Viewing 29 reply threads
  • Author
    • #74018

      Hi everyone, I am feeling so, so angry at the moment. I have stayed in a c**p marriage for decades not realising the implications of his behaviour – I wouldn’t be the first to be unhappily married would I. I just thought he got angry and aggressive because he was unable to control himself which simply made me try harder to help him get over his bad childhood, stressed workplace and even believed that my response to his outburst was to blame. We went to couples counselling early on in the marriage because of what I now recognise as DA but he just wowed the counsellor with his reasonable and friendly behaviour while I was confused, foggy and felt depressed. We went twice and he stopped the counselling because it was ‘too expensive’ and all the counsellor said was that we should spend more time together. This was twisted into ‘stop doing things without me’ and so I even gave up church attendance as he said all Christians were perverts. The couples counsellor failed me dismally – I had no voice and she did not see that. Consequently, I avoided all counselling until a few years ago when I went to MIND because my husband said I was having a breakdown (because I wanted to separate), was psychotic and mentally ill but that he would stand by me! After speaking to the counsellor at MIND for some time she told me that what I was experiencing were control tactics and I was not mad. I thought she was wrong about his control still thinking at that time he just had anger issues. The counsellor spoke to me about control and manipulation but NEVER at any time did she suggest DA or signpost me in the direction of help like WA. So I continued in the s**t marriage while he continued with his outbursts. I only found this website by accident after his abuse intensified after a family disagreement which I was blamed for – the argument was absolutely nothing to do with me and he was clearly looking to pass the responsibility of his bad behaviour onto me. I have now spent time educating myself on DA and reaching out because I cannot solve this on my own. But I am so angry – I wasted the last X*X years on a man whose aim was to belittle, criticise and generally ruin my life so that he could revolve everything around his needs. I see things in a new light now and see how I’ve been used and abused. But how to leave when most of my adult life has been under his thumb. I am sorry for the rant but my anger with myself is beyond measurement. How did I allow this? Why couldn’t I see? Why didn’t anybody say? Why is emotional DA hidden? I ignored my gut feelings that all was not right and I’ve wasted my life (except for my beautiful adult children) so I guess my message to all you youngsters out there is to see me as a lesson on how NOT to tackle emotional DA ie. forgive, excuse, ignore and accept. Don’t wait until you’re over 50 before taking action. OK. Rant over. X*X

    • #74019

      Hi Doris

      Thank you for sharing so candidly. I think you have the right to let it all out.

    • #74020

      Hi Doris

      Thank you for sharing so candidly. I think you have the right to let it all out. I am in my (detail removed by Moderator) and have been experiencing the same for the past (detail removed by Moderator) years and I wish I had got out sooner than now. I have just “escaped” him with my (detail removed by Moderator) year old twin girls (for (detail removed by Moderator) now). It is such a relief – like a big fridge has just got off my shoulders. I hear you. Thank you for sharing your story. You are amazing – and you are not crazy. After I read the book (detail removed by Moderator), I gathered the courage to go. It was so scary but I realised that it was not me with the problem. The problem was his. I do have moments when I feel very angry and overwhelmed, but I’m glad i did it. So, here is a toast to you! Just know that you are celebrated!!!

    • #74024

      Hi Doris, I hear you. But remember your anger is to him not yourself. He fooled you, he’s fooled everyone and will continue to do so till his dying day. I love hearing how strong youve become, just use your strength and knowledge against him. Teach yourself to react differently, go grey rock as often as possible. I’m so bl…y proud of you my friend👏👏💛💜
      IWMB 💕💕

    • #74026

      Hi Doris. Thank you for sharing your story, very much reminds me of my own. I’m still in the process of trying to get out but it helps when you read these things because it reminds you that it’s not your fault. The things you read on this forum relate too so many if us!! I’m definitely finding strength and knowledge the more I read, just have to stop the self doubt.
      Thank you Doris & keep looking after yourself xx

    • #74028

      Hi Doris
      I am in my (detail removed by Moderator) and have been in a relationship for years.
      I have been writing on here since December and your posts and replies have helped me stay strong.
      We still haven’t fully separated but it isn’t far away. I am emotionally checked out and I have also moved out… we are having couples therapy at the moment but I know the outcome and that it’s highly unlikely he’ll change and most importantly I don’t want you take the risk.
      Anyway my point is you are amazing, inspiring and strong. We are all here for each other and I hope one day I can give people hope & guidance in the same way you do ❤

    • #74048

      My heartfelt thanks to all you sympathetic posters for your support and kindness. I just pray that I will get out of this chaotic seesaw of a life and enjoy my silver years in peace and serenity. And of course I pray you all will also enjoy that peace. If I ever do escape his control I am making it my mission to shout as loudly as I can about DA – society needs to face this tragedy. Love to you all and take care. X

    • #75460

      Doris. Why can’t you just up sticks and leave?
      Nothing is impossible.
      I shall presume you’re not leaving cos of money and cos of pride.

      You have 2 grown up children. I’m pretty sure either one or the other would let you stay with them, while you organise your life. You are due a financial settlement – to access the money (pensions,house / asset value, savings…….) you can either get divorced, OR you could get legal advice to calculate how much you WOULD get, and then settle with him out of court.

      The friends who truly care for you, will understand, AND they will support you.
      The others, the ones that you think will judge you, they don’t b****y matter. Anyway God tells us not to judge.
      You have the right to happiness. You do not have live unhappily to please society….that stigma is long gone. People respect people who respect themselves now.

      Let me know if I am WAY off. I tend to go over the top. I get incensed when I see nice people being treated badly.

    • #75484

      Hi DG, it really isn’t that simple to leave an abusive partner especially after decades of being with them. It’s like Stockholm syndrome, what’s known as trauma bonding. Everyone of us knows we should leave and that we should just be able to say, that’s it, I no longer love or want to be with you, I’m miserable and I want a divorce or you to leave or whatever. But these relationships aren’t normal, these men truly believe they are entitled to treat us like this and even though we stand up to them and refuse to be cowed, somewhere along the line we lose sight of US, what’s important to and for us. The slow drip drip effect of undermining, telling you you’re rubbish at anything and everything, even though you say, if I’m that bad why do you stay with me? Causing arguements for no reason, gaslighting you to the point that you don’t trust your own reality, telling you how much he hates you one minute, then how he’d die if you left him, how he’d never manage without you. It’s not about why don’t you just leave, it’s about why do we stay. That’s due to chemicals released in the brain, the same ones that help us bond with our children when they’re born. But here’s the rub, the same chemical is released when we are in fear for our lives also. So given that our partner is causing both reactions that’s why we don’t just leave. Plus once the highly emotionally charged atmosphere dies down, our brain goes into denial mode, because if we were 100% aware of what he’d done and said of course we’d leave, but our brain minimises his behaviour to make it acceptable to stay. Has anyone ever mentioned the cycle of abuse to you, this is why we can’t leave. Rationally speaking we’d leave and run like the hounds of hell are after us, but logic and abusive behaviour don’t go together.
      It takes an awful lot of courage to face our fears, many of us have been isolated from friends and family, some live in another country or in the country, isolated from even neighbours.
      At the end of the day it takes a long time to emotionally detach from our partners, once that’s done they have no hold over us, but it’s also the most dangerous time to leave as they are losing their supply.
      If it was that simple to leave, women’s aid would have never been needed to form in the first place.😔
      IWMB 💕💕

    • #75491

      Many thanks IWMB for your wise words – as usual. I think I would respond to DamagedGoods by saying ‘baby steps’. I’ll get there eventually because thanks to WA, education like the Freedom Programme and a local peer group I see precisely what he is up to after (detail removed by moderator) in the fog. For instance, yesterday he was the guy with the messy hair saying “look what you’ve done to me” – a ruse I would have once fallen for. Today, he is a normal partner cheerfully doing jobs around the house etc. Total contradiction!!! How does he do that unless he is well aware of what he is doing? And that’s the game changer for me and why I had a rant earlier. I cannot accept that the one who professes to love me actually hurts me deliberately.
      I could deal with anything else but I cannot undo that knowledge now. As for the ease of leaving, well, my eldest lives overseas, another house-shares with others (no room at the inn) and the other lives hundreds of miles away. Why would I move to a completely different area away from the networks I have recently built up to avoid further isolation? I have no close friends – that’s part of the isolation. The friends that I have now are very new and I would not be comfortable asking if I could stay indefinitely. So, the situation is not quite black and white. And of course there are decades of shared life to shift to one side – not an easy task as IWMB says. Yes, there is always a financial cost involved and I know that my standard of living will plummet but I am OK with that. Pride? Oh I lost that some years ago;0) X*X to all posties.

      • #82773

        hi “don’t be a fool like me” and everyone on this forum, this is my 1st day on this site. i have to rush everything i write so leave out punctuation etc. i identify with everything you are saying and although i know i should leave i’m still stuck here after bringing up a large family, who know it is hard for me but like myself dont believe i will ever leave. after a violent beginning, the mental abuse and gaslighting has continued and in old age is getting worse now that his health is failing, especially his mental health. everything is my fault, i am the devil, i am an effing c**t, i don’t know what he’s capable of, he’s capable f murder (this is at night because i keep him awake, snoring, he wont let me sleep elsewhere) once he did but still couldnt sleep. i now deeply regret not leaving him when our kids were young as i now look back and realise how it affected them, they all have mental health issues. now everynight i tell myself i’ll leave in morning but every morning iget up and dont. i was told by a w.a.worker that just taking a bit ofmy life back at a time can help. that is why i found this site and doing something i’m not allowed. thanks everyone, love and empowerment to you allxx

    • #75493

      Doris, becoming aware was the first step, and now you can see I don’t blame you at all for getting angry. I’m sure you’ll find a way in time.
      Sending strength.

    • #75505
      White Rose

      Hi Doris
      From ine over 50 to another you are definitely not a fool! You’ve realised what’s happening and have started taking steps to regain your life. You’re right it has to in baby steps but baby steps soon translate to huge strides.
      I left a few years ago, had realised several years before that what was happening. I don’t regret it. I’ve adjusted to a new life. My lifestyle is not as luxurious as it would have been and my imminent pension is less than I’d planned as I had to give some away to him all down to him hiding £1000s he’d creamed off our joint account over the years into undeclared savings, but bottom line is I’m safe, I’m happy and money and material goods can’t replace that – as he’s slowly finding out. He’s got the big house, the 40k flash car the holidays abroad but family have nothing to do with him. His children have all gone no contact and he’s even been desperate enough to contact his first wife for support and she gave him the brush off too. Take your time, do whatever you feel you want or need to do to regain your self esteem, sanity (!) and happiness.
      Keep safe xx

    • #75509

      Thanks. I am humbled by all the support on this website. Life is very challenging at the moment but my aim is to eventually live my life safely, calmly and happily. As White Rose says, these are more important than having a luxurious lifestyle. Of course, money is important, I would never diminish the effects of poverty, but having a healthy bank account is not the end-game. Happiness is. X*X

    • #75511

      Hi Doris, please speak to a good divorce solicitor. I ended up with a lot more than my ex told me I would get. If I’d listened to him I would have ended up with nothing. Not even enough to start again. However I ended up with the house, once the law looks at the bigger picture including pensions and assets etc, I bet you will be surprised. Don’t be bullied. Check out all your options before you do anything. You’re in a good position to get all your ducks in a row before you pull the rug from under him. Get copies of all financial records. Start paying attention to who has what money and assets. Get good legal advice, gather evidence (court will need to see evidence). Don’t let him know what you’re doing. You can come out on top with some careful planning and advice x

    • #75513

      One other thing Doris, and I don’t mean to add salt to your wound but my ex was often away with work or his hobby. Turns out he was a serial cheater too. Which is often the case with these abusers. I saw some red flags but he always had what seemed a credible excuse. Or he answered with such anger that I thought he must be telling the truth and how awful I must be to not trust him! They are excellent liars.

    • #77482

      Thank you for writing this. Your situation really resonates and I’m struggling to admit it all to myself at the moment. Reading your post confirms my own experience. I’m so sorry you have been through this but know you have helped someone by speaking out. love and strength xx

    • #77672

      Thanks WTG. I understand that acceptance of abusive behaviour is shockingly hard. Until people have experienced this they will never understand. I have challenged my husband but he just denies, ignores and diminishes. But at least he knows that I am now aware of why he behaves like this. And by what he has said he is aware of words like ‘gas-lighting’ and phrases like ‘being the victim’ so he is aware. I am not saying this will stop the anger and outrage – I think it is probably to set in his mind. I am still struggling to accept and will probably always wonder if I am doing him an injustice despite his actions. X

    • #77674

      Hi Doris, we think of their needs even in the eye of the storm don’t we. Once you no longer think of him first you’ll be nearer leaving too. Thinking of him, still having that wee bit of hope, it’s because of who you are, a lovely compassionate, kind lady, traits that he looks down on as being weak, a walkover. But he has no idea how strong you are. Keep learning, keep posting, your wise words help many of us on here too.
      Best wishes IWMB 💞💞

    • #77676

      It’s such a shocking eye-opener isn’t it. To realise that the man we have trusted, maybe had children with, have lived with for decades, is actually a parasite. There is no point whatsoever in trying to communicate with these people. They are maddening. My ex took himself eventually to a therapist on his own. This only made him worse and even more entitled.

      Well done for finding this forum. It’s so important to realise you are not alone.

      The police were instrumental in getting my ex out of the house and real life support has been invaluable.

      Abusers will tell you and blame you for all the things they are doing to you. They will copy the bits of your behaviour that they like. They are very inconsistent like this.

      Your local Women’s Aid will probably have a solicitor attached who you can speak to in the first instance who understands domestic abuse.

      I never thought I would be able to get out of my cr?ppy marriage. Ultimately it had to be his call. His petition read like a confession of his own behaviour. He had condoned the violence of a child against a parent. Needless to say he blamed me for being attacked.

      It is possible to get out. Please start speaking to Women’s Aid and be guided by them. Keep a diary and record him in any way you can.

    • #77697
      Twisted Sister

      Dear Doris

      I just thought he got angry and aggressive because he was unable to control himself which simply made me try harder to help him get over his bad childhood, stressed workplace and even believed that my response to his outburst was to blame. We went to couples counselling early on in the marriage because of what I now recognise as DA but he just wowed the counsellor with his reasonable and friendly behaviour while I was confused, foggy and felt depressed. We went twice and he stopped the counselling because it was ‘too expensive’ and all the counsellor said was that we should spend more time together

      Then I am also a fool, as I could’ve written that they do their job well, oh so well, they adopt tactics that work to make us feel stupid, foolish, but that’s learnt lack of compassion towards ourselves, when in fact, this is on him.

      It’s his cruelty, his tactics, his vile and abusive nature.

      It’s on him, blame him,always,not you. He did this and he was good at it that’s all. He sought to confuse,baffle and blind you, couldn’t have you knowing who he was.

      I am pleased to hear your anger, this is the appropriate reaction to his treatment, but above all, always keep yourself safe if you decide to start making some plans. Keep those cards close to your chest in case he decides you’ve got out of control and he feels the need to escalate his tactics. If they realise they are losing control they can change tactics in a flash.

      Good to hear your voice,loud and clear.

      Warmest wishes TS

    • #77762

      Some abusers are very covert. My ex was waving red flags under my nose right from the very beginning but covering them in roses. How I wanted to believe him. I was also thinking of what he wasn’t doing and not of what he was. I did all the giving: he did all the taking.

      I had flashes early on that he was raping me, but when he told me it was his way of showing affection I wanted to believe him. I believed his words, not his actions. I stood up for him when he raged at other people. I truly didn’t know that he was abusing me apart from flashpoints. We went to loads of couples counselling which helped me to trust him, but actually made no change in him. I hoped for decades that we could work it out. Yes fool am I. When I married him I knew there was something very wrong but I didn’t know what it was.

      Round and round in circles we went until my daughter attacked me in public as though by proxy. That was the breaking point.

      His behaviour is not your fault. It is not your fault for staying so long or for not recognising what has been happening to you.

      I believed that I’d made my bed and had to stay in it. The fright of the unknown was unbearable. I had no idea. When we are not being battered and bruised it is far easier to minimise. In the news is really only the more extreme end of domestic abuse. I remember listening to Rob and Helen in The Archers and alarm bells ringing but my ex wasn’t like Rob. It was a far slower burn and denial is a protective measure.

      I began posting about my ex many years before we finally got divorced. I had no language for what was going on, couldn’t explain it, had all these couples counsellors saying how well we were doing…. I think they need to be better trained.

    • #78415

      Thanks for all the encouraging responses from the site – much appreciated.
      I feel so much stronger these days although I do not have the courage to leave just yet for various reasons. Probably excuses I know.
      I am not so angry these days. I guess I have just accepted that he deliberately uses horrible tactics to control, dominate and manipulate which in a strange way is empowering to me because, although devastating at first, I now know what his motivation is and everything makes sense – I am not over-reacting or inventing things.
      He is being very non-confrontational at the moment but I know his way of thinking simmers just below the surface as there are no apologies or acceptance but just denials.
      If/when the outrage and tirade happens it will almost be an admission of the DA. And hopefully my doubts over the word ABUSE will disappear.
      Take care people. X*X

    • #84525

      Hi Doris

      I have just sat and read your post and almost every word could have been written about me. my relationship is just like this. I want to get out but the irony is he has made me so low that summoning up the courage and resilience to get through what I know will be an even more horrendous few months / years to be able to get away makes me put it off. if I am honest the last (detail removed by moderator) years have been just like this. I set little dates in my head and say i will go then but something always happens and it stops me. This forum makes me believe I am not mad. You sound like you have done everything in your power to make this work but now deserve more peace and kindness, which is how i feel about my situation. I read sentences that could be me speaking in so many posts. I hope you have managed to get away or have a found more happiness, however that may be.

    • #89619

      This is my first time on here. Many of my experiences so similar. But no physical violence. My question to you all is: is it ever possible to turn things around? Is it ever possible to say “I know what you’re doing and it has to stop now or else I will leave”? Or will the perpetrator always, by his nature, turn it round and say “anything that’s happening is of your own doing”.
      I need to start planning my escape. I think I won’t be able to do it for a couple of years, because of kids. Is it possible to sit tight for a couple of years, do you think? Is there ever any point in trying to make things change? We had a run-in recently where I called him on his behaviour in a certain situation and was literally dumb-founded at how he managed to turn it all round and tell me I always had to be a b***h, etc… oh and it went much further. Even told me I should be apologising. And then it’s as if nothing’s happened. No apology, no reference. Just the wait for the next occasion.

    • #89622
      [email protected]

      you could stay like me i waited 2 decades. there is never a good time to leave really. id say they dont cange and most often they up the anti. the experiences of women are very much the same. its rubbish but its worth addressing sooner rather than later. the kids to become affected by what they see and you will become traumatised by him the longer it goes on he longer the recovery xx im still recovering but getting there – wish id left in the beginning now xx have you been in touch with wa? love diymum

    • #89626

      My advice is to get all your ducks in a row so when you leave you’re in The best possible position. Legally and financially. Don’t tell him what you’re doing. Each day you stay is another day longer to recover and another day the kids are exposed to his abuse and dysfunction and to a traumatised mother. Get women’s aid on board to support you. Keep a detailed journal of his abuse from as far back as you can remember and how it made you feel. Let your GP know. It’s really important to have a paper trail and evidence. It’s a terrible roundabout of abuse and you need to get off asap. I’ve been on this site for several years and never heard of an abuser change. They don’t accept they have a problem so why would they change. Time to look after yourself and your kids because he won’t x

    • #89627

      My last post was for lottieblue. Keep posting and read Living with the Dominator by Pat Craven. Ring the helpline number on here x

    • #89685

      Hello Doris, I read your post and so much resonated with me. I could of written it myself. I am now divorcing my husband, but have not spoken publicly as to why. I chose not to tell the events because I do not want my adult children to understand as the day they do they walk in my shoes, but that in itself leaves me incredibly angry and frustrated with myself at times for “allowing” this all to happen. When I should of found a way to leave years ago.
      During one couples counsellor session I was asked if my husband had hit me this week and when I said no, she said I should be grateful. With a great deal of years between that and now, I have finally found the right counsellor who tells me to be patient and not to judge myself and asks if anyone ever says how well I am doing for getting this far. I think that good advice for you too. This whole process is a journey and its incredibly hard and emotionally draining in any circumstance. In one where you have been undermined and abused for years it leaves you doubting your own sanity and existence.
      Laws are changing now and just having the recognition that coercive control is a very real thing is comforting.
      I was advised to keep a private journal and found that really helped to put my feelings down to try to understand where I am at. When I read that back I can see its two steps forward and 3 back some days, none of this is easy and life is so unfair but I do not want his actions to define the person I am hoping to be. So I have two journals a gratitude journal and a record of his behaviour. One for me and one to clarify why I am divorcing him.
      Take care and keep strong. x

    • #89715
      dancing in the rain

      Thank you so much for posting. Your description of decades with your abusive husband feels like my own experience. I also understand you anger and feeling that you have wasted your life something that I am struggling with too.
      I hope the responses you have had on here have been as valuable to you as they have to me and thank you for initiating them.
      I think the positive thing is that we recognise what is happening and are able to process it more rationally thanks to sites like this. I also have adult children and the fact that they need me less has given me the space to reflect on what I want/or don’t want for the rest of my life. Funnily enough, I think it has made my husband’s abuse worse, probably because he sees it as a risk that he will have less control over me.
      Unless you feel in danger I think that it can be a gradual process of coming to terms with what has happened, understanding that it isn’t our fault and that it happens to many women and finally coming to a conclusion about how we want to spend the rest of our lives.
      Take care and thank you again x*x

    • #89791
      lady lathbury

      Thank you Doris for opening up this conversation – everyone’s stories are so emotional and bring back memories of own past experiences. I have been online reading ‘The Centre for Women’s Justice Super-Complaint published in March 2019. Although it is distressing reading it does give some real case studies on domestic abuse which have ended tragically. There are many reasons why women do not leave an abusive relationship. As they point out, it may be that:
      “The survivor is particularly vulnerable and may not feel able to leave an abusive relationship, give a statement or deal with a legal process in the civil or criminal courts”.
      “She may fear the abuser and his retaliation for her taking action against him, or fear facing him in the family court.
      They may lead chaotic lives due to drug or alcohol dependency, mental health problems, illiteracy or just having a lot of children and other demands to deal with. They may not have documents required to get legal aid or may not qualify for legal aid and not be able to afford to pay a solicitor, and be too intimidated to face the court process
      Some women do not appreciate the degree of risk they are in from a violent partner and do not take steps to protect themselves, although the risks are clearly apparent to professionals.
      I was lucky and got away from my abusive relationship many years ago now when I was in my late 30’s. I got away and my life just got better. I am (age removed by moderator) now and just lost a young friend of mine to domestic violence so I can only encourage all you women out there to get out while you can. You must share, you must talk to others – do not isolate yourself – you will need all the support you can get but it is worth it in the end. For those of you with children, you must do it for them. Be brave.

Viewing 29 reply threads
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.

© 2015 Women's Aid Federation of England – Women’s Aid is a company limited by guarantee registered in England No: 3171880.

Women’s Aid is a registered charity in England No. 1054154

Terms & conditionsPrivacy & cookie policySite mapProtect yourself onlineMedia │ Jobs


Log in with your credentials


Forgot your details?

Create Account

Skip to content