• Quote of the Day
    "Worrying is like a rocking chair: It gives you something to do, but it doesn't get you anywhere."
    Van Wilder, posted by Daniel

delta sierra

Member
Joined
Jan 16, 2005
Messages
21
Points
1
Hello,

I've been married for 5 years now, and I've never realized it, but I've been abusive to my wife. I've been emotionally abusive mostly, but at times (during very heated arguments) I've also been physically abusive. I honestly did not realize what I was doing was physical abuse. Not using this as an excuse though, I just didn't realize it. I've never hit her, but I have used my physical strength to stop her from going to a different room in an effort to talk about things. This seldom/never worked positively, but I felt we had to discuss the issues we had, while she wouldn't. This has not happened in a long time.

Now, the emotional abuse has been ongoing for a long time, but as I do some reading I realize that a lot of how she's acted to me has also been emotional abusive. That said I do not feel emotionally abused. I can easily put it behind me. Hopefully if I improve, she will too.

Now, she says that the five years of our marriage has had no good times, and that she wants to seperate for a while because she cannot trust me. This came out of the blue. She was fine one day, then we had an argument, and she just said that she will not take any more abuse. That's good, I don't want her to be abused. Sadly, it actually took this situation to make me look at myself, and realize how bad I've been to her.

My question is, how do I keep us together? I'm going through Dr. Weisingers Anger Work-Out Book, as well as The Emotionally Abusive Relationship: How to Stop Being Abused and How to Stop Abusing by Beverly Engel. I want to be the husband she wants and deserves, but I also want to be with her only, she is an amazing person. Do I just give her time to work out feelings on her own? Do I try to help? I want to go to couples counseling, but she won't right now. How do I keep us together, and show her that I am trying to make the changes I have to make?

Thanks in advance,

DS
 

ThatLady

Member
Joined
Nov 4, 2004
Messages
4,104
Points
36
This is not something you're going to want to hear, but there's really nothing one person can do, alone, to keep a relationship together. That takes two people, both willing to commit to doing the work to make it happen. If your wife feels, at this point, that she must put some distance between you and herself, there's little that you can do. You can't change the past, and you can't erase past hurts. You can only concentrate on yourself, doing the work to become the person you want to be.

Perhaps, if she sees you making the effort to change, and making progress in doing so, the problems in your marriage can be resolved down the road. For right now, though, if she's determined to separate the best thing to do, I'd think, is to let her go and give her some space and time to heal (and to work on herself). In the meantime, you can put your efforts into what you need to do for yourself and your future.
 

delta sierra

Member
Joined
Jan 16, 2005
Messages
21
Points
1
I can understand the being apart thing. And I blame myself 100% for this. I really don't want it to come to this though. Primarily because right now our lives are so intertwined that it makes it so difficult. Difficult on me mind you, not her, and I know that right now my feelings don't really matter. It's difficult because we are working different shifts with work, and we share one car. The usual schedule is I take the bus to work in the morning, she will take the kids to daycare for the afternoon, then come to my work, I will take her to work, keep the car, then pick the kids up after I'm done work. She is then working for the evening.

I honestly don't even see how a schedule like this can be broken up...that is without adding a second car into the picture. Anything can be done if it has to be, but I also want to stay together for the kids sakes (note: I've never been abusive to the children, she feels I'm a good father, as do I). I love them all so much, and I just want to make our life happy again. I want to salvage what I can before there is a routine of being apart. I feel that if we are apart I will not get the chance to show her that I really want to be a different person, and show her the improvements I'm making.
 

David Baxter

Administrator
Joined
Mar 26, 2004
Messages
37,760
Points
113
Sometimes, there has just been too much hurt or damage done in a relationship to get past it and continue.

However, whatever the outcome of your marriage, it may benefit you to participate in a program such as "New Directions" (not sure if this exists outside of Canada under that name) for domestic abuse -- first, because you will learn a lot from it, and, second, because if nothing else that will demonstrate to your wife that you are serious about taking responsibility for being abusive.
 

delta sierra

Member
Joined
Jan 16, 2005
Messages
21
Points
1
David Baxter said:
However, whatever the outcome of your marriage, it may benefit you to participate in a program such as "New Directions" (not sure if this exists outside of Canada under that name) for domestic abuse -- first, because you will learn a lot from it, and, second, because if nothing else that will demonstrate to your wife that you are serious about taking responsibility for being abusive.

How do I find it in Winnipeg?
 

David Baxter

Administrator
Joined
Mar 26, 2004
Messages
37,760
Points
113
Try one of these for information:

Evolve
870 Portage Avenue
Winnipeg, Manitoba
R3G 0P1
(204) 784-4070 tel
(204) 772-7998 fax/téléc
Org. - Klinic Community Health Centre

Family Centre of Winnipeg
#401-393 Portage Avenue
Winnipeg, Manitoba
R3B 3H6
(204) 947-1401 tel
(204) 947-2128 fax/téléc
Org. - Klinic Community Health Centre
 

delta sierra

Member
Joined
Jan 16, 2005
Messages
21
Points
1
Thanks, I will call them today and see what programs they offer.

If anyone has any other suggestions on how to help with my problems, I would appreciate it. I will try anything to show her that I am serious about this. Also, is it unfair for me to ask her to give me a chance regarding this? I know she has given me chances before, but I've never actually looked at myself, and realized that I need to seek help. So now that I have realized this, and want to change (I truly don't want to be that kind of person), is it fair for me to ask her for a chance to show her that? Right now she doesn't seem interested in giving it at all.
 

David Baxter

Administrator
Joined
Mar 26, 2004
Messages
37,760
Points
113
Nothing wrong with asking for another chance but as you said she's given you those before -- I think you can expect her to be skeptical and that you are going to have to prove yourself with actions, not words.
 

delta sierra

Member
Joined
Jan 16, 2005
Messages
21
Points
1
I know, and I fully expect to show her instead of just telling her. This is now the focus of my life. I'm thinking about it all day everyday..."How can I show her I mean this?" It's hard to think that the only girl I've ever truly cared about, has been so hurt by me, to the point that she may not want to be with me. I'm trying to show her every day right now, and I will start a group soon. The hardest thing to deal with though is the "tone" of hatred in her voice when she does talk to me. I'm staying calm (some of the reading I've been doing is already helping with that), but it's hard to understand how she would just one day not-care about our relationship anymore. Maybe I could mention that she's fought with an eating disorder, and had issues from her past that she's never dealt with. I don't know if that makes any difference or not. I know it doesn't change anything I've done, but it may be a factor in her feelings. She is eating normally now, but the underlying issues were not really dealt with. Could this be a factor in her anger towards me?
 

Jon

Member
Joined
Dec 29, 2004
Messages
40
Points
6
delta sierra,

It looks like you have reached step 1 (Recognition). That is a good thing. I have never been in your situation, but here is some advice that I hope can help. Write your feelings down, tell her in a letter how much you love and care about her and how you recognize now what you have done. Put it on her pillow and then never talk about the letter. Start working extra hard to do extra things around the house to help without being asked and do not talk about the problems unless she wants to. And then never lose your temper or raise your voice or put a hand on her during this type of discussion. If she wants to leave in the middle of it, let her go.

Damage has been done and it hard to get past. Healing takes time. Just show her that you love her by doing all the extra little things, thank her daily for all she does for you & the kids, become a better husband & father than you ever have been.
 

delta sierra

Member
Joined
Jan 16, 2005
Messages
21
Points
1
The good news is that I've already started doing those things, but I feel the need to talk about things. Albeit calmly. I've even done the letter and never talked about it. I will try to stop talking about the issues until SHE offers to talk about them. I try to tell her every day how I feel, but should I stop that? I tell her how sorry I am, how much I care and love her, and that I'm trying as hard as I can to change. Also, my actions are showing her that I am trying, at least I think they should be showing that. I'm just taking everything she gives me right now because I know it is an emotional time. Again though, should I stop sharing my feelings with her? Will this create more resentment? e.g. "How can he say he loves me after he's treated me this way?"
 

delta sierra

Member
Joined
Jan 16, 2005
Messages
21
Points
1
David Baxter said:
Why not ask her how she feels about hearing what you're saying?

She says she has no feelings about it. She says i've created who she is now (I'm not disputing that), and that she just doesn't feel anything. She said that she feels better than she has in a long time because she's sticking up for herself now, and not taking any crap.

Again, I just want her to be happy, and for our relationship to be saved. There is no-one else that I can imagine to be as great as her, and I want to try to show her that now, but when she says that she feels better than ever, is there any hope?
 

David Baxter

Administrator
Joined
Mar 26, 2004
Messages
37,760
Points
113
Possibly. If you change and the relationship changes sufficiently. Her behavior should tell you pretty clearly she is not going back to the old status quo but for anything beyond that you may have to wait and see.

I understand that you are worried/frightened right now but you need to focus on understanding where your abusive behavior came from and how to ensure it does not happen in the future. You need to do this whether you and your wife stay together or not. And your best chance of convincing her that you are committed to change is to focus on changing, not on trying to get assurances that she will stay with you. Otherwise, she may well fear that all of this is simply a manoever to get her to stay.
 

ThatLady

Member
Joined
Nov 4, 2004
Messages
4,104
Points
36
Sounds to me like she's in protective mode, delta. She's not going to let you get to her again, and she's determined. That stems from the unfortunate fact that you've both been here before. You've promised before, and you've broken your promises. Right now, she's thinking: "What's to say this isn't just another lie?".

The only thing you can do is change your ways. Learn to control your anger and curb your abusive behaviors. Give instead of taking. Give until it hurts, then give some more. Ask if she wants to talk about it. If she does, she will. If she doesn't, don't push her. She's made up her mind that she's not going to be a doormat anymore, and there's nothing more stubborn than an ex-doormat. I know. I am one. ;o)
 

delta sierra

Member
Joined
Jan 16, 2005
Messages
21
Points
1
Thank you both for your help. I will take your advice and apply it. David, the comment about her fearing that it may be a manoever to make her stay helps me to understand a lot. I see that at this point the only thing that may help is to show her that I am going to try to improve whether she is going to be there or not. I can understand, and appreciate that. I will take this counsel and apply it to the best of my abilities. Worst case scenario is that I improve myself, which really isn't a worst case at all. I'm trying to remain optimistic and positive, but it's so hard when I feel emotionally drained and abandoned. I do not desire to be the person I've become to her, and I will make the strongest effort I can into changing. I hope she will soon recognize that this is not a guise to get her back, but that for the first time, I am ready and willing to put forth the effort into changing things.

Thanks again for your help, it's good to know that all is not lost yet, she's worth every ounce of energy I can possible put into this battle. She's amazing, and deserves a better husband.
 
Joined
Oct 14, 2004
Messages
8,521
Points
48
I think it's a HUGE step to admit that you have this problem and to want to do something about it, to want to change. Trust has been broken in a big way though. There's still hope, but I think you HAVE to give her some time and space. Love is action, not what you say and the negative things you've done have outweighed any positive things.

Isn't there some saying about letting go of someone that we love and if it's meant to be, they'll come back? I'm not sure, but I think for now you need to let her go and heal.
 

David Baxter

Administrator
Joined
Mar 26, 2004
Messages
37,760
Points
113
janetr said:
Isn't there some saying about letting go of someone that we love and if it's meant to be, they'll come back?
Yep. It was one of the California humanist psychologists and in the 70s everyone had a Dylan poster, a Hendrix poster, a Che Guevara poster, and one of these:

If you love something, set it free. If it comes back, it's yours. If not, it was never yours to begin with.
I think it was somebody like Fritz Perls...
 
Joined
Oct 14, 2004
Messages
8,521
Points
48
Or from Sting: "Free, free, set them free."

Although I don't understand the rest of that song except for this part:

"You can't control an independent heart
Can't tear the one you love apart"


David Baxter said:
janetr said:
Isn't there some saying about letting go of someone that we love and if it's meant to be, they'll come back?
Yep. It was one of the California humanist psychologists and in the 70s everyone had a Dylan poster, a Hendrix poster, a Che Guevara poster, and one of these:

If you love something, set it free. If it comes back, it's yours. If not, it was never yours to begin with.
I think it was somebody like Fritz Perls...

Ah, see I was just a baby in the 70s and don't remember all that. He he.


Anyway, delta sierra, I think you should also be proud of your wife for standing up for herself. You probably wouldn't let anyone else treat her badly and now she's not going to let anyone, including you, treat her that way.

You can get the help you need. You've already taken the first step.
 

delta sierra

Member
Joined
Jan 16, 2005
Messages
21
Points
1
I am proud of her for sticking up for herself. I told her that just a couple of days ago. I'm glad she stuck up for herself. This has made me look at myself, which is a good thing, and I think she will get the help she needs with her issues now, which is also good. I would not have been very happy if someone else treated her that way, just as I am very angry at myself for treating her that way.
 

Top Bottom