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    • #147661
      Hereforclarity
      Participant

      I can’t tell if I’m tormenting myself here or whether I’m really bad at taking responsibility for my own behaviour. Or if my ex-partner just gaslit me a lot during our relationship. I’d really like some honest feedback if anyone can provide that.

      I don’t’ know if anyone else here feels it – but you know when you start reading and learning more about emotional abuse and how it manifests – you also read things that you recognise in yourself when you were reacting to what you felt was abusive behaviour?

      So when you read articles/info about the signs of emotional abuse and it suggests things like “Do they tell you you’re too sensitive?” “Do they *ever shout at you?” “Do they stonewall?” etc. So I also recognise myself in some of these points:

      – I did say to my partner from time to time that I thought he was too sensitive/that I thought he was being over the top/unreasonable e.g. when he would accuse me of trying to get male attention by sitting in a specific spot in a restaurant or that I spoke to a friend in a way he deemed flirting or would say I was giving back handed compliments to him when it wasn’t *exactly* what he wanted to hear (he would literally ruin weekends away over what he deemed a lack of enthusiasm about him).

      – I did shout at times when he would back me into a corner in arguments and belittle me/do and when he’d say/do controlling things relentlessly or when he had insanity making double standards.

      – I did go quiet in times when I couldn’t handle anymore conflict/self-centred justifications for his behaviour… or when I was so exhausted and upset I needed space

      – I got jealous and annoyed when he would repeatedly heavily engage with women on social media he had sexual relationships with in between our break ups even though he nearly broke up with me for sending a courteous reply text to someone I’d dated

      It gets so confusing because he would always tell me my reactions to him were the problem, that I had anger problems (this never fails to get a shocked reaction from literally everyone I know), that I was projecting, that I was never able to take responsibility. He also told me I was overly emotional and that my reactions to his “normal” concerns and behaviours were controlling… He told me his therapist thought I was cruel and his friends thought I was crazy/unreasonable and didn’t like me – even though he never really let me mix with his friends so they didn’t know me…

      I hate the idea that I just can’t see that I’ve been abusive to someone? It all feels wrong and off – but maybe there’s some truth in what he’s been saying?

      From his track record with me and others – he’s burnt bridges with plenty of people and fallen out with his best friends, managers, colleagues, friends of friends, exes. I don’t want to use these examples to prove I’m therefore not abusive… I’m just trying to look at it all in balance?

      Can anyone else relate to this? I’ve read some things about reactive abuse? But even that phrasing seems to be suggesting everyone who reacts to abuse is just as bad etc.

      I’m trying to access some counselling to help with some of these more nagging thoughts but in the meantime I’d really appreciate any responses if this resonates with anyone. I don’t want to avoid accountability, I just want clarity so I can move forward

    • #147662
      nbumblebee
      Participant

      Oh my yes and yes.
      I iften have asked on here if its ne who is the narc if its me who is hurting him.
      I lie to him about what im doing where I am, I keep things from him about work or the kids.
      I am saving as much money ad i can in a private account.
      I say no all the time because i cant stand him near me i dont want holidays or alone time.
      All this i feel is horrible is wrong is nasty and i feel its me who is in the wrong.
      I ask myself why I do all this.
      Im sure you know the answer I do it to protect myself to keep myself safe, to try and claw a life that I want out of a life with a man who isnt so nice who is selfish and unkind and nasty who stops me from working who wont allow me to talk about work who doesnt support me who likes to bribe and force me into sex.
      Thats why i do what i do to survive. Im guessing you are the same sweetie so No, No you are not the abuser here. Xxxxx

    • #147664
      Mellow
      Participant

      We all blame ourselves and we all react at some point reactive abuse is real i was quite fir a. While when I realised I was abused but jus I see it I can’t unseen it and I’ve reacted a lot .people have not been on my side when I’ve reacted and I’ve even showed them it but it’s because they don’t understand.like you I was left as an outsider from his friends after being together a decade i was not allowed to work either quit my job and I liked my job.even isolated myself from close family cause he didn’t like them .you need to remember also we pick up the abusers behaviour because we spend a lot of time with them .i bet he has said those words to you also like you being sensitive etc

    • #147667
      Bananaboat
      Participant

      The key difference is in each of your bullet points you’re reacting to a situation he’s engineered – you feel backed into a corner so shout or go silent. I’ve also spent time wondering was it me, I did shout, I did ignore him when behaviours were awful etc but like I say, the key difference is we’re reacting whereas they just shout/ignore us out of the blue, then twist our reaction to be the one to blame. You’re not a robot, you’re going to have reactions x

      • #147736
        Hereforclarity
        Participant

        Thank you for this and I think deep down I know I’ve been reacting not causing heavy conflict myself organically… Thank you for sharing your experience too and I’m sorry you can relate.

        I’m just not used to looking at dynamics where I feel so blaming of someone else because… well I guess their treatment of me was this bad. Usually Id feel much more diplomatic and willing to come to a middle ground with someone, but when you’re so disrespected and the person responsible doesn’t want to or can’t see it – it’s so maddening. It DOES then feel like you’re constantly blaming your partner for the problems which doesn’t feel good.

        I think because a lot of the time his style of abuse was covert – he always found ways to justify himself – He would call his values “old fashioned” when he was being sexist/possessive/telling me I couldn’t wear something, call his demands “boundaries” (when it had nothing to do with his own needs and more to do with controlling what I did/didn’t do), He would often be the one talking calmly and composed when he was actually talking down to me like a child until I exploded… I can’t count the amount of times when he got incredibly angry when I didn’t come running to him as soon as he had a problem or when I prioritised my needs over his (In a reasonable way – not always). The double standards he would reframe in ways to justify why it was OK for him to do something/get angry at something when I wasn’t allowed to be… Not to mention the daily wearing me down/needing to have “serious conversations” about my behaviour with other men/about how little I appreciated him and poking holes in how I treated him/ How it was my fault that he was feeling suicidal (he never said the words but heavily insinuated this – so it was deniable)… regardless of everything above. Of course this isn’t everything, just writing what comes out when I think about it.

        It was so mad trying to explain to a grown adult how disrespectful and uncaring being treated like this felt… All the while he would talk about how generous and empathetic he was… He would talk about equality and feminism and had a huge understanding of how to talk about the things that would make you feel you were in company of a progressive and caring person.

        So when I look back and see what I was trying to navigate and trying to explain to my partner until I was blue in the face that it all felt wrong – I can see how he could even convince himself that my anger was a problem instead of what was making me angry… I could see how someone in his position would think I couldn’t take criticism. He would tell me I made everything about me, that my emotions were always the biggest in the room and that was controlling, that I was overly emotional. I just felt so lost in it all and I clearly should have ended it sooner – but then every time I tried he would beg to get back together and suddenly understand how he’d been and how much he hurt me… It would then just get turned around so quickly and I’d be told I couldn’t accept my part in it…

        Maybe there’s some truth in it about not taking enough responsibility – I mean I didn’t take any of the treatment lying down and I put up a fight when I felt controlled/manipulated. This in itself is probably enough for an abusive person to think of another as the problem/abuser.

        Sorry for the rant – I’m not expecting more replies. It just really helps sometimes to articulate these thoughts and gain some clarity for myself.

      • #147754
        Bananaboat
        Participant

        It’s ok, a lot of what you’ve written is very familiar! I saw a post today on social media that said anger in abusive relationships is our body telling us what we’re experiencing is wrong, that we don’t deserve it, that anger is our inner self loving us and standing up for us. I quite liked that.

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