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if they hit you it's over? (trigger warning)

(90 Posts)

Just out of curiosity really.

If my partner hit me, even once, no matter what I'd said or done, I'd leave. It's the end of the 'healthy' relationship once you've physically hurt the other on purpose isn't it? (or tried to emotionally hurt/manipulate/threaten them).

Not trying to be goady, just wondered how many people would give another chance?

I wonder sometimes if I'm a little too OTT about this issue because my dad hit my mum sporadically over a long period of time & while I don't remember any of it I've been told enough to know that the first time is very rarely the last,

Sorry if this sounds navel gazing. Just wondered if anyone else has ever heard of the first time being the last time or it never escalating?

CogitoErgoSometimes Sat 06-Apr-13 08:43:08

I strongly suspect that, more often than not, actual hitting/physical violence is the end product of a process, not the beginning. So the victim has been 'groomed' to tolerate worse and worse behaviour and when the slap finally comes they might rationalise it away... 'I pushed him too far'. 'it's my fault for making him angry', 'he only did it because he was drunk'... and so on.

I think anyone in a healthy relationship, on the other hand, would probably react differently.

babyhammock Sat 06-Apr-13 08:47:35

What cognito said. A hit doesn't come out of the blue in an otherwise happy healthy relationship. Domestic abuse is a slow growing control of the other person and there would have been a ramping up of emotional and verbal abuse before any hitting usually, where the other person's self esteem has already been damaged enough for the first time to not be the last.

macdoodle Sat 06-Apr-13 08:47:45

So so so so easy to say this from the outside. After the complete horror that was the 15 years of my marriage, and how hard I found it to leave and remain left, I will never judge anyone from the outside.

CabbageLeaves Sat 06-Apr-13 08:51:58

What the others have said.

When you are in an abusive situation your whole perception changes. Would I now accept it? No.

I was punched, almost knocked out when pregnant and stayed. Yes it was (almost) a one off. The rest of the abuse, verbal and mental was far far worse for me that that punch. So don't make the mistake of thinking that anyone stays just because they absentmindedly have forgotten its not ok to be hit....or that physical abuse is the worst of all abuse.

Oh god yes, my dad met my mum when she's run away from home aged 17. bet he thought it was a dream come true!

Told my mum about his abusive dad first, got her pregnant with me, was brilliant during all this, then once she was pregnant started the put downs, then when she had me hit her once, when drunk (he did have a drinking problem) & said it'd never happen again. Got her pregnant with my brother (he really had to persuade her & offered to stay home with him etc...obviously never happened). Had carried on putting her down & making her feel like she wouldn't cope alone etc then when my brother was born all hell broke lose & she had to call my grandad to ask him to pick her up.

We were at a friends, being babysat so were safe but they'd got into another argument & he basically said he'd kill her this time & she just ran, no stuff, no time.

So glad I don't remember a thing! But I'm grateful she's told me so I'd leave at the first sign of 'grooming' iyswim. That's why when people post on here saying they think their OH's behaviour is getting worse/feel trapped/are scared/are being emotionally abused I tend to give a very blunt 'get out while it's easier' sort of response.

^ I don't mean to offend anyone who's been through it.

My mum's the strongest woman I know but she wasn't once, she stayed with him for years & it makes me MAD when people presume you can just walk out easily...as they have you in a mental headlock that you don't even always feel yourself, until you leave.

She told me at times that she genuinely felt like she could've avoided beatings by not doing certain things.

I can't imagine what that feels like to be honest.

macdoodle Sat 06-Apr-13 09:04:41

OrchardKeeper, you may thing you would leave at the first sign of grooming, but the very nature of this grooming is that you don't see it happening.
I was 24 when I met my XH with an amazing job travelling the world, 10 years later I was a snivelling, wreck, tiptoing on eggshells, giving him BJ's to keep him happysadsad almost bankrupt to keep his business going sad. It actually took another 5years (a very public affair and child with the OW, a pregnancy etc), to really leave. TBH the odd slap, push and grab was the very least of it.
Through all that time I continued working and functioning "like a normal person".
My mother was married to an abusive man and I was determined not to be like her. Fail.
My daughters will be the ones to break the cycle.

I just wonder if having read about this on MN or hearing other people describe it has helped people to see things in a different light or leave sooner than they would've?

I know for a fact I'd have been more likely to put up with the way DS's dad treated me if I hadn't heard all the above from my mum. I wonder how many people feel the same about MN or people they know that've been through it.

tribpot Sat 06-Apr-13 09:08:49

I suppose the other way to look at it is, if you hit your partner once - let's say a slap or a punch on the arm, would you consider that to be irretrievably the end of the relationship?

Sorry to hear that mac sad

Glad you're not in that situation anymore. DS's dad did start trying to 'put me in my place' early on and treated me like shit once I was pregnant. He actually laughed when I said I was leaving, saying something along the lines of 'I'd like to see you try. You want to be a single mum!? See how long tat lasts. You're failing your DS before he's even born'.

He slapped me when drunk once too...though that wasn't premeditated I don't think. That was alongside him going out all the time & me chasing around after him like an idiot.

I'm sure that's not the same as a serious abusive relationship, he was just an arse, but I'd have stayed much longer had I not had MN/my mum's story sad

I'd like to think I never would! No matter how badly I felt like it etc...

I've always told myself I would walk, as it's crossing a line & I don't think you can ever undo it really. It's just so disrespectful to the other party & never justified.

I think there are various factors involved (the main one, of course, being the presence of an abusive man). If you have some knowledge and understanding of the process, it can be easier to see such a man for what he is and walk away, but the nature of domestic abuse is to be slow and progressive - and don't forget the massive amount of propaganda to the effect that it's better for a woman to have a male owner partner than to be alone, that relationships need 'to be worked on' and that you can love him better...
Also, there are some abusive men who have a preference for women who appear strong and competent, and it can be the case that a woman who meets one of these men is too ashamed to tell anyone when she realises that she is being abused, and keeps thinking she can somehow 'make it alll better' by herself.

Agree with that sgb - I would've told someone to walk much earlier than I did myself with DS's dad & I thought I would've known better really. Still took a few months to leave after the first few put downs & the slap...because I thought it was maybe a reaction to an unexpected pregnancy & he'd 'calm down' if I was patient enough etc...

Obviously BS in the end but I can see how easy it must be to get sucked in & feel like it's your fault.

CabbageLeaves Sat 06-Apr-13 09:18:16

I was on a thread earlier this week that suggested MN shout LTB far too early. My experience and that of others on here is that abuse starts early and starts with little 'excusable' incidents. Generally they start around pregnancy or new baby (vulnerable woman) and the excuses then get bigger (he can't cope with baby, reminds him of his abusive childhood, lack of sleep) so the abused starts trying to mitigate the triggers. Eventually they are doing all housework, all childcare, providing finances or being deprived and then completely broken down so further abuse whether verbal, emotional or physical happens.

It's rarely just a hit.

There is also a definite pattern as above to most abuse.

Would I recognise it starting again in my life? I have no idea so my boundary of tolerance is set very high. This has meant that I now have a lovely bloke.

So I'm really pissed when I read people on here trying to lower women's barriers to accept shit. You * don't have to*

That's what I'm getting at CL

I've been accused of crying 'gtfo' too quickly but I just really do think that it's not worth waiting around to see if it escalates as it should just never happen in the first place & you should never feel like you're responsible for being treated badly. Everyone deserves a certain level of respect & to not be made to feel worthless by their partners.

My mum's left men who've showed 'early warning signs' very quickly ever since, though has had a few long term, healthy relationships so she's not seeing ghosts, as it were.

She just wouldn't even risk it now iyswim. What's wrong with not wanting to stick around to see if it gets worse? Is that really so unfair to the other party (if they've already done a few significantly shit things & you're feeling low/worthless because of a relationship)?

TurnipCake Sat 06-Apr-13 09:30:33

What Cogito and CL said.

I can remember vividly the first time my ex 'tested' the water so to speak. I was getting dressed and he said, "What would you do if I whipped you with this belt?" I looked him in the eye and said, "Don't you dare." So he did, right on my inner thigh, through my trousers leaving a welt that lasted days.

Had I been on MN, I'm confident I would have LTB sooner than I did as the idea of busting boundaries, low self-esteem and escalation would have been brought home to me.

Instead, I didn't tell anyone, and accepted his explanation of 'playfighting' because that happened in all relationships with people who have a sense of humour apparently hmm.

So I don't really care if I'm seen to tell someone to LTB too 'quickly' because all relationships take work blah blah blah. No human is worth having to wait and see if things get better if they're being given little glimpses into how bad it will get.

CockyFox Sat 06-Apr-13 09:30:55

Right well, my DH isn't abusive in any way. But he has hit me once, I can't remember what I did, I think it was something to do with packing for a holiday, I was only about 20 so pushing 10 years ago, I honestly don't think one punch is worth destroying an otherwise good marriage, if it is part of ongoing and esculating abuse then it should spell the end.

TurnipCake Sat 06-Apr-13 09:33:28

Right well, my DH isn't abusive in any way. But he has hit me once

sad

^ I think if you're already having issues or there's even a hint of EA going on alongside it or they're behaving disrespectfully in any other way then you shouldn't stay.

Obviously if it's like you describe that's different, though tbh I've never hit anyone out of anger/frustration, despite wanting to & I don't think I ever would. It's just not something I could do, unless it was self defense but that's probably because what my mum told me has scared me off expressing anger in that way at all & I've always wanted to be the complete opposite of my dad in every way.

CabbageLeaves Sat 06-Apr-13 09:36:32

What SGB said about women fearing be alone making them tolerate unacceptable behaviour is very true.

I also liken it to an employment situation. Employment law says you cannot be hit, you cannot be treated unfairly or bullied.

Just why would you think being loved means accepting what you won't accept from a colleague or boss?

CockyFox: Since that one punch, have you ever disagreed with him, or refused to do something he told you to do, or continued to argue with him even when you could see he was becoming angry?

tbh, I'd leave even if they weren't 'abusive' and hit me, same as if I hit them. I just don't feel it's ever justified but if he's not done it again & isn't abusive in any other way then that's your choice.

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