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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!

Flobbadobs Thu 16-May-13 11:47:53

I would imagine your stress levels would drop to almost nothing with him out of the house permanently..
Being short tempered is not being an abuser, it's just being short tempered. Again, I bet any temper you actually have would drastically improve if he wasn't there.
Woman's Aid again and see about counselling on your own. Get together documents you may need: bank statements, birth certificates, driving license, passports and work on that get out plan. I have a horrible feeling you will need it.
Linking on this ipad is hard as it's acting the arse today but if someone could link to Olgaga's (I think it was their post) fabulous post re the OP's rights and what she should do it should be helpful?

Flobbadobs Thu 16-May-13 11:49:00

oldwomaninashoes why should the OP like a man who has beaten her up and raped her?

PetalsonTheWind Thu 16-May-13 11:50:11

Attila - honest truth as to why I let him come home:

He came to have the children on the Sunday for the day. He had been away near enough three weeks by this point (apart from contact with the children which I agreed with him). I had, up until this point, been playing it cool with him and getting on with things (but also expecting that he would show some remorse or guilt for hitting me - which he didn't so that upset me and made me angry). When he had turned up on other occasions he had been ok to me but I refused to back down as I was so upset that he just didn't seem bothered about beating me up so badly (and implying again that it was my fault). Anyway, this particular Sunday he brought the kids home and after he had put them to bed came downstairs and then just walked out without saying goodbye. I was so mad that he was mad with me after what he had done that I called him on his mobile when he was half way down the road saying "don't you want to talk about stuff?" This is when he launched into a tirade of me being only 90% perfect, that I have no self control and so on and so on. I couldn't understand why he didn't just love me like I love him. He eventually said he could no longer stay where he was staying and I said if you want to come home here tomorrow and discuss things we can. I think at this point I felt so bad and sad and lonely. He came back the next day and stayed.

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 16-May-13 11:51:38

"I constantly feel bad about stuff. I think I can't let people down but especially not him."

This is because of the bullying and the abuse. The way bullies stay in control is through fear and degradation. You know these poor women who get kidnapped and held for years like the case in America last week. Very often, they have chances to escape but something - fear, brainwashing, attachment - holds them back.

What you're experiencing is something similar. If he makes you feel sufficiently crap about yourself and crushes your spirit, even though the exit to your relationship is wide open, you won't walk through it. If he convinces you that it's all your fault and you are an aggressive person that deserves to be punished, you won't blame him. If you think you are mad, it's because he has told you so often you've started to believe it.... brainwashing.

Please call Womens Aid again

It truly is that bad, take it from me. I meant every word when I wrote this is one of the most disturbing examples of an abusive marriage that I have seen on here.

When you are in the thick of it, its quite normal to minimise or downplay abuse. You sound traumatised.

The first step to leave is often the hardest of steps to take but you need to take that step now. You cannot go on like this, your children are picking up on all this as well and are learning from the two of you as to how relationships are conducted. They have seen and heard far more than you perhaps realise.

I was wondering as well Petalsonthewind what you yourself learnt about relationships when growing up?. That needs thought too.

Have you called WA today?. Please do so!!

PetalsonTheWind Thu 16-May-13 12:09:12

Attila - it's funny you should mention my growing up. My mum was abused by my dad and it turns out my H is very similar to him (although I haven't realised any of this until now). So it is a lot to take in. I don't want my children repeating this pattern for themselves. Sincerely I thought I had my sh*t together. I have been told by friends "I bet you wear the trousers in the relationship" because I am so sure of my own mind (it seems!) I don't want my daughter to end up in a relationship like this or my son to think it is ok to do what you want to women. It's awful and I feel like time is of the essence and that the longer I am here the more I am ruining their lives but then if they end up with me then maybe I'll ruin their lives anyway. It's so confusing and complex and difficult.

EuroShaggleton Thu 16-May-13 12:19:06

You've been physically assaulted and raped by this awful man, and you are questioning who the abuser is? Please get help and get out of this "relationship".

mummytime Thu 16-May-13 12:19:37

Talk to Women's Aid.
Get rid of him.
Do not then allow him in your home.
Only give him access to the children as ordered by court or which they strongly wish for, and never in your home. A doorstep collect or drop off, or ideally at the front gate or via someone else.

He is an abuser you are abused!

foolonthehill Thu 16-May-13 12:20:18

^if they end up with me then maybe I'll ruin their lives anyway^

NO you won't.
You will be a good enough parent who prioritises their needs and your own appropriately./ You will have energy to deal with their needs and your own. You will have appropriate boundaries and will show them how to respect themselves and others. You will access help and support as and when you need it. You will be fine, and they will be too.

With him, you may, if you are lucky, survive. You may, if you are lucky, have the time and the energy to feed and clothe them. You may, if you are lucky, find the strength in their teens to say..don't do what I do, grow up to have relationships that fulfill and support and respect you. But by then they will have learn't so much bad stuff by their experience.....

Confusing, yes. Complex not very. Difficult ,yes. But not impossible.

calmingtea Thu 16-May-13 12:21:11

If they end up with you, you will not ruin their lives. You can get support and help to make sure you do the absolute best for them. You can talk to womens aid, see what they say about doing courses/counselling to make sure you are confident you are not repeating the family pattern. Just getting out of this relationship, will give them the best example and chance to repeat it. You sound perfectly sensible and normal, you will do fine on your own and you will have a chance to be happy.

We learn about relationships first and foremost from our parents; you were certainly taught damaging lessons. I am therefore not entirely surprised to read that you married someone exactly like your Dadsad.

Abusers too can be very charming initially as well as plausible to those in the outside world. I suppose after enduring such a poor home life, this man was your knight in shining armour. I put it to you that you were targeted because you were vulnerable to such a low life due to your own skewed boundaries and perceptions about relationships.

Returning now back to present day you do not have to repeat their mistakes, they let you down abjectly as parents. No-one protected you which I feel very sad about.

Do not make history repeat itself further here. You have a choice re this man, your children do not.

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 16-May-13 12:25:32

"It's so confusing and complex and difficult."

Try to simplify it if you can. You're being abused and the choices are to a) tolerate more abuse or b) reject the abuser. That's about as complex as it needs to get.

foolonthehill Thu 16-May-13 12:27:52

helpguide.org/mental/domestic_violence_abuse_types_signs_causes_effects.htm if you have doubts about his abuse then this checklist might help.

There is no doubt that this is abuse and that both you and your DC are being damaged by it.

Talk to women's aid 0808 2000 247 and keep posting if you find it helps.

keep yourself safe and consider inprivate browsing to keep this all confidential.

Dump the fucler. Please. No one deserves to go through what this excuse for a man has put you through sad

Scarletohello Thu 16-May-13 12:39:56

What I found utterly chilling about your post was how much you seem to have accepted what this man is doing to you. He has tried to kill you and you felt " really really angry about it". Ffs why didn't you call the police??

He has completely eradicated your self esteem and you now have no true perspective on what is happening to you. Please believe what these wise women are telling you, you need professional help to leave this relationship. It will only get worse and no matter how "difficult" you may be, it is no excuse to hit you.

You need to get out, please get help ( leaving is the most dangerous time and is when most murders occur so it has to be planned carefully). He's not going to change.

FannyFifer Thu 16-May-13 12:45:09

I was in tears reading your post, no darling you are not the abusive one, I promise you that is not the case.

This disgusting excuse for a human, has manipulated you and utterly worn you down that you think you are to blame.

Even if you were the most horrible person, there is no reason in the world which would excuse someone beating the utter shit out of you.

Speak to woman's aid, you need to get away from this evil man.

arthriticfingers Thu 16-May-13 13:12:13

Please, petal make the phone call to women's aid and read the posts and the links. One step at a time.

AvonCallingBarksdale Thu 16-May-13 13:27:59

OP, this is one of the most awful OPs I've read on here. Really it is. Just a few things:
1) He is the abuser, not you. 100%.
2) You do not have to put up with someone beating the crap out of you. You can report this to the police.
3) Phone Rape Crisis - 0808 802 9999
4) Phone Women's Aid - pp has posted the number
5) Keep posting, there is a lot of support here.

There was a big age difference between you when you met - I know the age difference hasn't changed obv, but there's a bigger difference btw a 19 yr old and a 30 yr old than a 35 yr old and 46 yr old IYSWIM. I think he picked someone to "mould" abuse and bully.

LadyMercy Thu 16-May-13 14:04:54

Petal, your post made me feel ill it's so awful.

If your daughter told you any few sentance of it, what would you do? You'd be straight round to collect her and get her away from this man. Every time you wonder whether you or he is the abuser, ask yourself - Would i want this for my daughter? What would i say to my best friend if she told me that?

startlife Thu 16-May-13 14:06:07

Please do get help.Your anger to the abuse is understandable and rational. You have had to tolerate so much and at the time felt confused or powerless but later your anger emerges - which is a reaction to the abuse.

I think your H is highly manipulative, he knows what he is doing and he knows how you will react..you are then blamed for being crazy, the 'mad' one.Its a classic pattern.

please get him out. don't ever let him back.

he is to his very core abusive.

if you don't do it for yourself, do it for your kids.

StillSeekingSpike Thu 16-May-13 14:13:35

This is one of the worst things I have read or heard- and my job involves working with abuse victims. Your husband sounds like an utter sociopath- and you are as much a prisoner/ victim as those poor women in Cleveland. sad
The best thing you could ever do for your children is to get them away from this poisonous twisted manipulative shit for a father.

Lweji Thu 16-May-13 14:15:04

What everyone else has said.
Please listen to them.

MonstersDontCry Thu 16-May-13 14:35:11

Sorry I haven't read the whole thread just the op, which actually made tear up a bit. You are in no way an abuser. None of this is your fault. You DH sounds like an absolute cunt. Please please LTB you deserve so much better. Don't let him treat you like this for a day longer.

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