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.

Is this an abusive relationship?

(64 Posts)
Stupid100 Mon 07-Apr-14 17:04:08

I have been with my H for nearly 20 years. We have 3 children, still all in primary school.
We argue only ever how he attempts to control me, doesn't like my friends, sulks if I dare to go out socially without him, checks up on me. I have deleted several social profiles as he would constantly monitor me on there and ask me later why I had said this etc and why had I chose that photo. You get the drift.
He confronted me the past few days as I dared to go out socially with a female friend without consulting him first, it was one of those random night outs that we hadn't planned. (usually the best nights) but he was waiting up for me when I got home.
We have been arguing ever since and he is still not backing down. He has told me I can't go out every weekend. Turns out April is full of birthdays and events but I have nothing planned for the next few months at all.

I don't neglect my children, my house is clean but he says that I am awful for wanting to have a few hours freedom for the house. He loves me and wants to spend every moment when he isn't at work with me. He is allowed hobbies but doesn't make any effort socially with friends tbh so I can see he thinks I am being unjustified having friends etc.

Friends that I have had to fight tooth and nail to keep I realised today... I just googled controlling husbands and every red flag is my husband.
But everyone thinks he is amazing, he works hard, loves the children to bits so what if he wants me to himself, its romantic right?

He is supporting my decision to give up a very small part time job I had so I can go back to college, which is great but I just realised I will have no money in my bank to call my own. We don't have a joint account, I have to ask for money if I want it.

I am torn, he has never raised a hand to me. He is destroyed when we argue. Acts like a hound dog and makes everyone feel sorry for him.

I have nothing, no job, no savings. If I hadn't just saw the red flags on those websites I wouldn't be questioning it so much. I don't know what to do. I can't talk to RL friends they think he is charming and just loves me so much. Thank you for reading this if you got this far.

AnyFucker Mon 07-Apr-14 17:07:00

yes

LineRunner Mon 07-Apr-14 17:08:49

He is controlling you. You are unhappy. Sounds abusive to me.

Tell him you want a joint bank account for starters.

It does sound like it is, yes.

AnyFucker Mon 07-Apr-14 17:12:15

Emotional, psychological and financial abuse...ticking all the boxes

pictish Mon 07-Apr-14 17:12:57

Well of course it's an abusive relationship. He's cutting you off from everyone else so you exist only to please him! It's not romantic it's totally suffocating!

Jan45 Mon 07-Apr-14 17:21:27

Yes it's abusive, of course it is, he's controlling you, you're suiting him and not yourself, that's not a healthy relationship to have, he monitors who you talk with???

Seriously, don't expect it to ever change, it will only change when you realise this guy's only aim is to have you under his control, that's not love btw, love is a two way street, where you are a team, have trust and also have other interested, like friends, all very basic.

I have read many posts about abuse but this post is one of the very worst cases I have ever seen in MN.

This is about power and control; he wants absolute over you and does not care who he hurts here.

He is abusing you on so many levels including financial abuse (controls and denies your own free access to money) and has likely done so for perhaps all of your marriage. Abuse like this is insidious in its onset so I am not altogether surprised that you have only twigged now. These are all deliberate actions on his part designed to keep you in the cage of his own paranoid making. He wants to keep you a prisoner without any lift of your own.

There are more red flags here re him than a Communist Party Committee Meeting in China!!!.

Please do not make this your children's normal in a relationship because this is not the legacy you should be leaving them. You need to leave him and asap as well. You need to make a plan to leave. Womens Aid can and will help you leave. Their number is 0808 2000 247.

These two points amongst all of your post are particularly bad:-
"Friends that I have had to fight tooth and nail to keep I realised today... I just googled controlling husbands and every red flag is my husband. But everyone thinks he is amazing, he works hard, loves the children to bits so what if he wants me to himself, its romantic right?"

Your other comment:-
"He is supporting my decision to give up a very small part time job I had so I can go back to college, which is great but I just realised I will have no money in my bank to call my own. We don't have a joint account, I have to ask for money if I want it"

My response:-
No, not romantic at all. Abusive. He is abusive through and through.
No he does not love the children at all if he treats their mother like this.
Abusers as well can be quite plausible to those in the outside world but I would think that someone does have their doubts about him.

Well he would support you in doing that. Then he would then have you completely and utterly dependent on him!. I would also expect him to pull the plug on you totally so you would have to give up the college course as well. He will not likely let you do that given any time, you would have to give up the course.

You also need legal advice to divorce this abuser of yours because you've suffered way more than enough.

Clutterbugsmum Mon 07-Apr-14 17:37:22

Do not give up your job, he will get worse once he has complete control over you. He not give you money, he will use every excuse in the book to have any money available. He will start putting up barriers once you go to college as to why you have no time to do essay's or even go to college. I'm betting if you have 2 cars suddenly the one you use he won't be able to afford.

His aim is to have you tried to the house and no life with out him at the centre.

wyrdyBird Mon 07-Apr-14 17:42:59

Please hold onto your job, or find another which fits around college.

he has never raised a hand to me is my personal marker for an abusive relationship. Because the poster has wondered about it at some point, and thought that if she hasn't been hit, it must be ok. It's not.

Wanting you all to himself at the expense of your friends and social life is control, not love.

Phalenopsis Mon 07-Apr-14 17:54:33

There is nothing romantic about forbidding a partner to go out and have friends. There is nothing loving about 'allowing' a partner to go to college but doing so knowing full well that once they are at college they will have no money whatsoever. It's called being abusive, calculating, and bloody creepy.

He is destroyed when we argue. Acts like a hound dog and makes everyone feel sorry for him. calculating shit. He isn't destroyed, he's a manipulating arsehole who knows which of your buttons to press to bring you into line.

I have deleted several social profiles as he would constantly monitor me on there and ask me later why I had said this etc and why had I chose that photo. Bloody creepy. Doesn't trust you at all does he? I wonder what he's getting up to online.

And the other examples you've given illustrate how abusive he is. He doesn't love you because he doesn't see you as a person. You're a possession and you're there to make him happy by doing as you're told.

Stupid100 Mon 07-Apr-14 18:07:41

Thank you all of you who have replied. I keep re-reading the replies and feel physically sick. I had to go and hide in the bathroom and cry. I keep swinging from its normal to absolute disbelief that I have put up with this for so long.

I have already quit my job, it was my last day last week.. I can not believe I was/am so fucking stupid.
The last time we had a brief split, he cut off the tv/broadband/telephone/my mobile phone. Most of these are now in my own name because I had remembered feeling so vulnerable so maybe I was onto him after all.

I don't even know if I have the strength to do this. I feel utterly and completely drained. Our children adore him and I will get the blame for everything and be made to feel like the worst mum in the world. God how did I allow this to happen to me... I just thought if he didn't actually hurt me then I was over reacting..

PoppyField Mon 07-Apr-14 18:20:28

Short answer: Yes

Longer answer: Awful man. Making you feel you shouldn't have friends and that you're a bad mother if you do. I bet most of them dislike him and can guess what he's like behind closed doors, they're just worried about you but don't want to mention it before you do.

Yes he is abusive and you are in an abusive relationship. Been there. Sounds horrible for you. And it won't be good for the children. He is a vicious bully. Terrifying for you to finally acknowledge what you really know inside.

First step - try telling someone in RL - you may be pleasantly surprised. You need support from all those brilliant friends. Do you have close family?

And if you divorce you won't have nothing, you'll have at least half.

Don't feel scared about confiding in people. You are not betraying him. This is not love. A man who loved you would see you as an equal partner, would show you respect, would support you having time away from the home and enjoy the fact that you have friends. This man attacks you whichever way you turn. This is not the kind of love I would want anyone to have for me.

YOur children will recover, and there is help available to all of you. Have a chat with Women's Aid. You'll need to make plans in advance and then act quickly - and please be aware that there is a possibility of this man attacking you physically when he realises that the game's up and you have seen through him. Abusers are at their most dangerous when they see they are losing control.

Hi S100,

re your comment:-

"Our children adore him and I will get the blame for everything and be made to feel like the worst mum in the world. God how did I allow this to happen to me... I just thought if he didn't actually hurt me then I was over reacting.."

No. your children likely do not adore him so much as are afraid of him. He will likely start controlling them as well if he is not already as soon as they are old enough to have opinions of their own. He will not like them answering him back. They see and learn from him as well about relationships and how the two of you are together; is this abusive role model really what you want to teach them about relationships?. Of course not. They pick up on all the vibes and see how worried you are. You really do not want them to think this is their "norm" when it comes to relationships and thus carry that through to their own adult relationships. We after all learn about relationships first and foremost from our parents; staying within this will do them great harm as well as completely destroy you as a person.

Such men do not change, what you may well find as well is that he has over the years upped the power and control ante in his favour markedly till its got to this point. I doubt very much that he will ever let you have joint access to the money.

He'll certainly make leaving him as difficult as possible as well as making the whole divorcing of him very difficult as well. Controlling men like your H do not let go of their victims (I use the plural here deliberately) easily.

There is no future for you in this relationship, you have to make plans to leave this man and get him out of the marital home using legal means. I would urge you to seek legal advice asap starting tomorrow.

Abuse is not just physical; it has many faces and your H is showing you a whole gamut of abusive behaviours. This is precisely how such men operate. Do not blame yourself entirely; abuse like this is insidious in its onset and is hard to spot particularly in the early days. Also abusers can do nice sometimes so women tend to cling onto the good times as well. You may well have met this man when you were at a really low point in your life so were glad to have someone who actually took an interest in you; you were targeted by this man who saw your vulnerability and a lack of self worth. You may have also grown up within a household where emotional abuse featured so did not have a great reference of how a relationship should be to start with.

What did you learn about relationships when growing up?.

Actually writing here is actually the first baby step you have made to having a new life for yourself and your children without him in it. You need to be further brave now and speak to Womens Aid on the number posted earlier. They can and will help you leave this abusive man.

Any chance at all of getting your job back?. They may well re-hire you.

PoppyField Mon 07-Apr-14 18:29:52

You're not over-reacting. And try not to blame yourself. There are hundreds of perfectly intelligent, normal women on these boards who have found themselves with an abusive man. It's true, these blokes don't go round wearing sandwich boards with 'Pick me, I may appear lovely now but I'm going to be an abusive arsehole a few years down the track'. So try not to blame yourself.

You're going to go round and round and round this one. In the end you may realise it's not your fault. The worst you can say is that you 'got it wrong'. It's like picking a Grand National winner - who can say at the start which one is going to win, fall at the first etc etc? You just don't know what will happen. Turns out yours was a tosser. So was mine - you are making progress though now, and you are at the start of turning things round, painful though it is.

Good luck. You'll get lots of help and similar stories on here. You are not alone.

AskBasil Mon 07-Apr-14 18:34:01

"he has never raised a hand to me "

Because he doesn't have to. He can control you without physical violence, at the moment. It's only when the other control methods fail that many controlling men use physical violence.

Don't be afraid, you will be OK without him and so will your children.

Can you speak to Women's Aid for some practical advice?

Jux Mon 07-Apr-14 18:51:04

You do have the strength to do this. You will do it. Go to CAB and find out what your position is. You will be going back to college and studying, which will be hard, but not impossible.

Phone Women's Aid and make a plan. You will need proof of his income so make copies of his bank statements, payslips, anything you can find.

You may be surprised by how your children behave once you've got away from him. I'm not sure that I've ever read a thread where the children haven't relaxed and blossomed after. And almost without exception, they have 'adored' their dad according to the poster. Don't forget, they don't know any different atm.

You will get some benefits, you will get some money from him, you will not be alone. Keep posting.

Jux Mon 07-Apr-14 18:54:23

Clear your history after you've been on MN, and make sure you're not permanently logged in here too.

Stupid100 Mon 07-Apr-14 19:14:30

Thanks once again. I think I am in a bit of shock.
I keep name changing and have changed my details a bit as he knows I go on here so could check.
We met when we were still teens, I had a emotionally and physically abusive mother and was totally low when I met him, had even attempted suicide before I met him. I no longer have contact with my mum and my dad is a severe alcoholic.

He told me he loved me after 1 week. Still to this day he is jealous of the one boyfriend I had before him and I am not allowed to say his name. I just thought it because he loves me so much, he couldn't bear the thought of me being with anyone else.

We have a pet, I and the children love this pet. The pet cowers in terror in his company now and he says he doesn't know why that is... I can't bring myself to even contemplate any harm coming to the pet by him. But why else would the pet act completely normal and joyful when he isn't around then refuse to come out of his bed when he is home... My brain feels fit to burst. If I get the pet food, he asks why I spent my money on that. When I have asked him to get pet food from the shop on the way home from work, he won't. He says he forgot.

He moans at one of our children (the eldest) about food, he moans when she says she is still hungry or ask for pudding after dinner. He tells her she isn't hungry, even though she has ate all her dinner and veg, he gets upset that she has asked for anything extra. Just to clarify, she is not overweight at all but is a growing girl. I remember being constantly starving at her age. I am rambling.

I think I need some space away from him. He has agreed not to come home tonight as we are still arguing about the weekend anyway so he hasn't twigged that I am falling to pieces here.

AnyFucker Mon 07-Apr-14 19:23:19

Yes, well done. Keep him at a distance while you process all this. Don't let on where your thoughts are. For god's sake don't try and discuss any of this with him openly, hoping he will "realise"...he will not.

I think it likely he has hurt or otherwise terrorised your dog, sorry

The early declaration of love ? Designed to hook you in rapidly before you even knew he was doing it. Here he is described in The Loser

Clutterbugsmum Mon 07-Apr-14 19:25:08

You know the pet cowers because he has hurt them, not enough for you to see an injury, but enough low level to frighten them.

How old is your eldest i'm guessing 8/9 so is forming her own ideas and personality which he is trying too/ going too beat out of her by abusing her like he does you. FWIW my 10dd is stick thin and eats non stop, and has done since about 8yrs.

I think you really need to contact Womens Aid as because off the way he is, when you leave you need to have a safe way of doing so neither you or dc are safe.

S100,

I was not altogether surprised to read of the circumstances leading up to your meeting this man; you were truly given a rubbish example of a childhood as well. I hope you no longer have any contact with your dad either. That is also why I asked you those questions. You were never given a decent template of a relationship so had no reference or guide and this man showed you a bit of interest (your parents never did and you just wanted someone to love you). You therefore did not recognise the red flags fluttering as a result even back then through NO fault of your own.

The family pet is just as afraid of him as your children are; he's certainly already starting on the eldest and abusing her. He could end up causing her an eating disorder. What do you do btw when he starts on her?. Things have to change for the children's sake as well as yours and the only way you can assert change here is to leave this abuser well behind. He needs to be removed from the marital home; he is not above the law and you can and should use legal means to get him out.

You are not as powerless as you think you are and you can all leave this man behind. Use the time he's out tonight wisely and call Womens Aid if you have not already done so. They are there now.

wyrdyBird Mon 07-Apr-14 19:37:40

I'm sure you are in shock, S100. These are very hard realisations to make.

Your pet is telling you, through its actions, what is going on. And your poor DD must find every mealtime a struggle. Your DC have no control over their environment, and your pet has no voice, and cannot protect itself either.

You are the only one who can protect them, and you. But do get some support. You can email Women's Aid if you aren't able to call them
www.womensaid.org.uk

- they will help you find a way through this.

Anniegetyourgun Mon 07-Apr-14 20:09:54

I'd rehome the pet if I were you. You and the children will miss it but you will know it's having a better life somewhere else. If possible get a friend to look after it so you can have it back when its tormentor is out of your lives. Then you only have yourself and three DCs, one at least of whom is already being bullied, to worry about.

And don't feel embarrassed about not realising before. If abusers went about with "ABUSER" tattooed on their foreheads there wouldn't be many takers. Many a strong, intelligent woman (and man too) has been blind-sided by one of these. You're in good company.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now