“I, like every other person, have my own strengths and weaknesses. But only by thinking about my weaknesses and analyzing them deeply I can exercise and improve my strengths. Because looking at your own weaknesses requires strength. A lot of strength and much effort. Only then I will be able to turn my own weaknesses into strengths, my stumbling blocks into the stepping stones.”
How can you throw your hopes
Away without even try
To take a new direction
New road to ride
How can you say there’s no
God up in the sky
If you never searched
Never tried to find
You’re drinking the poison
Of the snake
Digging your own grave
You’re choosing the wrong way
To heal your pain
Why do you sell your soul
For a so short price
And play these little dirty
Games with your life
Why don’t you fight against
The insisting gravity
That pulls you down to
A hole of grief
You’re drinking the poison
Of the snake
Digging your own grave
You’re choosing the wrong way
To heal your pain
When reading this, please don’t think of me as such a wise person. My wisdom comes only from three books I’m reading: The Bible, “Why Does He Do That?”, and “Stop Hurting The Woman You Love”.
We, humans, differ from animals by the ability to think, and especially to analyze ourselves. I decided to not give into the sadness of my loneliness, but rather take advantage of my situation of living alone. Well, I’m doing sports, walking, etc. but the most important is that I do take time to think and analyze myself. I’m thinking of my feelings and past events. What had triggered me to behave a certain way? What was I feeling at the time and what was the final drop to overfill my already full glass?
I think more and more about how I feel, and what makes me feel this way and why. When I was abusive, what triggered my behavior? I remember that I have been accused in the things I have not done. I’ve been accused in thoughts I have not thought. I’ve been accused in being the person I really wasn’t. Or maybe I just thought of myself that I wasn’t that kind of person?
What does it mean to be an abuser, anyway? Is abuser the one who time after time gets angry and behaves scary to others? Is he the one who is tremendously jealous? Selfish? Nagging? Doubtful? Unfaithful? Accusative? Well, possessing any of these can be counted as a trait of abusiveness. I can tell for sure, though, that no abuser wants to be treated the way he is treating others. What he does is what he actually despises. But that’s toward himself, or course, while toward others his behavior is always justified by his reasoning [she provoked me; if you didn’t do that I wouldn’t do this; I’m saying it only for your benefit, etc.]. He doesn’t want to be treated by others the way he is treating them. At least this is what I came up to by analyzing myself. You won’t find this in the book “Why Does He Do That?”. This book is written by Mr. Bancroft who analyzes others, with abusive minds, who, as you remember, prefer to remain a mystery. It’s totally different thing when you, knowing yourself [admitting to yourself] as an abuser, decide to let go your mysteriousness and open up yourself to yourself [yes, that can be!] and see the crap you have inside. Like opening a nice shining toilet that always used to be cleaned from outside, and is shiny…ok ok, too much of a comparison, but you get the point, right? I mean – this is how it feels.
The feelings of being wrongfully accused and misjudged is what hurts me the most. When I hear accusations of desiring to cheat on my wife, while I know deep inside that I really-really want to be faithful, and especially that I am – makes me mad. And, when a child is mistreating his mother [my wife], hearing from her that his behavior is caused by me mistreating him, really makes me mad and bitter.
Thinking deeply about these thinks makes me wonder: Do not I myself actually accuse others in things they have not done, intentions they did not have, actions they did not take? I wrote above that things an abuser does are the reflection of what he actually hates. Therefore, I hate to hear these things about me, but I am talking to
others those close to me in a degrading way. It is so twisted, my mind, isn’t it?
Well, I need to change the ways I think and feel. Easier said than done, but…
Trying to understand Understanding how I make my family feel is the key. It really would be a great idea to analyze my own speech in small packets. Let’s imagine a situation and then try to analyze it:
My wife shops for chicken, she bought cleaned-up legs, no skin no bones, but the price is tripled! What do I say? I say: “Honey, why did you buy it at such a price? Aren’t you trying to save money? Look, I could buy the same thing for 3 times cheaper, and I could clean them myself and we would save money.” There is nothing wrong with saying this, right? Seems at the moment. Then, I have to be alone and analyze…
What message did I try to send my wife just now? That saving is important. That I care. That I’m willing to spend some time doing extra work [cleaning these chicken legs] in order to save money. Well, that is what I think and sincerely believe. On top of it, I’m trying to be nice and sound sweet! And when my wife bursts into tears and starts yelling at me that I am senseless and I don’t care about her feelings, I wonder “Is she really crazy? She doesn’t care!”.
Now, I’m trying to imagine what message my wife is receiving. Ah, that’s different! She hears: “You don’t care about family budget. You’re lazy [don’t want to clean up these legs yourself]. I’m better than you because I’m not lazy, and I’m smarter because I know better how to budget and I’m a hard-worker” – DUH!
Time to apologize. Well, I just made up this situation, but there were so many similar ones. And I never apologized. Because I never even understood how I made her feel.
The question is – if I conveyed my thoughts wrongfully, what should I say instead? Think….Think again…Nothing comes to mind…
I conveyed my thoughts – my thoughts! This is the problem! I should not even think these thoughts! Yes, if I genuinely care about my wife and love her [and I do] I should only think at that moment 1.how hard she’s working at home [working full-time and then doing laundry, making lunches for kids, cleaning house, etc]; 2.what she felt when she found this product: “Oh, this will save me some time and energy, I’m too tired”; since this will save me time, I can actually cook something yummy for Vadim tonight”. And here I come and poke her bubble of little happiness!
The best thing would be to just say nothing. Or, if she’d mention this purchase to me , I should say “Oh, that’s great, this will save you time and effort! You’re doing a lot already, my love” – and say nothing about those overspent $10. And be happy. Everybody’s happy. Think this, if you aren’t happy, at the moment, how much would you be willing to pay to buy your family happiness? More than ten bucks, I bet! And happiness isn’t in things you buy, not in trips to restaurants. Happiness is in the ways we’re treating one another. Love does not look for its own interests.
Oh, I begin to sound like an adviser from those books about aid to relationships. No, this is only the result of my deep thinking, and nothing more. This is my own advise, or correction rather, to myself.
I am visiting a support group for anger management. Yesterday, we had a play which made me think quite deeply later on. The coordinator asked one volunteer to get another volunteer out of his chair, using any technique he likes. The attempts were made as following: someone suggested to give him money; another suggested to poke his butt until it hurt; another one promised the guy to help with winning his court – and this actually made him get out of the chair. Of course, it happened because neither suggestion with money nor poking has been applied. Then, the coordinator pointed to this fact: whenever we want something from others – either action or a thing – we’re all using our own ways and techniques in order to obtaining the desired result. We’re using what it takes, let it be a false promise, physical force, or a manipulation – and after certain technique gives us the desired result, we tend to use it another time. These are the typical dynamics of communications. Then I thought – do we actually think how our actions affect another person? If it’s our family member, we can hurt him either physically or emotionally, or both. Why not just ask politely “Can you please get out of this chair?” and maybe explain the reason why you need it so badly to get him out of this chair? And even better, on the long run, show an example by yielding in daily life. Especially to your family members and friends. [I think!] I begin to understand now how my ways of communication could improve.
I need to look at my wife and listen to her, without focusing on how she’s speaking but rather on what she’s saying and try to really understand how she’s feeling at the moment. I know this, I know, but why can I not just do it? I love my wife, I know it. Why then, do I become provoked by her?
My favorite Biblical scripture is 1 Corinthians ch.13. In verses 1-3 Paul speaks of the importance of love: “1. If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels but do not have love, I have become a clanging gong or a clashing cymbal. 2. And if I have the gift of prophecy and understand all the sacred secrets and all knowledge, and if I have all the faith so as to move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3. And if I give all my belongings to feed others, and if I hand over my body so that I may boast, but do not have love, I do not benefit at all”
Verses 4-8 define what true love is: “4. Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous. It does not brag, does not get puffed up, 5. does not behave indecently, does not look for its own interests, does not become provoked. It does not keep account of the injury. 6. It does not rejoice over unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth. 7. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 8. Love never fails…“Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous. It does not brag, does not get puffed up, 5. does not behave indecently, does not look for its own interests, does not become provoked. It does not keep account of the injury. 6. It does not rejoice over unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth. 7. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 8. Love never fails…“
What a beautiful scripture!…Love does not become provoked. So, that means that during our arguments I lose my love for her? I don’t know. Who else? My kids? What do I feel toward my son when he clearly disrespects me? I do feel extremely mad, true. I never hit my son…I did slap him and sometime used to take some objects, like shoes, and throw at the wall flying his direction. But could I actually beat him eventually? I heard the expression “To push buttons” and this is what I feel he’s doing to me. Like, playing on the strings made of my tense nerves.
It’s not good, this feeling. Any acts of violence, emotional or physical, are not good. It begins with emotions, with feelings, and it just depends on the severity of the offence you feel whether you will let it become physical or not. And I know that even though this is only emotional and mental abuse, it isn’t what I really want to do. Can it be my weakness? Yes, certainly being an abuser is a weakness. It is this kind of weakness that you put forth in order to appear stronger. Therefore, I need to be stronger in order to conquer my weaknesses. Since abuse begins with feelings and thoughts, I must change my feelings and thoughts. Remove the poisonous plant by its roots.
This blog is not meant to be a psychology/family health/anger management aid – I mean, I myself have a problem, I am no doctor or psychologist or whatever, so do not start asking for help like I see on other blogs, this isn’t the right place.
At the anger management group which I’m visiting weekly, all guys have one thing in common – we all went through difficult times in our marriages. One of them said “It is nice to be among other guys who went through same things I did” – and then I thought to myself: “Yes, it is nice to be among people who had similar experiences, but they are not among whom I would like to remain. I want to be among those men who were able to overcome their problems, who were able to see their own errors and admit them to themselves, who were able to change.” And I sincerely wish that most of them, if not all, become these men.
I still find, though, the first book “Why Does He Do That?” more of eye-opening, even though it was originally written for women. Maybe Mr. Bancroft should write a revised version of this book and call it something like “Why Do I Do That?”.
Back to the book that changed my perception of myself. Abuse is not a certain action time after time. Abuse is the wrong way I’m treating my family day after day; therefore, abuse is the lifestyle based on certain wrong values and attitudes. I have to find out which ones, and most importantly, have to find out how to eliminate those from my mind and what to replace them with…
Different types of abusers are described in there, but I can only speak of those types which I recognize in myself. Nobody is one exact type only. There can be a lot from one and a bit from another. As for me, the major type of abusive mind that I have is The Water Torturer [page 237]