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Guilt/sadness about abusive ex who swears he has changed..(47 Posts)
As above really. I finally LTB after 15 years of verbal, physical and emotional abuse. After a year, during which he has apparently been successfully 'working on his issues' he is swearing that he's a changed man and wants another chance. I have repeatedly said no, though I find this hard. This has resulted in lots of crying and desperate pleading from the ex. I have moved on, have a good life now, plus have met someone else who is really lovely and kind, but this is all being overshadowed by the guilt I feel at upsetting the ex and the sadness that I could make him happy again but won't be doing so. How can I lose this guilt? From what I have read the chances of him having actually changed are very low; plus I think the damage has already been done, even if he has changed now..thanks for reading.
It's not your fault, your sense of guilt is misplaced. Did you always feel responsible for him? Counselling could help you get through this x
It's not your job to make him happy.
The crying and pleading is just the other side of the abusive coin. If he had really changed, he'd respect your wishes, realise the enormity of what he had done to you and leave you the fuck alone
Stay strong, OP. You're doing the right thing.
Perhaps this is when he realises that working on his issues means working on accepting that you have moved on, and really any changes he might have made should have been in the full expectation that you won't have him back.
Don't go there. You're happy now.
Well done for saying and continuing to say no. He had his chance and he well and truly blew it. You had 15 years of abuse from him. As you rightly say as well the damage has already been done.
How is he contacting you, ex's are ex's often for good reason and he has no real reason at all to be speaking to you now. He needs to be blocked as of now from all communications with you. If he continues report him to the Police for harassment. They will take this seriously.
He may be saying this to you as well to unnerve you because you have a far nicer life now along with a life free from abuse. And they all cry; that is manipulative behaviour on his part designed to move you.
Such men are great liars and always but always say that they've changed; these men never change even after a lifetime. He still feels entitled to get at you even now, that is why he has contacted you at all. He still has some power and control over you and he knows it, this is why he persists like a bad penny.
If you have never done Womens Aid Freedom Programme I suggest you do so as this could help you with any misplaced feelings of guilt you may still have. Talk to Womens Aid as well on 0808 2000 247. You were not put on this earth to make others happy; only they can do that themselves, that makes you sound co-dependent. I would also read up on co-dependency if you feel at all guilty over your ex after all the abuse he put you through. You think he feels at all sad or guilty over what he did to you, not a chance.
He has just changed the script, the old one is there waiting to rear it's head once he had you back under control.
You are not responsible for any adults happiness.
If you go back, frankly your giving him permission to abusers you all over again.
"It's not your job to make him happy"
^ This. This! THIS!^
Unless he's been receiving long-term counselling by a certified and competent professional it's all just bloody flim-flam to try and draw you back in. You've moved on and that's what he needs to do. Do everything you can to prevent further contact. He had his chance and he fucked it up. Even if he was a reformed character (and I very seriously doubt this) he's out of your life now and he needs to stay that way.
Be crystal-clear: tell him that's it's over between you and has been for some time now, you are in a relationship and that's not going to change, you don't ever want to hear from him again and see just how "reformed" he is. Because if he truly has changed he'll fuck off and leave you alone.
I would block all contact with him except texts to do with the children if you have them.
You can lose the guilt by making a decision to detach yourself from him. You are not responsible for his happiness. You are not his parent. You were locked in a destructive relationship and you're still allowing him to manipulate you.
He's not changed, he just misses having someone to kick and obviously hasn't found someone else who will put up with it.
Don't ruin the good relationship with your new man to take a step backwards. You would have to leave your ex again, and you'll have lost your new man.
Btw it's quite common for dv perps to complete programme, swear they've changed & have insight into their behaviour, and go back to exactly the same behaviour pattern as before. Those programmes only have a 15% success rate.
Thanks so much for the replies. You are all correct and logically I do know and accept this, totally. I also agree it is part of the abuse to still try and manipulate me..I feel sorry for him though and always have because he is abusive due to being abused in childhood. I never took the abuse personally. I feel he will never be happy or even content; so do worry about his future. Again logically I know he is not my responsibility so I don't think I need counselling; it's just I am a soft touch I guess. I won't go back to him though- I just wish it didn't bother me so much! But I am a good advert for having a good happy life having left the abuse so would like to encourage anyone in the same boat to do so. Its amazing the lack of day to day stress now! Thanks again
I did go no contact for quite a while, but he kept ringing and texting and said he was coming to see me anyway (I live 180 miles away!) so I gave in. We have no children luckily but I can't go totally no contact yet as our old house has yet to be sold. Just to reiterate, I will definitely not leave the new guy to go back to him, that 100% isn't on the cards, it was just the guilt problem which as I say I know logically is not the right emotion. Your comments have really helped me to see what is happening, which I know really but it is good to have it confirmed
He's 15 years far too late, no chance. Highly unlikely he has changed anyway.
Well done for being courageous and leaving. I hope this thread highlights to people reading this thread with children who are in abusive relationships that they absolutely risk their child being an abuser when they are older.
Abusive men really get a bashing on here but it isn't always easy to solve that behaviour when you have witnessed abuse growing up day in day out, it becomes the norm and the basis of future relationships.
I do sometimes empathise with abusers for this very reason, though I understand that not all of them will have been/witnessed abuse but the majority will have.
That is why SS remove children from abuse, obviously because its cruel but also they know the cycle often repeats itself years later, when the dc grow up.
I've obviously g
*gone off on a rant here!
Disengage. I had an ex who repeatedly did this. Come up with a few stock phrases to shut him down. 'Go away' would be top of my list. Followed by No. And no further explanation.
And if he visits you again call the police. It is harassment.
You are not obliged to be polite to him. His behaviour is inappropriate and stalkerish which would immediately suggest that he hasn't changed one bit.
'he kept ringing and texting and said he was coming to see me anyway (I live 180 miles away!) so I gave in'
He's not changed that much if he's still bullying you until he gets his way. You deserve a fresh start.
I think it's great that you can acknowledge this guilt / sadness & know where it comes from. It shows how much you've progressed since leaving. It's part of the process, after an emotional split. Keep moving in the right direction.
However, it's not on that he's pressuring you & I'm sure he will revert to type once he realises that you won't bow to his wishes. He may say he's changed, but... Keep your distance so he doesn't get close enough to do damage again.
Well said about the children Quitelikely! I wasn't courageous though sadly- circumstances forced me to spend time away from the ex and that distance is what made me realise I couldn't go back. Plus strangely enough, hearing another woman being the victim of the sort of verbal abuse I was used to. I was the cliché of being so wrapped up in trying to appease the abuser that I couldn't see the wood from the trees while I was in the house with him. I am a strong, childfree, financially independent and healthy woman with good self esteem yet it took my 15 years to escape so its amazing anyone does! Scallops yes I need to be firmer and less polite. Though I am hoping he might have got the message now..thanks again everyone!
I agree, it's not nice hearing an adult cry. He has reputedly changed after one year. How long were you unhappy in your relationship with him? He still has 14 years' of tears to catch up on.
He didn't want to change in 15 years of using you as a physical and emotional punchbag. The only reason he is weeping and wailing now is you got out and he lost his punchbag.
If he cared, he wouldn't have done it to you in the first place. He was happy enough to yell, lash out, abuse, and didn't see this as something that needed to change until you took the power away from him by leaving. This is about him not winning. It's yet another form of manipulation.
Sweetheart, please, please don't go back. You've been given a second chance to make good decisions in life. You are making them now by having lovely people in it. Don't go back
'Normal' people would have got the message by now. They would accept no and respect that from you. Abusers however...
He was abusive almost from the start of the 15 years! He was my first relationship, so I didn't spot the red flags/bunting..I sure would now! You guys have all been so eloquent and have helped greatly. I also have amazing friends. I think he is jealous of my nice new life and is struggling financially and emotionally without me.
Yes I think the losing the power thing is right too! He is very entitled.
OP, I am where you were a year ago, having recently left an emotionally abusive partner (thank you for your story of finding some one kinder!). I only realised he was abusive right towards the end of the relationship, although I knew I was terribly unhappy before that, and I have now done a huge amount of reading about emotional abuse.
If you haven't already done so, read Lundy Bancroft's Why does he do that book. It was an eye opener for me. One of the things he says is that it is very very difficult for an abusive man to become a non-abusive man, without specialist help, counselling (specifically aimed at abusive men who WANT to change) and support. He also states that once a relationship has been abusive, it is very unlikely that it will not be so again. And that even if an abusive man has been through a programme, he will usually be still dangerous for some time - he talks of a period of 2 years minimum post therapy.
Please stop feeling guilty about your ex - I would bet that this is what he wants you to feel - so he is emotionally abusing you all over again.
If he really is a new man, then he can be a new man with someone he hasn't already burnt his bridges with.
The fact that he's laying it on thick like this is probably a pretty good indication that he hasn't changed all that much.
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