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Subtle EA? Or is it just me? Confused, please help

(368 Posts)
WearingFuckMeSocks Thu 18-Apr-13 12:04:46

I sincerely apologise in advance for the length of this post, feel free to skim bits if it makes it easier.

I have lurked here for sometime, have stumbled across the support thread for those in emotionally abusive relationships, have never thought of DH as abusive as he?s never hit me but I?ve been unhappy for a while and couldn't understand why, he?s not overtly abusive, doesn't call me names or put me down in any obvious way, but over the 15 years we?ve been together has done some pretty shitty things. (We?ve been together 15 years, married for 10 and have ds age 7 and dd age 5)

only months after we got together I discovered I was pregnant, I hoped to sit down & discuss it like adults with him; he burst into tears, wailed, sobbed, put his head in his hands and begged me to have an abortion. I would have done anyway but didn't feel like I had a choice. The very fact that I was considering keeping it seemed to offend him.

He once burned the book i was reading on our BBQ (when drunk) because it was called ?The Satanist? and as a Catholic it offended him, esp as his mum had cancer.

once during a heated argument he got so angry he punched the wall right next to my head so hard it left the imprint of his four knuckles in the plaster; he said that was ok, he was so angry he really wanted to punch me but punched the wall instead.

2-3 years ago he decided to get fit so was having sessions with a PT, he badgered me into going too, even though I wasn't keen; after 6 months when i?d lost 1 1/2 stone, and gone from a size 16 to a 12 (im 6ft) he told me one night as i was getting into bed that ?he didn?t fancy me anymore, my tits were all saggy and I?d ruined my body and he wanted me to have a boob job"

last year bought me some eye-wateringly expensive underwear, and despite me saying repeatedly that it didn't fit has proceeded to buy me another 4 sets of same size stuff. Gets upset when I tell him it doesn't fit (again) and says he is only doing it to spice things up and put the spark back.

once remotley wiped my iphone after an argument, and during same argument threatened to sell the car

demanded/coerced me into sex when I had recurring thrush (every month, over a period of four years), despite me telling him repeatedly how much it burned.

no help with kids - has never bathed kids, could count on fingers of one hand how many times he?s put them to bed, says he cant read bedtime stories because he?s dyslexic but manages to spend 2-3 hours on his ipad every night. I thought that was normal until an exchange student we had staying with us for the summer last year commented on how he did nothing with the kids and I did everything.

went on holiday last year, DS took the class ?holiday bear? & was soooo excited, DH said we couldn?t take bear on days out in case it got lost. I was too scared to say the bear could go in the back pack, DS was visibly crushed & in tears, i felt I had failed DS because i didn't stand up to DH.

a couple of years back he tried to persuade me to have my navel pierced, i said no, then during an argument said he just wanted a sign that I loved him, like - guess what - having my navel pierced. to my eternal shame i did it, hated it but thank god it rejected so i took it out.

says he wants me to wear sexy clothes so that when we go out he can show me off and other blokes will be jealous. i don?t really want to anyones trophy.

he wants me to be completely hairless between my legs, i?ve tried it a couple of times but frankly don't like it, thinks its degrading, don?t think im setting a good example to my dd (or ds for that matter, what will he think when sees a real bush?), (and god does it itch when it grows back in) he says I should do it for him to please him.

Says i should do things to please him even if i don't like doing it, as he would do the same for me. i have tried to explain to him that i don't understand how he can get pleasure from me doing something I clearly don't want to do, and that i wouldn't even ask him to do something that he was unhappy with, but he doesn't get it.

A few weeks ago DS was unhappy at school & with homework, after a discussion with the head teacher I was browsing the web looking at home schooling (something I considered before DS started school, not something I?d rush into but it?s always an option) he caught me looking at HE websites, didn't think to ask my opnion about it, just went straight into a tirade about how he disagreed and he was really upset that I was even thinking about it.

basically every argument turns into how he feels about it and how upset I have made him feel and how i need to change my behavior so that he doesn?t get upset and that he?s only happy when I?m happy.

I?ve stuck it this long because of what we?ve been through with his parents, his mum had cancer for years, with all the entailing chemo, radiotherapy etc, then 3 weeks after she died we found out his Dad had cancer, he died 6 months later (Feb 2009). For a long time I?ve made excuses for DH?s behavior because his parents were ill and then obv he was grieving.

Last year things seemed finally to be good, we had about 6 months where I thought we were finally coming out of the woods, but the last 6 months have been hell. We argue every week, he says its because I don't talk to him. I?ve tried to explain I feel afraid to talk to him because he raises his voice, interrupts me, and doesn't listen. He says its all down to me, only I can change it and I?m not normal.

I could go on but think even i'd lose the will to live reading it all.

In short (and thanks if you?ve stuck with me this far) is any of the above normal? would you have put up with this thus far? Am I over-reacting? And what are the chances of things ever being better? should I just cut my losses now and run?

I?ve just turned 40, have taken a long hard look at the last 15 years and don't want the next 15 to be the same.

ImTooHecsyForYourParty Thu 18-Apr-13 12:07:10

I don't blame you! He sounds like an absolute arse.

You would certainly be MOST reasonable to remove yourself from this life if you chose to.

I hope you do choose to.

Sinkingfeeling Thu 18-Apr-13 12:09:08

He sounds insecure and extremely nasty. You deserve much better, and so do your children. I hope you find the strength and determination to leave.

NatashaBee Thu 18-Apr-13 12:11:28

He sounds delightful! I would have reached breaking point and left already. You're absolutely right to consider what example the things you've mentioned will set for your children.

cozietoesie Thu 18-Apr-13 12:14:11

I echo those posts. I wouldn't even consider spending the next 15 years with him - and think how it's going to be for the DCs living in a house with all this going on and possibly getting worse.

I hope you find the strength to get out.

zombiefied Thu 18-Apr-13 12:16:16

I can see why you stayed, but now i think it's time to make a decision.

it was great for 6 months and then it's changed. if you are afraid to talk to him, then it's not right.

I agree with ImTooHecsy, definitely reasonable to remove yourself and dc from this.

OxfordBags Thu 18-Apr-13 12:19:12

This is very serious abuse and control. He sounds appalling, and quite possibly could have low-level MH issues. Witnessing this relationship is child abuse for your children. It is teaching your son to be an abuser like this when he grows up and teaching your daughter to be a victim and to out up with this sort of shit. Enough is enough. Get rid.

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 18-Apr-13 12:19:30

So, in short, he's only nice to you when you're obedient and you tend to do as he wishes because he intimidates you. No, it's not normal.

IAmNotAMindReader Thu 18-Apr-13 12:19:47

You are not over reacting at all. You and your children deserve better. A partner values the other persons feelings, ideas, values, emotional and physical well being.

He is not being a partner he is behaving like your owner wanting you to mark yourself as his property (piercing). I have a few piercings myself but I got them because I wanted them not because someone else bullied me into it.

He doesn't value your opinions or your physical well being (thrush) he just wants you to fall into line and do what he wants you to do, think and say.

He will not change after this length of time. If you don't want the next 15 years to be the same then i'm afraid the only way for that to happen is for you to leave this relationshiop behind and continue on the journey of self rediscovery that began with you realising you don't want the status quo.

LemonBreeland Thu 18-Apr-13 12:22:59

Main points from your OP.

You are afraid of him.

You won't stand up to him. -fear

You don't feel able to have your own opinions -fear

He expects you to do things you don't like to make him happy.

He has pretty much raped you, when you were in pain.

He does nothing with the children.

Yes he is abusive and you are being used. You are practically a single parent anyway. Make yourself a happy single parent. And allow your children to realise the behaviour they have seen so far is not normal.

ScrambledSmegs Thu 18-Apr-13 12:22:59

basically every argument turns into how he feels about it and how upset I have made him feel and how i need to change my behavior so that he doesn?t get upset and that he?s only happy when I?m happy.

Sounds like narcissistic behaviour. Clearly a very selfish man with probably little chance of changing. Sorry. You'll never be happy with him. Without him you and the children have a fair shot at happiness.

practicality Thu 18-Apr-13 12:34:19

Leave and be happy.

WearingFuckMeSocks Thu 18-Apr-13 12:36:14

Oh fuckity fuck. Thanks for all the replies, I really wasn't expecting so many so soon.

I think I've known for sometime that what he was doing wasn't normal, but most of the time he's lovely, buys me flowers, takes me out for meals and so on, and of course nobody ever sees him being a shit, he just turns on the charm for other people.

For years he's told me that I'm the problem and I need to change. I have massively low self-esteem, i'm very introverted and have only recently (round the time DS was born) overcome the stutter that I had since I was 4, and I'm quite naive and trusting so genuinely believed that it was me that was the problem and have been trying to change.

what do I do? my mum lives very close by, i know I can rely on her for support. and solicitors I suppose.

any top tips, things to watch out for? i'm really at a loss so any advice gratefully received.

Oh Jesus, how do I cope? I'm crying at work (alone, thank god) but he'll be coming in soon and I need to keep my shit together, don't want him getting wind of anything

ImTooHecsyForYourParty Thu 18-Apr-13 12:40:10

abusers often are lovely some of the time. It's part of how they think they can keep hold of you. It's another form of manipulation.

There are a lot of people here who will be able to point you to resources that can help you.

Have you contacted women's aid? You can have a chat with them. They will have advice and info for you.

WearingFuckMeSocks Thu 18-Apr-13 12:41:15

Sorry, forgot to mention that we work together, run our own business together.

Usually when we argue he tells me that I can go and get another job if I want to but i wont find one that pays as much as this one that has hours to fit around the kids school.

WearingFuckMeSocks Thu 18-Apr-13 12:42:39

Thanks hecsy, will give them a ring when I know he won't be coming in to the office for a while

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 18-Apr-13 12:44:34

Don't cry. It's horrible to have others confirm that you've been subjected to bullying behaviour, even if you've suspected that's been the case for a while. It's really not your fault that this man is behaving this way. If you're not a nasty person yourself, it's easy not to see it in others. Of course he buys you flowers etc.... that's pretty standard for these Jekyll and Hyde types. They can be nice as pie until you cross them

The only response to a bully is to stand up to them and refuse to be manipulated. If you're frightened, however, you may be better advised to talk to people close to you like your Mum and also have a word with Womens Aid. 'Emotional abuse' is a recognised form of domestic violence and they will have some practical advice on how to take things forward so that you can extricate yourself safely.

IAmNotAMindReader Thu 18-Apr-13 12:49:12

Plan your exit strategy. Visit a solicitor so you know where you stand financially and whether or not he would be the one who needs to leave the house. Do you joint own etc.

Gather together evidence of his financial situation to give to your solicitor.

If you need to leave have all ID and birth certificates, passports etc in a safe place.

If he gets wind he may well go on the charm offensive and if that doesn't work become a shit bag to try to break you.
Watch out for gaslighting which may be employed to get you doubt certain aspects of your mental health and back down because you think your own judgement can not be trusted.

Prepare for him to be awkward over contact with the children and don't expect it to be amicable either over that or any other detail so if you know you're on solid ground legally let him be a prick. That may or may not happen, but forewarned is forearmed.

You cannot make him invovle himself in the childrens lives if he decides he's going to show you by messing them about. All you can do is make sure they are available for contact and pick up th epieces if he doesn't show hard though that is.

It may seem dautning so take it one step at a time.

There are more definative lists of things to do on here than this. Take care, you have taken the first step to reclaiming your self esteem.

thepatioislumpy Thu 18-Apr-13 13:50:56

Hello. I could have written your post a year ago (in fact, I did 10m ago!) almost word for word. Right down to your employment situation.

I'm now free and have been for 7m on Tuesday. I can't begin to tell you how good that feels smile

Lovely, this is not 'subtle EA' this is serious physical, emotional, sexual and what looks to be financial abuse. Please speak to WA as soon as you can. Don't hold back (I did and it left me feeling terrible), be honest and take whatever help they offer you.

You're 40 years young - time to get out and live the life you should be x

Hopasholic Thu 18-Apr-13 14:02:39

There is nothing subtle about his behaviour

He is a controlling manipulative bully

Gain some strength, contact WA and get out flowers

WearingFuckMeSocks Thu 18-Apr-13 18:18:10

Thank you all so much for taking the time to read my post and to reply. I felt so alone & helpless I didn't know what to do, at least now I can see a faint glimmer of light at the end of a very long tunnel.

flippinada Thu 18-Apr-13 18:38:39

He is an abuser and you, and your DC deserve better.

There are lots of lovely women on here who will help and support you. Keep posting here X

WearingFuckMeSocks Thu 18-Apr-13 21:32:54

Oh now I feel such a cow, came home tonight and he's applied for 2 tickets to the 50th anniversary Dr Who proms in July (I'm a massive Dr Who fan) has collected doors for new kitchen that is being fitted soon & shopped at Waitrose. Also I've had to email the exchange student who is coming in July to say which dates she can come, all the while thinking " but what if things have changed by then?"

But then remembered he made some comment this afternoon when we were discussing kitchen work tops along the lines of "i dont mind spending the money ....... unless of course you're leaving me" to which I just said "No" in what I dearly hope was a convincing tone. Really don't want to spend the rest of my life like this ...

flippinada Thu 18-Apr-13 21:38:34

You're not a cow.

It's part of the cycle...no-one would stay with someone who was awful all the time. The good stuff every now and then doesn't cancel out the abuse.

Read back your original post as if you were an outsider, or as if your best friend was asking you for advice.

Would you be telling her, yeah, he's a great guy, stick with him?

lilachair Thu 18-Apr-13 21:39:29

Subtle? No. That is not subtle EA, that is overt.

I spent YEARS saying I'd leave if it was still bad at Christmas (usually in January). By the time Christmas came there had been so may horrific wall punching moments countered by lovely ticket buying moments I didn't know which way up I was.

Eventually there was a bad Christmas (actually they were all bad, but this year he bought me a tin a of chillis AND was a cunt) so I left.

It was very very tricky, but it's the best thing I ever did.

LTB x

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