4th January 2019 at 10:42 am #69903
Hi, I was wondering if anyone else has ever experienced this…
I’m really nervous to admit it and selfishly I hope I’m not the only one that has had to deal with this 🙁
For just under a decade I was in an abusive relationship. Having researched since the relationship I came to realise the abuse was mainly emotional but I’d say physical abuse happened probably somewhere between 15-30 times. The physical abuse usually only happened after drinking however I’d say around three times he was sober and crucially the very first time was stone cold sober during the daytime.
Luckily, I got out of that relationship in the end – don’t quite know to this day why he let me go so easily – but I had already moved (detail removed by moderator) away from him for a new job so completely cutting him out of my life was easy and now I’m in a new relationship. There was a few months gap between my abusive relationship ending and me meeting my new partner.
I’ve been with my new partner for a year now and he was the first person I ever told about my ex. Before I told him, I didn’t really see it as abuse and I’d definitely not realised the scale of emotional abuse I’d suffered but talking to him and doing my own research confirmed everything. My new partner has helped me so much and made me realise that it was abuse and he pushed me to start telling more people which really helped (and revealed a few things my abusive ex had done behind my back as well).
My new partner is amazing in every way, shape and form and I know this one’s a keeper but I keep messing up when I am drunk.
The first time I stormed off from him (detail removed by moderator) and went to sleep in my car (before realising that was stupid and sheepishly coming back).
The second time was the worse of the three. I remember thinking that I had gotten myself so drunk that surely he was going to be really angry with me and it would cause an argument so I threatened to drive myself back to my own house to avoid that (drunk!) which then escalated into a big argument and I ended up hitting him 🙁
The third and most recent one was (detail removed by moderator) where I spat in his face when I was drunk when we were arguing.
I’m not happy or proud of my actions and I’m getting highly concerned about them. When I say that this guy is perfect, I mean it, and I wake up the next day not knowing why I have done that to him.
Him being the lovely, fair and understanding guy that he is has forgiven me after some discussions but I need to fix this. I can’t lose him. And I can’t treat him like this anymore. Don’t worry, he’s not a pushover; he’s very disappointed in me when these things happen but he’s willing to listen and understand that my actions might be a product of my past.
Three things I kinda want to ask/address:
1 – Obviously a viable option is to not drink and that is a very achievable option. I don’t drink that often and I don’t rely on drink to be social and I don’t feel the need to drink. I just do it because I like it and we as a couple enjoy it but I end up REALLY drunk with him because he’s (height removed by moderator) and can drink me under the table time and time again. So yes – I know this is an option, but ideally I’d like to tackle what’s going on in my head before I look at this option.
2 – We have had some very emotional and honest discussions about it all and one thing I want to explore is whether I’m just not used to being drunk or being around someone else drunk and it not turning violent. Has anyone else ever experienced this? When I think back to before I met my ex, I never had arguments when drunk. I was a happy drunk (and I still am the majority of the time) but it seems like now, because that’s what I’m used to, I almost create the scenario as a defence mechanism, thinking that’s going to be my fate either way – and FYI my new partner is nowhere NEAR being abusive. He’s literally shown no warning signs; never fought back and never tried anything controlling or manipulative. The spitting is kinda telling to me. Once, my ex tried to strangle me; he was on top of me and completely over powering me and I had no defence left in me but to spit in his face. After that, I spat in his face a few times in other violent scenarios as a defence. Spitting is just not something that I would ever consider otherwise, so the fact that I did it to my new partner is – for want of a better word – interesting.
3 – As most of you will have experienced, emotional abuse leaves you feeling like you have no worth. I constantly got told (and believed) that I don’t deserve happiness and that I don’t have control over my own life. I thought that all that belief would have disappeared when I got rid of my ex but I feel like it hasn’t. My ex gives me no drama at all. I completely cut him off last (month removed by moderator) and he never tries to get in contact, so he has no physical hold over me anymore…but if I’m being really brutally honest with myself, I’m wondering if he still has an emotionally abusive hold over me. Is my drunken subconscious ruining my own relationship with my new partner because for years I was told I didn’t deserve happiness? And if that’s the case, how do I overcome that?
I really hope someone else has experienced this. It’s quite difficult to come on here as an abuse survivor and talk quite openly and honestly about me doing the abusing but I’m hoping there’s other stories like mine which will help me gauge why I’m like this.
I know for a fact that the abuse must have been a trigger for me because as a teenager I hated confrontation and I never got into arguments or fights. I used to just cry at anything, go into a quiet, safe space and never fight back. My ex has destroyed that side of me but I’m just hoping it’s fixable.
Through Women’s Aid I’ve found a helpline called ‘Respect’ that helps abusers so I’m thinking of reaching out to them too but wanted to find out from some of you first if this is normal. I’ve looked at other topics in the forum and not seen a mention of it yet.
4th January 2019 at 10:50 am #69904
P.S be as brutally honest as you like with me. No one can tell me something negative about my actions that I haven’t already told myself.
I just wanted to reach out to see if anyone else had experienced something similar.
4th January 2019 at 11:22 am #69905KIP.Participant
Hi there and welcome. An abuser wouldn’t be on here hoping to change and recognising what they’re doing is abusive so well done for reaching out. A couple of things stand out for me. The first being that you entered another relationship so quickly. Women’s aid recommend two years before entering into another relationship and I can completely understand why. It takes a very long time to come to terms with abuse, to understand and to heal and to not be vulnerable to others or to ourselves. It’s seems to me that you did not give yourself that time you need and deserve to work through your issues and heal. The aggressive behaviour could be due to the cycle of abuse, and it’s just a thought, often during the anxiety stage women will provoke confrontation because the anxiety is so terrible, the waiting for the inevitable outburst that they instigate an argument, thus passing through the dreadful outburst stage and onto the honeymoon stage. Perhaps, in your head you’re still stuck in that cycle. Your abuse of him is escalating which is sad. I really think you need space to sort out your issues. What your doing will be traumatising him. Either take a break from the relationship to get well again or have you considered joint counselling with a specialist domestic abuse counsellor? Maybe you’re just not ready to be in a mutually respectful relationship yet. There’s nothing wrong in admitting you’re not ready?
4th January 2019 at 12:21 pm #69911
Hi there i do get this, ive had experience of this very recently. Im in a new relationship too and hes nice but has his flaws like most men. I think we are conditioned, were hard wired to react like this in stressful situations because of the previous emotional abuse. In an arguement like you im pretty fierce, i dont really drink unless i go out.So this is my true reaction i totally knee jerk, if im pushed too far i tend to say right get out or im calling the police. Its a complete over reaction but i dont feel like that at the time, afterwards though i feel abit silly and i do acknowledge that and why. I dont drink in the house unless it is a special occasion and im lucky if i have two drinks. I feel that alcohol allows our primitive emotions and actions to surface.For example if i was upset drinking would make me inconsolable, i avoid it at all costs.You know the old saying old habits die hard? If im cornered in an arguement i tend to giggle as well? which 1 makes me look like im crazy but 2 it used to get the action over with ie he would hit me. (my ex that is) Your not abusive but your reacting in the only way you know to defend yourself. It takes time to change and learn, be kind to yourself and counselling would definitely be a great way forward. best wishes diy
4th January 2019 at 2:28 pm #69918TiffanyParticipant
Definitely sounds like you find drinking with your partner triggering. And as someone said above, when you drink you’re inhibitions are reduced, so you are more likely to react to your triggers. Honestly, it’s not something I have faced. I am with a new man, but he doesn’t drink. And drink wasn’t a primary driver fory abuser either, although it was involved in some of the sexual abuse. I tend to freeze up when I am triggered and underreact rather than over react.
I think that working through your triggers should help though. For me that involves first identifying that I am triggered, then identifying why I am triggered. Then I decide what to do about the trigger. They split more or less into three options. 1 avoid the triggering situation forever. Sometimes that is viable. If you find visiting a particular restaurant triggering then it’s perfectly reasonable never to visit it again. 2. Take some time and face it when I feel better. In my restaurant example that might involve deciding not to visit it for 6 months but then go back with friends rather than a boyfriend. Or 3, it’s a trigger that is unavoidable and work on it in my head until I can deal with it. In the restaurant example this would be if I worked at the restaurant, meaning I could not avoid it. I would probably deal with that by contastantly talking to myself in my head “you are safe, you can manage this” etc. And possibly taking some safety precautions. Telling my manager, changing my hours or making sure I never have to lock up and leave alone… Your drink issue sounds like a 1 or 2 problem. You can never do it again, or you can give yourself a break and work at it again later.
I would also ask yourself if there are things about dating that make you feel triggered. I had loads, even after about a year clear of abuse (which probably wasn’t long enough). No red flags. My new man really is a good one. But it doesn’t mean there are no triggers. And those have to be dealt with. Consider some time away from your partner. He’ll wait if he’s a good guy. It can be really helpful for identifying why you feel triggered. And in dealing with those triggers.
4th January 2019 at 3:30 pm #69921
Wow. Thank you everyone. I’m so glad I reached out. I can appreciate this one was probably quite a difficult one to respond to so thank you so much for not judging and for being so kind. In your own ways, you’re all right.
KIP – Interesting to hear about the 2 year recommendation. I didn’t know about that and to be honest hadn’t really accepted it was real abuse until I told my new partner. Daft isn’t it really. Had I known that, I might have worked on myself a bit longer but then again, meeting my new partner is what’s pushed me to accept I was going through abuse and read into it a little bit more. Thank you so much for your suggestions and for your descriptions of the cycle. Helps to explore what’s going on in my head. I haven’t considered couple’s counselling but I have considered counselling for myself.
[email protected] – Thank you so much for your honesty. I think reading what you have to say has given me a few next steps. I need to recognise when I might be doing these defence things but not only that I do need to watch my volumes of alcohol around my boyfriend. I drink at the same rate as him and it’s silly. If drinking is causing my inner demons to raise their ugly head then I need to try and combat that and control my drinking until I rebuild that trust in myself.
Tiffany – What you said makes so much sense. Thank you for breaking it down into examples. My friend always talks to me about managing my triggers as well. It’s funny – I have been able to now break down my three scenarios of abuse and find where I was triggered. For example – you know I spat in his face? That night we had been play-fighting/tickling on the floor (after a few drinks) and he completely overpowered me (in a playful way). It was after he overpowered me that I got angry and stormed off, which led to an argument, which lead to me spitting. I was probably triggered because of the overpowering in the play-fight which reminded of my ex. So Tiffany, you hit the nail on the head for me. Thank you so so much.
In general, does anyone else suffer with stubbornness of accepting that either a) abuse happened or b) you can’t deal with it? I feel weak if I succumb to the pain and emotion or admit that I’m upset or triggered because of my past. I want to fix myself but I think talking to you guys has made me realise I can’t do that alone.
Has anyone had counselling? I wouldn’t even know where to start. How do you get it and how have people found the counselling itself?
4th January 2019 at 4:49 pm #69932IwantmebackParticipant
Hi there and welcome to the forum. Since your away from your ex, counselling could be very good for you. You can ask your doctor to organise it, say you need to get it sorted in your head, why he treated you the way he did. Living with an abuser, we normalize their behaviour in order for us to survive., but in doing so we can and do repeat their behaviour with those close to us. You are seeing what you do, some of us don’t realise we’re doing the very thing our abuser did to us. That is really so good to see that you are recognising this behaviour. Good luck in finding peace for yourself💜💜
4th January 2019 at 6:12 pm #69936GratefulParticipant
Hi. I have had abuse counselling and it really helps. Try calling refuge or a local abuse charity for details.
Sometimes we expect the abuse so we goad the lively partner relentlessly ntil they behave how we expect them to – ie abuse us.
4th January 2019 at 6:12 pm #69937GratefulParticipant
4th January 2019 at 6:32 pm #69940
Hi there, Yeh you need professional help as it is trauma your dealing with and that’s really complex. It is fixable, so I have read. You can apply through the GP, some places of work offer counselling. There will be charities in your area. I had 5 sessions of “normal” counselling and I didn’t come away with much he was very sypathetic though.I was told I need long term counselling! I cried for the whole hour so that probably helped a bit ☺It’s specialist counselling that’s needed, I’ve just applied today for some I start next week.I think if we face our recovery with positivity it will work out for us. We have to believe we will heal I think it’s all in the mind. In turn hopefully we will get courage and then the drive to get on in our lives and achieve our goals. We can’t let theses men beat us down and ruin our futures. I hope you ok ☺best wishes diy💕💕💪✌
9th January 2019 at 1:32 pm #70386
Thank you to everyone that replied to me on this, you’ve all been so kind and non-judgemental.
It’s given me some answers and some homework to do and I’m looking forward to making changes that will help me improve.
One thing I did after receiving all your responses was write down everything my ex ever did to me that could potentially trigger me. I then rated the impact that those actions had on me out of ten (ten being the worse) and then noted down whether each might trigger me when sober and when drunk. That massively helped me realise a few things. Writing them all down and then thinking about how much hurt they caused brought a lot of clarity to my situation. I then showed the list to my new partner and talked him through each step and it brought him a lot more clarity too. I made it clear that I wasn’t trying to blame him for my triggers but more wanted to show him that I was far more aware now of what those triggers are.
We had a weekend away last weekend and we both drank and I’m pleased to say I was completely aware, completely in control and was able to take a step back when something was said or happened that might have had even a hint of a trigger. I went into the evening, thanks to you guys, totally prepared for being aware of my actions and it felt amazing to wake up the next day not full of guilt and self-hatred. I know it’s only one time but it meant so much and I never want to forget that feeling. I was really nervous going into it knowing what had happened recently but I feel like I’m finally starting to take what has happened to me, and what I’ve done to him seriously, and accept it.
My new partner works away a lot and we’re in a long distance relationship so I’m not going to see him much this first quarter of the year (probably less than 5 times between now and May) so I feel like there’s no time like the present to really face up to all of this. I’m going to try and seek counselling. Thank you all for your advice. You’ve really helped me and my partner 💖💖
9th January 2019 at 2:58 pm #70391
Im not sure if I should be so open in saying this but I personally have learned a few things from my abusive ex. I hate to admit this!! but ive learned our own actions are within our control. Its our minds we hold the cards. We live and learn and sometimes its best to try to work through our triggers sometimes even just to hold back, not to knee jerk, retreat a little and above all do what you are doing. Your addressing it, your communicating with your partner, it think you’ve done amazingly well all on your own xx 🙂 much luv DIY 🙂
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