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    • #163208

      Hi all,

      I am a little lost for words. I know in my head and heart that our relationship is not healthy. My husband shows many abusive behaviours everyday, so much now that it’s just normal to me. He’s not physically abusive (although sometimes I have to say I wish he would be just to give me a real reason to walk away- I know this sounds awful!).
      He’s been controlling for a long time, but his behaviour is just getting impossible to cope with recently. I no longer feel I can talk to him about anything because he responds so defensively and it will just lead to arguments, even simple things like asking him to clean up after himself.
      He will usually blame me for all arguments.
      He has also become very one sided. He is a very jealous man, even if I was to be served by a male in a shop he would comment on this, however he thinks its okay to look at other girls and point out how pretty they are, when ive spoken to him about this he will say men are different and its the way he’s always been.

      Everyday I have thoughts that I want to leave and get my life back.
      But at night when we lay next to each other in the bed, I can’t imagine being without him.
      It hurts my heart to think we would be away from each other and it would have been my decision.
      I am addicted to him.

      I dont really know why I’m writing this but I do know that I am utterly confused and exhausted of it all.
      Maybe I just needed to get my thoughts down.

    • #163243
      Main Moderator

      Hi Butterfly-A,

      I’m so glad that you’ve found this space where you can safely share your thoughts and maybe start to make sense of what you’re going through.

      You’re certainly not alone in sometimes wishing he would escalate to a point that is too far and would allow you to walk away, but also, the abuse is no less serious and damaging because he hasn’t physically assaulted you so far. He sounds very controlling. It’s common that perpetrators of abuse will use jealousy as an excuse for their controlling behaviour. It allows them to dress up that side of the abuse in notions of caring or being insecure, but it is really about power and control and is not okay.

      You don’t need to be ready to leave to get support. It’s important to take things at a pace that works for you and you shouldn’t feel pushed into doing anything that you’re not comfortable with. If you feel like you’re ready for some specialist support, you could reach out to your local domestic abuse service. There’s also the Freedom Programme that you might find helpful in understanding more about abuse and thereby making it less confusing.

      Take care and do keep posting,

    • #163297

      @Butterfly-A I just had to respond to you as your circumstances sound so similar to mine! I posted on another thread asking for help as I struggle to classify it as abuse as he hasn’t hit me. And like you I sometimes wish he would, because that would give me the push I need to leave.

      The other day he stopped me going out as he is very jealous and didn’t feel comfortable with me going out without him even though I would have been with friends. I felt that this with other stuff that he’s done in the past crossed a line and I could easily see him doing it more in the future.

      And even what you say about your husband not listening my husband shuts me down without letting me give my opinion and then ends the conversation! I’ve taken to sending him voice notes just to get my point across uninterrupted, it’s so draining fighting all the time. And now he’s decided his Mum is moving in! No “what do you think?” It’s “I’ve decided” and there is just no discussion. This would just be awful as both of them are very manipulative and I wonder if his behaviour is learned from her.

      So I reached out and I’m now getting help from a support worker who is helping me make a plan so I can finally leave. It’s going to take all the strength I have to actually go through with it but I pray that I do because even if he doesn’t hit me, I know it will get to a point where I will have absolutely no choice, no free will, no freedom at all. And I know if I don’t make a move now I may never do it and I’m not sure I can stay sane in this environment so I must go for my kids.

      I urge you to reach out too and just talk to someone, it’s so hard to get your mind straight when you’re living in this kind of environment so I’m sure it would help you. Please keep posting and update us.

      Take care and stay strong.

      • #163318

        Hi Dumplin,

        Thank you for your response. And I’m so sorry that you have had to experience all of that, I wouldn’t wish this on anyone!

        I agree that it may get worse, it doesn’t seem to ever improve.
        It’s so hard to have an opinion but not be able to speak your mind isn’t it, being constantly shut down is exhausting.

        Im reallyy glad to hear that you have a support worker that is helping you.
        How did you get to the point where you knew you wanted to leave?
        For me, I find the bad times are really bad (and possibly getting worse) but when we are normal, I am so comfortable.

        all the best to you. It’s definitely worth it.

    • #163312

      I’ve come to realise that although my abuser didn’t hit me, some behaviours were physical abuse, things like telling me about his violent hobbies were opportunities to intimidate me, not a pleasant chat about our passions. Lots of people like things like boxing and wrestling after all.
      It took me many years between realising that I was being abused and looking after myself better to deciding not to contact my abuser ever again, which I felt was right for me and my mental health.

      • #163344

        Hi Swanlake,
        that’s a really interesting way of putting it.
        I guess it’s not always what they do physically but the intentions that they show too.
        how did you get to the place of feeling like it was time to cut contact with them? this feels impossible right now.

    • #163354

      @Butterfly-A I think when he stopped me from leaving the house he crossed a line and now he has done that once he may do it again. I am isolated here, no family close by so once he stops me from seeing my friends my world becomes very small my family wouldn’t even know it was happening as they are so far away. That scares me.

      Also I think things are just starting to really click for me, this isn’t normal! Destroying my clothes, not normal! Shaking me awake at night to tell me (detail removed by moderator), not normal! Me feeling awkward to tell him I want to go out with my friends, not normal! I don’t want to live like this anymore!

      And do you know sometimes I ask my self, “what IS your favourite colour?” And I have no idea! Because for so long I’ve just tried to do what he likes, like what he likes and I have certainly made myself smaller to make him feel more comfortable. I can’t do this for the rest of my life and I don’t want my kids to have to do it either, constantly following silly fear driven rules. I’ve got to make a change.

      Of course it’s easy to say all of this on here but actually going through with this is another thing. I just hope I do. I think for me the nice, normal times are over way too soon and he’s back making decisions for me without consulting me or taking my thoughts in to account and then making me out to be dramatic or selfish if I try to protest. Making horrible comments about me under his breath, I’m just over trying to please him and still feeling sad all the time.

      • #163356

        I think noticing this behaviour isn’t normal is a very powerful thing.

        Why should we put up with it? we shouldn’t.

        Like yourself, I am also made to feel very small. I also have anxiety telling him when I want to see friends, I feel like I have to justify every move I make, and even when I do eventually manage to convince him its ok, I spend the whole time on my phone texting him or calling him. The amount of times I have pretended not to see a message or told a friend im not well just so I dont have to deal with his response is getting exhausting!

        I am so glad you have got to this place. I think it’s super important to keep reminding yourself why you left when things get hard. A friend said to me the other day, think about what you want your life to look like in 3 years, if you want it to look the same, do nothing, if you want more for yourself – take the chance. And that really spoke to me! thinking of 3 more years of this is too much!

    • #163366

      Hi Butterfly-A,

      Yes I think we live in a bubble with our other halves and so whatever happens in that bubble is your norm. But then you start to look outside your bubble and see other people, many, many people who are un-afraid to be their true selves in front of their partners, even if their true self isn’t always thought of as their best self by their partners. And they know they are loved even if they don’t comply with their partners every wish and command and THAT makes you reflect on your bubble and suddenly it all looks very different.

      Like you say why should we put up with that??? I have been unhappy for so long now that I cannot hide it anymore, it is showing on my face even when I don’t want it to, I avoid turning up early, I used to me early all the time, now I can’t take the chance that someone will talk to me and ask the usual question of “how are you?” Because I know if I open my mouth to answer them I will burst into tears and everything may just come spilling out.

      I haven’t left yet, I am still in the planning stages, but it feels good to be at this point where freedom is just around the corner. What your friend said is great, I am going to visualise where I want to be and I hope you do too. Have you reached out to any of the support available yet? Obviously in your own time but I found it so helpful maybe you would too.

      Take care

      • #163476

        Hi Dumplin,

        Yes that’s so true about the bubble.

        I haven’t reached out to any support systems yet (other than this one) but I have noticed that other people seem to recognise it very easily in me now, with simple questions like – how is everything with your husband, are you looking after yourself. which at times makes it easier to open up to people. I never discuss it as ‘abuse’ I just try to give a slice of an idea about his behaviours.

        I am hoping I will get there soon. I know my family would be so happy for me if I could.

    • #163488

      Hi @Butterfly-A good to hear from you just wondered why you haven’t reached out to an organisation? Not ready yet? I (like you) was quite surprised how quickly my family categorised it as abuse when I told them what was happening but it is STILL hard for me to use that word.

      A good first step for me was talking to my GP, as I spoke to him and told him my stories I physically shook. He told me my husband’s treatment of me was completely wrong and referred me for some support. That gave me confidence that I was not being dramatic and this really was a situation that I had to get out of. Then as some days passed I was feeling guilty again but then I spoke to my support worker and she said that this was a familiar story and it was such a relief, it wasn’t just me, this was happening and she could help me find my way out of it if I wanted too! And I have to say she has been brilliant, helping me plan and get organised.

      As days pass and he starts to be nice to me and I start to feel guilty again but I have been listening to audiobooks (handy as you can listen on your headphones and there is no book to hide!) that have really helped me see clearly (detail removed by moderator)

      I’m finally at a place where I am sure that leaving is the right thing to do I just have to get myself organised and have the guts to go through with it. But I dream of my freedom daily. I know he is never going to change, yes there will be good times but only if everything is done his way and they won’t last very long anyway.

      I am routing for you, keep posting, keep talking to your family and people you can trust and be kind to yourself.


      • #163489

        Hi Dumplin,

        Thank you for your swift response.

        I think there is a few reasons why I haven’t reached out yet, I guess partly fear, he would be shocked if he found out that I had even considered his behaviour to be wrong. its also really difficult to find the time to reach out to anyone because he monitors everything I do. I have to considered speaking to my GP but I really dont know how I would get there on my own.

        I think it’s really hard because it’s not just a relationship we are giving up, it’s the life we have known. The person we have spoken to for so many years, been through hardships with and hoped / dreamed with, its the family home that we have built together and the image of being a couple to our families. I think this relationship is all I have known for the last seven years and I guess I dont really know who I am without it anymore.

        I do think its comforting to know there are other people experiencing these things to, it makes it less alien doesn’t it.

        Audiobooks sound like a great idea, do you have any you could recommend?

        Your final paragraph really reasoned with me, I too dream of freedom, but I think it’s only recently that I have seen this as freedom and a life that will not be possible with him. I dont know if your partner is the same, but when I speak to him about how I want life to look (simple things like going out for dinner, dressing nice, taking nice pictures together) he tells me to be patient because its what he wants too, we are just not at that stage yet. but the reality of it is we have actually never been on a real ‘dinner date’ in seven years, he hasn’t allowed me to take a picture with him since 2020 and I am only ever questioned about the clothes I have, recently I told him I wanted new shoes and he asked which shoes I would be throwing away before I was allowed more (I have two pairs of shoes).

        I think this platform has been really helpful to me in actually writing down and processing what is really happening.

        Sorry for the long message.

    • #163490

      Just wanted to say it is hard when it’s psychological and emotional – I totally hear you on that – I think it was why it took me so long to realise that was what he was doing.

      The thing that struck me is when you said about when you’re lying next to him at night – I don’t know if this will help at all but it’s mostly likely the emotional connection you would miss, not him the person and if you separate those out it does get easier to understand just how damaging the behaviour is. There is no “should” in life really – wherever we are at is where is right for us at that time – you don’t have to be in a relationship to be happy and putting yourself first is so important when someone is doing this to you. Take your time – process what you are realising but understand that you deserve someone you can lay next to at night and think you’d miss them who isn’t doing what he is doing to you.

      You sound like such a strong person. You have got this. Whatever you need to do, at whatever pace works for you. You will be able to do that.

      • #163512

        Hi Polardog,

        Thank you for your kind message.

        Yes that’s so true. Where I might miss lying next to him I think I would make up for it in being a place I want to be. Ive recently found out he plans to move us to the other side of the country soon so im sure I wouldn’t be happier laying there with him!

    • #163478

      Hi Sungirl,

      thank you for your response.

      I think that’s exactly it, it’s the guilt that makes it so hard to leave. not only the guilt for leaving my husband but also the guilt of what my life ‘should’ have looked like with him. I tried to talk to him last week about it, but since he has told me I am emotionally abusing him.

      like you say, they can’t be changed. God I would pray that if he could be, he would be only for his sake and not my own.

      I’ll look into the cycle of abuse, thank you that’s really helpful. Obligation is a really interesting point too, I do feel obliged to make him happy and be the wife that he controls me to be.

      It sounds crazy but I feel like im living two lives. one where I make him happy and follow all his rules at home. but then on the other hand im almost myself when I go to work, bar the weird stuff of having to do a face of makeup on the train / down a dodgy alley way so he wouldn’t know about it. I always feel guilty for being dishonest with him about these things but I have got to the stage where I will do anything to avoid an argument.

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