This topic contains 17 replies, has 7 voices, and was last updated by  Wiseafter 1 week, 4 days ago.

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  • #113482
     Fruitbowl 
    Participant

    Hi, I’m new and have found this forum as I desperately need support to understand if I’m just inventing this or if I’m in denial of an abusive marriage. I have been married for a long time and have children together who are all now adults. I married for the wrong reasons – pressure from family due to the situation. He did not cope with fatherhood but appears not to remember this and says he provided a significant amount of care. He never did night feeds,or anything spontaneously, would drink and then wake the children up and be emotional with them saying he loved them despite me asking him not to as I had taken a long time getting them to sleep. It made him do it more. My mental health suffered and he told me if we split I wouldn’t get access to children as I had postnatal depression. He is obsessed with money and was angry I bought some clothes for the baby and threatened he would have to lock me in to stop me going out spending money. I had support for a long time from health visitor with my depression but I had to do it in secret as his attitude to mental health left me feeling a failure. I couldn’t cope with the children and all the chores and one time left the ironing as I wanted him to start to help. (removed by moderator) of his shirts needed doing and he told me at (removed by moderator) if I didn’t iron them by the morning then I would have to get out. I was so worried I got up and ironed them. I dont recall the time line of events but I did at one point try to say I wanted to split but he got so upset I found him crouching in the garage crying so I felt guilty. I continued but was very unhappy, we gradually grew apart but I didn’t feel able to talk to him as I found his attitude non understanding and blaming, I felt embarrassed about my depression and therefore covered it up. He earns more money than me and has used that his whole life as a reason as to what his contribution to the household is. Money to him is everything. Once he secretly hid money in the attic without me knowing. It was a lot of money. When I discovered he had done it, whilst he did not spend it on himself, I felt betrayed that he had done this whilst struggling to budget. For a long time I paid half for everything but earned half his salary so I had very little money. He controlled the budgets. One day I had enough and told him I wanted a fairer way or I was going to leave the marriage. I think this shocked him so he did respond positively and we now do a percentage share. I’m OK with this but this has taken many many years to get to this point. He is still secretive with his money and has saved a lot of money which is a lot but I don’t know how much. Some years ago, again we got to a point regarding divorce but again he got upset and we were too far down the line in a house move I felt I couldn’t go through with it. I am stronger now and he struggles with that. I have a couple of friends but he doesn’t like it when I’m texting them etc and says things like put your phone down and watch the film… Who’s texting you. I feel I have to text and talk on the phone in secret. He has a tracking app on the mobile phone and he looks everywhere I go so if I have a private medical appointment or councelling I have to turn it off before I go or he looks where I am. Recently I’ve been talking to a friend who has told me she thinks there’s emotional abuse. I have to go out in my car to talk to her. I turned my tracking app off and he got very cross I wouldn’t tell him where I’d been. He just didn’t like it and said all trust had been broken. How would I feel? So I felt guilty for doing it but I wanted some freedom and a space to talk to a friend. He says some of my past friends haven’t been good for me. I get the feeling he would prefer I didn’t have any friends. I feel he critises everything I do, always has to have the upper hand. These are small things such as how I cook an omlette, that I didn’t read the instructions on the glue packet. He doesn’t do any chores except put the dustbin out and when I ask if he feels if this is right as I’m starting to challenge him he thinks it’s funny to say yes. He doesn’t cut the grass, says women want equal rights so DIY etc isn’t a man’s job. I do everything. He lies to me over stupid things that make me feel I’m the stupid one, he jokes about gaslighting and thinks it’s funny to pretend things making out I’ve forgotten things or gone mad.Ive asked him not to as it upsets me… It makes him do it more as he says he knows it winds me up. Even my son now has picked up thinking its funny and does things like put my handbag in the fridge pretending I’ve done it as I’ve gone mad. They just joke with it but it’s stripping me of my confidence. He said that I make everyone in the house miserable as I’m trying to get people to clear up after themselves and doesn’t support me as it makes him look bad so I feel unsupported and ganged up and almost bullied. On a holiday in a foreign country he did awful things and abandoned me in a town centre as I was frightened of all the people coming up and trying to sell me things. He was cross (removed by moderator). I was terrified. I felt absolutely dreadful. He says he can see on the router what websites I visit… He says he has the ability to get in my computer account. I don’t know if all these things are true but it’s made me frightened so I switch off WiFi if I want to look stuff up about helplines. I’ve become frightened he might be looking at everything I do but I don’t know if he is but he’s made me think he is. I feel frightened and sick when I’m around him as I know he’s possibly keeping an eye on things but he’s too clever to act on it as he would then know I know what he’s done. I know he’s read some private (removed by moderator) letters hidden in my drawer as he challenged me about something on holiday again which he would only know in this letter if he had read it. I said I didn’t want to talk about it and he got angry and why was I lying. He disappeared in the middle of thd night. I went to breakfast on my own and felt so lonely. (removed by moderator). I felt sick. I feel so traumatised by the holiday events I can’t get thdm out my head. We haven’t had physical contact for (removed by moderator) years. No kissing cuddling touching or sex…. I feel repulsed by him as I feel so unsupported and threatened by what he says he can track. I opened a secret bank account and started to look for a rental house then got so scared as I know he will be so emotional. So I have just cancelled the viewings. We have a joint mortgage but I can’t pay my share of that and rent. Despite all this, I just can’t bring myself to tell him I want to leave as I can’t bear what emotions will come from him as I can’t cope with that too as well as my own. My mental health is suffering and I’m under the care of my doctor. He says all men are oppressed by their wives in the home. I am worried I am just inventing things that aren’t there and that I’m the bad one. I don’t know what a marriage is supposed to ferl like. I’ve never know any different. Is this just what it’s like? Please help me

  • #113488
     Camel 
    Participant

    Hi Fruitbowl

    I’m so glad you found your way to this forum.

    Without any doubt whatsoever, what you have gone through is absolutely abuse. You detail so much of it I don’t know where to begin.

    You want to leave and this is important to focus on. Everything you do from this point on must be done with this goal in mind.

    Start with a visit to your GP. Give them a copy of what you have written here, otherwise you’ll miss things out. Check whether you are still depressed and if medication might help you in the short term. Depression is nothing to be ashamed of but it can make it difficult to see things straight. Besides, now your kids have grown he can’t use your mental health as a weapon.

    Lean on the close friends who have identified the abuse.

    Contact WA to find professional support.

    Start a log of everything he does. Be sure to keep it secret.

    Seek out a divorce lawyer experienced in cases of domestic abuse. Find out what share of assets you would be entitled to and what you’d need to keep contributing in the meantime.

    I can say that there is not a single shred of his behaviour that isn’t abusive. Keep coming back here to read other women’s post. Ask questions specifically about digital security as I’m sure someone will have the answers.

    • #113496
       TinkaBella 
      Participant

      Hi fruit bowl, I can relate to so much of what you’re saying…the not helping with anything to do with the baby, getting drunk then trying to cuddle them when I’ve literally spent hours getting them to sleep!! But then it’s me with the problem?!?!
      My partner always like the upper hand too and is critical about the smallest things sometimes in a jokey way but it chip chip chips down at your confidence.
      And oh my goodness the number of awful holidays we have had…at a theme park he swore at me, stormed off and avoided me for the rest of the day as I didn’t want to go on one ride; he has abandoned me at bus stops; he has taken our hire car and driven back to the airport threatening to go home; when there was a particular place I wanted to visit I was a spoilt brat! I could go on…
      You are not alone

    • #113500
       Fruitbowl 
      Participant

      Thankyou…. Its so comforting to hear from others and know I’m not alone…. I’m traumatised by so much of this. It torments me. Xx

  • #113495
     Fruitbowl 
    Participant

    Thankyou for replying. It made me cry. The relief and validation is overwhelming. Just to add, I am on antidepressents and under great gp care. I have further support in place for my mental health from italk. I just still imagining I’m inventing this abuse… And that I’m the one to blame… I’m in a terrible way and just need to know I’m not alone. I’m frightened I’m not strong enough to do anything about this.

  • #113498
     Camel 
    Participant

    Chances are you haven’t told your GP the extent of what you’re going through. Open up to them. At the very least it will mean they’ll understand what’s at the root of your depression. Same with the counselling.

    Even if you’re not convinced it’s abuse, tell them anyway, let them come to their own professional conclusion.

    For now, don’t worry that you’re not strong enough. You’ve put up with this for years so a little longer won’t really matter. Take your time. Focus on taking small steps. x

  • #113504
     Beautifulday 
    Participant

    Hi @fruitbowl welcome to the forum !

    What you have described is without doubt abuse! And @camel has given some great advice, I know its abuse as I can relate to a lot of the things you have written and I’m so sorry that you are going through this situation 🙁 the trouble with abuse when it goes on for many years its a drip drip effect you don’t notice it and you become brainwashed into believing its normal or what a normal relationship is when in reality its not normal. I know I doubted my situation all the time and it wasn’t until I built up courage to come on the form and describe my situation that I was told yes its abuse, you have made that first step so well done lovely feel proud of yourself as the hardest part is actually realisation and admitting that its abuse.

    After I wrote on the forum I got in touch with my local womens aid, i called booked an appt and a lovely lady called me back we spoke for over an hour I was nervous at first but once I started talking it was like the floodgates opened and I hot everything off my chest, I would recommend doing this if you can , if he always watches you tell him you have a doctors appt? Or try to go somewhere you can talk as speaking to Wa really helped me , i felt stronger and she told me yes its abuse. They can offer you refuge, signpost you to various things such as solicitors who are experienced in cases of abuse etc.

    After I did this I emailed a solicitor as I wanted to know where I stood regarding our home, we have a mortgage, i wanted to know my options of buying him out, or him buying me out or if we would have to sell etc, she was brilliant lots of solicitors offer a free 30 min consultation and you can discuss an swful lot in that time. She told me the next step would be to pay the fee and draft the divorce letter, i haven’t done this yet but at least I know my position and where she is when I want to get the ball rolling, knowledge is power and the more you know the stronger you feel.

    With regards to him hiding money etc when it comes to divorce they can look into everything and will find all hidden accounts, they will question any transactions in his accounts and will want to know where that amount was going etc and what for this I know because my mam went through it with my Dad who hid money. And the judge will look at the fact he earns more than you and the fact you was paying the same amount for a while etc everything will get looked into (if you wish of course) so these men who think they can squirrel money away dont have a leg to stand on when it goes to court and if you’ve got a good solicitor.

    Take baby steps lovely, start reading if you can Lundy Bancrofts book was an eye opener for me, also if you can start making notes of any incidents however small this is what I’ve been doing as when your in the thick of it you don’t see what’s happening its only when you read back over the incidents your shocked and see it for what it is, its also evidence.

    Your not alone in this and you’ve made a massive first step, yes this is abuse dont ever doubt the fact!!! And you need to starting making a plan to get out, baby steps slowly and surely wins the race :), im not out yet but feeling much stronger as each day goes by.
    Keep posting xx

    • #113507
       Fruitbowl 
      Participant

      Thankyou so much x*x

  • #113508
     Beautifulday 
    Participant

    Just wanted to add I could relate to the handbag thing! My H does this! He once hid my handbag and I nearly had a panic attack thinking I had lost it ran out to my car searching nearly crying ran back to the house for him to open the front with it in his hand laughing , when i said it wasn’t funny he told me it was a joke and I need to lighten up. So he basically watched me panic and enjoyed it.

    Also the situation you said about leaving you abroad? Mine has done this many a time! I remember once it was on a beach that was far from our hotel that we walked ages to so I didn’t really know the way back to the hotel, we were sunbathing and drinking something started him off and he started arguing before I knew what was happening he threw his drink in my face said F you im not putting up with your c**p and he stormed off I was so embarrassed I lay shaking as people were looking, after a bit I collected my things and walked up to the town I had no idea really how to get back just vaguely rememberd, I remember feeling scared and alone. When I got back to the hotel he was laying on the bed as if nothing had happened! Looking back i think how stupid I was to put up with it, it happened more than once!

    Also you say about glue packet and criticising my H is always doing this, tells me I use the hoover wrong, tells me I use the iron wrong, proceeds to show me how much water I should be putting in it etc tells me I load the dishwasher wrong and will take everything out and rearrange it when I know I do it correctly! The iron broke as it was old and he said it was my fault as I always put it away incorrectly and let the cable get twisted. Im constantly on pins its like having a strict parent i never even had this with my mother!

  • #113513
     Camel 
    Participant

    When we were living overseas my ex abandoned me in a club. We hadn’t even had words. He didn’t say he was going. Just got in a cab and f*cked off. We spent ages looking for him.

    I didn’t have money of my own but he hadn’t let that concern him. Probably he hoped I’d be properly stranded. I shared a cab home with a couple of friends. Grateful for their support I invited them in to polish off the booze.

    The ex was pretending to be asleep on the sofa. We ignored him, started a little party around him, put on some tunes. Eventually he sloped off to bed. An incident that started out embarrassing and stressful led to fun-times til sun-up.

    He had expected me to come home alone. No doubt he would have accused me of flirting or ignoring him or some other made up cr*p. There would have been a lengthy drink-fuelled argument that would end with him storming off to bed, ‘upset’.

    He hadn’t expected witnesses. It was brilliant 🙂

  • #113519
     Camel 
    Participant

    Sorry Fruitbowl, I went a bit off-topic there, but hopefully you’ll come to realise that you coped too when you were abandoned. Pat yourself on the back for your resourcefulness.

    • #113541
       Fruitbowl 
      Participant

      Please don’t apologise. Listening to others experiences is both validating and reassuring that these behaviours are not acceptable. Good for you for having the corouge to take back some control that night. Xx

  • #113580
     Fruitbowl 
    Participant

    Hi everyone… @camel @beautifulday @tinkabella So I wanted to just check back and let you know how I’m feeling about things since posting. Some wonderful signposting from moderator with brilliant information. Also bought the Lundy Bancroft book so many have recommended on here and started reading that. The main thing I wanted to reflect on is how I feel about having cancelled the house viewings. Was it relief as it was going to fast?…. I feel disappointed actually and this is a really useful feeling to acknowledge as it is reinforcing the fact I want to go…

  • #113661
     Fruitbowl 
    Participant

    So a further update today on progress. I contacted our local domestic abuse service and told them everything. They were totally amazing and took down a full history and risk assessment. They have referred on to their outreach service for me to get the emotional and practical support I need. They have also signed me up for an 11 week Virtual Freedom course which starts on Friday. I cannot thank the wonderful lady on the phone to me enough. She spent 2 hours with me and I’m overwhelmed with the support offered. If anyone is yet to pick up that phone…. Just please do it… It will be the best call you ever made xx

  • #113668
     ElizabethMary 
    Participant

    Wow fruitbowl. I have just read down this thread and I am thrilled that you have accessed such wonderful support. Well done you! Keep us posted.

  • #113673
     SeekingPeace 
    Participant

    This is wonderful news. Im living testament to how wonderful the freedom programme is! Im so pleased to hear you are going to do it! Completing the freedom programme gave me the strength and courage to leave my abusive marriage. The woman running the course in my area has been amazing. What a lifeline it has been to me though when I embarked on it I had no idea it would take me where it has. I now have much clearer understanding of what has happened to me and its helped with the healing process. I started a local group in person which switched to zoom meetings when lockdown happened.
    Great news! I know you’ll benefit from it ❤

    • #113692
       Fruitbowl 
      Participant

      This is so comforting to hear @seekingpeace as my head is in such a muddle at the moment and feeling so guilty at what I’m doing behind his back.

  • #113693
     Wiseafter 
    Participant

    Well done Fruitbowl I so hope you can get some peace and tranquility in your life after your abusive marriage and I am so happy you have got good support locally to help you on your journey. Sending you a big virtual thumbs up. Keep posting and letting us know how you are getting on. This forum is a life saver when you are making changes and there is alot of previous posts and reading lists that will help give you strength and support when you need it most. x

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