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GettingBig is Getting Stronger!(995 Posts)
I thought I would start a new thread.
And I want to summarise as succinctly as I can, as I think that will make me feel positive, as I am feeling very differently to how I did when I first posted.
I posted about my husband a couple of months ago, wondering how I could get him to stop
pressuring me for a fourth child. I had only really wanted two, but was 'persuaded' to have a third. I had serious complications in my 3rd pregnancy, but my husband dismisses them completely. Until I posted here I really had no idea that it should be ultimately my choice whether or not to have further children. I do now fully appreciate it is my decision, and am now using an 'extra layer' of contraception. My husband is still coming up with arguments as to why we need a fourth child, which I am trying not to get too drawn into.
There are some other things about my relationship that I have realized are not normal, after having seen the reactions of people here. It seems my H is financially and emotionally abusive. There have also been some occasions where his behaviour with the children is not great, although he is not physically abusive. My previous partner was sexually abusive, which does seem to make it hard for me to see the problems with H sometimes, as H is not as bad as ex.
He has been very against me working (though I worked almost full time after my first two children, doing a job I loved). However in the past week I have been lucky enough to get a part time position in my old line of work that I am very happy about.
I have also finally, after lots of lovely people advised me to, on many occasions ,, contacted WA who I am meeting up with next week.
Oh, and H, who loves babies, doesn't help out with any of the bathtime, nappies, or anything related to household chores either..
The diffidence I sense in you and your apparent lack of confidence in your own ability to decide what is right and wrong, normal and abnormal, has always seemed at odds with the you that once enjoyed a successful career and has been able to walk back into it, or a similar one, on her terms - i.e. part-time - at a time when few companies are hiring.
Do you take off the hat of the 'can do' person you are at work immediately you return home, or perhaps remove it on the way home, ready to don the apron of domestic drudgery and put your mind to obeying a tyrant who doesn't want you to succeed in any way or become anything he doesn't want you to be?
No he isn't on sofa tonight. Dc3 has been very unsettled, so I have posted sitting by her cot.
I am hoping the counseling will help me with taking back some of the control and establishing (as math said previously) proper personal boundaries, as math said before I have none and I do see that now.
Yes I am very different in a work context. I think the reason I secured a position reasonably fast despite the economic climate has more to do with the fact that I have quite specialist skills than anything else. I didn't get the first post I went for, but I did have interview s for all those I applied to. I do not imagine there were that many people going for the jobs though, due to the
type of work/specialist skills. I also think in my line of work there is a lack of people at my level on the jobs market as many start their own businesses rather than work for others. I cannot imagine having the confidence to do that, so perhaps that's how my lack of confidence shows in a work context.
I have no idea why I am so shit at asserting myself at home. But based on what I said before, hopefully you can now see why initially I blamed it all on my ex. I guess I need to talk to tge counsellor about this. Can you see why I keep hoping maybe if I could just assert myself better it would all be ok with H? But I think I know now it won't be.
Can you see why I keep hoping maybe if I could just assert myself better it would all be ok with H
Of course I can. It's an entirely natural response to want to 'fix' your marriage and to hope that you can do so by simply 'asserting' yourself.
But your years with him have demonstrated that any attempts you've made to 'assert' yourself have been blanked, stonewalled - 'we'll talk about it next week/month/year' and in the meantime, while you're waiting for the date that never comes, he gives you more orders to follow and burdens you with more pointless demands and restrictions.
You need to understand that your h is not a man you can reason with. That's not to say he won't come over as eminently reasonable in converstaions with others but, to his way of thinking, you and the dc are his possessions, his creatures to do with as he wishes with, and he will brook no argument from you because your place is to do what he says - and he's always got a way of reminding you that you'd be wise not to forget it.
It's so sad to read that, even though you've scored a stunning result in having been snapped up by the second set of employers you interviewed for, you're finding ways of putting yourself down whereas others would be rightfully triumphant and using their success to reinforce their confidence.
Please don't labour under the illusion that by 'establishing proper personal boundaries' you're going to be able to
wrest take back any control from your h. In the event he appears to give an inch, he'll find a way to take a mile - and he'll make sure he takes the original inch back too.
The best you can hope for is gradual empowerment brought about by small acts of 'civil disobedience' such as not shaking him awake because he looked so peaceful and in such a deep sleep that even you clattering about failed to disturb his slumber, not enforcing his punishment of the dc in his absence because you couldn't remember who was to have what taken away/given , and finding sneaky but plausible ways of sabotaging his orders such as playing the part of the ditsy little wifey with a brain like a sieve 'of course I heard what you said, dear, and I don't know what came over me to have not done x, y, or z, as you instructed. I do so hope I can do better tomorrow' ad infinitum.
But there is considerable danger inherent in empoying such tactics as he's already begun to use violence against you because you've disobeyed him in finding a job against his express wish that you continue to be a sahm and churn out more dc as and when he orders you to do so.
Although you may not be able to meet with the WA worker this week, please source a recommdation from her for a solicitor with expertise in dv - and particularly emotional and financial abuse - and make an appointment for a consultation hopefully before the end of this month or in early March so that you can establish your entitlement to legal aid before the rules change.
I hope dc3 has settled and that you're able to get a good night's sleep. Do you have a bed by her cot? If not, perhaps you could spend part of your forthcoming salary on a mains powered blow up bed - they're very comfortable to sleep on and you'll have no need to disturb your h if any of the dc need a dp to be with them during the night
and you need to mumsnet
Yes, that is what I mean, GB.
Stonewalling is the communication pattern that he is using here. What it consists of is an absence of communication. The aim of that is to silence you, to treat you as a non-person, to humiliate you, to add to your stress, to achieve 'crazymaking'. That is the only sense in which you have a communication problem.
'Stonewalling is a complete pattern of non-communication and non-cooperation that only works from a position of power.'
You have a communication problem in the sense that he is using non-communication -- not saying anything/nor doing anything -- in order to dominate you.
The goal of this man is to gradually but inexorably reduce your options, GB. It's the goal and not the tactics that define abuse.
Do you feel you have options in this relationship?
GB, this is how you are connected to this man.
'Emotional modulation is also one of the few ways to influence from an oppressed position. Movies and books are full of plots that depict 'the bad guy' being modulated and eventually disarmed by the intended victim. In an abusive relationship, however, if modulation works, it is only until the next upset.
Having to modulate constantly for the primary aggressor, the survivor can become trapped by the feeling that she is essential for the primary aggressor's well-being, because this role becomes a source of meaning even in a very painful larger picture. The problem is one, there is no rest from this role, and two, the survivor comes to view her effectiveness by how 'in control' the primary aggressor seems. The survivor may unknowingly start minimizing the abuse herself, to bolster self-esteem.'
What you have going on with your H (and waht you had with your previous relationship) is trauma bonding - 'the misuse of fear, excitement, sexual feelings, and sexual physiology to entangle another person. Many primary aggressors tend toward extreme behavior and risk taking, and trauma bonding is a factor in their relationships.'
GB, when you left your last relationship you did so with the help of Mr SoNotRight.
Would you have been able to leave without his help, do you think?
Do you think you saw a promise in his intervention -- a promise to make things that had gone wrong right again, or to fix, or to heal?
This time for many reasons you are going to have to put on your big girl panties and do it all by yourself without any promise from anyone held out for you to rely on, or any short cuts. You are going to have to face your own wounds and do your best to heal them without any promise of intimacy, except in the professional sense, from those who will help you (WA, solicitor, counsellor). The healing balm for your wounds is going to have to come from within yourself and from your own competence in living your life decently and on your own as an adult doing your utmost to protect yourself and your children from harm. You are going to have to reset your pole star/cast off the need to keep on doing what you feel others oblige you to do, that sense of obligation that seems to give your life meaning, and you are going to have to relearn or learn for the first time to do only what is right for you and for your children in both the short term and the long term. Right now you are focused on the here and now minute and that has to change - painful though that process is going to be, fulfilling obligations in the here and now is like fiddling while Rome burns. You are going to have to find a different script from the one you are now using, in other words.
You need to find and read 'The Betrayal Bond: Breaking Free of Exploitive Relationships' by Patrick Carnes. When you are paid at work, order a copy to be sent to your workplace.
Above is an extremely powerful post from math, GB, and being aware that this, your third thread, will shortly come to an end and your narrative will continue in a fresh volume, as it were, may I suggest you make particular note of this thread and re-read it frequently as within its words lies the power to propel you forward into an infinitely brighter tomorow than any you have as yet experienced in your life.
Excellent post math. Can I pick out one sentence from it: It's the goal and not the tactics that define abuse.
GB, will this help you to stop tying yourself in knots about his intentions, his awareness etc and just focus on how you feel?
Unfortunately, GB, I very much doubt that any degree of assertiveness will work with your H.
You did take a job against his wishes, but he has automatically upped his abuse to physical.
Any more and you may well get what you "want", a full on physical attack.
Your assertiveness at this point should be in leaving him.
I don't think it will be easy, honestly.
But in opening it to the world, you take away his most powerful tool of control. The secrecy and your shame.
Yes, he is the enemy. There is no closeness, just the master feeling magnanimous because he feels in control, after having sex.
I do hope you find the strength in you to rise above his control.
You can't control his control or him.
You can but remove yourself and your children from his influence.
Can you not see that the more you assert yourself against your H the more he will abuse you?
As far as your children are concerned the fact you are showing so much concern about SS, makes me think that they are suffering much more that you are admitting here.
Can i just mention something that bizarrely seems to have been glossed over?
"I am going to come and smack your bottom so hard"
^^ This is the physical abuse that you spoke of as being the ultimate confirmation you'd need. If DP ever said (let alone followed through) something remotely like the above to dd that would be it for us, over. I can't believe it was thrown so casually into the end of your post and that nobody else picked up on it .
If your H or anybody else for that matter said that to you, what would you think or feel? If a teacher or a friend or a member of your family said it to your DC, what would you think or do? Why is it any different to say it to a child, and why is it any different that it is their father? In fact, surely it is worse for a child, and worse that it is their father?!
And FWIW one smack in frustration from you followed by your remorse and non-repetition of said smack is ENTIRELY different from a thought-through violent threat and repeated smacking from a father who is already scary as he is.
Please, please get out.
SS should be your friends.
Your port of call to make sure your OH can't have unsupervised access to the children.
I don't think they would take the children from you, unless you are not willing to get rid of H.
And there, I think, lies the crux of the problem.
You don't want them to force you to leave H.
It is in your power now to free your children from him.
Not today, but soon, if you take measures.
I find it terrifying that you can still say you admire H, despite knowing that he is abusing you and your DC.
Every day I pop onto your thread in the hope that you've made the decision to take your children and leave. You said earlier that you're not sure your DC would cope with a move (or a phrase to that effect) and I think you're mistaken. I think actually, they'd welcome it.
GB, don't worry about what to put in your email to WA at this point. You don't have to disclose everything, you don't even have to have a plan. You just need to arrange to meet her again. And when you do, the conversation will flow naturally, and you'll tell her as much or as little as you feel comfortable with. You're getting ahead of yourself, and it's paralysing you. Just meet her again.
(glad to hear about the contraception, hope it wasn't too intrusive to ask)
I have just started a new thread
You do sound like a perfectionist, though. You've been striving to do all the housework, school/nursery research, childcare (both by yourself and organising the outside childcare), and goodness knows what else. Some of it looks driven by a need to have some stability in life, (after all, everything else is chaotic, or out of your control), but some of it really is classic perfectionism, driven by not trusting someone/anyone else to do things properly or, indeed, at all. Lazy partners enjoy being with perfectionists, because all they have to do is do something badly, once, and they will not be asked to do it again, and maybe won't be asked to do anything else, either.
In your case, you have a selfish man, who "rescued" (wrested) you from another man, who displays any displeasure vocally and physically (and he would only do that if he thought his displeasure was so important that you all ought to pay attention), who doesn't even take care of his sexual behaviour despite your past of rape, who keeps you short financially even though it would be easier for everyone if you had a decent budget (I mention "ease" because at least that ought to motivate a selfish man; sadly, making things nice for you and the DC doesn;t seem to figure), who issues arbitrary and conflicting punishments on you and the DC, who creates physical chaos around him with rubbish left right by the bin (or strewn about the yard, like a filthy fox) and lighters and other hazards scattered for the DC to find (unless you find them first).
I can't imagine a worse environment for a perfectionist, a worse partner for a perfectionist (and a worse head of the family for anyone).
Moreover, he's actively setting you even more impossible tasks (no better example than the dishwasher).
So you do seem like a perfectionist to me, and perfectionism is the worst reaction possible to this scenario, as it is trapping you and the children.
Please consider the concept of triage. This means testing tasks as they present themselves, and as you are working, to see what is most urgent, what will give you maximum return for effort, or what needs to be done now, if it's not to be too late.
For example, DH might have reminded me to ring the solicitors about our house purchase, as there is some information we need to get as soon as possible. However, upon returning from the school run, I might first spend 30-45 minutes sorting laundry and putting on a load, then clearing the clean dishwasher and loading the dirty stuff from breakfast, simply because those processes take time, and setting them off early is more efficient (extra loads can be fitted into the day this way). I don't automatically prioritise what he's asked, because that would be inefficient given my line-up of tasks.
Yet in your case, calling the WA to get a solicitor recommended, and ringing round to set up an appointment next week, should probably go before the laundry or washing up, because he could come home at any moment, or one of the children could walk in as you're telephoning.
You could put laundry on at low temperatures, in order to do mixed loads, so you can do them at convenient times. Wash dishes under running water (if you have a combi boiler, hot water will come through quickly), or keep the kettle full of hot water (it wastes electricity, but saves your energy). Get the kids to help in whatever way they can over half term.
Without appearing to be doing less, you will carve out space for yourself and your plans, e.g. set up solicitor, set up alternative bank account, use MN, write a statement, to lodge with the police or your family or your work, so it's available if something should happen to you, even if that "something" is only that he somehow terrifies you into abandoning hope or thought of escape from this horrible life. Sometimes, it seems as though you are posting on MN because you need witnesses; you need to store memories where they won't be forgotten (I think Charlotte talked about her journal like that).
Assertiveness is great, but with someone like this even assertiveness is weak, because you're still trying to be reasonable. Reasonable people welcome this and recognise that you're trying to reach a middle ground. Selfish people don't, but are countered by assertiveness because they realise that you're not going to fall for their trick of "There was only half a cake here, therefore a quarter each is fair". Abusive people will see you trying to work out what the fair option is, take advantage of that momentary delay and take the whole cake, then eat it in front of you and feel good, because they've won. Whereas every other person knows that it's not a fight in the first place. They will go for any chink in your armour - you need to make sure it's watertight. This is impossible while you're living with someone, because you can't keep it up all the time. You're constantly trying to make things equal and fair and he's constantly trying to win - and he's not even fighting fair.
I agree the smacking is horrible BTW, but unfortunately, it is legal. Perhaps as someone said above it might be taken in context which would make sense, but I don't know how it would be seen in honesty. In general though if punishments are inappropriate (and especially being given for "crimes" like being too slow or annoying him) then I think this would be an issue. (Either way GB, YOU should be considering it an issue, in the context of everything else)
ThreeTomatoes is right - it is very telling that no-one was - it was to be expected of your H - from what you have said about him already; certainly came as no surprise to me.
I think GB considers corporal punishment in the realms of 'acceptable' - even 'normal' though so pointing out the seemingly obvious may still be helpful?
one of our prayers at church this morning sounded like it gad been written for you GB.
it was about strength to recognise abuse at home and for the children who suffer from it.
I prayed that you would get out safely