It never occurred to me in all the years we were together that he was intentionally setting me up for an argument. Even when I started researching domestic violence over the internet I didn’t think it had ever happen to me. In the last few days I spent with my husband I came to many shocking realizations. My husband was doing all the things I had read about. He told me how he was attracted to his former college professor, how beautiful she was, and he wanted to approach her but knew she was married. Of course I was deeply hurt by this and that was cruel enough but when I didn’t say anything he said something absurd. “Now that I’ve told you that I’m gonna have to hear about it.” It wasn’t just the words but the tone in his voice. It was the tone you hear when someone is egging an opponent on. Then it hit me. He knew saying that would hurt me and he was hoping I would react as any hurt person would. But why would he want to set me up like this? And it suddenly made sense. He wanted to set me up so he could, in his mind, have a reason to hurt me…an excuse for his desire to harm me. And at this point all the past issues where I really thought I had done something to upset him had been controlled by him. He was intentionally doing hurtful things just to upset me. My responding and asking to not be treated in such a way would later be used with descriptions like nagging and pressuring. These things he used against me in his case with other people and was the “perfect” cover up for his abuse. Even I didn’t realize what was happening.