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.

When you are scared of him but it's only in your head

(24 Posts)
Standupforyourself Sat 13-Aug-16 12:52:07

A long time ago on one occassion he lost his temper and was very nasty and verbally/emotionally abusive.

Since then there has been nothing like that but he is very emotionally changeable - what he wants can change in a second for apparently no reason. I think he may be a narcissist but that's by the by.

He has this way of saying things (not just to me, to counter staff, waiters etc) that to me has an undercurrent of menace in his tone. It's hard to describe but its a sort of very cold and firm way of speaking.

I am scared of him but it's all in my head. I think I'm scared that if I don't keep him happy he will lose his temper again -but i. it was a long time ago and there has been nothing like that since and ii. I should really be able to assert myself more with him as in other areas of my life I am really assertive.

I feel very anxious interracting with him when he gets the "tone of voice".

But it's all in my head isn't it. How can I manage my anxiety and start to interact with him in a more normal way?

2protecttheinnocent Sat 13-Aug-16 12:54:59

I'm no it's not all in your head. If you don't feel safe is because your body is telling you your not safe.

You are altering your behaviour to keep him happy, and to keep yourself safe.

This sounds like an emotionally abusive relationship to me (Been there got the t shirt)

do you have support in rl?

redisthenewblack Sat 13-Aug-16 12:56:43

No, it's not in your head.

He's controlling you by keeping you scared to speak up in case you upset him.

That's emotional abuse.

I'm sorry. flowers

MyKingdomForBrie Sat 13-Aug-16 12:57:43

Not all in your head! Trust your instincts. Also even if it was entirely in your head why would you stay in a relationship where you're scared? That can't be making you happy.

timelytess Sat 13-Aug-16 12:58:18

He's trying to intimidate you, and succeeding. You can't just 'get over it'. So you need to get away.

bluecashmere Sat 13-Aug-16 12:58:42

If you think he's a narc it's definitely not by the by. He's controlling you with his menacing looks and tone. Also been there and got the t-shirt.

2protecttheinnocent Sat 13-Aug-16 13:04:32

OP what happened a very long time ago? No one here will judge you but even 1 time of being violent is too many.

A good relationship is never based on one party being frightened and anxious. It's about knowing your are 1001% safe when you close the door on the world and your with your partner.

Standupforyourself Sat 13-Aug-16 13:08:02

Thanks for your replies. I do still feel like my internal reaction to him is out of proportion.

I don't really want to go into it as it is complicated to explain and identifying but I am in situation where I have to interract with him. I can't just walk away and that's not code for "I'm emotionally incapable of it."

At least for the immediate/short term foreseeable future I have to see him and interract with him whether I want to or not. Has anyone got any advice about how to manage my feelings of anxiety?

Standupforyourself Sat 13-Aug-16 13:10:43

2protecttheinnocent
He wasn't violent to me and never has been. I don't think he's a violent person. I've never seen it. He just was very nasty; he's clever and can have an acid tongue when he's angry. It was one time just being verbally cruel and nasty wrapped up in obvious anger. Not been repeated since.

2protecttheinnocent Sat 13-Aug-16 13:22:28

Ok what is it your frightened / anixious about?

Is it his tone, what might happen, what he says, something else entirely?

Are you generally an anxious person or it is just with him?

HandyWoman Sat 13-Aug-16 13:25:04

No, it's not in your head. He is verbally and non verbally aggressive. Both are violent acts. So yes, he is violent. He has lost his temper and now you have modified your behaviour. The fear is real. The abuse is real. I lived like, walking on eggshells, for years. It only gets worse.

You should not spend time around people who make you feel like this.

Standupforyourself Sat 13-Aug-16 13:43:52

Ok what is it your frightened / anixious about?
Is it his tone, what might happen, what he says, something else entirely?

I think I'm frightened that he is going to "kick off" in the way he did before that one time. Kick off isn't probably the right phrase as that sort of means shouting and throwing. This previous time wasn't like that - he was very angry obviously but more cold, controlled and verbally vicious.

It really upset me and I think I'm scared of having a repeat of that even though it was such a long time ago.

It maybe that actually what has happened is that one time was so effective that I've just made him happy ever since as I've been scared to disagree with him or challange his wishes.

Are you generally an anxious person or it is just with him?

Not at all - just him. This is kinda why I'm asking. I'm pretty assertive generally and need to be able to interact with him in more normal/less scared way.

2protecttheinnocent Sat 13-Aug-16 13:53:46

Ok who is this person?

Are you in a relationship with him? Is he family? Or someone you see to do with work?

Because I can't quite work it out, I assume bf / dh but now I'm not so sure.

Who he is will affect the sort of advice.

Pearlman Sat 13-Aug-16 14:13:59

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

BlueFolly Sat 13-Aug-16 14:24:43

You say that it's 'in your head' as if to mean that therefore it shouldn't be a big deal. If you are scared of him because of his previous behaviour, then yes that is in your head - because you remember and know what he is capable of. It being in your head doesn't mean it isn't true.

smilingeyes11 Sat 13-Aug-16 14:28:09

It isn't in your head. The only way to deal with it is not to deal with him. So what can you do to ensure you don't need to engage with him at all?

MardyGrave Sat 13-Aug-16 14:39:24

It sounds like a partner who you also work with?

What you need to note op is that his previous outburst was so frightening to you that he's conditioned you to altar your behaviour and become docile to him, changing who you are. The fear is very real.

alphabook Sat 13-Aug-16 14:45:41

It's not in your head. Bullying and abuse isn't just physical.

Standupforyourself Sat 13-Aug-16 15:59:06

You say that it's 'in your head' as if to mean that therefore it shouldn't be a big deal.

I think what I mean is that my reaction seems self-created in my mind and I don't know why.

For example, as I said I'm an assertive person generally. In my normal way of behaving someone was rude or abusive to me, I wouldn't be scared of them. I would be all "don't speak to me like that" and not think anything of it again.

In this case, because it was a one-off and hasn't happened again, my anxiety seems a bit out of proportion. I'm not generally a timid or scared person and I don't really get what is going on here.

I dont want to go into details as it's identifying as I have said - but in broad terms, the background situation is as if you had to work with someone and couldnt just walk away. It s not this situation but analagous to an actress being cast in a film that was half way through filming and this man was the director.

Standupforyourself Sat 13-Aug-16 16:01:38

MardyGrave

What you need to note op is that his previous outburst was so frightening to you that he's conditioned you to altar your behaviour and become docile to him, changing who you are. The fear is very real.

This is very possible but it seems odd because he didn't actually "do" anything to me. He was just cruel and nasty. Why would I now be so anxious and scared of him instead of just thinking he's an idiot and I can deal with him?

I don't know how to manage this feeling of being scared of him.

springydaffs Sat 13-Aug-16 16:10:07

What you're asking is akin to asking how to use strength of will to avoid being poisoned by a gas.

People like this are poisonous and they just do have the desired effect, regardless of the type of person you are. In fact it's irrelevant what type of person you are. It is no reflection on you at all.

Let's hope your contract ends soon then! If you're in a relationship with him then contact Women's Aid for first class support and advice about how to get out - the only option. If you're not in a relationship with him then read up about narcissism and how to keep them sweet. Asserting your power is NOT the way to go; appeasing is. There's no other way with a narc.

FreeFromHarm Sat 13-Aug-16 16:32:40

Trust what your inner self is telling you, I didn't and narc spiralled out of control, escaped with dc , the emotional abuse will escalate, the violence will start to creep in, you will never win against a person like this .. I tried for over 10 years and he has nearly destroyed everything. he has moved on to his next victim ..you have to listen to what other peeps are telling you .
If you do live with him do exactly what Springydaffs said, it will be the best decision of your life .

Standupforyourself Sat 13-Aug-16 16:47:02

Thanks springy and freefrom.

We are in a relationship but don't live together.

Springy thanks for the advice about not asserting power. this maybe why I am different with him than anyoneelse ever.

Heebeegeebees Sat 13-Aug-16 18:32:05

Hi Op, this is not in your head at all. The threat is very definitely in place and has been from the first time he acted in that manner. You say he occasionally behaves in such a way with waiting staff etc so what you are experiencing is the fear that he may erupt as he did the first time. It's a very clever ploy really in order to keep you and everybody else he does it to where he wants you which is as quiet as a mouse.

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