Note: Mumsnetters don't necessarily have the qualifications or experience to offer relationships counselling or to provide help in cases of domestic violence. Mumsnet can't be held responsible for any advice given on the site. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.
just need to talk to someone!(17 Posts)
I've posted about my abusive H before, first time last November-- found this site back when I was in a state of utter anger and frustration, and it has great, I've read Lundy Bancroft and my H ticks all the boxes-- abusive. I received really good advice on the EA thread and basically I know, or I think I know, I need to do something ie LTB. But I've been trying to hold things together until the kids have left home, which is imminent, just because after 20-odd years of this (I believe that his real abusive nature emerged after the birth of DS although OMG all the signs were there from the beginning) I don't want to rock the boat too much, I have absolutely no idea how he'd react and I haven't wanted to be responsible for bringing down the whole house of cards which is our lives-- as it is, I can cope with his moods, anger etc and 'manage' his behaviour (I know, I know, I shouldn't but it is habit). Please don't remind me it isn't a healthy atmosphere for the kids. I know.
We have two kids, 18 and 20, DS is at uni but been home all summer, he goes back next week. DS and H have a pretty bad relationship I would say, he's a great kid, doing great at uni but he won't do as H says, plus he hasn't got a job this summer. So basically he gets left alone, although I hear no end of comments such as 'DS is a little sh*t' which I hate hearing and it's not true. DD is off to uni for the first year, in October. I have really wanted things to go smoothly for her sake. She's worked really hard and got a place at an Oxbridge uni, we were on tenterhooks all summer waiting for results day and all was fine-- now she's really looking forward to going (and getting away?!) and I'm so excited for her. I think H is jealous of the kids. I'm not working at the moment (long story, he 'made' me quit my job and now he constantly throws it in my face that I don't work) and he constantly talks about how we are all sponging off of him and 'bleeding him dry'.
Basically we've made it this far over the summer just by coping and doing what he says. He hasn't got much work on at the moment so has insisted on spending time 'larking about' at our weekend home. DS refuses to come, DD and I have spend almost all of our summer here when we would have rather stayed in London.
OK. Now for the problem. He'd said all summer that (if all went well with DD's results day) he would take us all on a family holiday. So we started looking a few weeks ago, wanted to go to Pompeii but couldn't find anything cheap enough to Italy. It was a real trial looking for something, what I though would be a nice, fun research exercise became anxiety fraught and tedious. I, and DD and DS, said OK we don't really need a holiday, perhaps we should just go out for a nice meal etc etc and go on holiday at a later day, but then he started on about how awful his life was and how he needed sun etc and how he needed a holiday in the sun... Eventually he just yelled at me to book something, anything, and I booked something in Greece at a relatively reasonable rate, at a nice looking resort, all-inclusive. Initially all was happy, we saw friends last Friday and I remember telling everyone how ridiculously excited I was to be going.
But since we booked the holiday, it must have been 10 days ago and we're leaving next Wednesday, he has become so abusive-- I can't think of any other way to describe his behavior. It hasn't really been one thing, it's been everything. It's that I do everything wrong.
On Monday all hell broke loose when he looked at the savings account and there wasn't as much money as he had thought should be there. He has always left all banking and running of the accounts to me-- as a result he has no idea how much we spend, he's been happy just to spend as it comes in without really thinking. Which is quite fun, and I am not saying I'm perfect, I should have anticipated this situation (plus I think I've spent too much on myself on clothes over the summer-- sort of telling myself that I deserved it for putting up with his awful selfish behaviour. Not my best decision but I like everything I bought, no regrets). I swear-- he NEVER indicated that any of this would be a problem, it took me completely by surprise and he came down on me like a ton of bricks-- verbally of course, never physical violence. I think he's just brought it up now to be abusive and to turn the focus onto how good he is/bad I am. He was looking at how much has gone out every month (I had to print out statements for him as he cannot figure out how to do internet banking. Idiot.) Basically he's shocked at how much we actually spend-- or as he says I SPEND. But from my point of view it was OK (?) as we weren't particularly extravagant but the expense of running two houses plus loads of petrol to get back and forth, and we never skimped on food, he insists on the best, champagne etc. And I have accounted for it all, even what I've spent on myself.
I am so glad that thanks to finding this site I know what he is fundamentally like or else I would be twisted up in knots right now. As it is I'm constantly trying to placate him and not engage with his vicious tirades but it is so difficult and emotionally all consuming.
So last night was perhaps a final straw-- he'd asked me to look into renting a car in Greece, I did the research and sent him details by email, but wasn't sure if he wanted to rent an automatic, which was more expensive. Also I started having second thoughts about renting a car as we won't really need one. Plus I thought about whether or not I really want to get into a car with him after a 4 hour plane ride, at night, in an unknown area. He drives viciously and erratically when he's in a bad mood.
He exploded with anger when he got home because evidently, even though he'd seen my email I 'cannot even do one simple thing. How hard is it to hire a car? It should take you 5 seconds to do that'... his words. So no discussion of what to hire, whether we really needed it, etc. I booked it. (NB I suspect if I'd booked it without clearing the details with him... whatever I'd booked would have been the wrong thing!)
And now I am wondering if I really want to go on this holiday at all.
How bad would it be to cancel? We'd lose about 2.5k. Maybe it's covered under cancellation insurance? Would the kids be upset with me or would they see my reasons-- specifically, that I don't know if it is safe to go away with him? He may be OK, he keeps us guessing with his moods, and when he's nice everything is fine. DS has already said that he doesn't want to be with him if he's in a bad mood. Am I just being vindictive? This should be our 'one last family holiday' (although I cannot remember that we have ever had one before)
Sorry-- I know no one can really answer these questions but I need to get my head straight. At the moment I'm here alone (in our weekend home) and the kids are in London. He has gone fishing for the day with a friend, he made me come out with him last night (and drove badly) even though I said I wanted to stay home and plan/pack for the trip... sort of tempted to drive back to London and leave him a note saying holiday is off/marriage is off/ I've left... but I don't know if I would actually go through with it.
I'd leave the note and go if I were you, your children will probably thank you for it.
I never thought of my parents marriage as abusive, but I think there was an element of financial abuse, certainly loads of arguments, and toxic family on both sides, with more arguments there. My brother and sister, both older, are both in abusive relationships, they both live far away. My brother told me once I should leave, the family home, as soon as I could.
My point is I suppose, that as soon as they are independent financially, and maybe sooner, they may choose to drop all ties with your H, and if you stay with him, you might see them rarely. It doesn't sound like he brings much joy to any of your lives.
You don't have to stay married if you're not happy, he's broken your vows by being abusive, you've thought of your children, you've considered your H's opinion continually, now it's time to think of yourself.
I Items to ramble when I post, but hope this has helped.
thanks so much for the perspective purplepinkstars. He called a few minutes ago and said that 'we' should both chill out (I'd been sort-of crying out of stress and frustration before he left saying I didn't want to go on the holiday anymore but not so much that he'd take me seriously) and saying that he 'suffers from stress' and that I should know that and not wind him up. Evidently I wind him up by not being perfect.
You've said exactly what I'm thinking. It is a toxic environment and he invariably spoils everything... this should be such a happy time in our lives and he should be reflecting on how much he's accomplished and how decent the kids are (not being unreasonable, no one is perfect and we don't know what the future will bring) but he looks at everything with such a negative slant. I want to sell our house, take my half and buy something small, get a job, and create a happy warm environment where the kids can come back from uni/work/ whatever and always feel welcome. We have a great time when H is not around. It's just that I now see that ejecting him from our lives is not going to be easy.
Tell him you're not his fucking secretary, go back to London, bring holiday forward two days, take DC, and go without him.
You're not his punch bag. Leave him to take his stresses out elsewhere. Bet his fishing mates would really tolerate being spoken to like that, wouldn't they....
hi there , firstly let me say that I cant believe how bad this must be for you.I have no personal experience of domestic violence/abuse- thankfully.
I don't know what I would do, I like to think I would leave but.....
This is what I think you should do... Set up a secret bank account , transfer small amounts of money under the guise of other expenses, plan your escape, it may take time but you've stuck it out this far.Get some legal advice , find somewhere to go in secret - it may have to be a hostel for a while but at least you would be protected. Then go, and don't look back.Your kids are certainly old enough and have witnessed enough to understand your reasoning and at the end of the day you have your own life to lead and indeed deserve to be happy.
I don't think I would go on the holiday , or maybe I would tell him the dates had changed and clear off with the kids !!
I hope you find some strength deep inside that hasn't been zapped by this man to change your life.
Lots of luck
I'd leave the note telling him you've left, go stay with one of your DC and then go on holiday as a family without him. The three of you are a family BTW, and a much happier, healthier one without him.
The holiday away will give you much-needed thinking time, free from the anxiety of worrying if he will turn up to harass you.
Under the circumstances I think your DC will be delighted with your course of action and very supportive, rather than dismayed at their 'stability' being disrupted. There's nothing great about the permanency of misery.
X posted with you!
Oh so now it's all your fault as you wind him up. Well naughty you then
But don't you see, him saying that plays straight into your hands. You can turn it right around and be rid of him.
You are obviously not the right person for him as you continually wind him up so the best thing all round is for him to leave and find someone else who won't wind him up! And to help smooth this path you will arrange for the house to be valued as he is obviously too busy to attend to this.
He's a bully OP. break free from him and create that space for you and the DC that you described.
Oh, and see a solicitor....
Write such a note and hold your nerve.
Seek legal advice asap as well re divorcing this abusive man. It could well be the making of you.
All abusive types say their victim/s winds them up, its all part of the script.
Am sure your children are all too aware of the problems that have been going on for years. It has been indeed a toxic environment for your children to be raised in.
Your children will ultimately thank you for leaving him, you may go onto wonder why the hell you did not break away sooner. Perhaps you have hung on for so long in the forlorn hope that he would see the light and change for the better. It did not happen and it will never happen.
Distrustinggirlnow so TRUE re: his fishing mates! And I would soooo like to do the holiday without him! But.. I think it would work in his favor if I did anything vindictive/selfish as he could make me out to be a complete b*tch. The only thing I feel I could reasonably do is to lay it on the table and say no, I'm not going and we're not going on this holiday with you because you are a cruel abusive ar$e bully and we HATE you. Gah. And that would have to be the end of it and the volcano of hate and vitriol I've anticipated erupting when I tell him I'm leaving him would start... and this is what I am trying to put off until the kids are safely in their respective uni's and distracted. If it happens before it might be too destabilizing especially for DD as I don't want her worrying about me/the situation during what should be really exciting Fresher's week.
mandamoot thanks so much for your kind words. I have the strength but unfortunately I always get to the point of taking action then I pull back because I feel a great wave of pity for him. I need to investigate why I do that?!! and make a proper plan!
Dahlen so true... There's nothing great about the permanency of misery . I am now imagining myself putting this into my fantasy speech I will give the kids when I tell them I've left him and my wonderful new life has begun. Just... need to actually do it!
At this point, I think, since his phone call, I cannot see bailing out of this holiday. It would just look bad on my part. I think that coping is the only way to go, plus a call to instruct solicitor (have already had a 1/2 hr free consultation) plus a deadline date of mid-october to move myself out. Or him of course, wouldn't it be great if I broached the subject and he said 'sure I think it's a great idea to get a DIVORCE!!' fantasy land perhaps!
Atilla interesting to wonder why people hold on-- I certainly have been, I think that when I have worked full time, in the past, things have been better simply because I didn't have to deal with him. We both work in the same profession where bullies thrive... and he has done fairly well, I was never on the power-track but enjoyed my work (which he made fun of and belittled) but because it's worked out well for him we've been able to pay the mortgage off and have a bit left over. So I can claim the Head B*tch title and admit that I've sort of been staying for the money/comfort. But I know that is a copout-- I would have been OK on my own salary, and having had a summer of overspending I can confirm that none of it was very fun .
Cannot now bring myself to do note/etc... thinking that the 'long game' is the better approach. Unless he becomes more abusive tonight. I'm not willing that to happen, by the way, just sensing that the atmosphere will be going in one of two ways-- he's contrite and sorry for being a stressed out bully, or he's still blaming me.
Plus the kids are happy to have the house to themselves for a couple more days. I imagine they're making the most of it and I'm glad they can see their friends.
When you say you cannot bring yourself to write note, is it because you're worried about how he will react? He will always react badly as he won't want his life to change. Your H does what he wants when he wants to, you do what he wants, he won't want his life to change.
I can't imagine how hard it is to leave your husband, but will it be harder than staying?
I really wouldn't stay for your children, they are probably waiting for you to leave. Going on holiday without your H is a great idea, you need a break.
that's from my own experience and that on the thread, holidays with FW are usually hell on earth.
can understand you not rocking boat for DD although she may be equally worried at the thought of leaving youalonewith him when she goes.
One thing Would not worry about thought is looking like a bitch..so what. he is going to tell you and everyone else you are no matter what
Happens. he is not going to turn round and say fair enough she has a point or take any responsibility whatsoever. anything he does is your fAult for annoying him and anything you for is alsoyour fault no matter what he has done. Fws play by FW rules.
I could have written your post No matter what I did, it?/I was never good enough.
It took me years to get to the point where I was more afraid to stay than I was afraid of him and how he would react.
If you plan on playing the 'long game' use that time to gather your important documents, get lots of advice, build up your finances.
I hope you get out soon. It is a miserable existence.
myroom well done for getting rid... today I've had a day on my own and it has been really nice, like a headache has gone away. How did you manage to leave-- in a rush, or slowly and carefully?
I really enjoy being by myself and not having to second guess everything. I am wondering if there will be an onslaught when he gets in tonight-- it is raining (which will give him an 'excuse' for being in a bad mood) and he'll think he has done a hard day's work by going fishing. No doubt he will bring fish for me to clean as well-- I really like trout but it doesn't seem like a treat when he brings them, more like a chore. And he never thinks I cook it right so last time he found me a video on youtube and made me do it exactly like that. Really p*sses me off that he doesn't trust me to cook! Everything I bring him he asks if it's cooked 'to a recipe' ie no improvising allowed. And of course I do all the cooking/cleaning, he never lifts a finger.
Mink I know, I know re: holiday with a FW... but the kids are old enough to make up their own minds about his behaviour.. and to get away to enjoy the amenities (and it's all paid for, including the alc beverages?!) so despite my feelings this morning I'm re-thinking pulling out. My main concern is that he doesn't kill us all in a rented car. (providing he doesn't, I can dump him when we get back oooh go me!)
Incidentally, OP, it sounds like it's less relevant now, but cancellation insurance only pays out on specific grounds - and 'changing your mind about going' is often explicitly excluded. Hope you find a way forward and manage to enjoy some time with your DCs - they sound great and a credit to you.
LOL Walk I'm sure you are right. had a crazy idea this morning that I could call Women's Aid and say that I was worried that H would drive a car over a cliff with us in it while on holiday, and I could file a police report to that effect, and use that as justification of cancelling the holiday... somehow I don't think that is going to happen (unless of course he gives me cause to get more concerned when he gets back tonight in which case I will do just that re: calling police or some such) so I think our best option is to smooth things over and just enjoy the holiday, try to confront him in a non-confrontational way if he becomes selfish to the extreme, which hopefully he won't. Even if he is in a good mood it is a 50/50 option as to how it will go-- we went to the South of France a few years ago and had a nice time (even though I was walking on eggshells the whole time as to whether or not something would go wrong) so it is possible for him to have a good time. The only thing he cares about is money so seeing as it is already paid for I hope he will want to enjoy it-- on the premise that he can 'brag' to friends about what a fantastic holiday he organized and treated us to-- and that DD, DS and I can behave ourselves (his words not mine) enough to prevent an eruption of anger. He's still not back from fishing.
Don't go on holiday with this man. Please.
Please realise that the happiness you are feeling these days without him, you can have that every day.
When you leave him.
Forget the plan with woman's Aid, lying to an organisation and the police can't save you.
Only YOU can do that.
I know you want someone to swoop in and sort this all out for you, clear away the fog in your head, allowing you to think and see clearly again.
You can have that clarity, but you have to go and get it.
Make the decision to go, and stick with it.
Find the truth, the deal breaker. Cling to it and it will see you through all this.
The saying goes 'And the truth will set you free'
It absolutely will.
Join the discussion
Please login first.