Just can’t leave now he’s being nicer

This topic contains 30 replies, has 14 voices, and was last updated by Profile photo of Goggleeyes Goggleeyes 1 month ago.

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  • #62118
    Profile photo of Poets corner Poets corner 

    Posted on here a few times. The abusive behaviour has got a lot better since I brought up a separation but I still really want to leave. I just don’t love or trust my husband any more. I can’t see how I can get any of it back. But I feel that I can’t split up my family and take the children away from their Dad. They’re just so little – none of this is their fault. It’s my fault, I walked into the marriage knowing there were warning signs, then tried to leave early in the marriage but wasn’t strong enough.
    Do I just live with it now, or is it better to make a break while they’re still small? It’s just hard to leave while he’s making an effort to change and I hate the thought of separating everyone.
    I just don’t know what to do, I feel like I can’t be a stable parent to them at the moment because I’m so unhappy and crying all or angry the time.
    Family and friends are now saying I should stay and work at it as he’s making efforts to change. I just can’t take the cycle happening even one more time. Just all feels too overwhelming. Really don’t know what to do next. The control and fear is so hard to explain to people.

  • #62119
    Profile photo of Tiffany Tiffany 

    You can leave and you should leave. The cycle will come round again. The abuse will escalate. It will affect your kids. It’s hard enough on them to have an abusive father, without living with him and seeing him hurt you daily. Try and use the good patch to gather your strength and organise to leave. Don’t discuss it with your husband. You tried that once and he has upped the love bombing by the sounds of it to keep you in your place. If he realises that you are still planning to leave there is frankly no telling what he will do. It will make it harder to leave though. This guy knows you inside out. He knows exactly what kind of manipulation works. That is why you haven’t left already. You have to do this with support from outside agencies, but without telling him. Try calling the helpline. You deserve to be happy, and that won’t happen until you have left.

  • #62120
    Profile photo of Dragonfly Dragonfly 

    When I read the subject heading my first thought was for you to look up the cycle of abuse. Now I’ve read your post I’d still recommend that. I got married, I shouldn’t have. We had our son before marrying. The red flags were there beforehand and even on the wedding day he managed to publicly verbally abuse me. So I stayed married, being miserable, thinking what on earth am I doing but also thinking I work part time now, we have a child I can’t possibly leave. In hindsight of course I could have left. I put up with the abuse until my son was (detail removed by moderator). Unbelievable! When I eventually told him to leave, he did, just like that. I suddenly had more money than I thought I’d have (he didn’t pay child maintenance). I adjusted my hours at work to suit home life then eventually got divorced. Yes that cost me a fortune but my son and I are free. We don’t see him, his choice not ours but hey best decision I ever made.

    Do not be fooled by another honeymoon period, when he snaps again it’ll be worse than the last time. So I’ll suggest again…..look up the cycle of abuse xx

  • #62131
    Profile photo of  Anonymous

    It’s quite typical behaviour from an abuser to start behaving well when they think their partner is considering separation. Most abusers follow similar patterns and this is one of them. Drsngonfly is right. Use this time while he is non threatening to get your strength up and make some kind of plan. Wold you consider that it might be better for you to leave while your children are small and before they start to witness the abuse for themselves? Is it possible that leaving when they are small would give them a better chance of growing up in a new safer environment with no memory of their dad’s bad behaviour? Whatever you decide, I wish you well.

  • #62212
    Profile photo of Sunflowersandstars Sunflowersandstars 

    I hope you have the strength to leave him, your post screams at me that you are o close to that point, put a plan of action into place, try not to think about the future too much the thought is always worse than the action. You will be so much happier, even if it is a bit hard in the first place. Try not to see it as a bad thing separating your children from him and his behaviour towards you. My ex had an abusive father apparently (I never met him was only told his and his mothers side but his older sister disputed this) and he was only in his life regularly until the age of 6. Break the cycle for your kids sakes or they will either grow up thinking it’s okay to treat future partners badly or accept bad treatment. You can do this.

  • #62217
    Profile photo of Poets corner Poets corner 

    Thanks everyone – part of me knows you are all right, but I just can’t do it.
    I look at my children, they’re so little and innocent and haven’t done anything wrong, then I think I’m about to tear their lives apart and it just breaks my heart.
    They wouldn’t understand why I left their dad.
    If I leave it’ll be worse for them, and probably for me. I hate myself for putting us all through this. It feels at the moment like an over reaction because I’m not at any risk of harm. Maybe mental harm, but I don’t even know any more if that’s my fault or his.
    It’s all breaking me and I don’t know what to do for the best. But thanks for listening.

  • #62222
    Profile photo of Tiffany Tiffany 

    You said yourself that you can’t be a stable parent at the moment because of the turmoil the abuse is causing you. And that was written in a lull, imagine what it will be like when he ups the abuse again. Now try to think clearly about this. Firstly, how much hands on parenting does your abuser do? Is he the one who gets up in the night when they cry? Does he cook for them? Is he doing the lions share of the cleaning and washing? He might be, but my guess given that he is abusive is that you will be doing an awful lot of this. And then being belittled no doubt because you are doing it badly. But if you actually think about it, he doesn’t do these things that much.

    Next, how would you feel if your children witnessed your abuse? You say they are small at the moment, and maybe you have managed to keep them away from it. Maybe they are too little to understand. But stay with him and they will witness it. My abuser learnt the tactics he used on me from his abusive father. And there are plenty of people on here who went straight from households with abusive parents to relationships with abusive men. Living with domestic abuse messes you up, even if it isn’t directed at you. And you can’t guarantee that as the kids grow that they won’t become targets of his abuse too.

    If you get out and can be a positive role model that is the best chance for your kids. I know it might be hard practically, but women’s aid can help you there. Give the helpline a call and see what your options are.

  • #62260
    Profile photo of Poets corner Poets corner 

    Thanks Tiffany. No, he doesn’t do much housework, washing, cooking etc – he does bits now and then, so I can’t say that he doesn’t help, but it’s mainly me, mainly because I work part time I think.
    Yes he is critical of things around the house at times. I have to follow rules that I would never put in place myself. He’s very rigid.
    I grew up with an emotionally abusive dad and I always wished my parents split up. We would probably have all been happier.
    It’s just that now he’s being so much nicer I’m doubting how bad it all really is and feeling guilty for still wanting to leave.
    I’m also frightened he’ll try and fight me over the children – as he’s already said he won’t let me leave with them…and scared of the bad feeling that’s bound to result, and the effect it might have on the children.
    I don’t feel I’ve got the strength for it all and don’t know where to go if I left.
    I’m in touch with WA by phone and waiting for 1 to 1 support but they can only offer it during my working hours at the moment. I’ll keep talking to them though.

  • #62271
    Profile photo of Tiffany Tiffany 

    I thought I was doing the lions share the f the housework because I worked part-time. Then I got a full time job and he was home for the equivalent of a working day a week longer than I was. I was still expected to do the lions share of the housework and when I objected I was told it was my fault for taking on a job which was too much for me to manage (subtext when my main job should have been waiting on him hand and foot).

    I would start writing down a list of all the abusive incidents you can remember. Include every time he says something that upsets you now in this “nice period” – he may well turn out to be being less nice than it seems. My ex used his “nice periods” to guilt trip me for not being nicer to him, when he was making so much effort… And he was still dealing out subtle insults and questioning my competence in the guise of concern. It is absolutely insidious.

    Given that you are doing most of the housework and holding down a part time job, which presumably fits around childcare, I can see absolutely no reason that he would be granted custody of the kids. If you take them with you when you leave he has to go through the courts to get access. Realistically, he probably will get some access to them, but so long as it is court ordered he legally has to stick to that, and if he doesn’t the police will help you retrieve your kids and he may lose access. The threat that you will lose your kids is a common one that abusers use to keep you in your place. But it is generally an empty threat, especially when your kids are young and he hasn’t had a chance to brainwash them against you.

  • #62278
    Profile photo of KIP. KIP. 

    Take your kids and run for the hills run fast and don’t ever look back. Take your children away from this dangerous abuser. If he hadn’t fathered them you would never ever allow them to be so close to such a dysfunctional dangerous influence. Remember the FOG of abuse, the fear Obligation and Guilt.

  • #62305
    Profile photo of Confused-and-alone Confused-and-alone 

    Just wanted to say I’m in exactly the same position my husband has started being nicer – I know logically that it’s just part of the cycle and also that even when he’s being nice I don’t really love him anymore, too much has happened. I just don’t know how to leave when he’s being nice I feel like it’s going to destroy him. And I know that’s the obligation and guilt but I like you find myself doubting my own version of how bad things are and worry I’m blowing it out of proportion.

  • #62311
    Profile photo of freedomtochoose freedomtochoose 

    Hello poet’s corner,
    You said it yourself which means I think you know the truth of it.
    And I know the reality of it, i.e. leaving when a child is small enough to rebuild relationship with you, with a mum who is not stressed etc all the time.

    It is better to leave when they are still small. Believe me.
    And if you go to refuge you will get appropriate support.

    Leaving it later will be much, much more difficult
    all best

  • #62317
    Profile photo of Poets corner Poets corner 

    Thanks everyone for your replies. The practical advice is really useful Tiffany, and I feel a bit better and stronger.
    I also find myself doubting things are as bad as I’ve made out and thinking they might all be ok now. I appreciate your concern KIP but I don’t think he’s actually dangerous as there’s no physical violence.
    I just keep remembering how hard it was to contact WA and post on here in the first place, and I would never have done it in the first place unless things were pretty bad. I’ve been through this cycle a lot of times now. I wanted to leave when we were engaged, after getting marrried before we had children, when I was pregnant and when the first was a baby. It always seemed impossible, although looking back all those would have been easier times than now to end it. There’s just never going to be a good time. I think I probably should leave, I just don’t know how I’m going to do it.

  • #62318
    Profile photo of KIP. KIP. 

    There’s isnt physical violence because you back down to keep the peace. The violence will come when he doesn’t get his own way and when he realises he’s lost control and you won’t back down.

  • #62404
    Profile photo of Crest of a wave Crest of a wave 

    Hi poets corner
    I decided to leave about (Detail removed by Moderator) ago after years of all sorts of abuse, he bombarded me with calls and messages, child became ill and needed medical attention and pleaded with me to give him a chance, so I went back
    Had lengthy conversations with abuser, him promising the earth, will go to therapy etc, anything, I explained the damaged that he has caused, and now like you he is being nice
    I know he will not be able to mentally and physically keep that up, and I know that he will end up the same, I am still thinking about my future without him, I can say to my child I gave him a chance, but I didn’t work out
    I also know that he will be more paranoid than before, as I have already gone once before, but I actually feel stronger now,
    I always think I should have got out earlier when my children were smaller, it would have been easier on them, but I didn’t have the stenghth then, and nobody knew about it.
    You will do it when your ready to, but the others have said the nice time won’t last, they can’t keep that up for long
    As people keep telling me leopards don’t change there spots
    Love and hugs xx

  • #62425
    Profile photo of Tiffany Tiffany 

    I didn’t manage to process how bad the abuse was until after I left. I knew things weren’t right, but I couldn’t decide if it was really bad enough to warrant leaving. I did know that he was making me really unhappy though. And in the end I decided that was enough to warrant leaving. It was ok to make descisions that put myself first. It was ok to want to be happy. Honestly, the fact that I was willing to stay for so long in a relationship that made me so unhappy was a clear sign that it was abusive, but it is so hard to be logical about it all while I was in the situation.

    I created a kind of mantra about it as I worked towards leaving. “I have to do what is best for me.” This initially just meant carving out a little headspace – going to a slightly further away supermarket to get the shopping. Meeting my family even when he didn’t want me to. Then I looked into the practicalities of moving out, and finally I left. And when he tried to guilt trip me I would make appropriate consiliatory noises “sorry, I promised my sister…” “I just really wanted to get X (something only available in further away supermarket)” while in my head repeating that I had to do what was best for myself, and that I shouldn’t be feeling guilty about spending a couple of hours in peace, building up to “I shouldn’t be feeling guilty about leaving someone who makes me so profoundly unhappy”.

    I hope this helps. You can leave. It will be ok.

  • #62515
    Profile photo of Poets corner Poets corner 

    Thankyou Tiffany and everyone else. Yes, this is a huge help. I’ve started wondering why it’s been so hard for me to leave this relationship, when in the past I’ve ended relationships that weren’t right for me. Of course I’m married with children now so it’s harder, but even before we got married I remember wanting to end it and feeling unable. I wonder if this is a sign of an abusive/unhealthy relationship.
    I still feel I’m exaggerating it all when I read people’s posts on here and it seems so much worse than what I’m experiencing. But you’re right – even being this unhappy is good enough reason to leave, whether or not there is abuse – and I’m sure there has been, even if it’s not happening at this moment. I don’t think I would make this up.
    I feel stronger at the moment so I hope I can stay strong enough.

  • #62526
    Profile photo of Tiffany Tiffany 

    It’s definitely a sign of an abusive relationship – not feeling you can end it when it is making you unhappy. I too had ended other relationships which hadn’t worked out with relative ease. With my abuser I had wanted to for years, but in the end I only managed to leave with a lot of support from friends and family. If you feel ready to try and leave please reach out for help. Call the women’s aid helpline and talk things through at the very least. And they may well be able to direct you towards further support. They will also be able to help you with a safe plan for leaving.

  • #62955
    Profile photo of Eggshells Eggshells 

    Oh thank goodness I’ve found this thread. That is exactly how I’m feeling. I knew my husband had been physically abusive but they were very very isolated incidents and in the past. I also felt he was controlling but I didn’t realise it was abuse. I suddenly had an epiphany very recently when he bullied me into doing something really trivial because he was cross with me. I pointed this out to him and he seemed genuinely upset at his own behaviour. My abuse hasn’t followed a lot of classic signs. I’ve never been stopped from seeing family or friends, never had money withheld etc. Now he is in the honeymoon period and it’s really hard to leave. I’m struggling to accept that I need to leave, still hanging on to the hope that he will get better. But the more I read, the more I’m accepting that it won’t get better. It just seems to be a very slow process for me though!

    All I can say is that I stayed in the marriage for my kids. They both grew up in a family unit and we’ve had some happy times. They have had financial security and a life full of opportunities that they would never have had if I had left.

    But….. they both have girlfriends whose parents seem to have very similar abusive relationships to mine and that worries me. I’m worried that I have taught them that this is what marriages should be like. I am talking to them very carefully now to ensure that they don’t repeat the behaviours they have witnessed. I desperately don’t want them to become victims or abusers themselves.

    One day at a time and in baby steps, I’m coming to terms with the fact that I will have to leave. I’m going off now to read some threads from the “Life after abuse” section. It might give me some courage.

  • #62971
    Profile photo of Twisted Sister Twisted Sister 

    this is all his fault… you and your children suffer because of him. please don’t let anyone guilt you into staying, its unfair pressure on you, you decide whats best for you to stay or go, as its your life.

    I am just thinking though that its worth remembering that at any point your children could say something, or give something away that could lead to them being protected by services, with or without you, or an adult could make a report if they suspect anything. Please go safely in whatever you choose, and the helpline can give you options and support too.

  • #63002
    Profile photo of Eggshells Eggshells 

    Hi Poets Corner

    So sorry. I’m worried now about my last post. I had no intention of guilt tripping you into staying. What I said about my kids and what they have gained by me staying is true but that does not mean they were a good reason to stay.

    There will be pros and cons to whatever decision you make. Sadly, the victims in this don’t seem to get a win win. It is in the nature of the abuser to take care of themselves at the cost of everyone else.

    The downside of me staying; one of my children also suffered abuse – on a much milder scale, but it was still abuse. That was my fault and I have to live with that. They have seen their Mum so unhappy at times that it must have been bewildering and miserable for them and as I said in my last post, I am really worried that they will both fall into similar relationships to mine. My husband and I have lead a very bad example of how relationships should be and that could affect their lives very profoundly. On the other hand, they might be OK. Who knows.

    Twisted Sister is absolutely right. Only you will know if and when the time is right to leave. There will be so many pros and cons but sooner or later you will know what to do.

    You might not need to make any decisions now. But it might be worth finding out how you might stand. Perhaps start quietly gathering financial information, including pension fund information. Find out about injunctions etc. That way, if the time does come, and it happens very quickly, you’ll know were you stand.

    Apologies again if my last post was damaging. You don’t deserve to have my insecurities weighing down on you in addition to your own.

    Take care. My heart and my love go out to you.

  • #63012
    Profile photo of Poets corner Poets corner 

    Hi, Eggshells. Please don’t worry – your post was very helpful, it sounds like a similar situation to mine and part of the problem is it’s not clear cut. Like you say, if I stay there are both advantages and disadvantages, at the moment the children have a stable family and parent who are together, at least. But I don’t know whether it will damage them in the long term to see their parents being unhappy.
    At the moment for me, my husband has beeen a lot better and seems to be actually trying to change, but I’m still really unhappy with him. It feels harder than when he was actually being awful because I now have less reason to leave. Your posts have brought home to me that I could be in this situation in many years’ time, still unhappy and wondering if I should have left years ago – there’s just no right or wrong answer to that and that’s what makes it so hard.
    You sound like you’re doing really well and trying to help your children have healthy relationships now they are older, which I’m sure will be a great support to them. Thankyou for posting and I hope it all works out for you.

  • #63023
    Profile photo of Twisted Sister Twisted Sister 

    Dear Eggshells

    Please know that my comment wasn’t aimed at you. I am sorry it could have been seen that way. I talk of many outside of our situations who try to guilt about importance of family staying together outweighing everything, when they have no idea what misery the children and mothers suffer on a daily/nightly basis.

    We often put this pressure on ourselves to stay together for the sake of the children, or so that the children have both parents/not single mum, etc. The only reason to be together is because it works that way, that you love each other, and have a good partnership, not that you live in fear, or are unhappy.

    Only he has caused this, there is no easy-out of this, his actions will make sure its not easy to leave, and that you take blame, or are questionable, even when he’s pleading he’s had a revelation and realises how awful he is, thats no guarantee of it not happening again sadly, I learnt to my cost. over and over and over again, over years and years of it.

    You dont need to give any reasons, anyone is free to leave anytime.
    Dear Poets Corner

    as you say, both states are abusive, you never know where you stand with them.

    warmest wishes to you both TS x

  • #63027
    Profile photo of Eggshells Eggshells 

    Thank you TS and Poets Corner. What lovely, understanding ladies you are. TS – wasn’t sure if the post was aimed at me but it made me reflect a lot which was a good thing. Thank you.

  • #63038
    Profile photo of Poets corner Poets corner 

    Eggshells, I’m sure you did what you thought was the right thing for you and your family at the time, which is all anyone can do.
    Thanks TS – he really does seem a lot better but my fear is that it’s only temporary.
    Eggshells, if you find any good advice to help make the decision, please do share it if you feel able. Your name resonates with me – I feel I’ve been walking on eggshells for years!

  • #63041
    Profile photo of Eve1 Eve1 

    Hi Poets Corner,

    I empathise closely with your situation I wanted to leave many times over the years, as a girlfriend, as a wife, as a mother, but it was always too hard. And nobody, not him, our parents, friends, wanted me to leave him. It’s hard when the weight of opinion is against you . Especially when n the abuse is’invisible” to others. What annoys me now is that it’s as if I wasn’t important. And I think I had been brought up not to put myself first, possibly like msny of us on here.

    There is never a good time to leave. And it’s not easy. But it’s important to start to consider what you want. You are important.

    My ex husband threatened to take the children from me. They were empty threats. The day to day care of children was never in his plan. I suspect your husband is similar in this.

    I’m glad you’re feeling stronger. I hope you have some support around you. I found this forum to be one of the most helpful places ever.


  • #63060
    Profile photo of Poets corner Poets corner 

    Feeling so sad tonight. I just re read some of my old diaries back from the time I first met my husband. I wrote so much about how unhappy I was and how he’d upset me so much…then a few weeks later it would be that he’d been lovely to me and everything was wonderful…then back to me being really unhappy again.
    I remembered when we got engaged, how I had actually decided very recently to end it, and it took me a week to say yes. I can clearly remember going for a walk to think about it, walking past a family with children and thinking ‘I really want that’, then deciding I couldn’t throw away the chance for my own family, and must’ve just hoped it would all work out for the best.
    It’s almost like he had some kind of sixth sense I was about to leave him and that’s why he proposed, or maybe that’s too harsh.
    I sounded so confused and unhappy in my diary and I just felt so sad and wanted to reach out to my younger self with advice.
    Now I feel like it’s too late and I’ve wasted all these years being unhappy.
    Just felt upset and about wanted to get it all out.

  • #63066
    Profile photo of Tiffany Tiffany 

    I left in the midst of planning our wedding. I desperately wanted kids, but in the end decided I would rather risk never having a family than to stay with him. I was also on the verge of ending things with him because of the abuse when he proposed, and he absolutely did it because he knew it would keep me hooked in. His only mistake was to fail to realise that an engagement wasn’t a binding contract. He upped the abuse quite dramatically after we got engaged and physical incidents became frequent. He assumed as we were engaged I wouldn’t dare leave. It was honestly the hardest thing I have done in my life. I felt awful for leaving and breaking my promise. I had to contact all my friends and family – who had just recieved save the date notes – that I had left him. I thought people would think the worst of me. Leaving him and breaking his heart. Good God how he milked the broken heart. But to my astonishment most of my friends saw right through it. They took my side and cut him out of their lives.

    My advice would be get out now. There will never be a good time to do it. But if your kids are young they will cope ok with the change. And you will be protecting them from witnessing an abusive relationship, and possibly also from being abused when they get older. You will set the best possible example to them that they shouldn’t accept abuse in relationships and once you are out from the shadow of abuse you will be the best mother that you can be. My guess is that you are a good Mum now, but none of us are our best while being abused, and you can be so much more, so much happier than you are now. Your children will appreciate it!

  • #63133
    Profile photo of Poets corner Poets corner 

    Tiffany, you were strong to leave at that point. I wish I had been as strong but I think at the time I just wanted to make a happy family. Instead I’ve made a broken one and have now got to think of the best way to mend it.
    I just hate the idea of a split family.
    Maybe I should just pull myself together and realise marriage is hard, and try and work through it? I’m questioning my own experience now and whether it can really be so bad?

  • #66583
    Profile photo of Iwantmeback Iwantmeback 

    Dear poets corner, please listen to your 6th sense. It is NEVER wrong.my OH isnt a typical abuser either He’s very generous with money, likes to buy me things since i didnt have much growing up. Yes we weren’t well off but we weren’t poor either. He’s made out that i had nothing growing up, and I’ve tried to convince him otherwise, to jo availe.
    I did and there was love in our family too. He also likes to pull me up when i spend money on trivial things i thought you had no money or something new what did you get me. He’s physically punched me so hard i was bruised fir days. Both times he also ‘made love’ to me afterwards. Even though i didn’t want to, i also needed to know he loved me and was sorry. This is their way of proving to themselves what they did wasnt bad enough as we wouldn’t let them otherwise. Fu..ed up isnt it. Hes pushed me, nipped me, bit me, poked me, pulled my hair, tweaked my nose, even though he hates that himself with a passion, gave me dread legs and arms. He was a boy xyet in his younger days, has gone martial arts. I’ve been choked out strangled, but and its a huge BUT , he was only kidding, having a laugh. Can’t i take a joke.please be careful
    IWMB 💕💕

  • #67142
    Profile photo of Goggleeyes Goggleeyes 

    Poets Corner,
    Get out. Take your children and go, now. I’ve been here. My child lived in abuse for years. The overshadow and weight of abuse in the household is not healthy for them. My child and I didnt even comprehend that our household was abusive until we after we left and got help. I’m gutted that as a living mum who lives for her child was also the person who didn’t recognise the unhealthy situation my child has lived in.
    Do not make excuses for that man, he is hurting you all. Don’t fall for the guilt trips, any honeymoon periods of happiness will only be brief followed by more harm. It’s hard, you doubt yourself- I get it. But leave- even if your not doing it for you. Do it for your kids. After your gone you will see everything as a direct and indirect wholeness. Your children need you to be string for them. Get them out. You can heal and rebuild together. As my child and I did; were stronger, happier and healthier for it.

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