One of the many powerful and manipulative tactics used in a domestic violence relationship is blame/shame. Today, I am thinking about how that shame game manipulation can really spin your entire perspective out of control. There were so many things throughout my marriage to The Narcissist that I was blamed for or made to feel guilty about that I didn’t actually do wrong. Yet at the same time there are other things that I personally felt/feel deeply guilty and shameful for doing that I wasn’t allowed to even recognize and was made to feel that I had to do them as a means to survive.
I’m pretty sure that throughout this entire blog I have mentioned many things that I have willingly done in the name of The Narcissist or saving my marriage or trying to not get hit that I am ashamed of. It’s a weird thing to reflect back on really… to think about the desperate, needy, crazy, irrational person I became just trying to get him to love me.
I’ve been scouring the blog trying to see where I have posted about it before but can’t seem to find it atm… but basically after 6 weeks of knowing The Narcissist he left on a deployment. I sort of shifted back into this desperate need to see my friends and feel like myself after 6 weeks of being completely swept up the whirlwind that was at the time a very charming and love-bombing person. I ended up having a weekend fling with a guy that I met through some friends who happened to also be in the military. Naturally, The Narcissist found out about it through seeing some pictures on social media and then dragged the rest of the information out of me. This was one of the first major things he started to use against me as rationale for why I didn’t deserve him.
When The Narcissist came back from deployment he was fixated on what happened with said guy and started a heavy abuse campaign against me to try to report the guy to the military for sleeping with another military member’s spouse. (Yes this is actually a thing you can do in the military!) The problem that The Narcissist ran into is that we weren’t actually married at the time that it happened so there were no grounds to stand on. From that point on The Narcissist started a brainwashing campaign trying to convince me that I didn’t really want to have sex with that person and that I had been under the influence of alcohol and that I had in fact been raped by the person. The ulterior motive here was that The Narcissist thought he could get the other person kicked out of the military over this.
As with many of the “conversations” during this point in the marriage… The Narcissist was physically abusing me. He would ask me question after question after question and would hit me or choke me or drag me by the hair or slam my head off the floor until I said things that he wanted to hear and then he would stop. Sometimes it would last for hours… and at some points I think in my efforts to convince him, I started to believe the lies myself. The Narcissist had me tell the Chaplain his version of what had happened… and I know he told other people within his unit. The Narcissist had this idea that the more people who “knew” something the more true it was. He was trying to paint the picture that he wanted instead of facing the truth.
But in the end, he figured out that in order to actually “press charges” against this guy in the military system I would have to go in and be interviewed by the legal people and and make my statements to them directly and sign my statements as formal legal documents. I can still remember when he came home and told me what I was going to have to go do. I was having a complete inner breakdown because I knew that this guy did nothing wrong and I knew that I did not want to do anything that would jeopardize his career and his life and his future… but I couldn’t say any of those things to The Narcissist. If I had given The Narcissist even a glimmer of an idea that I cared about this guy’s well-being it would have been so much worse than it already was. So I had to find a way to be manipulative to get out of the mess I was in.
So I ended up having my breakdown out loud and in front of The Narcissist and told him that I couldn’t go through with the trauma of telling everything to the legal people and having all of the details maintained as a legal document and have everyone know about what I was so ashamed of. I told him that I wanted to protect him and protect us and that I just wanted as few people to know as possible and that I just wanted to be able to heal from the situation. I still took physical abuse over this situation… on many occasions… but I managed to deter The Narcissist from moving forward with taking any action against the guy.
And this is a glimpse of how all of the blame and shame and manipulation actually leave domestic violence victims feeling like they are the bad ones and they are guilty and they deserve what they are getting. You find yourself in impossible situations where you feel like your only choices are to tell an extreme lie that could seriously hurt other people or have you head repeatedly slammed off the wood floor. You follow the path of a crazy plan that could have huge implications because it is the only way you can see avoiding more hurt. You feel like it is your fault that these are the only options in front of you… you feel like you are the horrible person who has done horrible things… and you feel like you deserve to be punished for them somehow. It is absolutely heart wrenching.
I became a person who I am not proud of when I was in an abusive relationship. I became a person who was so addicted to the relationship that I was willing to hurt other people just to maintain it. I became a liar, and a manipulator, and a person who only cared about herself…. and those are the things that ultimately kept me stuck in the abuse cycle.
There is a lot being said in today’s world about “Crying Rape” especially since the Education Department just rescinded Obama’s guidance on sexual assault. There have been many news articles popping up on my feed about victim shaming and schools being on the rampage. However, I have to think that I must not be alone in my experience with this topic. I am sure that there are others in domestic violence situations who have cheated and then been forced, coerced, manipulated, threatened, into accusing their consensual partner of rape. I haven’t been able to find much about this combination of domestic violence and “crying rape” through Google so I thought I would put it out here for the world.
These are the things that are difficult to talk about… even still. I am so extremely grateful that I did not actually follow through with anything that could have ruined another person’s life… but I am willing to bet that there are others out there who are living with this type of regret on top of everything else that they have been through and my heart breaks for them.