Today I called him out on it and used the word abuse. His response was, "What? I didn't know I was abusing you." I listed all of the behaviors that I've been objecting to for two years. Then he says, "Oh yeah. I knew I was doing those things, but I didn't know it was abuse."
I think it's time for a little Feminism 101.
We all know what physical abuse is, right? I don't need to explain that a man should never use physical or sexual violence to control a woman. But what about the other stuff? The verbal stuff can be very damaging as well, and this is the stuff that tends to get missed. Or in my case, blatantly ignored due to my own insecurity about being unloved. Read this...
"Abuse is any behavior that is designed to control and subjugate another human being through the use of fear, humiliation, and verbal or physical assaults." Counseling Center at University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
When a man makes demands and attempts to control your behavior, insists that his feelings are the most important, and ignores your basic human rights by threatening to leave, blowing up in anger, and generally disrespecting you, THAT IS ABUSE.
I ignored this controlling behavior and to some extent let it succeed for far too long. I was walking on eggshells to avoid fights. I looked the other way when he said I made him do it. I had accepted his excuses for his behavior and rationalized that he had a bad childhood, he's insecure, and he's really trying to change. But none of that matters. I was the one accepting it. I was the one who kept coming back for more. Who can I blame for being treated badly except the person who let it happen? Me.
So I'm angry at myself. I want to be a strong woman who doesn't take abuse from anybody. How could I have been so pathetic? Is feeling love worth giving up my self-respect?
More importantly, why on Earth did I think that what he was giving me was love?