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    • #136644

      I can’t sleep. I haven’t slept properly since (removed by moderator) and I am just so tired…

      I have been married for a long time. Teenage children. I knew from the day I met him that he was damaged and going to be hard work, but I thought I could save him. He was outgoing and fun and loud and confident and I loved the fact that he no fear and could take me to places that I was too scared to go to on my own.

      Many decades later, and after counselling, I can see him for what he is. As my counsellor said, the word n********t is overused and does not excuse his behaviour, but he is displaying extreme behaviour.

      I have been subject to verbal and emotional abuse for decades. Every book or article I read, describes every type of abuse I have been through,other than physical. I hate the word abuse, but he has criticised me constantly, told me I am not pretty, need (removed by moderator), should never smile in photos because (removed by moderator), doesn’t like me (removed by moderator) because I’m ugly, said I have an unattractive personality, said I have no aspiration, said I hold him back.

      I have pulled him through mental health crisis after crisis. He gives me no space whatsoever when I am at home. Calls me when I am out. Demands constant attention. Sulks when he doesn’t get it.

      Chases women. Tells me he would never have an affair, but falls in love all the time. Literally tries to get off with my friend in front of me.

      And then, when I am breaking, tells me that I am bit trying hard enough to meet him halfway. That he us only with he because he has nowhere better to go.

      I just collapsed physically. This was (removed by moderator) and I’ve been a wreck ever since. I’ve seen my doctor, got counselling, and I can see it now. I’m working on space and boundaries and attempting to build up my self esteem and physical strength.

      But (removed by moderator) he just started again as soon as I got home from work. In front of our son. Blaming me. Saying that I was punishing him and he’d done nothing wrong. I could hear every word of the abuse and projection and power over stuff.

      So I took him into the other room and said that I wasn’t punishing him, that he needs to get support because this is heading towards divorce because it is killing me.

      Obviously, it’s now all about him. He won’t let me get divorced. There are no grounds. He’s done nothing wrong. He hasn’t changed. I know what he’s like. He can’t help it if he falls in love with other women.

      I haven’t slept. I’ve been up all night. I love him but I deserve more than this. I can’t unsee the abuse now. I’ve got to protect the children and I’m terrified. This is a long marriage, where I have built up a life. Done 99% of the house/children /emotional support. And it’s hit me that, if I want to get out of this, I’m going to have to do 99% of the work to do this.

      And I’m just not strong enough.

    • #136647

      Hi beautiful Angel,
      This man sounds terrible and I can feel your despair from your post
      From what you are saying you have been living like this for a while. When we don’t listen to the whispers … the warning signs… sometimes we get shouted at
      In your case this happened physically by your collapse in September … this was your body now screaming at you saying I cant go on like this, this was not a break down but a break through… your warning that you need to make changes
      The beginning of your journey to wellness and happiness
      This is your time now my darling … he will not change and probably just get further down the path he’s on… but you can change and in you changing it will change the dynamic of things
      Start now … TODAY!… by tuning into yourself and giving yourself what you need
      Until you start with yourself and self care nothing will change
      Yes you will still have to appease this man while you grow stronger but unless you put the focus on yourself and put some love into yourself everything will stay the same
      It doesn’t have to be a massive over haul … start slowly
      Sleep is clearly something you need so start to but together a bedtime routine
      How’s your diet, are you drinking enough water, are you getting out in the fresh air? things like this… simple but important things
      Get to love yourself again, start to look at yourself in the mirror and really notice and except the lady looking back at you … she needs you to step up for her
      Try and start to visulise how you want your life to be … I use to have a mantra going round and round in my head ‘I’m going to have it all again and more’ something like this … he doesn’t have to know what is going on in your head
      I know all this is difficult living with a man that demands your full attention
      I use to escape to the bathroom saying I had a bad stomach and practice yoga in there!
      Small steps like this will start to improve your confident and build your boundaries and make you see the issues are his not yours
      I always recommend reading or listening to Louise Hay ‘You Can Heal Your Life’
      Most of all stay safe my angel, I believe you have the power to change, now you need to believe it
      Sending you continued love and support
      Darcy xx

    • #136659

      I wanted to reach out as out stories are very similar.
      Im here too and have been a while.
      Things will take time take things slow and steady and at your own pace. Youve been so brave by coming here and sharing and my goodness the ladies on here have held me up more times than i dare say so use this forum often read posts on here read advise over and over again, i often come on here when im lonley when hes on one and i feel comfort.
      Its not easy I wont lie this realisation really hits you hard and takes everything you have to get your head round iy, i cant sleep i hardly eat some weeks it all feels too much but i get through and you will too.
      Keep talking keep reaching out use this forum read all you can when you feel brave enough reach out further talk to the chat at womans aid gain some more advice there, just keep moving foward once you see the abuse you cant unsee it so you have to just work out a plan foward.
      I cant help much I really cant but ladies on here can and will, we got you now and you are not alone. Xxxx

    • #136660

      Giving you a big virtual hug. Yes you must as the others say focus on yourself and self love. Their needs are exhausting and your body is telling you. Start slowly self loving again, instead of loving someone who is not returning that loving. A gentle warning though, as he sees you get stronger he may resort to other tactics or become more extreme. Please do not allow that to affect you …. keep going with the self love and I hope from there you find the strength for your journey ahead.

    • #136663
      Twisted Sister

      Hi SunnyMayDay

      Just wanting to send you every strength and wish for a better future. Keep wishing for that better future for you all.

      He can’t stopped you getting divorced, but you may have to anticipate that he will put on every brake he can.

      If he doesn’t respond to divorce papers wsithin a given timeframe, then the divorce will go ahead without him. He literally is not allowed to stop you divorcing him. So thats on your side.

      Also if you call Rights of Women, they can give you some free legal advice specifically around your divorce and current legal situation, which is their specialism. Don’t give up love, its just hit you hard whats been going on, that he’s fully aware of, and now you are too its impossible to not see, as you say.

      Go slowly and carefully and keep your plans to yourself, only trusting the very trustworthy to speak to about it, as it is surprisingly easy for them to get to your friends and family with wheedling and guilt trip to then give out information that you’ve entrusted them with, so forearm any that you speak to that he may do this and they mustn’t give away any details, it could easily lead to escalation and put you all at risk as he is so mentally on another planet about what he sees as a fit way to treat his family. In abusing you he is abusing his children too, which makes him a terrible father.

      Keep in mind your plans, and strength, it is in there, and it will come back if you keep on this path you have now seen and started.

      warmest wishes ts

    • #136670

      Thank you, everyone. I can feel myself relax as I read your replies. I am not great at putting myself first, but I know that I have no choice. I’m also not great at confiding in people. He has alienated so many of my friends with his behaviour, but when I started to open up to them, they have appeared like angels and I now have a small network of friends I can rely on.

      Every single friend has independently said exactly the same thing. He is hard. He is extreme. They wondered how I was surviving and thought I would crack many years before. They think I’ve been depressed for years. And he has got worse in recent years.

      Every single person has said this, and they don’t know 95% of what’s been happening. I’ve bottled it a up for so long, the pain is now hitting me hard. Stuff from 15 years ago, is just rising to the surface and is like stabbing pain.

      But I still wonder whether I am over exaggerating. Then I mention something to a friend, sometimes it just slips out because I remember it, and the look of total shock on their faces.

      I feel totally stupid for putting up with it. I’m a professional woman. I deal with people in crisis daily. I understand empathy and abuse. But I just did not see this.

      I just thought he was fun, and confident, and that I wasn’t good enough or fun enough for him. The joke is that, without me, he wouldn’t have this life. I do literally everything, and then get constant criticism about it.

      But he’s clever. He rarely shouts. He doesn’t name cl. It’s all very clever, passive aggressive, a lot of it is dressed up as humour and then I am told I’m too sensitive and can’t take a joke. But it’s constant noise and attention seeking. The children have had enough, I think. We’ve all had enough.

    • #136736

      Sorry, me again.

      He spoke to a friend. He’s now telling me that he understands that a marriage breakdown is not about fault, and that he is therefore not at fault. But he understands that he is complicated and that I am not strong enough to cope at the moment. So he is going to get counselling.

      And then he asked if I have a plan to move in with another man!

      And now he’s following me around the house. Phoning and texting me when I was at the shop. Praising my housework. Telling the children to help me because I am ill. Insisting on family time.

      This is what always throws me, every time. It is manipulation, isn’t it? It’s like he’s forgotten everything I said to him. And everything he did.

      He’s so confident and cocky. I can see it in his eyes. But two days ago, he was crying because I told him this was going to end in divorce. Now he’s patting me on the head and telling me that everything is going to be fine. How can he just switch like this?

    • #136737

      It’s classic domestic abuser manipulation in the cycle of abuse. He doesn’t love you. There is no bond. No depth. That’s how he can switch so quickly. Read Living with the Dominator by Pat Craven.

    • #138523

      I wanted to update this thread, because I am in a much better place now.

      It’s been awful. A member of his family git involved, blaming me. I was so upset I was physically sick. That evening he said something that made me realise that what I’d thought was an accident was deliberate. Talking it through with mu therapist, I realised that I’d actually been subject to decades of coercive sexual abuse, and also physical abuse. I just hadn’t realised.

      I told him it was over. Set boundaries. He’s respecting them so far.

      Since then, I’ve suffered from endless nightmares, panic attacks and flashbacks. Frozen with fear. Throwing up. But I’ve worked slowly through it. It’s getting easier.every flashbackkills me, but then it seems to leave my body and it’s gone. I think they’ve helped me realise the truth of what’s happened.

      The breakthrough was my counsellor explaining that the version of me that is broken and damaged and conditioned can diminish as I see the abuse for what it is.

      The other part of me is strong. It can survive and it’s the real me. It will grow.

      I’m going to survive this. I’m going to plan my future.

    • #138524

      @sunnymayday thank you so much for updating us, and WELL DONE for getting to where you are now!
      It does take a long time to recover. I have found that I’ve had periods of time when I think all will be ok, then something, or even nothing, happens and I take a huge step backwards. But I know that I will make it, and I have time, because now that I am out of my marriage, there is no ruch to do anything. I just want peace.
      The most crucial thing is to surround yourself with support and to keep looking after yourself. Keep a good hold of how do manage the moments of despair, the times of anxiety, and the periods of utter hopelessness. Find the tools that work and keep them close to hand so that you can use them as necessary. You learn pretty quickly the people who are good to be with, the people who are neutral, and the people who are downright negative. Work with that and trust your instinct.

      I think, as time goes on, and as the bad memories face, while the trauma remains, it’s easy to question how bad it really was – so make sure your records are in tact so that you can easily remind yourself why you left and stop yourself from feeling tempted to go back. You’ve made a really massive step… keep going!!!
      LB x*x

    • #138530

      @sunnymayday our stories are so similar I too have been here over (detail removed by Moderator) and still am with adult and teenage kids our stories are very alike and i often wondered how you were doing. What an amazing post its great to hear your positivity your strength.
      Its not an easy road and its a long one but you are taking those important baby steps towards freedom towards loving yourself.
      My counsellor has told me that i will not heal get strong until I admit I am a victim of abuse I cant do that not yet but like you I am working towards it.
      Keep going sweetie keep moving foward keep being strong keep believeing. Xxxxx

    • #138534

      Hi Sunnymayday

      So much of what you say is so similar to my life. I have also been with my husband for decades. I now too am realising I have been sexually abused too by this man since I was a teenager. He calls me names such as [email protected], special, weak, pathetic lump, ugly inside and out, loser, lazy and then the awful C word.
      He won’t let me go.
      I feel depressed. I saw a counsellor last year. I too said I was worried I was looking for things and making a mountain out of a molehill. She said that if she thought I was even half exaggerating what I was going through she would still want me to leave him. She was meant to be a person centred counsellor which meant helping me to make my own mind up but I think she was that worried for me she said to get out.
      She said I was the frog in the boiling pan syndrome. As it’s happened over many years I have tolerated more and more.
      I am going to get out.

    • #138596

      Thank you all so much.

      I have also really struggled to accept that what I am experiencing is abuse, but my everything that I have read, and everything that my counsellor says clearly applies to my situation. I have described it it two counsellors, and two doctors. They have all been very clear and vocal that it is abuse.

      Honestly, the thing that has helped me most is realising that the strong version of me still exists. And is stronger than the damaged part of me.

      It’s been hard though. I have spent hours on the phone to the Samaritans, because I just couldn’t see a way out. They were so helpful. Ironically, I was thinking about volunteering with them a few years ago. Never thought that I would need them.

      I have also used the chat on this website. Particularly when I wanted to check whether the sex stuff was abuse.

      I am still in the house, but separate rooms. And he doesn’t seem to care. It’s very strange but very clear that he is all about control and not that he never actually loved me.

      I will leave, but not yet.

      • #138667

        @sunnymayday You are so much stronger than you know and you are doing amazing reaching out for help takes so much courage you should be so proud of yourself.
        Stay strong sweetie hang on in there.
        Stay safe, thinking of you xxxx

    • #138663

      Hi, I’m sorry to hear you are going though such an immensely difficult time. I can relate to the situation you are in, I too have forgotten what it’s like to have one whole nights sleep without waking up in the middle of the night worrying about my future and crying myself eventually to sleep because of the emotional hurt and pain I am currently in.

      I have been married for a very long time, I have a son away at university, things have got worse since our son moved out, he either insults, shouts, swears or ignores me for days, even weeks on end and I have lost my confidence, I am a nervous wreck. I eat my dinner by myself, I go out by myself, I go to bed myself, I watch TV by myself, I feel so alone and empty. He says and does things and instantly denies them causing me to question my sanity, I feel as though I am going mad. I feel so trapped and helpless, it’s as though the world is going on around me, people are socialising, laughing being loved and my life is just stuck in this horrible rutt going nowhere. I am deprived of any conversation, respect, love, affection even acknowledgement of being a human being because I am constantly told that I am a ‘nobody’ and some days I can physically feel my heart ache, and today is one of them.

      I don’t recognise the person he has become, and as a result, nor do I recognise myself anymore, I feel so broken and everyday I grieve for the happy confident person I once was.

      So leave you might say, but is it ever that easy when your confidence has been chipped away for so long, when you are financially dependent on him, when you are so scared to even put one foot in front of the other? I have lived with abuse for so long I don’t know how to get out of it. Like you I too don’t feel strong enough, and I too have had physical breakdowns, he has witnessed these and has just laughed in my face. So I cry silently, move into another room every-time he enters the room I am in, he is working from home since the pandemic so things are even more impossible. I try to deal with each day, I try different ways of coping but nothing seems to work, I feel as though my life is passing me by and I am wasting whatever time I have left on this earth being broken and sad because of him.

      All I can hope for is strength within myself to make positive changes in my life, but it’s such a battle when you feel so crushed and ashamed of how your life has turned out, how all the dreams and hopes you had when you were younger has disappeared into nothingness. But I will never give up on hope, listening to other women’s stories here does give me that hope, I wish we can all move towards brighter days, free from any kind of abuse and live the lives we have always imagined we would.

      Take care.

      • #138668

        @roadtohealing your post has broken my heart I wanted you to know you are not alone.
        I am here too similar to you been here decades One kid left 1 adult and 1 teen I too cry sitting on the bathroom floor wondering what hell i will face today. Do you work? Im not allowed to work but recently I went out and got a job and i love it I am finally feeling useful needed wanted its such a weird feeling but its nice. I too cant and wont leave i just cant even think about it I cant admit its abuse to me hes just nasty and life can be hard. I totally get your hopes and dreams smashed the lonliness I get all that and all this is hard so hard and miserable and takes over your entire life your head. I cant think about anything else other than is that abusive? Was that me? Am i to blame? Over and over all day all night drives me crazy.
        BUT and heres the BUT Im not crazy I am actually gaining strength tiny tiny bits but its there.
        The more i read and learn about Im just gonna say it Domestic Abuse the more i understand tbe less crazy I feel the less lonley the less scared.
        I have a rotten past I self harm Im a mess BUT i am getting better slowly I actually am.
        So you can do it. Nobody says you have to leave oh ny its hard to find confidence when he is there knocking you down over and over again it hurts but its not impossible. You need to look after you. Talk, talk to womans aid a friend a doctor a therapist but talk the more you let it out the less alone and scared you will feel.
        Write it down that also helps.
        Also write down some positives. What do YOU want to do with your life? Learn a new skill? Join an exercise class? Get a job? Whatever it is wrote a list of goals even if its just go for a walk each day, goals. Write them down read them daily then when you feel strong start taking steps to achieve those goals you will feel good about yourself it will happen.
        My husband tries to stop me working every day he is horrible but I go to work. I know how bad he will be when i get home but I still go its important to me. I hope that one day he will see how much it means to me and allow it but I also know that wont ever happen. We have to find the strength to live a life we want if we are choosing to stay. It isnt easy and actually i think you would be better off getting out but only you can make that choice if you choose to stay you also have to choose to fight hard i guess.
        You are not alone we got you now and we get it.
        Sending you hugs xxxxxxx

      • #138673

        @nbumlebee Thank you so much for your encouraging words. It’s so nice to hear such nice words after so many years of put downs. I am trying to be kind to myself, I go for long walks and I also write things down like you suggest, it does help, but only temporarily because the main source of the problem is always there. Unfortunately I don’t have many people I can talk to about the abuse, I have gradually isolated myself because in the past when we did socialise he would put me down, correct and contradict me so much that I became too embarrassed to continue going out with friends. I began making excuses, started avoiding family get togethers, family pub lunches etc. that sort of thing, so I am now so isolated, he doesn’t talk to me for days, unless I go out shopping or speak on the phone to my mum or son, I will go for days without speaking to anyone.

        In answer to your question, I don’t work, I’ve only ever been a mum and a housewife, but now my son has left home and I’m no longer a ‘wife’ in the proper sense, just someone invisible, I no longer know who I am.. My son keeps suggesting I get out and find work, do any kind of work just to get out of the house and away from him, but I have lost my confidence. I recently did however apply for quite a few jobs online, I have never really worked in the UK and despite having a university degree I feel as though I am completely unemployable, my lack of work experience and age keeps holding me back. I applied for several supermarket customer assistant jobs, and he laughed at me, found it funny that I would be stacking shelves.. So I lost my nerve, even though I was called to a few interviews I declined.

        I feel like I myself am my only friend at the moment, yet at the same time I am my own worst enemy for not being brave enough to make changes in my life. All I can do at the moment is get though each day and hopefully one day the strength will come along too..

        Thank you again for reading my post, you have made me feel a lot better, I wish you well and hope things will get better for you too, thanks for the hugs too, even if a cyber one, I cannot remember my last one!

      • #138675

        First of all you are not your only friend we are here now. I started off volunteering as i didnt have the confidence to go for a job. Just helping others helped me more than i could ever say.
        Then after covid they offered me a job now i am doing training which he doesnt know about and i am useful i have a purpose again now the kids no longer need me. My husband hates what i do so so much and calls me some nasty names but I stand firm I love my job.
        I dont go out he would never allow it so i have no friends but actually now thats not true i go to a gym again he knows nothing of this and ive made friends and i will find the courage to go out i will.
        None of this is easy i am full of guilt everyday but some days i smile some days i feel needed i feel good ok then i get home and it all goes but those few hours are priceless.
        Its taken me months to get here I still cry I still struggle I am sadly still self harming but I am on a long road moving foward whilst still here livinh with a man that is nasty vile at times puts me down its often thretening, shouts, calls me names, is financially controlling, sexually controlling so sweetie it can be done.
        Just take a tiny step volunteer for a bit see how that goes you will find it will be the start of a stronger you sweetie. You can do this and we are here every single step of the way x

    • #138764

      @roadtohealing I really feel that I want to hug you and try and make things better for you.

      I am lucky, because I have always worked and that gave me a certain amount of independence. I’m in a very different situation, because he was always ao scared that he’d lose his job, that he insisted that I keep working, even though he belittled what I did. All of my money went straight on the house and children, but itvhave me space and friends outside the house. The only downside was that I have spent the last two decades totally exhausted.

      I had a bad night last night, but dragged myself into work and felt better for it.

      I agree that volunteering would be such a good thing for you. It will at least get you back out talking to people.

      I am absolutely determined that I will not be here once the children have left home. I am just questioning whether I can hang on until then, but the thought of being here without the children fills me with dread.

      Take care and keep talking. I think we will be able to pull each other through this together.

    • #138777

      Hey sunnymayday I got goose bumps reading your original post – so so similar for lots of reasons x You are doing so well his abuse is now in your awareness you have some clarity doubts will still come that’s ok that won’t always! Clarity grows when you leave. You have an intention. Set your intention leaving isn’t easy and post separation comes with massive hurdles but it brings safety, drama free living! peace freedom to choose to be possibility hope a chance to grow at work as a mum as a person. It can be lonely and hard too but never as lonely as living with an abuser. Just want to say as our stories are similar mine massively escalated and the depths of his horror not realised until we left – be ready to flee if you need keep your phone on you and charged. You’ve got this! X

    • #139656

      Morning all. I’m so sad today. But I’ve got to put happy face on and deal with work and children.

      I feel like identify is being ripped from me, even though it’s me doing it. There are times when he’s so calm and reasonable, that I wonder why I even think that there is a problem. But then I equally can’t understand how he can be so calm when we’re living in this strange situation. I’ve told him I don’t love him, and he just carries on as normal…

      And then, other times, he’s like a blanket. Following me from room to room. Staring at me.goung crazy if I go out if the house without telling him where I am going. When he’s like that, I think he is dangerous. Unstable.

      I am brave enough to keep the boundaries,and then he calms again, and I wonder if I imagined it.and it makes me sad to think that I might be destroying something good.

      I don’t know if that makes sense? If I even try explain to a friend, they don’t understand. They are all, and I mean all, telling me that he is too much. That he’s destroyed my spirit. They say that he’s complicated/challenging/a sick man. They can’t see why I would even contemplate staying.

      I’m not going to stay,although I don’t know when I’m going to go, but I’m just so very sad.

    • #139659

      Google the cycle of abuse. The power and control wheel. Sadness and grief is a health response, a natural response and as painful as it is, it’s part of your journey. But do not stay in that place of sadness. You need to move through this stage. He on the other hand has no depth of feelings at all. It’s pure control and now he’s losing control he will jump around with his behaviour because none of it is real. Plan a safe exit using your local womens aid and be kind to yourself x

    • #139751

      Absolutely knew I was unsettled. Huge verbal attack, following the script completely. Telling me that he’s going to make my life hell, it’s all my fault, he loves me more than anyone else could do, he can’t help loving other women, no one other than me knows what he is like.

      I was shaking. Threats. Control. Laughing at me. Everything.

      I’m calm now. It just makes me more determined to do this.

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