Covert Abuse

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  • #558
    Renee Swanson
    Participant

    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!

Viewing 11 replies - 1 through 11 (of 11 total)
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  • #604
    Emma
    Participant

    Just lost everything I wrote!! My fault. So will abbreviate a bit more this time!

    By the time you’ve worked out that he’s a covert narcissist your friends and family are either bored, don’t get it, or don’t really believe you (Cassandra Phenomenon). Its hard to explain and quantify. Leaves you very lonely.

    You are suffering from OTRS (Ongoing Traumatic Relationship Stress), please read! link:

    The burden on NT spouses and children, OTRS

    Don’t be put off by the word aspergers, OTRS applies in just the same way to narcissism. Mine has both. The realisation of Aspergers came first then Narcissism, then Covert Narcissism. I then found out that Narcissism and Aspergers were so similar that it can be difficult to work out which one you’re dealing with. Also that the two conditions are often found together, so the person has a mixture of the two conditions. In fact I believe the effect on him of having Aspergers whilst growing up lead to the creation of the narcissistic false self. If you are interested this link outlines the two conditions and why people find it difficult to here are two charts showing the two conditions:

    My son tells me it is time to play frisbee so I’m off for now. I very much hope to hear from you all.

    Lots of love
    Emma

    #606
    Emma
    Participant

    Can’t seem to put link on will try again Aspergers/Narcissism

    #612
    Renee Swanson
    Participant

    Thank you so much for sharing this!! I am eager to read through the articles. I have looked a little into the connection of Aspergers with Narcissism, as I have seen that mentioned now in several places. I have not heard of OTRS. Keep sharing your story and knowledge. It is time for the world to wake up to all this abuse!

    #615
    Emma
    Participant

    Dear Renee

    I’m so glad to have this forum, thank you for setting it up and not making me feel so alone.

    I would like to add that whist people with aspegers unintentionally upset people. People with narcissism do it intentionally.

    I look forward to more discussion!

    Emma

    #616
    Emma
    Participant

    Just thought I’d add the definition of OTRS in case you don’t read the link:

    OTRS is a normal response in neurotypical (NT) people as a result of prolonged traumatic stress in an intimate relationship. Symptoms are similar to those seen in people who continuously, for a long time, are exposed to emotional and psychological torture, both mental and physical. The impact is more serious because the traumatic stress, OTRS, is suffered at home in an intimate relationship, and because the surrounding persons typically deny the reality of what is taking place.

    The damage to the NT spouse and children occurs insidiously and can continue for decades.

    #617
    Renee Swanson
    Participant

    Hey Emma,
    Thank you so much for sharing the info about OTRS. Now that I am out of the abusive situation, it is so much more clear to me. It is easier to see how my kids and I were abused and manipulated. The damage is far more apparent. It is a bit scary at times, but I know we are strong enough to work through this.
    We are learning to trust each other. I think one of the biggest pieces of damage that we suffered was the inability to trust a member of our intimate family. We could not trust that he cared about us and would treat us with love and respect. So everyone’s guard was incredibly high all the time. We are know that life is not perfect. But trust is huge! I am working so hard to teach my boys to trust that others care about them and to allow others to trust them.
    -Renee

    #623
    Emma
    Participant

    Hi Renee

    I’m so looking forward to living alone with the boys, no more tension, just lots of fun and lots of laughs, a lighthearted joyous home.

    There is no doubt that I am the one who supports them emotionally, I am their safety, and we are very close. The next step is removing them from this environment which won’t be for 18 months.

    They are lovely boys who have worked out quite a lot about their dad from their own experience. I have twin boys aged 13, one has down syndrome. Children with ds have so much joy to give, he is beautiful with a heart of gold.Can you imagine how a covert narcissist feels about a son with a disability? Sam Vaknin explains:

    (Ignore the bit about Munchausen syndrome at the end)

    Sam Vaknin is a self confessed narcissist and renowned expert on narcissism. His videos are definitely worth a watch if you haven’t come across him yet).

    My son with ds has never had the courage to speak his mind to his dad. Then an extraordinary thing happened a couple of weeks ago. He said to his dad “I want a different dad”, “One who is warm and cozy”. My ex was actually shocked, as if to wonder how has my son with down syndrome managed to get the measure of me? I think my son had been leading up to saying that all his life.

    Bye for now

    Emma

    Kids with ds are also super tuned in to peoples feelings and the emotional environment.
    Sadly their dad

    When he is an arsehole they have me

    The next step of removing them is

    #624
    Emma
    Participant

    Sorry ignore all the half finished bits at the end!!

    Also didn’t get the link to work will try again

    #625
    Emma
    Participant

    ok that worked!

    #630
    Renee Swanson
    Participant

    Your son’s words bring tears to my eyes! He has put into such simple words what my own boys have felt for years.
    It is so hard for kids to stand up to an abusive parent! I am so happy that you have created enough emotional security for your son that he feels safe enough to be honest with his dad this way.
    Emotional safety is a huge factor in all of this. We all need emotional safety!! As an adult, finding it inside yourself is amazing. Kids needs it from a safe adult until they are strong enough to find it inside themselves.
    Your boys are blessed to have you in their lives!

    #631
    Emma
    Participant

    Thank you Renee,

    Yes his comment said it all!

    Part of my journey is definitely about finding emotional security from within and this is ultimately a positive side effect of having been with someone who has given me emotional insecurity!

    Your kids are blessed to have you too. A big shout to all us mums who are working through this, well done us!!

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