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    • #117512
      Pea2020
      Participant

      I’m so confused.

      I’ve been married a long time. We’ve just had another baby. He’s (detail removed by moderator). I do feel like he is so much more empathetic now and seems to really care for me. He bends over backwards for our family and is a really involved dad. I got bad depression just before I gave birth and he was terrified he would lose me and the baby.

      But, I feel there are things that aren’t right. He regularly corrects me and how I do things, from (detail removed by moderator).
      He used to get really weird about me spending time away from him, so I started seeing people less and made sure I came back early if I do go out.

      Years ago, we had an argument and he pinned me against the wall.

      He has often smashed walls and furniture in the house, when angry.
      He has done this in front of our kids multiple times too. He once (detail removed by moderator) in front of them.

      He would regularly grope my boobs and between my legs, even though I acted uncomfortable with it. He would do it when I was upset and trying to tell him something serious, he thought it was funny, I would get more upset.

      He does things during sex without my consent, like squeezing my throat, he started slapping my face once and he also just puts himself in my mouth without asking first and I feel like I can’t say no.

      A few years ago, he wanted sex and I said no (detail removed by moderator) to him and he kept asking and I ended up saying OK, but by that point he was already on top of me anyway.
      I’ve realised that the main reason I have sex with him these days is because he once told me that the reason he was getting angry and shouting at the kids was because we hadn’t haD sex for (detail removed by moderator)… so I feel like I need to do it so the kids don’t get told off for no reason.

      He has called me a c*** a few times in arguments.
      He told me if i left him he would probably kill himself.
      I suggested a separation (detail removed by moderator) and he said “where will you go, you have no money, your not mentally fit to look after the kids on your own”.

      There’s so many other things, most of it really subtle and hard to explain.
      He doesn’t make as much fuss about me going out these days and seems to have improved in a lot of ways.

      But he still gets random bursts of anger. He once (detail removed by moderator) because they were playing up. Not mega hard, but hard enough. They were aware that they had (detail removed by moderator).

      I’m just so confused because he is so great in a lot of ways too. He does make me laugh and I can’t imagine life without him.

    • #117513
      Freedom @
      Participant

      I am so sorry to read about your experiences. That is nothing short of horrendous abuse and not to mention child abuse. Please please please get help. This forum is not enough for you. Please ring a helpline. To answer your question this is 100% absolutely abuse. Take care of you and your children x

    • #117517
      Pea2020
      Participant

      Thank you for your reply. I just don’t know what to do.

      I feel like the worst things he has done have been really spread out… its not like every week. I dont know why I’m minimising it, I keep worrying I’m overreacting at home when he does stuff.

      He is also so helpful around the house and does so much housework and childcare. He regularly compliments me… I worry that I’m the main focus of his whole world and he’ll lose it if I left him

    • #117518
      Hawthorn
      Participant

      Oh pea, this is certainly horrific abuse he is subjecting you to. Him being nice and funny inbetween is part of the abuse too, he’s just nice enough for long enough to keep you in the relationship. He thinks he owns you and your body.

      The confusion is normal and is a result of the abuse so well done for reaching out here. Freedom is right, you need more support than this forum. There’s a live chat on the womens aid page or if you can please reach out to your local womens aid. They wont make you do anything but will talk through your options with you. Please phone them, it will be the best call you ever make.

      He is abusing you. It’s not your fault and you dont deserve it. Keep posting here too, you need and deserve all the support you can get xxxx

    • #117519
      Lisa
      Main Moderator

      Hi Pea2020,

      Thank you for your post, and for sharing this with us. I just wanted to offer a little bit of support as I can hear that you’re feeling confused and are understandably distressed by what you’re going through at the moment.

      The behaviour you have described from your partner in your post is very intimidating and manipulative, and would certainly be considered physical, sexual and emotional abuse. I’m glad that you’ve decided to start sharing your experience and reach out for support with things.

      You mentioned in your post that your partner has once been physical with the children which is very concerning and could be considered a safeguarding issue. Sometimes when we have been in an abusive relationship for a long time, it can be difficult to recognise when we are experiencing abuse and which behaviours are abusive or aren’t. This is often due to the fact that abusers minimise their behaviour and it can become normalised over time, they will often blame the other person for the abuse, and it’s normal to begin to believe that we are the abusive one in the situation, or that we deserve the abuse in some way, but this is not the case.

      No abusive relationship is abusive all of the time, there are likely to be ‘good’ and ‘bad’ periods in an abusive relationship and it is the ‘good’ parts that can keep us in an abusive situation for so long.

      I’d really like to encourage you to reach out to some organisations who can offer you a bit more support with what you and the children are going through. It might be helpful to consider a safety plan for leaving in an emergency or to get some advice and support around your options long-term.

      If you click on the following link: https://www.womensaid.org.uk/domestic-abuse-directory/ you can get details of a local domestic abuse service in your area. They should be able to offer you some help with things.

      You can contact a Support Worker from Women’s Aid via our live chat where you can chat in confidence about your situation. Support workers will not tell you what to do but they can give support, practical information, and discuss with you any options that are available based on your specific circumstances. For more information about the chat service please go to: https://chat.womensaid.org.uk/

      You may also want to talk to your GP or your children’s school about what’s going for some support from them with the situation.

      It’s important to know that what’s happening is not your fault, there is never an excuse for this type of behaviour and support is available.

      Take care and keep posting,
      Lisa

    • #117520
      Freedom @
      Participant

      I know it’s so confusing. Your clearly a kind person who cares about others needs but you are not responsible for him. I fell for that line too “I’d kill myself if you ever left” “youd be saving my life if you stay” but in reality we are only responsible for ourselves and our children. I’m sure there are good moments. There has to be otherwise why would you stay. I’m sorry I cant be of much more help as I’m not completely free myself yet. One baby step at a time. The fact your questioning it is a great start x

    • #117521
      KIP.
      Participant

      Hi Pea and welcome. I wonder if you took out the positive part of your post and simply read what he’s doing to you, you might see how harmful this is and it’s also child abuse to abuse you in front of the children. Women’s aid are fantastic and there’s also the national domestic abuse helpline x keep posting for support. Abuse is insidious, it creeps up and we constantly are trying to prevent another outburst by changing our behaviour. Read Living with the Dominator by Pat Craven. My ex used to say he was angry because we didn’t have enough sex, it’s just a pathetic excuse to control us x

    • #117524
      Pea2020
      Participant

      Thank you everyone for your replies and support. I contacted the online chat and they gave me my local support organisation number. Have contacted them now too and they said they are currently grading me medium risk and I have a domestic abuse support worker ringing me tomorrow.

      I literally can’t get my head around it though. He is being so nice at the moment too, so I feel really bad. I know all of his vulnerabilities, his good traits and bad traits… I’ve known him my whole adult life, so I can’t quite get to grips with the fact that everyone seems to agree he is abusive. Its hard to take in.

      I want to contact the schools my children go to, but my husband is very well liked at the school. He’s so involved with the kids and is actually (detail removed by moderator)!

      My kids think the world of him… I feel like I’m the one potentially breaking the family apart.

    • #117531
      KIP.
      Participant

      You’re actually helping your children. Children from abusive homes are far more likely to be abused as adults. The behaviour they see around them becomes normal to them. Just as his behaviour has become normal to you. Don’t do anything to alert him you’re talking about the abuse. I’m so glad you’re getting local support. It will change your life. This man chooses to behave this way. What you think you know about him is what he wants you to think. Google the cycle of abuse. The power and control wheel. Trauma bonding. Cognitive dissonance.

      • #117569
        Pea2020
        Participant

        I know you are right, but I think I must either be really messed up or stupid because I feel so scared of the idea of leaving him. He makes me nervous and stressed and sometimes scared, but I weirdly also feel safe with him at the same time. Maybe because he is familiar… I don’t know. I feel like there’s huge gaps between bad periods and recently we’ve been a much better team and more equal… but maybe I’m just used to it and his behaviour is more subtle.
        I do feel like I’ve modified my behaviour over the years to avoid outbursts etc.

        Its just a lot to take it… he’s always telling me how lucky I am to have him and what great parents we are. He puts a lot of his outbursts down to stress and parenting.
        It’s always been me and him against the world and now I’m starting to see it all in a different light and I feel like I’m betraying him.

      • #117572
        gettingtired
        Participant

        Hello pea, he sounds like a real bully. You’re absolutely not messed up nor stupid for feeling this way. I feel exactly the same as you, like my partner is my safety blanket/rock for me even though he can be very cruel and abusive.
        I’ve felt the betrayal too. Like I would totally crush his world if I left (even though he’s always the one threatening to end things). It’s normal to feel this way. As I’ve learnt on here it’s what abuse does to us.

        You’re in the best place now. Keep posting here and building support around you xx

    • #117602
      Pea2020
      Participant

      Update:

      I talked to my support worker on the phone for an hour this morning.

      She is going to make contact with me every 2 weeks amd says that if I want to change my circumstances, then to let her know and she can guide me with the process.

      She used words like rape and coercive control… she made everything seem so clear.

      Now I’m home again and he’s home and he’s being so nice and helpful. I can see an anxiety in his eyes, an insecurity about something.

      Hes being attentive and keeps saying how excited he is for Christmas.

      I feel like my heart is breaking because I know that at some point I will probably leave him and he has no idea its coming. His whole world is going to collapse.

    • #117603
      KIP.
      Participant

      He does have an idea that’s why he’s being so nice. This is the love bombing and his whole world won’t collapse. Mine moved onto the new victim very quickly and was sucking the life out her. He will however try to make your life hell to listen to the advocacy worker. She will keep you safe. Did you get Living With The Dominator book?

      • #117604
        Pea2020
        Participant

        I need to keep what you are saying in my mind, because I feel so so so guilty at the moment. I haven’t got the book yet, but I will order it now. Thank you for recommending it to me.

    • #117605
      Hawthorn
      Participant

      Well done for spending to the support worker and reaching out, you’re really brave.

      @KIP
      is right you know, he knows exactly what he’s doing and is insecure because he’s afraid you’re figuring out the monster that he is. This is the love-bombing phase he’s in. It’s all part of the abuse. It keeps you trapped because you convince yourself that’s the real him. It’s not. The real him is an abuser who wants you under his thumb.
      I found reading “Why does he do that” by Lundy Bancroft really helpful. Its available to read for free online.
      His world wont fall apart but he has no trouble pulling yours asunder. You deserve so much better than what he is doing to you. The guilt and worry about him is normal, it’s part of the abuse and he relies on your sympathy to control you. Be sure he has no sympathy for you and the abuse you are suffering.
      This situation is not your fault, it is of his making, not yours. But you have the power to get yourself and your children out of it.
      Good luck, you’re doing great xxxx

      • #117616
        Pea2020
        Participant

        Thank you. I currently don’t feel brave, I feel terrible and like I’m betraying him still.

        But I do think you are right, he could be love bombing. He has been extra attentive with me and with the children today and I keep catching him looking at me to see if I’m watching him…
        It feels strange. He seems really vulnerable at the moment, I can’t explain it.

    • #117620
      Hawthorn
      Participant

      It’s normal to feel like you’re betraying him, he’s conditioned you into thinking about him first and yourself and your children second. He betrayed you and your trust when he chose to abuse you. You owe him nothing.

      He is vulnerable now. He knows you’re seeing behind the mask of respectability he wears. Be very careful as these men can escalate when they feel the control slipping away. Make sure you have safety plan in place to get you and the children out safely if that happens.

      It takes immense strength to endure abuse. You’re not just brave, you’re a superhero. It’s ok not to feel like that, just know that’s what this random internet stranger thinks. Tell him nothing, your silence is power.

      He will be tugging on your heartstrings trying to make you feel sorry for him. He is not the vulnerable lost boy he is pretending to be. He is a dangerous abusive man. Remember he knows you very well and knows exactly how to manipulate you, he has had years of practice.

      Take care superhero xx

    • #117703
      Trueblue
      Participant

      Hello lovely, just to say this is awful and most definitely abuse which you do not deserve. Sounds similar to my husband. Keep talking and you will grow stronger, has taken me years but i am getting there. Xx

    • #117707
      KIP.
      Participant

      He’s not vulnerable he’s being predatory. He’s watching you like a hawk watches it’s prey. Remember he knows you well. He senses you’re withdrawing and he will up his game to regain control. Keep a secret journal and refer to it when you’re doubting yourself. Never ever underestimate him. This is a very dangerous time x

    • #117714
      HopeLifeJoy
      Participant

      He sounds very similar to mine too. Frighteningly so.
      Be careful, he is watching you because he suspect you see him from a different angle. He is concerned about loosing, not loosing YOUR LOVE but loosing HIS CONTROL over you. Controlling you is not the same as protecting and loving you. Control functions through fear and intimidation (and Obligation and Guilt). He seeks power over you, his regular angry outbursts keeps you right under his control.

      Behind your back he will already be busy discrediting you and has most probably started a smear campaign. Mine too was involved with school, so much it was suffocating, as to keep watch over me and networking heavily with the director. Same with the GP and all other official places.
      To the outside world it looked like we were the picture perfect family. ‘Look at them bringing their children together to school. How very lovely. Taking the time before work to do that. What a generous well thought man’ 🤢 Etc… all fake! Everything he does is a control tactic disguised as attentive care.

      Keep reaching out for support to your local Women’s Aid.
      Keep calm and neutral at home to throw him off guards. He has to relax, have the illusion you are still under his control. Cook him dinner and chat casually. That will throw him off. He thinks when you’re acting as the good little wifey he’s got you under his control. Let him think that. Meanwhile get all your ducks in a row. Collect all your important documents and move them safely at someones you can fully trust. Same with sentimental values. Take them out of your house ASAP. Don’t wait until he thinks about hiding your documents first. Lie if you need to if he asks about anything.
      Keep your routine as normal as possible.
      Be the best actress you can be to keep him off guards as long as possible to buy yourself time to get your head around it all.

      Keep calm, steady and strong. You’ve got this darling. Keep posting. 💪💕

    • #117715
      HopeLifeJoy
      Participant

      Also record his angry outbursts for future evidence.

    • #117742
      Trueblue
      Participant

      Yes second that about angry outbursts. I write down a lot of what he says as i minimise it all and forget and helps me remember i dont deserve ir. In very similar situation but bit further down line and you get stronger believe me. I have that guilt, it is horrible but you are a good person and shouldnt feel that way. Keep talking and stay safe x

    • #117748
      Pea2020
      Participant

      Thank you all for your replies, they all mean a lot to me. I’ve spent all weekend thinking I must get out after Xmas, maybe January, because now I’m becoming more aware, I cant bear to pretend with him.

      But now I’m ashamed to say that now I’m home with him this evening, we’ve spent the evening watching TV, he keeps saying he loves me, he has cleaned the whole house etc. I just suddenly don’t want to leave him. I know that’s probably mad.

      I just felt so much love for him and my chest ached. He is so familiar to me.

      I want to hug him, but I haven’t, because I don’t want it to make me stay when maybe I shouldn’t.

      I do feel like there can be huuugggee gaps between any kind of outburst… is his behaviour still abusive, if the good bits last weeks? Or maybe more?

      I know i keep going round in circles at the moment, honestly inside I’m a confused wreck and also terrified at the thought of being alone.

    • #117778
      HopeLifeJoy
      Participant

      Yes it’s still abusive behaviour when the gaps between the angry outbursts are long. They were long with my ex too. But these abusive cycles and gaps can be tightened very fast, making you realise very rawly just how much power he exercises over you.
      Abuse is about keeping control over you. Creating a power imbalance where he’s the dominant one and you the submissive one.
      In a healthy partnership power is distributed equally. There is no fear of repercussions when voicing dissent.

      Use this honeymoon phase to prepare a safe exit. Please turn off your emotions for him and use only your rational side to keep forging and planning ahead. Use your emotions to act only to keep him off guard.
      There was a very good reply on one of the posts here about the explanation of trauma bonding. This is what you’re feeling for him. It’s a chemical reaction. It isn’t love. Love is unconditional and constant. Love isn’t fluctuating according to stress levels and calm periods.

      Do you have support from your family and friends? It would help if you could confide in a few you fully trust, be supported by them.
      Also please keep your finances separate from him, keep or open a bank account just for you, start saving up if you haven’t already. This will give you more freedom of movement for the future.

      Keep posting and reading here, it helps processing that this unfortunately really is abuse happening to you. It is not your fault.

      Look after yourself. Make sure you get enough sleep, keep hydrated, try to eat healthy foods. You need all the energy you can get to stay fit to process all of this new information.

    • #117789
      Pea2020
      Participant

      Update:

      It all came out what I was feeling (detail removed by Moderator) and that I wanted to divorce.

      I didnt mean to tell him.

      He wailed for over an hour. He was wailing “nooooo nooòooo” again and again.
      Hes so sad.

      I wonder if I’ve got this wrong and painted him in a worse light than what he actually is.

      He has massively improved over the past year.
      He is a lot of fun to be around.

      I dont know. Its heartbreaking. I feel like I’ve broken him.

    • #117790
      Pea2020
      Participant

      Ps when I mentioned things like him throwing a bag of drinks at me in public, he didn’t deny them at all. He just apologised again and again and again

    • #117797
      HopeLifeJoy
      Participant

      How come he shows empathy for himself when he feels ‘hurt’ because you wish to leave him but none to you when you are trying to tell him how much his behaviour is hurting you?
      Do you see the double standard right there?
      Don’t believe his act.

      Anyways, keeping everything bottled up for such long time is bound to explode at some point so no wonder you just spelled out you wanted a divorce.

      Please ask Women’s Aid how best to proceed forward. Safely. Keep focus on what you want, not what he wants.

      • #117799
        Pea2020
        Participant

        I know deep down you are right, I think. I just have this nagging doubt.
        Maybe he didn’t realise what he was doing at the time, but knows now and won’t do any of it again?
        I actually listed a load of his abusive behaviours and even mentioned him raping me. He didn’t deny it at all and said he knows so much more about consent etc. now and has changed. I said he still kind of does it to me, because he pressures me into sex by saying lack of sex makes him angry… he agreed with me. He said his heart was bleeding for me. (?!)

        What does this mean? He seems willing to accept he has hurt me and has behaved in manipulative ways. I cant tell if this is just another manipulation or if he means it. He just doesn’t want me to go.

    • #117800
      Hawthorn
      Participant

      Pea you haven’t broken him, he was like this before you ever met him. This is not your fault.

      He wants you to believe he had no idea his behaviour was frightening and abusive. He is lying. Think of how he has treated you- could you treat an animal that way and not realise you were hurting them? Of course not because you are a kind person. Never mind treating another human with such disregard.

      He knows you better than you know yourself and knows exactly what buttons to press to elicit your sympathy and get you to stay. Every conversation with him gives him the space to confuse you. A person who truly loved you would respect your desire to escape from someone who has treated them with such contempt.

      Be very careful. Speak to womens aid and make sure you have a safety plan in place. Keep your phone charged and on you at all times. If he suspects the crying and pleading isn’t working he could well escalate to further violence towards you and your children. He has shown you what he is capable of. Believe that.

      Take care. You got this xx

    • #117802
      Hawthorn
      Participant

      One more thing- if he threatens to hurt himself call the police. His actions are not your responsibility and you need professional assistance to deal with that.

      I’ve been there, my husband threatened the same. They often do, it’s the ultimate threat but it’s not your responsibility and he needs professional help if that’s what he starts saying.

      Take care and stay safe.

      • #117803
        Pea2020
        Participant

        He did threaten to hurt himself, in a subtle way.
        He said later on (detail removed by Moderator) “(detail removed by Moderator)”
        He kind of laughed when he said it and I told him not to say that.
        He said “well that’s what I feel like doing.”

        Honestly this is all such a mess.

        I’ll contact womens aid again now, if I can.

    • #117806
      Hawthorn
      Participant

      Call the police if he threatens suicide, it’s not a joking matter. It’s the highest form of emotional manipulation and abuse. Call his bluff.

      Take care, he is very dangerous x

    • #117823
      Pea2020
      Participant

      Oh god that’s it. I cant leave. I can’t bear all the crying.
      I need it to go back to the way it was before.

    • #117826
      Hawthorn
      Participant

      Pea this is so hard, you need support and deserve it. Have you told anyone close to you? A friend or family member? Please reach out to them or womens aid or the samaritans for support, you need someone to talk to that’s not him and his crocodile tears.

      When the scales fall from your eyes and you see the reality of what’s happening in your relationship…certainly for me there was no going back to how it was before. Because how it was before was a fantasy created to keep me in an abusive and dangerous situation. The realisation of what’s happening is so awful and difficult, of course you want to go back to how things were…but they were never like that. He was abusing you then, he just had you confused and brainwashed enough not to realise it.

      Baby steps. Well done for reaching out here, how you’re feeling is completely normal under the circumstances, not that that makes it any easier.

      Sending you the biggest hugs. You dont deserve any of this and this situation is not of your making xx

    • #117830
      Pea2020
      Participant

      Thank you for your support, you don’t know how much it means to me.
      I’m so confused. He keeps saying he is sorry and will never do anything like that ever again. He said he will go to therapy. He wants one more chance, 6 months to sort his behaviour out.
      He keeps going on and on about Xmas and the kids.
      I can currently hear him downstairs groaning and telling our baby how much it hurts. “(detail removed by Moderator)”

      I keep trying to remind myself this isn’t my fault. I really do feel like its my fault at the moment though.

    • #117843
      Hawthorn
      Participant

      Of course you feel like it’s your fault, he has made everything your fault and your responsibility since the very early stages of your relationship. His moods, his behaviour, whether you have a good day or a bad day. He has made it all your responsibility. It is not. Not your fault, not your responsibility. He is an adult. We are all only responsible for ourselves and our young children if we have them.

      He is manipulating you. Groaning at a baby? That’s for your benefit you know. He is playing on your kindness and your giving nature. It is always those of us who are willing to put other people’s needs ahead of our own that are targeted by these predators. He is keeping you trapped in the FOG of abuse; Fear, Obligation and Guilt.

      Ask yourself honestly, how many times have you cried? How many times have you told him how his behaviour has upset you? How many times have you seen your children frightened by him? How long have you been walking on eggshells, unsure who will get up in the morning or come home from work, friend or foe?

      You have given him chance after chance. He has seen exactly how his abuse has affected you and done nothing. He didnt care because it didnt affect him, you stayed. In fact he has been doing all of it deliberately but I understand you cant see that yet. He is only promising change now because he will say anything to make you stay. He might even behave better for awhile. It wont last. These men have patterns of behaviour ingrained in them since childhood and are incapable of change.

      Try to think yourself and what’s best for you and children. Not about him. Notice how thoughts of him supersede thoughts of care for yourself or even your children. That’s not “normal”, it’s a product of brainwashing and abuse.

      I’m so sorry you’re enduring this. If you felt up to reading Lundy Bancroft’s “why does he do that” is available to read for free online. It gave me the insight and strength to leave my abusive marriage. There is light beyond the darkness of an abuse relationship, I’m living it and it is magic. It’s all there for you too.

      Sending you love and light xx

    • #117890
      Pea2020
      Participant

      Sorry for another update, its keeping me sane:

      Everything’s a bit calmer now, because he thinks there is a chance I will stay with him. I am just going along with everything for now, because it feels safer and because of the kids. We want the kids to have a good Xmas.

      He is being so calm and attentive, if a little anxious.
      He has started making physical contact with me (detail removed by moderator), which I’m not sure about. He has patted me (detail removed by moderator). Being so patient with the kids.
      He’s not asking me where I’m going or nagging about housework.
      He has said he wants to spend as much time with us all over Xmas to enjoy the holiday season together.
      (Detail removed by moderator).
      I’m worried about how he will be when he realises we are definitely going.
      For now it is like all of the good times we have had together.

    • #117891
      Pea2020
      Participant

      Ps thank you @hawthorn and everyone for your messages and for helping me keep things in perspective x*x

    • #117918
      Hawthorn
      Participant

      Hi Pea, you’re doing great and do keep posting, and a journal (somewhere he wont find it, like in a hidden app on your phone) might be helpful too to begin to process some of what’s been happening to you. It can also serve as evidence if you need it later on and will give you something(like the posts above) to read back on when you start doubting yourself. And you will feel confused and doubt yourself, it’s all part of the effects of the abuse.

      Not to frighten you but you should be worried about what he will do if he realises you are leaving. He is so very dangerous. These men can be lethal when they feel they losing control and leaving is most dangerous time for a woman and her children.

      For yours and your children’s sake you must tell him nothing of your plans until you are out and somewhere safe. You dont even need to tell him then but if you feel obligated to tell him that is the time. When you are away and safe. Not while he has access to you and your children.

      He’s being nice now because he believes he’s getting his way. His possessions are safe. He is touching you because he can, you are one of his things, why wouldnt he pick you up if it suits him. Has he shown any interest in your distress over the last few days? Or has he been completely wrapped up in how he claims to feel about it?

      Allowing you to go out and being patient with his own children is bare minimum behaviour. Abuse does that to us, makes us happy with crumbs. You deserve so much more than that.

      Your silence is your power. Take it back. Make your plans, stay safe and tell him nothing.

      You’re so brave. Sending hugs xx

    • #117931
      Camel
      Participant

      Hi Pea

      I just wanted to offer a few words of support. It’s truly heartbreaking yet horrific to read your posts. If you can I think you should be in contact with your support worker more frequently. So much has happened in the last week already so fortnightly chats are just not enough.

      I’m surprised that they classified you as medium risk. Did you tell her everything? I would have thought the choking incident alone puts you at high risk.

    • #117942
      Pea2020
      Participant

      Hi @camel

      Thank you for your message. I think they classified me as medium risk, maybe because the choking was during sex and not out of anger during an argument. Because when she asked if he had ever choked me, I mentioned the sex thing and she replied “but has he ever done it during an argument or when angry?”
      I said no.


      @hawthorn
      thank you again for your support. You are helping me keep things in perspective.

      I keep getting confused still and he really does so much great stuff and takes great pride in making things better for the household and taking care of us.
      Even though he’s been less abusive to me in the past year, in terms of physical abuse/public outbursts/destroying furniture, there has been an increase in these behaviours towards the kids instead.
      The time that he (detail removed by moderator), the fist pounding on walls and table tops, the time he threw the chair across the room. All because he is cross with them.
      He doesn’t do it every time he is cross with them, he can be patient quite a lot of the time.
      Like he can be really good at putting my son to bed, although a few times he has got mad that my son takes too long to go to sleep.
      It got a bit intense (detail removed by moderator).
      A couple of times he screamed at him “(detail removed by moderator)”

      Thats all calmed down again though

    • #117946
      Lisa
      Main Moderator

      Hi Pea2020,

      I’m so sorry that all of this is still going on for you. It’s completely understandable why you’re feeling so confused about everything; he sounds incredibly manipulative.

      It’s great that you’re in touch with your local service. Have you considered going into a refuge? His escalating abusive behaviour towards the children is particularly worrying. A refuge is a safe house for women and children so he wouldn’t know where you are. If you wanted to look into this then your IDVA can support you with this, or you can go back to the online chat and a Women’s Aid worker can search for vacancies with you.

      Lots of women try to ‘keep things together’ over Christmas to try and keep things calm for the children, but unfortunately it is often during these times when perpetrators can escalate.

      Please do keep reaching out for support with this, and do keep posting on here. Nothing is more important than yours and your children’s safety, and you all deserve to live free from this constant feeling of confusion and anxiety.

      Take care,

      Lisa

      • #118004
        Pea2020
        Participant

        I feel like he is manipulative, but then he seems so naive about stuff and acts like he doesn’t know the effect of what he is doing. He seems so genuine. I never know what to think.

        I dont think there’s any refuge spaces left in our area and I don’t want to end up in a homeless hostel. My baby is only (detail removed by moderator) months old.

        I am constantly watching him though and if I feel like we need to get out, I may try and stay at a friend’s.

        In the meantime I’m constantly checking for places that might be available to rent.

        My next IDVA call is next week, but maybe I should do it sooner.

        Hes being very nice and helpful and calm and patient at the moment.

    • #117950
      Hawthorn
      Participant

      Pea I’ve been where you are. The doubt and confusion, the minimising and justifying of abusive behaviour. I understand how excruciating it is to think of yourself, of your needs over his. So when that happens shift your focus to your children, away from him.

      He is using your children to abuse you. How much have you altered your behaviour to keep him from getting angry and taking it out on your children? Given him sex you didnt want, danced attendance on him to keep them safe, made sure everything in the house was just as he liked it?

      What you’re describing is child abuse. He is abusing your babies. Read your post again; they are learning that this is how someone who loves them behaves. There is no love in this behaviour only power and control. It is reprehensible. He is a monster.

      Please do contact your support worker again, things are very different now he knows you are thinking of leaving. You and your children are in so much danger. Feel the fear. Try not to push it down. Let it power you to action. You need to get out of there before he escalates again. And he will. There is always a lull, a calm before the storm. Dont wait for the storm to hit. He has shown himself capable of abusing those so much weaker and smaller than him. Your children who have no escape and are dependent on him. He is capable of anything.

      Please reach out for support, have you any family or friend you could tell what’s happening? Take the very best care and tread so carefully xx

      • #118005
        Pea2020
        Participant

        Its so confusing. I know I keep saying that. The kids love him so much and there are so many things about him that have improved in the past year.
        But obviously the abuse is still happening, but in a covert way and the abuse towards the kids Has not worse this year, I feel.

        I’ve told a friend now and my mum. I was so resistant to tell anyone I knew, because I keep thinking I’ve got this wrong and he’s not abusive. I didnt want anyone to think badly of him.

        I’m watching him always and acting as normal as possible.

    • #118006
      Pea2020
      Participant

      Update: we are currently getting on well, after his melt down a few days ago (when I told him I wanted to leave). He is being extra helpful and kind etc. He sometimes mentions what it might be like when we are not together anymore, but in a calm and pragmatic way, if a little sad. But I do think maybe he thinks there’s a good chance I’m staying, thats why he’s able to cope with it at the moment.
      He initiated a hug with me yesterday. Says he loves me. Keeps going on about all the fun stuff we are all going to do every day over Xmas.

      I do still keep wondering whether I’ve got it wrong.
      Whenever I’ve questioned his behaviour, he genuinely seems like he didn’t know the impact of his actions.

      For the past year, he has been regularly telling people, from my neighbour to the mums at school, about my mental health issues and how hard is working to look after us all. I told him he shouldn’t be doing that and he looked hurt and shocked and said it was becUse he needed support and had no one to talk to.

      I asked him about the sexual abuse. He answer was he didn’t know what I wanted.

      I asked him about saying he was angry when he didn’t get sex. He said he didn’t mean it like that.

      Other stuff he doesn’t have excuses for, but will mention his bad childhood and say he know he shouldn’t have done it and that he is bad etc.

      I know I shouldn’t have engaged in these conversations with him… maybe.

      It does make me doubt my perception of what has been happening. Especially because we do get on a lot of the time and it seems as though us as a family unit is the most important thing to him in the whole world.

      But then I need to remember that he has mentioned to me before that he once punched a girlfriend and also once pushed another girlfriend into a wall.

      So maybe I’m not over sensitive or crazy.

      I know I keep going back on myself on here. One minute I’m certain of his behaviour and the next I feel sorry for him.

    • #118011
      Hawthorn
      Participant

      Well done on telling your friend and your mum, that’s a huge step. You should be so proud of yourself.

      Escaping an abusive relationship is like breaking a drug addiction, the abuse activates the same chemical pathways in our brains. We are trapped by this and the FOG of Fear, Obligation and Guilt. The guilt makes us silence our inner voice, ignore what’s best for us and our children and think of our abusers needs first. Try to reframe the guilt. View it as a signpost towards doing the right thing for yourself and your children. When you do something like share your experience with your mum and you feel guilty, tell yourself that the guilt is confirmation you’ve made the right choice.

      You’re doing great. Keep posting here and re-reading this thread and others. Validation of your experience is essential and will help to manage the confusion. Every conversation with him about how you’re feeling will increase your confusion and warp your perception. These men bend reality around them. That’s why the advice is always to tell them nothing. Remember the love-bombing is all part of the cycle of abuse.

      Sending hugs x*x

    • #118018
      Pea2020
      Participant

      Talked to my mum on a walk today. She seems to think he isn’t a risk to the kids at all.

      I dont know now.

      Maybe I’ve over exaggerated everything.

    • #118019
      Hawthorn
      Participant

      Pea the abuse you have described here in horrific. No offense to your mum but she doesn’t know him, you do. Abuse is often minimised by those who dont understand it, particularly a parent may have their own motivation for not wanting to believe it. Then she would have to think about what’s happened to you and that’s so upsetting she may struggle to face it. Easier to deny and minimize. Remember hes been manipulating her for years too. It took you years to begin to see through it and you’ve been living with him. And he’s likely raised questions to her about your mental health. The smear campaign will have been going on for some time behind the scenes.

      He has violently assaulted you and your children. He has been verbally abusive to you and your children.
      He has emotionally blackmailed you into staying in the relationship.
      He has threatened suicide if you were to end the relationship.
      He has chipped away at your self esteem with his constant criticism.
      He has raped you repeatedly.
      He is currently gaslighting you into believing it’s all in your head and you’re blowing it out of proportion. You mother is now an unfortunate ally to him in this.

      It’s like these man have an instruction manual and what he is doing to you is textbook abuse.

      Dont doubt your own reality. Reach out to womens aid and continue reaching out here. We understand x*x

      • #118029
        Pea2020
        Participant

        @hawthorn now you’ve listed it all so plainly, it makes it clearer again.

        Honestly I must be getting annoying now with the way I keep going around in circles. I feel like I’m going insane.

        After my talk with my mum, I left feeling really confused and massively doubted everything.
        She was concerned about him being heartbroken about the kids moving out, thought he should have good warning before we moved out and was insistent on the fact that she thought he wasn’t a risk to the kids.

        I feel like she had forgotten that he raped me and also physically assaulted me.
        It was like she was dismissive of the seriousness of him assaulting the kids. It was only one time, but still.

        I feel upset to be honest. I know I keep making excuses for him, but it for some reason hurt that my mum was. Made me feel like I was overreacting to it all

    • #118033
      Hawthorn
      Participant

      You are not being annoying, not at all. I’ve been there, the head spinning, the confusion, the wanting it all to go away. That wall in your brain that blocked the abuse from conscious knowledge really messes you up when it’s coming down.

      I wrote you that list because my list is what kept me sane in the early days. Helped me to pierce through the confusion. Write your own one too and reference it when you’re feeling in a muddle, it will help. Hes been conditioning and brainwashing you for years to ignore and minimise his abusive behaviour. It’s only natural that your brain will run down those well worn paths, the new path feels scary when you dont know what’s at the end of it.

      A better life, free from abuse and walking on eggshells is what’s down that new path. It can feel so overwhelming at times, especially when the abuse has been designed to make you feel incapable, like you’d be nothing without him. You are everything without him. That’s why he wanted you. To feed on your energy and kindness.

      I’m so sorry things with your mum went like they did. My mum wasnt much use either, her first response was “but you’re so intelligent, how did you wind up putting up with that for so long?” As if intellect has anything to do with it. Thanks mum 🤦‍♀️

      Write your list, reference it regularly, keep posting and educating yourself about what’s been happening to you. Knowledge is power. You really are a trooper, its remarkable all you’ve done already you know xx

    • #118069
      Pea2020
      Participant

      I’ve started writing a list. Such a good idea. Since I’ve started writing it, more memories have come up that I’d suppressed. Things he said, things he did, how I felt etc.

      I’m finding it really eye opening to hear of others experiences on here and seeing how similar they are to mine. How the perpetrator behaviours are all so similar one way or another.

      I do keep thinking that my husband must be the exception, that the true him is kind and well meaning. But too many of his behaviours and the pattern of our relationship match up to things like the power and control wheel and other tools used to identify abusive behaviour.

      And I KNOW he raped me. I dont know why I find it so hard to accept. I seem to have put those bits in a little box inside my brain.
      He is so vocally against rape too. “Rapists are evil, I’m a feminist, women deserve to be treated better, I hate men blah blah blah”. But he’s done those things to me. It’s totally thrown me.

      I’m sorry your mum was like that with you. It seems really hard for others to comprehend, especially if they know the perpetrator well, like my mum with my husband. She doesn’t like him, but she keeps focusing on his behaviours over the years that have “annoyed” her, rather than the harmful behaviours that he has displayed towards me and the kids over the years.

      I dont think ill talk to her about it anymore. She doesn’t get it.

    • #118075
      Hawthorn
      Participant

      It is frightening yet empowering to discover how similar abusers are, and it’s so natural to struggle to put that label on your partner. But there is healing in the labelling, the naming of their tactics, the identification of the patterns of abuse that have dictated your relationship and your life for so long.

      I have never experienced loneliness or isolation like I did while with my partner, the darkness of that time. But understanding and knowledge shines a light on the abuse and makes you realise you are not alone. Sadly we are multitudes. There is power in that. It’s not you, its him. It always was.

      Dont force yourself to accept the rapes. In many ways you have. You have named it and acknowledged it. That is huge. I was out for months before I could do that, that you’ve managed it while still living with your abuser takes immense courage and strength of mind. Be kind to yourself and recognize your inner strength.

      I think you’re right about not talking to your mum about it anymore. You need to build a support network of people who will support you, not contribute to his gaslighting and minimizing because your experience is too difficult for them to face. That is their issue, not yours. You know your truth. You’ve seen your reality corroborated here. Read your list and keep educating yourself. You’re doing great.

      Sending love and light xx

      • #118094
        Pea2020
        Participant

        Thank you.
        I think it will be easier to process them when I’m away from him. But you’re right, I guess the fact I’ve acknowledged them now is a big deal… I’ve been in denial about it all for so long.

        I have felt so lonely for such a long time too. Felt so trapped.

        Learning about the labels and patterns of abuse is truly helping me. Its making me realise he fits too many of the characteristics and behaviours for it to be a coincidence. Its helping me not make as many excuses for him.

    • #118078
      Hetty
      Participant

      I agree with what others have said. Firstly shining a light onto the abuse and knowing the tactics and professional terms is so empowering. I’d heard of things such as love bombing, gaslighting etc, but didn’t really know about them. When I started researching I grew wise to the reality and it got me out of the fantasy. It made the final step of leaving all the more easier and gave me strength to resist his apologies and pleading. My ex actually said he felt scared and frightened after I left. I mean what I think he really meant was who is going to cook and clean and pay half the bills? I have felt scared and frightened most days for years. The disconnect between my true self and who I had to be to keep him from raging was growing wider and wider.
      I also think you’re right not to talk to your mum. Despite any good intentions she doesn’t get it. I’ve had people saying that it’s probably been the stress of lockdown that broke us, my grieving process linked to the death of a very close relative etc. None of that’s true. I just finally got my out after over a year of planning and many more years ‘waking up’. I’ve also had family say “you should talk to him, you owe him that”. They don’t have the education into domestic abuse that I’ve had abd don’t understand that zero to very minimal contact in exceptional circumstances is the only way. Years ago I confided in someone (before I lived with my ex) that my gut was screaming I was being abused. She laughed it off and because I was blinded I jumped on her response and laughed it off too. How I wish I had listened to my gut instincts. It would have saved me and my child years of abuse x

    • #118093
      Pea2020
      Participant

      Update:
      Honestly this forum has become the only thing keeping me sane these past few days.
      Thank you all again.

      He is literally being the perfect husband.
      He keeps making me cups of tea, glasses of lemonade, he’s just made me dinner, he stayed calm when I got snappy with him, he is organising activities for the kids. He has even taken over cleaning and sterilising the baby bottles, which was one of the remaining household jobs he has allowed me/left me to do. He is doing everything. He offered to give me a back rub because I’ve got a sore shoulder. He said he was upset for me, because my exercise class has been cancelled due to covid. I apologised for being on my phone jn front of him and he said “don’t worry, I dont care about any of that any more”. I’m going to go mad. I keep getting the urge to trigger something bad from him, which is ridiculous and stupid I know. Don’t worry, I won’t, I just keep feeling like it.

    • #118096
      Hetty
      Participant

      If my experience is anything to go by it won’t last long anyway, whether you provoke or not (although I would advise against that). My ex reckons he’s so sorry and broken yet I’ve just seen a photo suggesting otherwise. Lies, lies abs more lies x

      • #118099
        Pea2020
        Participant

        Yes you’re right.

        I will just keep re reading my list of everything that’s happene, to stop myself feeling crazy.

    • #118097
      Hawthorn
      Participant

      It’s ok, breathe. He’s being nice now, love bombing you. Remember it’s all part of the manipulation, a key part of the cycle of abuse to keep you trapped in it.

      Use this lull to plan your escape. He can act nice. Act. Not is. Its proof how in control of his behaviour he can be when it suits his purposes. He wasnt “losing control” with the children or with you when he was being abusive, they were calculated acts to control you and give him all the power. This behaviour is not him being the perfect husband. It is proof of his manipulation and abusiveness.

      Read your list again. One of those things would be a good enough reason to end the relationship. But more than that, you are not happy with him. That is a good enough reason. No one is obliged to remain in a relationship that makes them unhappy or that they just dont want to be part of any more. You have a choice. And whatever you decide this forum is here for you xx

      • #118098
        Pea2020
        Participant

        You are right. I think the problem is I do feel obliged. I’m worried that if I leave he will kill himself. I’m worried he’ll be lonely. I’m worried his behaviour will get worse.

        But I do realise now that I worry about these things because he has made me worried about them. Amd none of those worries are good reasons to stay in a marriage.

        I do need to keep thinking about myself. I can’t let him use himself or the kids to make me feel like I should stay.

    • #118169
      Pea2020
      Participant

      Update:
      I am getting organised to move out ASAP in January and might have found somewhere to go.
      If things seem to be going downhill before then, we will move to my mums.

      He has currently given up the love bombing and is blanking me instead.

      Every time I speak, he doesn’t respond.

      I dont know how I feel about it, but its making me feel less guilty. I know I shouldnt feel guilty, but I do. I do keep referring to my list though.

    • #118170
      Hetty
      Participant

      The monster always returns and somehow it’ll be your fault. So glad you have an exit plan. Stay safe and strong. Can you get out some important things to your mum’s now? Xx

      • #118173
        Pea2020
        Participant

        Yes I should be able to sneak some stuff out this week xx

      • #118176
        Hetty
        Participant

        Good. Don’t tell him a thing. I told my ex I was taking things to the charity shop. You’ve got to be careful as yours will be extra vigilant due to what’s been said of late. I took photos of important documents and emailed them to my work account and along with passports etc I got my son’s memory box from being a baby, photos, his drawings etc. Things I might forget if I was packing in a hurry and that were irreplaceable. Xx

    • #118172
      Hawthorn
      Participant

      You’re doing great Pea. From love-bombing to stonewalling, these men are horribly predictable. Dont wait for him to b**w. He doesnt deserve another Christmas with his children and you certainly dont deserve another spin on the cycle of abuse. You know where this is going.
      Take the very best care. You’ve done so much planning and processing in such a short time. You are a remarkable woman xx

    • #118178
      Pea2020
      Participant

      Thank you so much, I really appreciate it.

      I think I’ve been wanting to leave for a long time, but also been in denial about everything. This was the kick up the bum I needed to start taking action.
      Plus I feel I’ve tolerated things for so long, because everything was directed at me… Once I saw some of the behaviour directed at my kids, I could see how awful it was and I didn’t want them to experience it.

      My mum is in our support bubble and I told him I was visiting her on (detail removed by Moderator) with the kids.

      He said “whys that then?”

      I felt nervous and like I had to give a reason as to why I wanted to visit my mum. We are visiting her because I want to see her.
      I fear his controlling behaviour is coming back again, after a few days of insisting he didnt care where I went or what I did.

    • #118179
      Hawthorn
      Participant

      I dont want to frighten you but dont underestimate him. It’s clear from your posts how much strength and clarity you have gained. Make no mistake, he sees the change in you too. These men are most dangerous when they are losing control of you. He is capable of anything. Listen to your gut, you are nervous with very good reason.
      Leaving is the most dangerous time.
      Take the very best care and try to get out before he escalates.xx

    • #118182
      Bettertimesahead
      Participant

      Writing it down, a list of things hes said or done is really worth doing. I was really struggling early on after my husband left, just the accepting ot was abuse etc. Sat one day and just poured it out on paper. I reread it a few months after and it horrified me to think how much I’d put up with but it helped massively with the guilt

    • #118219
      Camel
      Participant

      Hi Pea

      You’re doing so well in a really horrific situation. You’ve had great advice already and I hope you know it comes from bitter experience. We are worried for your safety and urge you to make plans to exit safely.

      I want to say that it’s normal for the children to love their father, no matter how he behaves. Don’t think about staying for the sake of the children – think about leaving for their sake. Being a good father isn’t dependent upon sharing a home. This country is full of divided families.

      I’m also wondering if you plan to move in with your mother when you leave? Are there any other options? I’m sure she means well and probably doesn’t know any better but instead of supporting you without question she’s concerned for your partner’s welfare. I worry that she wouldn’t be a strong enough to stand up to him when he demands to see/speak to you. Which he will.

    • #118221
      Camel
      Participant

      Lisa suggested a refuge a while back and you weren’t sure if there are any in your area. Firstly, I don’t think we’d necessarily know about them. They operate under the radar to keep everyone safe. And second, moving out of your local area would be a good idea to start with. My sister and children were housed in several refuges during her violent relationship. The furthest was 400 miles away. This shouldn’t scare you. There’s a lot to be said for the peace of mind you’ll get from knowing you won’t bump into him in the street.

    • #118254
      Pea2020
      Participant

      Thank you all for your advice.

      I’m trying to listen to my gut. I really wanted to avoid a refuge if possible. If not a refuge, then my mum’s is the only option, until I get my own place. I was told by a housing duty officer that all the refuge spaces were taken up too… I really don’t want to move away from any support that I have e.g friends, family, gp, health visitor etc.
      I just can’t tell if I’m being naive or not.
      His mood is changing minute to minute. One minute not responding to something I’ve said, to next minute talking to me normally.
      His “fun” play voice that he does with the kids seems strained and a bit manic.
      After acting like I would be leaving yesterday, today he mentioned that “we” would all have to leave the country in the next few years, due to the economic situation.
      On the way out the door this morning, aggressively kicked two big boxes (detail removed by Moderator) out of the way.
      Honestly I’m so hypervigilant at the moment.
      I do think maybe everyone is right and we should make a quick exit. I’m just so worried I’ll be making the wrong decision xx

    • #118255
      Hawthorn
      Participant

      Think of the advice you would give a good friend if she told you she was living like you are at the moment. You know what to do.

      I’m so sorry you’re in this situation. Just think of it as taking some time think things through. You deserve some space and time to do that. A loving partner would understand that (yours wont however so dont tell him anything). You dont need to think longer term than the next few days. Baby steps.

      Big hugs x

    • #118258
      Eggshells
      Participant

      Hi Pea. Reading through your posts is like watching a re-run of how my ex behaved when I told him I was leaving. First the love bombing, the admissions of guilt, the sorrow and the promises that he would change.

      Then, the mad cycling through the cycle of abuse – in the end he was completing the full cycle many times in a day. Then once he realised his admissions of guilt and apologies wouldn’t stop me leaving, he denied everything; denied he’d admitted to abuse, denied the abuse.

      In the end, I left in a hurry.

      I had all the same doubts that you describe. Going through the divorce process put all those doubts to bed, for good.

      My thoughts are with you. xx

    • #118266
      Hetty
      Participant

      I’m worried about you when you say he’s manic. Please be careful. If you can’t get out now then lie through your back teeth. Agree with all his future plans. Stay safe xx

    • #118307
      Pea2020
      Participant

      Oh god. I’ve just remembered something.

      My husband once told me that he used to be cruel to an old girlfriend’s (detail removed by Moderator) daughter.

      Its why he wasnt sure about ever having children!

      How the hell have I forgotten this or chosen to ignore it?

      I am seriously messed up, clearly.

    • #118309
      KIP.
      Participant

      Get yourself out and safe then you will think more clearly. You’re stuck in a fog just now. Imagine a friend telling you this was happening to her. What advice would you give her. These men know us very well and can read us very well. Once you accept what he is, all those moments of doubt will become clear. My ex used to kill animals. Peoples pets and I just brushed it under the carpet like he was telling a different story. Our brain protects us but by doing that it endangers us. Get out or get him out. Put distance one way or other.

    • #118322
      Pea2020
      Participant

      Guys, I feel completely paralysed.

      I cant leave yet, I dont know why.

      Literally all of you keep telling me I need to go and I shouldnt tell him.

      But I’m really struggling to do that.
      Am I being naive to think he isn’t a risk?

      My mind goes into overdrive about the possibilities, but am I paranoid?
      What if he isn’t a risk and its like I’ve stolen the children from him?

      I know I’m meant to be thinking of myself and the kids. This is probably making me seem like a bad mum.
      But I’m finding it really hard to do it to him.

    • #118326
      Hawthorn
      Participant

      You are not a bad mum, you are a dedicated mum who loves her children and would never hurt them.

      He is an abusive man who has abused both your children and their mother. He has been the architect of this situation, not you. You didnt want any of this. You wanted a loving partner, a loving home and father for your children. He has given you the opposite. His actions, not yours.

      You are not stealing his children. He doesnt own them or you. You are removing them from danger. And he is dangerous. You are not paranoid. Fear is paralyzing and you are afraid. You can tell him when you are all somewhere safe.

      You will naturally minimize the danger he poses because that is how you’ve coped with living with him for so long. You have also been conditioned into telling him everything and explaining your every move so fighting against that urge feels very wrong. That is part of the brainwashing.

      You will leave only when you feel ready, but please tell him nothing of your plans. These men dont change and he will use anything you tell him as another excuse to abuse you.

      Read your list again and keep posting.
      Sending strength and big hugs x*x

    • #118328

      Hi Pea,

      I just wanted to come on and say that what you’re feeling is completely normal. Even after my ex was arrested and kept in a cell for 12 hours I still wanted him back, still felt sick with fear, guilt etc. I missed him so so so much it physically hurt. I suppose in a way I was worried that he’d meet someone else and they’d get all the “nice” side of him and he’d be the most amazing man. He said the whole “I’ll change” thing. So I went back. I can tell you he did not change. He got worse if anything, slowly, but surely. It is okay to grieve for a loss of a relationship, but just because you are sad it doesn’t mean that that relationship was healthy or right for you. He’s obviously very familiar to you and you have built a life together. I get that, he’s your comfort zone but just because he’s familiar it doesn’t mean it’s nice. What he’s doing is abuse. You are not ruining his life, nor breaking up the family. HE did that when he made an active choice to do those things to do you and treat you the way he has done and is still doing. My ex always always used the “I’ll end my life” line and it worked soo many times but in the end I saw through it. He lied to me about taking pills, about having cuts on himself etc. It’s emotional manipulation and blackmail to get you to stay with him. You deserve better. You deserve a better life where you are truly happy and truly loved. You don’t deserve abuse.

    • #118364
      Pea2020
      Participant

      He is overall very pleasant these days and so helpful too.
      He is currently being very understanding about me leaving and is clearly in a lot of pain, but trying to hide it.
      I’ve got this wrong.

    • #118366
      Hetty
      Participant

      Ah pea, I’m so sorry you have shared information with two different professionals and had conflicting advice/support. Obviously I don’t know you and I don’t know your partner, so who am I to say what is or isn’t happening in your relationship?! All I can say is whatever has gone on something in your gut is telling you it’s not right. I’m guessing that’s why you started research and found yourself on here. If this is the case then my advice would be not to dismiss this. Perhaps some time at your mum’s away from him might help you to get some headspace. if he’s a loving and understanding partner he’ll understand and let you have that time.
      I was in therapy years ago, when I first stated dating my ex, I was training at the time. I told my therapist I though I was being emotionally abused and she stated “that’s not what was happening”. Thing is years down the line it was what was happening. Perhaps I didn’t explain it but I have my own suspicions as to why she said that. Anyway, I’m obviously not stating anyone on the helpline would give unhelpful advice and/or you should leave your partner. That decision is yours and yours alone. Any one of us can chose to end a relationship because we are unhappy, people break up all the time and it’s nothing to do with abuse.
      More than anything, don’t feel bad. Read again some of what you’ve said – him saying he hurt a gf’s daughter etc. Lots of love xx

    • #118368
      Hawthorn
      Participant

      Pea this is awful for you. Read back the posts above and read your list. It’s so difficult when we feel unsure about what’s happening. You know your truth. Everything in your own time. If you’re unhappy in the relationship then you are. That’s enough.

      I cant say anything better than Hetty has said above. Take the best care. The forum is here for you whatever you want to do or feel is right.
      Hugs xx

    • #118371
      KIP.
      Participant

      In time you will see you were right. WA never recommend relationship counselling in an abusive relationship. Try domestic abuse counselling. Read back your own posts. Alarm bells are ringing. My ex would jump from threats to being all understanding, it was really confusing. He will try all sorts of different approaches until he finds the one that hooks you back in. At the moment that’s Mr Reasonable. It’s just an act x maybe you’re not ready to accept that it’s abuse yet but you will.

      • #118405
        Pea2020
        Participant

        Its the suddenly being kind and understanding that has thrown me.

        I ran this by a womens aid helpline worker this morning and she thought the same as you. That it was another manipulation.

        I’m all over the place this morning.

        I’m not going to check things on helplines anymore, unless i need advice on the next stage of leaving him. Its starting to do more harm than good rehashing stuff to lots of different people, just because I want a different outcome to the reality of my situation.

        Rape crisis talked to me for ages the other day and confirmed the rapes and assaults.

        My DA support worker was 100% that I’d been experiencing emotional/physical abuse and coercive control.

        I know how I’ve felt all these years, even though I’d ignored my feelings and would invalidate myself.
        I’ve felt violated, minimised, made to feel small, made to feel incapable, isolated, dependent, like a child, humiliated, scared, anxious.

        I know its all true, I just don’t want it to be. Because I still love him. I hope the love fades soon though.

    • #118382
      Pea2020
      Participant

      Guys you are all right.

      I think I deliberately missed out important information when talking to the woman on the helpline last night. Think I’m trying to gaslight myself and minimise again, because he’s currently being understanding about me leaving.

      Honestly being with him for so long has done a number on my brain.

      I’m truly not going to see it as clearly as I should, until I leave him.

      I need to remember my list, what multiple people and professionals have told me and what Rape Crisis told me. These things happened. I’m not making it up.

      I was such a mess last night, but today I’m more clear about it all again.

    • #118383
      gettingtired
      Participant

      Well done Pea. The first place I rang a few months ago was a local helpline and the lady suggested anger management for my partner when I said he has thrown or kicked things towards me before. When I said he had left bruises on me a few times she said it’s ‘not good’ but they couldn’t help because I wasn’t in immediate high risk of violence. She suggested not standing at the top of the stairs when he seems to be getting angry and said she could pass me on to Relate! I felt very deflated and I don’t think she gave me the best advice but I was so afraid when I rang I barely said much and definitely minimised it because I was so scared of breaking down and not being able to speak.
      I’m not sure if you’re at home with him today but I hope you manage to have a nice day with your children xx

      • #118406
        Pea2020
        Participant

        Gosh how awful for you! Its so hard to be completely honest about it all sometimes and to give the full picture.

        We ended up having a nice day all together at home, he is being fine, I have butterflies constantly at the moment though.
        Hope you had a nice day too xx

    • #118407
      Pea2020
      Participant

      Its the suddenly being kind and understanding that has thrown me.

      I ran this by a womens aid helpline worker this morning and she warned me that it could be another manipulation.

      I’m all over the place at the moment. Honestly feel like I’m going insane.

      I’m not going to check things on helplines anymore, unless i need advice on the next stage of leaving him. Its starting to do more harm than good rehashing stuff to lots of different people, just because I want a different outcome to the reality of my situation.

      Rape crisis talked to me for ages the other day and confirmed the rapes and assaults.

      My DA support worker was 100% that I’d been experiencing emotional/physical abuse and coercive control.

      I know how I’ve felt all these years, even though I’d ignored my feelings and would invalidate myself.
      I’ve felt violated, minimised, made to feel small, made to feel incapable, isolated, dependent, like a child, humiliated, scared, anxious, Intimidated.

      I know its all true, I just don’t want it to be. Because I still love him. I hope the love fades soon though.

    • #118409
      Hetty
      Participant

      Hi pea, what a brave and amazing woman you are. Know your truth and stay true to yourself. I minimised, forgot about things, turned a blind eye. The first time he swore and raged at me I was shocked. Then that became water off a ducks back. I’d hear the way he spoke to my son but then minimised that, was paralysed with anxiety about what to do. I used to think well he might rage at me but not in front of the kids, then he used to swear and call me names in front of them, then I thought at least he’s never hurt me, then came the grabbing and throwing things, at least he hasn’t bruised me, then came the marks and the blood. Mostly he was emotionally abusive. It made me feel so degraded. He went through a time when he’d made up the most disgusting name for me. My friends were horrified when I told them. They urged me to leave for such a long time. In order to stay we have to be willing to accept the whole of who they are, the monster. We have to give up parts of ourselves for a life time of walking on eggshells. It’s taken me a long time and a lot of soul searching to reach a point when I thought, I’m worth more than this. Mostly I left to save my son.
      Love doesn’t hurt us. When I went to my local domestic abuse service over a year ago I burst into tears as soon as I saw the kind face of the woman I spoke to. At no point did I ever feel pressure to leave. She discussed my options and ensured I was safe no matter what. It’s not easy to leave. It’s not an easy road at all. But neither is staying ❤️

      • #118432
        Pea2020
        Participant

        I’m so sorry all of those things were done to you. None of it should have happened.

        And thank you, I dont feel brave or amazing at the moment, I’m all over the place – I have hours where I’m calm and have complete clarity over everything that’s happened to me and whats being going on and then my brain gets in a muddle and I got back to be a confused mess again.
        But I do appreciate you saying that, so thank you. Hopefully I will feel better about myself in time.

      • #118434
        Hetty
        Participant

        Getting through every day takes amazing strength, whether we are still with our partner or have left. I lived with my ex a good (detail removed by moderator) after I first came to terms with my husband being an abuser. I work with kids and heard another child recount what was happening in their house. The impact. It could have been coming from my child’s mouth. The red flags were all over the place, the same ones I had ignored. And not just little ones either. You get up and get on with the day. I know what that takes. Xx

    • #118435
      Eggshells
      Participant

      Hi Pea, Please read back over your posts to see how dramatically his behaviour has see sawed. No wonder you are all over the place. The behaviour you have been describing at every point reminds me of my ex.

      The bottom line is that once you have left, you’ll look back and wonder how you ever doubted yourself. However, you won’t be able to leave – and stay away – until you are fully convinced that he can never change. I suspect that you are still hanging on to that hope. And as long as he is being nice and showing you that he can be the man you want him to be that hope is still hanging around.

      They don’t change I’m afraid. He is showing you now that he does know how he should behave. If he knows that, then why didn’t he behave properly from the start? He chose not to, its as simple as that. He chose abuse because that made his life happier and easier. At the moment, he is making a huge effort, he’ll soon get tired of making the effort and as soon as he feels he has you safely hooked back in, the abuse will begin again. When it does, please understand that this is the cycle beginning again. He isn’t changing, he’s pretending to change to keep you there with him.

      • #118489
        Pea2020
        Participant

        Its weird I dont see how it all might look to someone on the outside, until I read through my recent posts.

        He is changing a lot.
        He’s been great (detail removed by moderator) and then I accidentally said something (detail removed by moderator) now his mood is going down again. He seems to be really hurting, which makes my chest ache.

        I just need to remind myself how he’s hurt me over the years, even if he has seemingly been a lot nicer to me this year in a lot of ways.
        He has been nicer on the surface, at least. He was still controlling me (if more subtly), coercing me into sex, sexually abusing me and intimidating the kids more and more with his outbursts. But on the surface he had really changed a lot.

    • #118459
      Catjam
      Participant

      Hi Pea, I have been reading your posts and it’s like looking in a mirror. If you get chance try reading books by Don Hennessy. It’s about how these guys are so clever and how the things they do are so subtle we never stood a chance.
      Mine keeps crying about being terrified of losing me. When I tell him nothing has changed I get a long list of how he has changed but if you sit back and watch and listen nothing has.
      Mine too used the he only got angry when he didn’t have sex. I refused to have sex now for a few months and suddenly he is in complete control of his anger.
      My children are all grown up now and are all damaged in someway by growing up in this environment.
      I haven’t left mine yet and go through periods of wanting things how they were. I have to remind myself it’s a life built on lies and manipulating me to be his everything. I have no friends and no life outside of him.
      What we need to wake up to is these men have no need to do anything anymore because they have already sculpted us into what they need. We automatically avoid doing things that might upset them and all our time is spent ensuring that they are worshipped and cared for to the neglect of ourselves and our children.
      It would be so easy to fall back into how things were but the trouble is now you know what is going on. You can’t switch off that part of your brain that has learnt that how he is clearly not going to change.
      Be careful of saying too much to him because they adapt and change to lure you back in.
      I asked mine if he trusted me the other day and his answer was yes but I could be so secretive some times. In other words it’s my fault he doesn’t not his for being insecure.
      Try reading as much on the subject as you can. Also worth finding out if you have a local group who could help you get him out of the house rather than you leaving. The only downside to that is he will always have a reason to come round.
      Take care

      • #118490
        Pea2020
        Participant

        I will definitely check out those books, thank you.
        For the sake of myself and my kids, I need to get out ASAP. Its so emotionally hard to leave though. I do have a deep attachment to him, even though he has treated me appallingly at times.
        But now I’ve started processing the reality, I cant go back.
        He is now my abuser, not my husband. Our bed is now the place where he attacked me countless times. I cant sleep in it anymore… last night my muscles were so tense all over, I couldn’t relax my body enough to fall asleep. My daughters room is the room he physically assaulted me… I see everything through a different lense now and the fantasy I was in for survival is well and truly broken.

        Its strange how they turn the abuse back onto you and twist it to make it your fault. My husband has often said I’m cold and distant and it makes it hard for him to open up to me emotionally, something that I’ve always wanted from him… but I’m distant because I’ve shut down, because he’s hurt me so much.

    • #118499
      Pea2020
      Participant

      He seems so sad, but is trying to hide it.
      I’ve gone back to feeling terrible again.

    • #118501

      Please don’t feel terrible. You didn’t deserve any of this, he did this the moment he chose to assault and abuse you. You can bet your bottom dollar he isn’t feeling terrible at all and the sadness is an act to regain control. Unfortunately these men don’t have basic human emotions like sadness, remorse, empathy. They only think about themselves and how our actions affect them and whether it is something they approve of or not. It is so easy to feel guilty and pity them because we are all decent human beings that are capable of normal though processes and feelings. Our abusers aren’t, it is all about control.

      • #118547
        Pea2020
        Participant

        I think this is what I’m struggling to get my head around the most – that what he is doing is all manipulation. I’m so used to feeling empathy for him, its hard to turn off and I’m feeling pain seeing him apparently in pain.

        I will keep reminding myself of what you’ve said though. X

    • #118502
      GreenSapphire
      Participant

      Hi Pea, it’s normal to feel up and down and go from hating them to loving them and everything in between. This is the rollercoaster of emotions that the majority of us talk about, you may have read this word ‘rollercoaster’ before and in other posts.

      This is normal lovely, it’s what 99.9% of us experience when we are getting better. It’s very similar to what addicts go through but at the end they are free and no longer victims of their addictions.

      Feeling sorry for him is what kept you in the relationship where he abused you. It’s normal to still have feelings lovely but like the addict who is getting clean, it has to be no contact. No contact is the nasty tasting medicine which makes us better.

      You’ll be ok, just ride the waves as they come, it will get better.

      One day in the future you’ll have a moment were you realise ‘oh I haven’t thought about him or that for a day’. That day will come x*x

    • #118504
      Pea2020
      Participant

      @Rockandrolldreamscomethrough

      @greensapphire
      thank you both for your messages. I really appreciate it.

      The addict comparison makes a lot of sense too. I dont want to be with him, but I can’t imagine life without him either. I will miss him being there, even though I cant wait to leave.

      I’m now also stressing about my eldest not wanting to move with me.
      He has a strong bond with my husband, despite what has happened this year. He loves him a lot and wants to be with him all the time. My husband and him have similar interests, which they do together a lot.
      He won’t want to come with me.

    • #118507
      GreenSapphire
      Participant

      Hi Pea, if your eldest does not want to come with you and he is above the age of consent, then it may be that he has the right to choose to where he lives and with whom.

      This doesn’t mean that because your partner treats your son well and treats you badly that this is a good reason to stay. Remember, you were born to this earth first, you have knowledge and wisdom that your children don’t grasp yet. Your children love you, have faith x*x

      • #118508
        Pea2020
        Participant

        Hes (detail removed by Moderator). I don’t want him to feel like I’ve taken him away from his home and daddy.

        He loves him a lot. I would obviously never make him do anything he didnt want to do. If he was over the age of consent then I know there’s nothing I can do any way and of course it would be totally up to him.
        They are very close.

    • #118509
      GreenSapphire
      Participant

      Pea, no-one here is forcing you to do anything you don’t want to do.

      If you leave, it will be of your own accord in the best case scenario.

      Children love willingly. It’s natural to them. If you choose to split up with his Dad, it doesn’t mean they necessarily wont have contact unless your child is at risk. I realise that this is scary, but is not better that your son has a chance of being free to make up his own mind about life in a healthy environment as he grows?

      Pea, we are a body of women who have lived through domestic abuse and violence that covers the spectrum and survived. We are on this forum through wanting to be. We aren’t here to tell you what to do or not do (except if we perceive danger to life).

      You must choose your own path, if you seek our guidance along the way, then that is your choice and our honour x

      Off to bed, night night x

      • #118511
        Pea2020
        Participant

        I know you are right, I’m just wobbling all over the place at the moment i think!

        Whatever i do, it will be OK. I know I need to leave, no matter how painful that decision feels right now. It all feels very scary and overwhelming and because I’ve had him micro managing me since I was (detail removed by Moderator), I’m suddenly having to make huge decisons on my own and I’m not used to it (I’m aware that makes me sound totally pathetic).

        I can do this. I wouldn’t still be sticking to my plan of leaving if it wasn’t for everyone on this forum.

        Night x

    • #118512
      Eggshells
      Participant

      Hi Pea, I was in the same boat. I met my ex when I was in my teens and stayed under his thumb for decades. I know exactly what you mean about finding it scary. It’s part of what they do, they make you fear making your own decisions. Mine would run me through every worst case scenario if I tried to make my own choices. It ensured that I left all the decisions to him. It is really scarey at first but you will know when you are ready to face that fear. That time will come, I promise. It may be tomorrow or it may be next year but either way the forum will be here for you. xx

      • #118546
        Pea2020
        Participant

        Thats awful! Mine was similar… I’ve realised recently that a big part of me is still stuck in my teens, because he’s taken over everything “adult” over the years. It makes everything overwhelming,. Knowing decisons up to me and only me, that I am responsible for myself and my choices. I’ve spent so long not having any real choice over anything important, that when people are telling me this is my decision, that no one can tell me what to do, I feel freaked out because I almost want someone to tell me what to do. It really is ridiculous.

        Thank you for understanding x

    • #118548
      Hawthorn
      Participant

      It’s not ridiculous at all. I was in my (detail removed by Moderator) when I met my abuser. I was an independent professional with a big circle of friends. Through the years of his abuse that was chipped away and I lost all confidence in my own decision making and ability to cope on my own. I remember before I left feeling exactly what you described; Just wanting someone to tell me what to do.

      When you begin seeing things clearly and making choices for yourself you will gain more confidence in your strength and abilities. I dont need him, I never did. I’m really good at things in fact, he was holding me back like a millstone around my neck. I might make mistakes, but so what? I’ll learn from them like I’ve learned from my biggest mistake; the years I wasted on an abusive man. They’re my choices to make now. Just like my successes are mine to celebrate. Just like your choices are your own.

      It is scary. But liberating too. You got this Pea xx

      • #118549
        Rose1
        Participant

        Pea I just read all the posts and I’m so familiar with the hope you place every time your abuser is nice to you..I’ve been married a long time and despite the cruelty if he turns nice I try and kid myself things will change for good. I can be told I’m loved at 8am and screamed at in the face by 8pm..as such anxiety is often my overriding state. I’m now on medication for my stomach to stop me feeling sick..its the anxiety so now both my mental and physical health have been affected..i wish you peace and happiness whatever choice you make but with him id say be wary of the ‘good times’ I amaze myself that when I think all will be well I’m absolutely floored once again when he turns on me. Take care

      • #118602
        Pea2020
        Participant

        Thank you for your message @rose1 I’m so sorry to hear of what you’ve been experiencing, how awful.

        Its amazing how sucked into the good times we get, he manages to trick me every time! I’m trying my best to wise up to it and stay focused on what I need to do to get out. Its so hard though. I still feel a strong emotional pull to him
        Xx

      • #118601
        Pea2020
        Participant

        Thank you @hawthorn for your continuing support and wisdom. You really do make so much sense.

        I’m seeing things so much more clearly today and I know that once I’m away from him for good, there will be no doubt that I’ve made the right decision. I’m looking forward to growing in confidence with myself and my decision making. X*x

    • #118563
      Catjam
      Participant

      I started making small decisions on my own. I stopped relying on him to fix things. He also went away for 2 weeks last year and it was that time on my own that made me realise how unhappy I was.
      But still I don’t take the final step. I take care of everything for him, even down to giving him his medication every day. I wake him up for work, even when I was ill in hospital, I used to set an alarm to wake up to ring him so he wasn’t late for work.
      I feel sad and guilty about abandoning him but deep down I know he will manage or find someone else to fill that need.
      It’s not an easy journey for any of us.

      • #118603
        Pea2020
        Participant

        I’m sorry you’re going through this. Its so so hard. The conflicting emotions make it feel almost impossible too, the guilt etc. I still feel like I’m about to abandon him, even though he’s made his choices.
        The mix of emotions is really chaotic and draining. Sending you love xx

    • #118604
      Pea2020
      Participant

      Update: he’s taken the kids out for the day, completely unexpected and unannounced.

      He just said “(detail removed by Moderator)” To me and I went to find some (detail removed by Moderator). Then he took one from me and went out the door (kids already in car) and said “(detail removed by Moderator)”.

      No idea where they’ve gone or how long they will be out for. They’ve been out since (detail removed by Moderator)

    • #118605
      KIP.
      Participant

      He may be trying to intimidate you. To show you he can take them when he wants. Try not to show he’s getting to you. He’s trying to upset you. To see how much you will take. To look for a reaction. Don’t give him one.

    • #118607
      KIP.
      Participant

      Just add this behaviour to your journal. It’s evidence of his controlling intimidation. If you can get it in text form even better. You could ask when he’s bringing them back as he left without telling you anything. It’s written evidence then. I think he’s trying to show you that he’s in control here. But it will backfire.

    • #118609
      Pea2020
      Participant

      It definitely felt like he was trying to rattle me or intimidate me.
      I’ve made a note of it in my journal, but I wish I had thought to message him, to create written evidence. He’s just got home.
      I will know to do that if he does anything similar again.

    • #118612
      KIP.
      Participant

      You can’t think straight when these men are traumatising you. I fully expect him to bring it up when he doesn’t get a reaction from you. My ex would have turned it round on me. Weren’t you worried? What kind of a mother doesn’t check on their children? Pathetic games. Don’t let him play these mind games. Slow and steady for you x

    • #118614
      Catjam
      Participant

      Its hard not to be drawn in by them especially where our kids are concerned. My youngest has no relationship with him at all now.
      I made myself a promise that if he spoke to her at Christmas then I would give him a chance to try and improve things, this is the main issue I have raised with him all these months. How his treatment of her causes me so much pain but he clearly feels he doesn’t have to.
      He has nightmares about losing me and sits and cries but i have noticed he gets my attention when he is crying.
      I have had a couple of panic attacks about asking him to leave, why should he stay in this house. He wont look after the cat or our grandson so he can move to the 1 bedroomed bedsit not me.
      It is a rollercoaster and one I will be so glad to get off.

    • #118615
      KIP.
      Participant

      They are Oscar winning actors. Mine would cry then I’d catch him smirk. Any nightmares he has are about losing control over his verbal punch bag. He doesn’t want to improve things. He’s having a ball. Sitting pretty.

    • #118616
      Eggshells
      Participant

      You must have been so worried Pea. If he does it again he can find the (detail removed by Moderator) himself. Whilst he’s searching, it will give you time to get the kids out of the car until he gives you more information about what his plans are. He knew you wouldn’t care if he walked out and disappeared for that long – but take the kids and jot tell you where they are or when they’ll be back, then he’s got one very worried mother and potential for a good old row when he gets back; then he can really rip into you. He wanted to provoke you into interaction with him. It is inexcusable for him to use your children like that.

    • #118625
      Catjam
      Participant

      I think it’s very worrying what he did with your children. If it was a normal healthy relationship you wouldn’t think twice about him taking them but the way he did it clearly shows he was trying to scare you. He probably does realise that there is a shift in your attitude towards him and is attempting to get you back under his control.
      I would reach out to women’s aid for advice. Take care xx

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