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    • #126415
      Headspin
      Participant

      I have been having counselling and when I talk about my experience of abuse I am just in shock. I feel as if I am talking about somebody else. I am still in the marriage, I have mentioned on here before, my husband has a long term illness. My counsellor says I’m still in story telling mode and I know that because there are so many awful things to tell. What I’m struggling with is how I protected him and his reputation for years because he didn’t deserve my support and loyalty. My adult daughters who have been wonderfully supportive after years of believing his narrative, have revealed that he would often ring them to stir up trouble. “Speak to your mother, she’s done this or that”. I would on occasion get abusive texts or calls from them accusing me of stuff, I was so used to being bullied that I would end up apologising or defending myself against outrageous accusations resulting in crippling anxiety on top of my deep unhappiness. I would think, they’re like him, they have his genes. Thank God they know the truth now. My husband has been a “kept man” for years and years. I have always worked, he didn’t, I have done all the housework, cooking and shopping, I have brought up our children, he claimed he wasn’t a childminder and checked out of any childcare, I earned the money, he took charge of it and the children’s allowance because I couldn’t be trusted. This has been my marriage and as I grow in confidence and understanding I cannot believe how I loved him, was loyal to him, defended the fact he didn’t work, waited on him hand and foot and took all the abuse. He has been disloyal and disgusting to me, willing to throw me under a bus with his lies to get me into trouble with them, he sits back and watches the fallout claiming he knows nothing about it. He even got me into trouble with my boss! I am so angry but more than anything, so very shocked that I was taken captive by an abusive man have spent years feeling weak, helpless and anxious. I know there’s hope and I have a future, but I still cannot believe I let this all happen.

    • #126436
      ISOPeace
      Participant

      Hi Headspin, abuse really throws up a whole range of difficult feelings, doesn’t it? I think how you’re feeling is totally normal and shows that you’re accepting the reality of what has been happening. As part of maintaining control over us, our abusers make us feel responsible for what is happening. How you’re feeling now could be heavily influenced by being made to feel everything is your fault for so long. I wonder if your story belonged to a friend or one of your daughters whether you would think the same of her, or whether you would understand how hard it was for her, that she did her best and actually showed incredible strength by coping as she did?

      Something I found helpful was hearing that when the tactics of abusers were used in the Korean war, soldiers were completely brainwashed by them. Soldiers know they could be caught as prisoners of war and are presumably given training against interrogation, but this didn’t seem to help them. And don’t forget, they knew they had been captured by an enemy, not somebody who was supposed to love them. There’s an interesting article here: (detail removed by moderator)

      On top of the abuse, society contributes to making us feel like we’re to blame. So many people respond to accounts of abuse with “there’s no way I’d put up with that” or “why doesn’t she just leave”? I think it’s a combination of not understanding the power of manipulation by abusers and also wanting to believe that it could never happen to them. You might find this article interesting: (detail removed by moderator)

      It sounds to me like you’re doing really well. It’s absolutely fine to feel how you feel but try not to beat yourself up about it. You’ve endured way more suffering than anyone deserves and you didn’t deserve any of it. Be as kind to yourself as you can be. You deserve it. xxxx

    • #126446
      Silverbirch
      Participant

      Hello Headspin, what you are writing makes absolute sense and I remember feeling the same for a long time. It takes time to comes to terms with our own experience and it can be shocking and confusing to see what we have gone along with, once it no longer feels necessary or normal. You may need to tell your story many times before it loses its power and you begin to feel free from self criticism and self doubt. Part of what happens as we withdraw from the relationship is a sort of grief process. When we are in the relationship, we need to protect ourselves psychologically by minimising or reframing all or part of what is happening to us. When that defence or protection is not needed as much, we may experience shock and anger, as happens in any process of significant loss and adjustment. This will change over time. Do whatever you need to do to take care of yourself as you pass through this. xx

    • #126453
      Headspin
      Participant

      Thank you so much ISO and Silver. I hope you have some idea of how truly comforting your words are. What you say makes so much sense and your understanding of where I’m at nearly brings me to tears. Yes, I felt everything was my fault and so powerless. Yep if this was someone else’s story I couldn’t blame them, only because I know the sheer helplessness. The “why don’t you just leave” brigade have no idea at all. I’ll research how soldiers were brainwashed by their enemy, I might get some insight as to how it happened to me!
      I think I am getting better, I have more confidence but still get hit with knots of anxiety when he’s being impossible. Silver, thank you, yes the shock and confusion is overwhelming atm. I need to keep telling my story to the counsellor and to a friend who has reassured me she doesn’t mind me off loading the stories. What you said about how when we’re in the relationship we “protect ourselves by minimising or reframing all part of what is happening to us”. This describes my whole married life, the words just bounced off the page. It’s exactly what happened, is still happening to a lesser extent. I excused his dreadful behaviour as one might a tired toddler. I’m clearly going through the adjustment stage,but I’m encouraged to learn that what I’m experiencing now, the shock and anger is a normal process.
      Thank you so much

      • #126538
        Silverbirch
        Participant

        Hello Headspin, you are welcome. Keep posting. Stay connected with people who will help you stay true to your own emerging reality. You are waking up. I’m sorry for the delayed response – I’m not quick at checking follow up posts :). Take care and trust yourself xx

    • #126456
      gettingtired
      Participant

      It is really quite surreal once you have that awakening.
      Something I’ve started doing is speaking things out loud to myself when I’m in my car commuting. I don’t know why but I just started talking about things to myself as though I was telling someone.
      I wonder what your counsellor means by still being in story telling mode? Xx

    • #126458
      Headspin
      Participant

      Omg! gettingtired! I have been doing exactly this, in the car telling the stories out loud as if someone is listening, glad I’m not the only one. I wonder if it’s all part of the healing process because until I started counselling all my hideous experiences were tucked away where I didn’t want to look at them. I asked the counsellor about story telling mode, he said that the real deep healing will start when I can put the stories into a box, tie it up and put the box on a shelf. Baby steps.

    • #133956
      Still scared
      Participant

      omg…..i so get that…im x years old and but its almost like ive created an imagineaty friend to talk to -to tell them everytbing that has happened to me ( its based on a real person; but they are just someone who has heled me in a working situation….) anyway hope this makes everyone laugh….i had a nightmare the other night(ok not normal first line of a joke) anyway it was about my abusor getting in my house but as i ran up the road i met Boris (as prime minister) he laughed at first them called the police for me….i woke up at this point….funny but not funny…

      this space is a good place to vent thankyou…

      • #133957
        Still scared
        Participant

        im taking baby steps too…but we now have people to hold on to…

    • #133958
      KIP.
      Participant

      Hi, from what you’ve told me about your counsellor, I’d be looking for another one. One that specialises is domestic abuse. Putting your stories in a box, on a shelf isn’t how I dealt with my abuse. Abuse thrives on silence and those stories in my opinion need to be out in the open, they won’t ever go away so learning to live with them and understanding them is how we move on from the trauma that will follow us. Abuse victims can spend a lifetime protecting and defending their abuser and again that’s something a good counsellor should be explaining to you. You should never leave a session with unanswered questions like this. I’d be asking questions of my counsellor. What courses have they done on domestic abuse. What books have they read. How many clients have they treated, how long have they been involved with domestic abuse victims, how many domestic abuse charities and organisations can they name. The wrong counsellor can set you back years x just my opinion and I know I don’t have all the facts but sharing my experience where one nearly got me killed by telling me to talk to my abuser about a separation x stay safe. I learned more from women’s aid. Have you looked at the Freedom Programme and the book Living with the Dominator by Pat Craven. Or Why Does He Do That by Lundy Bancroft?

    • #133962
      Watersprite
      Participant

      Hello headspin I think this is such a normal response to abuse especially the psychological abuse and as has been said your minimising and reframing just so life could be as smooth as possible when living with an abuser. This creates cognitive dissonance and now you are able to see more clearly but it leaves a sense of disbelief, shock, days of confusion for ages but gradually it all becomes clear and those days grow further in between. I’m no expert and maybe ask your counsellor but I think they may mean you are telling the narrative of what happened to you but not yet able to attach the feelings and wounds almost like it happened to someone else. And that is what they will help you to do until it is ready to be filed into the past sure with wisdom to protect self compassion to heal and skills to cope in the future. Take care stay safe and lean on support and enjoy your adult daughters xx

    • #133963
      nbumblebee
      Participant

      Hey there headspin. Me too i originally started seeing a counsellor for self harm but now we talk about my marriage and how nasty he is and my past. Im not good at talking at all and its taking me ages to open up but the times i do my god I actually cant believe what I am saying at times the things i hear myself say about what he does and says shock me especailly when i remember things from decades ago that I didnt even see as wrong. Im still learning and still cant use the word abuse and am still here living it but yeah I wanted to let you know that I have the same reaction as you some days i wanna shake myself hard and say dear god woman get a grip listen to what you are saying run now.
      You are definatly not alone.
      Stay safe stay strong xxxx

    • #134306
      Headspin
      Participant

      Thank you everyone, had gone onto the forum to start a new thread and saw these messages. I know nbumblebee, it’s literally impossible to believe what we accepted and what we excused. I’ve finished counselling for now for financial reasons, but am doing EFT with a student who needs to build up their hours. It’s actually quite comforting to tell the stories again and again, but yes hearing them aloud, it’s surreal.

      • #134307
        nbumblebee
        Participant

        I hope you get some comfort some help i dont want to say closure as thats a c****y word but i hope you do find some peace within sweetie.
        This is just so hard so very very hard and my goodness we need some peace right?
        Sending you hugs, keep going keep being strong and keep believing in you xxxxx

    • #134309
      Headspin
      Participant

      Thanks bumblebee, just having an awful day, sometimes, there’s only so much meditation, praying, walking, counselling I can do. The memories are so strong.

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