Does this sound familiar? Once again, it sure did for me. Though, as you go about your regular business everyday, you genuinely don’t notice. When was the last time you had a bath? Or visited the hairdressers? Or even eaten your favorite meal? Small things that you just don’t have time for or compromised for.
I wouldn’t have a bath because it takes me away “family time” and I couldn’t possibly have 1/2 hr to myself. My, now, ex would actually send our son into the bathroom to tell me to Hurry up, as he was tiring of entertaining his son for this long. I was reminded constantly that having a bath was an extreme waste of water. It was even mentioned, several times, that I could be bowing the house structure with the weight of myself and the water of the bath, and if the bath collapsed I would be solely responsible for the repairs and replacement of loss of goods.
I have developed a very irrational fear of hairdressers, because I was never able to afford to go to them and he would guilt me so badly about going I started genuinely believing ‘they WERE a rip off’ and ‘they would only ruin my hair anyway’ (Pls, also note he would visit a hairdresser at least every five weeks for his trim).
And as for the meal comment, I was never allowed to cook (as I’ve mentioned in earlier blog posts) and was constantly at the gracefully, grateful mercy of whatever he felt like. Also, I might add, with him constantly reminding me of what ‘a great cook is’ and ‘how he loves cooking “my” favorite meals’, also how ‘not many husbands out there cook for their wives every night’. I was grateful that he would cook (as I apparently couldn’t) and told him his meals were fantastic (which they normally were), but only maybe once or twice a year would actually cook “my” favorite meal.
It was, constantly, hard for me to realise that he did most of the receiving, because everything that was happening in my marriage was, what I assumed, normal.
It is not until your having dinner with a friend and they ask what YOU want for dinner you realise how long it’s been since you’ve had your favorite meal. Why? (My friends started doing this on purpose so I would actually enjoy my favorite meal occasionally). To this day i still get panic attacks by being asked what I want … I can never give a straight answer or just say ‘whatever you want is fine’.
I was performing in a show (oh, I’m a singer BTW) and I needed to get my hair dyed for a roll I was playing. It wasn’t until I sat in my, close, friends hairdressing chair I realised I was genuinely frightened to be there and to get my hair done (she even brought me wine to help me calm down and get rid of the panic attack that I was having).
These small realisations of the effects of this particular tactic don’t ‘set in’ until it’s, unfortunately, too late. These are just three random instances related to the selfish and self centered mannerisms of someone who constantly receives (I could, easily, carry on with many more examples including sleep, sex, hobbies, even friends). It becomes so normal in a relationship that even asking for something, for yourself, becomes a massive issue and your being selfish by even suggesting such a thing. Out of the ten things he takes he gives one thing back and, boy, do you know about it. That’s the new magic trick he holds over you while he goes about organising the next ten things to demand (Don’t you remember, I did this for you?). If you feel you are constantly giving and giving and getting nothing in return, it becomes very tiresome and you start resenting your partner, marriage, entire situation. This got so bad in my marriage I couldn’t even ask for a hug.
THIS IS ABUSE!!!
If you, or anyone you know, experiencing this abusive tactic, please, I need you to seek help. Talk about domestic violence and let’s help each other.
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