2016-03-11 by Object of Contempt
This post is another that will give you a link or two to follow.
There are some things about a husband being emotionally abused by his wife that are very similar to a situation where a wife is the victim. Still, there are things that seem similar, but are quite different in effect. Sometimes the same thing can be done by either husbands or wives, but the method for carrying them out is very different.
Isolation, for example, has a different type of impact on men than it does on women. This isn’t because it doesn’t hurt wives significantly, but because men are far more likely to isolate themselves to a degree because of their shame. The more “skillful” wives don’t have to do as much overt prohibition as long as they are willing to take their time in crushing a man’s spirit. This is all so subtle, and is commonly about what was not done or provided. The result is that a man may not even know that he has been abused for quite a long time. Instead, he may be working very hard to be a forgiving and patient husband while his spirit is slowly torn up remorselessly.
Men also face a very strong and ubiquitous bias that nearly always casts them in the role of abuser. If that isn’t enough, try being a man who tells any one that he is a victim, or that his wife is causing his severe prolonged depression. Male victims are second class citizens, especially among Christian men. And, placing blame on anyone is automatically hated. This is a topic I intend to address in another post. The truth is, even if there is a friend who believes an abused husband in a severely crushed state, there are still very few resources for men to rely on.
The links I want to share today com from psychologist Tara Palmatier on her Shrink4Men blog. She appears from some of her comments to be sceptical about religion at best. However, she is one of the few who are giving men a place to know that they will be understood. She gives a straight-forward explanation of some of the situations and behaviors that men come up against when dealing with a variety of abusive personality types.
The first link points to an article that addresses the problem of emotional thinking. This can be done by husbands or wives, but seems more devastating when done by wives. Wives are assumed to be more emotional to begin with, so it is more difficult to recognize or resist. But emotional thinking isn’t just about having emotional responses. It is far more insidious than that. It really describes reasoning and perception more than a direct behavior. It is very important to be aware of emotional thinking because it is part of what puts the “crazy” in crazy-making.
Here, then, is the first link:
Welcome to the Land of Emotional Reasoning — I’d Turn Back if I Were You
The second link points to an article that addresses more specific strategies that are used by emotional abusers to avoid real communication. These behaviors include, and also often rely on, emotional thinking. There are a couple things I would like to point out about these tactics.
First, this article describes a variety of strategies that may be used by an emotional abuser. My situation involves only the more subtle methods. My wife rarely yells. She doesn’t call me names. She avoids any behavior that could be seen as aggressive in any way. If she wants me to be punished, and withholding emotionally isn’t going to do the trick to keep me controlled, then she will enlist others. These “flying monkeys” are people who are fed half-truths and given just enough information that they will infer that I am the abusive one. This kind of triangulation has resulted in people ganging up on me to verbally scourge me. There are innumerable ways these tactics can be used and combined with others to make a man miserable.
Second, it may seem like these are small things (especially if you don’t experience it yourself). Why do men get hurt so much by this kind of communication? It’s because it is a display of contempt. It says, “you are so stupid/worthless/weak/hated that I have no intention of being candid and giving you the most basic respect of honest communication.” In my long-term marriage, I do not believe we have even had one single candid communication about our marriage. When a man finally understands that this woman he has trusted with his very being really is so cold, cruel, and contemptuous as to control him and manipulate with not a shred of remorse or good will, the realization depth of the deception lands on him harder than nearly anything in his life ever could. The meaning of her behavior is extraordinarily devastating. If a man has been abused by his parents, particularly his mother, he may be in a vulnerable place already, and his self confidence will be further destroyed.
So having said that, here is the second link:
10 Reasons You Can’t Communicate With a Narcissistic or Borderline Woman