Tag Archives: Relational aggression

Self Loathing

Is there anything more devastating to deal with? It’s bad when it’s a normal, day-to-day thing. It is worse still when it’s due to being in an abusive relationship. I mean, you hear from someone who is supposed to love you tell you how much you suck when you mess up – even if it’s in their eyes only -, you start to believe it. And then, if you’re lucky, you have other loved ones pointing out what the abuser is doing to you, and asking, “How can you not see this is bad?”


Hmm. First the person you are in love with is calling you dumb for screwing something up, then someone else is inadvertently doing the same thing by asking how can you not see the abuse.  Is it any wonder you begin to hate yourself, if you didn’t before you got into the abusive relationship to begin with?


My ex, Christine (who you may have read about before) had a particularly wonderful refrain: “Why the fuck do I continue to put up with your stupidity, Robert? I must be some kind of masochist, but damnit, I see so much potential in you, if you’d just do what the hell you’re told.” To which I could only hang my head in shame, and apologize. One of the toughest things about being in that situation was the knowledge I was completely alone. Folks readily recognize that males abuse females, but the opposite is not so true. If a guy hits a woman, he’s the lowest for of scum on earth that needs his nuts ripped off, be burned alive, ect. If a woman hits a guy, well, he must have done something wrong, or he deserved it in some fashion. I told one person what happened to me, the reason why I was in the hospital. I was asked if I had cheated on my girlfriend, or something stupid like that. I think due to that verbal slap, I ended up staying with Christine another fourteen months. It took catching her in the act of cheating on me, on our wedding day, to get me to leave.


So, back to the self loathing aspect. When I regained my freedom, the amount of self hatred I had prevented me from really having a normal relationship for years. Don’t get me wrong, I tried. I didn’t realize I was sabotaging myself, though. I met a wonderful woman named Victoria about six months after I left Christine. When the poor lady would try to compliment me, or tell me I was a good person, I couldn’t and didn’t, believe it. I had a little voice in my head (that sounded an awful lot like Christine) telling me how worthless I was, and that I was a terrible person. I was also telling myself there was no way I could be loved because of how messed up I was. I eventually drove Victoria away. Fortunately, it was to a man who treated her the right way.


I still find it hard to articulate the hatred I have for myself, if you haven’t noticed. How do you put into words how worthless you feel, and how stupid you must have been to allow yourself to end up in a situation where someone is allowed to beat you with things like golf clubs, baseball bats, cast iron skillets, ect? How can you not see while you’re in there how bad it is? Simple. They tell you each time they love you. They only want what’s best for you. And, it wouldn’t happen if you didn’t make them do it to you. Did I really deserve those things that were done to me? Most days, the answer is, “No.” Other days, though…




Last night, I had a conversation with a friend of mine who is in an abusive relationship. I, too, was in one. This friend – my best friend, by the way – mentioned something their abuser did that caused me to flashback to some events from my relationship with my abuser.  You may remember the name Christine if you’re a long time reader. If not, here is something I shared on another website, in the comments section.

During the 1999 to 2002, I was in a bad relationship. Domestic violence kind of bad. If you were to look at the two of us, and heard ours was a dv relationship, you’d swear I was the victimizer: I was a Navy man, she was a bartender. I was 6′, 220 lbs of solid muscle. She was 5′, 95 lbs of waif. I didn’t stand a feckin’ chance. I’m going to tell you about the first – and only – time I heard that I was a victim, and needed to get out.

Christine and I had a little game we’d play every weekend where I’d ask what she wanted for breakfast, she’d say eggs Benedict, and I’d give her scrambled. We both knew from the early days of the relationship I had no idea what eggs Benedict were, much less how to make them. This particular sunny Saturday afternoon, the radio was on KOGO AM, and the Padres were warming up.

She came into the kitchen wearing one of my work black shirts, and a smile. I wore jeans and a white t-shirt. I kissed her in greeting (I was up about 30 minutes prior to her), and pulled the eggs from the fridge. We did our little routine, and I served her her hot scrambled eggs and bacon. I slapped bacon into the skillet for myself, and started to whip up an omelet for myself. I heard a skillet scraping across the counter top – if you’ve ever owned a cast iron skillet, you know the sound I’m referring to – and, I think I started to turn to see what she was up to. I still don’t know. What I do know is I was suddenly looking under the stove at some dust bunnies. For the life of me, I couldn’t figure out why I was on the floor.

Christine ordered me to get up in this scary flat way she had that informed me I had screwed up again. I tried for several minutes to do so, but it was like my body wasn’t connected to me anymore. After a few sharp kicks in the ribs, which I barely noticed, I was able to pull myself to my feet by holding onto the oven door. I looked at the red-haired beauty in front of me, and did not know her name. Before I could say anything, I felt wetness rolling down the back of my neck. “Oh, I must have just gotten out of the shower and forgot to dry my hair,” I remember thinking, and I went to push some of the water out with my hand. Instead, I found a spongy mass on the back of my skull, and a handful of blood. I woke in the hospital a few hours later. Cracked the back of my skull.

The doc said it was a wonder I was still alive. That part of my cranium was fractured like an eggshell. Funny, huh? He asked me what happened, and I said to ask Christine. She said I fell. He asked her to step outside, and repeated his question. I said what she did. I knew better than to contradict her. Doc said it was bs because I had a mark on the side of my face from a maybe fall, but this was the back of my skull. He then told me I should contact a shelter and leave her. He said that she was abusing me. I got mad at him, then myself, then Christine, and then I cried. I did not, however, veer from the story of me falling.