Hi. I'm new here. And I need to get a few things out.
I've been married to my husband for almost 12 years. Let me back up. I was raised by a mother who said she loved me, but did nothing to show it. When I would do normal kid things, she would cut me down verbally, threaten to kill herself and disappear for hours, and take shots at my character in ways that were worse than any name-calling or slap in the face could have been. I struggled with anorexia, bulimia, and self-injury for most of my childhood and into my adulthood. I started hurting myself when I was around 6 years old, because I felt so horrible inside that making the pain tangible and physical and tending to that was the only way I could cope. At least, the only way I knew of alone. I left home when I was 15. Believe it or not, I managed to finish school, go on to college and graduate. My first relationship ended when I realized his family had more problems than my own. I'd made a decision that I wanted a normal, emotionally safe life. I still had so much healing to do, and I couldn't do it with him as my partner. It was difficult, but I made it on my own.
And then I met my husband. He was so charming and different from anyone I'd ever met. Generous, smart, quiet, kind. I kept telling him I was a walking problem factory, that I had so many issues I had a subscription, and he just assured me that we all have problems and he loved me anyway. It was crazy, he made me feel so safe. It was like it was too good to be true.
The first incident was when he punched a hole in the wall 3 months into our marriage over something extremely trivial. I didn't know what to think, but it struck fear into me like I can't explain. Many, many more holes would be punched in walls through the years. There were times when his friends or family would say things to me that were really rude, and I'd mention to him that it was rude, and he'd cut me to shreds verbally, accusing me of hating everyone. (Not accurate, by the way.) He would always get extremely angry, slamming tables into the floor, punching things. I always wondered if he would eventually hurt me. Statistics say it's likely. But instead of turning physically abusive, he turned to extreme verbal cruelty.
I struggle with anxiety, and have for my entire life. He knows all about it, the things that frighten me most, my deepest fears. So now when he gets angry, he starts belittling me and humiliating me for having anxiety. He tells me he has no respect for me, mocks me, screams right in my face, talks over me so I can't get a word in edgewise. I try to remain calm, let him scream himself out, but he never seems to. It only ends when I finally walk away in defeat. If I stick around and wait, hoping he will calm down, he keeps making up things I am thinking, feeling, wanting. He paints a picture of me like a funhouse mirror, someone that doesn't resemble me at all. I often wonder if he really believes these things.
If he's feeling particularly nasty, he will do something he knows will terrify me, based on my anxiety. He's had me to the point of literally begging and pleading for him to stop, telling him he was scaring me too much, and he just did it more. He's said that he will continue to do those things unless I back off when he tells me to. He threatens to divorce me almost every time we fight, often packing his bags and telling me he is only with me because of the kids. Then, when he isn't mad, he tells me he loves me and is with me for me, and that he likes being around me when I am not being a b__ch.
I was struggling with a particularly difficult hammering of cruel words from him one time, and reverted to some past self-injury behavior. He caught me in the act (I didn't hear him come into the room), and he proceeded to tell me I was pathetic and a mental patient. He ridiculed me, photographed me, posted the photos on social media, and said he wanted everyone to see how pathetic I was. The incident was utterly horrifying. All I could do was cry.
Sometimes I think I should leave. Yet, I desperately miss the person I fell in love with, and I don't want to break up my family. I do love him. I have no idea how he feels about me. I keep feeling like, if I'd been stronger in dealing with my anxiety disorder, he would still be that person he was before and I would still be worthy of respect. But I don't know. He had a rough childhood as well, and I know that can screw a person up. I try to understand, I try to be patient. I just wish the rage and cruelty could vanish from the interactions we have. I'm willing to step up, swallow my pride, do what it takes to heal our marriage. But it seems he is unwilling, because I'm not worthy enough of his respect or consideration. And I have no idea how I could ever earn it back.
It feels like the childhood I ran from, in hope of a better, safer, happier life, all over again. It's like I had a beautiful dream that I escaped the abuse I'd always known and had a chance at a life that was good and stable and safe. And then I woke up from that beautiful dream and I'm right back in it, version 2.
Anyway, thanks for reading if you read this far. I really needed to get that out.