10th March 2021 at 6:31 pm #122994
Seems a strange thing to complain about but I feel invisible. He is telling me I need to work with him to get us a better future, begging me not to leave. My kids are all grown up, one wants me to go to marriage guidance, one thinks I need to tell him I’m leaving as it’s cruel if I don’t and she is worried I will find a new life and leave them behind. My youngest wants me to leave but wants me to be happy. My family and boss think I am leading him on by still cooking and everything.
It doesn’t matter how many times I say that I need to do it at my pace, the way I want. I know they mean well and everything but it’s so overwhelming. Trying to push myself to leave because I have to for my sanity.
I’m not used to standing up for myself. I always put their wants and needs first and feel guilty if I don’t.
I am choosing to try and ignore them and just do it my way quietly but it’s exhausting as well as dealing with his crying and begging.
Sorry if this is really pathetic, just on here I can put my thoughts down. Getting more exhausted and numb as the days go on.
10th March 2021 at 7:05 pm #122995
It doesn’t sound pathetic at all Catjam, it sounds really understandable. I became a ghost before I left, like I was just fading away, becoming air. So I think I know what you mean about feeling invisible. Dealing with other peoples reactions to our situation can be nearly as draining as the abuse itself. Keep reaching out here and to womens aid for support, we understand how difficult it is.
It’s also maybe because the end is nearly in sight now too, just around the corner, and you begin to realise the weight of the burden you’ve been carrying for so long and how exhausted you are. But dig deep, you have come so far and you are so strong. You can do this.
Your children are adults and have their own lives now. You have raised them and given them, and your husband, so much of your life. It’s ok to take it back for yourself now. You dont need anyones approval to do what you know is right. You deserve a free and happy life and it is waiting for you. Time to put yourself first for once.xx
11th March 2021 at 5:39 am #123014
Relieved someone understands. I feel I am having to constantly justify myself and that actually no one is listening to me. Sometimes it feels like they are all just like him. Using guilt and the disappointment chat to make me do what they want.
11th March 2021 at 7:02 am #123017
Living in abuse conditions us to explain ourselves all the time. We tell too much. Your silence is your power, say nothing. Try not to JADE your actions; Justify, Argue, Defend, Explain. It is incredibly difficult to break these patterns but the day you do you will be truly free. Your life is your own and you dont have to explain your choices to anyone. So start practicing now. Saying “I dont choose to have this conversation.”, or just “Really?” Or “That’s your opinion”. You might want to practice saying them aloud. Most importantly embrace the awkward silence, dont feel you have to fill it with explanations.
Your life and your business is your own. If you wanted to run away with the circus you could do that, you are not responsible for anyone but yourself. Your silence is your power, take it back.xx
11th March 2021 at 2:49 pm #123035
That makes so much sense. I never thought of it like that. I will certainly try and do that from now on. Thank you
12th March 2021 at 12:10 am #123063fizzylemParticipant
Hi Catjam, you’ve noticed one of your major difficulties and one part of the reason why you stay, that you put everyone else first; have you considered talking about this in therapy to try and change this? Because until you start seeing yourself as just as important, as also having needs to meet too, your situation will likely stay the same. You can change this, then build strength and make better choices for yourself as result. This isn’t you, it’s dysfunctional, you do this as somewhere you think it’s the easier or only option, the real you needs to be loved, cherished, heard and responded to, is just as important as everyone else, and she feels absolutely ok to be this way / guilt free.
12th March 2021 at 5:59 am #123066
Hi Fizzylem, I have been having help for this exact thing, I think my counsellor is struggling to help me with this as I don’t believe I am worth fighting for.
I do know I am better than I was say a year ago, but I still have difficulty speaking up for myself.
I have begun to wonder if that’s what they are all worried about. I have always put them first and not myself. When I finally leave and start having to totally rely on myself then I hope I will learn I am worthy of me first not them.
12th March 2021 at 6:56 am #123068KIP.Participant
Have a look at some articles on why women find it difficult to say no. It was a real eye opener even without abuse. Fear of rejection, people pleasing, the way we have been brought up to be a ‘good girl’ when we do as we are told and praised for doing so. Add abuse and the fear multiplies.
12th March 2021 at 7:02 am #123069KIP.Participant
Invalidating your feelings and thoughts is mental torture and leaves us feeling confused and depressed. Ignore him. Gaslighting behaviour x
12th March 2021 at 8:17 am #123072
You may believe you are not worth fighting for, but your actions say different. You have had enough self regard and self compassion to reach out for support here and to your counsellor. You have given yourself the time to attend the counselling and are actively engaging in it. You have found a new place to live.
It is so important when we are healing to give ourselves credit for the little wins. The things you have done are more than little wins, they are huge steps forward. Fighting for yourself is not about shouting down those around around you and convincing them what you are doing is right. Fighting for yourself is giving yourself the time to figure out how you’re feeling, and acting accordingly. You are doing that, difficult though it is. You ARE fighting for yourself.
Be proud of yourself and the progress you have made, you can acknowledge that you are much better than you were last year. That’s great! The patterns of putting others needs before our own, people pleasing, self-criticism etc are laid down in childhood, then reinforced with steel from living in abuse. It takes time and effort to undo the old and bring in the new. You’re putting in the effort, be gentle with yourself and allow that it will take time.
Those around you who have benefited from your lack of boundaries (being always available at their beck and call etc) are the ones who will push back against the new, stronger you. Try to remember it is their issue, not yours. Strong boundaries make for healthy, respectful relationships but change is hard for people and you are changing.
Your life is your own. You are not responsible for anyone else. You dont have to justify or explain that to anyone.xx
12th March 2021 at 8:46 pm #123108
Thank you so much. Brought a lump to my throat. X*x
14th March 2021 at 2:59 am #123194CamelParticipant
I hope you’re doing OK. Hawthorn said something really good about the power of silence. It sounds weird but if there’s too long a silence we can’t help rushing to fill it with noise.
Abusers use it on us with the silent treatment. Or when they give us ‘the look’ but say nothing. We react by filling the silence.
In the same way we can silence all the voices around us. Resist the urge to reply to the ‘helpful’advice. Maintain eye contact but don’t speak. (Trust me when I say it gets easier with practice!) Hold your nerve and say nothing. What happens is the other person is thrown off guard. They didn’t expect you to say nothing. The longer you keep silent the more uncomfortable they’ll feel. (And let’s be honest, isn’t it about time? Aren’t you tired of being put on the spot by others, even if they mean well?) You could nod, eventually, maybe raise an eyebrow. Then reply with something vague and non-committal – ‘hmm, I’ll give it some thought’ or ‘thanks, I see what you mean’ or ‘yes, I hear what you’re saying’. They’ll be so grateful that you’ve broken the silence that they’ll fail to notice that you haven’t actually agreed with them.
14th March 2021 at 7:47 am #123206
I have tried these last couple of days not to reply to my boss when he starts. Letting him go on about the stuff I should be doing and not.
I know the kids are worried about the future especially as their dad has never even set an alarm to get up for work. So a lot will fall on them. That’s been one of the reasons it’s taken this long to find somewhere is the thought of how much they will end up doing.
But I realised after advice on here and talking to my counsellor that I can’t stay just to protect them anymore. I have spent a lifetime doing that. They are grown women and they need to stand up to him too.
But I like the advice of saying nothing, I realise they are worried about me not leaving or going back to him when my tenancy is up. Not surprising since I haven’t done anything but pay a deposit so far.
One of the recurring things he has said to me over the years is that other people put ideas into my head and that I use phrases I wouldn’t normally. One of my girls actually said I was doing that the other day. But I found myself thinking but isn’t that how I have lived for the past decades? I don’t know how to think for myself because it’s always been done for me. I was practically a child when I met him, completely naive and gullible.
Sure I can make decisions but it takes very little for me to question that decision.
I have gone off topic. Mind wandering is a new habit I seem to have.
Thank you for your support, it means so much xx
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