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    • #124174

      Hi, im new and this is my first post. Im feeling confused over whether what i have experienced is abuse and how to move forward.
      A bit of backround:

      I have been married to my husband for (detail removed by Moderator) of my life, i was very young so this is the only life I know. My husband is (detail removed by Moderator) years older than me. I have always been very shy and lacking in confidence and when we first met I believed I was incredibly lucky to have found someone like him and would do anything not to lose him. So when he would get upset and annoyed over things like me spending time with my family instead of him, I felt that he was justified in his feelings and i always said sorry. He very soon made it clear that he didn’t want me working in the family business (detail removed by Moderator) where I also lived, and moved me to his parents house with him. I fell pregnant very quickly. He went out to work all day then would get home and go to the pub without me. He would always make excuses as to why I had to stay home. I got quite depressed but didn’t want to bring it up in case it upset him. 

      He would ask to me do things that made me uncomfortable and keep going on at me until I did them, makung me feel bad for not doing it in the first place. After our 1st child was born and we were living in our own house things didn’t improve. He would be obsessed with porn and reject me. Then he would try and make me do things sexually that I didn’t want to do and blackmail me if I didn’t. He has forced himself onto me before as well.

      I couldn’t do anything right. He would criticise everything, from the housework, cooking, what i was wearing, how i looked. I wasn’t allowed to go out with what little friends I had left. I had no money of my own. 

      I decided I wanted to get a part time job so I had some money to buy my son things without asking him. He really didn’t want me to work but his mother supported me and I got a small part time job. I never saw any of my earnings. He would say that it had to pay the bills just like his wages.  

      As time went on my mother-in-law who was looking after our son while I worked, couldn’t cope with him anymore due to health issues. My husband said we couldn’t afford child care on my wage so I would have to get a full time job which I did. Again I didn’t see any of the money I earned, not even bonuses that I worked really hard for.I was still badly struggling with depression at this time and his constant use of porn and going out all the time, not lifting a finger at home, was making me ill. I had no self esteem left and thought i was useless. He would just say to me that other women manage. I felt really trapped. He woukd always tell me the kids would never see hom if i left. He knew this would hurt me because of my own parents messy divorce.

      During my time working I made friends who I was able to confide in. They encouraged me to have a night out (detail removed by Moderator).  I knew he wouldn’t like it that we were going to a pub so I told him we were going to a restaurant.  He was still not happy but let me go. Anyway, when I was out he phoned the restaurant and when he found I wasn’t there he came to find me. I was mortified that he had followed me and he was fuming. So he never trusted me after that.

      I’ve given him so much support over the years with everything.  His career. Him leaving his job to build our own business. Him wanting to move house goodness knows how many times. If I don’t want to move he uses emotional guilt telling me he will have a breakdown if  he has to stay here any longer. 

      I now work in our own family business so he still has financial control over me. He won’t let me get a job because it’s not financially practical. I’ve been isolated from social media because he couldn’t control his jealousy over a ‘thumbs up’ from men friends. I haven’t seen my mum in (detail removed by Moderator) years because she lives (detail removed by Moderator) miles away and he makes it so incredibly difficult for me to visit. He thinks everyone should run around after him. 

      In (detail removed by Moderator) I found running. It saved me. It was time for me. He hates me running and always has. He has now encroached into my running world and has taken my running community, which I found so supportive and gave me a bit of my confidence back, away. He was stalking everything I was doing on social media and making me feel as though I was doing something wrong, even though I wasn’t, it’s all in his head.

      I finally got to the point of recently where I had had enough. I’m not sure how I managed to stand up for myself and speak, but I told him how much he has damaged me over the past (detail removed by Moderator) years. He was terrified of losing me. He loves me so much to the point that I’m everything to him which is so unhealthy.  He has nothing outside of our family despite me trying to encourage him to find a hobby. He doesn’t go out at all now and he has changed a lot since those early days, but the control is always there. I feel suffocated. I can’t be solely responsible for his happiness.  Anyway he has agreed to go to marriage counselling but I know he also needs his own counselling.  He agrees but so far has not arranged it. He has made a huge effort to understand what he has done and hates thecway he has behaved.
      I’m really struggling to move forward even though he is trying his best. He’s helping at home, spending a bit of time with kids, considering my feelings. But the control is still there. I’m still walking on egg shells incase I upset him. He keeps telling me I don’t need to and to talk to him, but after (detail removed by Moderator) years I don’t know how to not be on edge all the time or think about myself instead of him. Maybe I too need my own counselling. Ive always normalised his behaviour in the past but now im anaylising everything he says or does and wondering if its him being controlling or mebeing overly sensitive. But I do want to move forward if he is willing, which it looks like he is. I just hope its not all part of the controlling cycle.
      So im wondering if anyone has been in this situation and has managed to move forward with their relationship?

    • #124177

      Hi and welcome, sadly it is just part of the controlling cycle. Contact your local women’s aid for support. Read Living with the Dominator by Pat Craven. What you describe is horrific abuse by him. He disguises his abuse as love and caring but love doesn’t hurt or control. What he loves isn’t you but the control he has over you. He’s not your responsibility and now it’s time to put yourself first. Counselling never works in an abusive relationship and isn’t recommended by women’s aid. Start writing a list of his abusive behaviour over the years and keep a journal of his behaviour. Google gaslighting. Cognitive dissonance. The power and control wheel. Trauma bonding. He won’t change. Abusive men never do. They talk the talk which they’re good at. Will say what you want to hear at the time and do nothing. Only judge him by his actions not what he says he will do. The very first time he abused you he gave you permission to walk away x

      • #124260

        Thank you for your reply and for the information you have provided. You have absolutely hit the nail on the head when you say he is not my responsibility. I keep saying this to him as he seems to think that i should give everything up to make him feel secure and if i dont im not taking hos feelings into consideration. I will have a read up on the info you have suggested.
        Thanks again

    • #124183

      Hi beautiful Angel… Tryingtofindhope,
      Welcome to the forum, and well done for posting, I know once you start putting things in writing it can be quite cathartic and become very real.
      Your husband is controlling you, which is abuse. It can seem confusing if you have always lived with it, but that doesn’t make it right.
      What I can relate to in your post is you finding running… I found yoga… whatever it is, it gives you an inner strength, physically and mentally.
      Your husband can see this and has then tried to shut it down because he feels threatened by the changes in you. Even he knows you have the power to be a strong powerful capable woman.
      Try as hard as you can to keep running or doing other things that build this strength, I know its not easy when you are living with an abusive and controlling man, my partner use to facetime me to make sure I was really at yoga!
      But through opening up physically, you will open up mentally… small positive changes will set the wheels in motion for you being strong enough to leave and set your boundaries with him.
      These could be changes in your diet to keep healthy, along with not drinking alcohol or caffeine, doing positive affirmations in your head, or connecting with nature and tracking the moon cycle … subtle things you can do without him realising that will make big changes to you.
      When you look up at the moon at night, all the ladies on this forum are looking up to … take your power from that, you are not alone.
      Keep posting, you will get lots of support and advice on here
      Sending you continued love and support
      Darcy xx

      • #124261

        Thank you Darcy.
        Running has given me strength and purpose and definitely “saved” me. I will continue this. Im glad you have found this in yoga.
        I love your suggestion of making small changes for me. This will help me feel i have at least some control.
        Thanks again

    • #124193

      Welcome to the forum. Firstly, I think you know it’s abuse, deep down, which is why you’ve found your way here.

      It’s admirable that you want to move forward with him. Perhaps you feel it’s only fair to give him a chance to put things rights. I would be cautious though. Because, once again, it’s you that’s putting in all the effort. Has he honestly spent the last (detail removed by Moderator) years completely unaware of how obnoxious and controlling he is? Has he honestly only just noticed how unhappy you are?

      You stood up to him and that shook him up. He’s had to change his method of control. He says it’s because he loves you so much. He says he hates the way he’s behaved. He tells you that you can stop being on edge now, you can talk to him. He says he’ll go to counselling. He’s saying a lot of things! He’s a new man!

      But, sadly, you’re right not to trust him. Marriage counselling will not fix this. In fact, this kind of therapy can make everything worse for the abused. I’ll see if I can find something to post which explains why.

      If I were you, I’d test out how sincere he is. Soon we will be able to travel. You could insist on a solo trip to your mum’s. Get back on the running forum. Reconnect with friends. Whatever you do, don’t lie or keep it secret. See how he reacts. Check to see if he makes things difficult. If you find that it’s all too much trouble to follow through – well, then you’ll know.

      • #124262

        Camel thank you so much for your information. This has crossed my mind regarding the counselling. I dont know if it will make any difference but in the past when i have tried to discuss his behaviour with hom, he would twist it all onto me. However this time he is actually acknowledging what he has done and is making small changes. However i am aware this could be part of the cycle.
        I am going to take your advice and as soon as i can will go and see my mum. That will be a big test for him. I just need to try and stop feeling so terrified of speaking with him about it and actually tell him, not ask his permission, which is what i have always done.
        Thanks again

    • #124194

      The advice is a resounding no for couples counselling…
      I tried to post a link but it said it was spam,so I’ve pasted it.

      “While there can be benefits for couples who undergo couple’s therapy, there’s a great risk for any person who is being abused to attend therapy with their abusive partner.

      Relationship counselling can help partners understand each other, resolve difficult problems, and even help the couple gain a different perspective on their situation. It cannot, however, fix the unequal power structure that is characteristic of an abusive relationship.

      An abuser may use what is said in therapy later against their partner. Therapy can make a person feel vulnerable. If the abuser is embarrassed or angered by something said in therapy, he or she may make their partner suffer to gain back the sense of control. Therapy is often considered a “safe space” for people to talk. For an abused partner, that safety doesn’t necessarily extend to their home.

      Couples often enter couple’s therapy to fix their relationship. Deciding whether or not the relationship is better is extremely hard for a couple if one is being abused. The abuser has all of the power and can no longer gauge if a relationship is getting better because he/she does not see what their partner sees. The abused partner often cannot even rate how bad or good the relationship is because the abuse has affected him/her.

      Another reason that couple’s therapy or counselling is not recommended is that the facilitator may not know about the abuse, which would make the entire process ineffective. The abuser may make their partner seem responsible for the problems, and if the therapist does not realise that abuse is present, her or she may believe the abuser.”

    • #124267

      Hi Tryingyomoveforward. Unfortunately, you can’t move forward in an abusive relationship; you just loop around the cycle. Please Google “cycle of abuse”.

      I went to couples counselling with my ex. He just used it to say how sorry he was, that it wasn’t his fault (his parents were to blame) and to try and convince me and the therapist that he was changing. I barely spoke during the sessions- it was all about him and how desperately unloved he had felt as a child. He admitted to all the abuse even going as far as describing some of the details of how he had abused me.

      I left him anyway and as soon as he realised that his ploy hadn’t worked, he told me that he wasn’t abusive and insisted that he had never abused me or recounted details of the abuse. His “understanding” and desire to change was totally insincere. If your OH suddenly appears to understand he is abusive I would recommend you take it with a pinch of salt and record him secretly. Then when he admits to stuff, you have it on record. And please ditch the couples counselling sessions.

      He won’t organise sessions for himself, even if he pretends to. (Mine faked going to counselling sessions)

      You may well need counselling for yourself to help you move on from the abuse but counselling to try and make your marriage work is useless – even if he pretends to be changing.

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