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    • #124189

      Hi, I’m new here so I guess this is a hello and a post all in one. I know we are not allowed to give specifics so I’ll just say that we’ve been separated for a long time now and although he has moved out again a long time ago I am stuck exactly where I was when it was fresh. It is not fresh anymore and has been a long time but he still calls me everyday and/or visits (using our child as the excuse). He still addresses me by pet names. Our child does not want to go to his so he comes here to visit. He was never physical but an exceptional manipulator and emotional abuser. Even my child has learnt to manipulate and the social believe this is learned from him. I am unable to stand up to him (or my young child actually – it’s pathetic). He says can I come and visit and although I don’t want him to I hear myself say yeah it’s fine. If for some reason he doesn’t message I worry and feel I should message him even though I hate him. When he is around my brain kicks into his needs before mine, have to make him happy mode. I have researched it and spoken to WA and it is apparently a very common trauma response. I hate him but he’s programmed me over years and years and now I can’t reboot. I guess I just wondered if anyone had been threw this and how they changed it. This will never change until I can say no to him. He calls and talks for hours, always tells me about his day and asks all about mine. He wants every detail not that there are many. I tell him it’s not business when I’m brave and he gets upset as we should be friends for our child and says he’s only asking and why am I so mean. I end up apologising and telling him what I’ve done even though inside I’m screaming. I have no friends and I mean not one. I am finding it all really hard right now. I always thought the hardest parts would be ending it for final time and getting out but it wasn’t. This is so much harder. I feel so alone and sad. How do I change my responses to him and how do I make any sort of friends later in life?

    • #124197

      Welcome to the forum. I’m sorry you feel so trapped but it’s really positive that you recognise it’s a continuation of his control and manipulation.

      What do you think will happen if you didn’t answer his calls? Or if you answered his call and stuck strictly to talking about your child? If you said, “Can’t talk now, I’m busy.”

      Have you formalised child custody? If not, do you think it would help? You shouldn’t have to make arrangements on a daily basis. It’s unfair on you.

      I’m wondering too why you give your child so much power. Unless they are in danger at their father’s house, I think you should insist they go there for visitation. Or somewhere else. Definitely not in your home. It’s worrying that you see your child exhibiting controlling behaviour. Probably best to nip this in the bud, take back control, remind them who is the adult and who is the child.

      You don’t need to let your ex in the front door if you don’t want to. You don’t need to speak to him if you don’t want to. You don’t owe him anything except healthy access to, and communication with, your child.

    • #124199

      About making friends – it’s hard for everyone right now so don’t be so hard on yourself. It’s also hard to make friends when we’re still locked in abuse. It’s like your feet are stuck in treacle, you can’t move forward.

      I’d moved across country just a few months before the first lockdown. I’d hardly had time to find my feet, let alone make new friends. But I had joined a Pilates group which moved to Zoom classes. It’s strange but I feel I’ve got to know these people better in lockdown. We see into each other’s houses. We’re looking forward to getting together for a night out.

    • #124204

      Hi Tryinganewway I understand how you feel. He has manipulated you for so long sometimes its easier to just go with the flow even though you know you shouldn’t. It’s hard and draining but you have to take back the control. Trying and sort out some access with your child, through a third party or mediator and don’t allow him in your home. When you communicate keep it short and only about the child, if he tries to deviate or talk about you or him, just blank him or end the conversation. It’s difficult and your rational brain will think he’s only talking or being nice but he’s not. He thrives on feeding of you. I have to deal with my ex in the same way. When he collect my child he is always late at drop of and collection. He manipulates my child and they don’t want to go sometimes. I am trying to educate my child with books about boundaries etc so that they will realise for themselves without me having to badmouth their dad. Although as they get older they are becoming more aware. It’s a horrible situation, and the ex will never change all you can do is protect yourself, set boundaries for you, and your child. I’m still navigating this minefield myself and still learning. Reach out for support as much as you can, and post on here. There’s lots of ladies that can help and offer advice. Your not alone x

    • #124208

      Hi TryingANewWay,Welcome to the forum. As long as you remain in contact with him, he will continue to manipulate you. Wanting to know all the details of your day is a form if control. He is maintaining contact with you as he genuinely believes that by doing this you will go back to him – even after all this time. The only way to stop this is to completely break contact.

      He can see your child through a child contact centre or he can take your child out somewhere. You can find a 3rd party to help with arrangements but don’t discuss visits with him directly and don’t be there and handover. Your local Domestic Violence charity should be able to advise you on what kind of support is available to help prevent you coming into contact with him.

      It sounds like you are still frightened of upsetting him. You don’t have to tie yourself in knots keeping him happy anymore, that was the point of leaving. You need to be free of him before you can help your child how to behave appropriately.

      If you don’t already have legal access sorted out, please do this. Once access is agreed don’t allow him to deviate – it will just give him an excuse to “discuss arrangements”.

      Once child care us sorted out, block him from everything. You don’t have to be friends for your child’s sake. It’s much better to show your child that being manipulative just make you lose.

      Good luck.

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