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    • #57835
      Herindoors
      Participant

      Hello. I am a few years out now of my abusive relationship. I have always been quite shy before I was with him but I was younger and friendships come easier when you are pre-kids and responsbilities. During the relationship he did his best to isolate me and I didn’t try and persue any budding friendships (through work or other mums and suchlike) becuase i knew he wouldn’t ‘give’ me the time I needed to devote to them. I am lucky enough to have one dear friend who stuck by the whole time and one other, who pushed for us to be friends and I managed to get out enough to maintain that friendship to this day.

      After we split up one of the things I worried about was ‘I only have two friends’! It has taken me years to realise that this is not because, like he said, I am boring and no one likes me. It’s partly because I don’t actually operate well or want a large group of mates. I would only end up saying no to invites if I had people beating down my door! I like me time, just not all the time. I prefer to have a few close friends I know really well, than a large group. I am now OK with that.

      However I often find myself alone at weekends or evenings and at those times more options would be good 🙂 So I set up a walking group because I love walking and it gets me outside at the weekend. I invited random people from my FB friends, local to me who I thought might enjoy it. And its working. A few weekends ago I brought together 6 people who didn’t know each other. There is something about walking while you are talking that makes it less stressful for someone shy like me.

      The differance is that in past I would gravitate to a certain type of person – loud, charasmatic and overpowering – because they filled in the gaps in my quietness/shyness. Now I am actively trying to connect with people who are on my social plane, that don’t overwhelm me or hog all the conversation.

      I think there are more lonely adults out there than we realise. FB does make it look like everyone else is having an amazing time with loads of mates but I think the reality is very differant. I am bad at just texting someone and saying ‘fancy a drink tonight’ but I have found that I can bear organising a group event – even if I am a bit nervous just before it in case no-one turns up! My theory is that if I keep doing the same events with the same people some lasting friendships might come of it.

    • #43674
      Herindoors
      Participant

      I hear you pondlife. I too was elated and then felt weird. It all takes time to process and change. I remember early on after I got out, rushing around town shopping, worrying about getting home quickly, had a feeling something was missing…and then I realised…what was missing was his texts demanding to know where I was! I spent many days operating like a robot at work only to get home and just lie on my bed tearful and a bit confused. Wasn’t even sure what I was tearful about, after all I was free from him. It was just my brain processing processing and it does calm down eventually and when it does its blissfull x

    • #43369
      Herindoors
      Participant

      Hi Oaktree – welcome and you do need to be here.

      When you say ‘I am scared sometimes but not directly scared of him, I am scared of his reaction, I am scared of making him mad, not scared of him’- this is commonly described as walking on eggshells and it is a form of coersive control which is emotional abuse. Over time you start doing everything you can to avoid upsetting him because if you do upset him then there is a consequence to pay. Your consequence is him getting angry and that scares you and is a situation you don’t want to be in. With my ex I knew if I disagreed with him, pointed out he was being unreasonable or did anything that he didn’t like he would get angry and cause an argument, often keeping me up all night explaining to me in great detail why I was wrong. So eventually I believed I was wrong, I was the cause of the issues between us and I became a shell of the person I used to be.

      ‘but when he is in a good mood its great, we have a wonderful family, he is kind, he really looks after me’ – he is nice and its all lovely, then the tension builds and he explodes, afterwards he is sorry and you are grateful for the attention (because he has been mean to you) and its all good again, and then the tension builds, he explodes etc…. this is called the cycle of abuse. It doesn’t ever stop.

      ‘With the sex it is my problem, its not his fault what happened to me and its not fair of me to ‘punish’ him for that.’ Oaktree you are not punishing him by not always wanting sex with him. A man who is not emotionally abusive would simply not say this to you. They would understand your history, be compassionate about it and try and help you. They would not blame you. They would NOT blame you by saying you were punishing them.

      How your husband treats you is how mine treated me. Over nearly two decdades it turned from what you describe in your first post and then escalated. First the arguments and emotional abuse got more frequent, then he started to use violence around me until eventually he was violent with me. This can often be the pattern with an emotional abuser. It stays emotional until you have had enough and he can tell you are checking out of the marriage and then it gets physical.

      I feel like I may have overloaded you here with my post but your post sounded so much like my own experience I wanted you to know that you are not imagining things and you are not to blame.

      Reading the posts on the forumn really helps – seeing how your situation compares to others and you will be shocked by the similarities between us all.

      Calling womans aid and talking to someone who really understands would be the best thing you can do. They will listen, help you clarify. They won’t judge or tell you what to do. They will help x

    • #40260
      Herindoors
      Participant

      Hi jsscollie. Call MIND and talk to them about this. My ex used to threaten suicide all the time and like you I had no idea what to do. When I spoke to MIND they reassured me that people who talk about it very very rarely do it. It is a form of coercive control. I also spoke to my counsellor about it – as I had convinced myself that if he did do something to hurt himself that it would be my fault. I could not get away from the fact that if I knew about it, and did not do what he said to stop it, then it would be my fault. Both MIND and my counsellor where adamant that I needed to accept that he was totally responsbile for his own actions and that I was not. It took some talking but finally I realised that they were right, I had no control over what he did or didn’t do and in fact he was controlling me with these threats. Take care xx

    • #39981
      Herindoors
      Participant

      @Serenity – I downloaded your book recommendation ‘Boundaries After a Pathological Relationship’ last night. Great read and I am going to work on defining my boundaries tonight. I am a few years now out of my abusive relationship and feel ready to meet someone new. However I know that I need to learn to set boundaries or I will probably just end up with an abuser again and that has been holding me back.
      You give great advice Serenty so just wanted to say thanks for all your posts and this book recommendation x

    • #39651
      Herindoors
      Participant

      HI. I am not sure if this is possible in your current set up. You said your ex is not interested in seeing the children? However he leaves them with your mother instead? Your mother is clearly an abuser so can you go no contact with her and not allow her to see the children? So that’s one toxic influence out of your childrens lives. You are then left with the ex – but without being able to leave the kids at your mothers maybe his visits will drop off and then the second toxic influence is gone..?
      I have one member of my family I simply no longer see because they are so toxic and I keep my remaining parent at a very long arms length. I feel no guilt about this because life is short and I am going to spend it around people who are good for me – no those who want to hurt me.
      Good luck xx

    • #36147
      Herindoors
      Participant

      backtome – you feel guilty because you are a nice compassionate person, you feel guilt because you are not an abuser. Make no mistake though, our abusers also know how to push our guilt buttons, they are experts in this. So push those guilt feelings down and prioritise you and your child.
      Like the others I can’t say ‘No Contact’ enough. Its the only way and really helps with the guilt because you are not constantly seeing messages etc..from them. If you have to maintain contact due to your child can you do this through a third party?
      Well done and good luck xxx

    • #35692
      Herindoors
      Participant

      @shinebright2 – sleeping when i want to sleep……Oh yes! 🙂

      @positiveandlookingahead
      – try and just go with the flow. I know its hard not to overthink it because we are used to our heads being filled with our abusers rubbish so we look to fill that gap – but what I keep trying to do is ‘slow down and smell the coffee’ as the saying goes.
      Wishing you a wonderful holiday ! xxx

    • #35690
      Herindoors
      Participant

      Hi Lilminx. My ex was similar. He would wear the same clothes for days on end, never cleaned his teeth or showered. Weirdly though he didn’t smell most of the time. I got to thinking that he was secretly cleaning up when I was at work but pretending he didn’t because he knew it grossed me out. Our child confirmed they could never ever remembering him shower. And he would want a spontanious love life! Not only did I not want to go near him because of his emotional abuse but physically I was never sure how clean he was. I didn’t fantatise about young, hot, good looking men – just a man who I knew showered every day and was nice to me! LOL

    • #35174
      Herindoors
      Participant

      Sorry you are having a hard time Cuppa. As I was reading your post I was thinking well done you for spotting all of these traits in her – you can see what she is so clearly and this gives you the upper hand with her. I hope I will be able to spot an abuser next time one is near me! Hope your time away ends soon and you can get back to peace! xx

    • #35127
      Herindoors
      Participant

      Hi White Rose – like most of us you are not used to thinking about yourself, putting yourself first. Impossible to do that when living with an abuser and a really hard habit to break.
      Plan next Christmas exactly the way YOU want it and then stick to it. Between now and then practice saying No when you want to so its easier to say No at Christmas when people are making demands on you.
      Don’t expect a 100% positive reaction but we all need to learn that that’s OK – we are important too, our needs and wants are as important as anyone elses!

    • #35125
      Herindoors
      Participant

      Many many years down the line after being with him I was talking to my best mate who had also known him as long as me. I was describing how when we argued I could not get away even for a mintue, to lock myself in the bathroom for a breather, because the one time I did that he started kicking the door in. To me that was normal behaivour after years of a build up of increasing abuse. She looked me in the eye and said that the first time any man had behaved like that around her she would have ended it there and then – and that that was normal behaviour. That’s when the penny finally dropped and I stopped minimising, blaming myself etc…

      On reflection – on one of our first dates together we were walking in a park and he ‘jokingly’ shoved me and I fell over. It wasn’t the shove so much that was the issue (bear with me!), it was the way he reacted to me falling over and being hurt and complaining about it. I had no sense of humour, he was only joking, I was too sensitive, I was no fun, he didn’t mean it blah blah….oh hindsight is such a wonderful thing!

    • #35027
      Herindoors
      Participant

      Interesting thread and something I have thought long and hard about. I used to think he was not aware, not doing it conciously until after we split and our child explained to me how she would hear us argueing and then a lull, in which he would go off and silently strategise his next verbal assult on me – and then come back and do it. She knew what he was doing and she had to point it out to me.

      Then I realised something, he is 100% aware of what he is doing but in his head he is also 100% ‘right’ – which is why they will never change. Abusers sees nothing wrong with treating someone that way, they don’t understand when we point it out because they don’t see anything wrong with it.

      They will never change because of this..

    • #34377
      Herindoors
      Participant

      @peacfulpig. Realising my posture was differant was a bit of a turning point for me in recovery. One day I noticed I was not walking along looking at my shoes anymore. I felt I could look people in the eye. Ironically he used to have a go at me about my bad posture….caused his treatment of me I now know!

    • #34375
      Herindoors
      Participant

      No you are not stupid, you are a normal human being. I think we react like this for a number of reasons;

      It does become our normal and we end up de-sensitised to it. I remember telling a friend about not being able to hide in the bathroom because I once I did this and he kicked the door in. For me that was normal and expected behaivour from him. She said she would have kicked him out at the point, no question. I was shocked by her response and it was one of the conversations that gave me perspective.

      We minimise to save our brains from overloading. My head was so full of him and the situation that it litterally couldn’t take anymore. This is our brains way of protecting us, so that we can keep going and surviving. I HAD to brush off his behaviour because my brain couldn’t compute anymore.

      We minimise because that helps us to not crack the eggshells we are walking around on. Again this is survival mode, which is not a concious action. Your unconcious brain takes over and does what it needs to to keep you safe. So we minimise to avoid a row to avoid danger.

      We are compassionate and so we keep hoping that this behaviour is not really him, he will be nice again. It is really very difficult for someone who is not abusive to accept that someone can consiously be that way, that they are actually making a decision to abuse another person. So we keep giving them the benefit of the doubt, hoping they will change etc..

      BJIS – you are not stupid, your brain is trying to protect you xx
      Fight or Flight? My counsellor explained that there are 5 of these – Fight, Flight, Freeze, Friend and Flop. The one you default too when you are in danger is an unconcious decision. Your brain picks the one that worked best last time. For me that was either Freeze or Friend = minimizing, normalisation, denial.

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