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Support for those in Emotionally Abusive relationships: 11

(1000 Posts)
foolonthehill Mon 10-Sep-12 10:02:10

Am I being abused?

Verbal Abuse A wonderfully non-hysterical summary. If you're unsure, read the whole page and see if you're on it.
Emotional abuse from the same site as above
Emotional abuse a more heartfelt description
a check list Use this site for some concise diagnostic lists and support
Signs of Abuse & Control Useful check list
why financial abuse is domestic violenceAre you a free ride for a cocklodger, or supposed to act grateful for every penny you get for running the home?
Women's Aid: "What is Domestic Violence?" This is also, broadly, the Police definition.
20 signs you're with a controlling and/or abusive partner Exactly what it says on the tin

Books :

"Why Does He Do That?" by Lundy Bancroft - The eye-opener. Read this if you read nothing else.
"The Verbally Abusive Relationship" by Patricia Evans – He wants power OVER you and gets angry when you prove not to be the dream woman who lives only in his head.
"The Verbally Abusive Man, Can He Change?" by Patricia Evans - Answer: Perhaps - ONLY IF he recognises HIS issues, and if you can be arsed to work through it. She gives explicit guidelines.
"Men who hate women and the women who love them" by Susan Forward. The author is a psychotherapist who realised her own marriage was abusive, so she's invested in helping you understand yourself just as much as helping you understand your abusive partner.
"The Emotionally Abusive Relationship: How to Stop Being Abused and How to Stop Abusing" by Beverley Engels - The principle is sound, if your partner isn't basically an arse, or disordered.
"Codependent No More : How to Stop Controlling Others and Start Caring for Yourself" by Melody Beattie - If you a rescuer, you're a co-dependent. It's a form of addiction! This book will help you.
But whatever you do, don't blame yourself for being Co-dependent!

Websites :

So, you're in love with a narcissist - Snarky, witty, angry, but also highly intelligent: very good for catharsis
Dr Irene's verbal abuse site - motherly advice to readers' write-ins from a caring psychotherapist; can be a pain to navigate but very validating stuff
Out of the fog - and now for the science bit! Clinical, dispassionate, and very informative website on the various forms of personality disorders and how they impact on family and intimate relationships.
Get your angries out – You may not realise it yet, but you ARE angry. Find out in what unhealthy ways your anger is expressing itself. It has probably led you to staying in an unhealthy relationship.
Melanie Tonia Evans is a woman who turned her recovery from abuse into a business. A little bit "woo" and product placement-tastic, but does contain a lot of useful articles.
Love fraud - another site by one woman burned by an abusive marriage
You are not crazy - one woman's experience. She actually has recordings of her and her abusive partner having an argument, so you can hear what verbal abuse sounds like. A pain to navigate, but well worth it.
Baggage reclaim - Part advice column, part blog on the many forms of shitty relationships.
heart to heart a wealth of information and personal experiences drawn together in one place

what couples therapy does for abusers

If you find that he really wants to change
should I stay or should I go bonus materials this is a site containing the material for men who want to change…please don’t give him the link…print out the content for him to work through.

The Bill of Rights
bill of rights here is what you should expect as a starting point for your treatment in a relationship, as you will of course be treating others!!

foolonthehill Mon 10-Sep-12 10:02:42

Welcome to thread 11.

unhappyhildebrand Mon 10-Sep-12 10:25:34

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ponygirlcurtis Mon 10-Sep-12 10:39:21

Hey Fool, thanks for setting that up - was just reading through the end of number 10 and was going to try and see if I could set up number 11. How are you feeling at the moment?

Hilde, sounds like an awful weekend. I can sympathise with how you're feeling - in some respects you're soooooo relieved when they start to say all the things you've been desperate to hear for so long. You want to believe them utterly. But at the same time, you know at the back of your head that it's unlikely to mean anything, and it's just another delaying tactic, and really why couldn't he have kicked off like you'd expected then you'd be on familiar territory and know where you are, and blinking well get on with your life without him.

As with sunrise, my advice is hold back from feeling he's changing, and wait to see how things progress. My NSDH has promised the world several times, but the reality is usually a little underwhelming (and it's not long before it's all forgotten). Tread carefully. He's still dangerous right now, because he may feel he has you where he wants you, ie on the back foot, surprised, and maybe letting your guard down a little. Keep your guard up. Be open to see change, but still stay safe.

Onesix, how did the rest of your weekend pan out?

Sunrise - I know what you mean, I'm enjoying my own space at the moment, it's much nicer than life living with the NSDH. As much as I want things to work out, I have a little fantasy about staying where I am and being ever so happy on my own. Maybe sound him out on a few things first, but don't suggest that it's a done deal, that you'll all be heading back together soon. He needs to continue with his own path and prove himself.

Wanted to say hi to choco too. I followed your previous thread, although never posted, and think you're a fab person who is doing amazingly in such awful ciscumstances. The road to realising your FW is abusive can be hard, it's full of self-doubt, but I know you'll make it.

I had both a great and an awful weekend, feeling the self-doubt myself, will come back to post later on it though as my mum's about to turn up for a cuppa (hopefully a better one than we had last week). brew

unhappyhildebrand Mon 10-Sep-12 10:42:17

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

bertiebassett Mon 10-Sep-12 10:57:28

Hi everyone...I too was wondering about the next thread so thanks fool smile

hilde it would pay you to be very cautious...I think we've all had the nice/nasty cycle played on us...it messes your head up sad

pony sounds like you a mixed up weekend...but it's so encouraging to hear that your doing ok (if not actually enjoying it?) in your own place.

I can't wait to have some peace....I'm waiting for NSDH to move out and he is (as expected) playing every delay tactic in the book...

Detach detach detach!

ponygirlcurtis Mon 10-Sep-12 11:05:06

Bertie, I do really enjoy having my own space. I sometimes miss having someone to talk to in the evenings, but it's balanced with being able to watch what I want on the tv (rather than endless Top Gear/fishing programmes/Grand Designs), so it's give and take. I can watch One Born Every Minute all evening on More 4 if I so choose!!!! I also sometimes miss having NSDH in the bed to cuddle up to. But not so much as to make me miserable, ifkwim. On the whole, I love having my own space. I talked about it with my counsellor last week - I feel most like myself when I'm in the flat on my own, not when I'm with NSDH. So as much as I'm wanting things to work with us, the thought of giving up having my own space is a hard one.

I hope your own space is made much bigger v v soon... Detach!!!!!

AnastasiaSteele Mon 10-Sep-12 11:17:21

Just checking into the shiny new thread. Hello all.

unhappyhildebrand Mon 10-Sep-12 11:21:48

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ponygirlcurtis Mon 10-Sep-12 14:13:13

Hilde, you don't have access to any money? That's just terrible. Is this one of the things that will be redressed with the advent of new shiny FW 2.0? I hope so. That needs to be sorted immediately. Is there no member of your family who could get it for you, and you could get it delivered there? I got my copy delivered to my mum's, didn't tell her what it was though. If you can't do it this way, PM me, I've got a copy of the Lundy book.

ponygirlcurtis Mon 10-Sep-12 14:30:35

I almost don't know what to say about my weekend. It seems a bit unreal now, a distant memory already. But this is going to be a looooooong post, so apologies in advance. thanks

As usual, had a great time during the day on Saturday, up at our house with NSDH - DS1 was playing with friends, I took DSD into town for a while, had a nice chat. She said a few things about her dad that made me think - wow, that's a real turnaround, a good sign' - like the fact that he'd let DSD2 go back to her mum's house for a sleepover that night, he normally wouldn't. Had a great evening, lots of fun, played cards with the kids, had a takeaway. After the kids were all in bed me and NSDH got into a conversation about past relationships - always an issue for us, he's very jealous. He admitted he'd cheated on his previous wife (although I still don't know if it was while they were married).

Anyway. Then he said mentioned that I'd looked through his phone (on one occasion, done as retaliation for him looking through mine and then haranguing me about 'suspicious' names, and I've previously admitted it when asked). He asked if I had any questions about any names. Now, here's the thing. On his phone there was a conversation between him and an ex from December last year where she was asking to meet up. He said nothing incriminating in his reply (sidestepped the meeting up question), but made no mention of now being married, or having had a new baby arrive just a week before - his ex obviously didn't know any of that. Also, I discovered a few weeks ago receipts for drinks at a hotel on a night in July (ie after I'd left) when he was out at his sister's birthday party - but the receipts were for a different hotel. I didn't snoop for these, they were lying on the worktop one weekend, I was tidying stuff away. Could be perfectly innocent, but he told me all about the party (because he argued with his brother), but made no mention of this other hotel. I'm not sure why I haven't brought it up with him before now, maybe scared of the answer...

So, I said if there was anything he wanted to tell me about names on his phone, he needed to do that, I wasn't going to come out and ask him. Partly because I'm still a bit scared of him and didn't want something I said to send him off on one, I thought he would be calmer about it if he was telling me rather than me asking. He refused, saying I had to ask, he wasn't going to say anything if I wasn't going to ask. Back and forwards it went. I was starting to get annoyed, and starting to wonder if he really is being truthful with me, since he said he'd found it easy to lie to the mother of his daughters when he was cheating on her. He got very annoyed with me and started to get a bit full on about it. We called it a day and went upstairs to bed. He came in from the bathroom after brushing his teeth, said 'let's sort this out' and went in for a big cuddle and kiss. I wasn't feeling like doing that right then, plus I hadn't brushed my teeth and said this. He got annoyed cos I'd pulled away, and shoved his toothbrush (still in his hand) into my mouth quite hard. I was shocked but went to brush my teeth with a sinking feeling. He came in to the bathroom and we argued a bit more, then he threw the hand towel in my face. That doesn't sound like much, but he was standing really close so it was full force and it stung. I got upset, he told me I was being ridiculous, he'd not thrown it hard - he then redemonstrated, throwing it lightly onto my shoulder. No, I said, you threw it like this - and threw it into his face. I know, I know, I shouldn't have brought myself down to his level. The towel unfortunately knocked his glasses off. He picked up the towel and threw it into my face again, even harder. I walked out and went to get into the spare bed. he came and sat on the bed talking loudly, so I'd come back into our room (DS2 was sleeping in the spare room, and was starting to wake). I went into our room and got into bed, he called me a spoiled bitch (several times), did the old trick of stripping of the duvet and pulling the pillows out from under my head. he grabbed my wrist a few times and told me to leave, made to pull me out of the room. I told him he was being abusive again, that he hadn't changed, that he was an arsehole (I know, I know, I shouldn't name calling either sad). It all went horrible, I said I was going to sleep, he basically said it was over unless I rolled over and gave him a cuddle. I said I didn't want it to be over, but I also didn't want to give him a cuddle right now so wasn't going to. He whispered in my ear: You're out of here in the morning.
Morning came and went, and of course I wasn't 'out of there', but no apology from him. In fact, he told me that he was fed up with me, fed up with me starting arguments, keeping them going, ruining our evening again. Now I think back, I don't know why I didn't just get up, get my stuff and my kids, and go. What the mo-fo-eff is wrong with me? Why did I let all that happen again, then stay? Not just stay, but allowed myself to be persuaded that we should have dinner together and he'd stay over at my flat, to have another shot at a good evening. But that's what happened. I felt awful all day yesterday. I felt detached, but not in a good way - in a 'oh my god I'm losing it' kind of way. I hardly spoke all day. I think he knew I was thinking that this situation wasn't good and maybe I should end things with us, because he did say later in the day how sorry he was for calling me names (no mention of the towel or anything though), and how he knew he needed to seriously get his act together and how we were only still together because of my efforts and I was the best thing that had happened to him and he wasn't letting me go.

But something I read on another thread yesterday stuck - that if people show you who they really are, you should believe them. but which bit is the real him? And what about me? What have I shown him about myself? Am confused, and upset, and sad, and ashamed of myself. I feel I've let myself down in so many ways. Will this horrible state ever change?

ponygirlcurtis Mon 10-Sep-12 15:48:25

Oh, and I forgot to add (as if my previous post wasn't long enough...) that in amongst the horrible way I was feeling on Sunday morning about everything, very low, detached, NSDH wanted to have sex. He felt we'd 'drawn a line' and were 'moving on', so why wouldn't we be having sex? I told him I just wanted to lie & cuddle, I didn't want to do anything. So that's what I did. He started just cuddling but then he continued his rubbing, stroking, etc, until he'd worked himself back up (as t'were). I said again about wanting to just lie and cuddle. But he carried on with what he wanted to do. I didn't tell him to stop. When he asked (repeatedly) if I was ok, I said I was fine. But I wasn't in any way involved - he had to pick up my arm at one point and put it round his neck because I was lying doing almost nothing. He could see I wasn't fine, I must've looked miserable, but it really didn't seem to matter. He was getting what he wanted so he could ignore the fact that I was on another planet. After it, he said he'd never seen me be like that before. But it didn't bother him enough to make him stop, did it?

Why didn't I tell him I didn't want to? I think it's similar to what I said to nini before, that I wanted to him to want to stop because it would show me that he cared for me and respected me. And I think a part of me was punishing myself because of what happened on Saturday night, for letting it happen and not being strong enough to do anything about it on Sunday morning. I felt I was worthless and didn't deserve any better treatment. sad

tryingtoescape Mon 10-Sep-12 16:34:08

Oh pony you poor love sad I am so angry and sorry on your behalf. You have NOTHING to be ashamed of, that's just his head effery getting to you. Repeat the mantra of this thread - it is NOT your fault. My mouth fell open with shock and horror just at the first bit (toothbrush shoved in your mouth) let alone the rest. Please believe me when I say that his behaviour is appallingly abusive and you did nothing wrong; you simply reacted as a human being would, which you have every right to do. The DTD scenario you describe mirrors the last time I did it (or rather, HE did, not me) with my FW. I haven't touched him since. What your OH did is common assault (toothbrush and flannel incidents) and are against the law and could be reported to the police. You're not weak, you're not responding wrong, you are deep in a deeply abusive relationship and slowly simming your way to surface - it can't all be done at once as I and everyone else on here has experienced in our own stories. You've got nothing to punish yourself for, you are good and right and he is manipulative and abusive. Hugs and stength and support to you. Here, please accept wine brew thanks you deserve them all.

tryingtoescape Mon 10-Sep-12 16:35:51

Hilde bless you, your post made me so sad, you are being very brave. Hugs and strength to you.

Sorry have to go as stuff going on but will be back later. xxx

unhappyhildebrand Mon 10-Sep-12 17:43:55

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ponygirlcurtis Mon 10-Sep-12 18:32:27

I know Hilde. I talk the good talk to others too, but struggle to apply it to myself. sad I know I couldn't phone them at the time, although I'm not in your horrible situation of being afraid of being beaten - NSDH is more about using a small act of violence to threaten and intimidate. But that has it's own problems - how could I phone the police and say 'NSDH just hit me in the face with a pillow' (as he has done - although it was one with springs in it, it knocked the wind out of me, I was about 7/8 months pregnant at the time).

So sorry to hear about your DD's friend. You're right, you have to go with your gut instinct on this. Maybe a chat with the school about what she's told you? Teachers may have noticed something.

ponygirlcurtis Mon 10-Sep-12 18:37:17

And thank you trying - funny you should use a swimming analogy, I feel like I'm under water sometimes, that I'm struggling to surface and get my head above the water, and sometimes I'm being dragged further and further down. It's so nice to have some support on here, and it makes me feel a little less worthless. I've had so many restorative brew today, I'm a little tea jenny. Will be wine time later, with some snacks, to celebrate having an evening to myself and some quiet time (not even any work to do!!!). It's amazing how much better I feel for having had the day to myself.

bertiebassett Mon 10-Sep-12 19:18:04

pony my dear, I'm so sorry to hear what's happened. It really doesn't sound to me as if he's changing. You shouldn't be treated like that by another person (let alone one who claims to love you). You deserve so much better. X

hilde your conversation with your DS rang a few bells with me. My DS (4) just told me that he didn't want daddy to look after him tonight. I asked why not. He said "I don't like daddy....daddy hurts me" sad

I whispered to him to talk quietly as I knew if FWH heard him say things like that he (FW) would kick off. DS just looked at me and said "if daddy hears me he'll start shouting at you won't he".

Fucking hell even my 4yo is watching what he says now... sadsadsad

TheSilverPussycat Mon 10-Sep-12 19:44:17

Hi all, just found you. Just a quickie to get you on my list.

foolonthehill Mon 10-Sep-12 19:53:16

please dear ladies read the posts above and listen to the voices of your children.

You know, actually if your children can see what is going on then not only are you being massively damaged but so are they. they will use this as their measure of future loving relationships and they are already learning that they do not count, their voices are not heard and that they have no rights to respect love or care. That privilege belongs only to the "chosen one" in the household.

You feel that you must give it your all to save your relationship? You can do that separated and so can he
You feel that you are not strong enough to get out? There is help and you can.
You fear the future and what you will provoke if you stand up to him? Guess what it is less scary and easier to do it if you have your own space and distance from him.

I am out 10 months. My NSDH is just like yours, I am not that clever, not rich, not brave...if I can do it you can. Please make plans to leave or have him leave. It is hard, I work (but I did anyway) i do everything around the house (but I did anyway), I look after DCs (many) but i did anyway, I am not destitute and i can look after everyone and we are ok. Most telling of all the DCs are all so so much better and are thriving (with only indirect contact via Skype) yes i miss being part of a couple, get lonely, sad, feel cheated. NSDH could have addressed the issues, could be making progress, mine is not and has just left the abusers programme he went to, he's not going to change...BUT I HAVE! and all for the better

bertiebassett Mon 10-Sep-12 20:11:59

fool you give me hope!

I'm in the midst of getting out (he's agreed to go...just waiting for him to find somewhere). I have told him that if he takes much longer I'll go and take DS with me....

But what do we do about STBXFWHs wanting access to DCs? I know others (e.g., choco & hilde) are in the same boat here. We can see the damage (or even the potential for damage) that they are doing to our DCs...but what if they insist on seeing them? My H tells me he will insist on 50/59 access... sad

bertiebassett Mon 10-Sep-12 20:12:43

Bloody fingers phone of course I meant 50/50 smile

foolonthehill Mon 10-Sep-12 20:14:43

(actually being them 50/59 probably sums it up well)

back to post in a minute

chocoreturns Mon 10-Sep-12 20:26:52

Hello again, just a little update - I spoke to WA today, and I feel a little bit hopeful. The woman asked me to explain why I rang which was hard and I felt stupid and like I was wittering on about nothing but when I finished she said it's called psychological abuse and they can help me. They will do a risk assessment and sort out some support services.

bertie fwiw I know I can't change FWSTBXH but I can do something about myself, so I've asked specifically for family support and parenting classes for me so that I can learn how to teach my boys to empathise with other people and keep their own boundaries strong. I figure at the very least I can make sure that I equip them emotionally to know that FW's behaviour isn't the best, only or right model for them to take on board. I hope I can also get some watertight advice about suitable contact arrangements (eg, when to introduce overnights and how long/how often should they see him?) so that I can help ease them into the new set up at the right pace for them. I know I can't and shouldn't stop them from knowing their own dad, so I just have to focus on giving them the additional support they will need to cope with him as they grow up. It's easier I guess to do that knowing that PA isn't an issue for us.

I just keep thinking well, I can't change who their dad is, and at the end of the day I chose him sad so obsessing about it... that way madness lies. At least this way I feel validated and know that I am doing something about the mess he's leaving in his wake.

I've decided that as much as possible I'm going to try and do what I can to get support without him knowing. IF I get a new lawyer or someone with a DA expertise I just won't say so, and that way I can't be accused of spreading malicious lies about him. If I don't say he abused me to friends/family and just deal with the divorce and access issues quietly maybe I can get things done under the radar?

As for leaving, I'm with fool, if you know your partner is behaving abusively then no matter what you are afraid of, it won't be worse if you leave. I recommend reading Feel the fear and do it anyway! I'm homeless (living at my parents so not on the street thankfully), jobless and starting over. But I am happier and everyone says despite everything I look healthier than I have done in years. Go figure!

foolonthehill Mon 10-Sep-12 20:30:51

So: children and contact.

Contact is for the children's sake and not for his

Contact is not linked to financial support (except in FW's mind)

Resident parents have both the right and the duty to keep children safe which includes denying contact or supporting DCs in their rejection of contact. But judgement on this can be overruled by court so keep good records and welcome school/social services/healthvisitor with open arms and tell them often and clearly what is happening and the effect it is having on DCs. keep all texts/letters/ansafone messages and a contemporaneous diary of stuff relevant to abuse (including quotes from DCs and context but don't ask them questions).
Never let him know that you are doing this.

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