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    • #80378

      Hello,

      I’m really not sure if I should even be asking this question and I have felt like I’d be wasting people’s time as in comparison to the experiences of others that I have read I feel my experience is rather insignificant or perhaps I am blowing things out of proportion. However I have had nagging feelings for a while and have been unable to talk to anyone so felt this was the only place I could really express what I have been feeling.

      I had never been in a long term relationship until I met my boyfriend of nearly (detail removed by moderator) years when I reached the age of (detail removed by moderator) . At first for the first 6-7 months he was calm, considerate, funny and always very supportive. He was very romantic and really made me feel special. Every one of my friends and family whom he met expressed to me how wonderful he was and how happy they were for me.

      However things then began to change very gradually. I was coming to the end of my contract at work and looking for new employment. He wanted me to move to the town where he lived and get a job nearby, he didn’t want me commuting and said it damaged relationships. However I was offered my dream job closer to where I lived, (detail removed by moderator) . He said he supported me but then became quite cross whenever I mentioned work and what started as just passive aggressive comments that he hates my job, hates the people I work with, hates the county I live in, has become more difficult. He has said he does not want me to make any male friends at work or spend any time with men in the office, nor go to any events or conferences or travel in the same car as any male colleagues. He got very angry with me once when I said whilst telling him about my day that I had had a casual conversation with a work colleague about (detail removed by moderator) . He shouted and said I shouldn’t be having casual chats with men at all.

      Since being with him I have not seen one of my closest male friends from university, he didn’t like me messaging him over Facebook and it got to the stage where he would ask every time he saw I had logged onto Facebook if I was talking to my friend. If I said no he didn’t believe me. He told me I had been having a surrogate relationship with my friend, sharing too much with him and that now I had a relationship I should distance myself from him. He gets upset if I ever message or text my friend without him being there and seeing the message. I have tried to explain we are just friends but he says men and women can never be just friends, he has seen it at work or with people he was friends with in the past, everyone is untrustworthy when it comes to the opposite gender.
      I have tried to organise for him to meet my friend, suggested we go for coffee. He has said yes but then found ways of cancelling or putting it off.

      I have a weekly (detail removed by moderator) but each week this is a great source of tension. He will tell me he hates (detail removed by moderator) and say it is ruining his life and I should do something about it. I should choose. (Detail removed by moderator). He often checks who I have had messages from, who I spoke to throughout the day etc but gets upset if I get annoyed or upset by his asking. He says it is my fault he had a lack of trust and I need to build that through time, he is aware he is damaged from past relationships and he is sorry but he needs me to be accepting and help him build trust.
      In a relationship he says I should put my partner above others and if I choose to do something he doesn’t like that I want to do it is represented as me choosing someone else over him and he makes me feel very guilty. At this point he will usually send long texts telling me how he feels but if I say how I feel he gets angry and says I am invalidating his experience and either block me, or send more aggressive messages where he swears despite the fact I have said I dislike swearing and find it uncomfortable or threatening. He has said everyone swears and he was just upset and he is sorry. These conversations often last hours either whilst I am at work where I have to go to the toilets to hide the fact I am crying or feeling anxious or late into the evening/early hours of the morning so I am exhausted the next day. He will often then tell me unhappily the next day that he feels tired and he wanted to get an early night and lack of sleep is ruining his health.

      When things are good he will often texts throughout the day, at least one an hour probably just to see how I am. I call him
      Every lunch time and move my work calendar around to make sure I can call him. He says it is completely my choice if I want to call but if I am unable to he gets upset and asks who I will be having lunch with, what I will be doing. He often tries to tell me how I could rearrange my day to make it possible to call. He will say work is taking advantage of me if I stay even 5 minutes beyond 5pm or have to lose 10mins of my lunch break to have a one to one with my line manager.
      He has a strong distrust of the men I work with because (detail removed by moderator). However when I said I didn’t think this was inappropriate he got upset and grabbed all of my things that I keep at his place and threw them in plastic bags and told me to get out. Shortly after we talked and he calmed down and was very sweet an apologetic.

      I don’t want to make him sound like a bad person and the relationship isn’t always like this. Often, especially when we are alone he is very sweet and considerate and gentle and I know he would never physically hit me. He is caring and will make me a packed lunch for the day, plan a nice trip somewhere I would love as a surprise or just asks if I need time alone to carry out my hobbies such as painting and reading. He generally has no problem with me messaging my female friends unless I am with him and he feels I should be focussed on the now rather than something else.
      I don’t know what to do or even if what I have experienced counts as abuse. It’s just left me with an underlying feeling of tension or anxiety the whole time throughout the day where I worry if I’m not quick enough to respond to his messages he will suspect I am up to something. He used to be so calm and patient and says himself sometimes when he is down he is surprised at how he is now, he has never been like this before and in previous relationships was always very laid back. I sometimes feel like it is my fault for making him this way and other times feel annoyed at myself for thinking like this. On particularly stressful days I have ended up scratching my arm leaving it quite sore as that pain acts a distraction from how I am feeling. When he saw this he was upset and very apologetic but I don’t think he feels any of his behaviour needs to change. I am coming to a point where I have (detail removed by moderator) and my boyfriend is very upset and said if I choose (detail removed by moderator) we are over. He knows I have a fear of being abandoned however due to several close childhood friendships that ended in bullying so I now wonder if he just says this to get me to do what he wants. I don’t want to cut all interaction with men out of my life as many of my closest friends have been men but I don’t want to lose the only man I’ve ever loved either. I feel very confused and just don’t even know if any of this counts as abuse or if I can ever talk to him about it without him getting mad. He seems to increasingly be on the tipping point of loving and happy or stressed and angry, in which case it is impossible to talk or reason as he enters a ‘my way or the high way’ mentality.
      I think it would just help if someone could validate that I am not being over sensitive or crazy and some of his behaviour is not right. Although I do not have any idea what to do.

    • #80380
      [email protected]
      Participant

      i dont want to read and run so im going to come back to you properly in answering- this is the beginnings of an abusive relationship. alot of what youve said rings very true for me – he sounds very insecure and controlling. i spent years like this (detail removed by moderator) and it can escalate. my advice would be to try to break away from him because you may become trauma bonded to him which makes it harder. he sees you as his’propery’ he is entitled to encroach on every aspect of your life and relationships. a person who loves you should respect your boundaries and choice of friends – hes not doing this. the thing is for the sake of your future this type of man and id say he is abusive become more entitled once we marry them or get pregnant. there is better out there for you – id call womens aid to get some support and read some of the lundy bancroft books. its great that youve reached out but this is an awakening process xxxx much love diymum

    • #80452
      HopeLifeJoy
      Participant

      Hi Enchantersnightshade

      I agree with DYI, this is the beginning of abuse, he is attempting to isolate you already from your social contacts from work, to lessen your position vis a vis him, to weaken you, it will continue with your friends and family until you are all alone serving only him and his interests, dying a slow death…or fast if he becomes brutal and dangerous, you never know.

      You are fortunate it seems that this job has saved you from moving nearer to him.
      I would break off this relationship immediately. Read up about abusive power and control. This is what he is after.
      He is already controlling your schedule quite a lot if you have to compromise and move around things at work to suit his needs for a phone call.
      Do you notice that this isn’t an equal relationship? He is asking you to give, move and arrange your life around to suit his needs. How about your needs? Are they met? Why would you need to stop talking to men , make colleagues just because he says so. Who does he think he is?

      I also want to add that your title says it all. Confused and feeling guilty are red flags and sure signs that you’re finding yourself in an abusive relationship.

      In a equal respectful relationship you aren’t treated this way, you are able to stay yourself, doing the things you like doing, talking to whomever you wish, being listen to when talking about your working day and supported when you go through a bad day.
      In a normal relationship you feel free, light and loved just the way you are.

      Please put on the breaks now to safe yourself a lot of heartache.

      It seems you do enjoy your life and work, think of yourself, put yourself first.

    • #80455
      HopeLifeJoy
      Participant

      Here an extract of coercive control from women’s aid; to be found on here, on this website


      Domestic abuse isn’t always physical. Coercive control is an act or a pattern of acts of assault, threats, humiliation and intimidation or other abuse that is used to harm, punish, or frighten their victim.

      This controlling behaviour is designed to make a person dependent by isolating them from support, exploiting them, depriving them of independence and regulating their everyday behaviour.
      Some common examples of coercive behaviour are:

      Isolating you from friends and family
      Depriving you of basic needs, such as food
      Monitoring your time
      Monitoring you via online communication tools or spyware
      Taking control over aspects of your everyday life, such as where you can go, who you can see, what you can wear and when you can sleep
      Depriving you access to support services, such as medical services
      Repeatedly putting you down, such as saying you’re worthless
      Humiliating, degrading or dehumanising you
      Controlling your finances
      Making threats or intimidating you

    • #80520

      Thank you all for your kind words and support. It has given me confidence to know that I am not crazy (as he has previously told me) or making things up. I know I need to do what is best for me and this relationship is not that. It is hard when I still love the person he was but the more reading I do on emotional control I do see that maybe he never was that person, I’m just afraid I will let him make me believe he really is that lovely person. Thank you for the book recommendations and I will call the helpline for more support.

    • #80551
      xxxxhelpxxxx
      Participant

      He sounds exactly like my partner. My social circle has gradually been eroded to nothing. I cannot go out on my own to meet anyone easily. The only people I have seen on my own have been my children and even then he makes a fuss.

      I have to speak to him constantly during my working day and at him know where I’m going and what I’m doing. It’s suffocating. I cannot go anywhere after work. I have to be on the phone to him when he’s driving home from work no matter how long that journey is, 30 mins or 2 hours. We have nothing to talk about in that time!!

      I feel resentful all the time. He is miserable most of the time because of his job but cannot/will not do anything about it (he has a caution on his record for an assault on his former partner)

      It’s killing me.

    • #80684
      Camel
      Participant

      As soon as I started to read your post my heart began to pound. I’m shaking as I reply to you. This describes exactly how things were with my ex. I am so glad you asked your question.

      Yes, it is most definitely abuse.

      He’s seeing exactly what you will put up with and how far he can push things. In isolation none of his demands will seem so unreasonable. But there won’t be an end to them. He’ll keep chipping away until you won’t know which way is up.

      How will you feel if you get fired from your job because you’re too tired to perform or are away from your desk too long? Your work colleagues will have noticed but no doubt you’re not telling them what’s going on.

      I was also bullied into moving in with the ex, couldn’t talk to any men, had to account for every minute of the day, had my own feelings and opinions squashed under the weight of his.

      It’s insidious and especially effective if you’re kind, thoughtful, have empathy.

      You say you love him. But love doesn’t leave you feeling so wretched. I don’t care one iota if he feels his trust needs to be rebuilt. When did it become your job to build him up? How old is he, five?

      If he treated you like this from the very first date do you think you’d be saying you loved him then? You managed perfectly well before this man dragged you down.

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