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.
A happy update from TIL(389 Posts)
She and the children are where they need to be now and she is very grateful for all the support and encouragement she has received. I hope very much that she will return here but for now shes intending to lie a little bit low.
Please just be sensitive to the fact that this is a huge, life changing decision for her and I think she would like it toned down a bit wrt pompoms and congratulations. I hope very much that this will change as the days pass and she becomes accustomed to the incredulous joy of freedom. She is already sounding positive about life where she is right now.
This time they really are safe in the way that everybody hoped previously.
NB I have not used any names in this for a reason. Please be aware of security as she is understandably very worried about him locating her
Message withdrawn at poster's request.
A control freak would be extremely concerned about walking upstairs with a toddler, and would fuss, fuss, fuss over the safest way to do it, and make sure everybody else was doing it the safest way too.
Whereas a psychopath/abuser would wander up in front of the toddler, let her go bumping down the stairs, and then calmly dismiss what had happened...
Hope you are ok, GS... please don't feel that you are stupid or that it seems unbelievable.....that is many miles from the truth.
It depends on what he wants to control.
My dad took and still takes over the top steps to prevent his children and grandchildren from harm.
It is annoying sometimes, but quite sweet as we know he cares, and that's about as far as his control goes. He will bend over to help us.
Your ex wanted to control you and the children as a power trip, but doesn't/didn't care one iota about you all or your welfare.
Coming to terms with how you were treated is part of the healing process.
Yes you were humiliated and Yes his behaviour was abusive. An intelligent loving woman deserves to be loved, cared for and treated with respect do NOT doubt for one moment that FW was abusive. You and the children deserve to be loved and cherished and you deserve a safe home.
We are talking about a man who put his children in danger, failed to complete basic DIY jobs, he failed to provide you will a comfortable home and chose to leave you short of money on a day to day basis. FW made these choices consciously, perhaps what you are struggling to come to terms with is how you allowed it to happen, I dont have that answer but we are not taught about abusive men, personality disorders or even how to spot men with alcohol or drug disorders, too often they hide it from us only tpoo well. Unfortunately life teaches us about these things and by then it is usually too late.
Sweetheart, the life ahead of you can be a good one, the life you left behind is gone, try to look forward not back.
Message withdrawn at poster's request.
You also have to keep in mind that he effectively lied to you to get that 3rd child.
Had he been telling the truth, and he'd contributed his fair share both with work and with money, it would have been fine.
You trusted him, because you never realised that someone could be so nasty without physical violence as he was.
I suspect your reluctance to have a 3rd child was because you unconsciously recognised that something was off.
And more so when he started insisting on a 4th.
I think your evaluation of the situation was spot on, actually. He just managed to wear you down, and I suspect most women would have done the same as you then.
It's abusive to deny someone access to money. This is now (as has been said elsewhere on this site) part of the definition of domestic abuse. By the single act of withholding money from you and refusing to let you spend money as you wished or play a part in deciding household spending, he was being abusive. That's without even considering anything else.
If it helps, thread after thread on here proves you were not alone, and this humiliation is undergone by lots of other women.
Oh GS - you're not stupid. You are (like most people) kind and prefer to believe the best in people. Sadly this is taken advantage of sometimes, but that is the fault of the one taking advantage and not you. Don't stop being kind.
As to the difference between a controller and an abuser (and this is just my uneducated - but not inexperienced - opinion), I'd say you can negotiate with a controller to reach a compromise (we all have little foibles or blind spots). You can't do that with an abuser. Your ex is an abuser.
Wishing you the best, as always.
What you're feeling is shame. It's surprisingly rampant, is shame; particularly when you've been the victim of an abuser. It's as though someone has to feel the shame and, because the perpetrator is incapable of feeling shame, or has no intention of feeling the rightful shame for what they did, the victim ends up feeling it. Toxic shame I think it's called. It is one of the cruellest twists.
You are not the first and, sadly, will not be the last to be brainwashed into obeying an abuser. You are surfacing now, and the horror of what has happened is hitting you. Shame, unfortunately, is the gloop you have to work through. My guess is that you had a well of shame, anyway, and perhaps because you are this time unable to 'make it go away' or 'forget it' (which is denial), at last it's time to deal with the residual shame you have probably had for most of your life.
You're not the only one btw xx
It's important you talk about this in rl. imo this is where support groups come into their own, as everyone there shares the same feelings - unlike a professional who may not have experienced the same things. I am very prickly about who is present when I share the deepest horrors ie I prefer they are people who know what it's like because they've experienced it. That's when support groups are a solace.
Every single one who has experienced domestic abuse will feel the same shame, the same horror and disbelief that they actually did those things, went along with the monster who was controlling them. It's important to get it out in the open.
Gs, you are not stupid. And it is not a small thing to be distressed over the fact you were forced to have more children than you wanted. Making a woman have a child she doesn't want (however much she loves that child when it is born) goes above and beyond even 'normal' bad abuse. Someone can recover from a broken arm from a beating, you don't 'recover' from having your identity and the course of your future changed irrevocably against your will, esoecially when it has been done deliberately to control and demean you. I've said to you so many times that forced pregnancy is a sort of whole-life rape. Not for no reason did the Judge in the Philpott case make the point very firmly that making women have children they personally don't want, is a classic feature of extreme abuse. Forced pregnancy is one of the ultimate acts of genocide (breeding your enemy out of existence) and is classified as a crime against humanity.
You suffered a forced pregnancy. It doesn't matter if you got pregnant in non-violent and non-extreme ways (and you know that was only because you acquiesced to him due to your fear of saying no making him escalate to sexual abuse/violence), it was still a crime against you that means that he ensured that you can't ever be the person you wanted to be and presumed you would be.
I really do think you need therapy for this matter, as well as everything else. Because Dc3 does exist, she is innocent, and you need to find a way to work through what he did to you and that the abuse resulted in her. And you need to get over the fact that your parents instilled this notion in you that having more than 2 children is somehow disgusting or bad, or whatever terms your conditioning throws up for you. You are a mother of 3 and you always will be, and at some point, you need to accept that, not keep yourself stuck in trying to not psychologically accept it, whilst simultaneously having to live it in reality. Once you face it, you cannot deny anymore how badly and comprehensively he controlled and abused you, and I think right now, it feels safer for you to stay stuck at this '3 children' issue and fixate on that, rather than face up to the bigger horror.
And it's lovely to see you back, btw. Harsh as I can be, I really care about you, you know that.
Wow, I just found this thread.
You've got a long journey ahead of you, but what you've done, this huge huge step... It's amazing. And you're amazing. Please try and think that if yourself a little bit, cos its true.
You are not stupid, GS. I hope you will believe me, goodness knows I've said harsh hurtful true things on earlier threads, so you know I'd do it again and am not just being nice when I say YOU ARE NOT STUPID
Many people who have been abused feel ashamed of it. I know people who feel ashamed of being abused as children, clearly they couldn't have prevented the abuse, yet they are ashamed they did not... Shame is a powerful thing.
GS, feeling humiliated is part of the legacy of abuse. Abuse is in many ways the gift that keeps on giving, sadly. Feeling stupid, feeling you've been played for a fool, feeling you have had the wool pulled over your eyes -- all part and parcel of the pain of shaking it all off. In time you will be able to say 'Shame on you' to your exH, instead of 'Shame on me' to lovely you.
Be patient with yourself as you wait for the healing that time brings.
Would you be open to the idea of therapy for just the specific matter of forced pregnancy? It is a huge thing and I feel if you could get some support working your way through it, it might make a big difference. A support group as suggested might be the way to go. You could see how you are not the only one in your position.
I think there is a fine line between abuser and control freak. I myself am not at all sure where one ends and the other begins. Being controlled feels very much like being abused, and abuse is a means of control after all, a lot of the time (the aim of abuse being to steadily limit your options until you finally have none except to live the life your abuser decides you will live, and that can feel very similar to the life one leads with a control freak). However, if you think the two are separable and you want to decide which category your H falls into, remember what he said about the children being like dogs. But I don't think you should be trying to distinguish one from the other. I think that is the path to minimising and while minimising may make you feel less of the pain of humiliation it is not the direction you want to go in. You have to sit with that pain and feel it.
'I feel overwhelmed with anger...I just wish I could forget the whole thing [conception of DC3] but I don't seem to be able to '
Are you afraid of your anger, GS? I think this splitting of hairs that you tend to do (for instance between 'controlling' and 'abusing' - that leads to minimising) is done to avoid the feeling of anger. I wonder if you could talk with your counsellor or with the support person you have there about trying to keep your anger locked inside.
GS I agree that you would probably find it hugely helpful to talk about your 3rd child issue in rl.
Some have suggested support groups. Personally I found support groups stressful as I felt encumbered by everyone else's problems and as though I shouldn't be voicing mine. I found individual therapy a lot easier. But we are all different and depending on your tolerance levels you may like a group situation.
But I would be careful about talking with just friends (for want of better wording) because when something really hurts, it is excruciating to voice it and then have to deal with a crap response. And regular, non therapist people can, with the best intentions, say quite hurtful things e.g breezily suggest you are lucky because you have the 3 children they always wanted or similar.
Oh, meant to say, once you can talk about it and be heard, really heard - because you were so railroaded over your 3rd child - the anger and resentment is likely to subside quite a lot and your feelings of adoration for her will have more space.
I'm sorry you're going through a dip. It happens. It will continue to happen. But you do need to talk about this in RL too.
I understand that feeling of stupidity. I look back now at some of the things I said and did and am gobsmacked at how much control he had over me. I didn't even have control of my thoughts. But you're free now, and you can rebuild that.
FWIW, Lundy doesn't make any distinctions between controlling behaviour and abusive behaviour because there isn't one. Plenty of people like to be in control, most people in fact. What makes that abusive is enforcing the control, insisting upon it, ensuring there are repercussions when that control is challenged. Your ex was abusive. He was controlling because he was abusive.
Lovely girl, you know where I am x
me too, and everyone of us thats travelling/ed through it.
Abusers can/might/might not use obvious control. Trying to control, doesn't mean abuse. Like poster ^thread said, someone whose controlling isn't necessarily malicious and wouldn't bear to see harm come to any, just is very fearful, which is why so often the survivors of abuse often left feeling its their fault for being so controlling! (or stupid for accepting/not seeing, or angry).
At the end of the day, its because it IS SO IMPOSSIBLE to believe the intentions underneath the behaviour. My jaw has droppped to the floor so many times when hearing the points made at FP, but as that light bulb goes on, the 'stupid', the 'anger', the 'blindness' goes away and realisation frees us - suddenly it is all their fault and their responsibility, we do not make abusers of them, they are abusers stop
I thought I was strong (he has made me feel weak), capable and bright (he has made me feel stupid and a failure), had self-esteem and power (usurped any self-esteem, and would not tolerate any power).
Having control of your life is important for many. If control is challenged with abusive repercussions thats the cutting line.
Any repercussion, including a 'look' or the silent treatment, or any sort of sulking or snapping at third parties ('kicking the cat') means a tendency to control (perhaps based on anxiety or a caretaking impulse taken too far) has crossed a line and control itself has become the aim.
GS -- Maybe the best reason to go to group rather than individual therapy would be to see that there is a pattern to what abusers do, that all the victims have been treated very much the same, with even the same phrases and violations said and committed -- perhaps you would realise listening to the accounts of others that when abusers follow a pattern that is predictable (and it is) then the abuse has nothing personally to do with you at all. This is a paradox, because obviously you have suffered greatly from it. What I am trying to convey is the idea that if it hadn't been you it would have been someone else, and the impulse to abuse came from within him. He would have tried it in every single relationship he got involved in. The impulse to control/ abuse is as innate as right handedness.
I would hope this would counteract the tendency you seem to have to take complete responsibility for everything yourself and the tendency to think you are the only person with enough negative qualities to ever have any of this befall her. Put another way, I think from the pov of getting a grip on what has happened, it is important to understand there is nothing special about you that contributed to the situation. Sometimes when we hear the thoughts of others that are similar to our own ('I am stupid', 'I let him...', 'I am weak and a coward', etc) we can realise that the person doing the talking is 'none of the above'. We can see the accountant, the sahm, the solicitor, the cleaning lady, the chemistry teacher sitting in our circle and clearly none of them are any more stupid than average, or any more weak than average and we can see how our own self talk is not warranted either.
I think it would also show you that you can be as kind to yourself as you would undoubtedly be towards the other women in your group, and hopefully you would experience the kindness and fellowship that others would be moved to show within the group.
Message withdrawn at poster's request.
Message withdrawn at poster's request.
GS, someone not understanding what you are getting at, especially if you're not being v clear, just means they've got the wrong end of the stick, it doesn't mean that what you were hinting at is so unusual that people won't have any idea what you're on about if you bring it up again. I wonder why you need it to be common; is your self-esteem so low that if you suffered a rarer type of abuse that you would be able to convince yourself the lie that you imagined it, or that it wasn't serious, or that no-once will believe you/take it seriously/care/understand, etc.?
The reason why women do not talk about forced pregnancies is obvious - it is for the very same feelings that you yourself struggle with in relation to the issue: the shame of believing that you let it happen and above all, the taboo of admitting that you didn't want one or more of your children (however much you love them now). So many people daren't day this out loud, and so many women, because they love their forced-pg child or children once they arrive, manage to push the circumstances of their conception out of their minds. That you can't and won't is no negative reflection on you. No, in fact, it is actually a v heartening sign - it shows that however much you want to minimise, deny, run away, etc., part of you has never given ink never given up and wants to heal you, wants justice for you, and it is too strong for you to ignore.
Re: shame - it would be easier to feel the shame of being back with an a user than facing up to what has happened to you and your DC under this man's rule (and it was rule). Easier for you to feel - but disastrous for you and the DC in every other way.
Message withdrawn at poster's request.
I think it's because DC3's very existence prevents you from denying and minimising the abuse. I wonder if, on some level, despite getting counselling for sustained sexual abuse in your previous relationship, you still manage to compartmentalise it and deny it on some or many levels.
You need therapy if only to get you to see that things about you or that happened to you don't require legitimising from anyone else. It would be easier to talk if more women discussed it, of course, but it doesn't make it more real even if it feels like it would. You are doing those very dainty and complex mental machinations of denial and minimisation that you specialise in, m' dear <hug>
You do have to accept it. Because it happens and Dc3 is not going away. You have already accepted it physically and emotionally. Accepting it mentally doesn't mean accepting you were or are weak, though, far from it. You had a child against your will and you love her and mother her well. Erm, who is the weak person here? Who was broken by abuse? Not you - you faced something massive and came out the other side still full of humanity and caring. Things your ExH could barely even fake when at his best! And the therapy process won't throw you in at the deep end, you know. In the end, I can't see how working through these panful things to do with Dc3's conception can be any harder than staying stuck indefinitely with these terrible feelings you are currently experiencing over it.
Join the discussion
Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.Register now
Already registered with Mumsnet? Log in to leave your comment or alternatively, sign in with Facebook or Google.
Please login first.