26th October 2023 at 10:11 am #162688GreenHopeParticipant
New here and the posts I’ve read while lurking have already been a great help. I’m coming to terms with the fact that the traits I’d labelled as ‘couples issues’ or ‘communication problems’ have actually been abuse all along. Reading Lundy Bancroft’s book was like being hit by a sledgehammer the first time I read it.
I now accept that he’s raped me in the past, and that sexual coercion is almost constant in our relationship to this day. We’ve been together a long time and the worst ‘incidents’ occurred before we got married and it makes me feel so stupid for having not seen it for what it was. I don’t think I had the knowledge before to know how to properly identify this ‘pressure’ I was experiencing and trying to communicate to him. I’ve blamed myself for years. But what else do you call it when you give in to sex to avoid being punched in the back while trying to sleep?
I can now see the cycle of abuse, and so so so many of the tactics and thought patterns from Lundy Bancroft’s book are obvious now I’ve started keeping a journal – even during the ‘good’ times I can see patterns and motives which were invisible to me before. There are some clear ‘red flag’ behaviours, like the sexual coercion, (detail removed by moderator) smashing things in a rage, blocking doorways, (detail removed by moderator) and even punching the dog.
The problem is, I’m still finding it so hard to reconcile the good parts of him, and the part of him that’s been my best friend of many years, with this abuse. His abuse seems to be centred on gaining limitless emotional support and intimacy from me, as opposed to trying to control me like a possession.
He’s incredibly supportive of my independence in terms of going out, making friends, having hobbies etc. and never tries to control what I wear or how I eat. He’s supportive of my career and he’s an involved father. He was an excellent co-parent when our child was a baby and a great birth partner. When things are good, we laugh all the time, we build dreams together and reach for goals as a family. We discuss all the time, as equals, how we want to live and what our lives could be. Our values align on so many things and we love to debate politics, religion, philosophy – anything really. He seems to really believe in the power and equality of women in all aspects of life. The good side of our relationship really is good. And that’s the heartbreak.
I’ve resisted the idea that he’s abusing me in a large part out of the fear of what it could do to him to carry the weight of that accusation. It’s tearing me apart to try to work out how deep the abusive tendencies go, whether he’s a threat to our child, what kind of separation I could be looking at. I’m terrified of realising that he might be a threat, and needing to pursue some kind of enhanced parental responsibility, but being too scared and guilty to use the law to prove the abuse. It crushes me to think of him having to carry that label, having this person he trusts throw that at him and take everything from him.
27th October 2023 at 8:50 pm #162714LisaMain Moderator
Welcome to the forum. Thank you for sharing so openly with us. I’m glad that you’ve already found reading the forum to be helpful and are now feeling ready to post.
The difficulties that you describe will be familiar to many of the other women on this forum, you’re not alone in struggling with the fact that the nasty side of the abuse isn’t constant. A relationship with a perpetrator of abuse can have incredible highs, they can seem at times to be the perfect partner, but they are controlling when you get this version and choosing when to be the nasty, more overtly abusive, version. This is part of what can make domestic abuse so confusing. It’s an incredibly difficult time when you start seeing and then understanding the abuse, there’s so much to process, it can be overwhelming.
Keep reaching out here as you need. You could also get in touch with your local domestic abuse service for some ongoing support to help you make sense of everything and understand what your options are from here.
Take care and keep posting,
28th October 2023 at 11:33 am #162722HereforhelpParticipant
Hi greenhope, welcome to the forum…
I think when in an abusive relationship we start to separate the good and bad side of our partners (often described as Jekyll and Hyde on here)… the nice side is part of the abuse cycle and that can be really difficult to accept (I struggled to accept as my husband could also be kind, thoughtful, an involved dad when our children were younger)..
Your partner knows what he is doing when he is abusive, it is a choice he has made…. hitting your dog, Sexual abuse etc… when I was with my husband I lived for over 2 decades and slowly the drip drip of abuse (amongst some.great times, holidays, birth of our children) it doesn’t stop and once you recognise some of the abuse you cannot unsee it and there’s nothing you can do to stop it as he is the one who is choosing to treat you this way.
Keeping a journal can be really helpful…
What jumped out at me from your post is you are aware which is good, trust your gut but also you want to protect him from being held responsible and called out for what he is doing.
“It crushes me to think of him having to carry that label, having this person he trusts throw that at him and take everything from him”
What you wrote is very relatable and poignant… it crushes you to think of him having that label… he makes a choice each tike he is abusive and you are not responsible for his choices.
There are so many lovely women on here who (sadly) will also understand what you are going through.
28th October 2023 at 12:33 pm #162726minimeerkatParticipant
i agree with not separating the 2 sides of a partner as it is all part of the abuse.
i knew a side that was loving, caring, kind, sensitive, helpful, funny, also sharing all my own thoughts & views about everything. i think they call it mirroring.
the problems begin when you see something or they behave in a certain way that just doesnt add up. you then find yourself incredibly confused because of who you truly believed this person to be.
its can end up where they only show you the smallest bit of human decency, & this still ends up being enough for you to keep waiting & hoping for that wonderful person to appear full time again.
i hope you can connect with your local da service to talk about your experience, concerns & fears. they, like the forum will completely understand & support you as much as you need x
28th October 2023 at 6:48 pm #162732GreenHopeParticipant
Thank you all so much! You have no idea how much I needed to hear this today, about not separating the two sides. He’s being great today and I have such a strong protective loving instinct towards him. This is despite him crossing a new line yesterday which had filled me with so much rage that I’ve planned to report the incident to the police on (detail removed by Moderator). I just hope I’m still strong enough by then!
It’s hard to hold onto the anger. I’m trying to remember what Lundy Bancroft says about the relief and gratitude you feel when they stop an abusive episode. I can feel the trauma bonding now I know what to look for. That knowledge is the only thing keeping me sane I think
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