Monthly Archives: May 2013

“Crazy Making” as Psychological Self-Abuse?

Perusing a friend’s blog, emmie came across the following quote, which was startling in terms of the accuracy to which it describes our ex’s behavior patterns. While many of these patterns of behavior were directed at me and emmie, I didn’t necessarily perceive them as specifically abusive behavior towards me at least, more the behavior of someone with a very on again / off again relationship with reality, i.e. I didn’t see it as necessarily “crazy making” (although at times it had that effect on emmie particularly) but as simply already crazy. For instance the aspect to the pattern of accusing you of saying things you didn’t say or doing things you didn’t do was consistent, but in a relationship that started as a quad and then continued as a triad the person accused could more easily check the reality of the situation with a witness than is usual in monogamous relationships, so it most often made our ex look like the crazy one, not the person it was directed at.

I’m pretty thick-skinned (and probably thick-headed, as my father would say), so it perhaps simply didn’t have the full effect on me, although it probably had more of that effect on emmie. Since the relationship ended her writing and what she has said to others has been filled with a vitriol that appears intended as an attempt to continue abusive behavior from a distance.

Strangely though the worst aspects of this behavior pattern in our ex were self-directed. Since the split she has complained constantly, although vaguely, that she was ‘abused’ in the relationship, but when called on the claim by someone who knew the three of us well for virtually the entire relationship, she couldn’t name a particular instance of any type of abuse, and later responded in her public writing by referring to that person (and apparently anyone else who doesn’t automatically see things her way, although what that way is appears to change from moment to moment) as a “fucking asshole”.

The quote interested me not just due to the accuracy of the description of her behavior pattern and the description of it as abusive, but in terms of the possibility that she remembers the situation as abusive not due to anything emmie or I did, which is demonstrated anyway by her inability to name a single instance of any type of abuse, but due to constant psychological self-abuse, a constant ‘making herself crazy’. Has anyone else seen this type of behavior pattern used by a slave in an M/s dynamic? And is this kind of psychological abuse being used against the self a common pattern or something unusual?


“Are you in a relationship where you are made to feel like you need to doubt yourself, doubt your sense of what is real or that your every thought and behavior is questioned? Do you feel like you may be “going crazy?” If so, you may be in an emotionally abusive relationship.

According to the University of Missouri Extension service, the term “crazy making” is used to describe a process in which a victim of abuse questions their sense of what is real and what isn’t. People who constantly have their perceptions denied by an abusive partner can tend to lose this ability to see what is real, thus questioning whether their own mental health is to blame and not the emotional abuse that is actually occurring.
Crazy making can also be called psychological abuse. This abuse is about trying to make you look bad, discredit you and silence you; all while making the actual abuser appear to be calm and cool to the outside world. The following are some signs that psychological abuse may be occurring.

Distortion and Distraction:
An abuser may say that you said something you didn’t say, did something you never did, or demand things that are impossible for you to do. They may try to distract you from their abusive behavior by changing the subject and not keeping to the issue at hand. They will bring up things that happened days, weeks or even years before to avoid what is really going on. An abusive person may often give you more than one choice between two opposite things, and then later become angry because you chose one thing over the other.

Black and White:
An emotionally abusive person will see things in black and white, with no room for shades of grey. They will be inflexible and unwilling to compromise. Often an abuser will only consider their way as the only way.

Passive Aggressive:
Someone who is emotionally abusive may act out in a passive aggressive way. They will give you the cold shoulder and quiet treatment, sulking in a way that they are hoping you will read all kinds of meaning into. Sometimes an abuser will subtly sabotage things you enjoy by saying negative things with a smile. This type of behavior makes it difficult for anyone on the outside of this relationship to detect that there is anything wrong.

Crazy making is a real form of emotional and psychological abuse. If your partner repeatedly exhibits behavior that is meant to confuse you or make you think that things are different than they really are or than you know them to be, seek help from a counselor trained in dealing with abusive relationships. You are not the crazy one, even if your partner is trying to make you believe that you are.”


Definitions

Mastery (of someone):  to appropriate, own and give a disposition, a state of being, to that person.

Domination: to make available to oneself as appropriate.

To submit: to be revealed or exhibited as available and proper.

Submission: available to hear and simultaneously obey.

Submissive: acquiesce to obedience through devotion.


History of a Relationship

When I first got together with h, we lived in separate cities, separate countries in fact.  We met online in a vanilla situation but quickly realized we were both into kink in various ways.  H was insistent that I become a “play partner” even online, although she was in an O/p relationship at the time.  She even managed to convince her Owner at the time to ‘give’ her to me.  

She moved to Canada, which was relatively easy since I was half owner of a software company and could simply hire her.  At about the same time, my relationship with the woman I was living with wasn’t working out and that woman told me “you need to have a relationship with a sub, not try egalitarian relationships with other dominant people.”  We ended the relationship on good terms and h moved in.

The next year and a half or so were fairly intense work wise for me as I developed an extensive piece of software from scratch by myself, at times working 36 hours or more in a row.  Although things between h and I seemed fine, in cleaning up some of the things she left behind I came across journals that indicated her behavior while I was busy was already contradicting what we had agreed upon, that the lying, cheating and hiding her behavior was there from the beginning.

As our relationship developed, however, she started to desire that I take more control.  She desired a 24/7 M/s relationship, and as it seemed attractive to me and worth trying we entered into that type of arrangement.  Things seemed to settle down under that arrangement, at least at first.

At a certain point, shortly after I had completed the work on the software, h’s grandmother passed in San Antonio.  H went down immediately for the funeral and returned.  Her mother was, however, extremely depressed and since she had inherited the house, asked h and I to come down for a few months, both to give her some company and to give me a much needed vacation.

H’s uncle, however, suddenly demanded his share of the house.  Given the time constraints and its location in an unfashionable part of San Antonio the house went for very little.  Simultaneously h’s mother decided to spend all the money she had from the sale on unsecured debts incurred in California, leaving the three of us stranded in San Antonio with virtually no available cash.  H’s mother had difficulty, as could be expected, finding reasonable work in her late 50’s due to the ageism in society, and h had been on disability for manic-depression for some time, which doesn’t amount to a great deal of money per month.  Since I had come down for a vacation initially I hadn’t bothered getting a work visa at the border, but due to work I had done for the U.S. military it was simple enough to get work authorization from the DHS.  Shortly after that h and I got married in San Antonio.

We then decided that the three of us would move to the Austin area, work being more available in my field than in San Antonio.  However this was at the lowest ebb in tech in 25 years and decent work was not easily available even in Austin.  We managed to get by on a few short-term contracts I was able to pick up but finances were tense.

At around this time we met emmie and Edwin.  The four of us got along well and, since primarily h and Edwin had wanted to be poly, we formed a quad.  The relationship between the four of us developed quickly and although emmie wasn’t all that impressed by h’s idea of being a ‘slave’ she found it an attractive idea for herself.  She therefore asked if I would take her as a slave and I collared her soon after.

It was shortly after that that we started to make appearances in the kink scene in Austin, initially starting with the GWNN bash that year.  Edwin wasn’t at first all that interested in kink, and as a result it was the three of us that attended.  He became, of course, far more interested not long after that.

We made friends in the scene, and continued to try to make the M/s aspect of the lifestyle work between the three of us while continuing the poly lifestyle as a quad.  During this period h’s sexuality appeared to change from being obviously bisexual to predominantly gay, which of course put a strain on the poly relationship, never mind the relationship between h and I.

I don’t want this to sound as if there were no good times, no good periods in the relationship, because there were.  We had a good deal of fun at different times, shared a good deal of laughter and wit and enjoyed each others’ affection quite deeply.  H can be intelligent, funny, and on good days can think and reason extremely well.

Partly in order to offset the issues, though, we split up the quad, moving to separate apartments with only a parking lot between them, with the idea that emmie would spend part of the time living with h and I as my slave, and part with Edwin as his wife.  As the relationship between emmie and I deepened this became less and less the case and emmie spent most of her time with h and I.  Eventually we decided to move from the downtown Austin area to a house in Cedar Park. 

While h and I had agreed, due to her bisexuality, that she could have liaisons with women, we had never agreed on her having relations with men other than Edwin.  Of course this wasn’t the actual result, and the lying and hiding things that had begun in Canada continued.  Strangely enough, due to her need to tell someone she disclosed much of her activities to emmie, who simply didn’t tell me because she assumed I knew.  A string of threesomes and foursomes involving h and various others continued, a few of which I was aware of, a number of others which I wasn’t.

At the same time h’s jealousy of emmie had grown to the point of being nonsensical.  The ensuing small-p politics that naturally came about put a huge stress on me, to the point of not particularly wishing to continue in an M/s manner.  H’s behavior belied her verbal expression of her desire to continue in this manner but of course the situation where behavior consistently contradicts sworn verbiage becomes a very confusing one. Finally I provoked her into saying precisely the opposite of what she had been saying, but was entirely in line with her behavior.  Her response to realizing what she had done was to physically attack me.  Honestly I found the physical attack amusing more than anything, as she was not particularly capable of hurting me, but I did tell her to leave until she had worked out what she actually wanted, and we could discuss it reasonably.  Despite her claims afterwards that she was “trapped” and “no one would help her” the reality is that she left driving a car I owned, utilizing money from our bank account, and staying with various friends who, at least at first, were very willing to help in the situation.

A short time thereafter she returned, begging to be re-collared and swearing she wanted that lifestyle more than anything.  I didn’t re-collar her immediately, wanting to see what her behavior was like.  After a few months we did have a small re-collaring ceremony with emmie, h and me.  Of course, after this re-setting of vows she continued to consistently break them.

She decided, having a return ticket that was given as a present for assisting at a wedding for friends of ours, to visit Los Angeles over the Christmas break.  She decided while away that she wanted to remain in Los Angeles, a decision promoted  by certain people in the Austin area who at the time believed some of the nonsense she was spreading about the way she was treated at home.  Most ironically, she wished emmie a happy anniversary on emmie’s blog days after the decision to remain in Los Angeles, which of course she hadn’t told us about, calling her “beautiful muffin girl”, which hardly went with the horrific stories she was telling others.  She finally did tell me she wasn’t returning, literally minutes prior to my leaving for the airport.  At that point I was so put through with her that I barely reacted, my most immediate feeling being one of relief.  We quickly discovered as well that the day before telling us she had virtually emptied the bank account, leaving myself, emmie and emmie’s son with virtually nothing to live on for a month.  She stopped corresponding with me permanently after I refused to give her 80% of my income. 

Since then her life situation in California appears to have worsened, and with each setback her public attacks through her blog and other online media have increased to the point that I bothered to write this.  Unfortunately manic-depressives are extreme, and when that’s combined with an on-again / off-again relationship to reality, the results are very extreme. At first the attacks were specifically on me but since then have extended to nearly everyone she knew in the Austin area. 

At this point emmie and I are very happy together.  So much of the constant stress involved prior to h’s leaving has vanished, and we have moved on to another, better stage of our relationship.  We enjoy a full 24/7 M/s relationship and are each very satisfied with our places in the household.  Our close friends in the area have assisted significantly in dealing with the extensive changes and coming to see and deal with emmie and I as a unit.