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    • #127582
      DinkyHorse
      Participant

      Hi,
      Just like everyone else on here I’m unsure if it is abuse or not.
      I feel like he’s coercive controlling/manipulating me.

      I think my reality and judgement is distorted and I think I believed that I was happy and it was a normal relationship when it really isn’t. I don’t remember what a normal relationship is like as I’ve been with my boyfriend several years.
      I don’t even walk my dog right now due to insane pandemic worries by him and his family whom we live with.
      Examples of the signs are – he makes little comments about the things I do/like. When I used to be able to go for walks and I was a long time when I got home he would say(detail removed by moderator)…I think as a joke maybe not intentionally being funny but it made me feel like I had to end walks and be back at a certain time. This has leaked into other things too like going to fiends/family houses (when I could) I felt always on edge and clock-watching as I felt like I couldn’t be back too late or he’d be a bit funny with me. Also work if I’m later than usual he’ll ask why I’m so late, maybe he’s just interested and is innocently asking a question but it doesn’t feel like it.

      Social media – At the beginning of the relationship he made it clear he wasn’t a fan of social media, but I was on it everyday, to keep up with friends/family mainly. But gradually I’ve been on it less and less to not at all because I know he doesn’t like it, I only use the (detail removed by moderator) to talk to people. Once again, his opinions pushed onto me. This makes me feel cut off from friends and family. Even more so now that the pandemic is here I haven’t seen friends or family(detail removed by moderator) and it’s really getting to me.

      Texting – If I don’t text him when I’m out e.g. at work he’ll be off with me when I get home, even if I’ve had a busy day and just haven’t had the chance he’ll say something like (detail removed by moderator)…so this has lead to me sending the obligatory daily text (if I’m out) like (detail removed by moderator) usually. So not because I want to or I’m thinking about him, just because I know I ‘have’ to, just out of habit.

      What I wear/do – If he doesn’t like what I’ve done with my hair I’ll get sarcastic comments like(detail removed by moderator)..again maybe intended as a joke but very hurtful and I don’t wear my hair like that now because of it. My taste in clothes is apparently(detail removed by moderator).

      Opinions – He’ll never take on board my thoughts/opinions.
      I find myself just agreeing to his opinions just to get him off my back and to avoid arguments – because if I disagree I think it will turn into one, or at least a heated debate which I don’t like. I’m an introvert and avoid confrontation.

      Decisions – I really feel like I can’t make a decision without his input (is this normal?), and if I want to do something and he doesn’t want me to he’ll point out all the negatives and convince me to not do it and God forbid if I did decide to do something despite his disagreement he’d be really off with me. Like the last time I agreed to(detail removed by moderator), bf didn’t want me to, but I did so I went and intended to stay (detail removed by moderator) I don’t remember specifically what happened or what was said but maybe we argued over it through text and I gave in and went home.
      Another occasion I agreed to go to something with a friend, I had to leave at (detail removed by moderator) I think it was. Bf clearly did not want me to, I remember he barely even spoke to me the night before because of it. Just because he  (detail removed by moderator).
      He’s always right, I’m always wrong, everything is my fault, he’s negative about everything, I’m constantly apologising after arguments (he rarely says sorry, even when he accidentally hurts me).
      I feel like he’s taking away the person I was – like walking, I love walking my dog! I used to go out everyday before we met and even before Covid I walked less. That is something I love and is a part of me, you can’t just take things like that away from someone!

      Conversation – I find it difficult to talk about things, anything, because I wonder what he’ll think/know he won’t like it/agree. I find myself hiding things or feeling really anxious about telling him things that I feel like I have to tell him.

      He’s suffered with depression for a while and he’s said in the past he’ll kill himself if I left him. He’s not violent with me but directs anger during arguments onto himself or objects. I want to leave I think but how do you leave someone that threatens suicide and you think they’re serious?

      I’ve tried to end it (detail removed by moderator)  times he’s convinced me to stay.

      I’ll stop there but I think I could go on for a while! Sorry for the rant! Please offer your thoughts, advice, anything!

    • #127584
      Tryingtofindhope
      Participant

      Hello DinkyHorse,
      Welcome to the forum. You will find so much support on this forum.
      I’m new here too and I’m still learning a lot and am still also confused about much of my life.
      What you have written describes my life completely. It’s not right on any level and its not your fault.
      Like you, I tried to leave my husband recently and got the suicide threats, tears, promises to change (even though he claims he has no idea what hes done wrong) and I couldnt go through with it. From what I understand from the advice on here is that is that is very common. Its so hard to leave a relationship thats abusive even if you are not happy. Abusers have a way of getting into our heads like that.
      I really hope that you get some support and advice. You sound very lonely and I completely understand how you are feeling. Sorry I cant offer any advice but just wanted to reach out and tell you its not your fault.
      Best wishes x

    • #127595
      DinkyHorse
      Participant

      Hi,
      Thank you.
      Wow it’s nice to know there are others in the same position, I’m sorry that you’ve experienced suicide threats too it’s not nice at all whether they mean it or not.
      Yeah they do indeed get into our heads, I sometimes think my life would be so good without then others I think well actually I’ll really miss this and that. Because he’s so sweet and kind and nice to me it’s actually hard to believe there’s abuse going on. I feel really isolated and trapped right now. Thank you for your kind words, although not advice it helps. I hope you find the strength and courage to leave your husband, do you have kids?
      x

      • #127599
        Tryingtofindhope
        Participant

        Yes I have 3 children.
        I know exactly what you mean, one minute you feel like theyre being so lovely, the next they are being controlling.I am currently having counselling and its helped hugely. Its helped me to understand that a lot of the behaviour, even if it looks like hes being lovely, is still his way of subtley controlling me. Hes just changed his tactics because hes scared he will lose me which means he loses his control. If you can find a good counsellor I would definitely recommend it. I minimised his behaviour for so long and normalised it, but actually its far worse than I thought and Ive realises hes sexually abused, financially abused and emotionally abused me too.
        Sending you strength and best wishes. If you ever want to pm me please feel free xx

      • #127602
        DinkyHorse
        Participant

        Oh it’s even harder with kids involved isn’t it, I hope they’re not affected by his behaviour?
        Yes exactly, even if he’s tried to better himself for fear of losing me his past behaviours are still influencing how I act.
        I’m not sure about counselling, especially when it comes to payment, if he was to see the transaction how do you explain that one?

        I’m glad counselling has made you see the ways he has abused you, so sorry it’s been sexual and financial too.
        Sending you strength and best wishes too. Thank you I just might take you up on that, same to you. xx

    • #127591
      Living Warrior
      Participant

      Hi hunni, welcome to the forum,
      I am sorry that you are going through this, yes it is Domestic Violence,

      Take a look at https://www.freedomprogramme.co.uk/online.php

      This course is based on the book “living with the dominator” by pat craven, it is used by womens aid, and really helped me see things clearer at the start of my journey.

      the following info is about keeping yourself safe in the long run, and how to report incidents and log things to use if needed at a later stage.

      Things that could help in Domestic Abuse Situations:
      Below is a list of things you can do to help your situation, please be aware that you should only do this if you are safe to do so, do not do anything if it will or could put you in danger. All things listed may or may not apply to your personal circumstances and are a rough guide only.

      LOG EVERYTHING.
      Keep a diary or log (see picture below or search ‘Harassment incident logs’ in google,) give as much information as possible. Date/Time/Place/Witnesses/what happened. This will give a clear view of the harassment. Every text, row, email etc- will show the length of the harassment to professionals.

      When possible, keep copies/screen shots of any messages, emails, social media postings, call logs, voice recordings of phone calls or voice messages that show any kind of abuse or negative behaviour. Try to ensure that dates and times of the when the things are sent or posted are on the screen shots etc. Always keep back-up copies too!
      Report to police
      Call 999 if you are in immediate danger. Otherwise report incidents to the police, using either 101 or the online chat option. This will give you another piece of evidence. The police will give you a reference number for the incident. They may send officers to assist you or collect evidence such as messages or voice recordings at a convenient time.
      Log this reference number onto your incident report- this will ensure that you have a record of what happened also if you have police attendance, make a note of their names. This again will help jog your memory if at any point in the future the evidence is needed to get a court order or needed in court.
      COURT ORDERS.
      The Non-Molestation Order (NMO)- is essentially an injunction aimed at stopping the abuse from a partner or ex-partner (respondent) from ever taking place again. It is a civil order that is granted by a Judge or Magistrates through the Family Court.
      This can include (but is not limited to): Harassment & abuse of any kind, including through the use of phone calls, texts/emails/ social media. Even when contact is presumed to continue due to child contact arrangements.
      These court orders can be drawn up quickly and with as much detail as needed to keep the named person/people safe. Even to the extent of no contact at all unless it goes through family court/solicitors to gain access the child/ren.
      https://www.gov.uk/injunction-domestic-violence/eligibility-non-molestation

      The Prohibited Steps Order (PSO)- is an order granted by the court in family cases which prevents either parent from carrying out certain events or making specific trips with their children without the express permission of the other parent.
      This includes taking the child out of the custody of the other parent, unless agreed by the court.
      This also stops the respondent from taking children out of school without consent, and out of care of friends/family members, without strict permission from the court to do so.
      https://www.gov.uk/looking-after-children-divorce/types-of-court-order

      Occupation order-An occupation order would be an appropriate medium of protection if you consider yourself unsafe living with your partner, perhaps due to being subject to acts of violence and consequently you may have left home but want to return and exclude your abuser. In this way the order regulates who can live in the family home and come within the surrounding area.
      It is worth noting however, that such orders may not work for everyone the same way and in some such cases it may even be counterproductive. The courts do require that there has been a sufficient level of harassment to warrant an intervention order. The abuser must have acted deliberately to harass the applicant.
      https://www.gov.uk/injunction-domestic-violence/eligibility-occupation
      Child contact arrangements.
      https://www.gov.uk/looking-after-children-divorce

      Legal aid- help & support.
      https://www.gov.uk/legal-aid
      Domestic abuse or violence
      You might be able to get legal aid if you have evidence that you or your children have been victims of domestic abuse or violence and you cannot afford to pay legal costs.
      You do not have to get evidence before talking to a legal aid solicitor or Civil Legal Advice (CLA), but they’ll need to see it before deciding whether you can get legal aid.
      What counts as domestic abuse for legal aid
      You or your children must have been victims of either:
      domestic abuse or violence
      financial control, for example being stopped from accessing a joint bank account.
      What counts as evidence.
      You’ll usually need to show that you or your children were at risk of harm from an ex-partner.

      You can ask for evidence from:
      the courts
      the police
      a multi-agency risk assessment conference (MARAC)
      social services
      a health professional, for example a doctor, nurse, midwife, psychologist or health visitor
      a refuge manager
      a domestic violence support service
      your bank, for example credit card accounts, loan documents and statements
      your employer, or education or training provider
      the provider of any benefits you’ve received
      Check if you can get Legal Aid.
      https://www.gov.uk/check-legal-aid

      • #127603
        DinkyHorse
        Participant

        Thank you Living Warrior I appreciate your advice and suggestions.
        The only thing that puts me off that course is payment as it must have to be through bank obviously and don’t want him to see it although it’s my bank account and he doesn’t see transactions I’d still be paranoid.
        I don’t think I want to pursue any kind of legal action, just want out and need support and advice really.

    • #127609
      gettingtired
      Participant

      Hello, I cannot recommend the book ‘Why does he do that? ‘ by Lundy Bancroft enough. I bought a physical copy myself but I’ve read on the forum that you can download it onto your phone for free online. It really is a huge eye opener.
      Your boyfriend sounds similar to mine. It’s very confusing when the abuse is quite subtle and covert. I’m constantly analysing everything and questioning things/myself. I also get the suicide threats although I’ve never tried to end things with him, he’s always the one who threatens to break up with me (which I’ve learnt from the forum is abusive in itself). I’ve been told plenty of times in the past that if he kills himself it would be my fault, it’s almost become normal to hear him saying he might just go and kill himself. It really isn’t normal though! It’s emotional blackmail and control.
      Like I said, I cannot recommend Lundy’s book enough xx

      • #127904
        DinkyHorse
        Participant

        Hi gettingtired, thank you for that recommendation. I don’t really want to download stuff like that onto my phone though for obvious reasons.
        I’m always questioning everything too, it’s exhausting isn’t it? I’m so sorry he says stuff like that too you that’s awful..here if you need a pm chat. xx

    • #127616
      Lisa
      Main Moderator

      Hi DinkyHorse

      I am sorry to hear about your situation, you have done really well to reach out for support.

      I just wanted to let you know that some local domestic abuse services provide counselling which is free, they also offer ongoing practical and emotional support which is free too, you can find your local service here https://www.womensaid.org.uk/domestic-abuse-directory/ Your GP can also refer you for counselling. The Freedom programme is also free, you can find the nearest course on their website, it’s just the online course that you have to pay for.

      Take care and please keep posting,

      Lisa

      • #127903
        DinkyHorse
        Participant

        Thank you Lisa, and that’s very helpful as I have been considering counselling I will take a look.

    • #127623
      nbumblebee
      Participant

      Hi,
      You are definatly not alone. Ive been here a few weeks now and have realised what i thought was a normal marriage really isnt my hubby is nasty puts me down stops me from seeing friends by making me feel guilty, accuses me of having affairs so much im scared to look up when we are out, he wont let me woek without him, and demands sex and gets nasty if i dare say no. I have 3 children too almost grown up now. Weve been married a very long time and despite having days when i feel strong i have many bad days too.
      My advice keep posting, talking on here these ladies are an amazing support. Ive just started counselling without him knowing to maybe one day be strong enough to face him and run but we will see early days. Stay strong, dont ever feel alone keep talking and try and get some help for yourself. Stay safe big hugs xx

      • #127906
        DinkyHorse
        Participant

        Thank you nbumblebee, Wow that sounds terrible I’m sorry you’re in that situation. I’ve been considering counselling, how is it going? Big hugs to you xx

    • #127631
      Living Warrior
      Participant

      That is fine hun, just please make sure you keep a log of any incidents as this will be a lifeline IF things escalate, as when leaving this is our most dangerous for us, as these people feel they are losing their grip and get desperate to keep it.
      get in touch with your local womens aid as they will be able to specify the help and services available for you in your area.
      They can also advise you on different y ways to stay safe while you are still there and make a plan to help you get out safely.

      • #127907
        DinkyHorse
        Participant

        Thank you Living Warrior I will get some advice from my local domestic abuse organisation suggested by Lisa and maybe look into counselling.

    • #127638
      Grey Rock
      Participant

      Sorry for what you’re going through. It sounds like my old life. The suicide threats used to dream me out too. It’s unlikely he would carry out any action if this kind, but at the moment you’re sacrificing your own life because you feel responsible for his potential decisions. You are not. When I left I got suicide threat phone messages. Some of them fairly dramatic. I called the police and let them go check on him. Each time they found him (detail removed by moderator). Despite him having acted out being too weak to speak an hour before.

      There’s not much I can add to the posts above, but would recommend the book Out of the Fog (fog stands for fear, obligation and guilt).

      Also Dr Ramani’s YouTube tutorials were game changers for me. Worth a watch.

      Sending prayers 🙏
      GR

      • #127908
        DinkyHorse
        Participant

        Thanks Grey Rock, it’s comforting to know someone like me was in the same situation but got out.
        Thanks for the recommendations but as I said above I’m reluctant to buy/download any books but I will try the youtube videos 🙂

    • #127639
      Grey Rock
      Participant

      Freak, not dream. (Blooming autocorrect!!!)

    • #127954
      Camel
      Participant

      Hi DinkyHorse

      Being isolated and controlled is a very lonely place to be. So it’s always a surprise when we discover our experiences are not unique. Everything you describe could come from the abuser’s handbook. And your confusion has been felt by every woman on this forum. Keep asking questions here and read everything. But first, learn about how to keep yourself safe online and how to erase your digital footprints. You’re right to keep your partner in the dark. But be cautious, not paranoid. x

      • #127984
        DinkyHorse
        Participant

        Thanks Camel,
        Yes it is lonely and exhausting! Still in a little bit of a shocked state at the moment.
        I am very careful about my online safety and looking and reading everyone else’s experiences is helping me to realise that my life is not normal and it is not okay. x

    • #127957
      Headspin
      Participant

      Dinkyhorse, well done for having the courage to post. When I first poste I was so nervous. I thought people might be a bit mean, or not understand. I really don’t know that what I had suffered for many years was abuse, I knew my husband was controlling and unkind on occasions. I was aware of how he has no filter and says what he likes to me, that my clothes, hairstyle, friends, hobbies, place of worship were always an issue for him. I couldn’t be my authentic self, it was exhausting trying to please him. It was only when my adult daughter pointed out that he would say such hateful things and his behaviour was insane sometimes that I questioned what was going on. It was so truly validating to have all the supportive responses and kind words, knowing that his behaviour isn’t my fault and that other women have suffered too, I can’t explain the relief. I just sat at my laptop and sobbed, I finally had an answer to his behaviour, he is an abuser and I have been his victim for years and years. Keep yourself safe.

    • #127985
      DinkyHorse
      Participant

      hi Headspin, thank you!
      I feel the same! Can’t be my true self, just trying to be what I think he wants me to be. Absolutely get what you mean about no filter, I often think to myself you don’t have to say out loud everything you’re thinking! He once didn’t talk to me for a whole day because he didn’t like what I was wearing! I’m glad you’ve realised what was happening with your husband. I don’t know what made it click for me, probably all the issues being exacerbated by the pandemic, they seem much worse since it started and I feel like he’s using Covid to control what I do. Are you still with him or did you get out?

    • #128064
      Camel
      Participant

      Abusers are definitely using Covid for control. They dress it up as concern. I caught up with a relation at the weekend. Her husband’s a controller, the kind who claims to worry about her safety. She told me how he’d decided during first lockdown that he’d go alone to (removed by moderator) at (removed by moderator). And he was always back by (removed by moderator). He’s a p***k and he knows I know.

      • #128065
        Headspin
        Participant

        No DinkyH, sadly I never escaped. I was too scared, too far away from family, had no money, plus I was always trying to make it better. I never discussed his behaviour or how deeply unhappy I was. Just once, with my mum. She said she would help and support me, but then I discovered I was pregnant again. I was an emotional mess for years. Now that I have the strength and courage to leave, I can’t. He has a long term illness so I care for him. He still digs his claws into me and can be very unpleasant. For the most part I just do my own thing, besides he hasn’t got the strength to be too nasty these days. Counselling really helped me immensely. The counsellor just excavated all my feelings and helped me to come to terms with looking after my husband from an emotional distance. Take care of yourself, I can never get back the years I spent with a man who was hateful and selfish. It has been a miserable marriage to be honest. My adult kids are amazing and I’ve had tremendous support from the two oldest.
        I think I always hoped he’d get better or that I would stop upsetting him. The years flew by and I realise now that he was never going to change. He just got worse and worse until I thought I was insane. My hair fell out in clumps, I lost weight, I was often covered in rashes, my anxiety was very severe and I had daily panic attacks.
        I’m working on taking care of myself now and unravelling the years of emotional damage.

      • #128318
        DinkyHorse
        Participant

        Camel – Yes I bet they’re all using Covid to their advantage. Your poor relative, must be hard to know someone else you know is going through it.
        Headspin – I’m so sorry you’re still in that situation and feel that you can’t leave. At least you can do your own thing though, and yes take care of yourself. Self care is not selfish. I hope you’re doing okay. x

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