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.

Why is the only acceptable level none?

(50 Posts)
YetanotherAnonymousquestion Tue 31-May-16 18:30:09

Humour me. Why does everyone say that. What does it even mean?

Why is good most of the time not good enough to work on the rest?

I am so soooo close to the end but then I have moments when I think I can't do it.

I'm not happy but do I owe it to everyone that I/we should work on that?

Why does abuse mean it's not fixable?

I am such a useless fucking ditherer.

CremeBrulee Tue 31-May-16 18:35:40

I'm not sure what you mean - acceptable level of what?

smilingeyes11 Tue 31-May-16 18:37:08

Why would anyone accept any abuse - I don't understand why you would think an abuser could be fixed? Surely the abuser needs to fix things, not you?

YetanotherAnonymousquestion Tue 31-May-16 18:38:06

Doh, sorry. Should read
Why is the only acceptable level of abuse in a relationship none?

MypocketsarelikeNarnia Tue 31-May-16 18:38:25

Abuse.

For the same reason that if you shit in a sandwich it ruins the whole sandwich? The other stuff isn't 'good' if the person doing it thinks it's ok to abuse you.

Arfarfanarf Tue 31-May-16 18:40:57

Why is the only acceptable level of abuse none do you mean?

Because abuse is not acceptable.

It's not ok to punch your partner if you only do it alternate fridays and the rest of the time you dont.

It's not ok to only scream in the face of your partner when you're stressed as long as you give them foot rubs and take the bins out.

It's not ok to scare the shit out of your children because you also buy them ice cream.

Abusive behaviour is unacceptable in all its forms and regardless the frequency.

BertieBotts Tue 31-May-16 18:51:25

Several things but the main one being: because abuse isn't something that happens all by itself. It's not random and uncontrolled, it has a root cause. For a person to engage in abusive behaviours they have some mental processes, or beliefs about people, which allow them to feel this kind of behaviour is acceptable and in turn they have certain beliefs about you which taint the whole relationship.

greebstreebling Tue 31-May-16 18:53:54

Because it just utterly fucks you up. Because you have no idea of what normal behaviour is any more. Because you end up putting up with more and more and more until you've totally lost yourself. And no one should have to do that. No one.

AnchorDownDeepBreath Tue 31-May-16 18:57:22

Because even a little bit of abuse spoils the whole thing. It also highlights a massive dysfunction between the people involved.

It's like it's not okay to be good most of the time and steal/murder/rape a bit of the time. We don't think, ah well, they're good sometimes!

Chippednailvarnishing Tue 31-May-16 18:58:53

Why?

Because I'm worth so much more.

PiratesHat Tue 31-May-16 18:59:15

OP I was in your shoes for ages. I have now reached the end and planning my exit route as I type this.

I have endured name calling, constant critism, shouting in my face with gritted teeth, him smashing things up in anger, throwing my books in the bin (I read too much), him hating my entire family and trying to isolate me from them, including calling my bro who is ASD a "f**n re tard". You name it, I've heard it.

I have two DDs, both under 2, I have posted on here a few times in last few days re: my issues with him.

I am definitely getting out of this toxic relationship - I just need to work out how to tell him it is over.

smilingeyes11 Tue 31-May-16 19:02:33

Because abuse gives you such a poor opinion of yourself you have to post here and ask why it isn't acceptable and then call yourself a useless fucking ditherer - that is both heartbreaking and concerning in equal measure quite frankly.

PatriciaHolm Tue 31-May-16 19:02:52

Because abuse means that the abuser doesn't respect, love or even care about you. If they did, the abuse wouldn't happen. All they care about is having you there as a prisoner to abuse; that's where the nice bits come in. They are an act to keep their punchbag (verbal or physical) around.

CharlotteCollins Tue 31-May-16 19:10:32

It's fine to question it and to keep questioning things, you know.

But abuse isn't actions or words. It's a mindset. He cannot see you as his true equal. You are worth more than that.

CharlotteCollins Tue 31-May-16 19:13:48

And it would be lovely if he would work on it, but really he will just work on keeping you where you are.

Actually, your best chance of him realising his problems and returning on them is to leave with no intention of coming back. Even then, it's unlikely and would take two years minimum of hard work. But I found that useful in giving myself permission to leave.

BertieBotts Tue 31-May-16 19:18:48

Something else - the fear.

My father is not an abusive man but he smacked in extremis, or at least threatened to. At the time it was commonplace. I don't actually remember ever being hit by him and I'd completely forgotten it except for a vague sense of knowing it was a possibility. When DS was very little (about 3 months old) we went to stay with my dad, stepmum and their two kids, then aged 3 and 6. During the visit my sister bit my brother and my dad decided that she ought to be smacked for it because he found biting unacceptable. My stepmum said no not while people are here and they disagreed about it. But the few seconds/minutes when he was intending to do it and DSis realised what was coming were so utterly haunting - she was distressed and afraid, I felt awkward, distressed and like I just wanted to be absolutely anywhere else in the world, and I decided immediately that there was no way, ever, that I wanted my children to feel that fear ever for even one second in their own homes if I could help it. It's really influenced how I do discipline and I would never use anything which involved fear or pain.

And hence, it also influenced my experience of relationships. As said I don't think my Dad is abusive, and I don't think that he was doing anything that he thought to be harmful, but the dynamics of a bigger person using their strength to hurt and/or intimidate a smaller person in the process of teaching them a lesson that the bigger person believes is necessary, or in order to reinforce a power structure, is not dissimilar from how relationship abuse feels, IMO. The sense of dread and panic and the quicksand, no going back feeling when you know you've set off an episode, even if your abuser is not physically abusive, is very similar to what I experienced the day when I visited my Dad and so, again - it's not something I believe anybody, ever, should experience in their home even occasionally. Home should be a safe place and a sanctuary, and the most occasional of abuse shatters that.

YetanotherAnonymousquestion Tue 31-May-16 19:25:44

Thank you all.
Sorry for no specific responses to comments but I am reading everything.

BertieBotts Tue 31-May-16 19:29:31

It's okay. Going to keep posting grin

CharlotteCollins Tue 31-May-16 19:55:56

Two more points from me: firstly, it damages your self-esteem (have a think about why you talk about yourself in the terms you used in your OP).

Secondly, if you have children, it teaches them that this is acceptable and screws up their future.

Trills Tue 31-May-16 20:00:19

Because it is abuse.

The acceptable level of "being a bit annoying" is some.

The acceptable level of "not understanding" is some.

The acceptable level of "being irritated and saying something without thinking it though" is some.

(all with caveats of recognising what you did, apologising, etc)

The acceptable level of abuse is none.

BertieBotts Tue 31-May-16 20:16:18

Another aspect of abuse not happening in a vacuum is the fact it resets your counter for what is good/acceptable/rubbish/terrible etc. Partly because the lows are so low you accept lower standards for your highs, and partly because where a person is abusive in obvious ways they are usually abusive in many subtle and constant ways which are bringing you down and setting your normal to a lower setting than normal is in a healthy relationship or for a single person. Abusers are not considerate, thoughtful or respectful in their deep beliefs and this shows in small everyday actions. For example they will leave messes for you to clean up more often than not. They care for the children in such a way that you are often forced to step in either to referee or act as safety monitor or "bad cop". They will use something you need without thinking for a second that it might inconvenience you. They don't get on with your family or friends. They will make sneery comments about your appearance or behaviour or abilities. They will tut or sulk. They ignore birthdays or other occasions. They do not stand up for you. You feel unable to play music you like or watch a TV programme that they don't. They refuse to eat certain foods just because they don't like them. Of course not all abusers do all of these things and some may show pride that they do the very opposite, but they will all do some things along these lines. Overall, they are a slight-to-heavy burden but you assume that this is just part of compromising to live with another person. And partly, it is, but they take it just that bit further.

As a single person you only have yourself to rely on so you don't feel disappointed and let down when things are forgotten. You only have your own (and your children's) mess to deal with. You can play what music you like without worrying about somebody else's opinion, or make food that you like without catering to somebody else's tastes. The bar for normal or neutral is immediately much higher without the compromises you need to make.

In a healthy, supportive relationship which has the three cornerstones of support, acceptance, respect, you have an even higher bar for normal/nice. For example, a person in a respectful relationship pulls their weight in terms of housework and childcare, and would even take on part of your responsibility when you were less able due to illness or whatever. Even if they don't like somebody you're friendly with, they make the effort to be polite and personable if they interact with them. They probably have terrible music taste but they totally indulge yours and they don't hog the remote, you both get a chance to watch what you want. They might not love fish but they would either eat it in compromise for you eating something another time which isn't your favourite, or they would cater for themselves without complaint. They definitely stand up for you - if not in public due to nerves then always in private. They encourage you to go for new opportunities and don't stand in your way. They make supportive or encouraging or kind comments. They make you laugh. They think of you often - and show this with a text or a comment or a little unexpected gift which usually hits the mark. They don't expect sex unless you are interested. Your life is generally better for having them in it. And all this becomes normal.

You see how the little things can add up and the bar can shift?

Trills Tue 31-May-16 20:21:12

Wonderful post Bertie

sixinabed Tue 31-May-16 20:35:01

Yes, thank you for that post bertie

SaintEyning Tue 31-May-16 20:43:33

Also because in the outside world, abuse is illegal. I can't scream in my colleagues' faces, punch strangers or try to defraud someone without there being consequences. So why should those behaviours be ok inside a family home?

YetanotherAnonymousquestion Tue 31-May-16 20:59:44

Your posts are great Bertie. Thank you so much. I wish I'd read them a long time ago. The whole thread is good reading. I think I've just left it too late. I have dithered (all over MN) but Im wasting time. Maybe tomorrow I'll be back on track. Thanks.

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