Are Marriges Really This Way?

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by susiestar, Jul 4, 2013.

  1. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    A friend of mine said something recently that shocked the daylights out of me. I totally disagree with her and she says I am either delusional or totally not in touch with what relationships are really like.

    She told me that every marriage has some occasions where the woman gets physically hurt by the man, or in same sex marriages where the more feminine partner gets hurt.

    This came up because I commented on a bruise that looked like finger marks on her arm. Her husband got angry and wouldn't let her leave the room until she agreed with him. She told me that it is 'normal'.

    Is it? I have not EVER seen my father hurt my mother physically in any way. No, the one time he did hurt her it was to put pressure on a cut and he had to push really hard because it wouldn't stop bleeding and she ended up wtih stitches. The cut was caused by an accident and definitely was NOT caused by something that he did to her.

    I have asked other friendss and they do not disagree with her, though they say they don't really know. Some admit to having been hurt by their spouses and some don't.

    husband would NEVER raise a hand to me. We have been together and been married over 20 years. Physical violence is not part of our relationship and after growing up with gfgbro it was one of a very few totally non-negotiable things I demanded from a relationship. We do not hurt each other if we can avoid it. Period. Esp not physically, but we try to not hurt each other emotionally either. My friends all tell me that our relationship is the exception.

    Why would this be normal? Why would so many people tolerate this? Or are they the ones who do not know what normal is? I know my family has our share of dysfunction,and gfgbro and I were violent with each other. It is why he is not in my life.

    Is physical violence a reality in most relationships? Are husband and I such an exception? Several of my friends flat out do not believe that husband has not hit me in some way during our years together. I find that bizarre, but know that I could not tolerate a relationship with someone who hurt me physically.
  2. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Like most things, this isn't all-or-nothing either.
    An abusive relationship is about power and control. It doesn't have to be physical, to be abusive. But... a relationship can be physical, without being abusive.

    I'm a "physical" person - tend to get "in your face", 'hands-on".
    As a result... we have a physical relationship.
    In our case, it's not about the stronger one putting the weaker one down. husband tones back his strength to match mine. But we can have a good tussle... and I DO end up with bruises. (Tends to happen when your shoulder or hip hits the furniture...) We don't do it in anger, it's more a way of working off tension. It just happens to work for us. But... add to that the fact that I bruise really easily, you can see why I hate changing family doctors. (They have to get to know husband before they believe me about where all the bruises come from. Its amazing how much a doorknob bruise looks like a fist bruise... and how many are self-inflicted)
    The key factor? Either one of us can call it off, and the other one stops NOW.

    In an abusive relationship, the stronger one will NOT stop until THEY want to.

    And in my opinion? I'm on your page in the sense that unequal power struggles in a relationship are NOT healthy, much less "normal".
  3. muttmeister

    muttmeister Well-Known Member

    This is absolutely not true. Yes, there are some marriages where it may be true but there are many more where it isn't. If she is somebody who believes it is true, then it will probably be true for her. I feel sorry for anybody who truly believes that this is "normal."

  4. Dixies_fire

    Dixies_fire Member

    Suzie- my first marriage I was in physical
    Altercations with my ex once or twice a year. I also am a in your face kind of person and don't shut up when told so occasionally I made it worse because I could of backed down and played the female card but the fact he touched me made ME angry and I wanted him to pay though how 150lb 5"6 woman makes a 6"2 190lb man "pay" I'm still not sure. I think my ex got mad when I took his manly ness away from him when he felt I had his balls in my purse it certainly seemed like that is the only times we fought that way. He picked a fight with me shortly after basic training and it was the last time he really tried to go there with me because it took too much effort.

    I don't feel comfortable talking about hubs because anything I would speak about would be during his mental break down and truly since he has somewhat stabilized there has not been any violence.

    I think you should probably just feel blessed and let it go. It isn't always the female being the victim and it isn't always really about being hurt. It's about power.
    And you can never judge another person till you've been there.
  5. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I totally get the power aspect to abuse. It was the final piece of the puzzle that led to me cutting my bro out of my and my family's lives. I saw how he fully believed he had the absolute power to say and do what he wanted and we had zero power to not listen, not do what he wanted, and/or get away from him. It took way too long for me to get to that point, but once I did I have been as stubborn about it as he is about feeling he owns that power over me and those he considers 'mine'. He only sees me as his sister and an extension of himself that is totally at his mercy, and he sees no one else that way that I know of.

    IC, I do think what you and your husband does is NOT what I am talking about. I do know couples who are involved in martial arts, wrestling of various types etc... and they do end up with bruises from each other both from practicing together and from using those skills/tactics to settle arguments but in a way that is balanced, meaning that the stronger one goes easy and does not just overpower the other one. I think that is different than what I am asking about. I am asking about an outright determination to make your loved one do or see something your way by forcing them and by hurting them. That is what I find strange and scary.

    Dixie, mental illness can strike anyone at any time and it is NOT the same. Your husband is dealing with things caused by factors outside of himself that caused trauma and NOT because he simply wants to force you to do something. In the moment it may be a power thing, but in the big picture it is totally different. As long as he is willing to get help and work on it and make some progress, and you do not live in fear and the kids don't either, then I would say it is not in his control. I hope you have resources available to help in the moment if he gets overwhelmed so that you don't have to make a choice that it is too dangerous to stay because it is clear that you love him. While I don't think everyone is strong enough to stay as this gets worked through, I do think it is admirable that you are willing to work through this with him. I would not presume to judge you or him, and I do think that things done out of illness are different. in my opinion mental illness is like eye care and dental care - it is all medical and the separations are due to politics and financial issues and NOT due to any difference that is real as these are all problems that happen to the body. The brain is part of the body or we wouldn't have neurologist and in my opinion tdocs/psychiatrists should be health care and not behavioral health care because it is all health care except for the bean counters. I have a huge issue with the way we count eye, dental and mental health as different because it puts roadblocks in the way to getting a comprehensively healthy person.

    I do think she is in a bad and dangerous situation, but until she sees this it won't get better. I do think that some families can heal from DV issues if all parties get help. It is so stigmatized that there are problems, but I know I am impressed with our county DV services in a huge way. When I worked with them after Wiz left our home they were open about not having another person getting help for the same reason but also that they were seeing a huge increase in the need for help for parents of violent kids. They worked with me and still ask me questions now and then about what I think would help if things were that bad for us again. They started to figure out a protocol and steps to help other parents based on what I found helpful and logical and they kept a file of the things so that they could help other parents and siblings. I know they now have at least a few families in that situation at all times, which is sad and positive at the same time. I am thankful they were willing to help me because not all DV centers are, and that they were wiling to open their eyes to the situation of violent kids in families with nonviolent parents.

    I am glad that I am more 'on target" than my friends led me to believe. I am thankful I am not in a violent relationship, and I hope my friends will find help so that they can work to end that facet of their lives however they need to. I
  6. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    I agree. But your friend may not see that. She may use what she sees happening in non-controlling situations, to justify her own situation. Not that there's any easy way to help her understand the difference.
  7. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    No, Susie. It is not a normal loving relationship. In a normal loving relationship there is no desire to hurt the one you love either physically or otherwise, regardless of your personality type.

    It doesn't mean they may not love either other, it means they don't know how to relate to each other. Either it is learned behavior as in an abusive past or lack of communication skills or maturity ect.

    Sadly, we as a society are losing our relationship skills for a wide variety of reasons. With that loss, we're also seeing the breakdown of relationships.

    Fred would have never dreamed to lay a hand on me. He never, no matter how angry, disrespected me. 1. I would not tolerate it and he knew it beyond a doubt and 2. I would never think to treat him that way. In all our years together even so much as raised voices were an exceptionally rare event.

    From what I've observed over the years it seems though that the dysfunctional relationship, and often abusive relationship, is becoming terribly common.
  8. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    This is not, not, NOT normal. What IC mentioned... husband and I tussle, too. Every so often one of us ends up with a bruise, but it is certainly not from a power trip! I think the only time he ever left finger marks on me was when he grabbed my arm to keep me from falling down stairs. I'll take the bruises over that!

    But... I'll playfully "punch" husband in the shoulder. If I were to hit Meggie a hard she wouldn't care. It's not about power in our case, it's a tease. Even a bystander wouldn't mistake it for violence. That's about the extent of it. Make no mistake, husband and I both have tempers. But if we hit something or throw something, it won't hurt anyone else.
  9. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Nope. It isn't normal. I've been married twice and never a bruise from either man.
  10. GoingNorth

    GoingNorth Crazy Cat Lady

    The ONLY time my husband ever hurt me was about 3 days after he mustered out from the Gulf war. He was discharged directly from combat to the rest of the world.

    We were walking down the street by our apartment and a car backfired. He threw me to the ground and threw himself on top of me, breaking a rib. PTSD at it's best. He felt guilty about it until the day he died ten years later.

    Our discussions could get heated, usually on my part, but when they got to that point the rule was that the other one could walk away to cool off and think. No time limit on cooling off periods and no following or getting in the other's face. No physical contact allowed.
  11. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    I am very observant and have never heard nor seen signs of any physical violence in any martial relationship involving any family or friends. The emotional abuse has been present in many cases but only one friend had too steady a diet of that and ended up divorced. DDD
  12. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    I'm of the opinion that there is no "normal". What might be something very upsetting to one person is usually something that is learned in the other person's family life. For example, I can not tolerate being called a liar. Every little thing we did as children was questioned as to it's motives, and our motives were always suspect. We were never given the opportunity to make mistakes or just be our own person.

    on the other hand, there are things that are normal in families that are also unacceptable. Physical harm and forcing one to agree with you are two of those things. It is probably normal for your friend. I'd wonder if she was allowing this to happen in front of her children and teaching them that this is normal too. If so, that brings the abuse to a criminal level. Someone has to break the cycle. Your friend is in denial. If this is happening in front of her kids, it's considered the same as abusing the children in the eyes of the law. Someone has to put a stop to it, but you won't be her friend for long if it's you.
  13. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    There was never any physical abuse in my parents marriage and my father would have died before laying a hand on my mother or saying anything bad to her. She on the other hand was all for verbal and emotional violence to all of us.

    Now in my first and only marriage he was extremely hands on and abusive but I gave as good as I got. I dont take well to getting hit. I hit back and since he was bigger than me I would use objects to level the playing field. One time he slapped me and tried to keep me from leaving my bedroom so I picked up my desk lamp and swung it at him. He ended up with 4 stitches. I got out of the room.

    Now Tony and I are a bit different. He has only come close to hitting me one time and if he had decked me I would have deserved it. Instead he hit the wall just above my head. I have been the one who has been much more violent in this relationship. In that case we were having a horrible argument about who knows what but I was washing dishes and Tony was about to walk out the door in the middle of our argument and it made me mad. I picked up one of the glasses I was washing and I threw it, aiming at the wall behind him wanting it to hit there to make him turn around, and the glass which was half full of water hit him upside the head. It almost knocked him out.

    He turned around stunned...stared at me....I was in utter shock and I started to run for the bedroom and he caught me in a corner and pinned me against the wall. I was trying my level best to sink to the floor into a ball because I was sure I was about to get the koi beat out of me and he nailed the wall above my head, turned around and walked out the door and didnt come home that night. Whats funny is I cant aim at all unless I am mad. Or obviously I cant aim. My objects just seem to have a mind of their own.

    We have also done lots of the play fighting IC is talking about. I cant tell you all the wrestling, tickling, and that sort of stuff we used to do. Cant do it much anymore because I would get hurt. Now he just pets me. Up until Buck showed up here again Tony and I hadnt had much in the way of real down to the earth fights in years. Oh we had arguments...who doesnt? But I had learned to control myself to where I didnt need to hit walls, throw things or cut in probably 3 years or so. Sad all that went away. Tony and I have lost most of our intimacy too. I miss it.
  14. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    No, it's not normal. Most adults don't use physical violence to others. I do believe that in longer relationships there tends to be situations and words said that would be considered abusive at least if said often, but physical violence is different matter.

    I and my husband also tussle and we play sports and those may cause some bruises. And I'm often enough bruised by my restlessly sleeping husband; he tends to kick, flail his hands, roll on my space and has even pushed me out of bed few times. But that is of course different.

    I have to say my husband has very unfortunate habit in close relationships to use his size, loud voice and ability to overpower others to win arguments. Maybe being the oldest kid in his family and big for his age also among peers have taught it to him. It does madden me even though I taught him not to try that with me. He doesn't touch people or even hint direct violence, he just comes a bit too close, into other person's space, talks a bit too loudly and doesn't let you to finish what you are saying. Doesn't do that to me any more, because I any and every time from the beginning asked him to take a step back and speak with normal voice and told him I hadn't finished what I was about to say. Never raised my voice or got into his face but neither took a step back and refused to continue an argument, if he was breathing my air. For him it is mostly bad habit but of course also a easy way to get his way. Still irritates me even though he doesn't do it to me (our boys at times yes.)