18th May 2016 at 12:07 pm #17512
I think I managed to delete my first post. But apologies if it’s just been deleted! Earlier this year I left my marriage in which I’d been abused since day one. Was financial abuse predominantly but also emotion abuse. My husband never gave me access to my own pay cheque, put me on a pitiful ‘allowance’ that was less than 0.01 per cent of what I earned but which covered everything from clothes, shoes, meals with friends, tickets to see friends, presents for friends, groceries he disapproved of etc. I wasn’t allowed to buy groceries without his approval. He also controlled my time and access to friends.
I feel safe in my new place and finally have my own money going into my own account which he has no power over. He doesn’t know where I am living. My colleagues and friends have been so supportive. I am fortunate in that I do not have children and he was never violent towards me.
But I could do with some advice on the aftermath. It has just been a few months and I haven’t yet confirmed to him that we are divorcing though I know he thinks it is coming. Everything is very raw for me.
1. How do I stop feeling so sorry for him? I do not think he is a bad man, even though many of my friends and family do. I think he’s ill but he did have insight into what he did in that he didn’t want anyone else to know about our financial arrangements and he said that he never took the series of complaints I made to him about his abusive behaviour over the years seriously because he never thought I believed in walking out of a marriage. But I did also love him and we had some really very happy times together and I keep thinking about those. I read a post by one of you last night about letting go of your home and your animals and family members and that is really hard, especially as he keeps texting me about all of those things knowing that they have a huge emotional tug. And I know that so many of his friends and family just think I have flounced out and that I’ve completely misconstrued him being loving and trying to provide for us. Others say they just can’t understand how this has happened to someone like me as I am middle class, outwardly confident and in a good job! Obviously I know that abuse happens to any woman but it then makes me think that this is my fault for submitting to it.
2. How do I stop the spiral of thoughts? I keep wondering if leaving him is really the honourable thing to do, and even whether it was abuse. Every day I have these spirals of thoughts about it, worrying that I’ve got it wrong, even though I’ve done a lot of things since that confirm to me that I’m not going back, such as being very open with my boss about what my husband did to me, and buying furniture for my new place.
3. How can I control my emotions? I am sleep deprived as my mind just whizzes at night. But I am also so up and down and all sorts of things trigger me, so unpredictably. Has anyone got any coping mechanisms?
Weirdly I’ve found listening to things about the plot in the Archers really helpful. This clip http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p03pm4fr in particular is something I’ve listened to over and over again, especially the line about the woman being so proud of her sister. But I’d really like to know if there are any other things that I can read or watch that explain the pattern of emotional abuse and how it happens as I think I am bewildered that this has happened to me for years and that even though I knew it was happening it is so hard to face up to it and reprocess it for what it was.
I am seeing a counsellor who I think will be good and I have good friends. But I’d really appreciate wisdom and experience from women who have already been through this. Thank you.
18th May 2016 at 4:47 pm #17533Confused123Participant
I aqpplied for my divorce after 13 months from laving him, just let soliciotr issue to him. Time is a healer as well as doing things like counselling, going to freedom course, domestic violence support groups, reading up on abuse. My ex really effected me for the first 16 months, messed my head up so much with even slightest contact. U have to wean yourself of them slowly cause we go through trauma bonding which is what u r still going through.Work your thoughts through with your counsellor, she will really make u think about how u feel and why u feel certain ways, they really are like a toxic drug we become addicted to and it takes time to get them out of our system. I think as we start tp rebuild ourselves and love ourselves the new/old us comes bk and we move on from them . there will be a day when he might say something and it will not bother u or days where he comes in your head but u can then ignore it, and has no impct on u
18th May 2016 at 4:48 pm #17534Confused123Participant
Oh and i talk about how i feel and how he makes me feel on here with other survivors, i feel talking on here really helps as we all have experienced an abusive partner
18th May 2016 at 5:09 pm #17537
Thank you so much Confused123 – I guess it will just take time for me to get back to normal after nearly a decade. I am very impatient!
I also keep wondering if there is any way I have misinterpreted his behaviour or whether there is another way of looking at it but I guess that is normal too?
And what I also struggle with is how I ended up letting him take control of me! Why!?
18th May 2016 at 5:29 pm #17538
Also he is always messaging me saying that he can change, that me leaving was a wake up call and that he loves me and misses me. It is SO hard reading that as I still love him, though I don’t want to be with him and I want to move on with my life. I feel at the moment as though I am waiting for some kind of external validation that leaving him is the right thing to do – even though all my family and my close friends who I talk to a lot about this say that it is. It’s almost as though I’m waiting for the relationships regulator, OfLove, to decree that I’ve done the right thing… but maybe that’s just me not being free of the trauma bonds that you describe, and that I don’t yet have peace in my heart about it.
18th May 2016 at 7:35 pm #17540AyannaParticipant
Wow, my husband did the same to me. This was minor compared to the other things that he did. On pay day he waited for me to come home, give him my bank card and he went to the cash machine and took money as much as he needed. He allowed me to keep the bank card. But I was not allowed to use it without his permission. Shopping was always a disaster because he decided what we bought and cooked and ate.
I think you made the correct decision. It is unbearable to not being able to make use of one’s own earnings. I became very upset about the restrictions he imposed on me, as it was my own money. I questioned why I had studied so hard, just to be treated like that. It was slavery, nothing else.
When I started life on my own I bought loads of nice things and made my new place beautiful. I also bought lots of things I could not have then. I never looked back.
Regarding the trauma…. I have no answer, because I myself suffer a lot from PTSD.
I hope it gets better for you with time.
18th May 2016 at 8:02 pm #17545SerenityParticipant
They will minimise what they have done.
They also only mistreat you if they think they have hooked you enough that you will
take it. He actually admitted to this. M
This reaffirms my belief that abusers suss people out. They will mistreat those who they feel they have hooked/ hoodwinked/ who will put up with it. They spend the rest of the time trying to brainwash those who they don’t have eating out of their hand.
Don’t feel sorry for him. He is an adult. He could have controlled himself. After all, abusers can adapt their behaviour when it suits them. He doesn’t deserve your concern. He is toxic.
It will take time for you to heal. It is a long course, but there is an end to it. You will heal.
Living with these manipulative abusers who deny and minimise their wrongdoing is horrendous. I am so happy you are out X
PS counselling and support is essential. Women’s aid can direct you to DV support groups and counselling in your area.
19th May 2016 at 6:52 pm #17597
Thanks everyone – I have a good counsellor who I’ve just started with who is helping me understand how this has happened. I guess I just need to be patient. What is weird is how much stuff I am re-processing if that makes sense. Often I’ll tell a friend about something that he did that I got quite used to and thought was normal, like getting really angry that I needed to buy new tights for work, and always implying that I’d laddered the old ones deliberately, and the friend will point out that this was entirely messed up and wrong. So much of my life that felt normal I now realise was not and was either something I’d chosen to accept because I loved him and thought I didn’t deserve any other sort of treatment.
But the other thing I am really struggling with today is that there were LOTS of good things about our marriage. He came to love my most important hobby, (removed by moderator) (though of course if I wanted (removed by moderator) something I either needed to get it for free or buy it with my ‘allowance’), and our time (removed by moderator) together was really blissful. My friends point out that good times together do not compensate for years of taking and controlling my money and allowing me no say over how it was spent, what food we bought etc. But of course even then I worry about whether I have misinterpreted what was just loving behaviour! It’s such a hard cycle.
19th May 2016 at 9:46 pm #17603
I guess I also worry that other people will think I am somehow making this up, when actually for me it’s more the case that I just either had decided not to think about how it was or made up stupid excuses for why things were the way they were, like not seeing friends etc. But do you guys worry that people just won’t believe you?
19th May 2016 at 10:49 pm #17610AyannaParticipant
There are lots of people who do not believe us. But who cares. I do not bother, because I know my own truth.
There was a so called friend who called my situation a drama, and she said, that she was not interested in drama, whilst I was fighting for survival.
In our abusive marriages we had lots of good times, that’s why we stayed. The hope that it will be perfect again if we only behave in the right way, which means do everything to please him regardless of our own needs, … and so on…
And then comes the echo of his words, that we cannot live without him, that life will be miserable without him….
The ex abuser used to say that I needed protection from the outside world and that I would not be able to survive on my own.
Before I met him I was successful on my own. After I left him I was a broken mess and I still struggle. At least he could not kill me and I drag myself through life in the hope that things will improve.
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