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.
ZOMBIE THREAD ALERT: This thread hasn't been posted on for a while.
Does this sound like emotional abuse - the little things...(63 Posts)
I think OH may be abusing me emotionally and it has just kind of dawned on me suddenly after reading very familiar traits on other threads here
The fact I am wondering is probably a sign that I personally believe I am being emotionally abused. I think I am just looking for help that I am not just going mad and being "over sensitive"...
Invades my personal space ALL the time and physically moves me out of his way sometimes (but acts like he is going "Scuse me babe" but then other times just barges past me or walks through me eg feel I have to move or would probably be mown down)
Leaves bank statements/credit card statements next to my laptop just lying around when he is running low on money or has just had to pay for something expensive for our family as if to say "Don't ask for anything cos we are skint"
Is always doing stuff like staring at me with a black look or just freezes and stares at something I am doing as if I need to read his mind as to what I am doing "wrong" so I always feel on edge without him saying anything. Example is we were getting ready to go out with the kids and were loading up the car. My phone was left in the changing bag under the pram which was waiting to be folded and put in the boot n I went "Oh... my phone" and went into the bag under the pram to get it at which point he froze on the spot with his hands about to push the pram and just did THE FACE which is a really black expression that no one else seems to be able to see except me as I see it... A Lot...
If we are going anywhere he waits til the last minute then gets ready really fast then sits about waiting for me to go "OK... Are you ready then?" so he can go "YEAH! I am just waiting for you..." or he will say "Right lets get ready to go" if we are doing something so I get myself and the kids ready then stand about waiting for him to get ready. This means I can spend up to 2 hours just waiting for him to be ready to go involving "ready to go?" "Ok let's got then" from me every 10 mins and he goes "Yup... Right now... Just getting my shoes" then sits there watching the footie news/on the ipad or then goes to the toilet for an hour leaving me to wait. If I get fed up waiting for him, take my coat off and go off and do something else with the kids he suddenly gets ready and jumps in the car taking the kids then does the face when I go for a last minute pee and that I don't still have my coat on. He has actually driven down the street a bit before without me. Got to the car and DS was crying. OH said he just did it for a laugh. Shit.
I feel really pathetic about all this and it sounds like I am being so petty. I am starting to notice things every day now. Silly little things. We have had big blow out rows before as well and I can never get my point across. It just seems to have slowly bubbled over the years and now he is proud that "We never really fight like other couples" Yeh because I am too scared or fed up to say anything now. What is the point? I just never get my point across, he talks down anything I try to raise and if I don't back down it turns into a fight that I will never "win".
Oh and he NEVER apologises EVER.
I used to be able to say "But we have such a laugh together" and "We like all the same things" he could be so lovely and seem to be caring but recently I have noticed all of that seems to be gone. I am a shell of the person I was. He says it is because we have 2 kids now and are both exhausted.
APologies that I went on for a bit there...
Sorry - more to add.
I meant to say it just seems to be all these silly little things that if I said "I am leaving him" then "Why are you leaving" "Well... he seems to be angry if I do anything he doesn't like" but I have no actual proof that he is angry other than the silent black looks he gives me that no one else can see. I KNOW this is happening though. Why else would I feel like this? He says I imagine it all and am insecure. He told me to be more assertive recently (in front of his parents) and I said "You wouldn't like that though would you???" and they all looked at each other like "What a bitch" but that WAS me being assertive because I would not usually ever say that although it was true.
When I do try to be assertive somehow I end up doubting myself and feel insignificant and pathetic. Example again was we went away overnight because we had to be somewhere early Sunday morning and rather than travel all the way there and back on Sunday I booked a hotel for us on a really good deal for a wee treat. It was totally ruined by OH leaving credit card statement lying around and then moping around all Saturday before we left with his sad face on. I was trying to ignore it as I wanted us all to have a nice time. Since I hadn't done the usual "Are you ok???" with his usual "FINE! WHy do you always ask me that??? What is the problem???" (with head shaking at me and smirking like I am insane), he decided to give a reason for his moping around with a sad face which was "I just want you to know things are really tight this month and we have no money" but he was all set to go out on a bender with his mates on the Friday night which would prob have cost more than going away overnight. It just put a cloud over the whole rest of the day.
That just makes me sound like a total bitch though doesn't it???
AAAARGH!!! I feel like I am going insane!
Umm I'm struggling to see anything abusive there. He's a bit passive aggressive with THE FACE but haven't we all got a face that tells our OH that they're pissing us off? It sounds like he's a bit irritated by you sometimes and isn't very respectful always but again who isn't like that in relationships sometimes. The getting ready to go out example to me is standard bloke wind up. Maybe look at why you're a shell of the person you used to be. Maybe have some calm discussions with him about things that piss you off. But abuse? No I don't think so and if you are then me too and I'd venture to say most of the population. Unless of course you feel scared of him....then that's another matter.
Don't apologise, Kelly. Its important that you have somewhere, here, where you can off-load.
My first reaction was that some of it sounds like plain, very male, behaviour BUT ...then I realised that is exactly how I thought about my ex, in the beginning. And it grows and grows and grows .....
the key factor is your saying that you feel "in the wrong" .... and you are becoming very sensitive to the tell-take signs of early displeasure from him. That's a big indicator for early emotional abuse. Next step is loss of self esteem. Loss of friends (anything sounding familiar?)
Change things NOW ...while you can. It may be that you can bring the marriage back to an equal partnership again, but if not then you have to put your welfare (as the mother of your children) fiirst.
Just my spin
Ps he's worried about money = normal
Thanks for the replies. I am just worried that I have been reading too much into it all and the lines are getting blurred between starts of emotional abuse and just plain annoying each other and not getting on anymore/resenting each other.
So I do just sound like a bitch.
I feel so unappreciative as he is good with the kids and does loads of stuff people are very "Oooooh you are so lucky" about but I think maybe he just doesn't love me any more.
This is called "gaslighting" - and is indeed a form of emotional abuse
If it wasn't so insidious and awful for you, I'd say he is just being a prick, but it does sound very calculating on his part...
Don't doubt yourself - keep a diary of what is happening and see if a pattern emerges
You can't live your life this this
Emotional abuse is not really about the details of what someone says or does (a clever abuser can chill.your.blood with a sentence like "I'll take care of that, darling" which can sound lovely to other people). It's about how it makes you feel. If his behaviour has you walking on eggshells, if he takes pleasure in making you feel bad, then yes, I think it's time to take a long, hard look at your relationship.
Perhaps you could try keeping a diary - record what he does and what he makes you feel, what happens if/when you try to talk to him about things making you unhappy. This might help you see patterns in your relationship.
Couple of questions/comments. The 'leaving money statements lying around' thing - does he control the finances, do you have independent income, etc? And the 'making you wait' thing - once he's said 'yes, let's go' could you go & sit in the car with DC? Then he's the one on the back foot, not you - 'but you said you were ready'... If you refuse to play the games, they might lose their power. 'Here's your bank statement, you left it on the table by my laptop'...
Why am I so sensitive to his anger though? The passive agressive stuff. In the past few years I have lost my job twice, lost a parent and seem to have lost my sense of fun somewhere. Maybe I am blaming him...
You're sensitive to his PA anger because you're a nice person and you want those around you to be happy. If you're seeing patterns of behaviour designed to put you in the wrong, he isn't reciprocating the caring. Focus on what you do and have your own yardstick of whether it's fair/ reasonable - if it is, and he takes offence, it's his problem not yours IYSWIM.
You're sensitive because he is acting like an immature tit... Smirking, being antagonistic, making you feel stupid, barging you out of the way etc. If someone respects and likes you, they don't do that.
If you've had a lot of grown-up problems to deal with in the last few years you probably haven't got time for this kind of silly crap. Answer is to keep being assertive rather than modifying your actions or words just because you're worried about his reaction. Don't let him make you feel like you can't open your mouth because once you start doing that, it's a slippery slope. If you feel like you're a 'shell of a person' then, whether he's being abusive or not, his behaviour is getting you down.
Sorry x posted there. I am going to do that - keep a diary. Something you said has just set me off crying though. I DO feel like I am walking on eggshells around him. I just overthink every little thing and am always thinking about "oooh I better not do that - what would he say if he found out I went for a coffee".
No we don't share finances. We both had jobs, bank accounts and are not married. Since I lost my job the last time I have been struggling to get anything that fits in with the kids and his hours so he has been the main breadwinner. I have to ask him for money if I need to do anything and when we go to the supermarket he says "Don't be putting extras in the trolley" but he gets to put in whatever he wants and if I push it and say "Oh, I need X" and put it in the trolley he is like "Yeh - whatever you need" but then when we get home he starts going on about how we have to cut back on the shopping - which we DO but he only says it if I have put something extra in the trolley. AHHHH That sounds like I am being so PETTY! IT is just all these little things.
I mean even now I am on here questioning it all rather than just getting on with my day. I am always thinking about him and wondering what I can do to change things.
The shopping thing... don't you just want to kick him where it hurts... and keep kicking? It's not petty at all, it's downright humiliating.
It is NOT petty - read the link I posted
Scroll down the page to the list of signs
How many apply to you, Kelly?
What happens if you say 'yeah, but you bought XYZ..' Are the DCs his?
It is emotional abuse, passive aggression, gaslighting whatever. I am also very familiar with the 'black' look. My ex would look at me with this dull, boring look when I was talking and if I asked him if he was bored he would say 'No, course not, carry on' it would really throw me off balance. When I tell you his face looked like he was about to fall asleep, and he would then adamantly admit he was not bored. Other times he would look at me with such a nasty expression and then say he wasn't doing it.
Sigh. Unfortunately, we still live together because I am saving up to leave. I dumped him the day after Valentines day, but making the decision to go was the best thing I have ever done for myself.
I had been with this man 5 years, and he made me very poorly during this time.
I bet you feel exhausted most of the time, and think its because of the kids? Kids tire you out yes (I have one) but not to this extent. It's the man you are living with, trust me on that one.
Do you ever pull him on his behaviour? If so, what is his reaction?
I don't think you're a bitch or crazy or in the wrong.
That is how he makes you feel.
And his behaviour doesn't really seem normal bloke behaviour. Except for people who are surrounded by twats.
I agree that you should detach, but for your personal happiness.
You can try explaining what things upset you and see if he changes his behaviour or not. That should tell you how much he cares, or not.
It sounds a miserable way to live. He doesn't really sound as if he's on your side. The key question is whether he is going to be a partner in putting things right (in which case there is hope for your relationship), or whether he is benefitting from your misery (in which case, no hope).
If you can get hold of a copy of Lundy Bancroft "Why does he do that?" it might help clarify things for you. And keep posting.
I don't think it's petty-- in your first post you mention him driving off without you which made your DS cry, meant as a joke? Upsetting a child to make a point just isn't fair so was he extremely contrite and a bit ashamed of himself afterwards? He should have been!
Join the discussion
Please login first.