Am I the Abuser?

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onlineguy

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Am I the Abuser?
« on: July 09, 2018, 03:57:39 PM »
Hi All,

I've been in a pretty rough state over the past few weeks, battling with my spouse of a few years. I've learned so much on this forum and through using the Toolbox, but I'm also worried that, as hard as this is to type, I may be the abuser?

One of the things I read said that abusers don't empathize and will refuse requests from the victim for love or empathy. I have felt this way before, but it is almost always after we've had a massive fight and my feelings have been really hurt by the things my spouse has said. The only other instance where I have ignore requests for attention are when I absolutely have life responsibilities to attend to. For example, I'm the sole earner in our household and if I stay up late engaging in circular conversations and JADE'ing with my partner until 3am, my work performance will suffer and put us at risk. So sometimes, I will flat out ignore her statements, sobs, requests, questions, just so I can get some sleep.

Another thing that NPDs do in particular is to blame the victim. Usually, when we argue, I am very careful to avoid any type of blaming, because I don't want to make things worse. I use "we" language and try to include myself in the solution-finding. Sometimes though, I get pushed and pushed and pushed and have no choice but to more or less bluntly point out one of the major issues that my spouse brings to the relationship. This of course makes her feel like the victim, and she accuses me of being "perfect," and so on. I get so frustrated, but I also would want to be self-aware enough to know whether or not I have these negative personality traits.

Finally, PDs sometimes make "always" and "never" statements. I used to actually point out when my spouse made these statements, because it frustrated me that what we were arguing about didn't universally apply to our entire relationship, but recently, I've noticed that I have started to use them in our arguments, and now she's calling me a hypocrite for making these kinds of statements. Fair enough! Is this fleas, or symptomatic of my own changing personality issues? I'm really confused and would appreciate any insights.

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Mitchy

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Re: Am I the Abuser?
« Reply #1 on: July 09, 2018, 05:47:45 PM »
Onlineguy so many of us on here have asked that same question. From what I understand, it's unlikely. The fact that you are looking at it and examining yourself it a good sign that you probably aren't. We've probably all suffered from fleas (see the toolbox) and started taking on the traits of our PDs at one time of another (I'm guilty, definitely!). Best of luck and keep working on YOU. That's the best thing any of us can do for our sanity and that of our other nonPD family members and friends.

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hazeydaisy83

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Re: Am I the Abuser?
« Reply #2 on: July 09, 2018, 05:57:51 PM »
I've definitely asked my therapist how I could be sure that I wasn't the one with the problem. The first thing is that if you have the insight enough to ask the question, you're not the one with the problem because they never think anything is wrong with them (I think my husband is NPD or borderline). I've read that in so many places. I keep asking myself the same thing over and over because I'm just so damn frustrated with the situation. But I'm pretty sure it's not you, it's her.

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maybeimthecrazyone

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Re: Am I the Abuser?
« Reply #3 on: July 09, 2018, 06:12:31 PM »
I've asked myself the same question.

There was a time, I would respond with a controlled voice and tone, and she would respond with disgust "dont use that condescending voice at me! I know youre mad at me."

Then I adopted just keeping cool and silent, and she would respond with "youre mad at me! i know youre mad at me!" or turn really kind and sweet and be like, "whats wrong? whats wrong?" and then when I let down my guard and encroach how she might have been unkind, she would go for the jugular.

And eventually, I feel like I just became abusive back. Yelling and calling her names. Going on for hours with a list of grievances a mile long and years old.
Lose-lose-lose situation.

I joked with my religious grandmother, that it's easy to be compassionate and understanding when you're hanging out in a convent or a monastery with like minded actively compassionate people, but trying to be compassionate to cold prickly people... it's difficult. She says, hurt people hurt people. Im not religious, but my modified biblical rebuttal is "we do unto others as others do unto us."

Over the years, the conflicts seemed to become less intense, however, conflict resolution has never been there. She never validated my experience. Often rewriting, denying, or outright forgetting things that happened.

Good Luck. I feel ya man.

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Alwaystoblame

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Re: Am I the Abuser?
« Reply #4 on: July 10, 2018, 12:09:39 AM »
"Hurt people hurt people"
Im going to put that on my fridge. A great reminder.

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SonofThunder

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Re: Am I the Abuser?
« Reply #5 on: July 10, 2018, 01:02:16 AM »
Hi All,

I've been in a pretty rough state over the past few weeks, battling with my spouse of a few years. I've learned so much on this forum and through using the Toolbox, but I'm also worried that, as hard as this is to type, I may be the abuser?

One of the things I read said that abusers don't empathize and will refuse requests from the victim for love or empathy. I have felt this way before, but it is almost always after we've had a massive fight and my feelings have been really hurt by the things my spouse has said. The only other instance where I have ignore requests for attention are when I absolutely have life responsibilities to attend to. For example, I'm the sole earner in our household and if I stay up late engaging in circular conversations and JADE'ing with my partner until 3am, my work performance will suffer and put us at risk. So sometimes, I will flat out ignore her statements, sobs, requests, questions, just so I can get some sleep.

Another thing that NPDs do in particular is to blame the victim. Usually, when we argue, I am very careful to avoid any type of blaming, because I don't want to make things worse. I use "we" language and try to include myself in the solution-finding. Sometimes though, I get pushed and pushed and pushed and have no choice but to more or less bluntly point out one of the major issues that my spouse brings to the relationship. This of course makes her feel like the victim, and she accuses me of being "perfect," and so on. I get so frustrated, but I also would want to be self-aware enough to know whether or not I have these negative personality traits.

Finally, PDs sometimes make "always" and "never" statements. I used to actually point out when my spouse made these statements, because it frustrated me that what we were arguing about didn't universally apply to our entire relationship, but recently, I've noticed that I have started to use them in our arguments, and now she's calling me a hypocrite for making these kinds of statements. Fair enough! Is this fleas, or symptomatic of my own changing personality issues? I'm really confused and would appreciate any insights.

My opinion is that you are not participating in any type of abuse.  On another post, I recommended the book ĎStop Caretaking the Borderline or Narcissistí and when you read it (privately), you will see the roles in the drama triangle, in which you and your spouse switch between most of the time.  Since PDís are mostly on the offensive, we nonís can be caught off guard (when not familar with PD tactics/traits) and in the defensive position, it can feel like we are not being empathetic or refusing. 

PDís will switch quickly from the accuser to the victim as they take advantage of your defensiveness and turn the tide to them being the victim.  It can be very confusing for the non who is not familiar with PD traits.   

You wrote ďThe only other instance where I have ignore requests for attention are when I absolutely have life responsibilities to attend toĒ.  Your spouse knows you have these time sensitive Ďlife responsibilitiesí to attend to and that is why she manipulates those situations to put you in a lose/lose situation, with her becoming the victim.  Itís PD manipulation.   

You will also see a pattern in your own life and in the writings of many on here (I am one also) whose PD spouse will start an argument or attempt to request your time/attention during late night/sleep times.  That time manipulation is done to make your life difficult and for her to control.  She knows you need sleep and knows that she has the ability to disrupt it.  Itís all PD control tactics that they feed on.  It gives them a rush. 

Keep memorizing the tools here on OOTF and thinking through your past events of PD drama in relation to the tools and how you can do things differently next time.  Again, I canít urge you fast enough to read that book. Read it privately (or electronically on the kindle app).  If your spouse thinks you feel she is suffering from a PD, it may escalate your difficulties tremendously as she goes on the desfensive about that. 

Consider that you must do all this education of yourself in total privacy and deploy your tools and knowledge without announcement or revelation of them.  PDís are very sensitive and it is very important you educate and deploy in stealth. 

SoT

Proverbs 17:1
A meal of bread and water in contented peace is better than a banquet spiced with quarrels.

2 Timothy 1:7
For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.

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blunk

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Re: Am I the Abuser?
« Reply #6 on: July 11, 2018, 04:01:40 PM »
I agree with SoT about PDs controlling us by keeping us from sleeping.

My BPDxh would do this often. I worked days and he worked the night shift. He would text me at all hours of the night to air whatever the grievance of the day was. I was expected to answer, if I didn't he would call...and it would go on for hours. There were nights when he would keep me up until 4 am (I had to be up for work at 6) and I would LITERALLY beg him to stop so that I could at least get a couple hours of sleep.

To which his answer would be something like, I know you don't want to go to sleep, as soon as I hang up you're going to screw XYZ guy. Yes, because 4 straight hours of being berated is such a turn-on I simply can't help myself. Sorry for ranting.

I do agree with the others as well, if you are even asking the question and reflecting on your own behavior you are not the abuser. I can't say that I never got frustrated enough to have a good scream, or (sadly) jump up and down in a circle in my kitchen yelling "I can't f@#$ing do this anymore".  :blush:

There is only so much a person can take. And in each of your examples, it seems you acted out after being pushed repeatedly, or feeling frustrated. I guess what I'm trying to say is that we all have our occasion to react badly...the difference is whether a person does so after a 3 hour circular argument, or because they didn't like the way their partner said good morning.

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Whiteheron

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Re: Am I the Abuser?
« Reply #7 on: July 12, 2018, 05:23:39 PM »
There is only so much a person can take. And in each of your examples, it seems you acted out after being pushed repeatedly, or feeling frustrated. I guess what I'm trying to say is that we all have our occasion to react badly...the difference is whether a person does so after a 3 hour circular argument, or because they didn't like the way their partner said good morning.

This exactly. It sounds like you are being provoked into a reaction.

Blunk, I love your last sentence. I remember the constant arguments because I didn't answer the phone correctly when he was calling...I didn't say "hello" the right way.  :roll:
You can't destroy me if I don't care.

Being able to survive it doesn't mean it was ever ok.

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Spindrift Secret

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Re: Am I the Abuser?
« Reply #8 on: July 26, 2018, 08:44:27 PM »
Oh man, it feels good to read someone else asking the same question I've asked myself over and over.  Am I the one with the problem here?  Occasionally I have displayed some sign/symptom of one of these disorders, but I think the key is that it is an occasional thing, not a pattern that is repeated over and over again.  Also, I have looked into my past and worried that I have displayed some of this behavior, but who hasn't said or done something unhealthy and over the top when they were a teenager?  The key is that I've grown up and past that behavior.  It's hard sometimes because PDs are really good at making you FEEL like you must be the problem!

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Opia

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Re: Am I the Abuser?
« Reply #9 on: July 27, 2018, 03:34:27 AM »
You will also see a pattern in your own life and in the writings of many on here (I am one also) whose PD spouse will start an argument or attempt to request your time/attention during late night/sleep times.  That time manipulation is done to make your life difficult and for her to control.  She knows you need sleep and knows that she has the ability to disrupt it.  Itís all PD control tactics that they feed on.  It gives them a rush.

This, this, this, this. I could never understand why my H would try to argue with me in the wee hours of the morning when he or I had work/other responsibilities to tend to in the morning. It was like he could actually thrive with just a very few hours of sleep, while I have to suffer needlessly from only having just a couple of hours of sleep. God forbid I try to nap in the middle of the day when he was home from work during the weekends.. nope.. when he's up, we're all up!

I think it's also that lack of sleep makes people more susceptible to brain washing.
Nothing feels real.