How to Argue With Your Abusive Spouse And Win
Wouldn't it be wonderful to win an argument with your abusive spouse? How would it feel to watch their face turn thoughtful as they realize your point is valid? Wouldn't it be great if your lover admitted defeat, sucked it up, and took one for the team? Yeah!
But hey - if you're in a relationship with an abusive spouse, that's probably not going to happen. And if it does happen, if you do win one time, you will pay for it either through their silence and withdrawal, their undermining, their outright rage or some other type of abuse.
There is no such thing as winning an argument with an abusive person. But it may be more important to understand that there's really no reason to win many arguments at all.
If you say a shirt is bright peach colored and your best friend says it's tangerine, is there really any reason to argue the point? I mean, the brown belt pulls the outfit together no matter what you call the color . . . In fact, I'll bet you don't argue over those tiny disagreements with most people. I'll bet that you do find yourself arguing over minute details with your abuser.
For example, why do we, normally rational and understanding, argue with our abusive spouses over the origin of Spam? I mean, just five minutes ago you were both sitting there catching an episode of your favorite show, chatting about the plot line. Next thing you know, you're in tears feeling that if you had merely agreed that Spam was once a failed dog food that none of this would have happened! And "How did Spam come up in the conversation at all?"
The first thought is incorrect and the second thought is irrelevant. All that matters is the end result - your peaceful night is ruined and you can't remember how the heck it happened.
Bad Reasons to Argue With Your Abusive Spouse
Bad Reason 1: "If I had agreed that Spam was once a failed dog food that none of this would have happened!"
This thought is incorrect because what you ended up arguing about was a distraction. Think back a little further. Perhaps you disagreed with your spouse's interpretation of the television show's larger meaning to society. Your abuser thinks that if you disagreed over a TV show's obvious meaning, then you couldn't possibly be the woman of his dreams. His dream woman understands the world exactly as he does.
However, instead of recognizing this in his own mind, he seeks to overpower you with nonsense until you've been sufficiently punished for not being who he wants you to be. And gosh darn it, if it takes arguing over Spam to tip the balance in his favor, then that's what he is going to do.
It doesn't matter if your spouse remembers what upset him, it only matters that he's won. And it doesn't matter that he hasn't won on the initial point - this Spam thing will do just fine. I mean, look at you woman, you're obviously irrational and emotional over Spam for goodness sake! He must be the superior being, and his beliefs reign supreme.
Whew. Your abuser rescued his world from falling apart (at your expense).
In order for "none of this to have happened" you would have had to agree with him on his interpretation of a TV show. Ridiculous.
Bad Reason 2: Asking yourself, "How did Spam come up in the conversation at all?"
This question is not the right question. You can see why illustrated above, but after an argument with your abuser, dwelling on why questions is a waste of time.
Backtracking to the last point of contention that you remember will not help you to understand what happened. This is what happened: diversion happened. Your abusive spouse took you way off point so he or she could win. Period.
Alternative Way to Argue With Your Abusive Spouse
Next time, try this conversation instead:
Abusive Spouse: I cannot believe you think Spam has always been for human consumption! You're so closed-minded!
You: (incredulously) What!? (because this mental jump to Spam makes no sense)
Abusive Spouse: Talking to you is like talking to a can of Spam - you're both too stupid to comprehend the English language!
You: If you continue to insult me, I'll leave you in here alone.
Abusive Spouse: Oh yeah? What do I care? You're always telling me what I can and can't say! You're such a control freak!
You: (Get up, grab your ipod or a book or whatever, and leave the room without another word.)
Yes, it truly sucks that you must leave the room while watching your favorite show. Yes, it is unfair that your abuser seems to win this argument. But on the other hand, your abuser already assaulted your mind with lies (you're closed-minded, stupid, and a control freak). If you stay much longer, you could feel the need to win the point that you're none of those things, and that argument will get nasty.
Think about who you are arguing with. You're arguing with someone who said those things to provoke you into behaving in a way that proves his authority to himself (Control Your Emotions So Your Abusive Partner Can't). He's fishing for proof that he's right and you're wrong over an idea that could have multiple interpretations.
You could both be right - but abusers aren't after the win-win. They're after the power over. They seek to dominate and silence the real you so their ideal partner, the one who believes exactly as your abuser believes, remains intact in his imagination.
You don't have to argue with nonsense. In order to save your sanity, don't let yourself get sucked into an abuser-fabricated argument. Instead, choose to halt the cycle of abuse. Your best argument is a firm statement of boundaries backed up by doing what you said you would do. Period.
- Verbal Abuse Disguised As Love
- Language of Love Omitted From Abusive Relationships
- Verbal Abuse Is Not A Communication Problem
- Communication In Abusive Relationships Is A Myth
*Both women and men could be abusers or victims, so do not take my pronoun choices as an implication that one gender abuses and the other is victimized.
Holly, K. (2012, January 22). How to Argue With Your Abusive Spouse And Win, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2019, May 19 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/verbalabuseinrelationships/2012/01/how-to-argue-with-your-abuser
Author: Kellie Jo Holly
Oh and I just recently found out he's been watching porn...it came as a shock cos we're Christian,and he said those stuff are evil and messes up with our minds..Still planning how to confront him about this....
2 days ago my husband stayed out for 6 hrs no text or anything cos he was angry at me for being upset that HE ruined family plans over his sudden plan..I chose to keep quiet.While I was quietly browsing my phone tonight he complained about it when he has been using his just as much as I did (if not more).I calmly explained and stayed calm as he blamed and lectured me about what I SHOULD have done 2 days ago,said i should have respected him and stuff to keep our fanily happy.I calmly explained that it was my right to be upset and calmly asked him to inform me of his plans next time.He mocked me saying "oh now you're little miss right?you think you're a peacemaker now?" And when i tried to explain how his actions hurt me and it seems we're not ready to talk and we should stop and sleep so as not to wake up our 9 month old who's sleeping betwen us. He said "oh here comes the teacher" and turned his back on me.I got angry and shouted and hit the bed in frustration..and he threw at pillow at me and showed his fist as if he were planning to hit me.I asked him to get out of my parent's house and he got angry and I said I will call my parents (they're just in the next room!). He shouted at me to get out!I did call my parents but they didn't confront him.So i left our room.
Few minutes later he called me and said our son woke up cos of what i did and now that he helped him go back to sleep I can go in. (like I'm bad and he was the good guy) and thought it was over till he tried blaming and provoking me again..but I had just read this article and didn't let him provoke me anymore...he said f*@# you to me before he slept.
We've been married for 5 years....sadly the instance I decribed is one of many...with this article,I finally understood why he's doing the things he does....your advice would surely help me endure till I have the strength to leave..I read another article on this site about abusers and holidays/special days..and my birthday is next week....now I understand why he's acting up...Thank you so much.
He is a very intelligent, funny, charming man. Everyone I told my story to is shocked. He has a great family who I respect and admire, they will not believe he has treated me this way. All of which compounds the stress of making this decision.
For years he’s been telling me I’m sneaky, cheating, lying, etc. He would monitor my phone and whereabouts. We had a camera in my kitchen that he installed for his own “peace of mind”. I could not move around my own home without worrying how any specific action would be perceived. Eggshells every moment. My hair started falling out. He would rant on and on about how hard he works to support me and my kids and expect me to just be grateful and why couldn’t I just see the good things. Meanwhile I also work full time and was 100% responsible for managing our household. I could go on and on. I relate to every single story shared above. And I want to say, even though I am sad and scared and exhausted, I know leaving was the best decision. It took me 6 months to secretly stash some money and mentally prepare myself.
We are all strong beautiful women who deserve to be valued and seen for our unique selves. Continue to be brave ladies!
P.S. Here's couple articles that may help...
<a href="https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/verbalabuseinrelationships/2017/10/coping-with-verbal-abuse/" rel="noopener" target="_blank">Coping with verbal abuse when you can't just leave</a>
<a href="https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/verbalabuseinrelationships/2017/09/5-ways-to-end-verbal-abuse/" rel="noopener" target="_blank">Ending Verbal Abuse, 5 steps to take</a>
The man LITERALLY argues with me about whether heat rises and cold falls: "I never heard that!" (with emphasis on the "I," like how could a thing POSSIBLY be true if HE didn't hear it?)
I need to remember that there really IS nothing to say to that.
Spend some time analyzing which insults really get you going. Then write out situations in which you are NOT as the abuser says. 9 times out of 10, the only time you ARE acting like the insult implies is when you're with you abuser. Abuse makes us act inappropriately and in ways that further hurt us.
In this case, affirmations that remind you how strong you are (if abuser says you're weak) or how bright you are (if abuser says you're stupid), etc. can really help. If those affirmations are in your mind, you're more likely to be able to call on them when you're insulted, say "I am not that way and I'm done listening to your nonsense" without getting into it.
Think about the statement you're currently using - "Hey! You can't insult me like that!" Guess what, yes your abuser can insult you like that. There is no way to make them stop insulting you. You cannot control what they do or say. But you can control yourself.
Check at the bottom of <a href="http://verbalabusejournals.com/how-stop-abuse/safety-planning/" rel="nofollow">this page to download a safety plan (free)</a> that will help you plan what to do when your abuser tries to get a rise out of you:
I am absolutely guilty of giving ultimatums and he will use this as the primer for why I am abusive, but we have been together 5 years and I do truly believe that if he thinks that I am abusive, or doesn't value my 5 year plan than we should not be together. This is really a fact not an ultimatum to get my way. I have searched deep with in my self, I know I am a good person and not abusive, but I wish I could stop rising to the bait.
I am scared he will kill me he has Indeed already tried whats insane is to think He will ever change. He uses Jesus against me that God hates divorce. I was a strong woman they'll break you first Escape is the only solution.