Dating a man who was emotionally abused
It's hard to love again after you've been manipulated, put down, controlled, belittled, and made to feel worthless by someone who was supposed to love you and care about you.As someone who's been emotionally abused in the past and can now clearly see it, I'm also able to see how it changed my idea of relationships and my approach to love. After you've been emotionally abused, being able to open up freely is painful.(The term for it is gaslighting, and Emily is a master gaslighter.) She has never hit him, as far as I know, but the psychological torture she has put him through leaves deep, deep scars. He went from being a confident, successful man with hobbies (so many hobbies! He feels this is his lot in life, to care for her the best he can. They bought a new refrigerator and I asked if they considered a freezer-on-the-bottom model.I am terrified that one day Bob is going to snap and kill himself. She got mad and didn't speak to me for a month (not that she told me this, and I found out later it was because she thought I was undermining her decisions).For us, it's safer if we just keep some things to ourselves. Like a wounded puppy, it's hard not to proceed with caution. When you've been with someone who's put you down over and over -- saying you're no good and are worthless -- you just can't help but wonder why anyone would want to be into you ever again.It's just an instinctual way of protecting ourselves from further harm. If you tell us you love us and we look at you weird, it's not that the feeling isn't mutual; rather, we're still a bit unclear as to what about us might be appealing or lovable to someone else. We're hesitant about getting to know the people in your life.After she was speaking to me again, I suggested we all go on a fun weekend away.Another freeze-out because I was being insensitive—she has pets and who would care for them? Jealousy, paranoia, and fear overwhelms their relationship. And he stopped speaking to most of his family over similar small infractions.
And nearly half (48.8%) "of men have experienced at least one psychologically aggressive behavior (being kept track of by demanding to know his whereabouts, insulted,or humiliated, or threatened by partner's actions) by an intimate partner in their lifetime." Sheesh. If this is how I feel, I can't even imagine how he feels.
So let's call them Bob and Emily* and get on with it.
I'm not using either of their names or mine for everyone's protection, but I hope that what I have to say can help someone out there who is in a similar situation, even if he's not ready to help himself.
She gets worse and worse as the years of their marriage drag on.
He is trapped in an emotionally abusive relationship and, every day, he loses a little more of himself.