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Friday, February 14, 2014

Aspies are gas lighters - Or, "You didn't hear what you thought you heard. You didn't see what you think you saw"

One of the most confusing parts of being married to an Aspie (and those with both Narcissistic Personality Disorder - NPD - and Bipolar Disorder - BP - will do this too) is they do something called "gas lighting".

Gas lighting is where someone tries to alter your reality for their own purposeful gain, usually bad or manipulative.

In order to understand gas lighting, perhaps understanding the origin of the phrase will help.  Gaslighting is a psychological term related to the mentally ill that comes from the 1940's psychological thriller Gaslight, starring Ingrid Bergman and Charles Boyer.

Gregory Anton (Charles Boyer) is a man with a mission.  He marries young Paula (Ingrid Bergman) who has inherited a house in which her aunt was murdered many years earlier.  The killer was never found and once Paula became an adult, she moved into the house with her new husband.  Seems the murdered aunt had some valuables stored in the house and Gregory wanted them.  In order to get them, he had to marry and then get rid of Paula, and the way he chose to get rid of her was to drive her insane.

Throughout the movie, Gregory is doing small things to make Paula believe she's losing her mind.  He'll move a piece of furniture then tell Paula, when she asks about it, "It wasn't me.  You did it and must have forgotten".  He'll turn down the gaslights in the house (and this is where the name of the movie came from) and when asked, "Who turned down the gaslights?" Gregory tells her, "Why, you did.  You don't remember..."  He would move her jewelry to other parts of the house and not tell her, leading her to believe she misplaced it, then when she stopped searching he would put it back in the original place.

While living with a gaslighter isn't usually this obvious (at least to the casual viewer), it's just as damaging as it was to poor Paula in the movie.

What gaslighters are trying to do is alter your reality.  I've caught my STBE in so many affairs it's not even funny anymore.  Every time I'd go to him with evidence, he'd deny it and give an alternate (sort of plausible) explanation that was designed to convince me I wasn't seeing/hearing what I believed I was seeing/hearing.  My STBE would deny until the day he dies I was seeing things wrong.  Alternatively, he'll admit the affairs but find some way to make it entirely my fault and work to convince me of this.

Other times, he would say or do something incredibly hurtful and when I'd call him on it, he'd deny he ever did or said whatever it was I came to him with.

For gaslighters, it's not about being right, it's about convincing you to agree with them, even if it's something so off the wall no one in their right mind would ever believe it.  Even the gas lighter may know they're lying, but it's not about that to them.  It's about YOU saying they're right.  Period.  However, with Aspies, they can come to believe their lies so to them, it's absolutely the truth.

What this will eventually do to the victim over the long term is convince them they ARE crazy.  My STBE's favorite term for it was "delusional".  Towards the end, this kept me up most nights, the wondering if I was, indeed, going crazy.  I'd even gone so far as to see a therapist to find out just how crazy I was.  After three or four sessions, the therapist emphatically told me, "Nancy, you definitely don't have a mental health issue beyond depression from being in an abusive marriage".  This was the first time I heard the term "gaslighting" and had it explained to me.  Once I understood what was happening, I felt infinitely better and the most sane I'd felt in a long, long time.


Gaslighters usually don't do this for the same reason Gregory did it to Paula.  Most of us aren't inheriting houses filled with jewels and gems.  Gaslighters now do it as a form of self-preservation.  As I'd said earlier, it's not just Aspies who do this but those with NPD and BP.  Also, people with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) are known for this, too.

Aspies, NPDs, BPs, BPDs, NEED your admiration and that of others to feed their low self-esteem. (See this article on Narcissistic supply).  If you're confronting any of these people with a fault or problem in the relationship, their first reaction is to deny there's anything wrong with them at all, that it's you who needs "fixing".  They will then launch into a tirade of just how many faults you have and will sprinkle it with "paranoia" (you), utter perfection (them), and will work to convince you of this, all of this.

The conversation might go something like this:

You:  John, I've been concerned about something that's going on and I need to address it with you.

Them: (Giving you an attentive look) Certainly, let's sit down and talk about it.

You:  I ran a virus check on the computer today and was in the history under your login.  I saw in there you're spending a lot of time inside a website that focuses on helping spouses cheat.  Based on the history, it looks like you're going there several times a day.  It has me worried you're cheating on me again.

Him: (Loud sigh, rolling of the eyes and starts with a loud voice/yelling) I'm SO sick and tired of you accusing me of cheating!  I've never cheated on you (and my STBE actually said this to me, after having been caught in several affairs) and if you weren't so paranoid you wouldn't be going into my history looking for it (you'd already given them the real and valid reason why you were in there, but to successfully complete their gaslighting of you, they need to alter reality - both yours and his).  This is SUCH a violation of MY privacy!  I swear, you're getting crazier by the day and WHY I stay with you is beyond me!  Everyone at work always talks about how much they can't stand you and I always defended you but I just don't see how I can do that anymore!  You should see a therapist about this paranoia!  And since you're always accusing me of cheating, how do I know it's not YOU who's cheating and trying to deflect it onto me!  I DEMAND you apologize to me RIGHT NOW for these unfounded and made up accusations of cheating on you!

It's at this point you're really upset and defending yourself.  Several things have happened during this rant:
  1. The gaslighter has gotten you off the original discussion, his possible cheating
  2. The gaslighter now has you on the defensive
  3. The gaslighter is telling you you're paranoid (and not for the first time, I'm sure)
  4. The gaslighter is telling you that you should be seeing a therapist
  5. The gaslighter is now telling you that your questioning his fidelity is actually you attempting to hide the fact that you're the cheater (even though you're not)
  6. The gaslighter is further undermining your confidence in yourself
  7. The gas lighter has successfully diverted not just the conversation about your feelings, but he's also probably gotten you the the point of apologizing.
  8. He now has you focusing on his feelings, his needs, his wants and you feelings, needs and wants are no longer even of topic.
Mission accomplished for the gas lighter.  If you've been in a conversation in the past that sounds like this, it's probably time for you to take steps to either put a stop to this or to extricate yourself from the relationship.

And one final thought to leave you with, as you're reeling from the abuses of the Aspie gaslighting you.  I found this on a website I found called Live In the Moment and it's SO true and SO life affirming!
What creates your “broken heart” when you get rejected
When someone rejects you without saying anything negative about you, you will likely begin to immediately think 2 things. First, you decide what the other person thinks about you, and then you believe that their opinion must be right. In other words, you make an assumption about what they think about you, and then you form the conclusion that what they think must be true.
Here are a few common examples:
  1. The assumption about what they think: “He thinks I’m not good enough”, “He thinks something is wrong with me”, or “He doesn’t think I am worthy of love”
  2. The conclusion that what they think must be true: “If he thinks I’m not good enough, then I must not be good enough”, “If he thinks something is wrong with me, there must be something wrong with me”, or “If he doesn’t think I am worthy of love, then I must not be worthy of love”
You may be aware of these thoughts or you may not be. But if you’re feeling hurt, they are there.
Once we believe these negative thoughts about ourselves, we are essentially worsening our opinion of ourselves. When our opinion of ourselves worsens, we experience the feeling of hurt or being broken hearted. (I won’t get into the details of why this creates hurt in this post).
To help you with this, I'm putting some links here to help you:

10 Signs Your Man Is 'Gaslighting' You to Make You Seem Crazy  (Note: The writing on this is kind of poor and the examples given are pretty mild, innocuous and naive.  This was obviously written by someone who's never been through it.  But the overall message is the same as I'm trying to impart here)

Sunday, February 09, 2014

Parental Alienation Syndrome and the child(ren) involved - Even adult children

Emotional vampires will leave you exhausted following an
interaction with them.  Sadly, by the time you realize you're
in the presence of an emotional vampire, it's too late.
Today's posting is for something funny and SO indicative of an Aspie/Narcissist/Bipolar Disorder sufferer.  In addition, I'm going to be explaining in detail just what the Aspie/Narcissist/Bipolar Disorder sufferer will do to hurt you in the divorce.

If you've been following this blog at all, you already know my story: I'm divorcing an Aspie/Narcissist/diagnosed Bipolar Disorder sufferer.  Any one of these is pretty damaging to the emotional/mental well-being of any spouse to them.  I got the trifecta of abusive personality disorders when I married my STBE.  And more than once, it's driven me to the point of thinking the only way out of this marriage was through suicide.  Thank God, those thoughts are behind me, now, and I embrace the wonder of life and look forward to having one without the abusive Aspie/Narcissist/Bipolar Disorder sufferer in it.

The back story:

I've been working to maintain no contact with my STBE because he's so abusive in nature.  He managed to trick me into contact recently, and I'm now back to no contact after the hurricane/tsunami/tornado/earthquake that came with him and am improving again.  However, I've been getting messages from people over the last week from people who know my youngest son and they're worried about him a great deal.

As I've mentioned previously, when you're divorcing an Aspie/Narcissist/Bipolar Disorder sufferer, they'll use the kids to hurt you - and not just a little bit.  For the above personality disorders, in any divorce, it's a "Win at all costs" attitude.  Since these people have absolutely no empathy, using the kids is just another gun in their arsenal, even if it's so bad for them it means decades of therapy, if not a few suicide attempts, for the kids.  They simply don't care.  It's not about what's best for everyone, it's about what's best for THEM.  Aspies/Narcissists/Bipolar Disorder sufferers are emotional vampires.  They will suck the life out of you faster than a speeding bullet and once they've depleted your supply, they'll move onto the next person, and the next, and the next.  So long as there are gullible people in the world who are willing to fall for the charms of the emotional vampire, so shall the narcissist abuse.

Because my son has me blocked on Facebook, I have an account neither he nor my STBE know about and I logged into it to see just what it was my son was saying that had everyone so alarmed.  On the page, I saw my son talking about how depressed he is.  The STBE responded to him with (and it pains me to have to look at the posting again to put this here, but it illustrates the Aspie mind so well):
As I well know, depression is no joke.  People who don't own the black dog can't really understand, although some will genuinely try to help.  Since they usually don't get it they often miss the mark.  Don't discount well-meaning friends.  They won't understand when it seems like you're blowing them off.  Allow people to drag you off to the gym or to get some Chinese food.  Those things will actually help and you find out who your friends are.  Acceptance is great, just don't stop there.Take action.  You know what to do.  Call me anytime you need to.  I'm there for you 24/7.
For the longest time, I couldn't figure out just how my STBE was alienating my son from me (See Parental Alienation Syndrome), and after seeing this post, it all became clear to me.  In order to help you see just how Aspies work (and this is a form of gas lighting, altering the reality of the victim, in this case, my son), I'll break this paragraph of my STBE line-by-line to help you understand it better.

First, let me state, my son has suffered from some form of depression for quite some time.  I took him to two different counselors, who seemed to be helping him.  It was during his stint with one of these counselors it came out that my STBE was using that half-hour in the morning and half-hour in the afternoon, the times he drove our son to and from school, to do nothing but rant about what an awful person I am.  My son was an emotional wreck and told his therapist he was beginning to feel as though he was the only one who could fix our marriage.  In short, my son was being used by the STBE by forcing him to become his therapist.  My son was only 15 at the time.  Rather than actually SEE a therapist, the STBE was forcing others into the role.  He'd done this to me for years and I'd put a stop to it by telling him I couldn't do it any longer and he needed to find an actual therapist.  He refused to do so, saying he didn't need one, and turned it onto my son.

Now, let's break down the Facebook posting- and some of this will make me look paranoid to the nth degree, but after 21 years of living with my STBE, I've seen this all to much.  A great deal of their mental/emotional abuse is subtle):

  1. As I well know, depression is no joke.  People who don't own the black dog can't really understand, although some will genuinely try to help.  - "I'm the only one who understands you.  Others might try.  Others might say they do.  But I'm the only one who truly does."  This is his way of letting my son know it's "I" who doesn't get it since I don't suffer from depression.  Never have, probably never will, outside of this marriage.  I was a happy, optimistic person before I married the STBE and I shall be again, post-divorce.
  2. Since they usually don't get it they often miss the mark.  Don't discount well-meaning friends.  They won't understand when it seems like you're blowing them off. - This is an extension of #1.  Now my son's being told it's not just me who doesn't get it, but neither does anyone else, even well-meaning friends.  This is a reinforcement of the STBE being the only one who understands him, thus he is the superior parent and human being.  They are both now precious snowflakes and no one gets them BUT each other.
  3. Allow people to drag you off to the gym or to get some Chinese food.  Those things will actually help and you find out who your friends are. - On the surface, this all sounds like good advice, right?  For a mentally healthy person going through a normal, average dose of depression, it is.  For a narcissist like my STBE, this is a calculated statement/move.  This is a form of alienation, a common tactic used by Narcissists/abusers.  Now the STBE has my son judging his friends based on the amount of support they give.  No one will be able to measure up to the standards a depressed person will actually have.  And, let's just say it, unless you DO suffer from depression or are a therapist, you'll never truly understand it, therefore will ALWAYS fall short of the mark.  And, people being people, the more my son blows them off, the less likely they become to ask him to go anywhere with him.  The less they come around, the more depressed he becomes.  The more depressed he becomes, the less likely they are to want to be around him at all, because who wants to spend all their time with a person who refuses to have fun or laugh nor do anything to change work towards changing it?  The idea being planted in the mind of my son is: his father is the ONLY person who truly gets him, thus creating a bond of trust that supersedes all other relationships in his life.  His father is now grooming him to be further abused, all in the interest of feeding the need of the STBE to have a narcissistic supply.
  4. Acceptance is great, just don't stop there. Take action.  You know what to do. - They now have a secret language that only the two of them understand.  The words used here are cryptic and insinuate to the rest of the world they are conjoined and alone in this, therefore, there's no need to interfere because Dad's got it handled, right?  Wrong.  For a narcissist, there's no greater joy than taking advantage of an emotionally vulnerable person, as my son is due to the divorce.  This is rocking his world and nothing makes sense any more.  What the STBE is spoon-feeding him is something to latch onto so he can have just ONE thing that makes sense.  The parental alienation is almost complete and the real abuse is about to begin.  I watched this happen with his two kids from his first marriage and they STILL hate their mother, 22 years after the divorce, both of them adults aged 30 and over.
  5. Call me anytime you need to.  I'm there for you 24/7. - This is the big one.  Note there's no mention in any of this to see a therapist or medical doctor.  There's no mention of seeking help in any way, shape or form, outside of "Call me!"  This is the reinforcement to my son that the STBE is the ONLY person he should contact, as he's the ONLY person who can help him.  And that 24/7?  Nope, he turns the ringer off on his phone at night.  The precious snowflake that is my STBE simply CAN'T have his sleep disturbed at all.  People who suffer from depression that lasts longer than what's ordinary or average, more than a few days or weeks, SHOULD see a medical doctor or therapist.  For someone to suggest anything else is thoughtless, uncaring, unsympathetic and, let's just say it, dangerous.  People who have been depressed for a long time are more prone to suicide than anyone else.  If you know ANYONE who could be clinically depressed, encourage them to seek professional help - ALWAYS!
Now that this has all been explained for you, this leads me to Parental Alienation Syndrome, which Aspies/Narcissists/Bipolar Disorder sufferers WILL do!  Like they need oxygen, they need the constant and firm adoration of those around them, even if it means they are psychologically damaging others.  Remember, they have no empathy.  The people in their life - their wife, their children, their "friends" - are all there to serve a purpose known only to the Narcissist.  Also, the people in their life are easily replaced once that narcissistic supply runs dry, generally by the parasitic host figuring out what's going on.

Parental Alienation is insidious.  How can you figure out it's happening to you?  Research, research, research.

These alienating strategies worked together to give the child the following three-part message: (this is excerpted from Adult Children of Parental Alienation Syndrome)

  • The alienating parent is the only parent who cares,
  • the alienating parent is needed in order for the child to feel safe and good about him- or herself,
  • the targeted parent -- who is dangerous and does not love the child anyway -- must be disavowed in order to maintain the love and approval of the alienating parent. 
  • Boldly stated this way, the message resembles the message cult leaders convey to cult members.

 Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS) is such a damaging emotional assault on a child (even adult children), it's described in this way:  Alienated children are no less damaged than other child victims of extreme conflict, such as child soldiers and other abducted children, who identify with their tormentors to avoid pain and maintain a relationship with them, however abusive that relationship may be. (For the complete article, see here)

The article goes on to say - For the child, parental alienation is a serious mental condition, based on a false belief that the alienated parent is a dangerous and unworthy parent. The severe effects of parental alienation on children are well-documented; low self esteem and self-hatred, lack of trust, depression, and substance abuse and other forms of addiction are widespread, as children lose the capacity to give and accept love from a parent. Self-hatred is particularly disturbing among affected children, as children internalize the hatred targeted toward the alienated parent, are led to believe that the alienated parent did not love or want them, and experience severe guilt related to betraying the alienated parent. Their depression is rooted is feelings of being unloved by one of their parents, and from separation from that parent, while being denied the opportunity to mourn the loss of the parent, or to even talk about the parent. 

Okay, I think I've given you enough to chew on for now.  But in the beginning of this post, I'd mentioned something funny.  Here it is:

What is it that makes this so funny?  The Facebook account he's referring to?  The one I've apparently trashed with "pretty psycho" stuff?  It's been shut down since he left in November and I've never "done" anything to it at all.

Like abusers need to abuse, so shall narcissists tell huge lies about you in the interest of discrediting you to the rest of the world (meaning, the source of their narcissistic supply).  And if I WERE to post anything on his former account, it would have simply been the truth.  If the truth makes him look bad, then it's HE with the problem, not me.  Oh, and this "make new friends"?  He's trolling for his next parasitic host.  And don't believe for a moment he didn't try to go to the page to see what was on there (nothing, because the account was deactivated).  Aspies/Narcissists/Bipolar Disorder sufferers lie even when the truth won't hurt them.  It's like breathing to them.

I'm so glad I'm out of this farce of a marriage.  After finding copies of his medical records a couple weeks ago and learning he'd been taking medication "off and on" since 1993 for Bipolar Disorder (something he'd never told me), I can safely say, our entire marriage was based on his lies.

Tuesday, February 04, 2014

Marriage to an Aspie - Aspies are abusive

By the time you realize just how abused you've been, it's
become your new "normal".
 Once again, all the websites will say what a wonderfully honest person your Aspie is.  All the reading you do will tell you that with a little bit of understanding and an abundance of love, you and your Aspie can have a blissful co-existence.

This may be true, for some, but the reality is much, much different than anything you'll read elsewhere.  Life with an Aspie spouse is awful, abusive and soul-crushing (and this last one is the one spouses of Aspies will say the most).

The abuse will be incredibly subtle, at first, and you won't even see it.  For me, there were two incidents I can look back on now that set the stage for the following 20 years.

The first one was when I'd made a dinner salad for the STBE ASH and his kids from his first marriage.  I'd spent the entire afternoon making this salad as it wasn't exactly complicated, but it was time-consuming.  When the time came to serve it, I set the salad bowl down on the dinner table, called everyone in, asked them all, "What would you like to drink with dinner?"  Once they all told me, I went back into the kitchen to get them their drinks.  When I came back, all of two minutes later, my STBE ASH had served everyone.  Everyone but me, that is.  Yes, the salad bowl was empty, all their plates were full, mine was empty.  I didn't say anything, just set their drinks down, took mine back into the kitchen with me, made a sandwich and ate it in the living room while I watched television.  Then, it took my STBE about 15 minutes to realize I wasn't sitting at the table with them, noticed what happened and told the kids, "When you've eaten all you're going to eat of the salad, put it all together so Nancy can have some."

Wow, don't I feel special now!

I realize at this stage you're all thinking, "But it was just a salad!"  Yes, it was just a salad, but it was also an indicator of how the rest of my life was going to go.  I was never considered part of "his" family.  I was a servant to him and his kids and nothing more.  And thus went the next 20 years or so.

Another incident (and this happened more than once) came from Saturday mornings.  Every Saturday, his kids went to a bowling league they were in.  The routine became the STBE taking them to bowling while I cleaned the house.  They would be gone for about four hours, if you add in his taking them to lunch afterward.  During that four hours, I'd clean the entire two story row home we lived in on Lowry AFB.  I'd start at the top, tossing things down to the stair landing that belong downstairs, and vice versa when I was cleaning the downstairs.  I did the dishes, swept and mopped all the floors, cleaned the wood floors (every room but the kitchen and bathroom), did all the laundry, ironed his uniforms, got dinner planned and started, vacuumed all the furniture of dog hair.  If I had time, I would go grab some stuff at the grocery store.

From the first time I did this, the first comment the STBE would make when he walked in the door was, "You didn't clean the baseboards".  Forget I'd just cleaned a 1500 square foot home from top to bottom, all he could say was, "You didn't clean the baseboards".  There was no appreciation for what I'd done to make life easier for him and his kids, just a comment on what wasn't being done.

Both of these events happened in the first few months of our marriage.  I should have walked away then, but I was already pregnant with our youngest son and we'd been married less than two years.  I was able to convince myself he was suffering from the stress of a baby on the way.  And so the abuse begins.

Again in our first year of marriage, we were in the midst of an argument that was getting pretty heated.  I've always been one to try to keep a cool head in an argument, feeling a hot argument is pointless because both people are defensive.  One way of cooling down for me is to get in the car, turn up the stereo on full blast and just drive country roads.  It lets me focus on something besides the argument, it allows me to gain some clarity and it's a really soothing thing for me to do.  On this particular day, the STBE decided I was going to stay there and argue and he refused to allow me to leave the house.  If I tried to open the door, he slammed it shut and pushed me away from it.  If I went into the bedroom to separate myself from the argument, he followed me in there, continuing to berate me, demanding of me that I remain engaged in the argument.  No matter what I did to get away from the argument, he kept at me to stay with it.

Finally, I was feeling desperate and trapped.  I was feeling incredibly trapped and it was causing me huge confusion and distress.  (Remember, I was pregnant with my youngest son at this time)  My fight or flight was kicking in and I knew if that happened, things would really get out of hand.  I had no choice but to call the military police to help me out of this.  He heard me doing this and immediately went into "I'm the calm, rational one" mode (and this is something you'll see hundreds of times during your marriage).  By the time they got there, I was still crying and I was begging them to get me out of there.  He started in with, "She's pregnant and emotional."  They fell for it and so began the extreme abuse.  The name-calling, the hitting, the gas lighting, all of it.

The military police did tell him to let me leave the house that day, if that's what I wanted to do, which I did.  I was gone for several hours, having driven up into the Rocky Mountains to an A&W Root Beer stand in Idaho Springs, for no other reason than it wasn't home where the arguing was going on.  By the time I came home, he was an emotional wreck.  He was afraid I wasn't coming back (this is the push me-pull me prevalent with Aspies, those with Bipolar Disorder and those with Borderline Personality Disorder)  He was incredibly apologetic, promising me he would never do this again and he felt awful he'd treated me so badly!  This was the first of many, many apologies for bad and abusive behavior.

Most abusers are also narcissists
#11-sympathy can also be empathy
As time went on, the abuse got worse and worse.  I was in and out of therapy so much because of his abuses of me and the kids.  Why was I in therapy and not him?  Because part of the abuse is being convinced it's YOU who is the problem, not them.  And the times we went to marriage counseling, it generally didn't take the therapist more than three or four sessions to zero in on the STBE abusing me emotionally, verbally, mentally and physically and they'd try to focus on that.  That was the exact moment the STBE was done with marriage counseling.  At least until the next time.  The times we lasted the longest in marriage counseling were the times he was able to gas light the counselor the most.  We'd had a counselor through the Air Force when we were stationed in Biloxi and he had her COMPLETELY fooled.  He really liked this therapist because she ate up whatever he told her and she did everything she could to take his side.  Her extreme preference for the STBE was so obvious, I had to file a complaint against her with her commander.  No matter what he did, she took his side.  Once, I'd reported he'd hit me and her response was, "What did you do that made him want to do that?"

Which brings me to Abuse By Proxy - This is an insidious form of abuse because now it's not just your abuser but everyone around you.  This form of abuse generally begins once you start to wake up to what's going on, but with my STBE, he did this for the duration of our marriage.  Abuse by proxy is the abuser enlisting others to abuse you, too.  They won't believe you when you try to tell them you're being abused (AKA The Cassandra Syndrome)

He received no chastisement over hitting me.  There were no consequences for his hitting me.  I was the one raked over the coals by her for "making him do it".  He and this therapist even cooked up between them that I'd threatened the STBE with a shotgun - the same shotgun I had no keys to (for the trigger lock), no ammunition for and no understanding of since I really hated guns at that time and refused to handle them.  To this day I'm still not 100% it was all as innocent as they made it seem.  For a therapist to become SO loyal and slanted towards a patient, losing her objectivity like this one did, there was more there than I was allowed to see or know.  A few months later, this therapist left the military to go into private practice (so she could ruin more marriages and families on a larger scale) and she contacted my therapist at the time to have him ask me to recant my complaint against her as it was affecting her finding a job.  I refused to do so and actually resented her using her professional relationship with my therapist to cover up just how bad she was as a therapist.  I kind of resented, too, that he even came to me with the request.  He should have flat out told her "No, I won't do that".

I tell people now, though, if only he'd kept it to hitting, his abuses of me, I might heal from that more quickly.  It's the verbal, emotional and mental abuse that stays with you for so long and taints your entire life.  He'd run me down physically, telling me once, "You're so fat, it makes me nauseous to see you without clothes on" or the much more subtle skill of telling me just how wrong I am all the time, thus bringing me to believe I'm stupid or not able to trust my judgment.  It's a calculated thing they do so THEY can feel good about themselves.

I'll end this posting with some resources for people who read this - so you can get help to not just get away but to begin the process of healing.  You WILL need help getting your abuser out of your life.  All abusers are reluctant to let go of their current "person to abuse".  I've seen this phrase in several places in my Asperger's Spouse world - All parasites need a host to survive.

And fair warning - your abuser will replace you very, very quickly so be prepared for the heartache.  The truth is, your Aspie/abuser never really loved you not did they care about you at all as anything more than a whipping post and victim.  Aspies can't love anyone but themselves.  Once you leave your abuser, you'll hope they love you enough to want to change, thus keeping you in their life.  But the reality is, when it comes to abusers, the moment you've figured them out, they're done with you so they can move on to abuse the next unwitting victim.

Aspies/abusers NEED someone to abuse like you need oxygen to breathe.  So, yes, they will move on to another very quickly.  BUT - they will first try to bring you back to them.  It's easier to keep the old victim than it is to train a new one.  Stand your ground.  You've heard it all before, the promises to change, the promises to get help, the apologies, all of it.  Ask yourself how many times you've heard this before?  Too many times to count.

Don't fall for it.  Love and respect yourself more than that.

Places to go for help escaping your abuser:

  • Find a therapist who specializes in trauma, PTSD 
  • Contact a domestic violence hotline - The national hotline linked here isn't the most responsive one, but they have some good tips on getting out.  And domestic violence and abuse isn't just physical abuse.  Mental, emotional and verbal abuse are abuse, too.  Do a search for a hotline specific to your state.  Try Googling "Fill in state here Domestic Violence help" and odds are great there's a statewide hotline where you can talk to someone.  They can also give you resources local to you.  I've called my state's hotline and they've given me SO much support!  The people you'll be talking to are people who have been through it, too.
  • Stop hiding in shame - be vocal about the abuse to friends and family.  These are your best resources for help in getting out.  Once you do, you'll be surprised at how much they've actually seen, in spite of your silence, and you'll learn they really DO want to help you in any way they can.
Excerpted from the National Domestic Violence Hotline page is some excellent advice for maintaining your control over your life once you've left the abusive relationship:

Why is moving on after abuse so difficult? Abuse is rooted in power and control, and an abusive partner holds that power by minimizing their victim’s self-esteem and breaking their spirit. If you’re leaving an abusive relationship, rebuilding your life can be a hard process, but with time and space, finding closure and peace is possible. A violence-free life is waiting, and you are so very worth it.

1.  Cut off contact with your ex - During the healing process, you may feel the need to offer forgiveness, help your abusive partner through the break up, or show them how you’re better off. However, it’s difficult to really get closure without severing all ties with your ex.  

Try different methods to avoid contacting your former partner. Delete their phone number and            change yours. If you're picking up the phone to call, put the phone in a different room and walk          away — or call the hotline instead.

 Resist the urge to look them up on social media. Unfriend or block them, and if pictures or news         keep popping up, it could be helpful to remove mutual friends as well.

Try writing a letter with all the things you want to say to your ex and don’t send it — or, if                   you're in counseling, send it to your therapist instead.

2.  Surround yourself with support -After an abusive relationship, allow yourself to get help and support from others. Spend time with friends and family who care about you. Tell them what you need from them, whether that’s someone to talk to about what you went through, or someone to keep you from answering phone calls from your ex, stop you from texting them back, etc.

If your abusive partner isolated you from friends and family, you may find that you no longer have that support network — but there are always people who want to help. Consider finding a counselor to talk with one-on-one, or join a support group. If you call the hotline, one of our advocates can connect you to services in your area.  - A note from me - It was difficult, but I contacted my family to let them know what's been going on all these years.  They were remarkably supportive of me and my divorce.  Never underestimate the love they have for you.  And if they're anything less than supportive, walk away from them until you're in a better place emotionally to deal with them and set your boundaries.  Don't exchange one abusive relationship for another.

3.  Take care of yourself - Taking care of yourself is such an important part of the healing process, and that begins with understanding that the abuse that happened wasn’t your fault.

Find things that make you happy. Rediscovering what hobbies you enjoy can be a learning process, but that’s half of the fun. Join clubs or try activities like a group fitness class to meet new people.

If you have children, find ways to make time for yourself. Some gyms offer free childcare while you work out, and different domestic violence centers provide childcare while you’re attending support groups.

Praise yourself for accomplishments, little or big, and counter any negative self-talk with positive mantras or affirmations. Becoming aware of what you think and say about yourself can help shift negative thoughts.

4.  Remember that you’ll get better with time - The old saying that “time heals all wounds” can be incredibly frustrating, but there is truth in it. Recovery does take time and space. Give yourself as much time as you need to heal.

Recovery looks different for everyone, and each person has to find what works for them.  Note from me:  You'll hear from nearly everyone, "But you're out of it now!  You'll find someone new!"  Don't fall into this trap of believing you need to get into another one before getting over the last one.  Find out who you are, fix what's broken in you, before you bring another person into the equation that's outside your normal circle of support and friends.  It might take weeks, months or even years.  But #3 is the most important one in all of this.  Take care of you, first.  If you have kids with your abuser, take care of them, too, to help them work through the abuse and divorce/breakup.

5.  Consider counseling - If you feel that therapy might be helpful, sooner is always better. Therapy can be beneficial for everyone because it’s a place where you can learn increased self-awareness, clarify your goals and look at the choices in front of you.

Counseling sessions provide a safe and confidential environment for survivors to express their feelings, thoughts and fears. Counselors are nonjudgmental third-party advisors who listen and can help survivors work through the things that they are experiencing.

Entering counseling does not necessarily mean that you are mentally ill or can’t cope on your own. Therapy is about how much you’re putting in place to support yourself in healing and succeeding.

Speaking with a trauma specialist can help survivors to deal with their remaining anxiety and find ways to relieve that stress. These specialists can help to process traumatic memories or experiences so that it is possible to move on. They can also aid survivors in learning to regulate their strong emotions like fear and anger.

A good match between therapist and client is one of the most powerful healing factors in a therapeutic relationship. Look for someone who makes you feel heard, understood, safe and comfortable.  Note from me:  I entered counseling the same day I filed for divorce from my abuser.  I ended up finding another therapist when the first one didn't seem to work for me.  If you find you're not comfortable or getting out of the therapy/counseling what you feel you should be getting, move on to another therapist; and even another one, and another one, until you find one that works for you.  And again, find one that specializes in trauma and PTSD.  For survivors of abuse (and that's what you are!  A survivor!) we can have what's called Complex Post Traumatic Stress, which is long-term exposure to trauma (the abuse) and the inability to escape it.  Defined from the link given here:
Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is a psychological injury that results from prolonged exposure to social or interpersonal trauma, disempowerment, captivity or entrapment, with lack or loss of a viable escape route for the victim.
 And with this, I'll bid you adieu.  I'm meeting with a new attorney today to help shield me from my abusive STBE husband and his bat-shit crazy attorney.