Survival Mode

Everyday I read a little bit here and a little bit there from all of the blogs I have been following. I search out new ones to see what else is out there and to see what is on everyone’s mind. Today, I read a post that I really connected to (That Wasn’t Me…This Is Me). It was about a woman who was explaining how we assimilate into this (abusive) lifestyle. It is not this massive oppressive nature that comes at us all at once. Instead, it innocently seeps into our everyday consciousness until it’s all that we know. All of a sudden, I realized how incredibly true that was. Even though the little things seemed so big as they were happening, by the next “BIG” incident that last one could easily be considered almost nothing. I learned the dos and don’ts of what makes an abusive man angry and quickly and without conscious knowledge I knew just exactly what would rock the boat and so my main goal from day to day was NOT to rock it. I was in…survival mode.

What? How incredibly absurd does that even sound? I’m married. To a man that says he loves me. We have a child, a nice apartment in a decent neighborhood, we’re both working good enough jobs…yet, I am tiptoeing around my own life. It’s so crazy to explain if you’ve never been in the situation. It’s like, you’re going about your business and you hear the keys in the door and the pit of your stomach drops out from under you and within a split second you eyeball the apartment and your brain is going a thousand miles a minute…Is the house clean enough? Is everything in order? Is he going to complaint about having leftovers? Did I remember to do that thing he asked?…and the list goes on and on. Then he asks a simple question, in a normal mood. It’s clear he is not agitated or has any intention on starting a fight but you are so frazzled at the sheer possibility that when you answer the question you sound like you’re lying. Thus, the war begins. And it’s clearly your fault because you answered like an idiot. Why did you have to sound like you were double talking? I knew I was telling the truth yet even to me it sounded like I was lying. And after the three hour argument on how he doesn’t believe you he lets you know how this was all your fault because he came home in a good mood.

As the years go by you just learn how to respond. What facial expressions to use and when to just answer yes or no without a story behind it. People wonder how you can live so many years this way…truth is, when you are so busy living from day to day just trying to make it through the day without a hitch, time friggin flies. I imagine its how normal, happy go-lucky people live when everything is going great. They’re kind of in cruise control. Very relaxed and loving life, get-togethers, parties, vacations, etc. all without anyone else staring at the man screaming at them or one of their kids. For me (or us if I may be so bold), it’s like…okay, here’s my plan and in order to get from start to finish without blowing myself into a thousand pieces I need to hop around the land mines, day in and day out. Fun stuff.

So long story short…I’m a fucking survivalist! And a pretty amazing one at that.

No one goes into a relationship anticipating this nonsense. How can you even prepare to deal with something so intense? Somehow we each deal with it in our own way. No one’s way is better or worse than the next. It’s just right for us at that particular moment, until one day – it’s no longer right. That day is coming towards me like an asteroid falling from the sky. I can see it. I’m not sure how fast it’s going to get here but I know if I stay the course I will see it through and dodge out of the way…just as it lands on my husband.

Then I will live happily ever after. 🙂


32 thoughts on “Survival Mode

  1. well, your last few sentences made my smile and laugh as usual. on a serious note, as i was reading, i was thinking about what i’m sure you already know. first, i sincerely hope you find your way into the relationship of your dreams once this hell is over (him being flattened under the asteroid), but how also you will find that even in the perfect relationship it will be instinct to live with and use your survival skills. i couldn’t figure out why my current wife would tell lies about small shit, like “did you pay that bill?”, and she’d say “yes” when it had not been done. but after awhile, i realized that every other relationship was so abusive that it was second nature and takes an enormous effort for her to remember and believe that she does not have to do that with me. it has taken me a lot of patience and frequent self-reminders that survival is so ingrained in her that she is not meaning to hurt me with some irrelevant lie, but she is slowly discovering that she doesn’t have to. i’m far from the perfect husband, but i hope you will find a man that is willing to understand and allow you to slowly come out of your shell shock. in the meantime, keep your eye on the asteroid to make sure it hits, what is his name? oh yea, “motherfucker”, and not explode all over you. peace, safety, strength, and a wonderful future when it comes, bob


    • You’re awesome. I am looking forward to the wonderful future and the more I am reading and writing in this forum I am learning how to prepare and what to expect when this is all over. Being shell shocked was definitely not on my list and neither was learning how to unravel out of a survivalist instinct. I see now there is a process of untangling my way out of this mess just as there was getting all knotted up in the first place. Luckily, it will be a lot more quieter process. Much appreciation for taking the time to send me some kind words…and thank you for understanding your wife’s need for instinctual lies, etc. I hope she is doing better as time goes on.


  2. You know, if a man chained you up in a basement, and tortured you for years, few people would care too much if the police were to lock him up for life and throw away the key. Or worse.

    I’m not sure how this is any different.


    • I see your point, Matt.

      Believe me…when he tells me he loves me my response usually is something like…I’d love if you jumped off a cliff. Or when he calls to see if we need something from the store I’ll add on to the list…a rope long enough to get the job done. Friends and neighbors think it’s hysterical. Like a typical old married couple. I kind of think my husband thinks it’s my way of saying that I love him. Ha! Yeah, I love. Love for him to forget where he lives or that he ever knew me. Wishful thinking.


  3. Pingback: That Wasn’t Me… This Is Me! | Many Small Voices: Speaking out about domestic abuse

  4. You are a survivalist and pretty amazing at that… Believe it and watch thing change for the more powerful.. You are one for sure.


  5. another wonderful post-wonderfully written. looking back I can see how I did the same and even now I sometimes go back to those behaviors-and sometimes worse, when my fiancee sometimes asks me to do things for him I take it to the extreme-ie you cant tell me what to do. no one is ever going to control me again…oy i guess that means more therapy! lol but seriously, I am glad that you are safe and happy and thank you for sharing this with us all.


  6. I understand everything you said here.

    I have Complex PTSD due to multiple traumas over my entire life.

    That’s the problem with it, really.. you only need to be abused once and you become a magnet for people who need to exert control over others and you don’t recognise that it’s happening, because you’ve lost the ability to recognise danger, even though you spend 24 hours a day expecting danger.

    Our brains are incredible, the way they process things…

    I’ve only just started reading your blog, so I’m not sure whether you’re still with your husband or finding your way out of there, but I wish you all the luck, strength and healing that I can send your way.

    You sound okay here – positive and most importantly, aware…

    You will be okay, and you deserve to have a free and safe and healthy, happy life. You deserve that.


    • At the moment, I am still with my husband but I am heading towards the end zone. Starting this blog was a way for me to focus on keeping my promise to myself and getting out in the time I set for myself. Luckily, in writing my story and reading the stories of others it has put my mind on a one way track.

      Throughout my ordeal, I have always kept a focused mindset on how and when I would leave. Everyone may not agree on my method but I needed to do it this way so once I’m out I am free and clear and there will be no reason for contact.

      I have no intention on being in this type of situation again no matter what those odds are. There is only one person I am geared toward in my happily every after and he would never act the way my husband does.

      I’m not sure where you started reading from but this is the beginning.

      Thank you for reading and thank you so much for reaching out. I truly appreciate your kind words.


      • What you are doing is intelligent. It’s also possibly going to save your life.

        When you leave, you need to go somewhere with other people who can physically protect you.

        If your husband has no idea this is coming, his reaction is going to be terrifying. He may not be violent right now, but he has been in the past it seems, and losing control of you to this extent is going to send him off his rocker.

        You are incredible. You are strong and brave and intuitive. You are going to be okay.

        And that really makes me happy. I don’t think you’re in danger of continuing in the abuse cycle the way I did, because you’re aware of what was done to you and that it was wrong.

        I am excited for your future.


      • You have no idea how much those words mean to me. I have come across some amazing people in my short time blogging and connecting with those who understand this life is something that I am coming to cherish. For so many years I held all of this in and now it feels like normal everyday conversation. I am so happy I decided to tell my story. I’m glad you came across my blog….and I am excited for my future too! 🙂


  7. Although hell-bent asteroids don’t seem to be a common occurrence, the Law of Attraction works miracles. Maybe if we all collectively imagine and visualize it for you…:)

    I was married to a malignant narcissist for eight years. I can relate to becoming “acclimated” to the abuse and lies. The first time I discovered that he told me a big whopper, I literally felt sick. The next time a little less, then a little less, until voila. I suddenly knew enough about boiled frog syndrome to give public speeches.

    Sitting on the side lines with my pom-poms 😉


  8. I left an abusive relationship after 35 years last year. It took me 3 years to plan a way out. Take your time to make sure that you are safe……I totally understand. Sending love and strength your way.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Wow…that’s amazing! Good for you. I’ve been planning a way out since day one so if I’m not ready soon, I’ll never be. 🙂 The only difference now is that I have people in my life that know the situation and are willing to be there for me when I get out. Thanks so much for reading and reaching out!


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