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Abusive Relationships

PostPosted: September 7th, 2012, 5:08 am
by Spots
I have no fewer than 3 people in my family who I've been forced to cut off from my emotions, from my contact. There's no doubt they were emotionally abusive to me & now I'm dealing with the fallout.

The three of them conduct smear campaigns to try to condemn me within the family.

So I want to put it out there to anyone who feels emotionally abused. Or physically abused. If you are living in that cycle, you must know you are not alone and in some cases nothing can be done until you go public.

Until you cut them off or face them directly. You have to strike at the root.

Contact me if you need me. I'm not saying I can help 100% but it would help me to relate at this time. It may help you to talk about it and figure out where you stand. To find patterns in types of abuse. To flesh out how you feel and in which ways you have been oppressed. Emotional abuse can effect your life forever in ways you don't even imagine.

Seek strength in others.

I got to the point now where I even look for abuse where there is none. I'll be in a completely healthy relationship with someone and become surprised I'm not being abused. We all deserve healthy, strong one-on-one human relationships.

If you need someone to reach out to:


PostPosted: September 7th, 2012, 5:58 am
by Spots
Wanted to share this letter someone sent to me since I've gone public that's helped gather strength in me and find commonality.

Hi Jesse,

[redacted] shared your post about your brother with me. I feel for you. About ten years ago, I cut my sister out of my life. It's one of the best decisions I ever made. I tried to help her for years. But you can't fix someone else and I just couldn't take the abuse any more. It was a different kind of abuse from what you've experienced, but still abuse.
There are people who will criticize you for this. “But he's family. Nothing's more important than family.” “ You're brothers, you should be close.” Those people, even family members, weren't there. They didn't have the same experiences you did nor do they react the same way. You have to protect your own mental health and it's okay to be selfish about doing this.

The people who think cutting someone off is wrong simply do not understand the situation. They wouldn't stick around in the same circumstances, but think you should. You wouldn't be friends with someone who treated you the way he does. But for some reason you're supposed to put up with it because you happen to be related? No. Cutting yourself off from abuse is a good and courageous thing to do. It's also very freeing. It feels so good to pursue my own life and do what makes me happy and be free of her. Enjoy your freedom.

For most of my life, people held me at least partially responsible for my sister's behavior. It was “sibling rivalry” or somehow I was supposed to get along with her even if she didn't get along with me. As you can imagine, it was horribly frustrating and at times made me furious. But when I cut her out, I knew her behavior would turn on other family members and hoped they would eventually see things from my point of view. Some of them now see it and don't really have dealings with her. Some of them have limited dealings and put up with her behavior but that's them.

My sister has a personality disorder and you can't just “work things out” or “put aside your differences” or “learn” to get along with someone like that. People like to throw around those platitudes and you just have to remind yourself that they do not understand the situation. I know I said that already, but it's a good thing to repeat to yourself.

Just yesterday I got a message from one of our cousins telling me that my sister and I have things in common and “should” have a relationship. I told her that I don't pet rattlesnakes.

Always remember that you can't deal rationally with irrational people.
I hope this helps a little.


PostPosted: September 7th, 2012, 10:05 am
by Asaf
Several years ago I cut myself off from my father. I was tired of the fact that every time I spoke with him, I would somehow end up feeling bad about myself.

Other people in my family would pressure me to reach out to him.
"You can't just NOT call him."
He hasn't been calling me either.
"He's the only father you have."
I'm the only son he had, doesn't seem to make a difference for him.
and my favorite is
"God forbid he should die and leave you with all this regret for not having a relationship with him."

It's good that your posting this, Jesse. Too many people don't understand how necessary a thing it is to extricate themselves from toxic situations. I faced a lot of emotional abuse most of my childhood. As an adult I was done with it.

So I cut my father off.

Then something magical happened a little over six months ago. I found I could think of my father without any anger. It was all gone. And I could actually speak to him.

I stopped trying to have the relationship I thought I was supposed to have with my father and just talked with him. My sister is unfortunately, and unsuccessfully, trying.

And then recently I saw him at my niece's sweet 16 a couple of weeks ago.

He was angry, irrational and inappropriate.

And for the first time ever, I stood up to him. And he backed down. I'd never had any power in my relationship with my father. It was the greatest feeling ever.

I wish you well on whatever outcome you pursue.

PostPosted: September 7th, 2012, 11:41 am
by Spots
Asaf, thanks so much for sharing that. Sounds like you've put some distance between you and the abuse.

Likewise my brother can no longer tap my emotions. He can no longer oppress me. That revelation was important to me as well. I now pity him. So every interaction we've had I considered a "bonus" where I just tried to find the same Matthew from my childhood.

Instead I find a man who terrorizes women. Who belittles people and bullies them. My mother told me a story where my brother even tried to dehumanize the actor Tim Robins.

I learned how to stand up to my brother's emotional abuse. This is what I posted from this weekend:

"My family will be seeing this status update which makes me sad to share because for years I have maintained my brother's confidence. But he threw me under the bus at the drop of a hat every chance he ever got. This weekend I witnessed my brother dehumanizing women. Treating women like objects and demeaning them in order to feel better about himself. So I stood up for them and I told him that he does it because he loathes himself.

THIS ANGERED HIM. So I told him that if he wants to beat up women he should take his rage out on me. He took the opportunity. He attacked me with a beer glass no fewer than four times. I did not defend myself. Then he punched me mercilessly 8 to 10 times in the head, neck and back of head. This is not the message I wanted to send out to facebook land.

This is a story I've been hiding for years. Because I love my brother. But I challenged him to step up and grow as a person. To stop demeaning women. And he took it as a chance to end our relationship. I wish you the best brother. But I have no respect for someone who puts down women as an excuse to make himself feel better about himself. Stop making up lies about me and ruining my relationship with my siblings and nephew. You are officially cut off from my life. And please treat women with respect."

He had never been physically abusive before (except he experimented with smothering me when we were children.) The reason he got violent was because I called out the game. I stood up to his brand of abuse and told him he puts down others because he cannot stand to face himself.

PostPosted: September 7th, 2012, 11:59 am
by Spots
And this is what my brother is doing right now:


PostPosted: September 8th, 2012, 12:33 am
by jillybee72
Jesse, I hope you are okay physically and emotionally. This is 12,000 times sucky.

PostPosted: September 8th, 2012, 3:08 pm
by Spots
I've come closer to my nephew and my mother through this experience.

That's all I can ask for. Last year was the most trying. I made myself vulnerable to my brother after he promised we would be the brothers we were when we were kids. And then he immediately betrayed my confidence. Today there's so much scar tissue and so little trust there that I've just walked away from it.

Those lingering thoughts abotu my brother feel like cobwebs that are holding me back. All there's left is to think about the family I carve out for myself in this world. And again, those family members of mine who choose to seek strong one on one relationships. That choose to see past the web of lies.

Thanks Jillbee. I've come to learn alot about myself and come to terms that humans aren't all like this. I think because my father seeks abuse in his own way, I unfortunately got paired up with his den of snakes.

But I'm not big on snakes. Moving on. I tried. Even when he dragged my name through the mud I tried.


PostPosted: September 10th, 2012, 11:45 am
by Ryan Hill
Thanks for your openness, Jesse.

I always appreciate it when someone shares this kind of thing because it lets me know my own stuff is just normal human stuff.

I'm sorry you went through it, and yes, I think you should carve out your own family in this world.

Glad you're a part of this community.


PostPosted: September 10th, 2012, 4:35 pm
by Spots
Thanks Ryan.

Some days life is just a brutal learning process. Here's the most insane bit of reading from this whole experience. Because I want to learn and empower myself with information whether or not I ever see him again.

"Gas lighting" have you ever heard of it, Ryan?

Gaslighting is a form of psychological abuse used by narcissists in order to instill in their victim’s an extreme sense of anxiety and confusion to the point where they no longer trust their own memory, perception or judgment. The techniques used in “Gaslighting” by the narcissist are similar to those used in brainwashing, interrogation, and torture that have been used in psychological warfare by intelligence operative, law enforcement and other forces for decades. ... m-syndrome ... gaslighted

I lived around it all my life and never even realized it.


PostPosted: September 11th, 2012, 4:45 pm
by Ryan Hill
Haven't heard exactly of it. Heard of similar things.

I had a very close long-term relationship with someone with borderline personality disorder.

Messed me up quite a bit.

PostPosted: September 11th, 2012, 7:26 pm
by Spots

... as I've said there are 3 total family members I had to cut off. Borderline and NPD are said to be the hardest to deal with in the mental health field.

Because of resilience of the manipulation.

Every time my feelings toward the abuse have gone from confusion to anger to pity. The challenge here is that I'm still caught up. I'm still fleshing out this dialogue which is healthy. But he WANTS me to wonder whether he's genuine. He WANTS me to wonder if we will ever be brothers again.

And those thoughts of mine are the harmful ones. They are foot holds he could exploit to put me right back into the gas light cycle.

The healthiest ones are the ones where I put it all behind me. That's such a mind fuck. That's why I'm doing this publicly.

PostPosted: September 11th, 2012, 9:06 pm
by mpbrockman
Asaf wrote:Several years ago I cut myself off from my father. I was tired of the fact that every time I spoke with him, I would somehow end up feeling bad about myself.

I'm doing that myself. While I can't blame all of my current issues on him, he makes me feel like a worthless piece of sh*t every time I talk to him. When I actually see him - physical violence has occasionally ensued. So I'm cutting him out as best I can. My mother died a decade ago and the intermediary was gone. So I'm left trying to deal with a father and brother who think I am wasting my life being a musician. So, Asaf, I feel for you.

PostPosted: September 11th, 2012, 9:16 pm
by mpbrockman

Friends are the family you get to choose. I am eternally grateful that I have amassed so many friends here with the AIC and earlier in my life. If the number of people you love and who love you are any measure of success then I am a wealthy man.

PostPosted: September 11th, 2012, 9:18 pm
by Spots
mpbrockman wrote:So I'm left trying to deal with a father and brother who think I am wasting my life being a musician. So, Asaf, I feel for you.

Brockman, bullies devalue what they envy most. Keep that in mind and supplement the love they are withholding with love for yourself. I love you and your decision to be a musician. It's a life skill you are very talented in and one I'm glad you explored to share with so many artists and audiences.

I'll always treasure that Drum Machine show.

PostPosted: September 12th, 2012, 5:22 pm
by diamond9
Jesse… we’ve never met, but I am new to the improv community. (Taking Level 2 at Institution.) I was really inspired by your post. I have been meaning to share my “story” for the same reasons and wasn’t sure if it was the right thing to do until I read this post. There are those that say being that open about such stuff is “TMI” or oversharing or best left private. And I say, share your story. Not to perpetuate being a victim but to rise up against shame and the false belief that abuse is the victim’s fault.
What I am about to share is in NO WAY SHAPE OR FORM meant for sympathy or one-upmanship (ha), manipulation or anything other than sharing that I am here for others as well and have overcome (and still am overcoming) some intense garbage, trust issues, etc. and know it IS possible to see light on the other side.
A few months ago, I cut my parents and my one sister out of my life for a season due to emotional abuse and manipulation. My whole life story would take pages and pages to explain the myriad ways I have experienced emotional neglect and abuse plus physical abuse and trauma. I will say that I grew up in an overly strict and cultish type of religion. We were encouraged to separate ourselves from the outside world and didn’t celebrate holidays such as Christmas nor birthdays. We were taught that our life is nothing on this earth and all that mattered was following the church. They gave most of their income to the church which left us pretty poor and barely surviving financially. Life at home was harsh and there were no “Daddie’s little girls”. The first time my Dad told me he loved me was when I was 16 and he was afraid that Mom was going to leave him and he would be alone. I learned to be the “star child” to keep myself in their good graces (was the star in all the school plays, top 10% of my graduating class, yadda yadda.) Needless to say, I don’t follow their religion now.
At one time, my dad beat my legs black and blue because they were fighting and I was trying to get them to stop. On top of the emotional and physical abuse and neglect from my parents, I also went through being molested by my Uncle when I was 11, my first sexual experience as a teenager was a date rape and several years ago I was sexually assaulted at knifepoint on the sidewalk in front of my apartment and told that if I called the police, he knew where I lived and would come back to kill me. (I never saw his face. Of course I called the police but never stayed at that apartment again.) I literally wouldn’t go out at night for a year after that and started taking martial arts for a while. I was a size 4 at the time. To “hide myself” after all of this abuse, I subconsciously decided it wasn’t safe to be thin so I started slowly putting on weight until I reached 225 pounds. I am only 5’1” tall, so I was roly-poly! I have lost a lot of the weight as I work through all of this muck in therapy and still have a lot to lose, but I’m working on getting ME back.
I didn’t tell my parents about the date rape as a teen because I would have heard that it was my fault for being in that situation and that they were ashamed of me for what happened. I did tell my parents as an adult about my uncle, and my mother told me she was angry with me for bringing it up, that I had no right to talk about it and it should stay in the past.

And this isn’t even all of my story. I won't share any more of it because you are probably thinking "GEEZE. what a downer!" and this all seems, well, depressing, right? You may think I am just an emotional mess and may not want to be around me after hearing all of this. Well, let me tell you this. Yes, I have some trust issues that arise from time-to-time and get uncomfortable in certain social situations. I sometimes won’t go to unfamiliar neighborhoods or places by myself if memories invade and I feel uncomfortable. But through it all I learned what STRENGTH I have. I am learning to draw boundaries and to stand tall. I know I can get through ANYTHING and come out on the other side and still be able to be a goofball and enjoy life and believe in the power and magic of Love to heal. I am still working through some stuff, but I had a breakthrough realization a month ago in therapy that considering everything I have been through in my life, I am pretty damned well adjusted and did great getting through all of this totally on my own with no help from family or friends along the way. I am proud of who I am and who I am becoming. I am going to stand tall after sharing this with you. I am also not going to obsess over what I wrote or I will never hit send! No need to act weird around me if you meet me. : )
So I am here as well if anyone needs to share or talk.

I don't want to post my email here, but send me yours if you want to be in touch in private.