I decided to separate these issues into separate posts to better categorize the issues.
I had a former neighbor who had an abusive spouse who was constantly putting her down and trying to break her self esteem. She realized she had been cowering and allowing her cruel spouse to torment her and he was feeding off his cruelty and reducing her to tears. She didn’t have any money like my other friend had. My neighbor just had a nasty spouse who enjoyed tormenting her. A gun nut which made him even more dangerous. I actually saw him smiling one time when he reduced her to tears.
She decided to stop the cycle of abuse. She described how she just started smiling pleasantly every time her spouse said something cruel. (She said it is important not to make a nasty or sarcastic smile, otherwise it doesn’t work and the spouse would know he was getting under your skin). The smile has to look genuine and not overdone. She stopped arguing back. It takes two to argue. He used to say mean things just to get her upset, but she just smiled pleasantly, said “OK” nicely and walked away. My neighbor made it a personal rule to never say something more than twice. If the other person did not get it after the second time, there was no point in repeating it further. Anything more than twice is a waste of breath. Thus, she never engaged in another argument. She simply stated her opinion no more than twice and walked away after that with a smile. You can’t force someone to agree with you no matter how wrong they may be. Even if they are saying it about you. They are only doing that to get you upset. Her spouse tried to push every button to get her upset again, but she just ignored him, smiled and walked away. Within just a couple weeks, my neighbor’s spouse came apart at the seams because he was no longer able to feed on tormenting her and making her life miserable. He stopped bathing, stopped doing his job and became a basket case simply because he could no longer reduce her to tears. With him coming apart at the seams, she was able to get away from him and moved to another state.
I found her method to be quite effective. I haven’t had to raise my voice nor argue in 20 years. I am not an expert by any means. I can only describe my own experiences or those of my family or friends. Hopefully, some of the info is helpful as an insight about the cruelty of some people and why you shouldn’t allow someone to destroy your self esteem. No one is worth that. Anyone who says nasty things is not your friend and does not care about your welfare.
However, if you live with a violent person, they can be deadly dangerous. You can’t reason with a psychotic and they tend to be unpredictable and can rapidly become murderous. You need to get away to a safe place and have someone help you if necessary.
I had another friend who wanted to leave a violently abusive spouse who was making threats if she ever left, so she called the police while he was otherwise occupied and told the officers she wanted to leave but her spouse had threated to harm her if she tried to leave. She said she was afraid of his violence and asked them to come out to insure her safety as she was leaving. She had not given her spouse any clue she was leaving until the officers had arrived. He was in the shower and was completely surprised to see the police. The police even gave her a ride to the bus station and made sure she was able to leave safely.
When he tracked her down and begged her return, the same pattern started all over again. So she called the police a second time & the police again made sure she was able to leave the house safely without being attacked and they took her to a women’s shelter where she was able to restart her life again. The shelter also helped her get orders of court protection which was something she was unable to afford the first time. It is always best if you have multiple people or friends who can help you leave safely. Never try to leave on your own or make threats of leaving. Just quietly get friends or authorities to help you. Don’t talk about your plans in the house or car in case it is being recorded or monitored. Don’t warn the violent abuser in advance. Making threats of leaving has gotten a lot of people killed. Say nothing. You need help to leave a violent spouse. More than one person. A group of big male friends, relatives or the police or help from shelters, etc. Many men who abuse women are not so violent when they are facing other men larger than they are or in numbers.
Many of the cases on Forensic Files were set off by these types of threats being used during a spousal argument.
Remember Drew Peterson and two of his wives? Stacy is still missing. Remember how he followed her everywhere after they were married, checked her phone and her email and made accusations working himself into a suspicious frenzy while he was also planning to replace her with a new mistress? There is a movie about them you should watch.
Remember all the dark secrets of Scott Peterson who pretended to be Mr. Niceguy?
The following items could save your life with an abusive spouse (male or female). Never assume someone is going to be a good spouse. Before marrying someone, ask their former spouses and former girlfriends. Ask female coworkers. Run background checks, read their divorce records, etc.
My former neighbor’s ideas for personal rules dealing with an abuser.
- If you engage in arguing, yelling, etc., it only escalates the situation and makes the abuser more aggressive and possibly dangerous.
- Don’t engage in arguments.
- Don’t respond to or acknowledge nasty comments, insults, lies, etc.
- Never yell
- Be pleasant and polite
- Never give them a reason to be violent
- Never say anything more than twice.
- Don’t say anything that you will regret.
- Some things are unforgivable and cannot be undone or unsaid.
- Don’t resort to name calling or personal criticisms
- no matter how much you are provoked.
- Find a way to get out of the situation & away from the abuser without setting them off
- Don’t engage in violence
- Keep friends & family around as much as possible
- Have a family member live with you or stay over for a while
- Avoid being alone or alone with abuser
- Invite frequent guests to come over (close friends who know the situation)
- Never engage in arguments or name calling
- Don’t make accusations or demands
- Never tell an abuser you are leaving
- Never threaten an abuser
- Never threaten to divorce or leave an abuser
- Never threaten to take children or property or money from an abuser
- Never give an abuser advanced warning about any intentions or actions
- Wait until you have help from police, friends or family to escort you to leave
- Help needs to be males big enough & more than one male friend or relative or police officers to protect you from violence when you are leaving
- a group of females is not enough to protect against an abusive male
- Or quietly obtain a court order & have the police escort the abuser out the door
- Never be alone while in the process of a court battle.
- Stay with someone else.
- Never become an easy target
- Change your behavior patterns
- Drive different routes
- Change your child’s school
- Change your child’s daycare
- Move to another location with a friend or relative
- Never be alone with the abuser after separating or divorcing.
- Always have a chaperone & in a public place or your lawyers office
- Ask a lawyer for advice
- Carpool to and from work
- Always make sure someone knows your exact schedule every day
- where you go and with whom
- Keep a digital recorder inside the lining of your purse
- let someone trustworthy know where the recorder is located; just in case
- Leave copies of evidence, recordings, photos of bruises and written descriptions of abuse situation with a trusted friend or relative
- Signed & dated
Remember OJ Simpson and his ex wife Nicole.
Most deadly assaults have occurred after a spouse has made threats to leave, divorce, take children, property, money, etc., from the abuser. Never say anything to let an abusive spouse know what you are planning. Get help in advance. Do not make arrangements over the phone, in the house or car where you may be recorded or monitored, nor in front of a child that can repeat what you say. Nor tell anyone who might tell the abuser. Get help to escort you to leave or get court ordered help to remove the abuser. In the meantime, don’t do anything to escalate the situation. Don’t argue or yell or make threats, etc. Try not to respond. I know there are those abusive spouses who will intimidate, yell and threaten but if you respond, it will only get worse. Use your energy to start planning on what you need to do to get out of your situation.
The more the abuser escalates, the more desperate they are to see you come to harm. There could be pressures from a mistress, from a job, from money they owe which they need your demise to fix. They can get buy life insurance policies without your knowledge. They can also get life insurance policies on you through their employer benefits. Watch forensic files and similar shows to give you an idea of just how much danger you could be in.
However, do not strip down the abuser of all properties and unreasonable monies. The abuser needs to have money to live on, car to drive and part of the property in the house so they can have personal items (except weapons. Try to get a court agreement to have the weapons sold and the money returned to the owning spouse or divided rather than returning the weapons).
If you strip down an abuser with a mean lawyer and judge to get even, you are giving the abusive spouse a motive to destroy you and leaving them with nothing to lose for coming after you and harming or killing you. You will do better if you leave them with reasonable money and belongings and a fair part of the house items. It will reduce the amount of rage they have against you. Get a job to help with your own costs. Show you are making an effort to be fair. Utility companies have excellent entry level opportunities, excellent pay and excellent opportunities for advancement and promotions.
Even though I owned and paid for all of my properties and household items, I gave my ex enough furniture and dishware, pots and pans, tables, bed, linens, vehicles, tools, photos, etc., for him to set up a decent home. I did not ask for any alimony or money from him. We divided the savings. It was a mutually agreeable property division. We also remained plutonic friends for a few years then went our separate ways. He was not a violent spouse but he was quite cruel which ended with the divorce.
Some men will marry women with money or pretty women as a trophy prize. But most men will come to resent a wife who makes more money or who has a higher position. Men who marry pretty trophy wives will often become jealous and possessive or they may become abusive if the wife gains weight or gets older. In one case, I saw a story about a man on TV who married his wife because he had an obsession for very overweight women. As his 600 lb wife began losing weight and got below 300lbs, he became increasingly abusive and hateful and began tormenting her with food, etc. I hope she has the sense to leave him. I have seen men deliberately bringing home fatty junk foods to keep their wives fat. It was another form of abuse. They thought it was amusing to have that kind of power over their wives.
I have also seen women abusing their husbands. Abuse is not always the male. Sometimes it is both. I had another neighbor who is constantly putting down her husband and yelling and making threats. I tried my best to get her to stop. She is not open to reason. She always started the fights and he became abusive in return and drinks heavily. He actually set her up into assaulting him and recorded her. He had her arrested and now she has a police record and was put on probation. He very nearly had her committed to an asylum. I just barely was able to help her avoid that. He was using that ploy to get out of paying her alimony or giving her any of the property by having her declared mentally incompetent.
They finally discovered they could not afford to get a divorce this late in life. Both in their late 50’s and their house is not worth enough for either to afford to get another home nor afford the cost of rents. It is cheaper for them to remain where they are. She still starts fights, but she finally got a job where she works late. and has been working there for 8 years. Having that job also helps her prove she is not mentally unstable should he try that ploy again. He is an alcoholic who keeps losing his jobs. She often stays with relatives to keep out of his way. In this manner, they have learned to live without battering each other. I still hear them yell and he is a gun nut who shoots off his guns from time to time which worries me. If she had any sense, she would stop yelling and stop starting fights. She is always the instigator and always putting him down. She seems to think it makes him look bad to others. It has the opposite effect. It makes her look loud, belligerent and unreasonable. He only fights after she starts them, but I fear she is in danger with his drinking and guns. One of these days she will push him too far and pay for it with her life.
I have also seen many women who think it is perfectly ok to criticize and put down their husband in front of other people. It is quite awful either way. No spouse should treat the other with disrespect. Certainly without abuse or violence. Being married does not give anyone a right to abuse their partner. Verbal abuse and physical assault as well as restricting someone’s freedom of movement is just as illegal for a married couple as it is for a perfect stranger. Just blocking a doorway is considered illegal imprisonment.
Anyone who is cruel or hateful or abusive, violent, etc., either does not want to be married or have kids or they have no respect for their spouse and may have someone else on the side. You cannot fix someone who feels like that. You can only get out of the situation before it becomes worse.
Never let down your guard, especially when a spouse suddenly decides to be nice and want a second chance. They already showed you how they feel about you with the abuse. They only get nice if they have ulterior motives and to gain access to getting you alone or because they found out how expensive it was to be separated and only want reconciliation due to financial reasons. Many of them have darker, more deadly intentions. Pay attention to these forensic file shows and what happens to those trusting abused spouses who went on a reconciliation honeymoon, etc.
These are just various events and stories I can share from myself, friends or family members in the hope the info may be useful. It is not wise to remain in an abusive situation. They almost always escalate and become worse, possibly deadly. No one should ever remain in harms way.