Intentionally hurtful?

I hesitated a lot before dating Kim, because I was unused to dealing with women at all honesty. I told her about my issues before we married, and I work at not being controlling or manipulative. That’s not always a good thing, though, as there are times my fear of regressing makes it hard for me to act when I should.

It doesn’t come out like you’re trying to take credit. When I do allow myself to admit to being strong, I attribute (some of) it to the shit that the addict had put me through. Thanks for being frank.

Just chiming in that yeah, not a lot of guys are like this. And frankly, if you have male friends, many of them will be able to spot these guys a mile off, because this type of guy often isn’t bothering to hide himself from anyone but potential victims.

Yeah, guys like that (though I’ve never met one who admitted to as much as skald has) tend to either brag to other guys about it, or just assume that every other male shares the same viewpoints and proceed to talk about really fucked up things they did as calmly as if they were discussing the weather.

This reminds me of Rainer Maria Rilke’s Letters to a Young Poet.
How should we be able to forget those ancient myths about dragons that at the last moment turn into princesses; perhaps all the dragons of our lives are princesses who are only waiting to see us once beautiful and brave. Perhaps everything terrible is in its deepest being something helpless that wants help from us.”

I think some of us have issues that we deal with internally, and some people need to act it out, which results in others unfortunately being cast into some pretty fucking tragic roles. I was involved in the kind of relationship that Skald had, except I was the one manipulated, and while I have no issues laying blame where blame is due, I do think it’s exceptional that he did more than pay lip service to trying to evolve out of the behavior. Mine never admitted to it, and I think it’s because we all inherently resist the thought that we have the capacity to hurt, or may not be good people.

I think it’s taken a lot of guts for him to admit to his past, and it sounds to me like he’s a very different person now. Anyway, I’m not going to argue anymore about this.

Fair 'nuff. It’s definitely brave that you admit it, and that you strive not to do it again. Thinking back on past experiences, I know there are guys who don’t realize the harm or damage that they inflict, or continue to do it, which I suppose is even scarier. Some of what you said (finding a girl to date who doesn’t think of herself as pretty or all that valuable and treating her poorly) strikes a chord, sadly. Best of luck in being a mensch with your wife.

Seconded. Jesus Christ, I hunted down vulnerable women to emotionally abuse but it’s OK because I’m feeling much better now. Yeah, yeah, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa and he’s a much bigger person now for having faced up to his demons, but let me ask you one question, Skald: did you ever apologise or make amends to any of your victims?

Yes.

Can you share how your apology was accepted, if it was?

Not to get Freudian, but how did your father treat your mother?

In the dictionary, under the definition of uxurious, there’s a picture of my dad. Devoted does not cover it. Even when she was healthy he was zealous in his love for her, in both word and deed, and I’ve no reason to think he was ever anything but sincere. Don’t lay my history of bad behavior at his feet.

As for the apologies, there have been two. One earned me a slap, the other a polite audience followed by a request that I leave and never talk to her again.

I haven’t defended myself in this thread, because my behavior was indefensible, but I feel I must respond to this. I haven’t once written that anything I did was okay. I haven’t once averred that anyone was to blame for what I did but me. I haven’t once implied that anything I did was other than odious. I haven’t once claimed that the fact that I have changed excuses the things I did in the past.

But I can’t change hthe past, nor can I atone for it. Real life isn’t My Name is Earl. It is beyond my power to heal any wound I inflicted on women in the past. The most I can do is try to understand myself, and apologize for what I did given the opportunity, and maybe help other people who feel compelled to addictive or abusive behaviors understand that their actions have consequences, not merely to them but also to the people they hurt.

No fucking kidding.
I always thought that stuff like this was exaggerated hyperbole from people who’ve been hurt before and can’t find a reason why it keeps happening to them.

Truly opens my eyes to see that’s not the case for some guys.

I disagree wholeheartedly with this characterization. I don’t see where he excuses himself for a moment…on the contrary. I don’t see any dismissive attitudes about the pain he inflicted, or how it’s all about him feeling better.

So you don’t think that after WWII, when some of the Nazis were confronted with the enormity of their crimes, that any of them could have felt genuine horror and remorse? You don’t think that in the wake of something like Abu Ghraib, some of the participants could come to their senses and realize they had been evil? Those are the headlines, but I don’t think you need to be part of an army or even a group to go off the beam.

IMO any human is capable of anything. Sometimes it’s just a matter of having the right (or wrong) buttons pushed. I also think that what’s easy for some isn’t for others. Woman dumps man A, he brushes it off; woman dumps man B and he’s crushed. The post-mortem is interesting and possibly helpful to consider in the way of understanding it, but whether we understand or not this shit already went down and he can’t undo it.

I think it would be an egregious error to decline an admission like this. Right, he can’t fix it, and fuck, why did he do that, etc. But would you really rather that people who have done such things not even acknowledge them? If someone screws you over royally, you’d rather they walk away and pretend it never happened? Not me.

Same reason some people become KKK members after a negative incident involving a minority, maybe? Because tearing someone down is a great way to for assholes with nothing to offer to feel better about themselves? It kills me that some men must be reminded that every woman is someone’s daughter/sister/mother for them to get a clue. Kills me.

That being said, I believe in second chances. Or whatever number Skald is on.

I wasn’t trying to. I was just trying (armchair psychologically speaking) to figure out where your sense of misguided revenge came from. Although I think what you did was despicable, the fact that you eventually recognized it, took steps to stop it, and are now in a healthy relationship speak volumes. Not everyone can stop bad habits. It takes hard work and courage, and you did it.

I wonder if the cause of Skald’s vengeance might be like when people who have been abused become abusers themselves. Child abuse is a horrible thing of course, and a lot of people show zero compassion for the perpetrator but I think they forget or don’t realize that the abusers were likely victims in their past. The theory, IIRC, is that abusers relive the feelings of powerlessness when they themselves were abused and try to “regain” the power they lost by abusing someone else. In the aftermath of abusing, they feel powerless to stop themselves, experience remorse and shame for what they did, etc. which sets up the vicious cycle. So it’s “taught” by one generation to the next, familial but not genetic, IOW.

I think of abuse like that being systematic, ongoing, layered…but I can buy that one very traumatic event could do it. Look at PTSD for instance: a perfectly normal, healthy person sees his home and family wiped out by a tornado and he could be changed forever.

In this case…I’ve heard a quote attributed to Freud that “We’re never so vulnerable as when we love.” Losing a woman, losing to another man, losing a son…add pride/ego if there’s embarrassment, e.g. the small-town fishbowl effect.

Thoughts on any of this, Skald?

I’m a middle aged guy who barely ever dates and that’s some scary shit.

I suspect that people get involved with some of the nastier manifestations of the human psyche and they can’t get out of it because of the difficulty of dealing with what they have done. They deal with it through denial and doing more shitty things. The downward spiral.

It takes some courage to be so upfront about that. Not even so much to share that kind of story on the internet, but just to be so upfront with yourself.

I hate to blather on such a serious subject, and I understand the desire to attack someone for such behavior, but this really gives me some new insight into people.

Yeah. I think it’s (a) true and (b) irrelevant; I think that when abusers blame their bad behavior on abuse they themselves suffered, they are full of shit. Being in pain can explain evil behavior; it cannot excuse it.

I didn’t have an ideal childhood. Among other things, m parents used to beat me with a belt for wetting the bed. I don’t think that they did this from evil motives; I think they simply didn’t know better, and my mother apologized to me when I grew up. But that does not excuse the things I did; neither does my sexual compulsiveness; neither does being betrayed & left by “Micky.” **I **made a free choice to allow my anger and hatred free reign. **decided to indulge my carnal pleasures regardless of the consequences to others. I felt powerless because I had been abused as a child, and because I had been left by my girlfriend, and because my son had died. ** But that did not give me leave to do what I did.

Please note that I am NOT differentiating myself from abusers. The things I did to women were abuse, just not physical, and I restrained myself from physical not so much from ethics as from a cold-hearted (and cowardly) fear of getting arrested and incarcerated. I knew where the line was and I made sure not to cross over it.

Sorry, I didn’t realize there were issues from your childhood (e.g. the belt). I used it as what might be a parallel example of a psychic force taking over where you may know what you’re doing but lack the power to stop. Now that you’ve posted it, a bigger pattern seems to emerge.

I know what you mean—there’s a difference between an explanation and an excuse. I also know that a lot of people are too happy to blame their parents or others for every problem in their adult lives. But I think you give your parents too much of a pass on their use of the belt. Right, parents are fallible; right, it isn’t like they all get child psych degrees before they had their kids; right, times have changed since they were kids and they didn’t have perfect childhoods themselves. But I shudder to think of a parent punishing a child who is already ashamed in such a way…it sounds to me like they were heartless and/or out of control.

I can’t do the proof like an algebra problem, exactly, but shame + fear + recriminations can lead to some really bad things. Again, JMO, but it had to leave you with some issues. It’s sort of like someone weakened by AIDS dying from the common cold. Maybe that childhood didn’t force you to do what you did, but it REALLY didn’t help you resist it, either. Indirectly, it set you up to snap, which turned out to be a vendetta against women. If that hadn’t happened, it probably would have been road rage or picking fights in bars or something else.

Related story: I saw a thing on TV once about a circus elephant that went on a rampage. The circus people use physical punishment to train them to do tricks, of course. Well during one performance, they used the whip (or whatever) and that elephant just fucking snapped. They tried more punishment and nothing changed—the elephant kept attacking any and every person in the vicinity. Finally they got the animal cornered and had to kill it.

I imagine if this scene had subtitles of the elephant’s thoughts, it would have read something like, "OH, WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO?! WHIP ME?! YOU’VE DONE IT A FUCKING MILLION TIMES ALREADY AND I’M NOT FUCKING SCARED OF IT ANY MORE BECAUSE NO MATTER WHAT, I’M GOING TO GET WHIPPED! AND NOW I’M GOING TO KILL AS MANY OF YOU FUCKERS AS I CAN, AND I HOPE YOUR DEATH IS PAINFUL!"

I don’t think humans are any different. We can bottle the rage with the best of them and for many, it’s hard to admit that maybe our parents really REALLY fucked up. They’re the authorities, right? You have to do what they tell you. God forbid if you end up with parents doing the folie à deux or Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy, etc.

The battles we fight when we’re little and so vulnerable can leave such_terrible_ scars on the psyche. It’s great that you want to own your wrongdoing in this situation, but IMO you also need to acknowledge that you had “help” along the way.

You’re not Superman or Jesus Christ or anyone else with limitless powers. I applaud your courage but would ask if you’re being totally fair to yourself.