He repeatedly told me that EVERYTHING was always my fault!! It was my fault that we didn’t communicate well. It was my fault that we were distant and struggling. It was my fault that I was anxious and upset. It was my fault that he didn’t have a relationship with me. It was my fault that he didn’t have a relationship with our boys. It was my fault that he went into hiding and checked out. It was my fault that he was unable to communicate well. It was my fault that he didn’t feel respected or loved. It was ALL my fault, and ALL my job to fix.
He continuously made me feel guilty and responsible. For many years, I fell for this. I thought it was all my fault. I remember one day when I was eating lunch with a friend. I opened up to her about how I was feeling in the marriage. I told her about the excessive gaming that my husband was doing and how frustrated I was about it. I remember saying to her, “Now, I know that it is my fault that he games so much….” She immediately interrupted me, “Wait a minute! How in the world is this your fault?” She was genuinely shocked at my statement. I responded, “Well, I don’t know. I must not have fussed at him hard enough. I should have pitched a bigger fit about it.” She laughed in disbelief, “Do you hear what you are saying? He’s a grown man. His choices are not your fault!”
At the time, I certainly did not realize the absurdity here. I did not see how messed up my own thinking had become. I actually did think that his addiction to gaming was my fault and that I should have been able to stop it. I believed this even though I had tried for years to get him off his games. He completely shut me down every time. Yet somehow, I still managed to believe that it was my fault.
Another example is that I thought for years that it was my job to make sure he had a good relationship with his boys. I used to wear my brain out trying to come up with things he could do with them. Then when I did come up with ideas, he brought so much negativity into the activity that it was a disaster. So now I also had to figure out how to keep him from being so negative while he was with them. I had become convinced that this was my duty and responsibility. But it was impossible! So as his relationship with our boys deteriorated, I felt more and more like a failure. This is covert, emotional, passive aggressive abuse!
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