Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.

So it's not all in my head then:( (long)

(468 Posts)
MerlotforOne Tue 01-Jan-13 17:04:15

Can't quite believe I'm writing this, but need to get it written down before I minimise it again.
This morning, DH and I both a bit tired, DS (3) acting up a bit. DH offered to take DS and dog for a walk so I could get some peace. DS was being difficult about getting his coat on and DH was acting as though his temper was getting strained. He muttered 'I don't work hard all week to come home to this!' And then pinned DS on the stone floor and wrestled him into his coat. DS was sobbing and I wanted to comfort him, bu DH snarled t me to go upstairs and let him get on with it. I would normally retreat at this point so as not to provoke him, but today I decided not to and stood m ground.

He asked me again to go and I said if he was upset he should take the dog out and clear his head, and leave DS with me. He said 'you really don't want to push me just now' and I asked why he was threatening me? He walked over and shoved me really hard through the doorway into the next room and onto the floor. DS saw this sad and ran over to me. We both somehow ended up upstairs and DH followed us up and stood there saying I was over-reacting as it was only a shove had provoked him so i deserved the shove.

I was crying and DS was upset and brought me his muslin and dummy sad. I refused to let DH touch me and he told me again I was overreacting and denied the comment about me deserving it, said I had made that up. He then took DS and went for the walk. I haven't been able to send being in the same room all day, but daren't leave in case he gets really angry and does something worse.

He has only physically assaulted me once before, 8 years ago on holiday, and was so drunk at that time that he passed out and claimed no memory of it. He can be grumpy and I feel I walk on eggshells and that I have to justify myself a lot. Since the incident 8 years ago, I've always backed down before he lost his temper, and fooled myself that he'd changed, but I discovered mumsnet 6m ago and have been reading a lot on this board and feeling increasingly uneasy that quite a lot f it applied to me.

He is not at all financially controlling, but was very jealous and quite controlling of my social life (back when I had one) and can be quite argumentative after a drink (not that he drinks much these days). He can also be loving and affectionate and we have long periods of time where everything seems fine, but I've been excusing his behaviour for a very long time and now there are really no excuses left.

Don't know what to do really. Thoroughly miserable and very confused.

MerlotforOne Thu 03-Jan-13 23:12:19

Cross-posted, was replying to 23:04:02 post.

mathanxiety Thu 03-Jan-13 23:15:04

Beware of the mea culpas, breast beating, etc. He hasn't done any work with a therapist yet and it is early days as you rightly point out. Remember the cycle of abuse and that you and he are both still caught up in it. You seem to know him well.

scripsi Thu 03-Jan-13 23:18:03

To add to the Bancroft book list, I would add When Dad Hurts Mom: Helping Your Children Heal the Wounds of Witnessing Abuse

ihatedarrell Thu 03-Jan-13 23:25:14

I posted on here for the first time in June, 2012. My ex has been more violent than a shove. But I still felt that what he said was true, that it was me. I woke up on Jan, when he did worse in front of the kids. In June i found out he was having an affair, just to top it off. However, i found strength, I got my decree absolute back in Sept 2012 and the house is mine and my beautiful children are living with me, and see him once a week. SOooooooo much better off without him. And that kind of behaviour, in my opinion, does escalate over the years. All the best, do what feels right, when you have enough strength you will know what to do. x

TurnipCake Thu 03-Jan-13 23:25:25

What math said, they can put on Oscar-worthy performances.

I remember my ex sobbing, literally on the floor, wrapping himself around my leg like a toddler. It was a pathetic sight, and I say pathetic without any hint of empathy because a week before that, he had raped me (and then threatened to kill me). After his tears, he stalked and financially blackmailed me, so he obviously got over his upset.

Words and tears in the end are bullshit. I'm fairly certain once you've allowed some time to pass, realise you are worth more than this, you will move onwards and upwards. Abusers changing is like finding a needle in a haystack, and perhaps there's a tiny minority that can, but in all honesty, don't think anyone who has been subject to their abuse needs to take that risk in taking them back.

Besides this, you are doing really well Merlot, as I can attest, when you move away from a life of fear, it gets so much better.

ok - you have a list of things he's said he'll do that you feel you need to see him do. stick to it! no excuses. he's agreed to all this at the you're very strong and he's well out in the cold stage so see if it actually happens and remember he agreed to it. any wriggling out of it is showing that he didn't really agree/take responsibility/think it was serious but was just saying whatever you wanted to hear.

i would really recommend you add a time limit to this as others suggested before - re: you will need 6months of seeing he has changed, is respecting your boundaries and doing everything he said he would.

if you really want him after having that time and if he does actually do all he says and sticks to it etc then you will go back if you still want to. on the other hand 6 months is a lot of time for your healing, confidence growth and journey and you may not be willing to go back after that time. having a time buffer is a great idea imo.

you will also get to see if he does really acknowledge how serious this is by how he reacts to that 6month line - if he kicks off about it and tries to say it's unnecessary well then you know.

i also agree you don't really need parenting classes or the like - the living in fear will have been what has done it. that normal three year old behaviour will have been stressful for you given how you've been controlling your own behaviour and trying not to trigger his rage for years. without the fear and with acknowledging how you've been living and how that has impacted on your feelings about ds's behaviour i'm sure that will naturally resolve unless you go back sorry

Agree with the above. I had started to think that I had a problem with my temper as my dd had started asking why I was angry all the time.
Nothing has made me remotely angry since we left. I was just so stressed trying to keep the peace at home all the time/try and cover all bases to stop him kicking off.
I fear that you are listening to him make all these promises/taking joint responsibility in the hope that he will change.
Please prioritise your safety and that of your ds. He can't change this quickly (if at all) and by going back you would be sending a clear message about what you will tolerate.
Has he even apologised? Or just made excuses? Stress is how my ex has explained it, like that made it acceptable.

this is the thing isn't it? i get stressed, i also suffer with depression and horrible anxiety at points in my life BUT it has never made me hit, push, pin anyone - child or otherwise. i've also taken class a drugs in my younger years - they never changed me into a monster either. i've done very stressful jobs and been through hugely stressful life events - still never hit/pushed/pinned down anyone. oh and i had a bit of tough childhood - my mum was pretty abusive yet STILL never hit, bullied, frightened the ones i love.

when he starts identifying 'causes' stop and think about this. plenty of people will have had those experiences and triggers without becoming someone who bullies and hits out at their family. so be very wary of any rationalisation on his part linking it to life events/stress/past etc. unless they include admitting that he has chosen to manipulate, bully and scare you, that he knew he was doing it and he did it anyway. he needs to also acknowledge how he looks at women (particularly in the role of 'wife') and what he believes his entitlements are as a husband - does he think he owns you? that you should be all about making his life good and essentially being/doing/feeling/saying what he wants?

there's a lot to dig into and there are a LOT of false leads and bs to blame things on. you'll know when/if he is actually acknowledging the crux of it rather than the peripherals and excuses.

Allergictoironing Fri 04-Jan-13 08:43:29

Remember that most abusers promise to change, some even mean it! And things do change for a while, but the majority slip back into their old ways eventually. I'm not saying that yours WILL slip back (assuming he manages to change at all), just that you need to be wary and leave things a lot longer than you might have thought.

As they say with alcoholics, unless an abuser accepts that he is one, genuinely wants to change and willingly seeks help then there is nothing anyone can do to change them. I'm afraid an awful lot of men do go to the classes & counselling, but unless they really honestly admit that what they did was wrong with NO excuses then they are just going through the motions. They can learn how to hide their inclinations and say all the right things so they appear to be "cured", and all the time the feelings that they want to abuse and have the right to are still there under the surface, waiting to come out again once their victim is back in their control and they have started to condition them again.

HappyNewHissy Fri 04-Jan-13 08:56:51

I disagree on giving him a time limit. Any basic abuser can pretend to be a human being for 6m.

It's over.

You'll never trust him again.

He has to change for himself, and so as not to lose the respect of his son. That's the end of your need for involvement in his problems.

Actions, not words/tears. He needs to put his money where his mouth is before the CSA take it

DewDr0p Sat 05-Jan-13 09:29:22

How are you Merlot? Been thinking about you.

MerlotforOne Sat 05-Jan-13 12:20:57

Thanks DewDr0p,

I'm calmer, the adrenaline has worn off. I had a day off yesterday. Told DH I didn't want to speak to him all day. Had a run, the spent the afternoon on the beach with DS.

Spoke to DH this morning. He's spoken to his GP and told all. He apparently has severe burnout from work, which, thinking about it, does make sense. He's spoken to his boss and occ health and agreed to a much lower status, less stressful job with fewer hours. He's off on the sick for now. He's told a couple of his close friends and his mum, all of whom have apparently said that they've felt things weren't right between us for a long while.

I've made no promises. He's desperate to try again, but I feel ambivalent and numb and as though I can't trust my own judgement at the moment. He's said I should take as much space as I need and he will understand if I feel I can't ever come back.

Going out for a walk now. Will check in later. Thanks x

MalibuStac Sat 05-Jan-13 12:23:25

Thinking of you and DS

Xales Sat 05-Jan-13 12:48:50

What exactly did he tell his close friends and mum that made them say they felt things weren't right with you for a long while?

That you are having a temporary separation and are trying to fix your marriage as you haven't been getting on? Or that he has been undermining you, controlling you through fear of his anger for over 8 years and has turned aggressive to you and your DS?

That is a little different to things not being right between you!

so his actions so far have seen him being felt sorry for and told poor you you're all burnt out have some time off?

he's determined to be the poor victim in this and good at getting others to cast him as it and treat him as such.

he hurt his wife and child and scared the shit out of them. i'm not feeling he's a poor ickle victim of stress personally.

please look at what he's done and how classically he's turned himself into the victim and made this all about him.

has he been asking about your son? whether he's ok? whether he is really frightened? whether he's hurt from being pinned on a stone floor?

is he asking how you are feeling? what you need? whether you want to see a therapist yourself? whether you need some time off?

or is it all.about.him?

porridgelover Sat 05-Jan-13 13:42:04

Fine, I get that he may be stressed and that it leads him to be angry. Thats a maladaptive response that he has learned somewhere in his life. And, I'd even go so far as to say that its OK for him to feel and be angry.
Angry is good. As long as it's used properly.
None of the above makes it OK for him to lash out at/blame/try to control his ''nearest and dearest''.

I doubt he can acknowledge that. It takes a lot of personal honesty and bravery to understand that and I doubt he has fallen over those attributes in the last few days.

No. As he cant be in the power over position, he's moving to the victim position. Classic.

Be very wary for yourself and your DS. I admire your strength and insight so far.

scripsi Sat 05-Jan-13 13:48:47

Absolutely classic. I hope you have taken it upon yourself to tell his family and friends exactly what he did and what has been going on.

HappyNewHissy Sat 05-Jan-13 14:21:46

Leave him.

Denial, minimisation and blame.

Bet he's lying about family and friends chats too.

Now that the cat is out of the bag, you can tell everyone YOUR story.

Burn out my arse, he abused his child, and then you. Took him 2 days to concoct the first shower of lies, and all of yesterday to concoct that lot of BS.

It's not good enough. You will never ever trust him again.

izzyizin Sat 05-Jan-13 14:41:26

So the reason he's been an abusive twunt grumpy and you've had to walk on eggshells around him is that he's been burned out for the past 8 years?

As a certain Mr Royle would say, 'burned out, my arse'.

He's acquired a copy of the same old hackneyed script they all read from. Now, <scratches chin> mmm, what comes next? Oh yes. It's usually some blatant or veiled threat of self-harm to which you're best advised to respond by offering to provide a length of rope, a packet of razor blades, and 200 paracetamol - although you may have something to hand that's guaranteed to do the biz more effective than the latter.

HappyNewHissy Sat 05-Jan-13 15:14:34

Burned out?

CAUGHT out more like!

izzyizin Sat 05-Jan-13 15:17:08


AutumnDreams Sat 05-Jan-13 15:55:34

Whilst it is imperative that certain people in RL are told what has been happening, the danger then is that they have/give an opinion, often with no knowledge of DV or MH issues. Labels are attached, reasons floated, excuses made. Sorted. Even the GP was a bit quick with his burn out theory.

I was a little concerned when you wrote "We have identified where he went off the rails". Only months/years of therapy, with complete, brutal honesty and determination from your H, will achieve that. I doubt that he has been totally honest with those he has spoken to since you left.

Your role now is to leave it all to him. Monitor his actions, but from a safe distance. See what life can be like with just you and your little one. I think you will find that your parenting will be absolutely fine, without having to do the "eggshell walk".

Find an experienced Counsellor, through BACP, not necessarily solely DV orientated. A good Person-Centred Counsellor will help you work through ALL the issues that have been impacting on your life, and enable you to make informed choices. I wish you well Merlot.

AlexanderS Sat 05-Jan-13 16:53:43

Have been following this thread with interest. One thing I'll venture you shouldn't do, OP, is tell him that you love him, even if that's the case. While you're telling him that he'll always know he has a foot in the door and power over you. He has to think he might lose you completely, but even then I don't fancy your chances of achieving happiness with this guy. I would be tempted to make a clean break if I was you, then you can both, after you've mourned the relationship, have a fresh start with other people.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now