18th July 2021 at 2:10 pm #128957
I left my emotionally abusive husband (detail removed by moderator) years ago and I’m doing really well or so I thought. I recently started an assessment to become a (detail removed by moderator) and social services came to visit me to start an assessment.
I have never felt like a worse parent or person after the visit I was told I had minimised my domestic abuse situation not recognised the impact on my children and why did I not leave and go on to have children with him when I clearly knew what he was like from the start.
This has triggered a massive stress reaction and trauma for me and I don’t know how to help myself
18th July 2021 at 2:45 pm #128958OceanParticipant
I’m so sorry you experienced that. It’s heartbreaking.
There is a lot of brainwashing that goes on in an abusive relationship, on top of other tactics to keep you locked in.
They minimise everything to the point where we don’t even have a sense of right and wrong anymore within the relationship.
I suppose they want to know that you won’t get into another relationship like that where the child in your care would be put in harms way. What happened to you is not your fault. I hope you would recognise the warning signs now.
I hope for the best for you xx
18th July 2021 at 11:32 pm #128964Twisted SisterParticipant
Well done for leaving and managing so well putting it behind you.
Unfortunately it often happens I think that something can really trigger you back to the trauma you experienced, and it sounds like the experience from social services has been a massive trigger for you.
I feel for you so much; please remember that noone is completely safe from abuse when they let someone into their life. You are no different, and neither is any policewoman, domestic abuse adviser, or social worker. Its happened in all fields of work and social standing. It happens everywhere, and most don’t understand, which is why its so great that you saw the light and got out yourself! Many in it find it so hard to work out what is going on with the person they love, their lifeline partner, or so they think. Those on the outside don’t understand, and all the services have differing responses to abuse, especially perhaps the emotional and non-physical stuff.
Don’t punish yourself for this. Forgive yourself of any blame here, it is after all him that abused you, and he’s wholly responsible for that; ask yourself more what he has suffered as a result of his crimes against you? I hope he has been hauled over the coals by the services who’s job it is to do this, but most abusers get away with it, just read this forum and you’ll see you’re not alone in this.
take care and keep strong, you’ve come so far
19th July 2021 at 12:27 am #128966
Thank you so much for the lovely supportive replies. I wholeheartedly thank you. When I read my post I still can’t quite believe it’s me on here asking for support but the replies give me strength to make myself believe it was not me .. when your husband tells you you look like you have (detail removed by moderator) you believe him when he let’s you go to hospital alone time after time when you are having operations and are ill, when he tells you to ‘get (detail removed by moderator) on the way home’ from hospital instead of coming to collect you plus all the hundreds of other examples I have which makes me so grateful I found the strength to leave it gives me hope that there are people out there reading this supporting me when I feel I need strength thank you 🙏🙏🙏
19th July 2021 at 6:08 pm #128995EggshellsParticipant
I’m so sorry that you had to go through that. Sadly, professionals who should know better very often don’t. There is a severe lack of training and understanding.
You did the best you could with what you knew at the time.
Why didn’t you leave sooner? Argh it infuriates me. They’re asking the wrong question and it’s victim blaming. No-one asks a mugging victim why he was walking in the street where he was attacked or asks someone who just had there car stolen “Why did you leave it in the car park?”
Any social worker worth their salt would know why you didn’t leave. Fear, trauma bonding, not knowing it was abuse and for that reason not knowing the impact of it, wanting to keep the family unit together because we’ve been conditioned to believe children need male role models and a father – even when the father is modelling abuse. They are just some of the reasons that a social worker should know without having to ask. It’s worth noting that while social services know its damaging, they don’t remove the abuser even when they know about the abuse. A bit of a contradiction don’t you think?
The abuse was not your fault and dealt with it as well as you could giving the understanding you had. You got out once you understood the impact and once you understood it was never going to change. That is such a difficult thing to do. You have been brave and courageous and you now have an understanding that many will never have. They should be snapping you up. They need women like you. xx
19th July 2021 at 6:59 pm #128997
Eggshells I appreciate your post more than you can know x it’s given me strength
20th July 2021 at 7:51 am #129020KIP.Participant
Abuse takes away any choices we ever had. Too many ignorant professionals continue to do more damage. You know the truth and what’s more you have real life experience. You go for it. You’ve been held back for too long already, abusers stunt our growth and limit our life choices so now that you’re free the world is full of exciting adventures. Go get them 💕
20th July 2021 at 7:50 pm #129047
Thank you so much for the reply. I need to find in set strength as I’m sinking and it’s at the hands of people who are supposed to protect people.
I came from a good place trying to care for a vulnerable (detail removed by moderator) and I am left feeling like the worst parent worst person worst mother .. someone who and I quote ‘ minimised domestic abuse and as a professional myself I know how this impacts children and I still allowed it ‘
I can never Unhear that
27th July 2021 at 10:25 pm #129342OceanParticipant
Have you read ‘How he gets into her head’ by Don Hennessy?
They brainwash us to minimise what they are doing.
I had child safeguarding training while I was in my relationship. And I still struggled to see. I continue to struggle because of the guilt I carry and the cognitive dissonance.
I also have dealt with social workers who victim blame. I am shocked at their lack of training with domestic abuse.
I’m really sorry the social worker acted that way.
20th July 2021 at 7:51 pm #129048
Can someone help me x
21st July 2021 at 8:23 pm #129090Wants To HelpParticipant
Hi Sunshine 10,
When I was going through my abuse I was a ‘professional’ too. I should have known I was being abused, but I minimised mine because the ladies I was dealing with in my working life had it far worse than me. So I compared mine to theirs, and decided mine wasn’t really abuse because I was not being beaten black and blue. As a result of this, I made decisions that in hindsight, were not wise, but back then, I didn’t have the DA knowledge and experience I have now. My decisions to stay in my relationship also put my son at risk on a few occasions. It took me a long time to forgive myself for those incidents, but I knew I had to get out before he became old enough to remember things. Unfortunately, he does remember one of them.
DA training is not always great. DA training for people who are fortunate enough to have never been in an abusive relationship is not always easy to grasp. Great DA training for people who have been abused is again, not always spot on. We don’t always get it right every time because all people are different. Different people react in different ways to the same advice and/or support.
For me, when I was at my most hopeless and helpless, I had DA advice that was hard hitting and forthright at times. I also had the empathic, sympathetic advice. However, the advice that some people might perceive as quite harsh and brutally put, is the advice that stopped me in my tracks at times and resulted in some great preventative work.
How the Social Workers spoke to you, has left you with feelings that are clearly not making you feel in a good place, but I would doubt that was their intentions. Those words they said to you could equally apply to me, and the fact that I am now ‘recovered’ as much as I ever will be, I can relate to them and accept them as true.
As mums, and partners of abusive men, we did the best we could at the time, with the knowledge we had, with the situation we were in. I’m not proud of myself for some of the things that I *allowed to go on for as long as they did, or for some of the things that happened because of my inaction, because if I’m totally honest with myself I could have got out sooner (why I didn’t is another story of self learning and self reflection) but I’m d**n proud of myself that I got out eventually and never went back. You should be proud of yourself too 🙂
I say ‘allowed’ because I’m very aware that ‘victim blaming’ is a terminology we should not be using. I like the terminology ‘victim awareness’. The work I have done on myself over the years makes me understand why I stayed in an abusive relationship, why I kept going back, why I didn’t leave when I could/should have and why I ignored the red flags. Now I’m aware of these flaws within myself and why I accepted being treated a certain way, I am confident it will not happen again. I apologise if this terminology offends some people.
21st July 2021 at 9:58 pm #129095OrangerainbowParticipant
Bottom line is you did get out and are doing the best you can for your children and yourself. It takes strength to get out, super human strength and super human strength to take what is dished out. My ex likened me to a sponge once. These people pray on our vulnerabilities and fears to control. You did get out. You are not there now.
21st July 2021 at 10:24 pm #129098EggshellsParticipant
No, you can’t ever unhear that but you will always know the truth.
I genuinely didn’t know I was in an abusive relationship even though there was rape and he hurt my son twice. I still blame myself for that, no-one needs to tell me I got it wrong. Hindsight is wonderful and so is the clarity that you get as the FOG of abuse lifts.
You didn’t have hindsight or clarity at the time, just FOG and a need to hold on to the nice side of your partner.
You can’t blame yourself for what happened then. Abusers work very hard to keep us there and to keep us silent. It’s easy to look back and ask yourself how you didn’t see it – you weren’t supposed to see it; that is the cunning and intention of the abuser. They play on your fears, make you doubt yourself and they’re so good at it that it leaves a lifelong impression. Many of us still doubt ourselves even though we’ve been out for years. It is what they do.
28th July 2021 at 12:37 am #129346ISOPeaceParticipant
Hi Sunshine10, I’m really saddened to hear how you’ve been treated. It is truly shocking that people in that position are so ignorant. It’s bad enough that society in general doesn’t understand abuse. I’m really sad that someone in social services doesn’t understand the manipulation, brainwashing and control that makes the abuse possible. Do they honestly think it’s so simple that you just leave? It is so infuriating.
I once read this: asking why doesn’t she leave is like asking a caterpillar why it doesn’t fly. It’s such a good analogy. We leave when we find our wings and we simply can’t do that until we’re ready.
Like others have said, surviving abuse and escaping takes incredible strength. Anyone who knows anything about abuse would encourage you to celebrate your courage to survive and leave, not make you feel bad for doing what is a normal human response to abuse. Have you read about trauma bonds? It’s like when kidnap victims are brainwashed by their kidnappers. Our brains respond to abuse in a way that keeps us trapped. There is absolutely nothing wrong with you for being trapped. Abuse messes with our survival instincts so we believe the safest thing to do is freeze.
You can’t unhear what they said. But you can learn about why the abuse made it so hard for you to leave. When you are able to accept that you responded to abuse the way all survivors of abuse do, you will be able to see those comments for what they were – sheer ignorant judgement and no reflection on your worth as a person or parent. It’s like somebody who knows nothing about cooking being a critical judge on Masterchef. In other words, the comments would be meaningless.
It also makes me sad to hear of a survivor of abuse being written off. I’m not sure what you were being assessed for as your post was moderated, but I think it was some kind of caring role. In my experience, survivors of abuse have a depth of empathy that most people don’t have and are far less judgemental than most.
There’s a book by Lundy Bancroft called When Dad Hurts Mom, and it emphasises that survivors of abuse are helping their children without even knowing it. Bancroft is a genuine expert on abuse, who works with perpetrators, and he is crystal clear that survivors of abuse are never to blame for the abuse and recognises how difficult it is to leave an abusive relationship. I can 100% assure you that those horrible comments are are reflection of that person’s ignorance and are totally inappropriate for anyone in your situation. Sending lots of love xxxx
28th July 2021 at 12:46 am #129348ISOPeaceParticipant
I would also add that being a professional doesn’t make you immune to manipulation. You don’t get training on how to resist manipulation, at best you get training on the signs to look for from the outside. Seeing things from the outside is nothing like being caught up in it. There’s a reason therapists don’t work on themselves or family members – they’re not objective enough. Quite frankly, to suggest that because you’re a professional you should have a different biological response to trauma is mind boggling. And very hypocritical given how little they clearly know about abuse! xxxx
28th July 2021 at 7:30 am #129356
Reading all these replies has made me so grateful for joining this forum. You are all truely amazing women and I thank you all for taking the time out of your day to help me when I am feeling at my lowest. Your messages have made me smile, and given me hope that I will get through this. I am Being kind to myself and having some time off work and been recognised as having PTSD which is also so important for my healing.
I am not in a good place but I will be thank you all of you 🙏
28th July 2021 at 7:36 am #129357
I had been strong as anything since I left and this has shattered my confidence my belief and my heart.
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