28th October 2021 at 8:57 pm #133165
So I’m new, both here and to the idea that I may have been psychologically abused over a very long marriage. The adviser on the DV helpline thinks that I have been; but I’m not sure?? Most of the time, my husband is a pretty good person. If he hadn’t made one very serious threat recently, I wouldn’t be here, but it seemed mostly out of character.
I go back and forth now between thinking that the DV adviser is wrong because my situation is not that bad; or else thinking that actually maybe I’ve been bringing bad relationship habits (being oversensitive, overemotional, over-anxious, walking on eggshells, and over-apologising) to several different relationships including a professional one with a co-worker. Why am I so confused?
28th October 2021 at 9:35 pm #133167KIP.Participant
Confusion often comes from abuse. Read Living with the Dominator by Pat Craven or Why Does He Do That by Lundy Bancroft. Walking on eggshells is a response to his behaviour. We all walk on eggshells around an abuser. A pretty good person doesn’t make serious threats, ever. Being anxious is a response to abuse. Being over sensitive is what an abuser tells us to pass the blame to us. It’s a very common tactic. They hide their abuse behind phrases like you’re too sensitive. You’re over reacting. Try writing a secret journal of his behaviour. Abuse is insidious. It creeps us. It comes and goes in a cycle making it even more confusing.
28th October 2021 at 9:47 pm #133169HereforhelpParticipant
Latetotheparty, I am also a long term married and didn’t see the abuse at first, it took me a few years to actually accept my husband is abusive and has been for a long time (forever except there were good times as well, lots of them). I kept a journal at first, on my phone, so when I doubted myself/my mind I would look at my journal and it started to become real, a pattern. Then I started to read up on domestic abuse, financial abuse, emotional abuse and FOG, that helped along with the books KIP recommended.
I am newly separated and am already starting to feel less anxious, a little stronger and not insane. Keep posting ❤
28th October 2021 at 10:50 pm #133171WhyohwhyParticipant
I am not over 50 but I did leave a relationship of many years. I am also new to the realisation that I have lived all that time in an abusive relationship. For me I also felt like I let it happen my partner was never violent and never threatened violence but I still went along with everything he said. The problem is it’s the way they make you feel when you do something they aren’t happy with, and for a quiet life you just go along with them. One thing leads to another and in the end years down the line you realise that you don’t know who you really are anymore because you have just played the part of who they want you to be. For me, I had no friends because he didn’t think it was necessary, I rarely saw my family because it always caused an argument, I always watched what I ate because he always told me if I was putting on weight, I wore the clothes he thought was suitable, I took care of everything in the house, I didn’t listen to music I liked, I didn’t watch the programmes I liked, the list goes on. Nothing that seems too serious until you stand back and add it all up. I found the book ‘why does he do that’ the most helpful because it doesn’t focus on violence. I still see my ex because of my daughter and I had been wondering why I had always obeyed him until the other day he got angry and I remembered what it was like, I think my brain had blocked out the bad bits. Sorry for the long ramble but I hope it helps in some way.
28th October 2021 at 10:50 pm #133172EggshellsParticipant
Welcome to the forum.
It can be really difficult to get your head around all of this.
Please read “Living with the Dominator” as a first port of call. It was the first book I read and it really helped to give me clarity on the relationship that I was in.
If you recognise your relationship in the pages you read, it’ll be the first step to recognising the abusive relationships around you.
If you don’t recognise any of the behaviours, please try the WA chat line for further advice.
It can be a real shock when you first understand that you’re in an abusive relationship and it can take time tovsink in.
The ladies on the forum have all been through that process or are still going through it. Everyone here understands. xx
29th October 2021 at 9:51 am #133183LisaMain Moderator
Welcome to the forum.
I can see you have already received very support responses offering insight into what you are experiencing. As the others here have validated; it’s quite common to feel confused and unclear of what is actually going on terms of the abuse – and in fact, that is part of the abuse. Often abusive partners will be sure to be the ‘kind’, ‘loving’ or generous person at times as this keeps you from truly seeing the abuse for what it is. You may even end up blaming yourself, thinking your ‘overreacting’. What’s important at the end of the day is; how do you feel? What impact has his behaviour honestly had on you?
The fact that you are here on this forum demonstrates that you sense and know (however deep down), that something isn’t right. Abuse doesn’t have to be psychically violent to be destructive, or to be seen as worthy of receiving help and taking action.
I hope you continue to post here to get clarity and support. You have found the right place to get the assurance you need.
All the best,
29th October 2021 at 9:24 pm #133201
I’m SO grateful for all this advice and have started reading the books you recommended.
It’s true that my husband has always had a bad temper. He’s not often violent, but his moods are very unpredictable and he can explode for the tiniest thing. Yelling, insulting, name calling, making threats, giving the silent treatment and refusing to ever discuss anything that’s happened are common. He’s had a hard life and so he always wants me to feel guilty for that. He also interrupts my work day frequently and had always been extremely jealous.
A while back, I started feeling seriously depleted. I had some panic attacks, massive anxiety, and I find it harder to trust my own judgement than I used to.
Because of the serious threat he made, I do now have a plan for my own physical safety and I feel ok about it. But what’s particularly confusing is that I’m worried the ways I have behaved / learned to behave in our marriage has also been impacting my other relationships. I have a co-worker who is not abusive but who does occasionally lose his temper. With the co-worker, I often feel very anxious. I bend over backwards to try to make him happy and to take the blame for things that aren’t actually my fault. I think I may even sometimes play the victim with him because I hope he will be more supportive of me. This has also been going on for quite some time now, but it’s only this week that it’s occurred to me that I may have been taking out on my co-worker emotions that actually come from my marriage.
Does this make any sense?
29th October 2021 at 10:05 pm #133205EggshellsParticipant
It does make sense. However, don’t write off your feelings about your co-worker. It is unprofessional for anyone to loose their temper with colleagues and it is perfectly possible that your co-worker is abusive. It could explain why you automatically take the victim role.
Work colleagues can be abusive too. Many large companies recognise this and as a result they have policies for bullying in the workplace.
Once you recognise and understand abuse you become much more attuned to it and you’ll learn to spot many abusers very easily. Then you can start to ditch them from your life. xx
29th October 2021 at 10:14 pm #133207ScarecrowParticipant
I am not over 50 so i hope that you don’t mind my input or advice.
Abuse will leave you in a state of confusion, often questioning your own actions and motives – because you have been conditioned to do this. This behaviour doesn’t stay within the confines of the marriage but will seep into every other part of your life. I have a very similar situation with a colleague at work – he is an older man who is quite frankly toxic. It took me a little while to realise that i spent way too much time covering up for his lazy work ethic and simpering around him to avoid his passive-aggressive behaviour, the snide comments and the slamming the phone down when he had decided that i had not answered it promptly – bearing in mind that he is not senior too me, he just has an attitude problem. I realised that his behaviour was exactly that of my ex husband and i was automatically reacting as i would if it was him.
Toxic people are everywhere, once you recognise the signs of one you will see them more and more.
I would advise continuing to educate yourself. Youtube is great for videos on the subject and there are a lot of good books on amazon – some on kindle unlimited.
You might find that there is a domestic violence charity in your area that can offer face to face or email support. They may also offer the freedom programme which i really do recommend.
Please keep posting on here for support as well,
30th October 2021 at 9:55 am #133219
Thanks so much. I am reading up on the freedom programme and it’s very very helpful!
30th October 2021 at 10:30 am #133221nbumblebeeParticipant
Hey I am too in a long marriage and have only recently been seeing things as not right. I still cant believe its abusive and ive been on this forum for months now. Doesnt matter how many people tell you its abusive you wont see it or believe until you are ready. Be kind to yourself. Read the books use this forum talk things through use womans aid be brave and strong and you will get your answers. Good luck and stay safe x*x
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