26th January 2020 at 9:39 am #96496
This is my first time posting though I’ve been following posts here for many months.
I have a very young family. I’ve known my husband for (detail removed by moderator) and we’ve been married for (detail removed by moderator). I have been emotionally abused.
I’ve read so much about abuse so I am all too familiar with how abusive men operate and the abuse cycle. I’ve read Bancroft’s Why Does He Do That (many penny dropping moments reading that book!) as well as all of Patricia Evans books plus several others.
I asked my husband to move out the family home after birth of second child (detail removed by moderator). He agreed and acknowledged he had an abuse problem and that he would seek help for it. I told him I wouldn’t consider getting back together with him until our marriage was abuse free. (I read in Bancroft’s book it’s a good idea to wait until your relationship has been abuse free for at least two years).
Anyway, I find that although the overt abuse has stopped, the covert abuse is ongoing. My husband is extremely manipulative but it is now mostly on a very subtle level.
When I first confronted him about his problem and he agreed to seek help, I truly held out hope that he might be amongst the very low percentage of abusive men who do actually change. I’m aware they are very much the minority. But my husband is really a perceptive person and so good at saying all the right things, I thought he was very genuine in his desire to overcome his issue.
What I’m asking is, is it common for victims of abuse to believe that their partner is different from other abusive men, that they might just have the marriage that can overcome abuse despite what the statistics say? I have held this believe for so long, but now doubt is creeping in and I see my husband’s problem as so pervasive, and woven into the fabric of his character that I now think I must have been deluding myself that he could change?? He frequently tells me what sets him apart from other abusive men, I.e. that he is aware of and owning his problem and taking steps to overcome it. Yet the whole time, my gut is crying out that he’s unchanged because the evidence (if I admit it to myself) is overwhelmingly supporting this. I have frequent bad dreams about him and I don’t feel any peace about our relationship.
Would welcome any feedback!
26th January 2020 at 2:04 pm #96501KIP.Participant
Yes, sadly we all hang on to the hope that they will change and that they love us enough to do so. It’s beyond pain to accept that someone we love is actually deliberately hurting us and enjoying it. We live in denial for a long time because to accept that fact is soul destroying, so I think the denial is a self preservation mechanism. He’s great at manipulating and gaslighting and twisting the truth. Keep a detailed journal of his behaviour and you will soon see there is a pattern. Every time he engages with you, take a step back from the emotion and look past that to see what he’s actually saying. How he’s pushing buttons and deflecting his own abusive behaviour. I’m reading Healing from Hidden Abuse. Even if you just read the introduction, it will give you a wake up call. You can probably see by reading the posts on here just how many of us actually end up accepting our fate, even though we will have tried everything to make it work, it takes two and his agenda is totally different to ours. I’ve not come accross one case in the several years I’ve been on this site with a happy ending or the relationship. I suppose it was doomed from the start because the men we fell in love with never existed. They were just a mask to hook us in. Don’t be scared of change. Change can be good. Change opens up a whole new world for us.
26th January 2020 at 5:27 pm #96515Anonymous
I thought mine was. I so wanted him to be. I thought once he’d stopped drinking, he’d be back to the man I first met. Not so. I think when you’ve invested so much in someone emotionally, it’s hard to accept that you were wrong and tgeyrenever going to change. I remember the man he was, but he was only like that because he was grooming me. It hurts to know all the special times we had meant nothing to him.
26th January 2020 at 6:12 pm #96522HettyParticipant
I’ve wanted things to be different for so long. My husband said he’d seek help. He started taking medication to help regulate his mood but he slyly stopped taking them despite there being a positive impact. We’ve booked holidays and nights away that were supposed to be nice times to give us something to look forward to. They’ve been ruined by his moods and generally joy sapping behaviour.
It definitely is a coping mechanism. Our minds okay tricks on us. It’s a truly devastating place to find ourselves in these abusive relationships with broken men. My gut was screaming out right from day one and now I’m trapped with my son currently. This is my second emotionally abusive relationship. I thought I was doing everything right. Kept him at arms length for a a very very long time. These men set their sights on their prize (an emotional punchbag) and drain us dry of our strength, love and positivity.
Save yourself and your children xx
26th January 2020 at 7:05 pm #96530Anonymous
Hetty, I hear ya! My ex sucked the joy out of everything in the end. Ruined every holiday, night out, celebration. Even a simple lunch out or having friends over were turned into a nightmare. He always blamed his alcoholism, but he got sober and was just as mean; turned out, it was just his personality. The real problem with him was that he didn’t see that he had any reason to change; as far as he’s concerned, he was practically perfect in every way. The only thing he ever did was keep saying he’d change. He’d say he was sorry and then make the same old false accusations and when I asked him what he was actually sorry for if that was the case, he couldn’t’ answer. I still struggle with the notion that he won’t and doesn’t want to change every day because I truly loved him. But I know I did nothing wrong.
27th January 2020 at 11:00 pm #96613fizzylemParticipant
Why gamble on the future unknowns when you have all the info you need from the history already?
It’s hope isn’t it, we call it hope but we maybe choose to feel this so we do not have to face the end and all this brings x
3rd February 2020 at 10:54 pm #97039
Thank you everyone for your replies.
I think I knew the answer to my question before I asked it. Nonetheless my husband is SO persuasive at the time we are having a conversation (always at the point where I am threatening to end the relationship because I can’t take any more!) that I get sucked back in and find myself believing he has a genuine desire to change and the determination to make it happen.
KIP I’ve actually been keeping a journal for over a year now and it is the very thing that has helped me identify the patterns in my husband’s behaviour over time. Every time things are settled and all is “going well” in our relationship, I just need to re-read my journal to remind me of the reality.
What I’m struggling with most at the moment is…We have been “separated”, that is, him out the family home and renting a room 20 minutes away at my request for about a year and a half now. I’ve stipulated we won’t get back together unless my husband demonstrates he has changed. My parents have known all along about this. My mum witnessed his abuse and also ended up on the receiving end trying to defend me whilst living with us immediately after my second child was born.
However, my husband’s mum, who only lives 40 minutes drive from us, still doesn’t know we are living separately. I’ve asked my husband to tell her so many times and we’ve had much conflict over it, with me often losing my temper in frustration. But he still won’t. Meanwhile I am dragged along with this “lie” as his mum comes to visit “us” and our two young kids. My husband pretends to come home from work to our house and then typically gives his mum a lift home at end of evening. We even had her for lunch on Christmas Day with her oblivious to the reality of our situation. It’s killing me. I desperately want her to know the truth. I feel so false in my relationship with her.
At times I’ve threatened my husband that if he doesn’t tell her I will. But then I can’t because it’s his place to tell her. (detail removed by moderator) That would be far worse. But he won’t budge. He says it would destroy her. She will have serious anxiety and depression, will need medication etc Her husband (his step dad) recently passed away. He says it would be cruel to tell her when she’s got so much to deal with right now. He tells me it will alter forever my (good) relationship with her and she’ll never relate to me the same again etc etc.
I think he is terrified of losing the relationship he has with her. She’s been so so grateful to him in recent years (he’s supported her, been a listening ear whilst she’s been grieving) and he says it’s the best their relationship has ever been. He says why does she need to know because we will work through things and get our marriage back on track without her ever needing to know. He says I’m selfish to want to tell her and that I’m only wanting her to know for my own sake (i.e. because it would make me feel better) and not for her sake. He says he wants to protect her from something she doesn’t need to know anything about right now.
So after many difficult discussions, my husband currently says he’ll tell her if it doesn’t work out between us. But she need never know the length of time we’ve been living apart. We can just tell her that we’ve been having some difficulties in our marriage that we’ve tried our best to resolve but sadly we’ve been unable to.
I told him I didn’t want to be married to a man who was living in a false, inauthentic relationship with his mother. Not only that but dragging me along with his lie and “fantasy life”. (detail removed by moderator) All he replied was that it pained him too and it didn’t sit right morally for him that his mum didn’t know BUT that I could ask him to do anything but the one thing he just couldn’t do was tell his mum about us.
3rd February 2020 at 11:05 pm #97041CecileParticipant
Hi there SP you have so much insight into your abuser, well done. I wish I had been the same as you many years ago. What you have said about his abusive issues being woven into his personality and in ways that aren’t screamingly obvious is identical to what I have discovered in mine. Forget about his mother she is not your responsibility and stop the charade that he is enforcing upon you, my heart sank for you and my skin crawled when I read what he is manipulating you into.
Despite your amazing insight and tenacity in doing the right thing, he is still controlling you through this. I have had years of similar. This is how the abuse functions, by Victims such as we are being trained by the abuse in ignoring it. You need to call him out, safely, for your own sake. You absolutely must put yourself centre stage and put your needs first. Where is your rage? Do not be fooled that the set up with his mother is good for the children.
Here I am, decades on, trying to get the most manipulative and disturbed of entrenched and abusive liars out my life and it is nearly impossible. Every day I remember something he said or did in the best that I now know was a lie and abusive to me or the children. I have spent today being sick with self loathing. Don’t end up like this. He will suck your personality, everything positive about you will be flattened and you will become a shell. Go no contact it is the only way.
4th February 2020 at 4:38 am #97044Anonymous
Agree with Cecile. I kept my ex’s abuse and alcoholism a secret for so long, but all it achieved was enabling him. In the end I told everyone. After all, I hadn’t done anything wrong. Now I see it as part of my own journey to accepting what he was and that it had to stop. Your ex is still controlling you with this. Don’t let him.
4th February 2020 at 8:19 am #97051freedomfries01Participant
All that with his mum. He’s not worried about your relationship with her he’s worried about his own! Everything he says is for his own agenda and how it will affect him. Don’t get embroiled anymore in his lies. Take care you’re doing so well xxxxxx
4th February 2020 at 2:27 pm #97066
All that you reply is so very true.
I’m afraid for the future and the fact I cannot completely be free because he is my children’s father. There’s also a very very small part of me still holding onto the hope that underneath all his abuse he surely is a decent person who is just very damaged by a very traumatic, abusive childhood and I worry about hurting his feelings if I were to go “no contact”. Crazy I know. But I’m a very sensitive person. I also worry that he’ll turn against me and by having no contact I’ll have no input whatsoever in his parenting.
Currently though we’ve been separated a while, it’s not really been a true separation at all. It’s been nothing more than us living in separate accommodation and thereby not sharing a bed at night. Otherwise, he’s been round at the house bathing the kids almost every week night, helping me clear up after dinner, and spending most weekend days with us. He’s also stayed over on the sofa several occasions when the kids have been ill (at least it was under that guise anyway!!)
Whilst I know the current circumstances are driving me insane (because I’m still subject to his usually ever so subtle abuse and control) he’s been very receptive to my parenting style and philosophy and has been in agreement with and following it. I’ve also been able to share parenting podcasts and books/articles with him which he has taken interest in.
So…I’m terrified of not having any influence over him anymore as a parent. If I’d left him after the birth of our second child, I’m pretty sure he wouldn’t have the bond he has with them or be demonstrating the positive parenting skills he is now. At the same time, I also can’t possibly get back together with him and let him move back into our family home as I know the kids witnessing an abusive marriage will cause them even more harm than us co-parenting separately.
Caught between a rock and a hard place and finding it unbearable and tragic (esp for my children’s sake!). I want to cry for what my children are losing. I grew up in a stable home with loving parents in a stable marriage. I wanted more than anything to raise children in that same loving, stable environment with two parents. I reckon that’s one of the main reasons it’s been so hard to swallow the reality of my situation and face it head on. I’ve held on to hope of my husband undergoing a miraculous change because I didn’t want to have to face the alternative scenario. That, and the fact that I had such a traumatic birth with my second child, for which I still have significant physical injuries (and psychological) that I wanted to be as healed as I possibly could be from the birth before I faced the reality of my marriage.
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