8th July 2019 at 4:54 pm #82853
Hi, any opinions on this would be greatly appreciated please, I am really confused. I don’t know if I am being over sensitive and maybe this isn’t bordering on abusive at all but I have been questioning things recently.
I’ve been with my partner (detail removed by moderator) years, living together for (detail removed by moderator) of those. We met while (detail removed by moderator). Recently I’ve been thinking about some of his behaviours and how they effect me/have effected me throughout our relationship.
I think it’s easier to list some of these with little examples.. hope this is ok.
– He doesn’t respect my physical boundaries.. for example he will grab my boobs or sometimes between my legs out of the blue (i.e. when I’m doing something in the house/we are watching tv). I’ve told him repeatedly it makes me uncomfortable.. he’ll stop but then I’ll notice within a week or so he’ll be doing it again. He also constantly tweaks my nose which sounds silly and like nothing but it is incredibly annoying and I always ask him not to. He also makes me feel guilty when I am not in the mood for sex but he is. this sometimes makes me feel like I have to do things to avoid conflict.
– He is constantly critical of things I do /every little thing. Example when I have cooked dinner which I do every night he always has at least one negative thing to say (I’m not a bad cook) never a thank you/positive comment, if I’ve done the washing he’ll criticise how I have hung it to dry. Just two small examples but basically he very often treats me like I am incapable & inept & I realise it has slowly chipped away at my confidence. At the point where I second guess myself & want to check with him before I make any decisions as I can’t face being critcised for making the wrong one.
– When I try to talk to him about any of this, or anything I am upset about in the relationship he shuts down and refusing to communicate with me. he will just stare off into space.. He claims he ‘can’t bare me crying’ and just completely disengages. If he does say anything it is often that I am too sensitive or wrong.
-Doesn’t respect my boundaries in respect of sharing info with others I’ve asked not to be shared. e.g. will tell people private things that he shouldn’t without asking me first.
He also somewhat dictates our finances.. I feel like this is a tough one as he has been the main earner for the last year or so as I have had health issues that have prevented me from working. I don’t like that I am not contributing to our shared income, and he knows it is something I am very insecure about BUT from that start of this period he has reassured me that we are a team and it is all ‘our money’. But equally he will sometimes swing it around when it suits him to say it’s HIS money so HE gets to make decisions. This upsets me as I already feel guilty about not contributing at the moment. It also leads to confusion as I never know where I stand.. He reassures me but then at times will play on my insecurity and make me feel guilty and use the fact it’s his money to control financial decisions. I hope this makes sense..one example is (detail removed by moderator) he laid into me about how he makes all the money, went back to it being ‘his money’ made me feel awful, said some really nasty things.. I was really upset. Then (detail removed by moderator).. this just made me feel completely confused and again not knowing where I stand.
Please let me know your thoughts?
8th July 2019 at 5:02 pm #82854KIP.Participant
I think you’re in an abusive relationship. Try reading Living with the Dominator by Pat Craven. Ask yourself if you would treat anybody they way he treats you? The answer is no. What stands out for me is the fact that you’ve repeatedly told him that his behaviour is upsetting you. Think back to the early days of the relationship. Would he sexually assault you then? If he wasn’t acceptable then, it certainly isn’t now. I know you say you have health problems. I wonder if they’re depression and anxiety. These mental health signs are often how abuse shows itself in us. Look up Gaslighting and cycle of abuse. See if it fits? My ex used to insult me and belittle me and then say it was just a joke. They often hide their abuse behind we are ‘too sensitive’ or ‘can’t take a joke’.
8th July 2019 at 6:58 pm #82861
Hi Kip thanks so much for your reply. You’re right, I wouldn’t treat anyone the way he treats me. It also really hit home how you said ‘sexual abuse’ in reference to how he grabs me/doesn’t respect my physical boundaries. I had never considered that that’s what it is. He has been doing that for a long time, I can’t remember at what point in the relationship exactly it started.
It isn’t depression/anxiety it’s a physical rather than mental health issue which (I won’t mention as it’s quite specific & I’ve been advised by the moderator to not include identifying info just incase) but I definitely have experienced feelings of anxiety at times.
I think the thing that makes me doubt it’s abuse is that it’s not like he is completely controlling or abusive in a way that is super obvious to me within the relationship. I googled gaslighting/abuse cycling as you suggested, I have heard the term before & some of the subtler/ low level things did rang a bell
8th July 2019 at 7:16 pm #82865KIP.Participant
Are you changing your behaviour to suit him? His control might be subtle but it’s still control. My ex would come home from work and get angry because I was watching what he called rubbish on the tv. Soon I would jump up and turn the tv off when I heard his car coming home. He would say the music I listened to was suicide music so I stopped playing it. He said my friends were nosey cows so I stopped going out with them. It’s subtle things that build up to much more serious things. Have a look on the women’s aid website where they describe abuse x
12th July 2019 at 7:49 pm #83271StaystrongParticipant
The thing is the ‘subtle’ things often actually equate to quite a high level of control. My ex was the same but moxed with anger and threatening behaviour.
13th July 2019 at 12:52 am #83294CamelParticipant
I hope you’ve found some reassurance from the replies here.
I just wanted to say that my ex used to grab my boobs and crotch too. Oddly I’d almost forgotten about it til your post. I’ve never had a partner before or since who would do this.
It seemed like he had no control and would do it without warning, like a reflex. He’d do it in public too. I could be doing absolutely anything and he’d just grab handfuls. It was like he owned me, though at the time it felt more irritating than sexually abusive.
If your experience is anything like mine it’s just the start of worse to come. Please remember your body is the one thing that you have ultimate rights over. If he’s doing things to it that make you feel bad – then it’s most definitely abuse.
15th July 2019 at 11:45 am #83441
Thank you I have a little. It’s helped to know I’m not wrong for feeling that these behaviours of his are wrong.
I know what you mean about it feeling more irritating than abusive, that’s how I felt about it at first but the longer it’s gone on the more it has bothered me & I feel the need to be on guard all the time incase he grabs me. Thank you too for saying that about your body is the one thing you have ultimate rights over.. you’re right & I need to remember that.
I just don’t really know what to do as he can also be a lovely caring person. Still feeling quite confused but these comments have definitely helped in making me realise I’m not being crazy/over reacting.
15th July 2019 at 11:46 am #83442
Hi Stay Strong, you’re right I suppose it can be like the boiling frog.. when you’re in it you don’t realise how high level it is getting. Thanks for your reply
15th July 2019 at 11:49 am #83444
Yes I have noticed I do change some of my behaviours to suit him..mostly small things but still changes. I have had a look at that part of the website thanks for pointing me in that direction. I still feel quite confused as what to do because it still doesn’t seem ‘bad enough’ and he can be lovely. So glad of your replies and advice, thank you
15th July 2019 at 4:12 pm #83456HokeycokeyParticipant
This does sound like abuse and it’s the drip drip drip effect mixed with “nice” bits that keep us confused about what’s actually going on. It’s difficult to accept that the person we love can do this to us.
The grabbing breasts ( in private and in public) happened to me quite a bit. It was horrible and often hurt but he just made out he was being affectionate and, like Camel, I’d almost forgotten it. I hadn’t registered it as part of the abuse. I wonder how many of us have had such a personal invasion of our space and not even realised what it meant??
take care x
15th July 2019 at 4:50 pm #83457scaredycatParticipant
I think being criticised all the time makes you really doubt yourself. I know it did me. And whenever I tried to say anything about the constant niggling I got ‘you’re too sensitive’ ‘You expect me to be perfect all the time’ ‘its perfectly normal to feel and express irritation, its your problem because you can’t just let it go’ etc etc, which just makes you feel worse doesn’t it. Also the grabbing, and I hated that. And should warn you it might lead to more. Maybe you already ‘give in’ to sex to stop him being bad tempered? if so that is in fact quite serious I think. I hope you can get a chance to think this through clearly. Maybe go away for a day or two with someone who will treat you respectfully like a good friend and you will notice the difference in how you feel straight away. xx
16th July 2019 at 12:09 am #83471Twisted SisterParticipant
– When I try to talk to him about any of this, or anything I am upset about in the relationship he shuts down and refusing to communicate with me. he will just stare off into space.. He claims he ‘can’t bare me crying’ and just completely disengages. If he does say anything it is often that I am too sensitive or wrong
That is controllng you. You cannot express yourself, he blocks you. That you feel over-sensitive, unreasonable, asking too much, and so on.
He is taking away your voice, and continually invading you sexually, despite you telling him how uncomfortable this is for you.
He is continually eroding you as a person in your own right, you dont have a voice or rights over your body. Your body belongs to him, these are his rights to do this to your body,but each is an instance of sexual assault.
He is abusive, it will get worse and im so sorry.
You have been brave to post and I hope it is really helping.
16th July 2019 at 3:51 pm #83524
It is very hard to accept. The nicer times keep me thinking it can’t be that bad & maybe everything is ok. Literally just felt like that this morning after a horrible incident last night, then this morning my partner was all sunshines and roses, even gave me a gift, making me feel like I’d almost imagined the whole thing.
And I know what you mean re grabbing, it’s taken me until now (after years) to really register that that invasion of my personal space & body is not ok. My partner has also made it out to be just affectionate in the past when I’ve questioned him. There’s nothing affectionate about it.
These comments from others with their experiences are helping me so much to realise I am not overreacting being unreasonable or crazy.
Thank you so much for replying to my post x
17th July 2019 at 7:39 am #83558
Hi Twisted Sister,
Thank you for your reply and for putting it so black and white for me. The replies are definitely helping me see it for what it is. I don’t feel brave or strong enough to act on anything just yet, and I’m not sure how/when I will be ready to do something but at least I know I am not wrong for feeling his behaviour isn’t right and I’m not being unreasonable or crazy.
Am I right to think that even if we sit down and talk about all this and he actually listens this time, he won’t change long term? Do you think all the things I have mentioned here mean the best option is to leave? (big question I know..but I just don’t know).
19th July 2019 at 7:15 pm #83702CamelParticipant
If you do something to upset someone else, do you say sorry and make sure you never do it again? I’m sure you do.
You’ve told your partner many times that you don’t like being grabbed (and other things). You’ve told him when his behaviour upsets you. And what does he do? He makes excuses and carries on doing it.
You’ve probably stopped telling him now anyway, except those times when you get really angry. Does he then pick apart your anger and make you feel bad?
What I’m trying to say is that there will never be a time when you will have ‘the talk’ and he will suddenly ‘get it’. Sadly, he already does understand. He does things that upset you precisely because they upset you. It gives him power. He’s the puppet master and he’s pulling your strings.
You probably spend much of your time and energy putting him at the centre of everything – trying to please and appease, avoiding touchy subjects, looking out for the slight changes in mood, defending yourself in arguments that go round and round and end up nowhere.
Call him what you want – socially inept, thick, emotionally immature, an abuser. The label doesn’t matter. If you can, work towards recognising that you are not here to make up for his failings. You’ve done your best and need feel no shame or sense of failure if you walk away.
If it makes you feel better you could try explaining things to him again and wait to see what happens. But please don’t use the threat of leaving or let him know that you’ve been seeking help.
26th July 2019 at 1:36 pm #84352
Thanks so much for your latest reply it really helped me especially the bit about needing to feel no sense of shame or failure for walking away.
At the moment he is being the nice version of himself which is causing me to doubt myself again just when I had it clear in my head that his behaviour was erring on abusive. I know this won’t last but it does make making a decision on what to do harder right now
16th July 2019 at 3:56 pm #83525
Thanks so much for your reply I really appreciate it. It is making me really doubt myself. to the point where I feel like I can’t make decisions without checking with him to avoid being told I’m wrong/have done the wrong thing. And that’s not like me I used to be very decisive. I do sometimes give in to sex for that reason to avoid conflict although this hasn’t happened more than a few times.
Thank you for the advice re going away for a few days that’s a good idea to get some space and clarity. We have just moved house so I don’t think that will be possible in the very near future but I have just made plans to see an old friend on Saturday so that is something for now.
Thank you again
16th July 2019 at 4:02 pm #83526
Hi Twisted Sister,
26th July 2019 at 7:06 pm #84377
So the last week ish he is being the nice version of himself which was making me doubt myself again just when I had it clear in my head that his behaviour was erring on abusive. Which was making deciding what to do harder. Then (detail removed by moderator) we’re sat relaxing after dinner & he just grabbed my crotch area out of no where. It almost seems like a tick, he doesn’t think anything of it. Meanwhile I feel violated but also silly for feeling like that at the same time 🙁
21st March 2020 at 10:30 am #99619Kitkat44Participant
Hi there, I realise this is an old post but was just making a cup of tea and as I reached for mugs. Husband grabbed my boobs from behind them gave me a hug and kissed my cheek and walked away. I didn’t say anything and he’s always done this sort of think but right now with everything else and not much affection between us I just felt so annoyed and violated.
I can see from above that this is another strand of abusive behaviour and feel so gutted I’m in this mess.
I fear if I tell him he’ll get cross But maybe not then If I don’t tell him he doesn’t know he’s crossed the line.
Take care all, thank goodness I have somewhere to voice my worries
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