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.

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.

WearingFuckMeSocks Thu 18-Apr-13 21:53:18

i didn't know which way up I was

That's exactly how I feel, I just don't know how to trust myself anymore, things I think are wrong he tells me are ok and things I feel are right he tells me I shouldn't think that.

I so wanted to say something to my mum when she dropped the kids off after swimming tonight but I was worried I'd get so upset in front of the kids and I didn't want them to see it. He thinks its ok to argue in front of kids, I just think it damaging as they don't understand what's happening. I'll have to pop round to hers one night or arrange a night out with her, I'm sure she'll be horrified at what I've been hiding. I feel so ashamed for letting it go on for so long

flippinada Thu 18-Apr-13 21:58:43

Don't feel ashamed Wearing, the shame is entirely his.

I think telling your mum is a great idea, as you say she'll be supportive. Support is what you need.

piratecat Thu 18-Apr-13 22:01:16

a couple of tickets, some door and some shopping?

come on op

You know what punching the wall by your head means. It means "this is what I'd do to you if you didn't stay in line". He doesn't need to actually hit YOU after that - you'll censor yourself thanks to his little demonstration.

Run like the wind (and take the tickets with you!).

jjgirl Thu 18-Apr-13 22:21:45

The fact that his feelings are so dependent on the way you look act and feel is classic emotional abuse and it's at a very serious level as he has you afraid to do or say anything wrong. He has you afraid to just be yourself. Get counselling for yourself only so you can work up the strength to leave

So sorry you are struggling with this. My ex was similar, we had no kids & didn't work together, but otherwise it's all very familiar. I left him & I think you know you should do the same. He may not actually have hit you yet, but he almost certainly will. He's already come close & thinks nothing of hurting you. Any man who can get aroused while you are clearly in so much pain & distress, does not care about you at all.
You've done nothing to be ashamed of, & anyone who values you at all, will tell you the same.

lilachair Thu 18-Apr-13 22:33:34

You know what punching the wall by your head means. It means "this is what I'd do to you if you didn't stay in line".

This. This is why its domestic abuse, even if you don't have bruises.

What swung it for me was someone on here pointing out what a terrible relationship model it was for the children. And I was staying for the children.

Hugs to you OP. Talk to people in RL and make a plan and keep talking here too x

WearingFuckMeSocks Fri 19-Apr-13 01:19:37

You know, I never really thought of it as domestic abuse, but suddenly reading through my opening post again and reading all your comments it seems so bloody obvious. How did I not see it? I'm not stupid and if a friend of mine told me her OH had done all those things I'd be shocked & horrified and tell her to leave for her own safety.

lilachair, i think what you said has struck a chord, I have been staying for the children, i really didn't want them coming from a "broken home". My parents spilt up when I was 12 and it really shook me. However, I think their home is already broken, I've just been papering over the cracks so that nobody can see what is really going on.

DH - actually i don't want to call him "D" anymore, he really isn't a darling, what do I call him? apart from "that bastard I've wasted precious years of my life with that I'll never get back" - said a few weeks ago that i may live in a gilded cage but its a very nice gilded cage. Right now I'd be happy with a little flat where me & kids could just be ourselves and be happy sad

lilachair Fri 19-Apr-13 07:33:57

The gilded cage thing is familiar! I felt the same. I used to sit in my big house dreaming about a tiny little house for just me and the girls. And it is lovely now i'm finally here.

I think you've made your decision haven't you? It will be hard though, these men do not give up without a fight, and they try every trick in the book. Thankfully there are lots of people who have read the book here to help you.

Have a search for posts by Olga re your rights and entitlements, you need to form a plan x

WearingFuckMeSocks Fri 19-Apr-13 11:40:46

lilachair thanks, your words have really touched me, especially the Christmas thing. I always loved Christmas, now I dread each one, this years was particularly bad. H had flu but still dragged himself downstairs to watch the kids open their presents. Frankly I wish he hadn't fucking bothered, he spent the whole time telling them to calm down and not be so excited, to tidy away their paper after opening every present and then berated them for not knowing which present was from whom so they wouldn't know who to thank. It's Christmas ffs, they kids, they're supposed to be excited

Bastard angry

thepatioislumpy your post really gave me hope that I could get out of this; not easily, not unscathed, but just out. Thank you xx p.s. would you mind if I PM you? am new to this posting malarky so not sure if I'm supposed to ask beforehand blush

My mum is picking kids up from school tonight, i've going to pick them up from hers so I can have a chat with her, i'm sure kids can watch telly for a bit while we talk.

Haven't rang womens aid yet but am fully intending to when I can get 5 minutes where I know I wont be disturbed. i know I'll be blubbing within 30 seconds of talking & really don't want customers coming in to see that.

Also H is away with work next Friday so am hoping for an evening of planning once DCs in bed. Sadly mum also way Friday night to a wedding, otherwise could have done with her support. Nobody else that I can really talk to, all of our friends are mutual (surprisingly I have not been encouraged to friends of my own, apart from those that have been vetted of course)

and have booked appointment with Doctor next week, H has me so confused I was considering the possibility that I have aspergers, and I stupidly told him so. I was just looking for some explanation of why I'm so confused. Now I know it's because he's a twunt. I dont think I do have asperegers (not that it would be a problem if I was, please don't think I'm in anyway condemning people who are on the AS) but just think I am quite introverted. H thinks I should go and see the doctor, so I will, but not to discuss what he thinks we'll be discussing.

thanks again to everyone for the support thanks

flippinada Fri 19-Apr-13 17:00:38

There is hope Wearing

My XP was (and probably still is tbh) just like your H.

Free for over 7 years now, a lot poorer but much happier.

Best of luck to you.

Branleuse Fri 19-Apr-13 17:23:08

Theres nothing subtle about that.

Fluffymonster Fri 19-Apr-13 18:22:09

Wearing - Imagine your 5yo dd, in, say 15yrs time - and this is how she is describing her H.

Does it sound like subtle emotional abuse to you? No - you'd want her to be with someone who treats her with love and respect, not:

* Shows more concern about his own feelings than hers in a crisis, in fact even when not in a crisis - just generally.

* Destroying her things. Just because he didn't approve.

* Uses physical violence to intimidate. The punching of the wall is not OK - it's a demonstration of his strength and is a threat of what could happen to her head if she doesn't shut up.

* Objectifies her body. Keeps trying to get her to do things to her body like she's some sort of human barbie doll for him to play with (boob job, naval piercing, shaving pubes). Shaving of private parts is infantilising btw - to make her appear more child-like and less womanly.

* Expects her to be a trophy so that other people can objectify her too - for the sake of his low self esteem.

* He wants her to do things she is not comfortable with because it entertains him.

* He values his pleasure above her discomfort.

* Does not value her opinions.

I could go on, but you get the gist. NO IT IS NOT NORMAL AND IT'S NOT EVEN SUBTLE.

He is not a good partner for you.

You would not want anyone you cared about, anywhere near a bf or H like this, would you?

Also, would you want you dd to grow up wondering if this was normal?

JennyFromTheBog Fri 19-Apr-13 19:43:09

Words fail me.

He is a dickhead.

JennyFromTheBog Fri 19-Apr-13 19:46:19

Good post fluffy.

Agree wholeheartedly. It's not so subtle is it.

WearingFuckMeSocks Fri 19-Apr-13 19:48:34

Thanks for putting it so succinctly Fluffymonster, it really hits home. I would be heart broken if dd had a bf/dh who even did just some of those things.

Spoke with my mum tonight. Guess what, apparently everyone who has met H over the last 15 years has commented on what a control freak he is and has wondered why I stay with him. Has a really good talk with mum, she offered to have me & kids stay with her, and I'm sure she would but think its best we stay it our own home for now.

I think there is no way I can stay with this man for longer than is absolutely necessary. Long enough to gather info, see a solicitor & make a plan. Not long enough for him to continue making my & DCs lives a misery.

Right, off for a small glass of wine & some food. Actually, best have food first, have felt so sick all day I have managed the sum total of 1 banana. Not sure I have much appetite but best try to eat something

JennyFromTheBog Fri 19-Apr-13 19:50:22

lilachair snap. My x was abusive, definitely, verbally, physically, financially... i walked on eggshells around him, but even he wouldn't have dreamt of forcing me to have sex when I had thrush.

flippinada Fri 19-Apr-13 19:52:32

Hooray for your lovely mum smile.

Make sure you gather what you need but also take care to cover your tracks.

ImperialBlether Fri 19-Apr-13 20:00:38

You're doing the right thing, OP. He's awful and you deserve to be happy and free of him.

One thing, your DC may be upset when you first broach the idea of separation but you might find the difference to their lives is negligible. It took my children a while to realise their dad had moved out. Obviously if you move, it's different, but they will definitely welcome the lack of tension in their lives.

Your mum sounds lovely, btw.

JennyFromTheBog Fri 19-Apr-13 20:02:45

yes, doing the right thing. Definitely. Like Lilachair says, I used to sit in our lovely home just longing for a small simple place of our own, where we'd be free of him and not hear his key in the door.

it was a very difficult decision to make, the one to leave, but as soon as I made it, and felt free and happy, i never, ever regretted it. It is hard to understand afterwards why it seemed like a hard decision! I think it's because these guys chip away at you. Reclaim yourself.

WearingFuckMeSocks Fri 19-Apr-13 20:39:37

My mum is the best mum ever - present company excepted, of course wink

I commented to her how happy the kids are at her house, how much more they laugh, giggle & have fun. So do I for that matter. I think that's what I've missed most, just having fun without having one eye over my shoulder in case we're making to much noise.

I am doing the right thing. Please keep telling me, I don't want to lose my nerve. I am feeling happier just knowing that this wont be forever, and yes there will be a shit storm to get through but we will get through it.

Lovingfreedom Fri 19-Apr-13 20:51:28

Yes you are doing the right thing...it's a tough decision...but we'll worth it. Your mum sounds lovely.

Lovingfreedom Fri 19-Apr-13 20:51:50

Well not we'll!

Shinigami Fri 19-Apr-13 21:09:54

You are doing the right thing flowers

LTB

myroomisatip Fri 19-Apr-13 21:25:40

smile Yes! You are doing the right thing!

I am so excited for you smile

I was where you are at and stayed for 40 years!!!! 40 bloody years! But, tomorrow I hope to move out at long last. I was utterly terrified of my STBXH and it was only from reading about other peoples experiences on MN that I realised how abusive he was.

You will get all the support you need here, take all the help you can get and stay strong.

Keep posting. I cant wait to hear that you have done it. Please dont waste any more time on him, life is far too short.

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