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Abusive fucking assholes. Man, I just really do not like them. They are evil and manipulative and evil. Take my ex-husband. A man who, for many years, made life pretty fuckin hellacious for me. And he did it by (for starters) lying to me, pretending in public to be something other than a monster, threatening my life, generally scaring the shit out of me at every turn, blaming me for all our problems, and slowly draining the sanity right out of me.

Actually I think maybe my sanity was the first casualty in that relationship. How else to explain the fact that it took me several years to even recognize that the fucker was abusing me? But not really because there actually is a very logical explanation for that. It’s pretty complicated, and it involves things like fear, self-blame, and traumatic bonding, among other things. But I don’t want to get into all that right now. What I’m in the mood to talk about is the way in which we argued [1]. It was a curious way, fraught with panic, confusion, and all kinds of crazy.

I mean, all couples argue, everybody knows THAT. The act of arguing in and of itself isn’t proof that a relationship is unhealthy or abusive. It’s how couples argue that matters. It is, according to experts (although I’ve learned to use that term loosely) an excellent indicator of the interpersonal dynamics within the relationship.

Boy, is it EVER.

I’ve had healthy relationships in which I experienced everything from benign disagreements to no- holds barred, knock-down drag-out wars. Sometimes, during the most heated ones, things were said that shouldn’t have been said. Sometimes the issues that led to the fights were so touchy and/or critical that it took a day or two for emotions to calm down and for the issue to be revisited, and hopefully resolved. Shit happens, even in perfectly normal relationships.

Then I married my abusive person. And I had the dreadful displeasure of being in a relationship wherein the rules of fighting were totally redefined and controlled by him.

This is how my abusive ex “argued” with me. He’d start fights from out of nowhere. Well, not really out of nowhere. Leading up to these “fights”, there was usually a day or two in which he moped around all sullen and moody, snapping at me and the kids, ignoring me, and then brushing me off when I’d try to find out what was wrong. After a day or two, he’d either bring up some long lost issue from the past or find something really stupid (like me walking into the livingroom when occupied by him when I should “know better”) to fight about, and then it was on.

He’d start yelling at me. But never about a particular behavior. It wasn’t “you did this”—it was “you ARE this”. “You are a worthless whore. You are a dumb cunt. Everybody in your family knows it and hates you for it.”

Often, after his initial tirade, he’d storm off, slamming doors behind him, leaving me in a state of shock. Like–what the fucking fuck was that? And so I’d follow him. And I’d demand to know why– why he was starting a fight, why he was saying all those mean and hurtful things to me. And he’d yell some more. About how I always insisted on keeping things going by following him. About how I provoked him. About how, since I knew how bad his “temper” was, I should leave him alone before I made him beat me into a bloody pulp.

During our arguments, I was never allowed to defend myself or talk long enough to counter his accusations (how does one counter an accusation of being a worthless cunt, anyway? I don’t know, but that didn’t stop me from trying). If I tried to talk over him so that I could be heard, it would only make him yell louder, thus indeed escalating the situation. And by “escalating the situation,” I mean, by his acts of terror which included tearing doors off their hinges, destroying my stuff, hitting me, pushing me, knocking holes into walls, threatening to cut off financial support for me, threatening to take my kids from me….the list goes on but you get the drift.

Some so-called “experts” like to argue that domestic violence is merely the result of anger problems in the brain of the abuser. This is a false, idiotic, and dangerous assumption. For one, it necessarily leads to blaming of the victim (you know he has anger issues so WHY WOULD YOU PROVOKE HIM?). And two, it completely erases the fact the domestic violence is not about anger, it is about control. Did you get that cos if you did say it with me: ABUSE IS ABOUT CONTROL. Anger is not emotive for abusive assholes, it is instrumental. There is a big difference, and the “experts” who claim otherwise should be stripped of their credentials, stuffed into a tiny box and shipped off to Outer Mongolia IMMEDIATELY. But I digress.

I finally reached a point at which I refused to be drawn into his arguments. When he’d go into one of his tirades, I’d just sit back, not say a word, and watch him go. My refusal to participate did not lead to shorter, quieter, or calmer tirades. Instead, it often made them worse. I didn’t know it at the time, but his tirades were carefully orchestrated acts meant to cause me great anxiety, get me involved in the fracas so that he could claim mutual conflict, further break down my confidence, and make me question my very sanity. Things became much more difficult for him when I refused to do this, and in turn, they became much more difficult for me.

On the flip-side, if I had an issue that I wanted to resolve, I’d mention it to him, and immediately, he’d deflect. He’d say I was crazy, he’d say the issue was my fault, or he’d say that I needed to focus on my own “fuck-ups” instead of bothering him about his.

No issue ever got resolved. Because abusers, you see, get off on keeping their victims in prepetual states of anxiety, focused on petty, everyday contrivances so that they don’t really ever have the brain space to step back and take a gander at the big picture, because if and when they ever get the chance to do so, their first and last reaction is usually along the lines of “Oooohhh holy fucking….what the holy fucking FUCK……”

Yeah. Cos they are assholes, and they feel entitled to 24/7 access to servanthood and pussy [2] on demand, and they will resort to the most heinious of tactics to have these things.

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[1] there is a word for this. That word is gaslighting. If I were a better person I’d scoot over to my laptop so that I could link to some very informative articles on this phenomenon. But alas, not only am I a wicked and lazy person, I am also lacking in the skills required to link to such pieces on this, my pitifully inadequate iPod. I most humbly apologize and promise to post some links later. *Update to add promised links: here and here.

[2] in the case of male abusers, obviously.

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