Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

The domino effect of abuse

Some background. This is both our second marriages. My first husband was a narcissist… I was married to him for 17 years and we had children together. I thought I was staying for him. According to him he never ‘hit’ me. I had a dislocated shoulder twice and multiple bruises and broken ribs but he never balled up his actual fist so in his eyes it didn’t count. He threatened imaginary consequences for me if I left. Things I believed because I was so beatem down I would have believed almost anything. 7years later. I haven’t dated. I have been working in myself and my perspective. Then I met my husband now. I knew some of his thinking was off but he ‘appeared’ yo be extremely compassionate and loving and warm. We are 5 years down the road and every day is fearful AGAIN. Every day is painful not out of the physical fear but the emotional hell is so scarily similar and he can ve cruel. Today it’s how everything is about me. I only care about me and I cry because I am weak. If he says something to me according to him it has nothing to do with how he says it but how my weakness interprets it. We never discuss. He screams, is mean and I am supposed to shut up and take it now. If I say I am hurt he can’t handle it and it invites more anger. I am so tired. He gre up in a seen and not heard household whete he was raised my grandparents with a dominant patriarchal home and my a cruel , according to him, father who was oversees and had little contact but to chastise him through letters or phone calls. I think it was its own type of abuse that lead him to this. This is his second marriage as well but many relationships. All about 4 or 5 years max. I think Maybe I fell into a cycle for him. What scares me the most right now is that I am beginning Maybe out of exhaustion to go down that road…where you question your own thoughts and feelings and wonder how much you are the problem. So here’s my reaching out because I have learned to value your opinions because this time I have people who have in a way been where I am and maybe can shed some light. Right now it’s hard to breathe let alone see through the dark.

George, I’m really glad that you posted on the subject of abuse. Because we see a good deal of abusive relationships on the forum, I have been giving this subject a lot of thought. I have begun to wonder whether or not we would be helping people more if we directed them to also get help from a source that deals with abuse.

Let me explain, I have a close friend in a relationship with a spouse that becomes physically abusive during episodes and is regularly verbally abusive. I can help them understand the nature of the neuro issues, but I am clueless to help with the abuse issue. Abuse in a relationship adds another layer of complication to already complex situations with our family members.

People who discuss abusive relationships on this forum are often supported in the decision to leave the relationship. Yet, we have many who do not move away from the relationship, the same as my close friend.

The reluctance for my friend seems to be, that they love the other person and don’t want to break up their home. Once their partner is calmed down, they appear to totally forget the abusive parts until the next major episode. In reaching out to my Family to Family instructor for advice, she pointed out that counselors in crisis centers are trained and have experience in abusive relationship situations. Leaving an abusive relationship requires real support from a knowledgeable source.

What are your thoughts?

1 Like

I think having that kind of support as long as people feel they have the same anonymity could be really productive and beneficial. Let me give you some irony that may help support my viewpoint. I majored in sociology specifically in areas in family violence. For as long as I can remember I have been the save the turtle crossing the road and the literal jacket off your back person. I spent most of my life working with special needs kids sometimes from abusive homes. I myself was one of the lucky ones…my house was very 'Leave it to Beaver. ’ But I was also the shy kid and when I met my first husband who was attractive and ‘cool’ and had epic plans for his future I was hooked. What it took me a long time to realize was that part of what hooked me was there was a little bit of broken…not in an obvious way but that ‘cool’ persona was a narcissist in disguise. I think although I was in a so much healthier place when I met my second husband the beaten down why wasn’t I enough persona remained. Dormant… but there. My second (current) husband was a teddy bear and had a difunctional childhood so I thought I was healed and I could… love him enough to make him a little more whole. When that obviously didn’t work because we really don’t have that power over this disease ( he was diagnosed 2 years into our marriage) I felt that pinprick of failure and that beaten down woman from years ago started to come forth. Ironic in that I HAD training in this. I HAD a happy household growing up. Yet I still ended up in the same environment I feared. If I would have felt I had support outside of my family I think I would have felt more control and made different choices or at the very least, realize that when they carry an illness like schitzophenia, that so many things you are not to blame for and maybe some pain could be avoided. You are right. This disease and abuse can go hand in hand and it’s maddening to have someone hate you one minute and forget they said it or deny it. It leaves us broken. Emotional abuse is still abuse. The problem I think most of us have is that when we recognize so much is not in their control we feel guilt for our anger and frustration and pain. We internalize as opposed to reaching out and we lose ourselves in thier illness. Long story short. Yes. Absolutely. Because if we can save someone a little bit of pain or give someone a little additional support or at a minimum one less tear shed then it’s worth it.