Relationship My wife hits me

My wife was physically/emotionally/mentally abused as a kid. When she's triggered & out of control, she lashes out. Some of the people I've talked to have dismissed what I said like: "Ohh you're a big guy - you can take it". I AM a big guy & I CAN withstand it - but taking blows from someone is undignified and horrible for the relationship/the family/our daughter. I'm at a loss. Help me understand.
 

Survivor3

MyPTSD Pro
Hi @WORD_SOUND_POWER , welcome to the site ☺.

Huh.... its unacceptable behaviour 😤. Whether your a big guy and can take it or not it's just really horrible. Very difficult to love/be romantic and care for someone who behaves like that towards you. I have been overly physical with someone before whom I was in a relationship with. I have a history of complex trauma. Unfortunately people that suffer from ptsd can be susceptible to that. It only happened a few times but I feel embarrassed and ashamed about it. I find it difficult to give you advice but maybe you could "nip it in the bud" and say "the next time you go to hit or attack me, I'm calling the cops" and /or try and have a conversation with her to try and initiate some coping mechanisms that she can do rather than hit you. I used to know a woman that just smashed plates! It worked. Does your wife have a therapist? It sounds like that would be beneficial. I feel for you because it affects the whole family, I understand that.
 

arfie

MyPTSD Pro
thank you for your courage in speaking up, words. i sorely need to talk about, openly and freely, but? ? ? battered husbands and their abusers might be the most secretive society on the planet. on the rare opportunities that arise to discuss the horrors of it, unoffensive words are hard to come by.

confessions of a husband beater who married into a long(?) line of battered husbands. . .

i am a small woman married to a giant of a man and? ? ? the smart money's on the skinny bitch. . . the bigger they are, the harder they fall.

discovering the world of battered husbands was a greater shock to my psyche than discovering what the world calls "good girls and boys" who are trained as child prostitutes. an even greater shock was discovering that most of the world is greatly humored by the spectacle of a tiny wisp of a woman breaking bones on a big athletic specimen of a man. i, personally, have yet to send hubby to the emergency room, but only because i am an army veteran who was in psychotherapy with fellow veterans who recognized the symptoms and rallied to support our efforts to overcome this insidious cycle.

somehow our marriage has survived. around 30 years later, hubby still can't talk easily about the fact that he is the son of a battered husband and has been beaten himself. the sick, stigmatic jokes abound. . . ! ! !yo! ! ! jerkoffs! ! ! it ain't funny! ! ! it is even less cute! ! !
 

MnM

Confident
Agreed with the above... getting hit is not OK. Ever. Is she in therapy? Can she do some martial arts or something where she learns to manage her violence? Can you? Martial arts is amazing for self esteem... oh and therapy 😉

I dated a guy who would've "let" me hit him and it was because he'd already taken so many hits in life. I had to make a conscious vow not to touch him except with love because his body language/boundaries were so open to attack. We take up the space we are given unless we come across barriers.

Do you say no? Can you say no? What happens when you do?
 
H

Harpy

I'm not entirely sure if you mean taking blows physically or verbally, but either way it is not acceptable. Placing blame is secondary to solving the problem. You can't be in an environment that toxic and she can't be letting that environment persist. If most of her behavior is TRULY a result of her being "mentally ill" then she needs to intervene and remove herself from the situation, and get help. If she needs a higher level of care, inpatient, or chemical intervention, all of those need to be explored.

Not sure if you are commenting here because she is the survivor or because BOTH of you are survivors, but either way, your safety needs to come first. An intervention of some kind is required. AFTER THAT, you can think about other questions such as how you feel about the relationship short- and long-term.

And as an aside, abuse is abuse. Period. Women can certainly abuse men regardless of their size.
 

Movingforward10

MyPTSD Pro
I'm sorry that is happening.
Her past is not an excuse for her violence. She can control her behaviour and she needs to learn.

What do you want to do?
Do you feel able to put in boundaires or find somewhere safe when she behaves like that?

You mention a daughter. How is she experiencing this?

I'm sorry that people you have spoken to about this legitimise her behaviour because of your and her gender. That's wrong. Being hit is not ok, whoever is hitting and whoever is being hit.
 

Friday

Moderator
The only advice I can give is to draw a hard line and stand by it.

For example… EVERY time she loses control? Take your daughter and leave. Right then. Right there. In that moment. And stay gone for a significant period of time. Days, weeks, however long it takes cool reason to blast through whatever BS emotional shit is going on. Be it PTSD stuff, abandonment stuff, whatever… and she can see that HER behaviours are in the wrong, and need to change.

IME Little kids wrap their heads around “Mommy is on a BIG timeout.” very easily. It parses for them because they lash out, throw tantrums, get in trouble, too. And then everything is alright, again. It underlines that this behaviour is wrong, that there are consequences to these behaviours, AND everyone still loves everyone. Older kids/teens struggle more, but can also understand a lot more. Either way? Consistent consequences provide a real stability.

One our own ‘House Rules’ = When is it okay to attack someone else? Defending yourself, someone else, and learning how to fight. (Ditto for rudeness, as being rude is attacking someone without touching them). <<< Didn’t matter if it was a kid or a grownup who broke that rule.

In MY house it was my exHusband who got bounced, when he got violent (or tried to, would be more accurate; I’m a mediocre fighter, at best, but he was shit at it / could only best little kids and the injured). Unless I was already injured it was easy-peasy to duck walk him out of the house & lock the doors.

BUT??? DV is reeeeeeeally easy to misconstrue when it’s a female on male attack. So just for the sake of practicality in an imperfect world? Rather than throwing her out when she gets violent, to take the kids and walk out your own self // refuse to engage. Ditto, even if you live in a 2 party consent state, so video cannot be used in court? It’s worth it to flip record on your phone to video you calmly taking the kids and leaving, or to put up nannycams. Of course, if you live in a single party consent state, that’s pure gold as far as insurance goes. An exterior security camera with a posted sign, or nanny cams by filmed agreement, will also work in a 2 party consent state, at least once.

CYA. Domestic Violence Laws are a pit of vipers beneath the sewage treatment facility, next to the illegal dumping of toxic & nuclear waste.
 
Agreed with the above... getting hit is not OK. Ever. Is she in therapy? Can she do some martial arts or something where she learns to manage her violence? Can you? Martial arts is amazing for self esteem... oh and therapy 😉

I dated a guy who would've "let" me hit him and it was because he'd already taken so many hits in life. I had to make a conscious vow not to touch him except with love because his body language/boundaries were so open to attack. We take up the space we are given unless we come across barriers.

Do you say no? Can you say no? What happens when you do?
Re: martial arts - the 3 of us are in martial arts right now. my sensei is DISGUSTED with her behavior right now. we started martial arts so that my daughter could feel safe and confident as she grows in to a young woman in Bronx, NY. the move to study was also so that we all would respect fighting enough to not do it. as a school teacher in NYC, if i have any encounters with the police i can't work in a school until the case is completely closed. & of course if i retaliate physically at all I'M going to jail. in all, there's been around 10 times when she's hit me.

Re: therapy we've BOTH done YEARS of professional and personal development. we've been to a marriage counselor & she didn't like it. that woman told me a nugget that "[some women don't feel cared for unless they're in conflict]" i was like WOW (never heard that before & it FIT. she has a group AND a individual therapist however since she's been unemployed for the last couple months, she hasn't been back to them as they're tied to her insurance/income. with that in mind, although like any adults there's some stressors in our personal life and family life/economics, things have been QUITE good lately especially compared to other years where i was working part time or not at all. i was telling my counselor last week like .. "i'm good. we might not need this anymore.."

AND to be 100 & own my piece: i yell when i'm angry & i'm TERRIBLE at deescalating situations. i think i have adult ADD. after a very recent evaluation, the school psychologist suggested that my daughter is ADHD & that we should get further testing. when i think clearly about the way i think and learn & then think of my dad & HIS mom & the way THEY understand/process/act, i think that's probably accurate. anyway, the last time this happened, it was at the end of an argument that was still escalating. she threw something wet at my head & hit me in the shoulder. she pushed passed me to her office. i thought she was JUST angry and trying to leave without hearing what i had to say. what was actually happing is that she was fully triggered and trying to get away from me. i followed & she pushed me hard enough that i fell backward. i hit my head in the fall & she slammed the door in my face. i completely lost my temper at that point & in a totally uncharacteristic move, I destroyed the door with my hands. i didn't touch HER at all.

i recognize in a community of people with PTSD & C/PTSD this last part might appear horrible. that said, i didn't want to be in a forum like this & not fully disclose the situation. i'm not proud of losing my temper, but i was attacked again & .. acted out. this was NOT an attack on her body, but more like a cry for help & an ask to stop the bullshit (sandwiched in rage). of course she didn't take it that way & only recognized my anger. this is the first time i've ever done anything like that in over 10 years years (like a decade ago i smashed a sink full of dishes).

she doesn't acknowledge anything prior to the door incident. that's typical for her she gets fixated on the thing that (i guess) triggers her. the volume. a sentence. the tone. everything she did prior to that is gone. just the trigger. ptsd sufferers - is this part normal? is selective amnesia (i'm not trying to be funny by saying that) part of it? i'm trying to learn.
 

Survivor3

MyPTSD Pro
Trauma does affect memory but people can decide to conveniently forget certain things. And if someone is triggered then ultimately its upto them to learn how to manage themselves when in that state. Not blame the immediate people (family, friends) around them.

Like leave the room and cool off, take a walk or read a book. Not start beating up your husband whilst your daughter is in the next room and causing a fight. That's just really irresponsible.
 
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Sweetpea76

Moderator
It doesn’t matter if she has PTSD, a brain tumor, a hole in the head or demon possession. It is not a reason to hit you. Full stop.

You have to remove yourself from the situation. You can’t reason with them or de-escalate when they’re wound up like that. You can’t defend yourself verbally when they’re lashing out. You have to remove yourself totally.

My vet is a full foot taller than me. He’s never laid a finger on me in anger, but he has towered over me to intimidate in the past while lashing out.

Put your hand up, say something like “This is not OK. I’m not participating in this. I’m leaving until you can speak to me like an adult/keep your hands to yourself.” Then leave the situation. Don’t argue. Don’t explain. Don’t get sucked in. Don’t defend yourself, just make tracks. That’s you, setting a boundary. Do it every time or it’s useless. Take the kid too.

You have to set boundaries as a supporter. It’s more important than the “I love yous” in a PTSD relationship. They’ll run right over you and take your sanity with them if not.
 
i recognize in a community of people with PTSD & C/PTSD this last part might appear horrible.
Look, there's a difference between yelling and throwing/punching objects and actual physical abuse of another human being. They may all be abusive acts, but anyone who would equate them is simply wrong. Your actions do not excuse hers in any way.

Does she hit your daughter too? Or just you?
 
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