I got him what he wanted…why did he not like it?

A shout-out to all the victims and survivors who just survived another gift-giving holiday.  I know you tried.  You tried to get them the perfect holiday gift (hoping it would make him happy).  Know that I stand with your strength as you are still suffering through various levels of it just not being enough.  I know how painful it is to shop and pay for the perfect gift  only to be met with:    

That’s the wrong color
It’s not what I wanted.
I hope it is returnable.
How expensive was this?
You always waste money

And then same old conversation starts:
Victim:  but it is exactly what you said you wanted.
Abuser:  ”I never said that, why are you lying.”
Victim:  “I clicked on the link in your email.”
Abuser:  “Stop talking about technology, we are a couple not a computer, you spend too much time working.”
Victim:  “What did you really want then?”
Abuser:  “You should know.”  “You should have thought harder.”  “Clearly you don’t put any time into me.”  

Why do they do this?  A few reasons….

  1. First, they just want to make sure you know you screwed up…and royally at that.  In fact, it could be the very thing they wanted (and it was!!)  But don’t think for one moment you can do anything right…they always want to make sure you feel less than and wrong.  
  2. Next, they want to create confusion in your mind.  “But wait, it was on your list.  You said you wanted it.” Now they can gaslight you saying you are lying and you start to question yourself.  This is where they want you – at all times.  
  3. And, remember, the abuser ALWAYS needs to have the upper hand.  The abuser is the ONLY one who can give a great gift and they want you to feel as if you constantly owe him.  You can’t possibly give an appropriate gift – not even a mediocre gift.

Additionally, they want to rob you of your need to show gratitude.  Giving to others is a need of all of us…we want to show appreciation.  This extends to when you try to show the abuser gratitude (after all, they scream ALL the time that you aren’t grateful so you should try harder – right?)  For instance, you want to take them on a big trip for helping you with something.  Several times you ask them for dates when they are available – and you are told each time that you need to wait until the guy’s golf trip is booked or they get the dates of the work trip.  So you wait.  But then, in a fit of rage, you get screamed at “you never did book that trip.”

You:  “I tried you didn’t give me dates yet.”
Abuser:  “Sounds like an excuse to me…If you really wanted it to happen you would have made it happen.”
You:  “Ok, then let’s book right now.”
Abuser:  “You have ruined it, I’d rather just go away with the guys.”  

Yes….they are the ones who stalled and told you to wait on them…it is all your fault.  

And then, let’s not forget, in either scenario, they also have something to bitch to EVERYONE about…can you believe she still hasn’t booked that trip after all I did for her.  And that Christmas gift she got me – all wrong…you would think she would try harder.  After all, I got her jewelry and a beautiful sweater. And the sympathy pours in.  Rather than wanting to tell people how wonderful the gift is they not only get the gift (oh yes, they do keep it) but they get sympathy about how horrible and unappreciative you are.  

Oh, and let’s not forget your part in their gift-giving.  You have to “kiss the ring” for the heinous fake jewelry and ugly sweater he gave you – that you would NEVER wear in a million years. 

Please know this is domestic violence…this is abuse…and it has absolutely nothing to do with you.   I know you followed the link he sent you.  I know he said he wanted blue and now wants orange.  I know he is lying, and otherwise causing a scene.  He didn’t forget…he isn’t a jerk…he’s a domestic violence abuser and you deserve MUCH better.  

If you are in an abusive relationship please take steps toward safety.  Just call your local domestic violence center and get help with a bit of safety planning.  Empower yourself with a plan for when you are ready to leave.  It isn’t a sign of weakness or giving up.  It is a way to protect you and your family from further abuse…when you are ready.  

If you have a loved one or colleague who shares a story like this one, please love her with everything that you got.  Yes, you can talk to her in big and small ways about how wrong this is as you very slowly start to drop in information about domestic violence and that his behavior is not normal or healthy.