12th January 2016 at 12:59 am #7565
I’m very recently out of a very long relationship where he dumped me, (detail removed by Moderator) miles from home and in a five minute conversation, saying it was because I’d chipped away at his love for me. We had just been planning our (detail removed by Moderator) wedding anniversary. I had to go home on public transport, and he refused to come home to tell our daughter. Since then I’ve been in emotional free fall, ending up with the crisis team. Luckily I have the funds for a private therapist, and he seems convinced I have been emotionally abused. In the end I spent a session just outlining the significant events in the relationship in the most neutral way I could.
The therapist remarked that I seem to have been thinking a lot about how my now ex was feeling and that several times I tried to justify the unjustifiable. He also noted that I had blamed myself for events that were outside of my influence. He said this was all indicative of someone who has been abused, and that the events themselves were unacceptable behaviour on his part.
The problem is, and it’s important to note that I have a previous abuse history from childhood, my mother and step father told me that I made my ex desperately unhappy, and that was why he left.
The abuse itself is so subtle and it seems to have eroded my personality and my confidence. To me, the events don’t seem that bad. I told the therapist this, and pointed out there was no violence, no name calling, no public shaming, so is it really abuse. He was absolute that it was. He said I have been knocked about in an emotional sense, and it’s going to take time to recover.
The problem I have is that I never once thought whilst in the relationship that I was being abused. I was desperately unhappy, with unexplained depression and anxiety, and a constant sense that I was about to be abandoned. But I thought I was just flaky and he was a saint for putting up with me.
His behaviour now really shocks me – he expects that although I haven’t worked for neatly the entirety of the marriage, and I am in a mess, I should get a job and move out for the family home within (detail removed by Moderator) months. He threatened to take custody of our daughter when I said I wasn’t ready to support myself. This is so at odds with the man I thought I had.
The problem I have is that the things my parents said, together with my own self blame, keep rattling around in my head, and I think I’m a terrible person who made a great family orientated man turn his life upside down and abandon his daughter, just to get away from me, and the behaviour I’m seeing now is because he’s angry with me for that. I tell myself the abuse is just something I invented because I can’t face the fact I’ve been a bad wife and ruined both his and my daughter’s life. Afterall, the people telling me it’s abuse haven’t heard his side of the story.
So confused. My therapist told me I’m a wonderful woman with so much to give, and I sobbed uncontrollably. He said I have low self esteem, and my priority now needs to be rebuilding that and working out who I really am. I don’t know how I can do this is I keep doubting what he (and others at the school gates) have said.
12th January 2016 at 8:23 am #7588Confused123Participant
not too sure of your details, but clearly it must be abuse if u on this site, dont ever doubt yourself hun, these men just break all our confidence and self esteem, how selfish of your parents blaming u , i would avoid talking to them about your situation, my parents too cant cope with details so limit how much i tell my whole family actually cause there negative reactions have negative impact on me. Continue your counselling discuss with them what happend so u can understand yourself better, this is what i am doing, slowly the true u will come bk,, u cant stop someone walking away from u and neither can u force some to love u so how is that your fault, i tried loads with my ex but could never stop him hurting me so does that make me in the wrong? No hun, we r all responsible for our own choices , he chose to leave u, he chose to be an abuser u deserve better ,i was just saying earlier to some one these men break us and take our self respect away, re build it slowly and do what makes u happy and what is important to u , cause u r important. I am at stage where i do what is important to me, it is hard when people dont approve but im gonna make myself happy now its my life and have wasted enough time thinking of others , part of recovery is admitiing it did happen to u, i was in denial for years and admitting it happenend hurts me so much , but seeing how people had a blind eye hurts more, everyday i fight to make myself strong to get justice for what happened to me cause i wouldnt want ladies to continue going through this,
13th January 2016 at 7:42 am #7661
Thank you for taking time to read that and for your lovely reply.
It is so painful to admit it happened. Because I’m out of the relationship, it sometimes feels as though life would be easier if the penny never dropped.
I’m starting to see I am blaming myself for not being perfect in the relationship – and we are all perfect in our messy imperfections. So yes, of course I sometimes snapped at him when stressed and things like that. Didn’t mean I deserved to be treated the way he treated me.
Fog is lifting bit by bit.
13th January 2016 at 9:17 am #7665SerenityParticipant
I agree with Confused that, at this pivotal stage in your healing, it is imperative that you only offload to people that understand abuse. It can be soul-destroying to confide in people who either don’t understand or even try to make out you are responsible.
Your experience reflects mine a lot, so I can empathise. Just because we weren’t given a black eye or broken arm by our abuser, we question whether it was abuse.
What happens is, when we are in an abusive relationship, abuse in its many guises becomes our normal. And because our abuser makes us think any problems are our fault, by inference we judge that our abuser must be normal, that his behaviour isn’t that bad, that all people must be like that, that his behaviour is excusable, that it is us who is at fault ( we must be horrible or difficult, unloveable, or we must be making the abuse out to be worse than it is).
No one is perfect, but there are many people out there who would never feel entitled to treat a other human being like our abusers have treated us, and how yours treated you. Why you find it so hard to accept it is abuse is because, like my ex, your ex sounds like he is a covert abuser. Physical abuse is not his main weapon: it seems mental, emotional and financial is. Such abusers think they are being clever, that they can claim we are mad to suggest abuse, because they have never hit us ( well, mine did, but made out he was play fighting- you see? Abuse dressed up as play- covert).
Your ex’s treatment of you follows so much the pattern of a n********t- idealisation, devaluing and sudden discard. Whilst with you, they try to control every aspect of your life- your thoughts, your movements, your earning power, etc. Like you are theirs. When they suddenly discard you, they think you can pick yourself up and become financially independent overnight, when it is they who probably prevented you from going out and training and studying and working all these years. They disempower and immobilise you, and then expect you to have the resources and wherewithal to become independent overnight.
The emotional pain you have experienced echoes my experience- typical of someone who has been part of such an abusive relationship for do long.
The questions you have about the reality of it all are due to his playing mind games, feigning innocence, laying blame with you, gas lighting ( saying you are imagining or exaggerating abuse).
Abusers won’t admit they have treated you wrongly. This us because, at the end if the day, they want to continue using and playing people. Admitting fault would be admitting their game plan of manipulation,aging people to get what they want in life. It doesn’t help that these abusers view others as objects, to serve their needs, not individuals in their own right. This s why they react with rage who they don’t get what they want.
Your ex, like mine, is a bully. They feel entitled to discard people without a backward glance, and to expect people to all dance to their tune.
My ex expected me to move out immediately, uproot the kids, put the house in the market and give him 50% of everything, even though he’d been stashing money away for years and taken my money too. In reality, the judge told him that he had an appalling attitude, an awarded me both houses, and my ex was made to feel terrified as I had proved his lies.
An abuser’s version of reality and what he is entitled to is very different to other, rational people’s! Your abuser sounds typically very selfish, lacking in empathy and has a huge sense of entitlement. A court wouldn’t Derek it reasonable that you sell up and move out overnight. More likely, they will see that either you should remain in your home until your daughter is of age, or that you be given time to move, find dork, retrain, etc. It isn’t an overnight thing. For example, the judge will be concerned that you can obtain a mortgage, before telling you to move out. There are many prongs to this.
It sounds like you are going to have to put on your steely armour and be a brave warrior and fight to the death for your rights here, as your abuser is self-interested and doesn’t much care for anyone else, like my ex. Put in your battle garments, emotions are your enemy at the moment, they will steer you off course- you need to fight for what is yours.
We don’t realise how much our emotions and mental health is affected by an undercurrent and threat of having to leave our hind sad being worried about finwnces no security on that level. It is hard to get into that mindset if you aren’t interested in money, as I never was. But you need to step up and fight for your and your daughter’s security now.
Part of you feeling that you are entitled to what is yours, and deserve it, is to recognise that your ex’s view if the works is skewed. He magnifies other’s faults, he minimises his own. What he tells you about yourself comes from his own messed-up interior view of the world. He rounds narcissistic, in that he probably idealiseds people at first, thinking the honeymoon period will last forever, thinks people are the answer to his inner demons, and then he begins to think less if people when he realises they are ordinary human beings with limited resources, and that they can’t get rid of his inner demons. Of course, in reality, only he can do that. But abusers seem to think their partners should do it all fir them, and are angry when they cannot!
You are a good person, a normal person with normal limits and resources. You could have been the best woman in the world- he wouldn’t have been happy, because the problem is in inside him, he has a huge hole, and negative things such as anger, resentment, envy, a childish need for attention.these abusers want us to be the answer to all their problems. These abusers are takers, emotional vampires. They bleed us dry, then dump us when we are exhausted.
What we signed up for, and what us still possible for us, is a healthy relationship built in mutual respect and equality, give and take. But it won’t be with our abusers. X
13th January 2016 at 11:59 am #7672
This is such a mind f**k isn’t it. My interpretation is that in his eyes I broke and was no longer of any use to him. I have to admit that in the last year I wasn’t as demonstratively affectionate towards him, although I still think most men would have been delighted with my level of attention and flexibility in the bedroom.
He’s telling others I was verbally abusive towards him – he’s referring to a handful on incidents when he was trying to get me diagnosed with a serious mental illness (he succeeded with this), and I’d completely loose my composure, be a ball of hurt and anger, and I’d scream at the top of my lungs “I don’t need medicating for you being an a******”.
On top of coping with his threats to turf me out of the house, cut me off financially and take out daughter, I’m having to get the help of the community mental health team again, because I’m showing signs of being over medicated for depression and under medicated for anxiety. To a large extent, my mental health problems have greatly improved since he’s gone. The anxiety is mentally easy to cope with as I know that the physical sensations I have are not a sign of impending doom, and will pass. My agoraphobia has completely lifted, and only comes back when I know he’s in town. I can now blissfully walk up and down supermarket aisles, even spotted a man I’d flirt with under different circumstances!
My mental health carers initial instincts were that I’d get worse. I have friends who’s mutually beneficial relationships ended, and this early on they were still devastated. It simply isn’t normal to be feeling in some ways better.
I’m worried that I spend too much time fantasising about being in a beautiful, messy and healthy relationship. It does provide relief from what I’m facing now, but I do need to confront my situation and get things in line. Also, sometimes these fantasies coincide with my experiences in the relationship, and then I get flooded with anxiety and grief. Think I’ll bring that one up with my therapist.
As an aside, I can highly recommend a book by Carolynn Hillman called “Recovery if your self esteem: A guide for women”. It gives practical steps – something else I should be focusing on rather than fantasising about being in a relationship.
13th January 2016 at 12:42 pm #7674SerenityParticipant
Sorry for my typing errors!
I meant :
A court wouldn’t deem it reasonable
Retrain, find work
Your ex’s view of the world is skewed
14th January 2016 at 8:27 am #7724flowerreadytobloomParticipant
http://everydayfeminism.com/2016/01/gaslit-poem/?utm_source=facebook this I’ve found really helpful also as someone else has recommended to me on here Melanie toni evans you can find her stuff on you tube x
14th March 2016 at 3:08 am #11464determined survivorParticipant
As I was reading your post, I couldn’t help but realize that is how I feel. My abuser never hit me, but he was mentally and emotionally abusive. I have been struggling with the reality of the situation for some time, and I question on a daily basis if I really was abused. Part of me knows that I have been, which is why I joined this group, but part of me still doesn’t want to believe it and questions it. I think about things that happened to me and I question whether it is abuse or just part of they guy’s mental health issues. He has been diagnosed with depression. I was talking with someone at my university, who handles harassment issues, who told me that I had been abused. I refused to believe it, and it took her a while to get me to admit it. It’s good to know that I’m not the only one who questions if it’s really abuse since it wasn’t physical.
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