7th December 2023 at 7:30 am #163862
It’s my first time posting here, but I’ve spent many years trying to accept that my relationship was verbally and emotionally abusive. At the beginning I used to cry but as the years wore on I’d stand up for myself and didn’t like the person I’d become as I wasn’t crying anymore I was angry too. I’m angry at myself because I feel like I’ve known all along that there were serious red flags. I left once before but it’s like I’ve been living with Dr Jeckle and Mr Hyde. After every explosive argument I would blame myself for setting it off, feeling I was too opinionated or that I should have picked my battles on saying something. My relationship started to die a number of years ago with me feeling emotionally distant, I no longer felt the same but lived on the hope that things would get better. I refused to believe things were as bad as they were. I saw big life milestones as potential plasters on our relationship that might put us back on the right track, a dog, an engagement, a house and ultimately a marriage. I feel so much shame that people are going to talk about my marriage failing. I felt like my life wasn’t my own and I was living as an extra in his story with nothing ever being good enough, he called me lazy and would constantly blame me for our relationship breaking down as I no longer offered anything or was grateful for how much he did. He blamed multiple jobs for my unhappiness and whilst I’ve had a hard hard time in that regard, he was never emotionally supportive and was distant, we would argue about this and it would turn into world war 3. I’d end up shut in a room upstairs crying while he was shouting and swearing about how miserable his life was with me. I felt for years that my needs weren’t met and his verbal abuse had become normal. He had put holes in the walls of our flat on multiple occasions and on the first occasion I left him he had thrown my clothes everywhere. I remember before I even lived with him there being an incident when he through my (detail removed by Moderator) to the ground in a fit of rage and it broke all my (detail removed by Moderator) inside. I lived my life trying to stand up for myself but slipping further and further into depression. I lost my sense of self. In the end it wasn’t a big thing that made me leave, it was me trying to share that I was anxious and it being blamed on my work once again, I tried to explain we were why and he didn’t explode but gave me the silent treatment. I’d had enough, I couldn’t watch any further years of my life pass me by, the next milestone for us was to be a baby and it had been the heaviest weight to carry that I couldn’t bring a child into this situation, I do want kids but I couldn’t see a future with him and I knew if we did that I would never leave. I left on (detail removed by Moderator), I am incredibly lucky that my mum has known what’s going on all along and my parents are supporting me into the unknown. I’ve asked for a divorce and said I want to sell our house but I’m living here so that I don’t go back into the cycle of forgiving and things never changing. We have a dog so I won’t able to close the book on communication with him as we’ve agreed to share ownership of him. (detail removed by Moderator) he got in touch with me to beg for marriage counselling (I’ve been begging him to get professional help for years) he saw a professional for (detail removed by Moderator) sessions after our first break up then said he was fine now, it ultimately went back to a cycle of abuse. He bought a book in the last year as id been begging him to save our marriage and see someone as he couldn’t do this on his own, to be met with that he didn’t believe in therapy. The book makes an appearance now each time he shares regret for his behaviour. The thing is as I got stronger and would try to stand my ground he started to really shift the blame to me, even in his messages this week it’s been about how he can accept his failing but I’ve not put enough in. I can’t tell you the amount of times I’ve cried saying I stayed. I’m feeling so vulnerable just now and I don’t know what to do. I don’t even know what the next steps are but I’ve reached out to citizens advice and I’ve told my friends for support, my work know I’m leaving my marriage and I felt like I had to do that or I would have gone back again. I feel sometimes like I don’t belong here because people have it so much worse than I do, he was never physical. But I feel like I know deep down this is the right thing. I’m terrified about the future since I had a lovely home and it’s starting again after so many years. I also worry about the long term effects this has had on my mental health and mind in general for the future. X*x
7th December 2023 at 7:58 am #163863wildandfreeParticipant
Oh Takingbackmylife! Well done on leaving! It is not an easy thing to do as probably any woman on here can attest to. Also, never feel like you are not welcome here or your experience of abuse is not ‘valid’ because he didn’t hit you. Abuse comes is so many different forms. I would highly recommend the book ‘Was it even abuse?’ by Emma Rose Byham. It really helps to put things in place and helps to answer lots of those ‘was it me? did I deserve it? should I have changed?’ questions.
You have absolutely done the right thing in leaving. If someone you cared about (friend/sister/daughter) was in the same kind of relationship, what you say to them? Or would you move heaven and earth to help them get out?
Sorry this is just a quick message as have to dash but wanted to reply to your post.
Your story will be so familiar to so many women on here.
Stay strong and keep messaging.
7th December 2023 at 8:43 am #163864
Thank you so much Wildandfree and I’m going to download that on audiobook now, I really appreciate your message. I feel like I do need to process what is happening as I feel like whilst I’m through the door the worst is yet to come with the divorce proceedings and sale of the house. For me this all started so small with comments about being needy or when I cried when he was being verbally abusive being like ‘here come the waterworks/crocodile tears’. When I look back before we even moved in together and I was just staying at his flat occasionally I remember clearly phoning my best guy friend to pick me up because I was in shock how quickly in a disagreement he went from 0-100. He used every name under the sun for me but he knew I’d get upset it he called me the c word and continued to do that almost knowing how much it hurt me. I worry because I was shouting back in the end that I would be seen as just as bad, I feel so much shame at the person I became with him, I feel hollow. It became so normal that he would explode and I would seek to move on so that anxiety in me settled and I could feel safe again and I just wanted a happy life. I knew as time went on this wasn’t going to go away but I kept staying. I feel terrible for my mum who was the only person in the end I was being honest with. Sometimes I’d tell my friends a one off thing but I’d always defend him saying he’s not as bad as he was before. They all knew but they knew I had to come to this place on my own. I feel so let down by his mum who was aware of (detail removed by Moderator) really bad situations in the last year. She told me to stay in the spare bedroom and stay out his way until he calmed down and even offered to pick me up to get me out the house and stay at theirs. Ultimately when they sat him down (detail removed by Moderator) saying he couldn’t speak to me the way he does and shouting at me was unacceptable, they also agreed I wasn’t helping in the house enough, that I was lazy and could also work on how we communicated. I felt sick that they knew how bad it was but still would reason that I had blame too. I’m not saying I’m a perfect person, far from it but I think it’s the lowest bar to expect your partner to not shout abuse at you, break things, say they hate their life with you and that you offer nothing over and over again. I felt isolated from my friends because I wasn’t being honest about what I was going through. I felt like I should be grateful for the things I had in life, a home in an area I could never have imagined, beautiful holidays but I was so empty and so unloved that those things stopped mattering. I would day dream about what my life was before, what it could be like if I left. It got louder and louder as the panic about us planning to have a baby got closer. I know I’ve done the right thing but it’s hard to walk away from (detail removed by Moderator) years with someone. I wanted things to get better and I know I gave it the time I could but I couldn’t let any more time pass me by I was already living in regret. X*x
7th December 2023 at 5:55 pm #163883HawthornParticipant
Just wanted to let you know I could’ve written your story word for word. The verbal abuse, the shrinking of myself, the isolation from my friends, the feeling of having turned into an unrecognisable version of myself, the felling of being entirely hollowed out I side, that I had nothing left. That I was nothing.
I too left a gilded cage- a beautiful home in a lovely area, holidays, cars, pets, fairytale wedding…it all means nothing when you’re soul is being crushed. I also left because whatever I could decide to endure, once I recognised the abuse for what it was (and that took him strangling me) I knew I couldn’t bring a child who had no choice into that situation. And so it was to stay and die by his hand or my own, or escape. And escape I did. The hardest and bravest thing I have ever done or will do.
So I can tell you with the benefit of afew years of freedom- this choice will change and shape you in ways you can’t imagine. It took me lots of counselling and peer support- both here and through my local DA service- time, and lots of hard work on myself, but I am happier now, more at peace and more contented with my life than I could ever have imagined being, even before my abuser- and I had a good life then. I have a new home, new pets, a new job, a great social life with friends old and new, and a lovely warm relationship with a very different kind of man.
This is such a difficult time for you, and there will be dark times ahead as you begin to process all you’ve endured, but we women who survive both in and out of domestic abuse have superhero strength, that’s why those weak charactered abusers choose us. And you will survive this, and thrive. Reach out for support and know that you are not alone. “Why Does He Do That” by Lundy Bancroft is an incredible resource, and the pdf is available free online.
Sending you love and light on your hero’s journey x*x
7th December 2023 at 9:04 pm #163889
I sat reading this reply with my mum and had a cry. It feels like a huge relief to know I’m not alone, it’s not in my imagination and that I might have a more beautiful life after this is all over. Thank you for taking the time to share your own experience. I can’t believe how similar they are, a gilded cage couldn’t be truer. I’m so sorry that you had to go through this, it hurts my heart that it’s more common than I ever thought it could be.
I definitely want to begin counselling as I’ve a lot of unlearning to do and I need to find myself again, another member messaged me today about the DA services and I was worried before today that I’d be taking someone else’s space that might need it more, but both of you have made me see I deserve the support as what I’ve experienced is abuse.
Thank you for the book recommendation, I’m going to take a look at the PDF that you mentioned tonight.
Sending you lots of love back, thank you for making sure that people in the situation know there’s hope for a better future. X*x
7th December 2023 at 9:24 pm #163890AtsahParticipant
Well done for leaving.it is hard starting again but you will do it you had the strength to leave you can now build your new life.i did it after been married for over 20 years.everything is a learning curve and there are ups and downs but you will do it..you should be so proud of yourself for doing it.
9th January 2024 at 9:34 am #165115StrongLifeParticipant
Good on you for leaving. Why do they always hit walls and doors? I could never understand the level of anger required to actually hit a stationery wall.
Your story with the book is similar to what I was going. Marriage counseling sessions was what I wanted but never came about. Gave up in end when I book first one and he did not show up?
Good on you for moving on.
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