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    • #162155

      I have been feeling so confused and to hell and back with my mental health. I finally feel like I’m able to think clearly enough to seek support now, but I need help making sense of what I’m feeling. I have been told that the relationship I am in may include elements of emotional abusive, coercive control and financial abuse. Several people have independently told me this, but I still can’t believe it, like are they focusing on the bad things only, or am I telling the story that only shows the bad parts? Am I just being dramatic or manipulative or is that just because I’m in a relationship where I’m (Sometimes) being told its all in my head? Whenever I try to think of it, my head becomes really foggy and my thoughts become less clear, so I will try and explain the best I can. I’ve been unhappy in my relationship for years, but everyone around me thinks we are great together and this person is great. But I dont feel like I can be fully myself with my partner, like I have to hide parts of my personality because they don’t understand them or like those parts of me. They have said things that make me feel put down, but they also say a lot of kind things and say they want the best for me, but sometimes they seem to know whats best for me when its different to what I believe or want for myself. They say I’m niave, but I feel like I am smarter than this, but because of my mental health, I do sometimes wonder if they are right and they do know whats best for me. Sometimes I’ve thought that this person holds me back and doesnt respect me, other times everything seems fine and quite normal. I know they love me, but I also think they need me. I don’t think they are aware of what they do that hurts me, I dont think its intentional or malicious but just unconcious for them. Could it still be abuse if its not intentional? Its all really confusing and I think thats why my head sometimes defaults to self-harming thoughts and suicidal thoughts like everything gets overwhelming. I feel quite isolated and I really dont know if I should be talking to my parter about all this, seek couples counselling or just get support for me to leave. I cant keep going round in my own head about it, its too much. I need perspective. Thank you for reading.

    • #162169

      I haven’t posted much on here because I’m still in shock about my situation. But I needed to tell you that you aren’t alone. I’m in an incredibly similar position. In fact, it’s like you’ve described me and my life.

      So for me, I truly thought it was unintended and he just didn’t get it, and if I told him he’d change because he loved me after a long relationship. Wrong. He literally ended the relationship, after 1 discussion of how I thought his behaviour was coming across. Really shocking. He thought I was mentally unwell to be saying these things.

      The thing about the unintentional side of this is that they are seeing the consequences but not taking responsibility for their part in it, so if they hurt you but didn’t intend to, then it’s not their fault.

      There’s not really anything positive to say about that type of person. I still can’t get my head around that way of thinking. If I hurt someone, even by accident, it’s my fault and I’m sorry. I’m in my (detail removed by Moderator) and really didn’t know people thought otherwise.

      Couples counselling was a disaster as I spent the whole time trying to get him to take responsibility and him evading it. He was just so callous.

      If I had my time again, I would not confront him. I would quietly get my life in order and leave him. The confrontation was a disaster and (detail removed by Moderator) months down the line, has escalated horribly.

      You shouldn’t feel this way in a supportive relationship. You’re describing many red flags. I hope you’re ok xx

      • #162188

        Thank you for sharing this. It feels weird to say I feel grateful for you sharing your experience, because you shouldnt have had to live it, but you sharing it does help me to process what I’m going through. I feel a bit more real, and a bit less alone. Thank you. I’m sorry to hear what you have been through, it sounds awful. I really hope you are safe and doing better and I wish you so much love and happiness in your future. If it helps you to talk about it more here, please do, I’ve been really hesitant to post, thinking I didnt deserve to reach out, but I’m glad I did.

    • #162172
      Main Moderator

      Hi tortoisewisdom,

      Welcome to the forum and thank you for posting to share your situation with us.

      What you’ve described is abuse and control. Part of what can make domestic abuse so confusing is the fact that the “bad times” aren’t constant, there can be happy times where an abuser is very loving and attentive and may seem like the perfect partner. This is normal within a relationship with an abuser. People picking up on your partner’s abusive behaviours and showing concern is not a matter of how you’ve told it. It’s also common for an abuser to have a charming public face that is different to how they are when alone with their partner.

      It’s not okay for them to be putting you down and you deserve to make your own decisions about what you want in your life. Is this really happening has shared some great insight above from her own experiences. Your partner knows the impact that putting you down or not respecting you has, they know that by imposing their choices on you it limits your ability to be yourself, whether or not they take responsibility for their behaviour. Abuse is all about power and control, putting you down gives them power and saying they know best is very controlling. Women’s Aid would not recommend couples counselling with an abuser as they are likely to try and use it as part of their abuse.

      I’m sorry to hear that you’re getting thoughts of self-harm or suicide sometimes, I know how distressing these can be. A GP can be a good person to open up to about these thoughts and also about the abuse that you’re experiencing, some women prefer to speak to a female GP, especially if there’s one you particularly like or trust. Please also know that the Samaritans are also always available to support you through difficult feelings.

      If you feel like you are in need of some additional support, you could chat to a Women’s Aid worker in confidence via our Live Chat service (8am – 6pm weekdays and 10am – 6pm weekends/bank holidays). They won’t tell you what to do, but can discuss your situation and signpost you to other support that’s relevant for you.

      Take care and keep posting,
      (Forum Moderator)

      • #162190

        Thank you so much. Its going to take me a while to process everything, but it makes me feel like maybe I’m not going crazy for how I feel, maybe there is a real reason for it. Luckily I have a good GP who I have a good relationship with and I’ve told them how bad things have felt recently and they’ve been really helpful. I’m having a better day today and your words have helped me feel a bit more like myself and a bit more hopeful for the future. Thank you.

    • #162317

      I just wanted to share that I too felt exactly the same way, and it is only now that I’m out of the relationship that I can see it was part of the pattern of control and intimidation (interspersed with wonderful moments). You are not crazy, you are having a normal reaction to an abnormal situation. Please trust your instincts and the people who are looking out for you and do whatever necessary to put your mental and emotional well-being first. You deserve that.

    • #162386

      Firstly, what comes across (and something I completely relate to) is how confused you feel. I’m out of my abusive relationship now – emotional and financial. As you move away you begin to see more clearly. Reading your comments I can see how you are being strongly manipulated. When an abuser changes between putting you on a pedestal one minute and then cutting you down to size the next, it’s very confusing. You’re sure it must be something you’ve done. Actually it’s usually followed by heavy gaslighting. Because you feel unstable you cling to the person you’re bonded to – in this case the abuser. But they are harming you. Healthy relationships and real love should be supportive, understanding and compassionate, not conditional and harmful. Making excuses for the abuse is also not your fault. You’re trying to make sense of the behaviour. But ultimately your mental health is at stake and if you’re able I would urge you to seek support and find an exit plan when it’s safe. This won’t get better, the longer you stay the more your mental health will suffer. I am on my healing journey and whilst it’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done I have ZERO regrets. Getting out of an abusive relationship takes real courage, but you can’t do it alone. Surround yourself with supporters. Good friends and family will step up if you open up. Please take care of yourself. Life needn’t feel like a cycle of darkness – there is light at the end of the tunnel if you can break away. Sending you lots of love x*x

    • #162536

      Hi, I have just read your message and would like to share with you that your situation is very similar to mine. I too am in a relationship with a man who is all over the place and I’m struggling with depression and anxiety over the way he treats me. We don’t like to admit that we are in love with someone who perhaps has a personality disorder, I have read an off a lot about various disorders including n**********c personality disorder, and I would suggest that maybe you look it up and see if any of his behaviours match a stereotypical n********t, I have found that my partner definitely does. I don’t live with mine and I am currently two days into no contact, I feel for my own sanity that I need to break away from him. Please feel free to contact me if you want to chat

    • #162539
      Main Moderator


      As the moderator, I just want to take the opportunity to state as a gentle reminder, that Women’s Aid’s stance is that there is no excuse of any kind for perpetrating abuse. This has to be a clear and absolute message. Linking it with or equating it to any kind of mental health condition is not appropriate. By linking domestic abuse to n********m almost medicalises the problem and takes some of the responsibility away from the perpetrator. We believe that perpetrators of abuse are fully responsible for their abusive behaviour. They know what they are doing and they are making a choice to behave that way.

      Detailed analyses of mental health problems and their possible relation to abuse can also be very misleading to women who are fragile, still blaming themselves and vulnerable to suggestions of excuses for their partners’ behaviour.

      We also want to be sensitive to any women here who may be offended by these correlations, if they too have diagnosed mental health conditions.

      I hope this is helpful.


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