“The abusive man’s problem with anger is almost the opposite of what is commonly believed. The reality is:
YOUR ABUSIVE PARTNER DOESN’T HAVE A PROBLEM WITH HIS ANGER; HE HAS A PROBLEM WITH YOUR ANGER.
One of the basic human rights he takes away from you is the right to be angry with him. No matter how badly he treats you, he believes that your voice shouldn’t rise and your blood shouldn’t boil. The privilege of rage is reserved for him alone. When your anger does jump out of you – as will happen to any abused woman from time to time- he is likely to try to jam it back down your throat as quickly as he can. Then he uses your anger against you to prove what an irrational person you are. Abuse can make you feel straitjacketed. You may develop physical or emotional reactions to swallowing your anger, such as depression, nightmares, emotional numbing, or eating and sleeping problems, which your partner may use as an excuse to belittle you further or make you feel crazy.
Why does your partner react so strongly to your anger? One reason may be that he considers himself above reproach. The second is that on some level he senses- though not necessarily consciously – that there is power in your anger. If you have space to feel and express your rage, you will be better able to hold on to your identity and to resist his suffocation of you. He tries to take your anger away in order to snuff out your capacity to resist his will. Finally, he perceives your anger as a challenge to his authority, to which he responds by overpowering you with anger that is greater than your own. In this way he ensures that he retains the exclusive right to be the one who shows his anger.”
I love Leslie Vernick’s books and blog and have listed them on my HELPFUL RESOURCES page. She is a counselor, author and a wise Christian. She speaks with boldness and truth, and I like how she supports her views with scripture. Here is a post from her blog with excellent advice on divorcing a narcissist. She echoes a lot of what I’ve said here previously; I think you will find it helpful to hear it again in her words.
Today’s Question: My husband walked out of our marriage the day our last son graduated high school. In the course of this separation, God revealed to me that there was another woman. I found them together in their favorite restaurant and even recorded them and confronted them at their table.
We still meet with our Parenting Coordinator (PC). I find ours is fairly helpful. Here are a few ways I think this role can help in a high-conflict divorce:
She has us use a tool called “Our Family Wizard” (OFW) for all non-urgent communication. I was getting 10+ emails and texts a day, even after the divorce. (Before the divorce was final, I counted 33 one day.) While rude, contentious and intimidating, the emails and texts were never enough to go to court over to get a restraining order or other protection. But they were stealing my peace. So the PC ordered us to sign up and use OFW. Except for urgent matters, all communication goes through OFW. I check it once a day. We post all our emails, kids logistics, and requests for reimbursement on this online tool. The PC monitors our emails and coaches us individually on better ways of communicating. When there is an issue I need help with, I forward the email to the PC and ask her for help responding. It has dramatically cut down on the disruptions to my day. I also think my XNarc watches his words more carefully knowing that someone else is reading the emails. It is bringing things out of the darkness and into the light. Very helpful.
She meets occasionally with both of us in the same room to work through issues. Since I will not meet with my XNarc alone, and our emails tend to become circular and contentious, the PC is an excellent third party to meet with and try to work through problems. Because she is appointed by the court and can testify, if needed, her advice seems to be given more weight by the High Conflict Personality.
She helps me set better boundaries. She has given me the encouragement to say “no” and given me the words to say. Once of my issues I’m working on is trying to be too helpful and not wanting to offend. And thinking my words and explanations will make a difference. And…and….OK, I have a lot of issues….. (That’s why I’m grateful for Jesus each day!) Some examples of things I might say now: