Hello once again!
As the title implies, this post is about priorities and listening so they can be placed properly. I have been quite depressed as of late. My lupus is really ugly right now. I am having major issues with my gi tract from top to bottom. I am dealing with drama within my family. I am back on prednisone. Basically, I cannot eat well, cannot sleep well, and am a round moon face sicko.
I had a bright spot yesterday I thought. My rheumatologist wants me to start Benlysta infusions. I was in the drug trial with real drug and it helped me a lot. Once it was approved though, the drug trial ended. So, he wants to do these infusions to try for remission. Remission is a word I have not heard for years!
Back to the story. My rheumy’s nurse called and said she had done the legwork and for me, my insurance would only cover these at an 80/20 ratio. In other words they would pay 80% and I would pay 20%. Ok, what does that mean? It means it is cost prohibitive for me. However, she next tells me that my 20% equals $250 per transfusion. Still cost prohibitive for me. Now she tells me that there is this gateway program that will pay for the med itself. So, I only have to pay the office visit ($40) to begin infusions and as for the $250, I can be billed and pay as I can! Wow! That is great news! Finally it is looking like I might get some type of relief from this all pervasive pain!
So, I decided to share this good news with my husband. I didn’t even finish the details before he exploded and told me that there is no way we can afford this! He also told me to cancel finding out about any thing else related to this! He told me I was wrong to even consider it. Seriously! He said it would be another bill and that we cannot take this on.
He stormed out into his garage room. I was numb. I really was in pain emotionally now. I thought why try anymore? You know, if I had cancer would he do the same thing about a med? Is he really so self centered and blind that he cannot see or comprehend how insensitive he was? The answer, sadly, is yes. I saw a new side of him yesterday. It is a powerful revelation.
I have been here to help him overcome HIS issues and done whatever was necessary to make sure he gets care he needs. You know, the Golden Rule. I saw yesterday that no matter how much I give he will only take. He truly does not seem to care about any of my issues at all. He went so far today to say he didn’t want to hear anything about my call to another doctor regarding a different issue. Guess I know where I stand.
A friend of his passed away yesterday afternoon. (This was after our conversation above had occurred). Now today, he told me his friend isn’t having s funeral. His wishes were to be cremated and his wife was to hold a sort of wake. My husband, the recovering alcoholic, told me he was going and would have a drink for his friend! Wow! It is almost like he was waiting for an opportunity to drink. He assured me he was going to stay sober but only have that one drink. Uh huh, right. He might delude himself but I have seen this behavior before. I tried to reason with him about slippery slopes and how he was all but dead himself a month ago. He refuses to listen. Well, I tried.
I came back here with assurances of sobriety and caring for my well being. Bait and switch. Jokes on me. Bad day. Sorry to bring anyone down but this is my reality right now. I will survive. I will have to go on chemotherapy if Benlysta is off the table. Oh well, I actually want to live so we will see how this plays out. I am just so sad to see and hear how my issues do not matter to him. Actions speak louder than words so if his words match his actions then I am alone on this painful island. Well crap.
Well my friends, I think we might actually have lift off for spring! A few times it looked this way only tone buried under snow again. Thankfully, I think the true spring has taken hold so off we go! I love this time of year despite my body’s trials. This time of year brings a sense of renewal to body and soul. The thoughts of beautiful things, such as flowers and babies fills my mind.
I have been in pain, yes, but somehow the beautiful weather dulls it a bit. Psychological, yes, most likely, but it feels great to be alive in spring!
I am planning my garden and getting excited to be growing heirloom plants that are more nutritional than the GMO substitutes available at most stores. I am happy to start my flowers too. I am also planning an herbal garden so I can use fresh herbs in foods. Yes, I love spring!!
Our lupus walk is approaching as well. Still have no team members and I am the only donater so far but I refuse to let it worry me. I have made it to this side of winter and today, nothing will slow me down!! Things will improve, I am sure!
I have also been working on organizing the house. I need to get things in order so that I can relax and enjoy the warmth of spring and summer that is quickly approaching! Funny thing, I never enjoyed spring cleaning before but after this particularly hard winter I find myself enjoying it!!
So off I go to face my day! I hope each of you will slow down and appreciate all Gods Works during this season of warm renewal of life!! I will be!!
I found this on another blog and it is quite good. I do want to say there is some profanity in it and I apologize for that, but since I did not write it, I wanted to let you know in advance. I do not use profanity myself, but Natalie does in this post. It still is quite good. As for her references to “Heartless Bitches”, it seems this is what she refers to her readers. Just FYI. Otherwise, good read! I got this post from http://www.heartless-bitches.com/rants/manipulator/emotional_abuse.shtml
by Natalie P.
Most people have had it happen: at some point in our lives we find ourselves manipulated or “guilted” into doing something we didn’t want to do. We end up angry at ourselves for caving in, and resenting the other person for pressuring us. However there are other kinds of emotional manipulation – covert abusive and hurtful techniques that even the most stalwart Heartless Bitch can fall prey to, that undermine a person’s self-confidence, and may even make you feel like you are going crazy. The thing is, while true Heartless Bitches would NEVER tolerate physical abuse, they can get blindsided by emotional abuse, and not even realize it’s happening – especially if it is coming from someone they trust and love. Like physical abuse, emotional abuse becomes a vicious circle that chips away at your self-confidence, making it harder and harder to leave. If you are in a relationship where you have a sick sense that SOMETHING is wrong, but somehow it’s always YOUR fault, and you find yourself always tring to “fix” things, this article may be for you.
Emotional abusers are very insidious – some of them are much harder to spot than others, because they mingle their abuse in between acts of generosity, and often employ emotionally manipulative tactics, and passive-aggressive behavior. Not all emotional abusers overtly belittle and verbally harangue their partners – some are much more perfidious and as such, their partners may not realize that the source of their distress and an unease over the relationship has been coming from abuse for quite some time. The longer a woman remains under the grip of an emotional abuser, the more she will start to question herself, her actions and her beliefs. It is the abuser’s goal to make her believe that she deserves his cruelty and that only through her actions can she make it stop. It is his intent to get her to feel that she is the cause of any relationship problems, and that his (abusive) behavior is simply a response to her, and therefore acceptable. It is true, that only through her actions can she make it stop – she must have the courage to leave the relationship and avoid further contact with the abuser.
Abusers, physical or emotional, are abusive because of their own self-hate and internal issues – not because of anything their partner did. No amount of work or attempting to please will stop an abuser from abusing. They have to be willing to recognize and actually work on their own issues before they can stop inflicting cruelty on the people who love them. In many cases, they don’t even love their partners, because they can’t even love themselves, and don’t feel that they deserve love, even though they crave it. Abusers may genuinely feel bad that they committed another act of abuse, not because they have any real compassion for the person they hurt, but because they get angry at themselves for “screwing up” again. This drives them further into self-loathing, and further into a cycle of abusive behavior.
It is common for men who are “called” on their abusive behavior to blame the woman, and claim SHE was the abuser. He may even point to his abusive childhood as proof that he is just an innocent victim. The truth of the matter is that abusers generally DO have a history of abuse stemming from their childhood, with emotionally abusive and/or physically abusive parents. However, it is important to note that though women can become abusers, MOST OFTEN (because of the way we are socialized and the power setups in society), if there has been no *successful* theraputic intervention, MEN from abusive families become “ABUSERS”, and WOMEN who grew up in abusive families become “Abuse VICTIMS”.
Like the alcoholic, an abuser must admit his behavior to himself and others, and seek help. Unfortunately, not all therapy works, and not all people who go into therapy are ready or willing to do the personal work necessary to get better and eliminate their destructive patterns. As such, abusers are not safe people – even after they enter therapy. It can take years of therapy to unravel and undo the damage and self-hate that has driven someone to abuse. During that time, the abuser may actually get worse before his behavior improves, if it changes at all. It is quite common for deeply disturbed people who enter therapy to initially use the therapy to project their problems on everyone else and point out the character flaws of those around them, rather than face their own internal demons. Until they can be honest with themselves and the therapist, the therapy will accomplish nothing. For a person who has spent a lifetime of lying and hating themselves, honesty does not come easily.
More disturbingly, some abusers can and DO go into therapy as a ploy – to make it LOOK like they are actually working on their own behavior, and accepting responsibility for their actions, when, in fact, the real motive is to arm themselves with distortions of the therapist’s words and tools, in an effort to heighten and increase the psychological warfare. The bottom line, is that you can’t trust an abuser, the same way you can’t trust the married man who is having an affair and keeps promising to leave his wife.
The more subtle forms of emotional abuse can be the hardest to escape from, because the gaps between the loving, caring behavior and the emotional cruelty can span several weeks or months. However, someone who is nice and caring, and helpful for 2 or 3 months at a time, but then deliberately does or says something very emotionally devastating and cruel to a partner is no better than someone who does the same nice things but then PUNCHES his partner once every few months. The pain, the insecurity, the uncertainty, and the heartache are the same. The bruises and the welts are on the inside instead of the outside, and they take far longer to heal. While someone may be emotionally blindsided by major episodes of emotional cruelty, and may even recognize it as abuse, abused partners often “overlook” the subtle everyday criticisms, “chain yanking”, and emotional blackmail that are woven into the fabric of their relationship, accepting (or denying) it as just part of a “relationship”. Unfortunately, it’s part of a very UNHEALTHY relationship.
It can leave the woman wondering if the pain is worth the good times, and even wondering if this is as good as it gets? What if there isn’t anything better? When he distorts the past and blames you for the relationship problems, you may even feel like you are going crazy, and he will certainly do everything he can to imply that you ARE. The truth is, there IS something better. You don’t have to put up with a relationship where you are treated poorly, with disrespect, or emotional cruelty, no matter how infrequent those acts are. And of course, when you do get upset, the abuser will infer that you are overreacting, or “too sensitive”, so it adds to the confusion and hurt that you may feel.
What are the signs and symptoms of Emotional Abuse?
A common misconception is that emotional abuse has to take the form of a partner yelling over every little thing, belittling or constantly criticizing a partner. Other forms of emotional abuse, can however, be just as damaging, and far less overt. They can include being disrespectful, discourteous, rude, condescending, patronizing, critical, judgemental, “joking” insults, lying, repeatedly “forgetting” promises and agreements, betrayal of trust, “setting you up”, and “revising” history.
To outsiders, abusers often appear as decent, successful, sensitive, calm and nondescript. To their families, they are often controlling, self-absorbed, hypercritical, compulsive, childish and mean-spirited. Most of abusers are actually BOTH. It is the disparity between the one they love and the one that harms them that keeps the woman confused. He may intersperse episodes of abuse with words of love, telling her that she is “the best thing that has ever happened” to him, and that he wants to start treating her that way, confusing her further. She keeps hoping that if she does enough, if she gives enough, he will stop hurting her and the loving, caring side of him will prevail. Unfortunately, this is a fallacy that often keeps the woman in the relationship for far too long. Ask yourself: Do you have a drawer full of “apology” jewellery, or a closet full of “apology” clothes?
One of the most difficult things about identifying and leaving someone who is a psychological and emotional abuser, is that the REALLY successful abusers are highly intelligent and hide their abuse incredibly well. They may have shelves of filled with psychology books; many are well-read and very well spoken. They know how to twist and manipulate language and people. They present an exterior of calm, rational self-control, when in reality, they have no internal control of their own pain and chaotic self-hate, so they try to control others, and drive others to LOSE control. If an abuser can cause YOU to lose control, it proves how healthy HE is, so he can say, explicitly, or implicitly (it’s amazing how sighs, and rolling of the eyes can accomplish as much as words), “There you go again, losing it, crying and yelling. I’m not the one who needs therapy, *you* are.” Unfortunately, if an outsider sees the abuse at all, all they see is an outburst from you, NOT the abuse that triggered it. It may make you feel as if you have had all your lifelines withdrawn, as if you are going crazy, because nobody believes you that this charming, “nice”, helpful, successful man could be so incredibly psychologically cruel and deliberately hurtful.
Abusers play the pushme-pull-you game threatening to withdraw their affections, dropping statements out of the blue intended to destabilize. This has the effect of making their partners insecure and uncertain, but that plays right into the abuser’s hand as he then can accuse the partner of being “too needy”. Ploys such as casually talking about how he’s thinking of taking a job in another city are one such example of destabilizing talk. In this kind of case, it doesn’t start with any discussion of your relationship, or what might happen to it – he talks only of the cool job opportunity, with no recognition of the impact it might have on you, your relationship, or your family.
An emotional abuser may make fun of his partner, or make subtle or not-so-subtle disparaging remarks about her while with other friends, and encourage the friends to make disparaging remarks. He will then be sure to tell her about the jokes they made and act surprised when she doesn’t find them “funny”. He may even tell her that she is overreacting and that it was “all in fun” and that no harm was meant by the “joking”.
Not all emotional abusers criticize their partners directly – sometimes it can be as simple as constantly criticizing how someone keeps a kitchen, or complaining about the mess in the house, or continuous grumbling about the laundry, or complaining about the noise and mess the kids make. He will make her think it is her job to keep him happy, and imply that household things are contributing to his unhappiness and bad temper.
An emotional abuser will seem to encourage his partner to grow, to develop new skills and expand her horizons, but then will do things to impede or prevent that progress. He will mope and sigh about how little time she has for him now that she is working more or taking that course, or back in school. Or, he will “encourage” her to advance herself, but refuse to provide any additional assistance around the house/family to ease her workload, effectively making it impossible for her to take that course or job. If he DOES provide assistance, he will let her know how HARD it is for him, and how MUCH he is doing for her, every step of the way… he will play the “sad puppy” to the hilt, trying to get her to feel guilty for the burdens she has put on him.
An Emotional abuser will try to make his partner responsible for his happiness. Either through direct comments, or indirect implications, the abuser will let his partner know that he is not happy, that it is somehow her fault, and that she must fix it. The problem is, no matter what she does, it will never be enough, and it won’t ultimately make him happy.
The abuser may take this behavior to an extreme, insisting that he is the best partner or relationship she will ever have, the only one who can truly love her (despite all her faults!), and that if she doesn’t live up to his expectations, he will leave the relationship. Since abuse is really about control, the abuser knows he can have the upper hand in the relationship if he can keep her uncertain and insecure.
Emotional abusers overcompensate for their self-hate with a warped kind of narcissism. They genuinely believe that YOU SHOULD know how they feel, and know what to do to make them happy. AND that you should be willing to do those things without having to be asked or told. They believe that they DESERVE to be treated better, to be put first, to be given preferential treatment. He will expect you to read his mind. He lives by the “if you really loved me, you’d KNOW how I feel” game, and of course will punish you for not being telepathic. If confronted with the unreasonable nature of this behavior, the abuser will blame his partner for his lack of communication – it will always be her fault that he couldn’t tell her what he needed or wanted. He will project HIS behavior on her, and insist that he couldn’t talk to her about what was bothering him because she was too intense, or critical, or angry, or judgemental, or needy. Don’t buy it. Those are HIS issues. Not yours.
And speaking of narcissism, the emotional abuser will be envious and resentful if YOU get more attention than HE does in a social setting. He will likely punish you for it by one of any number of techniques: ignoring you, sulking, disappearing for hours, flirting heavily with someone else, or leaving the party or function without notifying you.
Emotional abusers expect the rest of the household to live by their waking, sleeping and eating schedules. If his schedule is interrupted or disturbed, or if the partner chooses not to follow the same patterns, the abuser feels justified in “punishing” the offender. This can include the full battery of emotional abuse and passive-aggressive tactics – because in the abuser’s mind, the partner or household member “deserves” it for not caring enough about him to live by his schedules and activity calendar.
Emotional abusers may use punishment tactics like leaving (without a word to you), a party or function that you both went to. They will have socially plausible, pathos-laden excuses for their unannounced departure, like they couldn’t find you, or they were tired and wanted to go home. However, the REAL reason they left without a word, was to punish you; to wind you up, to get you worried about them, and ultimately, to have you feel guilty for not paying enough attention to them. When you confront an abuser on the concept of COURTESY around these sorts of things, the abuser will either apologize weakly, (but the damage has been done), or insist that your distress over his behavior is overreacting.
Emotional abusers will remind you of your flaws under the guise of trying to be “helpful” or sensitive. He may make comments like, “You seem unhappy with your body” – even though you have made no comments about your body image or otherwise, or “You are running late again – you never can get anywhere on time”, or “There doesn’t seem to be much point in planning things with you.” All are comments intended to unbalance and remind you of what he perceives to be your weaknesses.
Emotional abusers will try to isolate you from family and friends. There are several tactics that may be employed. If he can’t manipulate your friends, he will either find reasons to denigrate them or will be “uninterested” in doing things with you AND your friends. He may find them “boring”. You may find yourself caught in a double-bind where he “encourages” you to go out with *your* friends, refusing any invitation to participate, but then mopes that you never spend enough time with HIM. Over time, you may find yourself isolated from your friends by virtue of the demands on your time that he makes. You may also find him VERY upset if he finds out that you have been talking to a close friend or family member about him and/or your relationship with him – especially if that person is likely to tell you he’s behaving like an ass.
One emotional abuser went so far as to “set up” his wife so that she would isolate herself. He did it by “reminding” her of her “shyness”, and how socially backward she was. He did this under the guise of “being sensitive” to her and the areas she “needed to work on”. Then he would offer to “help” her by suggesting she come along to a party or social function with him. Prior to the function he would again “help” her by briefing her on people attending the party, so that she could “have something to talk about” with them. As part of his tactic, he told his wife distortions or half-truths so that she would make social faux-pas at the function. If she ever questioned him, he would insist that SHE must have heard him wrong, and it must have been HER nervousness that made her forget or screw up. The man was a “pillar of the community”, so to his friends, she looked like a bumbling (and even insensitive) fool, and they “couldn’t figure out why a man like him was with a woman like HER.” Combined with his subtle denigration of her friends and family, she gradually isolated herself by not attending social functions, and cutting off relationships with her support network.
Instead of “lying” to a partner, an emotional abuser may “forget” significant promises he made to his partner – especially if forgetting that promise will hurt her. He may also “forget” things so that he can let her know that things that are important to her are NOT important to him. This tactic can take the form of making a special dinner for her, containing shrimp when he has known for years that she is allergic to shellfish, so she can’t eat it, or buying a feather comforter for their bed, when he knows she is allergic to feathers. He will claim that his lapse was due to “forgetting”, when in fact, it was a passive-aggressive ploy to trick the partner into believing he was doing “something nice”, get her hopes up, and then bring her down with the fact that she could not enjoy this “gift” of his after all… It is a passive-aggressive slap-in-the-face.
Emotional abusers expect more from their partners than they are willing to put into a relationship. The problem is, no matter how much the partner gives, it will never be enough, and the abuser will expect more – because the relationship isn’t about love for the abuser, it’s about control.
The more independent a partner becomes, the more abusive the abuser will be, because he sees he is losing control of his partner.
Emotional abusers expect to be forgiven for their “mistakes” (otherwise known as abuse) but are unable to forgive their partners for legitimate mistakes – and will continue to “punish” their partners for those mistakes, long after apologies and restitution have been made.
Emotional abusers expect their partners to change for them. Unfortunately, the changes the partner makes will never be enough – the abuser will always want more.
The abuser says it’s not completely his fault, or she pushes his buttons, or that something she did triggered him to do or say something hurtful or damaging to her.
Emotional abuse can take the form of him insisting that she isn’t spending enough time with him, forcing her to “prove her love” by booking extra time and adjusting her life and her schedule around him, so that he can then reject any suggestions she has for activities, and act disinterested when they do have time together.
When she tries to make plans with him, the abuser will remind her in a condescending way of how poor she is at planning and how he doesn’t believe that the plans will work out. Over time, comments like this insidiously undermine her self-confidence, by telling repeatedly that she is untrustworthy. Her untrustworthiness becomes yet another excuse for him to “punish” her with abusive language or actions.
Another emotional abuse tactic is to reject activities that she suggests and then do them with other people – letting her know that he is doing them with other people – establishing control and implying that she is not worthy of doing the activities with him, but other people are.
An emotional abuser will often use condescension as an effective tool in manipulating and hurting his partner. In expressing his own internal anger, he targets his partner. But because she has done nothing to “deserve” his anger at this point (or any point!), he may be rude, brutally inconsiderate, condescending, patronizing, or even use the “silent treatment” to get her upset or angry. When his partner gets upset, and an argument ensues, he can then express his anger at her, and blame the fact that she “got angry” at him, for the whole argument – even though HE started it. Don’t let him convince you that your anger at his disrespect and emotional cruelty, is somehow wrong or abusive to him. That is part of his control and escalating cycle of abuse technique.
As part of this “control” technique, the abuser may “set up” his partner, pushing as many buttons as possible to get the partner to lose control by breaking down in tears or getting angry or yelling. If you raise your voice, he will insist that YOU are the abuser. Don’t buy it, and don’t believe it. While there might be better ways to handle the situation, (more easily enacted if you weren’t emotionally involved with this person), chances are that he has inflicted so much psychological warfare that you have been backed into an emotional corner, and are reacting in self-defense. Emotional reactions in self-defense to an abusive situation do NOT make YOU an “abuser”.
One of the more subtle but effective ways an abuser can “wind” his partner up is by invalidating/rejecting/showing no compassion for the feelings of his partner – especially in conjunction with a deliberate act of malice that was designed to upset or hurt the partner. He will claim the act was either “accidental” or intended to help the partner. He will try to tell his partner that it is NOT OK to feel angry or hurt or upset by his actions – or that if she DOES feel those things, her “feelings are her own” – that he has no responsibility towards repairing any emotional damage he may have caused. As part of this tactic he may pay lip-service to personal responsibility by saying he “takes responsibility” for his actions, but then make no offer to do anything about the resulting emotional pain, or say that there is nothing he can do to repair the damage or make restitution. If she tries to get him to do anything to make restitution he will use the word “blame” as if it is a dirty word, and accuse her of trying to lay “blame” on him for his actions. This is the functional equivalent of someone using a board to “fan” you and when he “accidentally” hits you over the head, telling you that he was just trying to HELP and that if you feel PAIN, well, your feelings are your own, and he can’t be responsible for YOUR feelings, and there is nothing HE can do about it now… Non-abusers who genuinely ACCIDENTALLY hurt a loved one’s feelings, do not refuse to nurture those feelings – they help repair the emotional damage, and they don’t repeatedly make the same “mistakes” over and over with their partners.
The flip side of this, of course, is that emotional abusers want to reap the emotional rewards for being nice and doing “good” things for their partners – they want the affirmation, appreciation and attention they feel they deserve when they do something positive for a partner.
The truth about responsibility for one’s feelings is that if you love and trust someone – if you open your heart to the love and caring, you also open it to the potential for hurt. Yes, in the strictest sense of the word, no one can make you feel anything – you choose to let them affect you for good or bad. But very few people, (except perhaps those with borderline personality disorder), can be completely “unfeeling” when dealing with someone they care deeply for. Most people are unable to open their hearts up completely to love and be able to “let” only good things affect their feelings and not the bad. To disconnect yourself from feeling hurt and pain is to disconnect yourself from feeling love and joy. When you open your heart to someone, you are granting them your trust as well as your love. You are trusting them to respect and honor your love. If someone abuses you by violating your trust, you are not wrong for trusting – THEY are wrong for breaking that trust and using it to hurt you.
Emotional abusers have huge double standards. What is ok for them, is NOT ok for their partners. I.e. THEY are allowed to get angry – their partners are not.
Abusers will blame their partner for “allowing” or encouraging them to be abusive. In as much as a refusal to capitulate can trigger an abusive attack, any sign of “guilty” feelings or weakness in a partner is like blood in the water for sharks, when it comes to abusers. Of course, according to the abuser, it is up to the woman not to provide him with the temptation to abuse, by changing HER behavior.
If caught in a lie or exposed in a situation where he can’t immediately manipulate his partner into taking the rap, he may try to go for the sympathy ploy, in an attempt deflect the situation away from his bad behavior. For example, one abuser caught in the middle of a lie, blamed his lie on “bad memory”, almost started crying, and began bemoaning what he would do if his memory was going, because his whole job depended on being able to remember lots of details. All of a sudden, the situation turned from him being caught in a lie, to his partner being expected to feel sorry for him because of his “bad memory”… Other deflection techniques he may use when his behavior is exposed, are:
-to bring up stories of childhood/parental abuse (watch these, they are the same old stories each time, and if you listen closely, you may see that his behaviors closely match those childhood abuse patterns…)
-to bring up troubles and things bothering him at work
-to bring up his hurt and “pain” over something YOU did ages ago, and have long-since paid for.
-”missing” a grown child who has left the home, or children he abandoned and his former partner “won’t let him” visit (big wonder why…).
If you DO manage to get an abuser to a relationship counsellor, (something many abusers will insist you two don’t need – he’ll insist that you “can work things out yourselves…”), the abuser will work to ensure that the counsellor sees HIM as the mistreated partner, or at the very least, that his behaviors are one-time incidents rooted in just cause. These kinds of emotional abusers are often highly intelligent and manipulative. They will manipulate and lie to the counsellor, pinning the onus back on YOU to change your behavior for HIM. You may find it very frustrating and difficult. Even if he can’t avoid having his trust-breaking behavior exposed, he may find a way to manipulate the situation so that his “reasons” for breaking trust were because of YOUR inability to meet his needs. Beware. Sometimes counsellors buy into that stuff, and you end up getting a double-whammy.
Emotional abusers will hide their abuse in acts that they can claim were done to “try and help” their partner. For example, taking a partner’s kids away camping for the weekend, ostensibly, “to give her some time off”, but without phoning and checking with her first, “forgetting” she had made plans with them already, and deliberately making sure the kids didn’t have time to pack up and be properly equipped. This is designed to get her upset, but have it look like, on the surface, he was “just trying to be helpful and she got upset at me.” Similarly, an abuser might do some of your laundry “as a favor” to you, without your asking, and then shrink or stain your clothes. When you get upset about the fact that not only did he do this without asking, but it caused damage, an abuser will imply that your anger is invalid and unwarranted, that you are ungrateful, (he was just trying to help!), and that there is nothing he can do about it now. The abuser learns and goes for the most sensitive “buttons” on his partner, so that he can get a response out of her. The abuser seeks ways to violate her boundaries through calculated “acts of kindess”, and may resort to using her children, her personal belongings, her friends, or her personal space as tools.
In addition to favors which cause damage, the emotional abuser may do legitimately helpful “favors” for his partner, but again, ones that the partner never asked for. The problem is that the abuser never gives freely or unconditionally. He expects some kind of recompense in return, often without stating what that expectation is. This then gives him another opportunity to feel justified in punishing his partner when she doesn’t live up to his unstated expectations of gratitude and reciprocation. When his partner stands up for herself, you may hear him using phrases like, “everything I did, I did for her”, and “after all I did for her, THIS is how she treats me!”. Abusers will often complain (especially to others outside the relationship) about how unappreciated they are/were, and how they gave and gave and gave, and got so little in return…
Another destabilizing tactic that the abuser may use is to reneg on a committment, or on a stated belief, catching you off-guard, possibly even putting you in a position where he can accuse you of “hurting” him because you didn’t know his beliefs/principles/goals had changed. He will use the excuse that he “changed his mind” as a tool for keeping you off-balance. If you question his about-face, he will accuse you of not allowing him the right to change his mind. While people legitimately DO change their minds about things, abusers will do it often, and without warning, with maximum rug-yanking effect for their partners.
Emotional abusers will use the “mind change” tactic to set a partner up in a no-win situation. No matter what the partner does, the abuser will find a way to find fault with it – if the cat craps on his bed and she doesn’t clean it up, she is uncaring and selfish. If she DOES clean it up, then she was invading his personal space.
Emotional abusers encourage their partners to do “self-indulgent” things that the abuser will later resent them for. It may be as simple as encouraging her to go out dancing with her friends, or to go visit her mother, or it may be as serious as encouraging her to take a job or go back to school. In many cases, his “encouragement” is part of the “if she really loves me” test – if she does what he encourages her to do, she is diverting her attention from him, and he will feel justified in hurting her as a result.
Once someone starts to detach from an abuser and refuses to play the games, he may go for the sympathy ploy. If his partner doesn’t capitulate and refuses to pander to his emotional blackmail, she will be accused of being cold and heartless, in the hopes that THIS escalation of emotional blackmail will hurt her further.
Emotional abusers often display different personalities to other people in their lives – watch for a completely changed demeanor, behavior, body language and even tone of voice, when they are at work, or with a circle of friends. The abuser may claim that this is just different “facets” of his personality, but in fact, it is a warning sign that he puts on different personnas to suit the situation, and you will never know which one is the REAL person. It belies huge insecurities – the way children try to act like the crowd they are with in order to be accepted – and is an indication of the emotional immaturity of the typical abuser.
Emotional abusers, like physical abusers, can be exceedingly charming -that’s why it’s so hard for the victim of abuse – their friends only see the charming side, and don’t see the discourtesy, lies, meanness, condescension and rudeness that happens inside the relationship.
Because abuse is about power and control, the abuser will often try to become “buddies” or friends with his partner’s closest friends. If her female friends are attracted to him at all, he may even try to prey on that, so that if she has a conflict or a problem with him, she doesn’t have a close supportive friend to turn to. Abusers will use things like stories of childhood abuse or trauma, lost friends or the death of relatives to get her friends to feel sorry for him. He will play up the “sensitive guy” role. If he can cozy up to her best friend, the friend will feel caught in the middle – which is exactly what the abuser wants – to cut off his partner from external support. If he can, he may even flirt heavily with her friends, have an affair with one of her friends, or become pals with one or more of her former friends as another way to hurt and attempt to shame her. As much as possible, he will perpetrate this behavior in front of his partner, so that he is exhibiting his control – going for maximum hurt to her through a blatant display of compassionless disrespect.
The emotional abuser often plays pushme-pullyou. He will indicate that his interest in his partner is waning, and when she begins to start separating from him, he will become attentive and interested again. He may even use sex as a weapon against her – by telling her that she isn’t paying enough attention to him, spending enough time with him, or isn’t initiating sex enough, but then will reject her advances when she tries to initiate.
Abusers are completely self-centered. They blame other people and seldom take responsibility for their own actions.
Abusers are self-righteous. They find ways to justify their behavior. As a result, he always focuses on her problems, and insists that she change to make the relationship better.
Emotional abusers hate apologizing – and if they DO apologize, they will only do the same thing again. They know this, and will even try to make it seem like any expectation of an apology is really an attempt to “blame” them. (Again, “blame” being that dirty word). For example, “You just want me to say I’m sorry and promise I’ll never do it again, so that when I screw up again, you can point a finger and blame me and get angry with me and say, “See? You did it again and you promised you wouldn’t!”" This is called “projection” – abusers do it all the time. They project THEIR issues onto their partner, and try to make it their partner’s problem. They make it sound like the partner’s is somehow wrong or attempting to set them up for “blame”, for wanting some sign of compassion and remorse, and an indication of willingness to work on the behavior problem.
If you do get an apology out of an abuser, it is a quick-fix, not a long-term solution, because they will do the same behavior over again – that is why they are often so resistant to apologizing and saying that they will work on the behavior – because they KNOW they will repeat it at another time.
Abusers may, early in the relationship, in a moment of “opening up”, tell you of their abusive or manipulative nature. At the time you may think that this is some kind of indication of a willingness to work on their past problems, or that somehow it will be different for you. In fact, what they are looking for is absolution in advance for behavior they will later inflict on you. They may even go so far as to say, “I told you this is how I am.”
Emotional abusers often grow OLD without growing UP. They are emotionally stunted and immature. Emotional abusers are self-preoccupied, and demonstrate a passive-aggressive interpersonal style.
Emotional abusers may do seemingly loving, kind and considerate things, that actually convey a subtle message that you aren’t “perfect”, that you aren’t quite good enough. For example, it may seem very sweet that he rubs cream into your hands before bed, but then you remember that he also didn’t like you touching him if your hands were the least bit dry or rough – it “hurt” his skin, so you always had to have hand cream to make your hands soft before you touched him. Sadly, the REAL message behind the seemingly loving act of rubbing cream in your hands is that you aren’t perfect, you aren’t living up to his needs and expectations, NOT that he loves you… In their own subversive way, these “messages”, couched in “loving” acts, eat away and erode your sense of self-worth.
Emotional abusers deny that they have any problems and/or project their problems onto their partner, often accusing their partners of abuse – especially AFTER the partner has woken up and called the abuser on his behavior. At this point he will be sure to tell as many *mutual* friends as will listen, that she is controlling and abusive to him, in an attempt to further undermine any support she might get.
In order to gain sympathy, the abuser will share convincing stories of his burdens, including stories of how he was abused as a child, or how he witnessed his mother being assaulted by his father.
An emotional abuser demonstrates little capacity to appreciate the perspective of another person when his own interests are at stake. Emotional abusers often flip between being a martyr and a self-absorbed asshole – there is no middle ground, and they use the martyrdom as an excuse for their behavior when they are in self-absorbed asshole mode (“I was just doing something for *me*. I’m tired of you making me feel bad about myself.”). However, that “something” often winds up breaking a relationship agreement, a promise, or involves him being condescending, ignoring, or rude.
An emotional abuser sees himself as a blameless victim, and denies his own provocative behavior, even going so far as to bemoan the fact that a partner left him, or threw him out, “after all the things I did for her”… The emotional abuser will play up the “pathos” in an attempt to garner sympathy, all the while, continuing to stalk his ex, making jokes about things he could do to upset her, and invading her personal space and boundaries at social functions.
Like physical abusers, emotional abusers will often stalk their former partners. The stalker’s objective is often to control her through cultivating fear rather than making direct or specific threats, or confronting the her. Sometimes this stalking can take the form of simply moving into the same neighborhood as a former partner, and letting her know, through friends, where he is living. His move into her neighborhood will be “justified” by him for some specious reason, but the reality is, he can’t let go and is still trying to control her and inflict pain on her after the relationship is over. This is a subtle form of terrorism, because abuse victims are often very emotionally (if not physically) afraid of their abusers once they wake up. She will know that she might run into him at the local convenience store, gas station, supermarket, or on a walk. He is, in effect, pissing on her boundaries (something abusers have no respect for) and trying to make them his own. He may even begin dating someone who lives very close to her, so that he has an excuse to go by her house, or park his car nearby.
Ex-partners of abusers will often express fear of their abuser, and will have no desire to be anywhere near the abuser. On the other hand, the abuser may try to appear as if he is calm, rational, and still supportive of his ex-partner, despite the fact that he will also express the opinion that he believes she is quite unstable. He will make statements such as saying that he “bears her no ill-will”, etc., but then will show no respect for her boundaries or her requests for him to stay away from her. The abuser will still inquire with friends as to how she is doing, implying that his inquiry is because he cares about her – he does care – about retaining those last vestiges of control, even after the breakup. What he really wants to know is if she is suffering or doing badly, because that feeds his sick ego. He feels best when he puts other people in as much pain as he is in.
People in relationships have conflicts. But there is a right way and a wrong way to resolve them, and no matter what the other person does, no matter what a person’s “issues” are, abuse is the wrong way. Emotional cruelty and abuse are choices. A man can choose to be abusive or choose to be non-abusive; he can choose to be honest and straightforward, or passive-aggressive and covert, and no matter how hard a man tries to blame his partner, there is no justification for abuse.
If you are a victim of emotional abuse, you have to wake up to the fact that this person *does not love you* and probably hasn’t loved you for a very long time, if ever. Because the truth of the matter is, someone who can be emotionally cruel, malicious, and compassionless with people who have given him their love and their trust, is so absorbed in self-hate that he is incapable of loving himself, much less anyone else. What the abuser feels is obsession, not love.
If you find that you are having to explain the basics of respect and courtesy to a partner – if you are finding that he just DOESN’T SEEM TO GET IT, when you try to explain why his behavior or actions were disrespectful – run far and run fast. People who are capable of maintaining and contributing to a loving, supportive, healthy relationship, DON’T need to constantly have the concepts of respect, compassion, and consideration explained to them.
Just because he admits his behavior (and WATCH – some abusers are VERY good at acknowledging they did something without apologizing, or admitting there was anything WRONG with the behavior.), does NOT mean he is willing to change it, that he will not repeat the behavior, nor that he even believes he did anything unacceptable, hurtful or wrong. DO NOT take admission of an act as a sign of integrity, acceptance of responsibility, a show of remorse, or an indication of genuine caring, unless you see EXPLICIT behavior that demonstrates it.
It is NOT wrong, or unhealthy to want someone to love and care about you and care for you, and to want to reciprocate. It is only through this kind of openness that we can acheive true intimacy with another individual. And two emotionally healthy people, CAN do this without becoming co-dependent. Unfortunately, abusers violate the trust that this kind of relationship requires, and are incapable of true intimacy. They want you to be dependent. People who ARE capable of genuinely loving you in a healthy and safe way, DON’T WANT TO HURT YOU, and do not DELIBERATELY DO THINGS TO HURT YOU. They don’t play on your insecurities and they don’t wage psychological warfare on you. They don’t blame YOU for all the relationship problems, and they don’t fabricate problems just so you can be the scapegoat.
People who love you will treat you with respect, consideration, courtesty, honesty and compassion. If you are with someone who matches the abusive behavior in this article, get help. The sooner you wake up to the fact that the relationship is unhealthy, and move on, the sooner your life will improve.
Remember: Safe People are people who draw you closer to who you were meant to be spiritually, emotionally, mentally and physically. They encourage you to be your most loving, growing self.
More links to web pages/sites about Abusers and Emotional Abuse:
Romeo is Bleeding – how to recognize and avoid abusers and controllers
Angry Affirmations – how abusers stay mad at the world
how to be Unhappy – how abusers stay miserable
The Blame Game – How Abusers with Borderline Personality Disorder set people up in “no win” situations. If you want to learn more about BPD, check out the entire section at Suite101. It might be that the abuser you are dealing with has this very debilitating disorder.
A Non-Borderline’s Quest to Understand Borderlines – Q&A about why Borderlines act the way they do (abusively), to people close to them.
Devaluation – How borderlines “devalue” people close to them so they can feel justified in acting out.
Good book resources include:
Emotional Blackmail – When the People in your Life Use Fear, Obligation and Guilt to Manipulate you, by Susan Forward, Ph.D.
Healing the Scars of Emotional Abuse, by Gregory L. Jantz, Ph.D.
Yup, it’s me again. I loved all your responses to the last post about sleeping! It truly does help knowing we are not alone in this battle we are in!
As I am writing this post, I have the overwhelming urge to go back to sleep! Again. Considering all the sleep I have had lately, it still surprises me that I am so fatigued. Yet, I made myself get out today and get a few things. By the time I got back home, I was totally wiped!
Now I am sitting here with my puddy tat in my lap, in the recliner, and will probably fall asleep once I sign off. At some point I truly would like a day with no fatigue or pain. Just one! Yeah, I know, pity party for one here. I just wish I could do the things I want or need to do!!! That being said, I am thankful to have another day of life and I really do appreciate it! Even on these bad days, I am thankful to know that at least I am here! There are others who would trade me the chance if they could.
I hope you are all well and happy today! I am up and down. I will survive this day (hopefully) and think about a better day tomorrow! Keep the comments coming! I love to read your comments. Please do not feel neglected if I do not respond to each of them. Some days it is hard enough just to post and if I missed replying to your comments, please know that I read each of them and when the energy is there, I respond. Just have had a bit of bad flaring so not all that “chatty” online. It really means a lot to me when you share because I know that I am not alone too! Thanks to you all for your comments, encouragement and personal stories! ~Jen
I am going to try a new feature on my blog. I want to get your feedback on different topics. Please give me honest answers. This is not scientific, just curious. Thanks!
Do those of you with autoimmune diseases find your circadian clock is out of whack, in other words are your days and nights reversed? I have found night is my day now. Please share your answers.
I have a common refrain these days when I look around my little house. The question is “Will I ever get this done?”. When I moved in here, in June, I got unpacked, well, mostly unpacked and then set about to settling in to my new digs. In the interim, I have been able to get more of my stuff and now find myself surrounded by bins and boxes of various things that I need to sort out and make decisions about.
It is a sad commentary for me to admit that I am surrounded by these bins and boxes and even though I do get a few things done each day, I find it seems to keep growing instead of diminishing. Is it breeding while I sleep? I feel certain it is something far simpler. Basically it is because, I have had a few set backs health wise and have had little or no energy to do most anything at all. When I do have energy, I am in catch up mode, catching up on dishes and such. That means that the bigger things surrounding me are still waiting for scrutiny, of which I have not had energy to do. It is a classic catch 22.
I am hoping to get over this hump and soon because I need to get this place winterized before the weather gets too cold. In order to do that, I need to find a way to get around these bins and boxes. It really only matters to me but I hate it being so messy. I will leave that for another day though…
I wanted to share with you all a picture of my favorite feline, Miss Shelby, who is my therapeutic helper on those bad days. She was a foundling, feral, and very young and pregnant. She has never gotten any bigger and so she is a petite little lady. She is also very intuitive as to my health. She knows before I do that I am feeling unwell.
It never ceases to amaze me that she will get right in my face and not go away right before I flare up or get sick. She is trying to comfort me before I know I need it. When I am flat in bed, she is right beside me, snuggling up to let me pet her and interact with her.
As I have stated before, doctors have found that those who are chronically ill and have a pet, seem to fare much better than those who do not. All I can say is, thank you Shelby, my furry baby, for “helping” me when I am down. I could never repay you for your kindness. Love you sweetie!
Fall and Spring are two of my favorite times of year. The weather is in the optimum range during the day with a nip of chill at night. In Fall, the leaves are changing into brilliant colors that capture images in my mind. In Spring, the new leaves and stirrings of life after winter give me hope. It is a cycle. I am fortunate enough to live in a place that has four seasons (most of the time).
While I love this time of year, it does not love me. You see, with lupus and fibro and on and on, the weather changes actually can create problems int he form of pain and swelling and such. Add to that the pressures of the barometer and well, you can see it is not especially a comfortable time for those of us with lupus.
So I have been under the weather, so to speak, for a bit now. I have had pneumonia and a particularly bad flare. I am still recovering from them. I find I will be wide awake one minute then sound asleep a second later only to wake up and find that I have slept for a few hours. In other words, my body has taken over. If you are a lupie, you may have experienced this phenomenon as well. It is called “toxic fatigue”.
To help you picture how it feels to one who has it, think about how you feel as you wake up. Most feel refreshed, and ready to face the day ahead of them. If you have toxic fatigue, you literally are aware of being semi-awake but find it terribly hard to pull out of the fog that has you surrounded and is calling you back to sleep. You literally fight to wake up and get started on your day. Sounds kinda scary doesn’t it? Yet, that is how I have been for a few weeks now. It is indeed scary. I mean, what if I cannot wake up? I live alone so only my cat would know it. Is that maudlin thinking? Yes it is, but oh so true as well.
Have any of you experienced this toxic fatigue? How would you describe it? Please share your experiences! Thanks for reading!
- Lupus fatigue and catching a cat… nap (lupusadventurebetweenthelines.wordpress.com)
|Phase 1 – TENSION BUILDING:
Tension increases, breakdown of communication, victim feels need to placate the abuser.
|Phase 4 – CALM:
Incident is “forgotten”, no abuse is taking place.
|Phase 2 – INCIDENT:
Verbal and emotional abuse. Anger, blaming, arguing. Threats. Intimidation.
|Phase 3 – RECONCILIATION:
Abuser apologizes, gives excuses, blames the victim, denies the abuse occurred, or says it wasn’t as bad as the victim claims.
From the webpage http://www.lilaclane.com/relationships/emotional-abuse/
COMMON CHARACTERISTICS OF ABUSERS
* He was verbally abused as a child, or witnessed it in his own family.
* He has an explosive temper, triggered by minor frustrations and arguments.
* Abusers are extremely possessive and jealous. They experience an intense desire to control their mates.
* His sense of masculinity depends on the woman’s dependency upon him. He feels like a man only if his partner is totally submissive and dependent on him.
* Abusers often have superficial relationships with other people. Their primary, if not exclusive, relationship is with their wife/girlfriend.
* He has low self-esteem.
* He has rigid expectations of marriage (or partnership) and will not compromise. He expects her to behave according to his expectations of what a wife should be like; often the way his parents’ marriage was, or its opposite. He demands that she change to accommodate his expectations.
* He has a great capacity for self-deception. He projects the blame for his relationship difficulties onto his partner. He would not be drunk if she didn’t nag him so much. He wouldn’t get angry if only she would do what she’s supposed to do. He denies the need for counseling because there’s nothing wrong with him. Or he agrees to get counseling and then avoids it or makes excuses to not follow through. He might not want her to get counseling because, he reasons, she wouldn’t have any problems if she only turned to him.
* He may be described as having a dual personality — he is either charming or exceptionally cruel. He is selfish or generous depending on his mood.
* A major characteristic of abusers is their capacity to deceive others. He can be cool, calm, charming and convincing: a con man.
* The mate is usually a symbol. The abuser doesn’t relate to his partner as a person in her own right, but as a symbol of a significant other. This is especially true when he’s angry. He assumes that she is thinking, feeling, or acting like that significant other — often his mother.
I got these questions at http://www.lilaclane.com/relationships/emotional-abuse
An abusive partner will railroad discussions, so that you don’t have time to think about what’s right and what’s wrong in their behavior.
Take a moment to consider these questions. Your partner might have behaved as though these things were okay, even though it’s obvious that they aren’t okay…:
Do you feel that you can’t discuss with your partner what is bothering you?
Does your partner frequently criticize you, humiliate you, or undermine your self-esteem?
Does your partner ridicule you for expressing yourself?
Does your partner isolate you from friends, family or groups?
Does your partner limit your access to work, money or material resources?
Has your partner ever stolen from you? Or run up debts for you to handle?
Does your relationship swing back and forth between a lot of emotional distance and being very close?
Have you ever felt obligated to have sex, just to avoid an argument about it?
Do you sometimes feel trapped in the relationship?
Has your partner ever thrown away your belongings, destroyed objects or threatened pets?
Are you afraid of your partner?
I am writing this post while I have so many things on my plate. I need to get the house in order for the upcoming winter, and from what I have heard, this house is horrible for drafts and cold. A previous occupant told me she would get up in the morning and open the oven, turn it on, then lay back down until it heated it up enough for her to get dressed for work. Yikes! Now, that being said, I do not truly know what it will be like but hey, gotta place to live so I cannot complain. I will get a couple of those little heaters to help out. I am also thinking of getting hay bales to put around the exterior ground level of the house to help with insulation. You see, the house is kind of rotting around the ground level from mold and rot due to not having the proper spouting leading the water away from the foundation. Yes, as you can tell, this is an old house. Ah well, I will deal with it all in my time frame.
Now, another thing on my plate is getting my finances in order. I have worked out a budget that, while tight, is going to get me what I need. No wants but needs. I can deal with it. The peace is wonderful and worth it. Just going to be living simply for the next bit but in the end I will be debt free and able to live better on my own.
On the negative side of things, my lymph nodes are swollen in my neck and I have blisters in my mouth along with severe pain in the joints. This is otherwise known as a major flare beginning. My rheumy is calling me in steroids to help combat this before it goes any further. I hope it helps. Daggone it though, I just lost all that weight and now will most likely gain some of it back. Well, I guess that is better than the pains of lupus.
I have been getting to see my kinds and grandkids so much more lately and that is a blessing. I admit that it has been so wonderful seeing them more often and getting to be a major part in their lives.
I am still dealing with my grief on losing my doggie Savannah. She is missed so much and yet knowing she is not in pain anymore makes the blow a little easier to accept. It will get easier over time but right now it still is a bit raw.
I will be posting my big shopping adventure tomorrow and show you all my freebies I got!!! Retail therapy does help me out…lol…
Hope you all are pain free and happy and enjoying the change of seasons in your area!
I posted this a year or so ago but feel it is worthy of repeating… thanks for indulging me! Enjoy! ~Jen
I have a cat. Her name is Shelby. She was a foundling who adopted me. She is also so much more than just a feline friend. Shelby has an intuitive nature that allows her to see when I am ill and respond to me. When I am in bed, like now, she is laying next to me. When I am asleep, she lays either next to me or above my head. Some days, she is not around and that is usually when I am feeling good. She goes about her business as she normally would do. When my lupus is acting up, though, she is right by my side, purring and rubbing on me and trying to help me feel better. It is uncanny, (or should I say, uncatty) how she knows without me saying a word, that I feel awful. She is not overly in my face, but she is on the periphery should she be needed. While my cat is unique, she is not the only one who is intuitive. I read a story a few years back about a nursing home that had “adopted” a stray cat. The cat was allowed to roam the halls and “visit” with the residents. This cat had an intuitve nature too. It was discovered that the cat would go to a particular resident who was imminently ready to pass away. When a resident was at this point, the cat could not be coerced to leave the room of the resident. It would stay until the person passed away. It became noticible to the staff and they would know by the cats behavior, whether there was an impending death or not. They felt that the cat didn’t want the person to be alone, so it would stay on the bed with the person until after they passed. I also saw a story about cats and patients with AIDS. The story said that those patients who had cats, tended to live longer than those who did not have a pet cat. Cats were the pet of choice because they did not require as much work as dogs and chronically ill people may not be able to give a dog the exercise they need. Who knew? So, my Shelby has this same empathy, but for me. She has been a true and loyal friend in my down times and always helps me with her presence. She is not a “talker” type of cat, but she is always here, by my side, when I need her most. She does not judge me, or make me feel I am worthless when I cannot do things. She is just here, faithfully, making me fell loved. Funny that a cat can do that and so many humans can’t. We should take a lesson from the animals on this one!
I am feeling a bit lost right now. Sad too. It is like I am in a depressed funk. You know, that feeling like you want to burst into tears yet you look around and wonder why?
I have felt this way for the past few days. I think the whole separation thing has finally hit me. I find there are days when I think how nice it would be to go back to the home of my husband and then just as I feel that way, he will call me and yell about some thing or another.
I guess the truth of the matter is that I do not matter to him. You see, he has not done anything to try to get me to come back. That is, unless you include the constant calling of me and telling me he misses me and how I am causing all kinds of problems for him by my actions. He seems to think that by blaming me, he will shame me into coming back. Really? In fact, he has done a multitude of things to make me stay away. Like the yelling phone calls, and the self centered way he expects me to jump when he says jump. I should not be surprised but for a man who SAYS he wants his wife back, his actions show the truth.
It is time for me to face the fact that he truly does not really want me in his life. Seriously. If he did, he would show it and he basically is now thinking that it is all my fault since I left HIM. He does not see that the problems that led to me leaving are still present and he has chosen NOT to make the positive changes in his life. It is sad.
Now I am moving forward and I truly think the changes are permanent. It appears that he thinks I am the problem and not him. Maybe I am. Since I chose to not be his enabler once and for all. Time will tell. It is sad to love someone so much and see them be destructive like this. I only wish he loved me half as much as he loves his addiction. Sigh.
I decided to make this post so you all could share your stories of your journey with these autoimmune diseases. I honestly think that by sharing, it helps us in the day to day, knowing there are others that are dealing with the same issues. So, please share your story by commenting on this post. I think it will help our community bonding and each of us personally. Thanks! ~Jen
Part 8 in this series from the Mayo Clinic
Treatment and Drugs
Treatments and drugs
One goal of treatment is to manage the condition causing your neuropathy. If the underlying cause is corrected, the neuropathy often improves on its own. Another goal of treatment is to relieve the painful symptoms.
Many types of medications can be used to relieve the pain of peripheral neuropathy, including:
- Pain relievers. Mild symptoms may be relieved by over-the-counter pain medications. For more-severe symptoms, your doctor may recommend prescription painkillers. Drugs containing opiates, such as codeine, can lead to dependence, constipation or sedation, so these drugs are generally prescribed only when other treatments fail.
- Anti-seizure medications. Drugs such as gabapentin (Gralise, Neurontin), topiramate (Topamax), pregabalin (Lyrica), carbamazepine (Carbatrol, Tegretol) and phenytoin (Dilantin, Phenytek) were originally developed to treat epilepsy. However, doctors often also prescribe them for nerve pain. Side effects may include drowsiness and dizziness.
- Capsaicin. A cream containing this naturally occurring substance found in hot peppers can cause modest improvements in peripheral neuropathy symptoms. Like spicy foods, it may take some time and gradual exposure to get used to because of the hot sensation this cream creates. Generally, you have to get used to the heat before you can experience pain relief. Doctors may suggest you use this cream with other treatments.
- Lidocaine patch. This patch contains the topical anesthetic lidocaine. You apply it to the area where your pain is most severe, and you can use up to four patches a day to relieve pain. This treatment has almost no side effects except, for some people, a rash at the site of the patch.
- Antidepressants. Tricyclic antidepressant medications, such as amitriptyline and nortriptyline (Aventyl, Pamelor), were originally developed to treat depression. However, they have been found to help relieve pain by interfering with chemical processes in your brain and spinal cord that cause you to feel pain. The serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor duloxetine (Cymbalta) also has proved effective for peripheral neuropathy caused by diabetes. Side effects may include nausea, drowsiness, dizziness, decreased appetite and constipation.
Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) may help to relieve symptoms. In this therapy, adhesive electrodes are placed on the skin, and a gentle electric current is delivered through the electrodes at varying frequencies. TENS has to be applied regularly.
Part 3 of the series on this subject from the Mayo Clinic website.
It’s not always easy to pinpoint the cause of peripheral neuropathy, because a number of factors can cause neuropathies. These factors include:
- Alcoholism. Many alcoholics develop peripheral neuropathy because they make poor dietary choices, leading to vitamin deficiencies.
- Autoimmune diseases. These include lupus, rheumatoid arthritis and Guillain-Barre syndrome.
- Diabetes. When damage occurs to several nerves, the cause frequently is diabetes. At least half of all people with diabetes develop some type of neuropathy.
- Exposure to poisons. These may include some toxic substances, such as heavy metals, and certain medications — especially those used to treat cancer (chemotherapy).
- Infections. Certain viral or bacterial infections can cause peripheral neuropathy, including Lyme disease, shingles (varicella-zoster), Epstein-Barr, hepatitis C and HIV/AIDS.
- Inherited disorders. Examples include Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease and amyloid polyneuropathy.
- Trauma or pressure on the nerve. Traumas, such as motor vehicle accidents, falls or sports injuries, can sever or damage peripheral nerves. Nerve pressure can result from using a cast or crutches, spending a long time in an unnatural position or repeating a motion many times — such as typing.
- Tumors. Growths can form directly on the nerves themselves, or tumors can exert pressure on surrounding nerves. Both cancerous (malignant) and noncancerous (benign) tumors can contribute to peripheral neuropathy.
- Vitamin deficiencies. B vitamins — B-1, B-6 and B-12 — are particularly important to nerve health. Vitamin E and niacin also are crucial to nerve health.
- Other diseases. Kidney disease, liver disease and an underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism) also can cause peripheral neuropathy.
Continuation of the series on periphreal neuropathy from the Mayo Clinic.
The nerves of your peripheral nervous system send information from your brain and spinal cord (central nervous system) to all other parts of your body and back again. Nerves that may be affected by peripheral neuropathy include:
- Sensory nerves that receive sensations such as heat, pain or touch
- Motor nerves that control how your muscles move
- Autonomic nerves that control functions such as blood pressure, heart rate, digestion and bladder function
Most commonly, peripheral neuropathy starts in the longest nerves — the ones that reach to your toes. Symptoms vary, depending on which types of nerves are affected. Signs and symptoms may include:
- Gradual onset of numbness and tingling in your feet or hands, which may spread upward into your legs and arms
- Burning pain
- Sharp, jabbing or electric-like pain
- Extreme sensitivity to touch, even light touch
- Lack of coordination
- Muscle weakness or paralysis if motor nerves are affected
- Bowel or bladder problems if autonomic nerves are affected
Peripheral neuropathy may affect one nerve (mononeuropathy), two or more nerves in different areas (multiple mononeuropathy) or many nerves (polyneuropathy).
When to see a doctor
Seek medical care right away if you notice any unusual tingling, weakness or pain in your hands or feet. Early diagnosis and treatment offers the best chance for controlling your symptoms and preventing further damage to your peripheral nerves. If your symptoms interfere with your sleep or you feel depressed, your doctor or pain specialist may be able to suggest treatments that can help.
Well, in light of the progression of my neuropathy, I decided to check out more information. I went to the Mayo Clinic website and found this information. I have re-read the information in light of the new developments in my case. As with any portion of our lupus, or autoimmune journeys always talk to your doctor before starting any new treatments.
From Mayo Clinic website:
Peripheral neuropathy, a result of nerve damage, often causes numbness and pain in your hands and feet. People typically describe the pain of peripheral neuropathy as tingling or burning, while they may compare the loss of sensation to the feeling of wearing a thin stocking or glove.
Peripheral neuropathy can result from problems such as traumatic injuries, infections, metabolic problems and exposure to toxins. One of the most common causes is diabetes.
In many cases, peripheral neuropathy symptoms improve with time — especially if the condition is caused by an underlying condition that can be treated. A number of medications often are used to reduce the painful symptoms of peripheral neuropathy.
Well hello one and all! I am back after that brief hiatus. I basically had to wait until I got my internet fixed. It is hard, although not impossible, to blog from my phone. I have done it, but I don’t have to like it…lol.
On to other topics now. First is my latest neurologist appointment. It was not good news. My lupus is attacking the neurons in my brain and causing me to have neuropathy that has spread quite a bit. So much so that I was advised to use a cane while walking now. I was also told to wear shoes at all times. The cane I do not mind so much because I have had to use it before. The shoes are an altogether different story.
You see, I am a barefoot loving country girl. In summer, spring and fall I hardly ever wear shoes at all! I wear footies around the house if I wear anyhting. Well, now that I think about it, the same goes for winter too. The only exception is when I have to go out in winter and for that, yes, I do wear shoes. (DUH!) You could say I am a natural footwear girl.
This having to wear shoes thing, although a necessity now, is also a fundamental slap to the way I live!! I hate shoes! They are torture devices for my feet. Now, as a result of this change in my body, I am forced to wear the things I detest. I know, I should just be grateful that I am alive but to me, this is not a good thing.
Also, we discussed the continued spread of the neuropathy and what would occur and the changes in my life that it would bring. Basically, my neuropathy cannot be contained like in diabetes, because the lupus is what is attacking my neurons in my brain so the disease is in the drivers seat on this one. That is bad news. I was also informed that if this continued its path, I would be in a wheelchair because the numbness will necessitate it due to balance and coordination issues. Let’s not even discuss the injury subject. Suffice to say that I want to keep all my parts and not need any removed.
I have waited a week to put this out here because I have had a lot of information to digest. I have had to mourn the loss pf sensation and its rapid spread. I have mourned the potential loss pf my mobility. I have had to realize that lupus is in control on this thing and I am a mere pawn in its path. Not pretty is it?
I am in process of finally getting unpacked in my new little home. I can see the end in sight. I can finally relax a little and actually enjoy the peace and quiet. No guilt trips, no manipulations, no temper tantrums, no ugliness (other than me that is). Ahhhhhh, home sweet home at last!
Oh, I forgot, I also am having an EEG of my face and an MRI of my neck to rule out any organic cause for my parasthesia in my face. What fun! I have more to report but will save it for another day. Hope you are all healthy and well. Keep your feet on the ground and your head in the clouds!
This is a reblog from another blogging friend of mine. Hope to inform others about these types of people.
“…defining the key behaviors of an abusive man and the characteristics of the relationship he creates:
- Give and take in the relationship goes grossly out of whack. You end up giving way more than your share, while your partner is taking way more than his.
- You pay a high price for bringing up certain subjects, so that you start to feel, “I just can’t talk to him about that.”
- He tells you that things he has done to you are your own fault.
- You get punished for standing up to him about certain things. If you don’t back down when he reaches his limit, he will get you back for it by ripping you apart verbally, threatening you, scaring you, hurting you physically, or intentionally ruining your day. The bottom line is, if he doesn’t get his way about something that is important to him, he makes sure to make you miserable.
- You feel more and more controlled and devalued by him over time.
- He hurts you for being hurt by him. In other words, if you tell him how you have been affected by his destructive behavior, or he notices those effects himself, he uses those effects to ridicule you or to do you more harm in other ways.
- He refuses to accept responsibility for his own actions.
The passive aggressive man does these abusive things covertly, subtly, in ways that seem completely justifiable.
Another good read about fatigue
Lupus: A Patient Care Guide for Nurses and Other Health Professionals
Patient Information Sheet #2, Preventing Fatigue Due to Lupus
Fatigue is a very common complaint of all people with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), even when no other symptoms of active disease are present. The fatigue of lupus isn’t just being tired. You may feel an extreme fatigue that interferes with many aspects of your daily life. You may find that you are unable to participate in your normal pattern of daily activities, such as working, caring for your family and home, or participating in social activities. The exact cause of this fatigue is not known. But in some patients, it is related to fibromyalgia, which is a common, chronic disorder characterized by widespread fatigue and muscle pain, as well as multiple tender points.
Your doctor and nurse will probably ask you about your lifestyle and patterns of daily living and activity. They will also evaluate your overall fitness, health, nutrition, and ability to handle stress. Your doctor or nurse will then be able to advise you about how your fatigue can be reduced. It is important to remember that getting enough rest, maintaining physical fitness, and keeping stress under control are absolutely necessary for anyone with lupus.
Changes in your lifestyle and patterns of daily living and activity may not be easy to accept. In addition, the changes necessary for you to cope with your disease today may be different from the changes you may have to make later. A positive attitude and a well-thought-out, but flexible, plan of action will increase the chances that you can make these changes successfully.
Caring for Yourself
- Get enough sleep. You may be able to get by on 8 hours a night, or you may need more.
- Plan for additional rest periods throughout the day, as needed. Do not exhaust yourself.
- Getting enough rest does not mean no activity at all. A welldesigned exercise program is important to maintaining strength, endurance, and overall fitness.
- Every week, make a simple plan of your work and activities. The plan can help you organize the events of your life and ensure that you have a good balance of rest and activity.
- Each day, review your plan and decide if you are physically up to the activities for that day. Be flexible; if you don’t have the strength to do an activity today, do it another time.
- Don’t try to complete a large task or project all at one time; divide it into several steps.
- Eat a well-balanced diet.
- Dealing with stressful issues and problems takes a lot of energy. If you feel stressed out, talk with your doctor or nurse. They may be able to provide you with help for your problem or direct you to someone else who can.
Another article about lupus and cognitive dysfunction. Interesting read from http://www.hss.edu/conditions_lupus-fatigue-cognitive-dysfunction.asp
The Cycle of Fatigue and Cognitive Dysfunction
In those with lupus, [systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE)], the story of fatigue and cognitive dysfunction is what Dr. Melanie Harrison compares to the story of the “chicken and egg.” Each symptom directly impacts the other and can wreak havoc upon the human body by forcing one to endure an ongoing cycle of confusion caused by exhaustion, which is caused by confusion, which is caused by exhaustion, and so on. Such a scenario is hard for individuals to live with and difficult for physicians to diagnose.
Among the general population of the United States, fatigue is the main complaint in over ten million doctor visits, or one quarter of all visits annually. This is largely because the condition itself is so dynamic; many patients suffering from fatigue often complain of physical fatigue, where joints and bones are just worn out, while others describe more of a psychological fatigue that results from the stresses of life, work and family. Still others complain simply of mental fatigue, when their mind is hazy or not operating as clearly as they believe it should. At different times and in different ways, just about anyone can suffer from one or any combination of these ailments.
Despite such different ways of presenting itself, each variable symptom of fatigue is equally real and can often be much more pronounced in those with lupus. According to Dr. Harrison, those with lupus tend to experience lupus-related fatigue as “something more from inside” the human body. Though the term sounds uncertain, it lends itself to a different, and some may argue deeper, understanding of the symptom in those who experience it as a result of lupus; fatigue is more than mere listlessness. Rather, it is when one has little trouble beginning a task, but instead tires easily and has trouble keeping up (again, whether it be mentally, physically, psychologically, or otherwise).
“Fatigue, especially related to autoimmune diseases like lupus, is often persistent,” Dr. Harrison says. “It’s very intangible, but you know the difference – especially those with lupus know the difference. It’s not the same thing as just having a cold, it’s not the same thing as just not getting a good night’s sleep.”
Along with skin rashes and arthritis, fatigue is among the most common symptoms of lupus. Over 81 percent of those with lupus, both active and inactive, will experience troublesome fatigue that will impair their ability to live normally. Despite this high percentage, fatigue, because of the variability of the symptom and its typically subtle development, is often overlooked by both patients and physicians. Indeed, many times it is only when patients first complain of fatigue that they realize that something has “been off” for quite a while. This, according to Dr. Harrison, is one reason why physicians have had such trouble diagnosing it.
“Because we can’t do a blood test for it, we can’t do an x-ray for it, we don’t have specific questions…it’s really difficult for us to measure it,” says Dr. Harrison. As a result, the medical community has had little chance to study fatigue and, what is infinitely worse, rarely claims success in treating the ailment unless both a trigger and a continuous cause for the symptom are known.
Causes for fatigue can be many, and this is why narrowing down one specific cause can be so difficult. From a physical standpoint, fatigue can be the result of exertion, pain, or illnesses such as multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, or lupus; behaviorally, it can be caused by poor sleep, substance abuse, stress, or any other type of disruption in daily activities; and psychologically, it may result from neuropsychiatric problems such as mood disorders or cognitive dysfunction itself.
Cognitive function refers to the sum of all activities that compose cognitive thought. This includes the taking in of new information, interpretation of information, creating and storing new memories, problem solving, etc. If any cognitive processes are disrupted, one is said to suffer from cognitive dysfunction.
In those with lupus, 80 percent complain of cognitive problems that interrupt their life. Sometimes this can manifest itself in trivial ways such as forgetting what one is supposed to buy at the supermarket, while at other times more serious information may be in question, e.g., forgetting where to pick up one’s children. Often, cognitive dysfunction can lead to a severe decrease in quality of life because cognitive problems create a sense of insecurity.
“There can be loss of independence, either because you actually can’t do things like pay the bills properly or because you’re afraid that if you try to do something, it’s not going to be done right, so you just avoid those activities,” Dr. Harrison says. “There’s a great deal of anxiety and a great deal of depression associated with it.”
According to Dr. Harrison, there is also a great sense of fear surrounding cognitive dysfunction. Patients worry that the disease will progress, eventually leaving their minds “demented.” Based on her years of study, Dr. Harrison has concluded that in most cases (barring the occurrence of other medical conditions such as recurrent stroke or other conditions affecting the brain) patients suffering from cognitive dysfunction do not experience progressive symptoms.
The causes of cognitive dysfunction are similar to those of fatigue. In those with lupus they can include any sort of disease affecting the central nervous system, any condition affecting the brain, psychiatric disturbances (including any one or combination of 19 neuropsychiatric syndromes outlined by the American College of Rheumatology), fever, medication (such as steroids like prednisone), sleep disturbance, pain, and fatigue. The similarities do not end there.
In those with lupus, cognitive dysfunction, just like fatigue, can range from mild to severe and can manifest itself in any number of ways, leaving patients accurately describing the same symptom while each experiences it differently.
“A lot of people will say that they know they are not thinking as clearly as they did before they developed lupus,” says Dr. Harrison. “Some days are definitely better than others, and some weeks are better than others, and some months are better than others, but they never quite return to what their baseline was before they had the disease.”
There is no definitive treatment for cognitive dysfunction (again, because just as in fatigue, there are no specific causes that always create the condition in the human body).
When placed side by side, the symptoms of fatigue and the symptoms of cognitive dysfunction are strikingly similar and are indicative of a cycle of conditions that can be crippling. Dr. Harrison clearly states the problem when she says that, “thinking becomes more difficult when you’re fatigued and when you’re concentrating on thinking clearly, it causes fatigue because your thinking is impaired. Now, which of these started this vicious cycle?”
For those with lupus, a good night of sleep is among the most valuable activities in which one can engage in order to stay healthy and avoid symptoms of the disease like fatigue and cognitive dysfunction. Unfortunately, 61 percent of those with lupus claim that they do not feel refreshed after a night of sleep. Typically, those with lupus have sleep problems that may include any or all of the following:
- Restless sleep
- Poor sleep quality
- Sleep for too short of a duration
- Problems falling asleep
- Inability to stay asleep
Another element of sleep disorder Dr. Harrison identifies is what she calls “sleep phobia”:
“Lupus patients tend to lay awake and are concerned about not sleeping, but what happens when you’re thinking, ‘Oh my God, I’m not falling asleep and I have so much to do tomorrow?’” says Dr. Harrison. “The more anxious you get, the less likely that you’ll be able to fall asleep or sleep well when you do fall asleep.”
As stated earlier, lack of sleep can lead to fatigue and can cause great anxiety, but it can also lead to feelings of depression, which can worsen the symptoms of cognitive dysfunction and make sleep more difficult, creating yet another “chicken and egg” scenario where one condition furthers the other in a reciprocal motion.
In those with lupus, as in the general population, musculoskeletal problems such as arthritis account for a significant portion of the patient complaints. Musculoskeletal problems are commonly cited as a cause for fatigue. Typically, these are not chronic, but in those with lupus, there are joint and muscle pains that are inflammatory and therefore more difficult to endure.
Of those with lupus, over 95 percent claim to suffer the pain and swelling associated with arthritis (the most common symptom of lupus). An additional 20-30 percent of patients also suffer from fibromyalgia, a condition similar to arthritis where aches and pains are present but fail to show up visibly in physical examinations or on blood tests. Again, these conditions can cause sleep disorders which, in turn, cause both fatigue and cognitive dysfunction.
Anemia is yet another condition that affects many in the general population, but is also commonly associated with lupus, lupus-related fatigue, and cognitive dysfunction. In the bloodstream, iron is responsible for carrying oxygen throughout the body. When a patient is anemic (defined as an iron deficiency), a situation arises in which a patient’s blood cells cannot carry enough oxygen. The body is then forced to cope by drawing more oxygen in through such means as yawning, increasing feelings of fatigue. When those with lupus experience this, they typically experience it as what Dr. Harrison calls “anemia of a chronic disease,” in which patients develop anemia slowly – the result of the inflammation in the body.
“You have enough iron,” Dr. Harrison says, “but your system is just not working well.”
Dr. Harrison stresses that although the medical community does not know everything there is to know about lupus-related fatigue and cognitive dysfunction, they are making great strides forward in their studies.
“The moral of the story is that the cause of fatigue is not clear,” she says, “but we’ve made some progress and are learning more about the topic.”
Dr. Harrison reiterates that the causes for both fatigue and cognitive dysfunction in those with lupus are numerous and can range from separate conditions within the body such as mood disorders, muscle aches, or lung ailments (such as chronic bronchitis) to external factors such as stress at work and in the home or medication use. Regardless of the cause, once the cycle of fatigue and cognitive dysfunction has started, the symptoms can be difficult to handle.
Simply because there are questions left unanswered when dealing with lupus does not mean that physicians have no advice when it comes to limiting the effects of the disease. Dr. Harrison points out, as most medical professionals do, that it is vital to maintain a healthy lifestyle that includes a balanced diet, sufficient sleep, and exercise. Keeping to these standards may not prevent all the symptoms of the disease, but in the long run it will keep one’s body strong and well prepared to deal with whatever lupus-related conditions may arise.
I got this information from the website http://members.shaw.ca/tiderington/cnslupus.html
FYI *Re: Lupus Cerebritis and Cerebral Vasculitis*
In addition to headache, NP-lupus can cause other neurological disorders, such as mild cognitive dysfunction, organic brain syndrome, peripheral neuropathies, sensory neuropathy, psychological problems (including personality changes, paranoia, mania, and schizophrenia), seizures, transverse myelitis, and paralysis and stroke.
The diagnosis is not always straightforward.
Although there are no “definitive” tests for CNS-lupus, there is a type of brain scan called a “SPECT brain scan” that may be positive even when an MRI brain scan is normal.
NP-SLE is extremely variable.
Further confounding the ability to diagnose NP-SLE is the fact that a patient may develop a psychiatric illness as a consequence of having lupus without having NP-SLE.
Also, certain therapies may produce psychiatric disturbances.
As the therapy used to treat patients with SLE can cause psychiatric problems, it makes it very difficult for the rheumatologist to decide if the patient is suffering from primarily NP-SLE, reactive depression or the side effects of steroid therapy.
It is usually necessary to rule out other conditions that may mimic central nervous system manifestations of systemic lupus erythematosus, including infection and toxic metabolic states.
The rheumatologist has a battery of diagnostic tests and procedures which can aid him in making the diagnosis of NP-SLE.
To put this in the proper perspective, a patient who has multi-organ involvement and signs of severe NP-SLE, such as seizures, strokes, etc., can easily be given the diagnosis of NP-SLE.
For such a patient, the rheumatologist is confronted with the difficult decision of determining if the headaches or anxiety are truly caused by NP-SLE.
TREATMENT of CNS-SLE
Since the indications of NP-SLE can vary from very severe to mild symptoms, should all patients with NP-SLE be treated with steroids, irrespective of the intensity of the disease activity?
Patients with central nervous system manifestations of lupus erythematosus who present with organic brain syndrome or coma can be treated with intravenous methylprednisolone pulse therapy.
Conclusively, individuals with major manifestations of NP-SLE require aggressive therapy with high dose steroids and perhaps immunosuppressive drugs, plus other appropriate treatment such as anti-seizure medication.
But what should be done for patients with minor manifestations of neurologic and psychiatric NP-SLE?
The study of NP-SLE is still in its infancy, but certain strides are being made.