You wrote: The only thing I am confused about is how do I start taking care of me? What do I do to take care of me?
It means that YOU have the right to have 'needs'. When his behavior is hurting you then you must tell him that! Calmly tell him that you find a specific action hurtful and unacceptable.
My husband already had a history of verbally abusing me, but reached a new low several months ago. I met with his therapist alone and later together (now I have my own therapist and we meet his therapist as a couple about every month.) Do you see a therapists? Might be a good idea, at least temporarily. During this rough time I had a friend that was telling me I needed outside help, but I could not see my own need until I was on the verge of breaking down. Therapists provide perspective! Invaluable!
The therapist advised me to define/set a few boundaries to our interactions. Even after 22 years of accepting this verbal abusing me (stupid of me to accept it at all in the first place, but...) I had to draw a line in his brain. You have to be willing react for your self-protection.
In non-aggressive words and tone of voice I told him that no matter how righteous the anger resulting from SA might be I was not the proper target. I DESERVED TO BE TREATED BETTER than he was treating me. I told him that I could not/would not continue to subject myself and our 12 YO child to his raging viscious rants. Asked him if he thought his behavior was the right way to treat the people he loved?
Eddie said he was shocked
, as we sat in joint therapy, to hear me described him as an habitual verbal abuser. That he had never before seen it from my perspective. He improved his behavior pretty quickly which surprised me. Not perfect, but tolerable.
You should not make excessive demands of your survivor, but you cannot let the SA erode your self-worth.