This topic contains 41 replies, has 15 voices, and was last updated by  Dragon 5 months, 3 weeks ago.

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  • #84308

    Hi there, I just wanted to talk about the ‘I Am Nicola’ episode of the Channel 4 series. I watched it because I had heard it was about coersive control and I wondered if there would be anything I could identify with.
    Now I can’t stop thinking about it because I watched it thinking ‘oh I thought this was about coersive control, but it looks like it’s just about a normal relationship’ there was so much I identified with (some bits that I didn’t).
    I went on line to see what people were saying about it and people were saying how hard it was to watch, how they were screaming at the TV for her to leave, how it was really bad, how it was coersive control.
    I have been in this relationship for a very long time, so maybe this is just ‘normal’ to me. I don’t feel unsafe.
    Was all of his behaviour in the episode coersive? I would appreciate your thoughts. I was looking for clarity but I think I feel even more confused.
    Thank you for reading.

  • #84311

    They don’t use coercive control one hundred percent of the time. That would be too obvious. So they flit between reasonable rational behaviour to coercive behaviour. That’s why it’s so difficult to spot and for us to work out. Looking back on my relationship, my ex would come in and say things like, what are you watching that rubbish for, that’s mindless rubbish (Judge Judy). That’s how it started but by the end I would jump up off the couch and switch the tv off when I heard his car on the drive. Anyone can say that tv is rubbish but it’s the way it’s said and the veiled threats underneath. My music he said was suicidal (Amy Winehouse). He made such a noise about it that I stopped playing it when he was around and he got to play his music. It’s very insidious and we just don’t see it happening. Criticism of my driving made me not want to drive and criticism of my friends made me not want to socialise. He wanted me at home all the time. And the list goes on ….

  • #84313

    Thank you, I think it is so confusing because the descriptions say things like ‘stopping you from seeing friends and family’ mine doesn’t stop me, he he just criticises them and makes it difficult for me to (there always seems to be a reason why it is inconvenient and it usually causes an argument) but he has never physically stopped me from going. This is why it is so confusing. In the programme, I was actually thinking the guy was being nice cos he was admitting that he was doing something wrong and apologising, mine doesn’t do that.
    Now I feel like all behaviour that makes me feel uncomfortable, is it all abusive? I just don’t know what to think, like I feel I need to make a video of my own life and see what people think because I don’t trust my own feelings. I feel like I am making it all up!

  • #84320

    It’s insidious and corrosive. Many of us stay for years and even decades in an abusive relationship wanting to believe the words instead of the actions. My ex always complained about my friends and family although most of the time he didn’t directly stop me seeing them. When we visited he often sat alone, and we just thought, oh well it’s just him. He became far worse and expected to be waited upon. After that I decided we would travel without him.

    Oh yes, the driving! Utter misery! The criticism, the shouting at other drivers, the bickering.

    Speak to Women’s Aid, Dragon. They will help you through this. It’s so difficult at the beginning to understand the dynamics of abuse and it’s so very difficult to accept and for so long so many of us turn a blind eye and shove the behaviour under the carpet.

  • #84323

    Making it difficult for you to see your family is coercive control. Why would he want to make it difficult? Because abusers like to isolate us and cut off our support network. They’re not stupid enough to come right out and say you’re not going, not at first anyway. In the end my ex would trap me in rooms and prevent me from leaving the front door by standing in my way. It always escalates as time goes on. By then you’re so depressed and confused and broken that you don’t have the strength to fight back or understand. In a good relationship you encourage each other in what makes you happy. An abuser will do what he can to stop you being happy and progress. Think about the times you question his behaviour. For me it was when I was doing things that made me happy x

  • #84391
     blue eyes 

    I know this seems strange and I don’t want to diminish anyone else’s experiences but my first thoughts when watching this was, “is that it?” and “that’s nothing to what I went through”. I didn’t feel scared or triggered by it. Maybe it was the acting,it was improvised. It didn’t feel right, it didn’t feel enough. There is a story line just developing on Eastenders now with Karen’s daughter Chantelle and I recognize her facial expressions and her looks of terror when she is trying to keep the peace. Her husband is very cold and calculating and you can see when he is going to flip. I think this is more realistic and frightening. Also the first episode of The Widower is chillingly familiar. There is also a story line on Corrie too, with Tim’s father Jeff being cruel and playing mind games with Yazmeen.

  • #84399

    I watched it too and found it uncomfortable viewing. At first it seemed a bit light on the coercive control. None of his behaviour would pass the test for legal action. Their relationship didn’t look like the one I escaped from. It was all done quite subtly.

    Then I put it all in the context of a fairly new relationship – the first year maybe – and suddenly everything he did or said had a dark side.

    Here’s what I picked up, the ‘red flags’ of coercive control

    He minimised her feelings at every step. He pushed until she admitted she was jealous of her friend’s life then told her she was ‘silly’ and that she ‘had a good life.’

    When she stood up for herself he took arguments off-subject, became aggressive, shouted her down. No argument was ever resolved. They were over when he decided they were over. Or he’d keep badgering Nicola to ‘talk things over’ not allowing her space to think or ‘be’.

    He’d crazy-make – he stated he’d cook dinner (a reward for her ditching her friends), then came in late, berated her for the empty fridge. He said she was the better cook (lazy flattery) so she caved and said she’d do it. She got changed for the gym and he came out with ‘but you know I’m cooking for us.’

    He caused drama when they went to the BBQ, guaranteeing they would never be invited again. Nicola stayed in instead of drinks after work with the girls. (She actually went from describing it as an engagement celebration, to ‘not really out’ to ‘just one in the local’.) She didn’t go to the gym. She didn’t escape to her mum’s. It was a masterclass in isolation techniques. Each time he employed a different method – aggression (at the BBQ), emotional blackmail (girls night out), jealousy (the gym), and the ‘poor me me me’ empty but frightening threats to self-harm (her mum’s.)

    He claimed to acknowledge his issues (though I think he only mentioned jealousy) and that he knew he had to deal with it. These moments of hand-wringing self-awareness always came when Nicola was ready to leave. But he never actually apologised or followed words with action. He blame-shifted. ‘I know it’s wrong to be jealous’ BUT ‘I love you too much’. ‘I know this can’t go on’ BUT ‘what do you want me to do about it?’ AND ‘I can’t do it on my own, you need to help me.’

    I found the film powerful in showing that not all victims of coercive control are cowering mousy housewives. More often we’re like Nicola – strong, independent and opinionated with careers and friends and interests (at the start at least.) I don’t think it would occur to her to apply the word abuse to her circumstances.

    (Sorry, I got a bit carried away, it was very affecting viewing!)

  • #84400

    I totally agree with you Camel and you have described his subtle ways well. I also think you’re right in thinking it was early on in the relationship.

  • #84407

    I think this is my issue, that the issues I experience have been over a very long period of time but they have never ‘crossed the line’ I think it is fair to say they aren’t going to escalate to the degree that others have experienced. Does that make it ok? Still so confused, I feel like maybe I am making it all up. I don’t think my partner is purposefully hurting me. I think it is just the way he is, the way he grew up.

  • #84425
     blue eyes 

    Perhaps I am used to living with an extreme crazed mad man. I used to fire into him at the beginning laughing at his antics because they were so ridiculous, telling him off standing up for myself. It wasn’t her so much it was him (the actor) he wasn’t evil enough. It should have been one of my exes playing the part.

  • #84428

    Yes it didn’t seem obvious to me either but that it what concerned me, that to me it seemed ‘normal’ or actually like he was quite nice to her! But the explanations above make sense and have helped me understand a bit better.
    What did you make of the weekend away thing? How she felt like her friends were doing things and she was missing out and how he responded to that.

  • #84443
     blue eyes 

    I think I need to watch it again. I will have another go and post later.

  • #84456

    I get what you mean, it felt normal to me in a lot of parts, but then that’s because that is all I knew – I dont have any other long term relationships to compare and contrast the abusive relationship with, but I do know this is not right now, back then amidst the confusion I couldnt have put my finger on things, but this shows how it can happen, that this is a controlling relationship and abuse.

    I liked how they tried to capture how it creeps up and becomes a head wreck, how she is torn between feeling this is me not him or this is not right – the manipulation. The spoling things with friends and suicidal manipulation. Had they gone for blazing rows and physical violence it would have been plain to see – this shows us that there doesn’t have to be violence and rows for it to be abuse.

    Some abusers dress up what they are doing as being out of concern and care hey or love. I also often felt sorry for him, like she did and was left feeling it’s only me who understands him – tosh I bought into for a time because I guess I also wanted to feel I was special to him – utter rubbish lol.

    They hook you in, cast you off and reel you back in again and round it goes all the while getting what he wants from you – giving very little to nothing in return.

    Critisisms and insidious for sure!

  • #84461

    Camel – what a brilliant summary of this. I have told a few friends to watch it and explained that it’s all about the subtlety of what and how he does and says. Sometimes when I am describing to close friends what has happened in my relationship, it sounds so small and pathetic BUT it’s how it’s delivered and the on-going chipping away at me.

    I was deeply affected by this programme yet I completely agree that some of it seems trivial.

    Dragon, someone once said to me, if you think it’s abusive then it most likely is. When I started to doubt what was happening in my relationship, I started reading about the subject extensively and it helped me realise exactly what was happening. I also started to talk to close friends who confirmed that they had seen it too and I wasn’t going mad.

    Lots of love and hugs to you all

    Mommabear xxxx

  • #84798

    I just watched it and really got that sense of claustrophobia from it. The white cold pit of the stomach feeling as those first few recognisable words that begin one of his relentless fault-finding, criticising sermons fell from his lips.

    I could feel the weight of his, me, me, me onslaught, day in, day out, The yoke of carrying him and his talk of the job that is harder than hers, more stressful, more backbreaking, more herculean, more…

    The loneliness of evenings spent with him physically in the room, console flickering its narcotic anaesthesia, sharing nothing but stale air.

    The uneasiness, the discomfort that makes up the largest part of her day. Wondering whether she did do something to deserve to be walking over the hot coals of his accusations. The fear of little things; when picking up something for tea can cause a massive sulk because she obviously didn’t trust him to cook, a sulk that’s gone as if he had said or done nothing wrong when he wants it to be gone. On his terms.
    When not picking up something means no food that night because suddenly he doesn’t feel like cooking, after all, he didn’t say he’d cook; she imagined him saying it. Like she imagines so many other things…..

    I felt her humiliation, her shame, at events where other people necessarily are. At events where he will do and say mortifying things. I felt the draining of fun from occasions, the dwindling of her social side, the retreating of her self.

    Her feelings of guilt when she knew, beyond doubt that she was not happy, would never be happy trussed up in the rigid bonds of his cage. Her struggle to come to terms with the fact that he can not care, he is unable to ever think of her needs, he does not countenance compromise or discussion. He buys her things in order only to get what he needs or wants, and never from love. He does not truly know or understand love.

    The realisation that I can’t go on without you, if we’re over then there’s no point to anything; the translation to the reality of those words. I need you here to validate me, to make me feel good by crushing you. If we’re over then I have to make an effort again to pretend to someone, so they adore me and I can leech from them

  • #84886

    Ebony, thank you for posting. Really well put. Those things I didn’t really pick up on as abusive in the program but are very relatable x

  • #84889

    I haven’t watched this as I don’t want to be anymore triggered than I already feel but following the conversation here is interesting. Unlike everyone on here my relationship was very short – a mere neater if months and did not involve any commitment, no weekends away, nothing. I read about what coercive control is and it resonates but it’s very difficult for me to see or accept as perhaps what has happened is normal relationship dynamics it’s just that it involved unprotected sex that he wanted so he could feel connected and a pregnancy that he didn’t want. There is obviously more to it with frequent verbal abuse and many other characteristics as I’ve tried to explain to police but they’re obviously sceptical and with so many experiencing it over a prolonged time and in a situation where people were living together perhaps I don’t understand coercive control at all. This programme from what little I know may or may. It be validating my experiences. It’s just confusing.

  • #84911

    Did anyone watch the second programme I Am Kirsty? What a nasty piece of work the debt collector was, how he switched from so nice and helpful to vile and threatening, then he turned up at her door to apologise, then switched again to vile and threatening and even said at one point it was HER fault, he said something like “some friend you are!” Pure gaslighting and mental manipulation, you could see the fear and bewilderment on Kirsty’s face. I Am Nicola was more subtle but the mental manipulation these men use are so awful, even Kirsty’s boss used gaslighting when she asked for more hours.

  • #84928

    I will try and watch I Am Kirsty tonight. Beauty marked, I don’t think it matters how long you are in the relationship for, if he is being abusive, it is abuse! Verbal abuse is all part of it. Have you spoken to anyone at Women’s Aid?

  • #84929

    Thanks Dragon x

    Yes, WA are very good and know their stuff and make you feel believed and understood. It’s too bad the police look down on them a bit. It’s interesting because the list of coercive and controlling behaviours on the CPS is ‘not exhaustive’. There seems so much uncertainty around it and it’s not well understood at all.

  • #84935

    Would explain why so many of us are confused ourselves as to whether we’re being abused or not!

  • #84969

    Watching I Am Kirsty now. Unbelievable. Very scary.

  • #85082

    Hi. I’m sorry to piggy back onto this, but the first message from Dragon is exactly what I did. My husband was diagnosed with depression a (detail removed by moderator) and following that diagnosis, he told me he had become aware he was emotionally abusing me (nothing I did was good enough, he didn’t see me, he was constantly critical, suspicious, he’d go out until 4 o clock in the morning and I wouldn’t know where he was and if I asked, he’d play it down saying he only has one or 2 friends so there’s no need to ask, but if I went out he had to know where and with who (to make sure I was safe)he’d constantly borrow money from me so he could do what he wanted, even though that made it hard for me to manage – he has really bad credit so all the finances have to go through me and be in my name so we can have credit)
    Since his diagnosis, he’s started taking anti depressants and has applied for counselling (still waiting for the appointment). I suppose I thought it would get better. I’ve been in counselling since about (detail removed by moderator) and my counsellor told me at our last appointment that he’s worried about me as my husband is still emotionally abusing me.
    He isn’t critical or negative the way he used to be, but he will tell me if I’m not making him feel loved enough (following his diagnosis, I told him i loved him, but am not in love with him. We have children so we’re trying to make it work) I sometimes feel I’m still walking on egg shells around him because I don’t want to say anything that makes him any sadder than I already have (I broke his heart by saying I wasn’t in love with him). He will often have a conversation with me about how he’s feeling just before I’m supposed to go somewhere. He says things that aren’t correct e.g. he didn’t want another child and I did (before all this) and he made some comment about selling the baby stuff now I’ve decided I don’t want any more children. He’d discussed with me about us maybe going out on (detail removed by moderator) but when I looked at the calendar, he’d put on that he was going out with his friend, so I asked if that was what he was doing and he said he couldn’t afford it, but I hadn’t seemed that interested in going out with him, but he’d rather go out with me than his friend, but if I didn’t want to go out with him, that was fine. It doesn’t sound like much, but the way he said it was…I don’t know like I’d done something wrong. I also hadn’t asked his mum to have the children so that was another sign I didn’t care (I said he could’ve and he said he thought I’d do it because he’s so busy at work and I’m off looking after the children at the moment).
    Sorry, looking at this, it doesn’t look like anything. I’m going to ask my counsellor what he saw that made him feel I’m being abused.
    I watched I am Nicola for exactly the same reasons. I wondered if it would trigger something, some connection, but I just didn’t think it was that bad. I got the leggings thing and when he insinuated he’d kill himself if she left, but the others just didn’t seem that bad. And I searched online and was surprised others felt so upset by it.
    I’m finding it really hard because it’s so invisible. I don’t even know if it’s happening to me. If he hit me, I’d know for definite and there’s a path to follow. Now I just feel sad and confused. He’s been lovely all weekend and I think that’s why I feel so upset today. How can he be abusing me when he clearly loves me so much?

  • #85100

    Blossom, thank you for the response, please don’t apologise, it is good to know that someone feels the same as me.
    I can relate to the constant criticism and not ever being ‘good enough’. I think it is great that he is getting help and has admitted that he was emotionally abusing you and that you feel things have been getting better.
    I can understand why it is confusing if someone else outside the relationship identifies emotional abuse when you think things are ok (this has happened to me recently too) I do also think though that if someone outside of your relationship (especially one that is a professional that you have confided on) thinks you are being emotionally abused then it is very possible that you are and you just can’t see it as it is your ‘normal’. It is definitely worth exploring with your counsellor and maybe ask him why he thinks that etc.
    Since I have started researching, things that have happened in the past that I thought at the time were nothing but now I am seeing how they could have been abusive but very subtle. Now, it is so difficult to distinguish and like you say, when things feel ok/normal it feels like you are causing trouble for no reason.
    My research led me to look in to Covert Narcism. Very subtle but emotionally corrosive behaviour. I can’t say I am comfortable to say I live with a n********t but some of the traits are there. Only saying this as, especially I terms of subtlety, our situations seems similar so it might be worth you looking into or exploring with your counsellor maybe. Take care of yourself. Keep posting. X

  • #85101

    My counsellor is away this week so I won’t see him for over a week. But I definitely will ask him for clarification. But I will also be asking him how I’ve managed to trick him into saying this, because I still don’t believe it. It’s hit me hard because I don’t see beyond my husband’s pain. He’s the one who has depression, he’s the one who had an emotionally abusive father. His emotional needs have always dominated as they were just so much more than mine. And I like peace and calm. I’ve always been his emotional plaster, kind, present, steadfast. Now I’m living in mental chaos. An emotional washing machine. I think he’s being controlling so I feel angry and upset, then I think but he’s ill, it’s just because he loves me and wants to keep me safe, then I feel guilty for having these thoughts about him. Then the cycle starts again.
    I have children. I don’t know if putting them through parents splitting up is more or less damaging than them growing up seeing us – because I don’t even know he is abusive. So I feel guilt if I stay and guilt if i leave the relationship.
    He isn’t a cruel man, I believe he loves me endlessly. I don’t think he’d ever purposefully hurt me.
    I’m sorry to post again. I just feel so sad and alone today x

  • #85103

    Blossom, I could have written this. I completely relate to what you’re saying. I just want to say that your feelings matter too. This is something I have come to realise and that I am working through. It is hard, especially if he has depression but focusing on yourself and your feelings, even if it is just being aware of how you feel, treating yourself, small steps at first if that is what you feel comfortable with. I know exactly what you mean about the children. I have had the same thoughts of what is best for them which is my primary priority.
    You’re not tricking anyone. I have felt that too but you’re not. Hugs x*x

  • #85104

    I don’t know if it helps at all, but I felt like that a lot too. I was his emotional punch bag for years and I know that a few of the people around me thought it was abusive long before I was ready to admit to myself that it was not okay. Mine went through a phase of being very low and would keep me up in to the early hours (when he knew I had work) offloading his emotional baggage on to me and there came points that I couldn’t take it anymore. Then he got mad. So I understand the guilt and the confusion. But someone said to me that it really doesn’t matter what is or isn’t wrong with him because there is no excuse for abusive behaviour. I think that, at the end of the day, if it doesn’t feel right it probably isn’t. x

  • #85107

    Hi Blossomrose,

    I just wanted to welcome you to the forum, I’m so glad you found this place x

    I know exactly how you felt with most of these incidents – like you were being punished for not having anticipated what he wanted you to do. Reading your post I see a lot of emotional abuse and gaslighting, please don’t minimise this as that only serves him. Abuse is abuse no matter the shape or form it takes – and it is never right. You do not deserve this treatment of his.

    Most people with a depression won’t mistreat others like this – I wonder, does he treat his friends the same way he treats you? I doubt it, and the reason I doubt it is because mental health is often used as an excuse that abusers use to place blame onto something/someone else, in this case it’s his conditions that is used as a rationalisation. It works out quite well this way because he gets to turn the focus onto a health problem that he then gets sympathy for having. And all the while he can continue to abuse you. Abuse is a choice and often has nothing to do with whether they are depressed or not. If his condition was truly the cause, he would treat everyone the same be it in private or in public.

    Abuse messes with our heads and way of thinking, abusers are master manipulators that will have us look to ourselves rather than at them. It becomes about walking on egg shells trying to be perfect all the time, and then when we think we are doing well, they will still find a problem. And we are left to wondering where on earth we went wrong this time and we will try to be even more perfect in the future. The reality is it doesn’t matter how perfect or how good you are at anticipated what he wants you to do – he will just move the goal posts and find another way to punish and hurt you.

    Have you ever read any books on abuse? I read “Why Does He Do That” by Lundy Bancroft as the first book and have read a number since, but I found it to be a good start for me to understand that abuse is a choice they make and I had many lightbulb moments reading it. I would also suggest you get some support from WA, so please try to call them or call your local domestic abuse charity. They can help validate what you are experiencing, just like it sounds like your counsellor is trying to do. The more support around us, the more the clearly we start to see things for what they really are x

    Keep posting x

  • #85111

    Thank you for all being so kind to me. I’m at a real low ebb today and I can normally pull myself together, but I just haven’t been able to today. Although I think i wanted you to all tell me i was over reacting and it’s not abuse, it’s fine.
    He would be devastated if he thought he was still being abusive. He’s not a deliberately cruel or horrible man. The children love him so much and he’s so good with them, everyone tells me what a great dad he is (and I see that he is, not just that people tell me). I know he loves me more than anything. He would really struggle to manage without me. I can’t imagine watching his heart break as I told him it was over. I don’t want my marriage to be over. I’ve loved this man for so many years. Cared for him. Sacrificed for him
    I loved being with him. If anyone hurt me, he’d be outraged. If he saw how upset I was now, he’d want to cuddle me and fix it. But he doesn’t see. I don’t see, not really.
    I’m hoping I can start to challenge him when he says these things which I now see are unfair and, even if it ends up in a row, at least I’m pointing it out, telling him it’s unacceptable. Maybe he’ll see. And we definitely need couples counselling. If I’m going to end my marriage, break my family up, I have to know I’ve given it everything.
    Sorry, I feel I’ve hijacked this thread. I really didn’t mean to do that. I just needed a place of understanding where I could feel safe x

  • #85114

    You are not hijacking anything. This post was intended to get people to talk about how they felt. If it encouraged you to share some of your story, that is great. Keep posting x

  • #85182

    I too watched the show. And recognised the behaviour especially at the bbq with her friend and husband. My ex would start issues like the guy in the show did. In turn it ment people didnt want to hang out with us. And if i went on my own he’d quickly say how they were snakes and jelous of our relationship and they dont care about me. I eventually had a child which i was coerced into having at an early part in our relationship as he daid hed be there for me, amazing dad etc etc. Once the baby was born he said how much i tricked him into having a child. How i spend too much time with the baby. He hates the baby. I then felt like it was my fault we had a baby. Im years on now and im so glad I have my child I love him so much and I do not regret it and never had. My only regret is allowing him to be part of his life. Through his behaviour i lost all of my frkends and had no one visit me at the birth. I look back at old photos of me and cry as I look lifeless and drawn, although he convinced me how fat I was. Not a day goes by I dont think about how far I have come. It took me a while to trust my instinct as you become used to them dictating your life. My only issue with the tv programme was showing how easily she left at the end. I wish they showed more how these men/women dont allow someone their freedom so easily.

  • #85185

    Moving on, thanks for posting. So good that you are out of that situation, it sounds awful.
    I just watched it again. And I am so glad I did. I actually made notes. I understood it from a more abusive perspective and I felt more triggered. I allowed myself to see it completely from her perspective and I saw how he was trying to control her. Mainly through guilt I noticed. How he turned everything round on her so she felt sorry for him or like she was doing something wrong and not acknowledging her feelings. I identified morr with it this time. I got upset. I allowed myself to empathise comoletely with her rather than him, although I did feel sorry for him at the end of the program, he clearly has issues but I am starting to realise that just because someone has issues it isn’t a reason or an excuse to abuse someone else.
    For anyone who watched it and thought it wasn’t that bad like I did, I recommend you watch it again, and again.
    Moving on, I know what you mean about leaving so easily. I don’t think she would just be able to walk away that easily. I understand why they ended the film like that but I think it would be a much longer and emotional, hurtful process to leave someone like that.

  • #85223

    I struggle to empathise with the guy in the show. I may be wrong but I feel these type of people are fully aware of what they are doing and thats the a key point to coercion. They are the puppet masters to our lives and at no point do they feel bad. Its manipulation at its finest. I recently read a book called psychopath free and that helped me realise that these men/women are a breed of calculated individuals. In the show he broke her boundaries by not leaving her alone when upset, following her around, accusing her of cheating, subtly mentioning her clothes, causing an argument then acting as if she started it. I feel that domestic abuse and coercion should be taught in schools, something must be done to break the cycle. (Sorry just ranting on lol) xx

  • #85249

    Hi. Maybe I should watch it again now. Since my counsellor has told me it’s still abuse, I feel like I can see how things he does are. But now I’m worried I’m pretending EVERYTHING is abusive, when maybe it’s just normal. He’s actually been really nice and normal, calm, recently. So now I’m thinking maybe it’s okay, or maybe this is part of the manipulation.
    You know what I struggle with? I genuinely don’t think he means it. I believe he loves me so much. He just wants me to stay with him so bad. And he can feel me moving away, so he tries to hold me tighter, but that pushes me away… He doesn’t know how to have a healthy relationship. His parents didn’t give him that.

  • #85265

    Blossom, I totally relate to what you’re saying. Honestly, again I could have written that post. I don’t think my partner knows how to have a ‘notmsl’ relationship. I don’t think that was modelled from his parents. And now I worry that ‘normal’ relationships are not being modelled to my children. It is so hard to know, I too am starting to see everything he does as potentially abusive but I’m not sure it is and I can’t believe he is foing it purposefully.
    Something doesn’t feel right though. And just because there are reasons behind it does it mean it is ok for us to feel like our feelings don’t matter? To feel disrespected? Not listened to? Unsupported? Made to feel guilty? Take the blame for everything? Etc. Your partner is supposed to love, cherish, respect, listen to and support you. And our feelings matter too xx

  • #85266

    And yes, watch it again. And pay attention to her feelings, I really related to her in a lot of ways this time xx

  • #85276

    I think I’ve just got used to not giving my feelings much importance. He has always felt worse and I’ve tried to make him feel better. But this hasn’t been against my will, I’ve chosen to do it. I’m a positive person and look for the good in every situation, every person.
    Honestly, I just think his adoration for me has gone over to the dark side. He’s so worried about losing me that it’s turned into monitoring, suspicion and me having to prove myself.
    I have been in touch with my local DV charity and they’ve given me a number for a referral. I am taking it slow, going at my pace. I sometimes can only cope with telling the story once a day as it is so emotionally draining.
    I’ve been away for work (detail removed by moderator) so I’m preparing myself for returning home
    I thought he’d be on the phone the entire time, but he didn’t, he let me breathe. Partly because he told me he fell asleep at (detail removed by moderator). That’s what happens when he gets anxiety, he shuts down.
    Sorry, am rambling. Just anxious about what it’ll be like when I get back x

  • #85291

    I am glad to hear he let you breathe. If he is monitoring you and making you prove yourself I am not surprised your counsellor is concerned. Good that you have been in touch with your local DV charity.
    I hope things are ok when you get back. Start paying attention to how you’re feeling (like you said, small steps) and trying to take care of yourself. Your feelings are important too.
    Keep posting here.
    Hugs x

  • #85293

    So I came home and he was so nice, had bought loads of flowers and said he was going to fill our bedroom with Rose’s but I’d got home earlier than expected. I told him I was tired and wanted to go to bed (something he has commented negatively on in the past – you’ve been away and you don’t want to spend any time with me etc) and he just said yes, you look tired. Then (detail removed by moderator) has said he thinks his anti depressants are starting to work as he feels better about stuff. So now I think I’m wrong, he has just been struggling because he was ill. And I feel horrible because I have said he’s abusing me and thinking about ending the relationship. Now I don’t even know what is going on. I feel like a fraud if I contact the DV charity and if I end the relationship, it’s just because I’m not happy, not because he’s an abuser. I am so upset and confused.

  • #85295

    Blossom, I really think you need to talk this through with someone. You are entitled to be upset and confused. If someone is switching between behaviours like that of course it is going to be confusing. And I totally know what you mean about feeling a fraud as I have felt this too. Thing is, if you felt loved and cherished and respected, do you think the relationship would be working? After everything that has happened, I am guessing it will take more than a bunch of flowers and a promise that his meds are working to prove that things have changed. It is a slow process to getting to a healthy relationship space and that will take time and work.
    I am not saying it definitely is, but I am learning that some abusers do this, give you a false sense of security, make you feel like you’re going mad, were imagining it all, show you how nice they are so you forget the bad stuff. But it is only temporary, they go back to their old ways when they feel comfortable again.
    Mine did this to me. When he felt I was going to leave he started talking about trips away, moving house, taking me out for lunch and dinner, buying me flowers and chocolates, clothes etc. And I thought he had realised and was really committed to changing and making things better but it has gone back to what it was now. Hard to admit but true. He lured me back in and now we are back to the same arguments.
    All I am saying is take it slowly and monitor it. Talk to the counsellor and go through with the appointment with the DV charity. Because you deserve some clarity. If the relationship is going to be saved you need to be clear about what has happened so you know how to move forward. This is similar to a process I am going through.
    Please keep posting and take care of yourself x*x

  • #85331

    A couple of my friends know about what’s going on and they agree I should still go. Even if this is some magic cure, I can see now I still haven’t recovered from the abuse. I’m just so scared to reach out, outside my counsellor and friends, because I am so scared someone will think my children are at risk.
    I just can’t get a foothold on my thoughts. As soon as I think I have made a decision about what I want to do, or got some clarity, the foothold gives way and I slide back into mental chaos again… the mental washing machine of he loves me, he isn’t doing this on purpose, perhaps it’s not abuse, what abuht the effects on the children? but it’s not his fault, he’s ill, had a bad childhood, I’m the one whose been the enabler, allowing him to put his emotions first all this time, it’s no surprise he still does, I’ve helped him with all his emotional baggage, all the times he’s messed up, I’ve been there offering love and support, why would I expect different now? It was good enough for me then, why not now? What if he gets better? If I leave, I’ll never know, I might be ending my marriage and upsetting my kids for no reason… and on and on and round and round.

  • #85342

    You explain it so well, that is pretty much exactly how I would say I feel too. First step is the local service I think, I hope you still go. Take it from there. I relate to what you’re saying so much, I think our situations might be rquite similar. Hugs x

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