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Does anyone else feel dismayed by what some people will tolerate in their relationships?

(160 Posts)
Ledkr Sat 11-May-13 08:51:29

Thread about many threads but I sometimes worry that I'm just am old battle axe because when I read some if the stuff on here I'm just shocked at what some people put up with.
I can go early say that if dh went on a dating website, called me names, left me short of money or refused to help with his house or children he'd be out if my life.
Not being smug at all I was in a very subdivide relationship and my exh cheated but both times I got rid.
I'm in my forties so am sad to think that some young women are being raised to tolerate this. Shouldn't it be different now that its easier to go it alone?
Such a pity.

Well, I think Ledkr has raised a really important point. Mumsnet helped me an awful lot, even if I was mostly lurking. Just reading and seeing the responses to situations I long had thought were just something you had to get through.
I come from a home with both parents very loving, my dad is a gentle man. My brothers too. I still got into two abusive relationships, in one way thinking that people are not that nasty, ergo this is not how it seems.
Mumsnet should be compulsory reading for 14-16 year olds, of both sexes!
A bit grim perhaps, but could be a lifesaver for many.
With hindsight I'm sure red flags are waving that many young women just can't see. It's time that these red flags were talked about in schools and everywhere really. Abusers would then also get a strong message that, no- these sort of jokes are not funny, you are wrong! This behaviour is not tolerated by anyone anymore.
There is hope I'm sure.

Fleecyslippers Sat 11-May-13 11:36:33

I also have the benefit of hindsight. I'm horrified at what I tolerated in my own relationship but now understand why it happened.
It's left me with a very low tolerane though. I walked out of a restaurant cos my date ordered a bottle of wine witjout discussing it with me....

arthriticfingers Sat 11-May-13 11:54:10

Way to go slippers, grin
I am getting there, but I hope my daughters are already there: start putting up with crap and keeping your gob shut and you will end up in the shit - which is a much much worse place that ending up on your own!

ThingummyBob Sat 11-May-13 11:54:37

Fleecy, I left my (birthday) meal with someone I was seeing last year. He referred to his ex as a bitch so I stood up and left. I only saw him once more to formally end the relationship. He told me I was 'high maintenance' hmm

Having come through an abusive relationship before, I see the signs so clearly now.

currentlyconfuseddotcom Sat 11-May-13 12:01:56

Fleecy and Thingummy me too! I'm also dismayed by what I tolerated in a previous relationship. But onwards and upwards.

I haven't even got to the stage where I'm dating properly again yet, I look at any new man askance smile

Lweji Sat 11-May-13 12:14:07

What dismays me is how these red flags and behaviour are questioned by OPs here in MN and there are often some people who think it's normal and it's not that bad.
In virtually all cases it turns out to be a lot worse than what the OP reported initially.
Or the OP reappears some time later with increased issues.

simplesusan Sat 11-May-13 12:31:04

It is depressing.
All around are messages saying women should put up and shut up.
That boys will be boys.
My dh was telling me that a friend of ours had had a frosty reception from his wife, as instead of coming home after a night away, decided to stay out drinking. I asked him if women behaved in his way and he said most probably not.

Charbon Sat 11-May-13 12:46:34

This is a very good thread to post Ledkr and I share your dismay at what people will withstand in order to remain in a relationship. However I don't necessarily agree that it's 'easier' now for women to leave bad relationships, or even to recognise they are in them.

With regard to the 'recognition' some of that's to do with behaviour that has been normalised that in previous times, would have been obvious deal-breakers. On any thread on any internet site in 2013, a woman will be told by a significant cohort that she is being unreasonable and controlling for wanting to end a relationship because her partner uses porn or visits sex clubs on stag nights or with work colleagues.

At the same time, women are still brainwashed by Romance and beliefs that if they lose their financial independence to raise children, their marriages will never hit trouble and they will never need an exit route. At a time when there is limited social housing, private rents are unaffordable, benefits are being cut, the CSA fails to reflect the true cost of children and women's services are being cut to the bone, more women are trapped now than they were in earlier times.

In some cases though, people stay in bad relationships for too long because of selfishness - and this is something that hasn't changed. These are people who could manage financially on their own and their children's lives would be far happier if there was a separation, but their parents as individuals don't want to have less money, find work, be singularly responsible for childcare and a household or be labelled as a single parent.

And in some cases, people get so attached to their 'victim status' that they don't want to give it up and take responsibility for bettering their lives or those of their children.

LegoLegoEverywhere Sat 11-May-13 13:36:58

I was brought up with low level manipulation and insidious comments on a daily basis. So I assumed this was normal. It's like death by a thousand cuts. I did not realize how dysfunctional this was until my 30s.

When I met my H he was like a breath of fresh air. Only he wasn't, he was simply not as bad as my mother. Being brought up in that environment meant his controlling and nasty comments were normal. I had not experienced anything different. I deserved it. (Don't think that now by the way).

So some people will put up with it because its what they've always known. I did. My self esteem was continually battered and its really hard as mothers are supposed to be the protector and champion of their child not their abuser. I've lost count of the times she told me she did those things because she cares.

Thankfully I don't see her anymore and I've separated from him.

ImperialBlether Sat 11-May-13 13:48:43

I'm horrified by what women will accept and yet I suppose they would be horrified by what I accepted. My ex was unfaithful a number of times throughout our very long relationship and each time I tried to minimise it and forget it. I did love him but eventually that love went when I saw that was going to be my future.

Having said that, we had a good relationship apart from that - I know it sounds mad but there was none of this shit about someone expecting you to do everything in the house, withholding money, speaking to you like you are dirt, not standing up for you, etc.

I think that was why I could stay all that time, because unless I found out something was going on, everything seemed fine.

I think the way I dealt with his infidelities were due to low self esteem and low self worth, but then that doesn't account for the fact that if he'd once hit me or been selfish with money or been plain nasty, I would have left. I don't know how to explain why I put up infidelity but wouldn't put up with someone who called me names. Any wise words would be welcome.

TwllBach Sat 11-May-13 13:49:26

*I was brought up with low level manipulation and insidious comments on a daily basis. So I assumed this was normal. It's like death by a thousand cuts. I did not realize how dysfunctional this was until my 30s.
*

This, exactly this. I am 25 now and it is only recently that I am starting to see how my life and childhood and my parents relationship was not how it should be.

It is so common and so glossed over at the same time.

hermioneweasley Sat 11-May-13 13:55:51

I completely agree with you OP and Cogito- I can't believe what people post thnking it's within the band of normal, or they are somehow responsible.

Also see there's a thread called "support for those in EA relationships" and I always think "well if you know your relationship is EA then why are you staying. I am completely baffled.

chillinwithmyyonis Sat 11-May-13 13:56:41

I think people put blame on the woman, 'oh she's so stupid to stay with him, why doesn't she just leave', LTB, saying its easy to leave, it is not. Even in the relationships threads, you see people using condescending language like 'hunny, sweetheart, darling', talking to them as if they're little girls, its ridiculous. The blame should be with the men first and then society for not making it easy to leave.

These women are not stupid, maybe they are thinking of continuing stability for their children, not going into temporary accomodation while they wait weeks for their benefits to be calculated meanwhile living hand to mouth or having to travel miles to a foodbank. At least if they stay, they might be financially abused, physically or emotionally abused but in their eyes the children are 'safe' and provided for.

Society needs to make it easier for women to leave, is David Cameron doing that, is he fuck, look at the benefit reformations and the removal of CB for higher earners.

Charbon Sat 11-May-13 14:05:40

ImperialBlether I suspect it was because you were wise enough to realise that his infidelities weren't an attack on you personally or even your relationship. So you could see that this was his own personal flaw and it didn't have anything to do with you or the quality of the relationship.

Dahlen Sat 11-May-13 14:05:49

Charbon - that's a very insightful post.

Ledkr - I"m sorry you've been through everything you've described. That must have been so frightening and the powerlessness you must have felt is so, so wrong.

This comment: 'Like, who are these people? Oh my god they're everywhere! Is he one? Is he one? How can you tell?' I had to laugh at it. Once I left my own abusive relationship, this was me - for about 3 years! In my process of healing and learning I went too far the other way in seeing red flags in a bid to protect myself. It took a few years for me to achieve the right balance, which I now have. Sadly, I remain shocked at the number of men out there who are, while not abusive, obviously benefitting from privileges accorded to them purely because of their sex, which ultimately puts all women at a disadvantage and creates a world in which low level abuse can put in an appearance. From there, it's inevitable that some will progress to horrific levels.

DoingItForMyself Sat 11-May-13 14:10:13

Hermione a lot of the people on the EA thread are planning to leave but its not something that you can always do instantly so they support each other while planning their escape or while trying to find ways to cope with the situation if they have chosen to stay. It can be frustrating to read, but some people really don't feel that they have a choice.

When you have been emotionally abused for several years, your confidence in your own capabilities is at an all-time low. You don't believe that you could possibly survive on your own, that you are capable of finding a job or a home, or even of filling in the forms you need to be able to claim benefits.

When even making a phone call makes you feel sick with fear because you "know" that you will stammer and forget to ask the right questions and end up sounding like an idiot, making the leap to singledom seems like an unimaginable task.

Sometimes it takes an outsider or 10 (thanks MN!) to point out that you are strong and capable, that there is a better life out there and that, contrary to what you have been told, everyone else will NOT find you repugnant or avoid you because you are a divorced mum of 3, that you are not high maintenance or expecting too much, that this behaviour is not just "how men are", that there is hope of a normal relationship. But this turnaround doesn't happen overnight, any more than the gradual erosion of your entire being happens instantly, it is the product of prolonged and subtle abuse over years.

LetsGetGoing Sat 11-May-13 14:12:06

I read your post and its really touched me, I know I should leave my marriage but trying to get the strength to do it, is so hard. I'm 33, married 2 years, 10 month baby, not from England & no family here, some good friends though. I have forgiven him for so much (not an affair, just his behaviour) and believed him when he has said he is sorry, said it would be better, but its not been better, in fact it got really bad when I was pregnant and hasn't got much better than since our baby arrived. As you say, many things happened when I was at my most 'vunerable'. I dont want my baby to turn out like him, see the way he behaves and think its acceptable. Every time it turns bad (loud screaming, verbal abuse, not physical), I say I cant handle this and we need to end our marriage, he says he will not let me leave this country with our baby, threatens to take me to court. It just feels like its battle, after battle. Then he will turn around and say that he wants to make it work, it will all be okay, say we need to try, try harder. I work in a good profession, but feels so bloody stupid for getting myself into this situation and as Cog says I fear; I fear for being on my own; fear how am I meant to manage (I'm going back to work in 2 months, am I meant to stay in 'his' house, move out and rent, where would I rent); fear I will be stuck in England; fear how my life will be.

I think education at school is a good age, my parents have been married 39 years, never been in an abusive relationship, nor my friends, so perhaps if it formed part of education, I would have been able to recognise 'flags' much earlier on. I guess I was always blinded by love, but the love has chipped away.

TiredFeet Sat 11-May-13 14:13:14

this thread is interesting, why do we put up with it. my relationship with 'd'h was good until ds was born and then he changed. but I was so vulnerable I just believed himwhen he told me I was a 'shit mum' etc etc. luckily I had enough sense to go back to work part time so I can now afford to show him the door. but it took me a long time and several mumsnet threads to work out it wasn't normal/ ok

EternalRose Sat 11-May-13 14:19:46

Same for me twiibach

I have only even been abused, this includes my own mother and father and every relationship I have had...

Today I look in the mirror and I don't even recognise myself.

Charbon Sat 11-May-13 14:19:49

I agree that society needs to change and that the way it's constructed severely limits people's choices but given that we know that intellectually and can acknowledge that this government is making leaving harder not easier, it's depressing when women still give up good careers, lose their financial independence and fail to have a back-up plan if their romantic dreams go to ashes. Accepting that no choice is made in a vacuum, some choices that people make are a triumph of hope over experience and are therefore irrational and clouded by romantic nonsense.

ImperialBlether Sat 11-May-13 14:20:28

Charbon, you could be right, in that I know that the women concerned were fed up of him telling them how great I was. I think if there had been dislike for me, he would have just left. It still fucked me up, though.

BigBlockSingsong Sat 11-May-13 14:23:38

I agree its frustrating, I think argh"!

but also the thought of me going alone is very scary, where would I go? would my friends/family take his side?

these must be prominent thoughts to these people.

I also think people hold too much on a 'big event' like cheating,being hit etc to leave rather than , he has no respect I'm off!!

DoingItForMyself Sat 11-May-13 14:30:56

When the 'abuse' is things like criticising and 'joking' about your appearance it can be difficult to use that as justification for breaking up your family, as no-one else can possibly understand the impact those little digs every day can have on you.

Saying that you left your H because he joked about you looking like a fat unattractive TV character or insisted that you order Indian when you prefer Chinese sounds so petty, but when it is constant and unrelenting, when it is coupled with a hundred other tiny incidents (like restacking the dishwasher because obviously you are incapable of doing it properly, or not giving you passwords in case you lose them or mess something up, or not allowing you access to bank accounts because you might go overdrawn, so you have to ask for money) one day the final straw breaks the camel's back and then you say enough is enough.

TheRealFellatio Sat 11-May-13 14:34:16

No aggression at all, just a straightforward question! You still haven't said whether he was violent or abusive to you in any way before the beating at 6month PG that damaged your son though. Was that the first time? I'm going to hazard a guess that it wasn't, and that you stuck around and hoped he'd change for reasons best known to yourself.

I just thought that given that admission it was a little odd to be 'dismayed' at women who stay with men who leave them short of money or call them names!

I saw that you said this thread was not about DV, but I don't see how you can separate different kinds of ill treatment, find reason to justify/understand why some women stay in highly abusive relationships, or at least take a long time to leave them, and then on the other hand say 'he'd be out of my life' about any man who didn't pull his weight around the house or help with the children.

Cabrinha Sat 11-May-13 14:59:28

I'm an educated, strong willed, financially independent woman who has just dumped her husband for having sex with prostitutes.

Years ago, the indicators started: local escort sites in browser. Why did I stay?

The reasons are so many, some quite specific to me, some probably very common.

Here's two though:
- pornification of society: when he said he was just curious, I figured that was normal

- my upbringing: growing up, I was only ever valued and praised for being mature, sensible, calm... My response was "everyone had problems, you have to work at relationships, I should seek to understand, book counselling etc". I told a friend it was like I was striving for the brownie badge in dealing maturely with a relationship issue.

Someone without that upbringing might have said "fuck this! Laters!"

He wasn't abusive, controlling. But I just lacked the chip that says it's OK to say "this isn't my problem to fix - bye".

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