16th August 2021 at 8:30 pm #130143seekingfurtherParticipant
This is my first time posting here.
I have been with my partner for (detail removed by moderator). We are not married, have no children and both have professional jobs, working full time.
As it always starts, our relationship was great at the beginning (although I do wonder if there were red flags even back then, which I chose to ignore). Over the last (detail removed by moderator) things have got worse. He has gradually become more and more emotionally abusive (never physical). He shouts at me almost every day, for the smallest thing. It could be that I’ve not made his dinner right, I’ve not answered him in the correct way, I’ve disagreed with him about something, I put the dishwasher on when he didn’t want it on, I moved his stuff or I didn’t move his stuff! This can be to my face or he will message me repeatedly while I’m at work (the latest was (detail removed by moderator) where he attacked almost everything about me, ended up saying I was emotionally blackmailing him, abusive and gaslighting). It’s always my fault though, of course. I should have just muted him or I am too sensitive or defensive or passive aggressive. Or it’s an external problem that I should understand about, without him telling me about it.
I have repeatedly tried to talk to him about the issues to sort things out but it’s never changed and I know it never will. He does acknowledge though, occasionally, that he’s like Jekyll and Hyde and “I must be hard to live with”.
I’ve gone to leave before but I always talk myself out of it – he’s stressed, it’s COVID so everyone is having it tough and I should be more understanding, it’s only shouting – I am too sensitive, he’s being reasonable and I’m just not seeing his side, he is lovely when he isn’t shouting and I know he loves me really.
I know I need to leave. I’m looking for places to move to (in a good position that we have (detail removed by moderator)) and have contacted a few. They haven’t got back to me yet though (it’s only been a day but obviously I’m anxious to get it sorted). I’m scared that I will cave… again. I think I lasted a (detail removed by moderator) last time!
I can see the last post asks whether it is normal to be anxious or guilty about leaving and I can categorically say YES. But how do I stop myself from going back? I feel like I have the worst will power!
16th August 2021 at 9:33 pm #130153Wants To HelpParticipant
Your post really resonated with me because that is the sort of relationship I had with my abuser and we also split up several times. The last time we got back together (at my instigation) (detail removed by moderator), thinking that would make things better. I can tell you now, it didn’t!
Looking back now with the knowledge I have, it’s not about what would have stopped me going back to him/having him back – it’s about WHY I went back. I had my own house and he’d moved out, we had no financial ties and no children. So my advice to you would be to be completely honest with yourself, and ask yourself WHY would you go back to him?
In my case, I was worried that I’d made a hasty decision and if I left it too long then he’d move on to someone else and I’d have lost him for good. What if he was the best thing I was ever going to get? What if someone else got the ‘great’ guy he was telling me he was? What if I ended up alone and childless with no one wanting me and he ended up with a great life? He was very good looking and he had a good job with a good salary – what if some other woman had all the benefits of that? What if it was me that was the problem? He told me he must be saint to ‘put up with me’, so what if I didn’t meet someone else who would ‘put up with me’? What if he was all the love I was ever going to get? I went back because of my own insecurities and fear of being on my own. I would have felt a failure if I ended up alone – and I didn’t want to be a failure.
Was he abusive? Absolutely, although at the time I didn’t know it for sure. I just thought he was insecure, jealous, needed reassurance. But there was anger, evil looks, foaming at the mouth when he shouted at me, physically stopping me leaving the house so I couldn’t go out, stopping family from visiting and friends from phoning me, throwing me out of the house and locking me out to punish/humiliate me (it was my house and he moved in with me). The physical stuff came later, although he never left any marks on me (so it would be my word against his.)
Some of the times that we did split up he would quickly move on and I’d hear about the girl he had met and took out on dates. That prompted me to speed up my thought process and beg for him to come back. He also told me he loved me. Looking back, I never actually ‘felt’ loved. I never felt I could be myself and I always thought things through in my head to weigh up the pros and cons of doing/saying something, or learning how to cover my tracks if I did something that would set him off.
When I did finally leave him, it turns out he was already in another serious relationship. Then after that went wrong, he had another serious relationship within months, married within less than (detail removed by moderator) and having another baby. During all of that I was on my own and struggling to come to terms with what I’d been through – I couldn’t even contemplate a relationship. These abusers do move on quickly, they are incapable of being alone and will actively go and hunt for someone to suit their needs (whatever they are at the time). So if you are worried that he will ‘replace’ you if you leave him and you will soon be a distant memory to him, then that is likely to be the case. Please don’t make the same mistakes I did.
Good luck x
16th August 2021 at 10:28 pm #130166seekingfurtherParticipant
WantsToHelp, thank you SO much for sharing your story and answering me! I can see so much of myself/my relationship in what you’ve said.
Last time we “broke up” (about (detail removed by moderator) ago) not only did I stupidly get back with him, I also was talking to him about when my (detail removed by moderator) and us having a baby too! Not that I thought it would make things better, I guess, but that I wanted to show I was totally committed and trying to convince myself we could have this dream life I’ve created…
Most of the things you say are what I worry about to. He paints this picture of an idyllic life that we will have. We are at the point we are considering buying together and even (detail removed by moderator) He says a dog would help with his mental health, so would living by a park. We would go out and do things. All this he said when we moved to our current rented place (not the dog, that’s new – and I can see that dog quickly becoming my responsibility!) and things have not changed. We don’t go out (rarely, maybe to do what he very occasionally wants to do). We would also have beautiful babies and he would do a very good job of supporting us because of his job (a very small way in which he would provide any sort of support, I’m sure. I can see myself 9 months pregnant and having to set up the nursery by myself!). So not only am I leaving him, I’m leaving this idyllic life. Like you have said, what if I don’t find it with someone else?
I also feel bad thinking that of course(!) there is something going on for him to be reacting this way, that it won’t last forever (although (detail removed by moderator) is a pretty long time!), that he had a traumatic childhood and I should love and support him regardless. I should support my partner if they are going through rough times mentally! Maybe it is actually me that’s catastrophising things and needs CBT, as he tells me. I can rationalise it all though and say to myself that even if someone was struggling, they have control over how they express that. I wouldn’t shout at him like he does with me. He also wouldn’t accept it from anyone else! Like you say, I can also see manipulation and anger in him. He says that he doesn’t prevent me from seeing my family but I honestly think he has worked out that he doesn’t need to be that “obvious”. If he degrades my family enough and causes enough of a rift, I won’t see them. Same that of course(!) I could invite anyone to stay (so long as I passed it by him). The day of them arriving though, would he still be reliable with that? I’m sure he will have changed his mind and scream at me for it. Even if he let them stay, would he embarrass me in front of them? Would he make it awkward? Would he then shout at me after they’ve left because I didn’t do something “right” or “support him” or whatever else I could have, and surely will have, done wrong? Everything I say to him he manages to twist on it’s head and make it about me – I’m the bully, I’m the abuser.
Exactly! Does he even love me? He says it, but when was the last time I actually felt it. Even if I did (see, I do feel it when we get back together for the few days he seems to try), what about before that? I’m always anxious about coming home or him coming home and what mood he will be in, going through everything in my head to see if I’ve done anything that he could have a go at me for.
At the same time as saying all the wonderful things about our “future life”, I can see him shouting at me in front of our children, even shouting at the children. God forbid they did something he didn’t like – how would he treat them? If he loves me as he says he does and treats me this way, what’s to say he wouldn’t do it to his child? I can also see this future life of mine without him – living near my parents, visiting them for tea after work, seeing my friends from home etc. I can even tell myself that I could have a new relationship although I worry so much that I’ve been burned by this and will never trust again… Like you’ve said, I can’t see this happening for some time, although I imagine he will move on fast.
I’m sure he will replace me. Perhaps it will even be a wonderful, magical relationship. It’s just not wonderful and magical with me and I know now it won’t change.
I’m so glad to hear you got out. Your situation sounds like it was worse than mine – thankfully I never worry about my partner being physical. I hope you’re safe and well.
I’ve told my parents what is going on and I’m hoping that, and being on here, will keep me focussed in making the leap.
16th August 2021 at 10:50 pm #130171Wants To HelpParticipant
You’re welcome 🙂
Ah, yes, that ‘perfect life’ we then convince ourselves we’ll have with them once the baby comes along…
Being told to have to work part time as he was NOT having the mother of his child work full time (but he could work full time, be the main ‘bread winner’ which then gave him the ‘right’ to say what he did with the money)
Criticising the baby bath water (too hot, too cold, too deep, too shallow, too may bubbles, not enough bubbles) that I feared bathing my baby – only he could get the baby bath water perfect!
Dressing baby in the wrong clothes (too hot or too cold for the weather)
Not preparing solid food correctly (too mushy or too lumpy)
Telling me I was not a very good mother, but was happy enough for me to be at home on maternity leave for a very long time on no pay with baby all day.
Wanting to know how long I’d been out of the house with baby and who I’d met up with.
Criticising any baby toys I bought when I was out as being ‘age inappropriate’.
I really lived the dream with this very good looking man who I pleaded to take me back because I was scared he’d moved on with someone else and she would have ‘this’ !
16th August 2021 at 11:08 pm #130174HettyParticipant
I just wanted to share that I stayed and went back for all the reasons you have shared. At first I told myself it was me, I needed to help him recover from an abusive childhood and then later I was stuck with a mortgage and other responsibilities that weren’t so easy to get out of. The longer I waited the more tangled our lives became. I was swept up and love bombed and before I realised what was going on it felt too late to leave.
If you haven’t read it already download ‘why does he do that?’ By Lundy Bancroft. It’s a real eye opener and helps to dispel the myths about why these men abuse women.
I finally left when I was on the verge of a massive breakdown. I just couldn’t take another day of name calling, silent treatment and walking on egg shells. Nothing massively horrible happened (nothing more than any other day) but I got a chance to move out and jumped on it.
It took me a long time to get to that point. Months of planning and talking through my options. My head was spinning. I also kept a diary of sorts on my phone so when the mr nice guy routine started I could remind myself of his hideousness. It also helped me see patterns emerge to his behaviour.
These men don’t change. My ex has had relationships before me and they were all the same. It’s important to prepare yourself for begging and pleading, and the chance he will move on quickly. This is nothing to do with you and everything to do with him. Start putting yourself first and hold tight those plans you have of life without him. We spend so much time thinking about what they have to offer another without thinking about we have to offer the world when free of abuse.
Good luck ❤️
3rd September 2021 at 3:49 pm #130992WhiskyRoseParticipant
I am completely 1000% feeling like I’m in the exact same boat as you are…
I have the same situation, dream house, dream village, dream friends/neighbours/community, everything is perfect and from the outside the relationship looks it to but it’s not. I’m finding it so hard to leave when he’s Mr Nice, I just feel like I don’t have the confidence/assertiveness and I’m clouded by guilt and doubt.
I have also been looking at options for months, and would have to sell the house and move away, and I know it will not change and I HAVE to get out.. but I can’t bring myself to do it
I just wanted to let you know you are not alone and it’s not you.. mine also has the same behaviours, the same accusations and projections that I am not supportive, or available enough etc.
Mine also spoils every holiday or event by causing a fight over nothing, screaming at me then stonewalling me for weeks, then pretending nothing ever happened.
I recently found out that all his past relationships have gone a similar way, and feel sick at the thought of how he would treat children – all I can say is please don’t think it’s you, or that you’re alone.
I am stuck in that mirage of having a ‘dream life’ and know children/dog/etc will not help.. it would just give him more ammunition and control… it’s him trying to give excuses (stress, environment, grass is always greener..) and placate you so that you stay with him in this perfect faux life.
Best of luck, you’re not alone <3
20th September 2021 at 8:21 am #131665squisherParticipant
I feel so similar to you and its so difficult, i constantly see or hear how people think ive changed him or have made his life a misery, yet when i try and approach people for help and explain the real situation behind closed doors, they retreat and blank me, its like they’re scared of him and unfortunately it’s made me feel so helpless and isolated which just makes leaving feel even harder because I don’t have anyone willing to support me. You really are not alone and it makes me feel so sad to think how many people are stuck in a life like this x
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