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    • #127866
      ISOPeace
      Participant

      Hi ladies,

      There are (understandably) lots of posts on here asking whether they are experiencing abuse. I thought it would be interesting to start a thread for us to share how we would describe/define abuse. Just a few words or sentences. Don’t worry about trying to make it perfect, I think collectively we’d end up with a pretty good reference point.

      I thought it would also be good to share the effects, because so many of us wonder if what’s happening to us is normal.

      So for me:

      Domestic abuse is….
      – invalidating my thoughts, feelings and boundaries
      – using threats, intimidation and manipulation to make me put his needs ahead of mine and at the same time make me feel like it’s all my fault
      – using threats, intimidation and manipulation to ensure that he has the ultimate power/authority in the relationship

      The effects of domestic abuse for me…
      – total lack of trust in my own judgement
      – fear of asserting boundaries in and out of the relationship
      – generally poor executive functioning (organisational skills, time management etc)
      – believing there’s something wrong with me and if I tried harder things would be ok (until I learnt about abuse)
      – feeling overwhelmed
      – feeling like there must be something wrong with me to have taken so long to leave (until I learnt about trauma bonds)
      – huge exacerbation of anxiety

      I’m sure there are more but I’ll stop there. xxxx

    • #127871
      Emptybutfree
      Participant

      I’m going to explain my experience of abuse… then if others are unsure or whether or not they’re being abused can see if they can relate.

      Abuse comes in many forms but my experiences are…

      – feeling inferior
      – feelings of self doubt
      – being made to feel as though I’m crazy
      – being made to feel my instincts are incorrect or invalid
      – given the silent treatment (usually as punishment)
      – at times being discarded when I asked him to self reflect on his behaviour
      – unable to express my view or opinion
      – if my views or opinions are expressed to expect to be assaulted
      – walking on eggshells and surrendering to my ex’s hurtful actions and behaviour
      – blaming my ex’s behaviour on myself
      – thoughts that if I was a better person/partner, I wouldn’t be treated this way
      – after violent assaults, being made to feel as though this would never of happened if I’d of acted in a different way.
      – finding myself apologising just for the peace or so that he didn’t leave me
      – feelings of uncertainty and instability

      These are my personal experiences, I know everyone is completely different and it doesn’t make it any less or more abusive.

      If we know they are treating us badly, if we feel bad about ourselves, if we are second guessing behaviour, there’s a very strong chance it’s abuse and it doesn’t need to be tolerated xx

    • #127874
      nbumblebee
      Participant

      I still cant use the word abuse it doesnt feel right.
      Im here because my husband
      Says nasty hurtful things about how i look and dress
      Never has a nice word to say about me
      Belittles me in front of friends
      .akes me feel so guilty i can never go on a night out without him as its just not worth the hassle
      Constantly picks at me all the time little tiny digs that go on and on
      He wont let me work without him
      He shouts and has terrible mood swings
      He ignores me often
      He hates the word no when it comes to sex and often gets nasty if i say it
      He does nice things only if he gets sex in return
      He is selfish
      He accuses me on having affairs every single day
      He makes me feel so bad i self harm.

      The effect on ne
      I hate myself
      I hate my life
      Im sad all the time
      Im a mess
      Im scared to do anything without him
      I worry all day every day
      I feel guilty all the time
      I walk on eggshells everyday.

    • #127875
      ladiesand gentlemen
      Participant

      All of the above

    • #127887
      Eggshells
      Participant

      Belittling the things I like, the things I do and the things I say.

      Telling me that I wouldn’t have done as well if it wasn’t for his help and support (there was no help and support – would have been easier without him)

      Mind bending gas lighting.

      Constant coercion into demeaning sex, when that didn’t work then rape.

      If I tried to make a decision he didn’t like then going through all the potential negative effects so that I became terrified to make any decision.

      Lies, false accusations and more lies.

      Clenched fists, clenched jaw, aggressive tones, the look in his eyes, humming songs with covert meaning. (That was a good one, he could do it in public and no-one but me knew!)

      Nice in public, nasty in private. The switch could be instant.

      Turning on the charm when he sensed he was losing me. A gradual, creeping towards the nasty.

    • #127891
      marmot
      Participant

      Abuse:-
      -Total control over everything, even had to stand on exact spot he said and my opinion had to be same as his;
      -isolation and refusal to allow me to attend medical appointments;
      – Set times and began to count down if children and I getting close to deadline;
      -Coercion. Intimidation and threats of leaving, withdrawing support, refusal allow me to eat, threat of physical violence, eruptions of uncontrollable temper. Everything punished, fined for breaing his rules or abandoned far from home without belongings;
      -Gaslighting. Every incident rewritten and fictitious account presented to me repeatedly as fact. Told I mad and neurotic if doubted his version;
      -Moved goalposts without telling me but expected me to comply with changed arrangements even if I did not know them;
      -Insults, belittling and contempt. Public humiliation. Called neurotic, hopeless and mad;
      -Public outbursts of screaming, swearing and threats drawing crowds;
      -Never stood up to him. Instinctively knew it was a very bad idea to fight back;
      -If he was in a good mood then I walked on eggshells, pre empting any triggers, acquiescing and making him happy;
      -If triggered then even one look could cause terror, couldnt speak properly, visibly shook and trembled inside, then acquiesced and placated fast;
      Summary – tyrant and terror

      Effect
      During relationship- constant terror or fog. Life about survival. Woke every morning wondering if that day was day I would die and felt resigned to this; stress, anxiety, depressive episodes;
      Since end relationship- anxiety, health anxiety, PTSD, flashbacks, nightmares, insomnia, no confidence nor self esteem, cry at slightest issue, overwhelmed, paralysed with indecision, analyse and reanalyse my every move to check I have not done something wrong, doubt my judgement and ask everyone for reassurance, phobias, difficulty concentrating, multiple mistakes in basic tasks, curl up and cry when faced with conflict, cannot face meeting people,aged considerably. Multiple therapeutic interventions needed.
      Summary – an intelligent, professional woman reduced to a shell of her former self

    • #127901
      Eyesopening
      Participant

      Oh Marmot, I’m so sorry even after leaving it is still such a struggle. I wish for you to recover and find yourself again ❤️
      This is a good idea Isopeace and quite hard, makes you think, I’m not 100% confident with all the terms, but a good exercise.

      My experience:
      Total love bombing and adoration one moment,
      The next moment belittling comments, ridiculing alone and infront of friends/family, name calling, minimizing my thoughts and feelings,
      = complete and utter CONFUSION & exhaustion
      = trauma bonded – he who abuses me is the one who consoles me
      -Being lied to blatantly (‘i have never been there’ / – i know he has as he paid with my credit card there)
      – being treated like an idiot, me: why did you spend money on my card and not tell me?
      Him:‘Because you’ll see it on your statement’
      -Gaslighting – ‘I didn’t say that’
      / ‘You have been there’
      -Being SCARED of him, his reactions, what he is capable of.
      -Being his SLAVE/maid/mum
      – not being able to tell him anything, feeling lonely. Feeling like my feelings should be swept under the rug. Better to avoid confrontation, he has taught me well – never stand up for yourself or standup to him or you’ll be sorry.
      – living with an alcoholic/drug addict
      -Being financially taken advantage of
      -Being told I’m not good at relationships as i should show him more love
      -My body is his to do as he pleases – have a child / dont have a child / dont complain if i hurt you
      -My life is his to do as he pleases – ‘we are doing this’, ‘we are doing that’ ‘we are moving there’

    • #127924
      Lottieblue
      Participant

      I have been thinking about this thread since it was first posted. If I had to put it in a nutshell, it would be “Power over”. That’ what abuse is. For some people it’s physical, for others it’s sexual, sometimes financial. And/or. But I think for everyone it’s about Power. For me, I’m not sure there are many things that are that bad on their own, as one-offs. But yes, it’s how it made me feel (still does, even though I’ve left). For many years, I was made to feel like I didn’t matter, like my opinion was irrelevant, like I was a slave. I eventually started trying to pretend that I wasn’t there in order not to attract attention to myself and my inadequacies. I lost my core, my soul, my very sense of being. I wanted to stop existing, because I wasn’t allowed to exist as an individual, I was only allowed to be what he shaped me to be. Subservient.

      Now, I am out. I was incredibly strong and incredibly brave and I still can’t believe I did it. And he maintains that I left with no warning and no explanation. I am amazed at what I have started to find – a new me, or is it the old me? He thinks he did nothing wrong but he destroyed me… almost but not quite.

    • #127934
      DinkyHorse
      Participant

      I can relate to and agree with a lot if not all the above comments so sorry if I repeat.

      -One minute being fine then all of a sudden boom into an argument about the smallest things (and I mean really pathetic), and not letting things go before asking me a billion questions about why I did/did not do something or why I did it that way, causing me to become upset and really angry about why he’s being so pedantic.
      -Controlling what I eat by making little comments about my breath after eating certain foods or making me feel guilty about eating junk food.
      -Controlling when I go to bed/sleep (waking me up every time I fall asleep in front of the tv, sometimes in really rude ways, nudging, tutting, slapping)
      -Controlling what I do by asking me what I’m doing every time I go on my phone. Making comments about me being boring when I read, making me feel guilty for doing anything that doesn’t involve him e.g. going for walks, meeting friends or family
      -Threatening self harm
      -Controlling how much I work by making me feel guilty for working too much
      -Being funny with me if I don’t text while I’m at work
      -Is very negative about anything I say/suggest
      -Silent treatment (think the record was three days)
      -Having an answer for everything, no matter how right I think I am, in some way I’ll be wrong so I’m the one that ends up apologising
      -Being slave/maid/mum as I do everything and everything is my responsibility
      -Getting the blame for absolutely EVERYTHING, not always directly but making me feel like things are my fault
      -Gaslighting
      -Being made to feel stupid when he uses words he knows I won’t know the meaning of

      Effects-
      -Making me feel inferior/less important (Often feeling like a little kid being told off during arguments/a naughty dog that’s raided the rubbish bin, skulking up to owner with tail between legs when I apologise)
      -making me feel like my wants/needs are not as important
      -Making me feel like I can’t make my own decisions
      -Sleep deprivation
      -Less productive at work
      -Not wanting to go home
      -Dreading time off work
      -Constant guilt
      -Feeling like I can’t talk to him about anything, hiding things, lying, avoiding telling him things because of his opinionated negativity
      -Wishing I’d never met him
      -Imagining my life without him

      I could go on for days!!

    • #127935
      ISOPeace
      Participant

      Wow, thanks for your replies ladies. I found them so moving. I hadn’t really thought about how I’d feel reading your replies and I’m a bit taken by surprise by feeling so sad. I guess it shows how easy it is to put the reality of abuse in a box. I’m a believer in the ‘you have to feel to heal’ approach to healing, so thank you all for bringing up feelings that I needed to feel. xxxx

    • #127936
      DinkyHorse
      Participant

      …Oh thought of another big one
      -I instantly just say no to things (work related or social) that I want to say yes to because I just know it’s not worth the hassle, he won’t like it, won’t agree, won’t want me to etc.

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