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    • #136922
      pine-cone
      Participant

      I’ve been thinking on and off that my relationship has become abusive for a while, and I’m beginning to take the idea of leaving seriously. My wife (I’m also a woman) has gone through periods of being very critical, like raising her voice or swearing about five different minor things before breakfast some times. She is also pretty controlling, not about everything – she’s fine with me having control of my own money, for example – but she dictates the time we go to sleep, the time we get up, how much sleep we get in between, what we eat, when we eat, what we do at the weekend, who does which household tasks (95% me) all kinds of basic stuff like that. Our relationship was more equal at the start, but gradually she started putting pressure on me to go back on my boundaries by sulking or shouting or convincing me I was mad or unreasonable, and then stuff like throwing tantrums or threatening to hurt herself. Now I’m so submissive it’s apparently my fault – she calls me codependent and says it’s my responsibility to set boundaries and get my needs met. I still try, sometimes, but she bullies me into backing down again. If I point this out she gets angry or laughs it off. She also hurts me in minor ways as a kind of joke – I say no, but she’ll act like I’m making a fuss over nothing. I can’t count the number of times I’ve told her I don’t want her to do X physical behaviour to me and she’ll do it anyway. Although she’s not often left a mark doing this, I have come to recognise that sort of thing shows an underlying attitude of entitlement to do what she likes to me and it really freaks me out.

      So much of this is psychological though, I don’t have photos of bruises and it’s often really hard to even pinpoint why the verbal stuff is an issue, because one comment on its own is disrespectful and not cool, but not a massive deal and easy to excuse as a moment of frustration. It’s only chipped away at me because it’s constant, undermining my confidence and my sense of self, because she’s always trying to tell me that I’m doing some terrible thing to her and exactly what my motivation must be, based on me doing some trivial chore in a way she doesn’t like. I wouldn’t know how to go about explaining to someone who could help me why it’s a problem that she spoke to me in a contemptuous tone for forgetting to hang a dishcloth up or whatever. The overall effect though is that I’m walking on eggshells, and I’m genuinely scared of her because she’s been talking about some scary stuff recently, about her potential for violence, in purely hypothetical terms. I feel like a solicitor or whoever I went to about a divorce would think I was mad or oversensitive.

      Thanks so much for listening, I’ve not really talked about this with anyone else before.

    • #136924
      Twisted Sister
      Participant

      hi pine-cone

      well done for speaking, for posting about this.

      All you need to know is you are scared of her. She scares you. This is evidence of a cruel and abusive relationship.

      Making statements about hurting/harming others is a threat, of course it is. If I heard anybody talking this way about harming others I would feel worried about their capacity to commit such acts, its only normal.

      It does sound like your wife is escalating her abuse gradually. Noone can know what she’s capable of ultimately, but I am more worried about you taking your situation seriously, and acting to keep yourself safe. Once you understand fully how important it is to prioritise your own needs, it will be easier for you to see through her. You are normal, your reactions are normal, her behaviour is abnormal. Everyone needs control over their life, including you. In relationships control over lifestyle is often shared, but thats not the same as owned by one and not the other who loses control of their life.

      You have described it very clearly, and you are seeing where its so wrong, and the main thing with abuse is that its a pattern of behaviour. It isn’t one thing, its a pattern that, as you say, reflects an attitude of entitlement.

      Also, many times people offer reasons why someone has acted a certain way, but only you know for yourself the impact of someone else’s behaviour on you, and if the response to your raising issues doesn’t start the resolution of the issues, there is your answer. You will go around in circles with an abuser, without resolution, only escalation.

      Do keep talking and reading. There is a programme run online and in some town venues for women to understand the tactics of domestic abuse, and it does make you stronger about identifying whats been going on for you, called the freedom programme. See if there is one running near you, if you can get out to it, or whether you could join online, they are also run on zoom I believe, which would mean you could speak amongst others who are suffering the way you are, which also can help.

      warmest wishes

      ts

    • #136957
      Raelrgz
      Participant

      Hello Pine-cone. I am sorry you are experiencing the things you have. It is very difficult to speak to others about the insidious nature of the abuse you are experiencing. Have you heard of coercive and controlling behaviour? It may be helpful to Google the “wheel of power and control” and see if you can see anything relatable. It can be an eye opener.

      The Freedom Programme is incredibly helpful. They have weekly zoom sessions which educate about abusive relationships, and how to identify abusive strategies/characteristics using the model of a figure called The Dominator. There are booklets about this figure online, and they can be a really helpful tool to help you understand what you are experiencing because you may be experiencing gaslighting, minimisation, and denial. This is why you feel you cannot trust your own judgement and gut about what appears wrong, and why things are so confusing. I hope this helps.x

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