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Am I the abuser or is he? Totally confused by it all...

(69 Posts)
PetalsonTheWind Thu 16-May-13 11:04:38

I have recently found out that I am being abused by my husband (sounds stupid as really I should have known this before recently when we have been together 15 years, right?) Anyway, two months ago he beat me up badly (had me by the hair and used it to beat my head into the floor while kicking me over and over). At the time I was scared he was going to kill me and I was really, really angry about it. I asked him to leave which he did for about three weeks.

At the time of it happening I posted on another forum as I was just so upset and couldn't believe it had happened. We have a nice life, nice home, two children and I never saw myself as a victim (I'm quite a together person and I can easily fight back if I want to - in fact I have seen my husband and me as equals in our relationship because I am no wall flower and happy to speak my mind). But then it all started unravelling. The patterns, the behaviour and so on (he has hit me before but it has got worse each time but because it was only once a year maybe a bit more I always thought it was nothing and just put it down to one of those things and that's what I thought people would tell me - both calm down and things will be fine - sounds stupid now!)

Anyway, it turns out this violence is the tip of the iceberg. Now I am seeing and realising ALL this other stuff from the beginning of our relationship. It is so hard to know what was reality and what was abuse. It's a big muddle.

I think the thing that gets me are the reason's why he has hit me. On the occasion before the last big beating he hit me (not as badly) and then it settled back down to "normal". Only for us to have an argument a while later and him to tell me "I drove him to it". Even I questioned it with him at the time. Why was I responsible for him hitting me? Apparently it is because I am so difficult to live with (which I do believe). I am stressed all of the time, I get angry over stupid, insignificant things, I give him a hard time (the other week I seriously lost it with him for driving the wrong way to somewhere we were going after I had asked him if he knew where he was going and he said "yes" and then I felt terrible and it ruined the day - I ruined the day), I find taking care of my children very hard work (he has told me I would ruin their lives if I was left alone with them) and generally I just feel like an awful person and nothing is ever good enough. I can't work out what came first though? Me being awful or him being abusive. So it is me that is actually the abusive one or is it him?

To give you a bit of background, I met him when I was 19. We have been together 15 years. He is 11 years older than me. I have always been quite a confident and outgoing person (at least I think I am - in other people's company I put on a bit of a front I think). We moved in together after 6 months of knowing each other. It was a long time ago but when I think back to it there were lots of signs. Telling me I was "embarrassing" after we had been out for the evening with friends (I can be a bit over the top sometimes and I think it made him uncomfortable so again I think he is right and he is doing me a favour telling me this), and over the years gradually chipping away I suppose with words like "high maintenance", "difficult", "highly strung" and even "liability" (which really gutted me at the time). He has forced me to have sex with him - a year after we got together we went on holiday to Thailand and that was the first time it happened. He did it even though I didn't want to and was pushing him off me. He just went ahead and did it anyway and then when I was upset gave me a half hearted apology and expected me to get over it. I was thousands of miles away from home and 20 years old. I had no idea what to do so I got over it quickly and made excuses for him. Not even sure what those excuses were now but I totally minimised the whole thing. Thinking to myself he's an older man and this is what happens in adult relationships?!!! He has done that a few times since over the years. Like he has no self control. Thankfully (well sort of thankfully) he lost his sex drive 4.5 years ago as he went on anti ds and since then hasn't been interested. So I have gone from a man fawning all over to me to lucky to even get a hug. I miss our physical closeness as ridiculous as that sounds. Now I just feel like I am a housekeeper and nothing else. At least before he wanted me sad

When he asked me to marry him (four years after we met) he did it out of the blue. Before he asked I wasn't thinking about it. I was happy how we were. I had never asked him when he was going to ask or if he was going to ask or expected to be asked. I was never one for dreaming of my big white wedding day. Anyway, after he asked and we were caught up in euphoria for an hour getting excited and he was saying we shall go choose a nice ring tomorrow he then turned round and said "actually I have changed my mind and I think we are being hasty". I was distraught. I was a pathetic wreck for days. I cried ALL that night while he just slept and/or ignored me. He didn't seem to care in the slightest that he had hurt my feelings. I drove around in my car in the dead of night not knowing what to do. I went home and pleaded for him to marry me and that things would be ok! Why did I do that? Why was I so stupid? He never really said sorry about it (at least he never seemed racked with guilt or remorse) and again I made excuses. That he had a difficult childhood and his last girlfriend had cheated on him and that he found it hard to trust people.

Six months after we got married I overheard him on his mobile upstairs just as we were getting ready to go out. He was telling his mate (who we were going to meet) that if I ask about the other night he was with him. I was half way upstairs when I overheard this. I had no idea what to do but I was shocked. We went out and I acted normally all evening. I asked him when I got home and it turned out he had been out with a young girl work colleague and he didn't tell me as he didn't want me to react in a bad way. This seems to be a recurring theme with him during our relationship. He doesn't tell me stuff or he lies about things because apparently I will kick off at him otherwise. What he doesn't realise is if he was just honest and didn't lie all the time then maybe I wouldn't get so upset and angry! Or would I? Anyway, I suppose the point is he is lying and not allowing me to react apart from in a bad way when I find out. It's infuriating and makes me feel like my feelings don't mean anything.

Shortly after this episode we have an argument (mostly with him telling me how horrible I am and that I never take responsibility for stuff etc. - again this is a recurring theme of our arguments). One sentence which sticks out in this argument is him telling me "I can never imagine having kids with you" - this really hurt me at the time and made me think that I was going to be a terrible mother and that I'm not really worthy of having them.

Every time we argue it goes the same way. He tells me that he feels he always has to say sorry to me because I won't take responsibility for things (which ultimately means he is never sorry for anything really), that if I wasn't always stressed our lives would be perfect. That I am mostly perfect but there is a bad/dark side of me. He tells me that I don't listen to how he feels because all I do is get angry with him when he is trying to tell me the truth (mostly the truth involves telling me how awful I am so of course I am going to get hurt but then I worry I am not listening to his feelings properly and that maybe I am giving him a hard time) and then when I fight back and say but you're not taking responsibility for things either and how he makes me feel he just shouts at me that I am making things all about me as usual (he thinks I am incredibly self centred). Usually it ends up with me getting incredibly upset (I have got so angry I slam doors and throw things). He will just sit there ignoring me or watching telly or playing on his phone. I end up thinking I need to try harder not to be such a bitch and then everyone will be happier. Then every so often he hits me because I've driven him over the edge and I think I deserved it for all the door slamming etc. etc. and I probably am driving him mad.

Anyway, this could go ALL day but I am worried. Worried that I am horrible to him and that I am actually the abuser and his responses are justified. I am short tempered, impatient, angry, stressed, never happy it seems (he has said "why can't you just be happy") and thinking no one would want to live with me so no wonder he doesn't!

I didn't read it all, sorry - but no, you are not an abuser. He is. I bet you would find you are a nicer, calmer person when you aren't being abused by him.

You are the abused one here, he is the abuser.

I felt sick reading your posting; he is abusive through and through.

There is never any justification for abuse and I would suggest you call Womens Aid. They can and will help you further if you do decide to leave this abusive man and I hope you do. This person could well kill you in the end or at the very least put you in hospital. He has already done a fine job of trampling down any self esteem and worth you may have.

He is also projecting onto you which is another tactic used by abusive men; he's basically telling you what he is really like and thinking.

Your children have likely already seen and heard far more than you already realise; think about the effects this is having on them too. For them also you should leave. Is this really what you want them to remember about their childhoods?.

PetalsonTheWind Thu 16-May-13 11:15:39

Thank you Ehric. I am trying to work through this. I WANT to leave him and I am working on it but it is so, so hard when I feel so emotionally attached.

Last week I tried to end it and he told me he had tried to commit suicide the week before and I thought that was because of me. This week he seems very cheerful. He had gone to the GP re his anti ds and I asked him if he had spoken to the GP about how he felt. Apparently he didn't think it was worth mentioning? So now I feel because he is a bit happier I can't start saying I want him to leave.

There's a lot more to my story and I am only just working this stuff all out. It's really hard sad

PetalsonTheWind Thu 16-May-13 11:17:40

Attila - I have spoken to Women's Aid and I think I need to again so I can work out what to do. I am also aiming to do the Freedom Programme. I know I NEED to do something but some days when I feel so awful it is really hard.

Flobbadobs Thu 16-May-13 11:17:45

Bumping this so that other wiser heads can find you, but in short you are NOT an abuser. He is.
You're hard to live with? Well so am I at times and my DH has never beaten me up.
Is he back in the house with you? I think a call to Woman's Aid may be in order x

Flobbadobs Thu 16-May-13 11:18:17

Sorry, x post.

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 16-May-13 11:22:24

Hitting someone is a criminal offence - assault. If a stranger had walked into your home and behaved the way he did, you would have had no hesitation in calling the police. However impatient or short-tempered you are, there is no excuse for violence. Please contact Womens Aid 0808 2000 247, take urgent steps to get yourself to a place of safety and call the police so that they have a record of this appallingly violent behaviour.

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 16-May-13 11:25:25

"Last week I tried to end it and he told me he had tried to commit suicide the week before and I thought that was because of me"

Suicide threats are just another form of abuse and coercion. 'Emotional blackmail' entirely designed to keep you trapped. A big fat lie. When you leave (or when you make him leave) he probably won't kill himself but if he does kill himself it will have been entirely his decision and nothing to do with you.

Please talk to Womens Aid again.

If he truly loved you he would not treat you like this. He despises your very being, such men as well hate women in any case. He may well have had an awful childhood but its still no excuse. He is choosing to act like this, not all people who have had awful childhoods by any means end up as abusers.

The only acceptable level of violence within a relationship is NONE.

You and he can no longer be together; he will kill you in the end and your children could be without their mother. I am not being overdramatic here. The level of control and violence has been ramped up over time by him.

Your H is a master of manipulation and your initial post is one of the most disturbing examples of life within an abusive marriage I have seen on here in a long timesad.

Please seek help from WA, family and friends to get out. The Freedom Programme will be helpful to you once you leave this vile individual and are free of his malign day to day presence.

Abusive men use suicide threats as a way of further controlling their victims. Its a tactic that works and it worked with you. If he was to kill himself (which is very unlikely actually) then you would still bear no responsibility.

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 16-May-13 11:28:02

"I am working on it but it is so, so hard when I feel so emotionally attached."

The emotional attachment you feel is a combination of fear and obligation. You fear his reaction, you feel obliged to stay, you feel responsible for his behaviour.... all of which has skewed your judgement and shattered your confidence. If you get yourself away, get help from Womens Aid and give yourself time to really think about what's been happening you will gradually be less frightened and you will understand that none of it is your responsibility. Then the emotional attachment will be much, much weaker and your confidence will return.

Flobbadobs Thu 16-May-13 11:28:37

He's physically, sexually and emotionally abusive. It won't get better and you need a get out now plan. Do you have family or friends you can go to?

Anniegetyourgun Thu 16-May-13 11:29:52

What a horrible, HORRIBLE man. Do yourself and your children a massive favour and make plans to get out of there. You'd be surprised at how nice you really are when someone doesn't keep putting you down and making your life difficult. (Let's not even get into the raping and the shagging around, eh.)

PetalsonTheWind Thu 16-May-13 11:33:23

Yes, he is back in the house (although I wish he wasn't as although looking after the children alone was hard I felt less stressed without him here). Shamefully I allowed him to come home. I was at a really low point and had him telling me over the phone how I was only 90% perfect etc. It's so draining.

I think the point in my post was to ask if it is normal to think you are the mad person. That you are the abuser? Especially since I have a short temper it seems. I mean when I get angry I can get really angry and he loves pointing this out to me and in counselling sessions (which we have done three times now to no avail - again it just ends up as a way of telling me how awful I am and me agreeing to try harder). We just finished another session last week (I was relieved as I realise this was not helping our situation at all). During which he managed to avoid the whole point in us going there in the first place (him beating the crap out of me) and ended up suggesting I try yoga to combat my stress. He always makes it seem like he is trying to help me. It's so confusing.

Joint counselling is never ever recommended where there is on going abuse.

I honestly would report this counsellor to their regulatory body for agreeing to see you at all together in the first place. Any joint sessions like this are a waste of time.

No decent counsellor worth their salt would ever have counselled the two of you together. As you have seen also, he has used such sessions to further verbally beat you up with. He is trying to drive you into madness. He will only be happy when you are completely and utterly destroyed. DO not let him do that to you!. You are worth so much more.

Genuine question - why did you allow him to come home?.

PetalsonTheWind Thu 16-May-13 11:42:19

Attila - "Your H is a master of manipulation and your initial post is one of the most disturbing examples of life within an abusive marriage I have seen on here in a long time."

Really? That's really shocked me. I know it sounds mad but I don't see it like that. Is that weird that I don't think it is that bad? (even though it is) Or am I just completely mentally mucked up?

Yes, obligated is a very good word for me. I constantly feel bad about stuff. I think I can't let people down but especially not him. Funny as over the past few weeks I have kept thinking that I am always feeling so responsible for him and his behaviour. Even towards other people. And yes, he is a mysogynist too. He's always slagging off women. Always!

calmingtea Thu 16-May-13 11:44:23

Anyway, this could go ALL day but I am worried. Worried that I am horrible to him and that I am actually the abuser and his responses are justified. Short answer - NO

I am short tempered, impatient, angry, stressed, never happy it seems (he has said "why can't you just be happy") and thinking no one would want to live with me so no wonder he doesn't! Short answer - NO.

Please talk to women's aid.

It is 'normal' to think you are the mad person, when you are being abused. That is all part of the abuse. It is normal for the abuser to tell you you are 'mentall ill', 'abusing them', 'if you behaved differently this wouldn't happen', they enjoy trying to 'fix you'.

What you are experiencing is domestic violence and emotional abuse. sad. No wonder you are stressed the whole time.

FWIW I strongly believe that threats of suicide and 'depression', in cases like this, are just another way to control and abuse. It is laughably easy to get a diagnosis of depression from your GP, and people who are suicidal do not use it as a weapon to get their partner to behave.

PeppermintPasty Thu 16-May-13 11:44:54

I'm not surprised you are "stressed all the time". Just think what life would be like with out this hideous man in it....calm, no shouting, no one putting you down, no one beating you, no one doing ANYTHING to you that you didn't want them to...

You are not the abuser. You are being controlled and abused. However, when you fight back, or fend him off in some way, it is normal to question yourself. The thing is, if your life really was normal, ie without all this stress, you wouldn't act the way you do.

There is another life you know, I promise. Please try and get away.

calmingtea Thu 16-May-13 11:45:35

OP - re: your post 11.42, what you are writing really does sound that bad to the people reading it. You have normalised it.

PeppermintPasty Thu 16-May-13 11:46:04

x post calmingtea!

foolonthehill Thu 16-May-13 11:47:03

He knows exactly what buttons to press to make you doubt your truth, doubt yourself and doubt your ability to cope.

Coming out of an abusive relationship was both the hardest and the easiest thing I ever did. The hardest because i had his voice in my ear all the time telling me that I was making it all up, that I was at least as bad as he was, that i would not survive without him, that i would damage the children by leaving.... guess what, when i actually did it i discovered that although I am far from perfect...it was not me, it really was him, that the abuse was real and stopped when he wasn't there, that I survive perfectly well without him (better than with in fact) and the children and i are a good team and can deal with everything that we need to.

it is completely usual to think that you are going mad, that this is all crazy and it's because of you. That is one of the ways he exerts his control.

You are not crazy,

He is dangerous and abusive

you need to make a safety plan and get out. For your own sake and your children's

oldwomaninashoe Thu 16-May-13 11:47:26

It is not a question of who is the abuser here.
You patently dont appear to like each other very much and possibly bring out the worst in each other by your behaviour.
there is no point is there?
Why did you allow him to come home? the violence has escalated already what do you imagine will happen next????

calmingtea Thu 16-May-13 11:47:36

!!

arthriticfingers Thu 16-May-13 11:47:47

This man sounds downright dangerous.
Please look at the links at the top of this thread, and join us if you feel you want to.
www.mumsnet.com/Talk/relationships/1747835-Support-thread-for-those-in-emotionally-abusive-relationships-coming-of-age-21

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