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I'm still in an abusive relationship with my ex

(13 Posts)
Astarael Tue 20-Sep-16 18:06:06

Left ExH 14 months ago after a last straw physical assault in front of our daughter and my sister. Finances split (gave him everything for a clean break), decree absolute almost six months ago.

I'm struggling to process and deal with all of the abuse I suffered at his hands and have been seeing a lovely counsellor for a while. Currently signed off work for a month due to absolute exhaustion, depression and anxiety from dealing with everything.

My counsellor said something at the last session which has really struck a chord - she said it sounds like I'm still in 'abusive relationship' mode with my ex. This is because, as I see him regularly for handover of our DD, I am constantly having to moderate my behaviour to placate him in the same way that I did when we were together. E.g not tackling him about CM, allowing him to call me names under his breath, helping him with stuff so that he doesn't get mad, being overly flexible on childcare arrangements.

It's so difficult because I don't want to anger him as I am still scared of him and definitely don't want him to be angry when around DD. I did actually manage to say 'you don't get to talk to me like that any more' when he muttered 'stupid bitch' at me the other day.

I guess my question for those who have left abusive relationships is - how do you manage to change the dynamic once it's over?

Bitrustyandbusty Tue 20-Sep-16 18:21:48

Interesting. No tips, sorry, but will be reading with interest, suspect I may be in the same boat...

Anicechocolatecake Tue 20-Sep-16 18:23:57

I think it's very hard and really it's all about the absolute bare minimum amount of contact. I appreciate that that isn't easy when there's a child involved

category12 Tue 20-Sep-16 18:32:59

Can you move to third party handovers or have him see her through a contact centre? I would be wanting to move to as little direct contact as possible. Do you have any legal support?

Lweji Tue 20-Sep-16 18:41:45

At some point I stopped physical contact with him. Told him that if he approached me, I'd call the police.
This followed from even a meeting in front of the police station resulting in threats.

In your place, I'd arrange handovers via a 3rd party. Either relatives, child minder or school.
Arrangements only via text or email. Anything with swear words is deleted and ignored. Then reply as plainly as possible. It removes his reward of getting a reaction from you.

Mine is still abusive, which surfaces at times, but manages to be civil most times.
(It also helps that he's under a suspended sentence for DV now, but it's not the only factor)

Astarael Tue 20-Sep-16 18:45:16

Sorry to hear that Bitrusty flowers

You are both right Anice and category my mum sometimes helps with handovers - it's complicated by him not being able to drive so can't pick her up from nursery - so I have to deliver her for contact.

I have a strong belief that he is 'safest' when he is treated like he's a decent person really. I know that probably doesn't make sense. I don't want to back him into an angry corner where there's a risk he would take it out on DD.

Astarael Tue 20-Sep-16 18:47:38

Cross post Lweji. There is a large part of me that wishes I had reported the DV at the time - but I didn't so it would be his word against mine (although I do have a permanent mark from one incident) and I know he would always be awarded some sort of contact. I know I sound like a coward I'm just desperate to make sure my DD isn't affected by all this.

Lweji Tue 20-Sep-16 18:50:12

I have a strong belief that he is 'safest' when he is treated like he's a decent person really

My experience is quite the opposite, but your ex may be different.
Having said that by "treated like a decent person" you actually mean "appeased", don't you?

I think strong boundaries work better. Otherwise you'll always be under his thumb.
And if he can't drive, I'm sure he can find alternative arrangements.
As it is, you're still teaching your DD to appease an abuser.

Astarael Tue 20-Sep-16 19:15:29

I've just been reading the last sentence of your post over and over again Lweji - I am aren't I?

She sees mummy always acquiesces to daddy.

FFS she's the reason I left. I thought I'd saved her from witnessing an abusive relationship.

Bitrustyandbusty Tue 20-Sep-16 21:46:31

I try to maintain civility, even veering towards fake friendliness, and it generally works for bit until some parenting or school issue emerges...then it's straight back to the atgumentative dynamic of old. Hard nut to crack. I tend to only talk about child related matters (although he over shares with his martyr parties). We share residency so things like parties, playdates, homework, clubs, etc. mean that we are communicating several times a week, usually me compensating for some forgotten thing or fuck up on his part, since the ultimate impact isn't on xh but our child. And the atmosphere when he's pissed off! It's a pain in the arse, frankly. Not sure how to fix it...

Bitrustyandbusty Tue 20-Sep-16 21:54:03

This of course means that I am compensating for his lack of organisation, poor attention to detail, etc. Bit like teaching to always acquiesce... I shall give this some proper consideration. How much hurt would it do to observe that mum shouldn't always pick up the pieces, versus teaching that mum always picks up the pieces. Nail on head, Lweji.

Astarael Tue 20-Sep-16 22:21:55

Are you sure you're not me BitRusty?

I've been thinking a lot tonight and I definitely need (at the very least!) to stand up for myself against bad behaviour on his part in front of DD. This will not be her future. I will not allow her to see her mother kowtow and mimic that in her own relationships.

Bitrustyandbusty Wed 21-Sep-16 08:04:30

Good resolution! I try hard not to let our child miss out, so what is actually seen is mum running around, sorting stuff out at the last minute. When this is accompanied with saying nothing or trying not to 'bad mouth' dad, I guess the natural conclusion is that mum is running around due to her own issues... Definitely food for thought here. And I know from bitter experience of my own birth family that this affects future relationship dynamics. I share your resolve, Astareal!

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