5th February 2019 at 2:26 pm #71911
About (detail removed by moderator) ago I decided I’d had enough of his anger and coercion. (I spoke to WA after a counsellor said that’s what he was doing and they said the same, which gave me confidence). It was all verbal – but me and the kids were intimidated and it was horrible at home. Since then, we’ve been to a lot of couple’s counselling (I know it’s not advised but I felt I had to in order to prove to myself that I’d tried). For a long time it was text book – he denied everything/blamed me/even said things hadn’t actually happened. Eventually he admitted they had… At first I was over the moon – he’d seen the light, things might be OK. But I can’t move on and I just don’t know if I’m being fair or not.
He’s changed his everyday behaviour – he doesn’t get angry like he did before and his relationship with the kids is much better. But I don’t trust that he won’t change back again. It’s like he’s just decided to not be angry. It doesn’t feel real. He hasn’t dealt with why he got so angry. So I just can’t seem to open up to him – emotionally or physically. He keeps asking me what I want – and I can’t say. It’s hard to prove a negative I suppose. Really I want none of it to have happened and to have the funny, supportive version of him I fell in love with.
I really struggle with what I ‘should’ feel and what I actually do. We know someone who has recently said her boyfriend is angry and controlling and she’s planning to leave. It’s worse than my situation – he does things like watch her texts which I’ve never had. But of course my H says what he did was absolutely nothing like that and how dare I compare them. I keep swinging from thinking he’s right because it’s not exactly the same – but then my H is bound to say that and I need to trust what I know (and what several counsellors/people from WA) have said to me.
I just don’t trust how I feel.
5th February 2019 at 3:21 pm #71914KIP.Participant
The fact that you’re so confused is a sure sign you’re still in an abusive relationship. Even if it wasn’t abusive and you simply fell out of love or lost trust and wanted to end the relationship, that’s what happens. It’s your life to live for yourself. Not to keep someone else happy. Perhaps some solo counselling with someone with knowledge of an abuser would be helpful. It’s beyond devastating to discover that the man you loved and thought loved you in return has been abusing you. In my experience he won’t change for long. Abuse always gets worse and you will be punished for the ‘trouble’ you’ve caused and you just won’t see it coming. The real test will come when you end the relationship. Have a safe exit plan and don’t let him know you’re thinking about it x
5th February 2019 at 4:12 pm #71916
Hi there. Just want to let you know you’re not alone in how you feel. If all abusers lived up to the stereotype then none of us would be with the person abusing us as we’d know from the off who and what they are. The fact of the matter is your oh makes you unhappy with what he’s said, done or even implied he could do, verbally or nonverbally. The fact he doesnt check your texts is neither here nor there. He probably does something to you that that girl’s boyfriend doesn’t do to her. When you’re struggling with what you feel compared to what you should do, that’s due to having been made to feel your reality isn’t the ‘correct’ one, that’s gaslighting. Your oh is on his very best behaviour, how long that lasts depends on how you behave. Are you still walking on eggshells afraid that what you do or say will let his anger resurface. You said yourself you don’t trust his behaviour. if someone gets so angry by what another person says or does, somewhere along the lines that anger will be triggered again. He has listened, he’s just changed tactics. But something will set him off one day.
Keep planning your escape while things are calmer. I’ve found that’s when I think clearer, putting things in place feels wrong because I’m doing it behind his back but if I wasnt so scared of what he could do I’d be able to end this relationship, wouldn’t I?
Listen to your gut, his acting self righteous shows he’s still very capable of losing it with you whenever he chooses. Have you kept journals of his behaviour wirth dates and times if possible. I try to write in mine at least weekly if it’s a quiet spell, but more so when things are fraught. Keep posting, keep reaching out, they are so good at ‘hoovering’ us back in, ONLY to show their wicked side sooner than later.
Keep listening to your inner self, she’s NEVER wrong💞
5th February 2019 at 4:59 pm #71918
He isn’t violent. He’s your typical nice guy in public. So I do feel bad for saying he’s abusive. And I probably shouldn’t have said anything to him. It wasn’t going to go well – an abusive man wouldn’t take it and a non-abuser would be genuinely hurt.
I think I was hoping that he’d truly have realised the effect of his behaviour, like he claims. But no.
I actually spoke to a counselling service via work recently (looking at getting some personal counselling to try and help me feel more confident about my feelings). I swear I didn’t tell them the worst of it. But from what I did say, she concluded he was emotionally abusive. But I still can’t be strong. I feel like I can’t even manage to split properly.
5th February 2019 at 6:48 pm #71921
Admitting our partner is abusive conjures up the stereotypical image of a battered wife and violent thug of a partner. Fir such a small word it has such graphic pictures. Knowing your not responsible for his behaviour, nothing you have said or done makes him angry, verbally abusive, it’s something he’s learned in his developmental years, sometimes it’s so ingrained these people dont know what they are doing is abusive, the behaviour they are repeating was so normal to them as children they repeat it as adults to others. It’s as normal as breathing, walking. Until an abusive person sees what they are doing isnt acceptable behaviour, they can’t/ won’t address it. They very rarely do accept they are wrong and seek help to be better people. They’ll promise you the world, so looking as you don’t leave them, but if you stay, their abuse will just get worse. They make you think your going insane, it’s called Crazymaking. There are so many new terminologies you’ll become aware of, it’s like living with an alien, not a human being at all.
Take care. Remember knowledge is power.
5th February 2019 at 11:04 pm #71925
I am going to say what I always say. You can leave even if he isn’t abusive. If you are unhappy with the relationship you can leave. Obviously I don’t advocate that people generally leave relationships willy-nilly. But if things have been bad enough that you have ended up on here, then things are bad enough to leave even if it isn’t clear cut if he is abusive. The reason most of us don’t is because we have been abused and lost track of what is acceptable and and what isn’t, and what we are permitted to do! If you are unhappy, you don’t owe it to your partner to stay because that makes them happy. You have to put you first. You can’t make anyone except an abuser happy if you are deeply unhappy yourself, because only an abuser would want you to stay in a relationship which made you unhappy.
The same is true if he has been abusive in the past. I read into recovery from being an abuser when I left my partner, wondering if I had done the right thing I guess. What struck me was the emphasis they put on the fact that even if they changed they weren’t guaranteed that this would earn them forgiveness or repair their relationship. That it wasn’t a way to keep their partners. They had to accept even if they changed their partners were entitled to leave, because their changing didn’t undo the abuse. It sounds like you need to remember this too. You owe him nothing. If he has got help, that’s great. But it doesn’t mean you owe him anything. If he thinks it does he is still abusive.
Frankly, with the experience I have of leaving and abuser I would say make a plan and leave. I am not confident he has changed and even if he has you will recover better away from him. But if you aren’t ready to go yet then start keeping notes somewhere private about how things are and what is happening. You may well find you are feeling uneasy because the forms of abuse have just changed to be more subtle, rather than stopping. Having notes will help you identify what is happening.
6th February 2019 at 4:14 pm #71939
Thanks @tiffany. If I was advising someone else I’d say exactly the same. I just find it impossible to trust my gut for myself. I know people leave ‘normal’ relationships all the time and – even if he has changed I am within my rights to say sorry, too much has happened for me. It’s not working any more. But I just can’t. I can’t get rid of the feeling I’m being unreasonable – too sensitive.
6th February 2019 at 4:47 pm #71940
You are not being unreasonable. You are not over sensitive either. If anything you are desensitised after the years of abuse. We always underplay and underestimate how bad things are. Your fear that you are overreacting is a habit learned from the abuse.
You can go. If he tries to stop you you know that he hasn’t changed. And if he doesn’t then at least you get to leave in peace and recover without harassment.
7th February 2019 at 11:45 am #71960
Counselling went as well as you’d expect. The (detail removed by moderator) – foolishly – I’d said that I wished he would acknowledge his anger issues when he was talking about this other relationship and how difficult it was for the woman. It is – but I felt like it was minimising what’s happened with us. But what did I expect – obviously he doesn’t see himself as an abuser (a word I was careful not to use) but because this other man has been talked of as one… and I’ve likened my partner to him, it’s opened the whole can of worms. Apparently he was thinking about divorce and suicide (detail removed by moderator)… Obviously I don’t want to tell him about all the contact I’ve had with WA and counsellors who’ve told me his behaviour is emotionally abusive. It wasn’t like it was me who first thought it – it was a counsellor who I was asking for relationship advice.
I feel like – if he didn’t think his behaviour was justifiable and not like this other man’s – he would be at least a bit upset on my behalf. I’m worried that if I don’t damp this down it would make a split more toxic and worse for the kids. Maybe it’s worth walking it all back somehow, not because I believe it, but for a better outcome?
7th February 2019 at 9:56 pm #71986
I am sorry. This sounds awful. I think you have answered the initial question you posted though. You shouldn’t trust he has changed, because he hasn’t changed. Unfortunately I don’t think there is any way for a split with an abuser not to be toxic. I think you should probably focus your energies on the split being safe for you and the kids. Keep talking to women’s aid. Keep gathering evidence. Make a plan and get yourself out. I know it is scary and you are afraid of what his reaction might be. But that’s part of the FOG. Fear, obligation, guilt. It’s how he is keeping you where you are. You can do this though. You deserve a better life and you really can go out and make one.
7th February 2019 at 10:16 pm #71987StarandlittlestarParticipant
Brewsandshoes, your story sounds so incredibly similar to mine, it’s crazy.
My (almost) ex is careful never to do anything really truly bad. Like yours he has never read my texts or anything. But his behaviour – anger, implied threats, withholding financial and emotional support, unpredictable behaviour, always putting his own wishes before mine or the kids – is still abusive. I have been so miserable and I just didn’t realise what was causing it until I got him to move out for a short time. Somehow I then found the strength to tell him to make the move open-ended. There is no way he is coming back now.
But every time I see him to do a handover of the kids etc, I doubt myself and my decision. I think I should change my mind, to make him happy. I think he isn’t that bad really. I think of how much fun he can be at times, when we see friends and family.
However, as soon as he is gone again, reality comes crashing back and I realise that of course I can’t/won’t change my mind. I have made the right decision for my sanity and my kids’ wellbeing, but it is so incredibly hard to remember that when I’m in his presence.
So I understand what you are saying. The time will come when you have had enough and you don’t swing so much between the two courses of action. In the meantime, as the ladies on here have said keep a record.
What did it for me was writing a chronology of what has happened over the last couple of years. I read it back, realised what I was putting up with and decided enough was enough. I had put up with enough empty promises.
You have the strength in you and you have your kids to think of.
And you have these ladies. The WA forum has helped me so much. It will help you too. X
8th February 2019 at 10:14 am #72002
@starandlittlestar – Well done for staying strong, and for understanding. That is exactly what he’s like. Mr Fun when we’re out with people. Keeps Mr Nasty just for us. To be fair, he has managed to keep a lid on it for a while, but he’s done nothing to prove he’s changed – no anger management courses or anything. And then he does this weird thing where we’ll argue – and he’ll be perfectly normal the next day, like it never happened. On Wednesday we argued – he wouldn’t accept that he his anger issue was the same as this awful bloke in the other relationship. He said that when I’d suggested it he’d thought about divorce (me too) and suicide – he rowed back pretty quickly from that but still. Then last night he was absolutely normal with me – after I’d been worrying all day about how to handle things when I got home. It could be a coping mechanism, but I also wonder if he’s messing with my head on purpose – but in a really subtle way.
8th February 2019 at 10:33 am #72004
Oh it really sounds like he’s messing with your head. My oh does the exact same. He’s even started saying HIS head’s so messed up he doesnt know what’s he’s thinking anymore I’ve messed it up so much. My words to a T. He’s also said he doesnt want to be here anymore, so not quite threatening suicide but implying it. Then the next minute he’s all Mr nice guy. IF he’s not giving the silent treatment.
‘Anger management’ courses are fine if he needs to manage his anger. He’s doesn’t, he manages it when he has to just not with you. Have you looked up anger addiction, that’s why they lose their temper, it gives a rise in cortisol? So they end up feeling better about themselves with the release of it. It really is a fascinating subject IF we weren’t right in the middle of it.
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