases. The abuse counselors will be able to prepare the survivor for what they can expect from the abuser and how to prepare.
Best wishes of the Season to all out there, particularly those who are living in fear, misery, and hopelessness. There is a better space of peace and self-assurance, and ridding myself of the denial was the first step to surviving and healing. God bless!
You know, I honestly believed that the dynamics within my family and the abuse that I endured was "normal," until I began observing the benefits of healthy relationships! And, it's nearly 10 years, to the day, that I told my abuser that I wanted a divorce.
The final straw was the abuser's reaction when a much-beloved neighbor passed away in the middle of the night. She was fighting liver cancer and lived 2 doors down. I saw the lights of an emergency vehicle, ran down, saw the paramedics loading her into the ambulance, and told her husband that I would follow him to the hospital, which was only three minutes away - literally. By the time I had told the abuser that I was going with our neighbor and arrived at the ER, she had already passed. I found her husband in the room where they attempted to revive her and I stayed with him for nearly 2 hours while he began the difficult process of grieving.
After I left the hospital, I dropped by my house to let people know that I was going to break the news to the neighbor's best friend - 2 doors down in the other direction. As you can imagine, I went through the process of grieving, all over again, for the next 2 hours. All in all, I was gone for about 4 1/2 hours, attending to friends/neighbors in need.
When I walked back into my home, my abuser was laying back in a recliner, watching some television program. He began interrogating me as to why I had been gone for so long and didn't even look up when he said, "Sorry to hear about Ann." The man didn't look up, get up, demonstrate any emotion, whatsoever. A genuine embrace of comfort would have probably changed my mind about this SOB, but it was at that moment that I realized that nothing would ever change and everything revolved around his control.
My abuser would also threaten suicide in front of our children to have his needs met. Usually, the threats were fueled by our terrible financial status and he would demand - yes, demand - that I obtain funds from my parents because they "owed" him for "taking care of" me for so many years. When I would insist that we take care of our own messes, he would shout in my face (spittle flying), "Why do I even bother? That's it! I'm ending it, right now!"
By the time that I left my abuser, I had been reduced to almost a shell of a human being. But, there was one thing that he could not destroy, and that was my spark of life for God's perfect palette! My art, my sense of humor, and my spiritual beliefs (which he also tried to manipulate) are what kept me alive during those dark, black years.
Best of luck to you...sorry for rambling!
Exactly - the only emotion that my abuser ever demonstrated was rage when he was denied money, sex, control, etc., and GLEE when he exerted control over finances, sex, spirituality, parenting, etc. His famous line (only God knows how many times he screamed this at me), "You're UNDERMINING MY AUTHORITY!" was a constant within the walls of our domicile. In public, he appeared to be so calm, rational, reasonable, genuine, etc! ROTFLMAO!!!!!!!!!
<sigh>.....why doesn't Merck come up with some stinking drug for THIS?!?!?! LMAOLMAOLMAO They could call it, "Farkitol."
For 2 years after I left the SOB, I had nightmares in which I would relive almost every incident of abuse. Then, one night, I started the same old nightmare pattern and, to my surprise, fought back, flipped him over on his back, pinned him down with that dream-reality strength that's nonexistent in "real life," and spat in his face! ROTFLMAO!!!! From that time on, I didn't experience another nightmare, to this day.
One thing I do experience, though, is episodes of PTSD, though they are so infrequent today that they hardly qualify as episodes. It used to be that a man could say specific words in a specific order (obviously, without knowing my history) and I would fly into a defensive rage! LMAO!!! Even today, I have to really monitor myself in the company of other abusive people. For instance, there's this couple that I have minimal contact with in the ceramic studio that are so verbally abusive that it takes my breath away. The husband obviously detests women, literally screams at his wife for not practicing HIS methods of throwing pots, and she (in turn, like all good victims) will engage in verbal abuse of the first person that speaks to her.
I was joking about Merck! I was on antidepressants for 2 years in the belief that it was I who was crazy in our marriage! LMAOLMAOLMAO Lordy, once I left the abuser, I never needed another pill!
Molly & Miss Kitty, more women than not either have been abused or are being abused. I disagree with the post that suggests that abusers are suffering from the effects of syphilis
So, we have to teach our children (male & female) about narcissism and abuse in the best ways that we can. I know a number of women that are narcissists, as well. And, the damage to people who are taken in by these people is so devastating that it's crippling, for most. I had mentioned the gal with the Ph.D in psychology that got involved with a couple of these guys - she's STILL trying to find closure and she was only dating them for less than 3 months!
About the artwork, my abuser refused to recognize my desire to express myself, artistically or otherwise! And, the lecturing, Miss Kitty, I remember very well. For hours and hours and hours, it would go on until my brain was completely shut down. And, you BET it's a good thing you didn't have kids with that man!