31st December 2015 at 4:45 am #6839foggyhereParticipant
Until very recently I believed myself to be happily married to a wonderfully kind, intelligent and thoughtful man for nearly a decade. He works away from home, and he invited me to visit him for the weekend. His behaviour was odd, and at the same end of the weekend, I was dumped in a five minute conversation.
On my way home, he told me it would be selfish of me to tell our daughter, and when I said I would try my best, but I won’t lie to her if she asks why I’m upset. He said I wasn’t acting in her best interests. I lasted 24 hours and then I had to break the news. At the time, I felt dreadful and apologised to him, as I didn’t see it as an unreasonable request. (detail removed by moderator)Then I asked him when he’d like to see our daughter, and he cried. I immediately set up access arrangements. I asked him whether there was someone else, he told me it was none of my business.
In the end I cut contact, because he just keeps making statements like that. He doesn’t respect no contact. I asked him to send a relative to collect and drop off, and he said no. I said again I don’t want to see him. He said I should just send our (age removed by moderator) year old out to his car. I said that was inappropriate for her age, (detail removed by moderator)Then he asked if I’d spend Christmas day eith him, for her sake. I said no, not a good idea. Don’t want her to see how you are talking to me.
In the end I got out why – he said I’d chipped away at the love I had for him by bring lazy and critizing him. (detail removed by moderator).
I told all my friends it was my fault.
I booked a session with a highly skilled counsellor and two introductory appointments with solicitors immediately. The solicitor’s appointments were because I was worried about him suddenly stopping money – I’m a stay at home Mum.
I was really shocked when at these appointments, all three seemed to be suggesting he was emotionally abusive, and one solicitor thought I was being subtly coercively controlled by him. It all got a bit too much, and I ended up with the mental health crisis team. The doctor there told me I should be speaking to women’s aid. I was horrified – no, no, I said. It’s all my fault, I’m really difficult to love. He’s a wonderful man. I feel so terrible that he’s turned his life upside down like this. This meant I ended up longer with the crisis team.
I saw my counsellor a few more times. We talked about how, when we moved to the area we live in now, I didn’t want to move there. It’s too rural, it meant leaving all of support network behind (his family live nearby – I wouldn’t necessarily call them a support network), and there was no way I could work in the career I love, where jobs tend to be in cities, without putting our daughter in a lot of extra day care. Counsellor asked why I agreed to the move. I had to think about this. I gave in – he kept telling me he’d be happy there. At the time he was witholding intimacy and I didn’t know why.
In the end we moved, and the intimacy continued to be witheld for a total of two years. On that time, I think we had sex less than 10 times, and every time it was because I’d plucked up the courage to ask for it, fully expecting to be rejected. I was really confused – we had agreed to try for another baby, and I couldn’t understand why we weren’t having more sex. I asked him about this, and he said it was because of his (detail removed by moderator) – his sexual response had gone. I completely backed off. In the back of my mind I wasn’t sure he was telling the truth.
Our daughter became toilet trained, and mist mornings she’d cry because she couldn’t get into the bathroom because he was in there with the door locked. We aren’t a family that usually locks doors – if I’m in the shower, he has no problem walking in and using the toilet in front of me. I though it was strange, but I put it down to him putting boundaries in place with our daughter.
A few months later, this was still happening. We had the same model of mobile phone, and I accidentally picked his up. I went on Google search, and it showed me the last thing searched for. It was a porn website. I looked at the browsing history, and saw this was a frequently visited site. At that point I realised I had the wrong phone. My initial thoughts were that one of his friends had played a practical joke on us. I approached him about it, saying his friends should stop doing that, our daughter will see it. His face fell. Then I thought I’d been really insensitive – he was testing his sexual response. I apologised to him. He looked as guilty as hell. I asked him when, where, how often, and for how long. He said mornings, bathroom, a few times a week and for the last two years. I went straight upstairs, broke the bathroom lock and then barricaded myself in our bedroom. I refused to talk to him for a few days. Then he told me through the door – he’s sorry, my reaction is scaring him, why aren’t I shouting. I asked him why. He said it was because it was easier to do that then tell me he didn’t want a second child. I was shocked. He told me it was my fault – I wouldn’t have taken the news very well. I told him I wasn’t sure I could trust him anymore, and he got tearful, saying he felt physically sick at the thought of loosing me.
I immediately booked an appointment to have a coil fitted. I told him about it. But nothing changed for another three months. In that time I turned myself inside out trying to fix it. Lost weight, changed my hair, changed how I dressed, started to wear makeup every day. He got cross about the money I was spending, because I went into my overdraft doing these things. In the end, I blamed myself. I’m too fat, I’m too needy, I’m getting older, I have stretch marks from our baby.
I tried so hard to forgive him for his hidden decision to have no more children. I begged him to come to couples therapy about it, as I was so distressed I couldn’t find an acceptable way to tell him how I felt. He said he couldn’t be bothered.
Then every little disagreement we had would end with a nasty circular argument, And I would fly into a fit of rage. That Christmas, he “forgot” to buy me a Christmas present. My Mother told him off about it. I have a difficult relationship with my Mother because of things that happened in my childhood. But in adulthood, we are generally fine.
The following year, he started to point out flawS in my mother’s behaviour towards me. The arguments continued. Eventually he persuaded me to see a counsellor about my relationship with my Mother. The counsellor wondered whether I’d ever been assessed by a Physc, because I was showing signs of emotional instability. I saw my GP, who was already concerned because I wasn’t responding to medication for my depression. He asked both me and my husband if there was any chance my depression was situational. My husband was quick to say no, but there is a problem with her relationship with her mother. In the end I was referred to community mental health, and a diagnosis of borderline personality was suggested. My husband quickly printed out all the information he could find about it, and at the next appointment he pushed for them to make a diagnosis. I thought he was being so supportive, trying to get me some treatment. The doctor refused to make a definite diagnosis because I don’t have many of the behaviours that come with it – just emotional instability.
He told me it must be because I was emotionally abused as a child, and I went along with this because my mother does have narcissistic traits. My relationship with my Mother crumbled.
They gave me help with managing my emotions, and almost immediately the arguments stopped. Then I noticed something odd – he appeared to be deliberately trying to provoke me into a rage buy saying hurtful things. This worked a couple of times, and I told my therapist about it. She gave me some techniques I could use – basically to make a quick exit when that happens and go somewhere safe to calm down. I only had to do this twice, and the behaviour stopped. I suggested couples therapy again. He was non committal. I persuaded him to have some therapy, because I felt so guilty about the arguments. He went to that.
Then a few months later, he’s on a work trip and he calls me. In that conversation he told me he didn’t fancy me, never had. I was devastated. When he came home, he gave me flowers, chocolates and an apology. He then asked me to remove my coil. I said I would, but I thought it would be a good idea to go to couples therapy before I do that. I told him I was really confused. He agreed.
Then without consulting me at all, he resigned from his job, telling me the reason he “treated me like s**t” was because he was unhappy with work. He then took a temporary contract that was hundreds of miles from home. Because it was temporary, I had to stay at home with our daughter to keep her from keep having to change schools. He was working through a limited company, and wanted to use my tax allowance, bringing me into higher rate tax. I pointed out that this made it hard for me to return to work – something we had agreed I’d do now my mental health was improving. He told me there was no point in me working because he was earning so much.
I objected at the way these decisions had been made, and his response was to remind me it’s what he needed to do to be happy. I immediately linked this to him claiming he was “treating me like s**t” because of being unhappy with work.
He was incredibly generous. He hired a daily housekeeper and gave me a generous budget to spend on beauty treatments and coffees with friends. I found it very hard to object to his decision without appearing ungrateful. At the start, I told him that I didn’t want the money, I wanted him. He said “do you want me to take a job like the last one?”. No, I said, but you could always take a temporary contract closer to home. My biggest objection was that we couldn’t do couples therapy.
There were lots of conditions attached to this new lifestyle. There was to be nothing to do around the house, including laundering our daughter’s school uniform, at weekends. He didn’t like the journey, so he expected me to do 50 mile round trips to collect him / drop him off once a week. My close friends, especially ones who knew me before I met him, were remarking that a appeared to have become a stepford wife, not something they’d expect of the vibrant confident and resourceful person they knew. I told them that was the old me, I’m not like that anymore.
In all other respects, he was a model husband over this period. Sex was regular, he bought me presents. I was so happy – I thought our relationship had turned a corner. But for some reason my depression got worse. This appeared to irritate him. A few months later, we are back to where this story started.
So, I’m really confused. Is this emotional abuse? I’m not sure at all.
31st December 2015 at 7:15 am #6841White RoseParticipant
I’ll agree with what you think. Sadly this is emotional abuse. You’re probably coming round the the hard stark realisation that it is already.
It’s a story very similar to mine in many ways and it took me nearly twice as long as you to realise.
It’s hard and it’s sad and it makes you feel at fault but no matter what he tells you this is not your fault.
I can appreciate how you are feeling at the moment but regardless of how it is that you came to be separated its going to make it better for you and your daughter.
Take advice from solicitor and women’s aid and keep posting here for anything. If he divorces you, so what? he’ll lie about grounds and ultimately it doesn’t matter. He may not as he’ll not want to give in to his failings by doing so. Solicitor will advice you.
You’ll identify more abusive incidents in weeks/months to come…. I still do and wonder how I was stupid enough not to have realised what he was doing to me.
He’s thecone who’s taken your confidence from you. You will get it back and youll find you are stronger than you think.
You’re daughter has experienced the abuse too. Keep her close and let her school know what’s happened if they don’t know already.
Thinking of you and sending love and hugs. Take care x*x
31st December 2015 at 8:23 am #6842Falling SkysParticipant
I can only agree with all that White Rose has said. I call it Gilded Cage Abuse, people look at what you have and think how lucky you are. I found people wishing the life I had, I would say be careful for what you wish for because you just might get it.
I was in my relationship for over three decades, I knew it wasn’t right, but I didn’t realize it was abuse, till I spoke to my solicitor. Don’t beat yourself up about the past look forward to a better future.
We are all in it together xx
31st December 2015 at 11:02 am #6848WanderingCloudParticipant
I would echo what Falling Skys has said and that for all the money you had, the presents etc, everything was done on his terms and were not done to make you feel good but for his own benefit. They are like a mask so that if pople were to look closely at you both, they would immediately see how fortunate you were, you didnt have to work, you were able to spend money on yourself, they would be envious of your lifestyle so that if you ever thought of grumbling, he could immediately say to you just what he has done and spent on you and he did this because he loved you. It is also controlling behaviour. He says you dont have to work but is that because you can be at his beck and call, so that you lose your independance and have to become reliant uopn him. Unfortunately, emototional abuse is very subtle, the controlling behaviour you mistake for love, you gave your all to the relationship because you wanted to make it work however he was unwilling to go to therpay with you which doesnt sound like someone with the same level of committment. He wanted to make sure that his behaviour was kept within your 4 walls as he didnt want to risk a councellor identifying what he was doing to you. The easiest but most cruelly was for him to blame you at every opportunity for things that were going wrong and be unsupportive of your relationship with your mother. That is what abusers do. When they have run out of nasty things to say to you, they start on your family and friends. This is a way to start isolating you from them, they find fault until you are so stressed with them going on, it is easier to cut contact.
You need to begin looking after your own needs now and forget about what he wants. Physcological abuse is horrible as there are no physical scars to show to people. Not everyone understands how devastating the abuse is, they think it is easy to just walk away but believe me, it isnt. I am still with my abuser and am slowly finding the courage to leave even though at times he can be the nastiest, most vile human being to me.
You need to continue with your councelling and focus on you and your daughter. Take whatever support there is on offer including this forum where you will find lots of helpful advice. xx
1st January 2016 at 2:24 pm #6880foggyhereParticipant
Thanks everyone. I know that none of what he did was intentional, and that his behaviour points to him having his own issues, which he simply won’t face. I think that’s probably why I get upset when he’s referred to as an abuser – I don’t like labels.
However, it helps massively that I tell myself “next week I’m filing a divorce against the man who masturbated to porn instead of having sex with me, both as a form of punishment and to single handedly make the decision to have more no more children. I gave more than I could emotionally afford to give to repair the damage this did to our relationship, whilst he expected me to just be able to accept this without being angry. He is gaslighting the effect this had on me, so that he doesn’t feel guilty about his actions, both now and in the past. It sets a bad example to our daughter to see her mum constantly reinventing herself to keep this man happy.”
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