Monday, March 5, 2012

Withholding. The Silent and Most Powerful Form of Abuse.

I lived 20 years in a loveless marriage: one without love, affection or intimacy. How do you “prove” you are being abused when you say he systematically ignored me? In childhood it is called neglect, in adulthood lack of intimacy. To me, it is abuse.
My Sociopath did not touch my face, kiss me, say loving or endearing things, or compliment me, for years at a time, and he did not ever look at me during sex. His face most often displayed disgust to me.
Disgust is the emotion that expresses a reaction to things that are considered dirty, revolting, contagious, contaminated, and inedible. It is divided into two categories: physical disgust and moral disgust. Disgust is associated with a distinct facial expression and a drop in heart rate.
Over the years I was conditioned to believe I was a disgusting person. I reacted to touch like a beaten horse. I recoiled if someone tried to hold my hand or hug me. I had trouble giving my children affection. I was disgusting, why would anyone want to even look at me? If he saw me naked, he looked disgusted. I covered myself, I was ashamed of myself. This may sound ridiculous, but remember I married at age 19 and he was my first boyfriend. I had nothing to compare with this relationship and actually believed what was being shown daily. I believed myself to be unlovable and he would tell me no one would ever tolerate, in me, all that he tolerated. I would be alone the rest of my life if not with him. I believed him.
Think about an experience where there was tension in a relationship whether it’s a co-worker, roommate, friend or neighbor. There is an unfortunate event and then awkward interactions. It brings stress into your body and you may dread impending interactions. I lived through a marriage where if I made a mistake, according to my Sociopath, I was punished by being ignored. It might last a few hours, few days, or a few weeks. For fear of being ignored I couldn’t relax. I changed myself to please my abuser so he would give me attention. It was like I stood in my marriage; I did not collapse into the safety and security of a loving partner. Friends and family did say things, at times, that stuck and called into question my quality of life. One statement stands out: “When my husband and I get up in the morning, he asks me what he can do to help me and make my day go smoother.” I could not even imagine someone wanting the best for me: A GIVER, NOT A TAKER.

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Thank you for your comment. Positive feedback and helping those that have experienced the same tragedies are what keeps me going.