Verbal Abuse Contributes to Warped Thinking
Over the past weeks, I allowed my ex access to my spirit because I thought I was strong enough to handle it. Via text messages, he insulted my abilities and predicted my doom, and I forced myself to read his words because the overall issue related to our child. I now realize I chose three paths of thought that do not serve me.
Apathy vs. Strength
One, being able to withstand verbal abuse is a sign of apathy; rejecting verbal abuse consistently in all its forms takes strength. It is much easier to argue my abuser's negative labels of me than it is to consistently reject them. When he tells me that I am a disgrace to motherhood and unable to positively affect my children, my natural instinct is to tell him he is wrong and to explain why he is wrong.
However, disagreeing and arguing his nonsense is a mistake. As soon as I open my mouth in protest, I allow him to 1) know he's hit a nerve, 2) feel justified in his accusation, and 3) expand the argument onto any other topic using tools like misdirection and logical fallacy. Disagreeing with and defending myself against my verbal abuser's nonsense opens the door to further abuse. Period.
Abuse Victims Take On Mistaken Responsibility
Two, I took on the responsibility of wading through his insults in an effort to glean his input on how we could work together to help our child. I incorrectly gave credibility to Will's texts because they were (supposed to be) about our child, and in so doing, I also gave my abuser the right to say whatever he wanted (about me) because our child is important. My thinking was mistaken. It is not my responsibility to draw out Will's parental wisdom; it is his job to state his thoughts clearly.
Cognitive Dissonance and Idea Transference
Third of all, because my mindset of "our child is important" was foremost in my thoughts, I transferred that idea to "what Will says about this is important." I am wrong to give Will's words importance merely because our child is involved. I respect Will's role as father, and in a perfect world, Will and I could put our personal differences aside to support our children. Unfortunately, between Will and I, there will never be a "perfect world" relationship. My ex-husband will continue to use any excuse to abuse me.
More distressingly, our children are also reduced to "excuses to abuse Kellie" in his mind. The thought that our children are pawns to Dad is probably the hardest one for me to accept. Looking back, I fed into my delusional fantasy that Will was a good father. I assumed our children were important to him. I assumed he saw them as people independent of him and me. I assumed that Will supported them in ways beyond food to eat and shelter. There is no proof for my assumptions.
Realizing that our children are pawns to him is not an easy pill to swallow.
I spent most of my married life deluding myself with the belief that my husband and I supported one another to raise our children. Some time during 2008, Will and I discovered our oldest son had a drug problem.
Will didn't want to fix the problem, he wanted to blame me for it. He absolved himself of all responsibility and left me hanging there, alone. To top it off, he shot down my thoughts on how to help for our son. Not only weren't my solutions good enough, but Will didn't offer any different solutions. I was alone and abandoned with my hands tied.
Although our son was in trouble, Will focused his attention on me and my shortcomings. I allowed him to redirect my thoughts from "how-to-help-our-son" to "how-to-fix-my-faulty-parenting". Nevertheless, my delusional belief that Will and I were working together to help our son persisted. In effect, we did nothing to help our child at all. We allowed him to sink further into despair and into feelings of abandonment. I am ashamed of myself for not seeing the truth at that time.
I'm getting a second chance to see the truth.
Second-Chance to End Abuse
If Will's abusive texts are to serve any positive purpose, it is up to me to see them for what they are, leave them in the past, and do now what I felt I couldn't do three years ago: be a great Mama. The texts Will sent me and the turmoil I allowed myself to endure because of them, allow me a second chance to see Will for what he is AND to initiate parenting strategies on my own to help my son.
I am a little scared because I know I'm in this alone, but at least I am not deluding myself into thinking I that Will is supportive of our child or of me. I can effectively cross Will off my list of helpful resources.
I don't like that I lacked the strength to sever myself from Will's abusive statements, mistakenly accepted responsibility, and transferred one idea into a hurtful conclusion due to an old delusion. But now I can take the past week's negativity and turn it into something positive for my son and myself. I refuse to accept the delusion that Will is a "good father" any longer.
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Jo, K. (2011, May 22). Verbal Abuse Contributes to Warped Thinking, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2023, June 3 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/verbalabuseinrelationships/2011/05/my-warped-thinking
Author: Kellie Jo Holly
I too have a son whose failing school. My ex-husband Tortures him and myself with hurtful words to my son, he tells him he hates him because he's an "F" kid and texts me with "What a pathetic mother I am, ect..he sends at least 20 a day.. I am finally getting a restraining order against him. Hopefully this will help and not damage my relationship with my children. Their dad has them brainwashed to believe he's dying and he needs them more than I do! I can only love my boys and I do not discuss their father in their presence. Hopefully they will see the truth!
I'm a step mother to a 12 year old son who lives with my husband and myself. I hate to be a Debbie Downer, but it's likely to continue. You have a very good head on your shoulders. I wonder - is he consistent in picking up your kids? Is he worn out or does he have a lot of time on his hands?
Hi - I enjoyed this post. My son is also failing school. Rather then work with me to help the situation improve, his father has dug down even deeper with his tactics and yes, he is now using our son to express his rage to me. It is sickening. I have been incredibly upset about it and have allowed it to control me but it is only hurting me, so the cycle continues. My relief is to file for full custody.