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Thread: Post physical abuse

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2003

    Post physical abuse

    Hi! I have been married for 26 years. During the first 4 years of my marriage my husband was a practicing alcoholic who was physically abusive to me. Anyway, he went through treatment and hasn't been abusive to me since. You would think that I would be able to get past the physical abuse - since it has been 22 years since it happened. However, I still have resentment towards him that he did it. He is kind to me now and I know he would never hit me again. Is there anyone out there who has stayed in a relationship after the physical abuse stopped? If so, how do you feel about it now ? How did you leave it in the past? Thanks!

  2. #2
    Silver Member sayer7's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Southeast USA
    I've been through two emotionally and physically abusive relationships before but both I ended for my own physical safety and mental wellbeing. The first happened when I was a child (between the ages of 10-14)~ my gymnastics coaches were physically and emotionally abusive to me. I've come to the understanding through expansive research of their culture and teaching styles, that their abusive style was a cultural way of teaching. It wasn't that they were terrible people-- it was just that the way they taught was the way their culture had trained them to teach.

    It's taken many years to learn how to forgive my gymnastics coaches but I've still not forgotten my experiences with them. For them, I learned to understand that they were just doing their jobs... they were trained to coach the way they did. They were trained to belittle and physically hurt the gymnasts in order to teach them. This was the only way they knew how to coach. Once I understood this, it was easier for me to forgive them as human beings and move on. But I will always remember my horrible experiences with them. I forgive them because I know outside of their teaching role they were overall good people trying to do their best at their job, but I don't forgive their abusive actions or the choices they once made. I had to separate their actions from who they were as human beings. Their actions were deplorable, but they, themselves, were good people trying to do their best in their professional world.

    In terms of your hubby, from what I gather back when he was abusive to you, he was an alcoholic. Alcohol is a powerful mood alterer which can cause people to act in ways, often terrible ways, they normally wouldn't. And since he's stopped being an alcoholic you've had 22 years of him treating you wonderfully.

    The scars and memories of the abuse will remain but realize you don't need to forgive or forget these abusive actions or treatment to heal. You probably shouldn't forgive these actions. Realize abuse is a choice of action-- because of the alcohol your husband unwisely chose to be abusive to you. But with his decision not to drink alcohol, he has also wisely chosen not to act abusively towards you.

    No one is perfect. No one can make all the right decisions at all the right times. Not even you. Just because he treated you abusively at one point in time doesn't give you license to treat him with disrespect 22 years later. It's ok to feel resentment. It's ok to feel hurt, it's ok to cry about how he once treated you. It's all part of the healing process. It's NOT ok to throw all his past mis-deeds from 22 years ago in his face whenever you have an argument and make the hurt resurface for both of you.

    Maybe he hurts as much from guilt as you hurt from the physical and emotional wounds he inflicted. Afterall, he abused himself as well as you and he has spent 22 years trying make up for it and heal himself. And from what you say, he's come a long way. So give him the credit that's due. You don't have to forgive his past actions... just praise him for how he's chosen to act now, and learn to love him for all the healing changes he's made for the sake of your relationship. You both are human afterall... healing takes time. It took me a decade to heal from my coaches, I understand your frustration in yourself- trying to get 'over it'. Don't get over it- just learn to understand your grief. I hope he continues to make wise and healing choices for himself... and I hope you can find a place to rest your hurt and resentment in your heart in time. I believe his actions the last 22 years show he loves you and treasures you... try to show the same in return.

    I hope this helps.... Healing prayers to you both!

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